Anne Paule Art Gallery

Indonesian Hat Story

My friend J' s mother came to Indonesia to visit her daughter and son in-law. They treated her to some remote island travel and they all had a wonderful time. When J came back to Jakarta, she told me a funny story that happened to her mother, M, while on one of the islands. It was very hot, the sun was baking her head, so she decided to buy a straw hat like some of the locals were wearing. They are usually with a wide brim and are used while picking tea or planting rice. M got a great price on her hat and while putting it on her head, was congratulating herself on her bargaining abilities. After a short time they all three noticed that people were looking at them and laughing hysterically. Sometimes someone would look while holding back a laugh and then try to get others' attention so that they could all laugh together.

They tried to ignore the chaos going on around them and visited a temple. While on the grounds, they noticed a couple of women sitting outside preparing some food. This is when it dawned on them why people were laughing at them. There were lots of these so-called hats around these women, and they were being used for preparing the food. M immediately took off her " hat" and they all had a good laugh. But the comedy didn't stop there. The guy in charge of the temple grounds saw the three tourists playing with one of the cooking utensils and laughing their heads off. He thought they had taken one that belonged to the temple. He didn't speak any English, so all he could do was point angrily and accuse with heated words. He chased after them yelling as they ran out. How could they explain in a language that they didn't know that the "strainer" on M's head had been bought as a hat?