2O9hj-xqNOa3bdaSOyf8axH6Qp0 Mommy Mayonnaise: Bring Back Our Indonesian Language

Jul 17, 2009

Bring Back Our Indonesian Language

Student: “This is Budi”
Teacher: “Good. Let’s try another one.”
Student: “Budi is playing soccer”
Teacher: “That’s good”
What a funny add. Smart; interesting.

When I saw that ad for the first time on TV, I just love it instantly. Especially when I saw that bule (Bule means western people in Indonesia) learn how to read two sentences in Indonesian language. The kind of sentences that actually learned by primary students in reality. It’s interesting to find how they try to learn about Indonesian language; when we as Indonesian people learn about their languages. What I like the most from that ad is the fact when I suddenly realized; that Indonesian language itself has become an underdog in its own country. How so?

These days, if you can not speak English then you’ll be out of the game. Because that means that you could not compete with the others who have learned about this language before. Every company nowadays has made an ability to speak in English fluently as a must. They will choose every one who can speak English fluently than the other who can’t. That’s a reality of life in Indonesia; when Bahasa Indonesia has become an unimportant language in our life.

We can see it from the curriculum that now used by almost every school in this country. Even in Play Groups, the teachers there have been used English as daily language in their class. They even told the students to call them Miss instead of Ibu Guru in Indonesian language. So we can easily find a 7 or 8 years old kid who can speak English fluently and began to loose attention to bahasa Indonesia. This is a reality too.

Many families in this country start to use English in their daily conversation in their houses for one reason. They want to practice English and become very fluent with this language. Some say they have to use English in daily life because they already use it in school. So why don’t use English at home as well? I wonder do they still concern about using their own language anymore; if the answer is yes, when and where?

You have to learn about English at school. It’s a must! Consider this language has become an international language. When you can’t speak English well, you’ll be beaten by the playgroup kids out there. But, on the other side, as Indonesian, we still need to share some spaces to our native language, Bahasa Indonesia. When we have to use English at school; then use Indonesian at home.

In my opinion, by using those to languages altogether; we will speed up our ability in those two languages as well. You can speak English at school, but use bahasa Indonesia when you already at home. If it’s possible, you can also sometimes speak in your native language such as Batak, bahasa Lamaholot, bahasa Sunda, bahasa Karo, bahasa Jawa, etc. And finally you are fluent in three different kinds of languages. Bahasa Indonesia, English and native language as well. So, don’t be too proud if you can speak English fluently if you can’t speak Indonesia in the right grammar too. I think sometimes you should see yourself in the mirror. Are you blonde? Do you have blue eyes? Do you have white skin? If it’s not then you should show yourself as an Indonesian.
There are a few countries that ask other people who want to stay in their countries to learn about their languages first as one condition for Visa approval. So, is Indonesia is one of those countries? Hahahaha... well, I’m sorry to tell you that we’re not.

Anybody who wants to come to Indonesia and become a movie star, model, or any kind of jobs; you’re always welcomed here, as long as you bring a lot of dollar in your pocket; even if you can’t speak Indonesia at all, because in this country, everybody can speak English fluently. Take it easy... Hahaha... Isn’t it ironic?

Do you feel proud of it? Hmmm...a little.
Do you feel ashamed? Hmmm...a little
Yeah, there’s nothing we can do. We have to follow every thing in front of us, right?
Well, if you said so.

Indeed, there’s nothing we can do about using English as an international language. I want my kids to learn about that language also)
But it doesn’t mean that we have to throw our own language, bahasa Indonesia, away. Spare some space for bahasa Indonesia in our home. Bring back out tribe’s language into our home.

I saw those Manchester United players learned about Indonesian language on TV; it doesn’t matter if they’re just playing what the script told them what to do. Still it’s the best commercial ad that can open our eyes as an Indonesian. About us as Indonesian have lost our respects for our own language.


