Archive for the ‘Indonesian language’ Category

Indonesian Hero: Mamat Gayo

June 1, 2010

If you ever thought the world was against you, or you don’t have the advantages that other people have, you should think about Pak Gayo.  He’s got more spirit than you and me and then some. 

I’ve taken the liberty of having the essay attached to the youtube clip translated because I like this story and there isn’t much information available about him yet.  I’m posting a paragraph in Indonesian and its translation followed by another Indonesian paragraph and so on to help you learn some words if you’re interested in that:

Sosoknya tidak lagi muda. Pun fisiknya tidak seperti orang kebanyakan yang memiliki kedua kaki dan tangan yang sempurna. Pria kelahiran Aceh 68 tahun silam ini kesehariannya berada di pertigaan Jalan Suci, tepatnya Jalan Raya Bogor KM.24 persis di samping Pool Bus Mayasari Bakti. Sekilas saya tidak menyadari keberadaannya, tetapi apa yang dilakukannya membuat saya simpati dan angkat topi. Dengan kondisi fisiknya yang kurang sempurna, ternyata bapak itu bertugas mengatur arus kendaraan di jalan tersebut yang tergolong cukup padat. Hal ini mendorong saya ingin lebih jauh mengenalnya.

He’s not young, nor does he have perfect arms and legs like most people.  This man was born in Aceh 68 years ago.  He usually spends his mornings and afternoons at the corner of Jalan Suci and Jalan Raya Bogor, at the 24km mark, to be precise.  It’s close to the Mayasari Bhakti bus depot.  I didn’t notice him at first.  But seeing what he does fills me with sympathy and admiration.  Despite his serious disabilities he is able to control the traffic at a busy intersection.  Knowing this made me want to learn more about the man.

 
Mamat Gayo. Begitu nama yang tersemat dekat kantong sebelah kanan baju kepolisiannya. Sudah lebih dari 20 tahun bapak Mamat Gayo menjadi Pembantu Polisi (Banpol). Awalnya pak Mamat adalah Polisi Cepek namun atas kerja kerasnya dan simpati dari kepolisian, akhirnya pak Mamat diangkat menjadi Banpol. Saat ini Pak Mamat menjabat Komandan Banpol dengan empat orang anak buah. Dengan keberadaannya, arus kendaraan menjadi lebih tertib dan dapat membantu oranglain yang kesulitan menyeberang.

 ‘Mamat Gayo’ is the name on the tag attached to his police uniform.  He has been a member of Banpol for 20 years (Pembantu Polisi – civilian police force, trained to assist the police in problems within their neighbourhood).  At first, Mamat Gayo was a ‘Polisi Cepek’ (cepek = 100 rupiah), these are people who take it upon themselves to help the flow of traffic by assisting drivers to make turns, merge etc. in exchange for a tip.  In the old days the tip was 100rp, but thanks to inflation they now expect 1,000rp.  Anyhow, the local police department noticed his diligence and appointed him despite his disabilities.  He is now the commander of his neighbourhood Banpol and has four subordinates.  The local police commandant acknowledges his skills in managing traffic and helping people who have difficulties in crossing the busy street.

 
Menurut penuturan anak buahnya, pak Mamat adalah seorang pekerja keras dan peduli lingkungan sekitar. Dalam hal kreatifitas pak Mamat mampu membetulkan beberapa barang elektronik dan membuat beberapa perlengkapan isi rumah kontrakkannya dari kayu. Kaditlantas Ciracas yang juga atasannya berpendapat bahwa pak Mamat adalah orang yang jujur dan bertanggung jawab atas pekerjaannya. Dalam kehidupan bermasyarakat, pak Mamat cukup dihormati. Dengan keadaannya, pak Mamat tidak ingin menggantungkan hidupnya kepada orang lain, justru pak Mamat mampu menghidupi seorang istri dan menempatkan anaknya di perguruan tinggi, walau pada akhirnya kekurangan biaya dan harus merelakan anaknya putus dari bangku kuliah. Pak Mamat bertugas pada pagi dan sore hari yaitu pada pukul 07.30 sampai 08.30 dan pukul 15.30 sampai 16.30 WIB.

