Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bahasa Jawa = secret language

It is true that you are going to regard ‘ordinary thing’ as a gift… a precious one … when you are an alien in a foreign land. I always took for granted my ability to speak “bahasa Jawa” , it is just that I can … so what?... . But it comes in a handy now. Living in this English speaking country with my family, Goen and I use bahasa Jawa when we say something that other people should not know. It is bahasa Jawa and not bahasa Indonesia since there are people who understand bahasa Indonesia; those come from Malaysia, Singapore, or people who have been in Indonesia. Bahasa Jawa is a kind of ‘secret language’ for us even from Indonesians who are not Jawa and have never been to Jawa. So, we can talk about our private problems or our personal opinions about things quite openly in public … though we try not to speak too loudly in case there are unexpected people understand bahasa Jawa.

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