  1. "So, don’t be too proud if you can speak English fluently if you can’t speak Indonesia in the right grammar too. I think sometimes you should see yourself in the mirror. Are you blonde? Do you have blue eyes? Do you have white skin? If it’s not then you should show yourself as an Indonesian."

    No i don't have blue eyes or Blonde Hair & yes i am Indonesian. Well your above comment kind of offended me...i understand where you are coming from, but as an Australian-Born-Indonesian, i was bred in a society where I have been exposed to the English Language daily. I was Grew up in Aussie & was born here, thus went to school here ever since Kindergarten to high school and now university, I can say that this minimizes the chances of me practicing Bahasa Indonesia due to these factors.

    Basically i lived here my whole life.

    I don't blame my parents for this cause, but in regards to their circumstances back then, i knew they wanted to find a new experience & a better life & future for me and my siblings in a foreign country.

    I go back to Indonesia almost every year to visit family and to celebrate Christmas and new year's, so this gives me a chance to master my Indonesian language skills.

    Tpi skrng aku jarang pake bhs indonesia, soalnya udah balik ke aussie...But if i had the chance to stay di indonesia selama brpa bulan/tahun, bhs indonesia saya pasti tambah lancar..

    Indeed my parents speak than B.I at home, but they often speak their own indonesian dialect(minahasan), where at times when growing up, i use to be confused which words are bahasa indonesia or bahasa manado!

    I can say now that i can tell the difference in both languages. I understand Bahasa Indonesian really well than i can speak it. It's just a shame that i tend to get tongue-tied in most situations, or even have to think before i speak!

    i am not really confident and proficient when speaking in Bahasa Indonesia,i sometimes mix english and indonesian when i dont know the meaning of the indonesian word! But i am working on it by hanging out with Indonesians over here and watching Indonesian TV at home....

    So what do you think of Overseas-born-Indonesians that cannot speak Indonesian fluently??

    This is just my point of view in regards to my inability of speaking indonesian, who is not bule!

  2. I think we have a different point of view here, dear. I'm talking about real Indonesian children who born and raised here in Indonesia with Indonesian parents. Of course it would be different if you grow up in Aussie with English as your daily language.

    Nowadays, most people in Indonesia prefer to use English as their daily language. They want to look as "bule" as they can. They try to eliminate their Indonesian language as best as they can. Not because they can't speak Indonesian (like you do), but just simply because they don't want to. They feel ashamed.

    You can't speak Indonesian but still try to learn about it (love to know it). It's different when have the ability to speak Indonesian fluently, but want to replace it with English at all.

    We must learn English in school. We may use English for conversation in school to improve our ability, but it doesn't mean that we need to throw away our Indonesian language for that. If you can speak Indonesian, you don't have to be ashamed of it. It will be better if you can speak two languages instead of one.

    If we're talking about my blog here (using English) I must explain to you that I use this blog to earn money. My main blog is Blog Perempuan Rumahan. And I still speak Indonesian at home. I may "speak" English here, but I still keep my Indonesian language in my house and with my daughter. FYI, I have two blogs in English that helped me earn dollar from home since I'm a home maker.

    So, don't get offended. You don't need to.
    I don't hate English. But I love my Indonesian language the most. I don't hate Indonesian people who can't speak Indonesian, but I hate those who can speak Indonesian fluently and try to throw that ability away. I speak English because I have to, but I speak Indonesian because I love to. For some Indonesian people who born and raised in Indonesia in their whole life, they speak English because they love to and speak Indonesian because they forced to. That's not right.

    Indonesian people must take care of their own language. Look at those Chinese who successfully take care of their language and they proud of it even if they must use English for living. Just like Japanese. Why can't Indonesian people be like them?

    Why can't Indonesian people proud of their language as American/Europe people proud of their English language? Especially the young ones?


I prefer English comments here.
Be nice and keep on topic, okay ^^
Thanks a lot

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