According to one of his subordinates, Pak Mamat is hard working and cares for his neighbourhood.  He is also good at fixing electronic appliances and he also made most of his own wooden furniture for his house.  His commanding officer, the Kadilantas (Kepala Directorat Lalu-lintas = Director in Chief of Traffic) for the region of Ciracas (a suburb of Bogor, near Jakarta) commends him as honest, responsible and loyal.  Despite his disabilities, Pak Mamat doesn’t rely on other people.  Through his work and odd jobs, he finances his household (he has a wife) and was even able to send his son to college, although the son had to drop out eventually as the cost was too much.  Pak Mamat is on duty at his post in the morning (7:30am to 8:30am) and the afternoon (3:30pm to 4:30pm) WIB (Waktu Indonesia bagian Barat = West Indonesian time zone).

Dalam menjalankan tugasnya sebagai Banpol, pak Mamat mengalami suka dan duka, banyak dari perilaku pengemudi yang bertindak seenaknya dalam berkendaraan. Pak Mamat selalu menanamkan kedisiplinan dan kesopanan dalam bekerja. Alasannya menjadi Banpol selain untuk menghidupi keluarganya pak Mamat juga merasa senang membantu masyarakat yang berkendaraan. Tidaklah besar pendapat sebagai seorang Banpol tetapi menjadi orang yang dapat membantu dan dibutuhkan menjadi kepuasan tersendiri baginya.

Pak Mamat has had good and bad experiences in doing his Banpol duties.  Many drivers and motorcycle riders are careless.  He tries to promote discipline and respect.  Money isn’t the only reason why he does his job.  Pak Mamat is proud to be able to do a civil duty.  He doesn’t get paid much, the real reward is being someone who can help others and this gives him a feeling of being needed by society.

Pak Mamat cukup bangga menjadi pembantu kepolisian. Harapannya agar jasa para Banpol dapat dihargai. Setidaknya ucapan terima kasih atau isyarat tangan cukup membuat pak Mamat senang. Pertemuan saya dengan pak Mamat membuat saya sadar, atas perilaku berkendaraan pengemudi bermotor dan peranan polisi lalu lintas. Selama ini banyak masyarakat merasa takut dengan kehadiran polisi. Padahal jika kita savety riding tentunya tidak ada alasan untuk merasa takut. Gaji mereka tidaklah besar tetapi beban kerja dan tanggung jawabnya begitu besar.

Pak Mamat is proud to be able to help the police.  He wishes people would give more respect to the Banpols.  Just for someone to say thanks or wave a hand while passing means a lot to him and brightens his day.  Talking with Pak Mamat has opened my eyes to the many problems with traffic and why people are usually afraid of the police.  But if we adopt safe driving practices, we really have nothing to worry about from the police.  Police and banpol have low salaries, but the burden of their responsibilities is huge, greatly in excess of their pay.

Polisi dan masyarakat ibarat dua sisi keping mata uang yang tidak dapat dipisahkan. Sepatutnya kita sebagai masyarakat turut menjaga keamanan dan ketertiban di Jakarta. Sebagai contoh, keberhasilan polisi dalam memberantas terorisme sangatlah memerlukan partisipasi aktif dari masyarakat. Mari jadikan Jakarta lebih baik, aman, dan nyaman. Dan jangan biarkan pak Mamat bekerja sendiri..

Police and people are two sides of a coin.  They cannot be separated, each must work with the other to achieve public order and safety in Jakarta.  An example is terrorism.  The police can only capture and destroy the terrorist gangs because of help from ordinary people.  So let’s make Jakarta become a better, safer city and a more comfortable place to live.  Don’t let people like Pak Mamat work alone.

