First of all, I would like to say Happy Independence Day 🙂
I know, I know it’s a bit late for that and I apologise for the lateness. The thing is, I haven’t touched my laptop for ages, and I know I should have. I need to keep doing the jobseach thingy, I need to keep the blog active, etc. But I just drowned in reading newspapers, crocheting and knitting. Not good.
I thought that posting something about the Indonesia’s Independence Day should be a good momentum to start writing again, but I missed it because I was lazy. So yes, it was definitely my fault. So, could we just move on so that I could start blabbering? Yes we could…
Talking about Indonesia’s Independence Day… There was something that one of my blogger friends said the other day about being an Indonesian. It was, probably, not about me, but I could relate to what he was talking about.
Being married to a non-Indonesian citizen, and living abroad could make a born and bred Indonesian lost their sense of nationality, or even patriotism. At least, that was the theory many people believes. But they probably haven’t seen it themselves, how the Indonesian students, or immigrants live abroad (or at least here in the UK).
We, Indonesian students had a really tight knit Indonesian Student Society, called PPI (persatuan pelajar Indonesia). During Ramadan month we invited each other on a mini gathering to break the fast together. Those who built their families in these foreign land kept their Indonesian tradition and not only introduce it to their children but reinforce it to them as well. We helped each other in this part of the world, even better than your neighbour for the last 5 years.
Our patriotism, our sense of nationalism, is not only challenged, but also sharpened and strengthen day by day, living in the country where people know Indonesia as either “Bali” or “Terrorist”. We were and are, and will always be your best cultural endorser, who spread the best word about our homeland, the real Indonesia that we know and proud of.
Even us who, because of our ethnicity, was born with a rather oriental features — was mistakenly recognised as one of those of other nationality, have been brave enough to stand up and tell them that we are Indonesian. We told them, we explained to them, no matter how complicated it was for them to digest, that we are Indonesian because we were born and bred there, and we are holding our green passport.
We were still excited if we saw anything about Indonesia was mentioned in the media. Or saw anything remotely Indonesia was displayed in the store. Even looking at clothes’ tag saying that it was made in Indonesia would make us jump and tell whoever shopping with us about factories in Indonesia and how friendly Indonesia was to foreign investor. We promote ourselves that bad, we lied a little about the “friendly” part.
I really don’t know where did these people get the idea that being abroad, living abroad, and being married to someone who is not Indonesian, but promoting, and being proud about our origin would make us feel less Indonesia than those who are living in Indonesia, but are apathetic about whatever happen in Indonesia and even embarrassed about who they are. If only they could see how dedicated we are. How Indonesia has been mentioned over and over again in our conversation, in our thesis, as a part of our study, as a part of our life. If only they know how many times we correct other people that BORNEO is 70% Indonesia’s and Malaysia only has a strip of land in the northern part of it.
And I have to say that it started to sting a little bit after I thought about it over and over again. Am I being perceived as a traitor to my own country just because I don’t want to stay there? Or because I did not end up marrying an Indonesian citizen?
The same reason has also made me think about changing this blog back into using Bahasa Indonesia. I honestly has considered it as an option.
Mind you that the original reason why I started using English was because I needed to polish my English when I started studying in this country. It is not because I was being snobbish, and thought that writing in English would make me sound more educated or posh, or more modern. I was in the need to broaden my vocabulary in English so that I could converse better, understand better, study better, and in the end get a better result from my study.
I am pretty sure that I still need a lot of practising but since I am no longer required to write in a perfect academic style, I might not need to keep writing in English. But do I have to do that just to prove that I am still an Indonesian at heart?
I have to be honest with you that writing in Bahasa Indonesia would be much much more comfortable for me. There are a lot of Indonesian slang that could not be translated properly in English, such as “gemes”. I could never find an equal word for that one.
But should I? Do I really have to prove it?
Can’t people just take my word for it?
I still need to improve my English. I would have to work in this country, and build relationship with colleagues, neighbours, my husband’s family and friends, who unsurprisingly don’t speak Bahasa Indonesia at all. Isn’t that a really good reason why I need to learn English, respecting them as the host by speaking their language?
Can you imagine if foreign people coming to Indonesia to live there, work there, marrying your men and using our country’s facilities, but for the sake of their sense of nationalism, and patriotism refuse to speak Bahasa Indonesia, not even bother to try to improve their language even after living there for few years. How insulting that would be for you? Putting myself in their shoes, I would like to show them that I am respecting their language, as much as I want them to respect mine.
That’s only fair.
Happy Independence Day
This is a special day for Indonesia. I believe many people has their hopes and wishes for this beloved country’s future. So do I.
I hope that this country is no longer living in the slave mentality, or even post-slavery mentality. I hope that our people could see people from other countries as equal, and not either inferior or fake superiority that makes them so scared of everything vaguely “foreign”.
I hope this country is going forward while holding on to what our founding fathers has laid as our country’s foundation. And be proud of it.
Happy Birthday Indonesia