Thursday, December 31, 2009

Racking My Brain For Resolution

I started making resolution every year since 2005. I forgot why I started doing it, but it somehow helped me planning for the year ahead. So I continue doing it. This year, I'm absolutely clueless on things I should write down in the resolution.

As I age, I realize that there has been a change in how I write down the resolution. The resolution I made in my 20s was more toward the worldly possession. But now that I turn 30, I'm thinking of the more spiritualistic targets. 

I have to say that I'm agree with this comic strip, hehehe...


How about you? What is your New Year resolution?

So You Think Indonesians Speak English?

(Source: here)

This conversation took place during a dinner with a group of foreigners at a restaurant.

Foreigner #1: Oh, you're from Indonesia. English is like the second language in Indonesia, isn't it?
Me: Er. No. For most Indonesians, Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesia's national language, or usually called as Bahasa) is actually the second language. The first language would be the local one spoken by parents.

When you think of it, Indonesians are a bit odd. Unlike the former British colonies (Singapore and Malaysia) that now use English as national language (or the second language), Indonesia doesn't use Dutch although we were colonized by the Netherlands. Instead, we invented our own language.

Before the independence, Indonesians learned Dutch through schools. Since there was racial segregation between Dutch and inlanders (the term for Indonesians at that time), only the well-heeled Indonesians could enroll in Dutch schools and learned to speak, read and write Dutch.

I guess our forefathers found it difficult to communicate with other independence activists in other islands as Indonesia has more than 17,000 islands. So they got the idea to make a language that could unite the whole nation. Long stories short, they held meetings, demonstrations, guerrillas and other activities that led to our independence on August 17, 1945.

Bahasa can be considered as an open language as it is influenced and expanded by other languages, including Melayu, Portuguese, Dutch, Sanskrit, English, Arabic, Chinese and Farsi.
Perhaps I'll make some post on Bahasa. Being an Indonesian does not mean we, the Indonesians, can speak good Bahasa. After all, it is relatively a new language and it's still developing. Recently, the younger generation have been using a slang language, which does not follow the correct grammatical order of Bahasa but is still understandable and quite funny, I assure you.  

A friend once wondered why I wrote the blog in English. At that time, I didn't want people to understand what I wrote. But now, I can say that I write this blog in English because I want to tell those who can't speak Bahasa about Indonesia.

The conversation at the dinner continued like this:
Foreigner #2: Ah yes. Although Indonesia was colonized by the Netherlands, you came up using your own language. It's quite amazing, isn't it?
Me: I'd say it is.

Tango. India. Fanta. Alpha.

Tifa. Yup, that's my name. Simple, easy and very Indonesian. It is a percussion instrument from Papua, the eastern province of Indonesia. It is small and long. To play it, you place it between your thighs and simply beat it. More or less, like this picture below.

Photo is taken from here

Although I bear the name of a Papuan musical instrument, I don't think I'm of Papuan descent. Well, at least my parents are not Papuans. M is a Javanese and D? I'm not sure of his ethnic group, but he doesn't look like a Papuan either. [I'll explain more about some of the ethnic groups here  in Indonesia in my other post]

When I was in elementary school, I asked my parents why they gave me that name. M said it was D who insisted on that name if the baby were a girl. D said that he has always liked the name.

So what if I were a boy? What kind of name they would give to me? He said that he was thinking about Russian names, like Sergei or Dimitri. Or a hero from the Javanese wayang stories, such as Bhisma.

Boy, am I glad to be a girl. Not that Sergei or Bhisma are bad names, but Tifa sounds more original to me. It can also be considered a short from Latifa, an Arab name meaning tender or gentle or pleasant.  Um, but most people who had known me for years would say I don't have all those traits. So I guess D made a right decision to name me Tifa, not Latifa. Ha! 

The strange thing is, although I'm currently living in Indonesia, people here always find a way to misspell it. Sometimes people change Fanta into Voltus, or Fanta into Soda, or Tango into Delta. Sometimes there are two Fantas. Oh dear.

Anyway, here I am. An Indonesian girl who will blog (or bitch) about life in the equator. Should you find this blog interesting, please tell a friend. If you don't, you always know where the exit is.

Oh, one more thing: Happy New Year!