I don’t know for sure what caused his disability.  It’s possibly a hereditary disease or may have been caused by poor nutrition when his mother was carrying him.

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Jakarta’s Skating Police

May 22, 2010

I’ve never noticed this, so maybe the concept wasn’t successful or I just haven’t been caught out in rush-hour traffic in the right places to witness it.

In Jakarta they have polisi tidur (‘sleeping policemen’ = speed humps) and the seratus polisi ‘one hundred police’ (they’re the self-appointed traffic controllers who stand at intersections and ask for 100rp in return for helping you turn a corner).  I wonder if the skating police lasted long enough for them to earn a slang name?

Jakarta Street Food: Warteg (Vegetarian)

March 25, 2010

A ‘warung’ is a small restaurant.  ‘Tegal’ means a dry field, that is one which has not been flooded for rice growing and is therefore suitable for growing vegetables.  By combining and shortening the two words, we get ‘warteg’, vegetarian restaurant.  This practice of shortening and combining two words to make a new one is quite common in Indonesia.  You can visit a ‘wartel’ or ‘warung telpon’ = phone kiosk, or a ‘warnet’ which is a ‘warung internet’ = internet cafe.  Anyone know any other examples?  I’m sure there’s heaps more.

You can see that there are some meat dishes available, but the main dishes are vegetables.   Even so, they’re delicious and not as fattening as most street food.

Indonesian names that I like

March 19, 2010

I’m starting a list of Indonesian first names that I’ve heard about or have appeared on this blog and sound cool or unusual.  I’ll put the formal name first, then the nick name that’s derived from it (if I know it) in brackets.  Please contribute if you have something to add:

Girl’s names

Bintarasari (Binbin, Sari);

Endang (can be a boy’s name too);

Enggar;

Erly

Ratna;

Retno.

Boy’s names

Bambang;

Frangky;

Oky;

Rizky.

Seven’s not a bad start.  I can see myself editing this post many times in the future.

Treasure house of languages

March 15, 2010

Map of world languagesThis map is taken from Mikael Parkvall’s book Limits of Language.  The size of each country depends on the number of languages produced within its borders. 

Papua New Guinea is the champion with over 800.  But Indonesia can’t be far behind, thanks to West Irian Jaya.  Even some of the other Indonesian islands, such as Kalimantan, seem to have produced as many languages as China.

Whenever I’ve started to learn a new language, it’s always felt like I was learning a new way to view the world.  Like a different perspective. So I’ve been saddened whenever I’ve heard news of a language disappearing.  On the other hand, there’s still a vast storehouse of languages waiting for some genius to find a way to apply them in a way which nobody has thought of before.  One day, when the world discovers a commercial use for all these languages and cultures, PNG and Indo will be the OPEC of this new wealth.

Here’s the link if you want more about the map: http://www.gadling.com/2009/12/19/papua-new-guinea-land-of-800-languages/

Indonesian street food: Ayam Goreng

March 11, 2010

Fried chicken seems to be Indonesia’s most popular meal, judging by the number of fast food outlets. Even McDonalds sells more chicken pieces than hamburgers in Indonesia.  But this one in the clip is better than KFC.  Just for the record, dada = head; in this context, paha atas = thigh and paha = leg (I guess they don’t wanna use ‘kaki’ which can mean leg or foot because it might confuse people who think there is chicken feet available); sayap = wing; and kepala = head… yes, chicken head.

By the way, chicken is served with steamed rice not with fries, even at KFC.

Did you notice the rooster in the cage?  They put the roosters out on the street so the bird doesn’t get bored.  It also gets them used to noise and movement so they won’t panic when…  let’s just say if he loses his next fight, he’ll be in the deep fry with his sisters.

There are two types of chicken you can get: the factory-grown one that you can get in the supermarket here, or ‘ayam kampung’ or ‘village chicken’.  Ayam kampung is said to come from small scale farmers who raise them free range.  They’re decidedly more stringy than the supermarket ones and don’t have an ounce of fat.

