When giving gifts to friends within the diverse culture of indonesia, it is important to consider the recipient of your gift.
First, understand that there are ethnic Indians, Malays, and Chinese living in Indonesia. You must be aware of which group the friend you wish to give a gift to falls under. The reason for this, of course, is that if you present the wrong gift or offer it in the wrong way or both, your gift will more than likely be considered offensive. Therefore, when presenting your presents to an Indonesian, make sure you are aware of these rules for each group:
Gifting the Malay
If your recipient is a Malay, he or she follows the Muslim belief. In this case, It is best not to give any alcohol because in Islam it is forbidden.However, if you are certain that the recipient enjoys alcohol, then feel free to give it.
In addition, do not offer a Malay any food that is not halal. Halal means that the food should not have been prepared with alcoholic substances or anything consisting of pork ingredients including gelatin. Halal meat is the only kind of meat that should be offered.
Remember to only offer your gift with your right hand. Keep in mind that it is the custom for your Malay recipient to not open the gift after receiving it.
Gifting the Chinese
If your present is for a Chinese friend in Indonesia, do not offer sharp objects such as knives, scissors or anything that cuts. If you do, then your recipient will think that you wish to sever your friendship.
Be sure to wrap your present in fancy wrapping paper. Gold and red wrapping are best to use because the Chinese consider these to be colors of good fortune and similar to the Malays, they do not open gifts when received.
Gifting the Ethnic Indian
As for the ethnic Indians of Indonesia, you only offer gifts with your right hand. Because this group fall under the system of Hindu beliefs, you should not give anything made of leather. Unless you know that your friend enjoys drinking alcohol, you should not give it.
Ethnic Indians of Indonesia appreciate gifts wrapped in bright colors especially yellow, green red paper because they consider them to be colors of good fortune.
Like their Malay and Chinese neighbors, when an ethnic Indian receives a gift, it is normal for the gift not to be opened.