Urban dictionary says… “rubber time” (Indonesian) Meaning: Time waiting patiently or expected, rather than wasted. Makes life easier to bear. Sounds fair.
I was caught in traffic this morning and delayed…Ah, jam karet.
Time has a different dimension here. Indonesian people live a flowing life like a calm river carrying everything along. No stress caused by time or schedule. Indonesian live in rubber time – jam karet.
When someone said he would come to your house at 10 o’clock, it means “about 10 o’clock or approximately”. If they attempt to be punctual, they will state jam 10 pas or jam 10 tepat – 10 o’clock sharp.
The elastic form would stretch from minutes to hours! But for them in business sphere, high society and educated folks, punctuality is important. If you are late for an appointment, they think you are disorganized and unreliable.
Well, each culture has their approach to time. Indonesian life is not driven by time. Harmonious interaction with other people is more important. Being polite is important. Most of the things are done in a spontaneous and flexible way. You need to slow down and develop your social skills once you live in Indonesia.
They are highly valued.