Indonesian street food: Pisang goreng – fried banana

March 6, 2010

Here’s how to order a snack from the kaki lima (hand cart) which ply the streets of every city and town. 

Notice the environmentally friendly wrapping?  Sheets of banana leaf can be bought at most food supermarkets, it’s such an elegant substitute for plastic.

Matkiding, the owner of the video, orders two misro first, then the bananas. In his words:

pisang goreng enak sekali , yang bulat namanya misro, terbuat dari singkong dalamnya gula merah …sweet . kalau dalamnya oncom namanya misro.

Fried banana is delicious……The round one is “misro”. It’s made from cassava with coconut sugar inside…..It tastes sweet….If it’s filled with oncom (rotten soybean), it’s called “combro”,  very tasty.

I haven’t tried misro yet but I can’t say I’m fond of pisang goreng when it’s served cold like that. This vendor has cooked all those items while waiting for customers, in the meantime it’s all gone cold.  If you don’t like your food cold, you can ask him to cook some fresh for you. He’ll do that if he has any uncooked food left.
The cost is 1,500rp which is equal to 20 cents or in other words, nothing (as far as you’re concerned).
Notice the buyer has a drink of chocolate milk? In a plastic bag, with a straw. He would have bought it from another vendor for about 1,000rp.

Slow motion car chase on the Jakarta Tollway

March 4, 2010

It crossed my mind that this might have been staged, but they look like real people (not actors) and the scenario is too weird to be fiction.

As you watch, keep in mind that this is happening on a toll road in the biggest city in SE Asia, in the middle of the day.

Pak Win (Mr Winarto) has kindly translated for us:

0:57 – the commentator said that…stubborn driver refused to pull over despite an order from the police to stop. The police would like to check the stuff carried by the car.
2:19 – the lady strongly explained that she is only carrying food supplies in the back of her car…..(…somehow she managed to get into the car and slipped out again- the police made chase again).
2:36 – the commentator said…”other drivers helped the police to stop the car…”
3:30 – the lady said that she was traumatized with policemen….she had an unpleasant previous experience with the police pulling them over.
4:09 – The police explained it’s his job to look after the community…bla…bla…while she kept arguing.
4:35 – The police kept saying that he only did his job and he explained to the guy behind the wheel that he’s got a right to stop any suspicious car …bla…bla… meanwhile the guy listened to the police, the lady shouted at the police that they paid few hundreds thousands Rp previously for a “fine” (that’s surely what she referred to as the unpleasant experience).
4:55 – (here is the interesting part..) The police advised the guy ” …if you feel innocent, you shouldn’t be afraid of the police…”…The guy calmly argued “…as you said, that is the reason why I don’t feel like stopping because I feel innocent…” – BINGO !!!….The police helplessly said that…”you can’t do that, we are not a paranormal (psychic). If you don’t stop to tell us, how we know that you’re clean?”

Who could write a script like that? I guess the policeman stayed calm because he knew that the camera was on him. Indonesians have become more assertive in their dealings with police, although this must surely be the exception – I can’t believe their behaviours are typical.

The clip doesn’t say whether she was let off or if she had to pay a few hundred thousand rp more in ‘fines’.

Cute bird

February 24, 2010

I never knew a bird of prey could look so cute. 

When I was teaching in Jakarta, a high school-aged student came to class with a few feathers attached to his backpack so I asked him about it.  It turns out he kept a collection of raptors at home.  He offered me a falcon but naturally I couldn’t accept.  If it was a furby eagle-owl like this one, maybe I’d reconsider.

For anyone learning Indonesian language, the young lady uses some easy to recognise Indonesian words: cukup=enough, lagi=again, sedap=satisfied (in this context), sayang=darling, separo=half.  “Separo” is a well used term they don’t seem to teach in Indonesian language classes, but it’s used quite often, especially when dining.  The alternative word “setengah” is more often used for time e.g. setengah lima=half past four.