The Significance of English Language
If you are the regular reader of this fifty-penny-worth blog, you must be familiar with what this blog major purposes are. For the new readers let me explain again a bit: (1) To encourage blogger Indonesia to blog/write in English or at least bi-lingual (English and Bahasa Indonesia); (2) To give support to those who’ve already blogged in English by listing their blogs in this page to be more known and hence, add their traffics;
(3) Reviewing their (English) blogs every week, to make it more popular in the blogosphere; and finally (4) to give non-Indonesians more knowledge and hopefully, more understanding of what Indonesia (as a nation) and Indonesian (represented in their homogenous culture and tradition) stands for through the blogging and writing of Indonesians themselves; not through the “third party commentaries.”And to be able to write/blog in English, Indonesian gotta know the basic English language by reading as many information in this language –hugely available in the blogosphere– as possible.
Grammatical skill for the first step is not required, because all Indonesians who passed their 10+2 grade must’ve had the basic requirement. And as a matter of fact, most Indonesian bloggers are at least already got their bachelor degree.Having said that, if you used to blog in English for a period of time, you need to sharpen your English skill into another level. There’re many ways to achieve that purpose, one of them is to read a blog which specializes in English literature and linguistics and written by someone who has expertise in this field.
I’m glad to introduce to you one such blog written by An English literature & linguistics lecturer of Islamic University of North Sumatra (UISU – Universitas Islam Sumatera Utara), Medan. His name’s Purwarno Hadinata. His blogging experience is new–he starts blogging since only a couple months back, but not his experience in the english literature and linguistics.
An American names Tom Atkins has already given him an accolade for his good analysis on the matter. In one of Mr Atkins comment in Purwarno’s blog, he says
Marvelous blog and it makes me wonder why someone here in the United States or over in Britan hasn’t done this. Well done, informative and I’ll be recommending it often to friends and collegues!
Mr Atkins even elaborate and appreciate further by making special mention about Purwarno’s in his own blog, thus:
The world of letters
It’s the most logical thing in the world for someone to do, particularly someone in Britan or the US. But no, it takes a scholar at the Faculty of English Literature, Islamic University of North Sumatra, Medan, Indonesia to do it.
Well I for one and glad he did and am glad it’s out there. “IT” is a blog titled “The World of Letters” and in it the author breaks down English literature so that a reader will have a clear view of all sorts of things to do with literature. From the definition of Tragedy to tidbits about particular writers, he’s got it here. This is not just stuff that literature scholars care about, it’s at the heart of our language and culture, and anyone concerned about how the world of letters works with our world will enjoy this site. Go give a look-see
I think, what Tom Atkins said about Purwarno’s good blog does not require me to elaborate further.
Last week, my friend Mukhlis Zamzami Chaniago, head of Indonesian Student Association in India (PPI INDIA – Persatuan Pelajar/mahasiswa Indonesia India) gave me a call asking me to attend a weekend debate held regularly by the association. This time around the speaker expected to be Mr. Dicky Sofjan, Ph.D. from UNDP (United Nation Development Programme) Jakarta office who happens to come to India for a two-week-long workshop with his Indian counterparts.
Unluckily, he couldn’t attend the meeting that night due to a sudden schedule change. He promised to attend it the following night. As we, Indonesian students from surrounding areas, were mostly coming we decided to hold a casual discussion which turned out to be a heated and contentious one. The topic was the roots and causes of corruption in Indonesia.In that debate, I offered a bit weird and controversial proposition from socio-”genetical” perspective to make the debate more alive and “hot”:(1)Genetically we are weak. See, whenever Indonesian marry to foreigners (non-mongoloid ones) our kids would be like them; not like us. White & tall like the westerners if their spouses are westerners, etc. It symbolizes, I added, another weakness: our floating opinion/mindset of life.
(2)Because our souls are still in search of the meaning, principles, values of life, we need output from everywhere. In audio-visual (radio, TV, movies) and IT (internet) era like today, the output must be from the master of the technology: the West.
(3) In brief, we absorb everything the west has given and is giving it to us: from sophisticated science & technology, democratic values to pop-culture, pornography, etc. The educated and most critical among us will take the positives ones, leave the rotten stuffs. The uncritical among us will take the easiest thing to absorb: the pop culture. Unfortunately, the latter are in majority .
The pop culture breeds many other evils among which are the consumptive culture. Accordig to English dictionary, this word means:
1. Consuming or tending to consume.
2. Of, relating to, or afflicted with consumption.
A person afflicted with consumption.
I see an interesting posting written by Soulful Girl, a 22-year-old girl of Jakarta regarding this issue here. And that is one of the reasons why I pick her blog as Blogger of the Week this time.
In her posting she writes:
Indonesians are consumptive. You can see that malls are just everywhere. Point Square just across the street from Cilandak Town Square will open soon. Pondok Indah Mall 2 has been attracting more and more shoppers with their big-brand counters like Plaza Senayan’s. Artha Gading up north in Kelapa Gading houses even more brands from outside the country.
When some say the country is poor or experiencing monetary crisis, it’s much likely not true …. I read …that the past 3 years, auto industry in Indonesia is going up 60% in selling its products.
Those with minimum income to fulfill their basic needs even compete with their peers owning the latest, trendiest cellphones. Some strive for loans from bank and relatives just to be able to go to Mekkah for pilgrimage. Some others have outstanding credit card debts because they’re buying the newest Toyota sedan or a Honda Jazz.
And I like the way she gaves her own opinion on this regard
And I don’t know whose fault this is. It’s not an advantageous lifestyle, no? It’s all about the pride.
For a 22-year-old girl, who lives in the capital of the country with all its materialistic and consumptive attitude of its citizens, the feeling she expresses, the concern she shares and the soul-searching of a higher values she shows, for me is very encouraging. We need many other soulful girls and boys; women and men; high-ranking governement officials and CEOs of MNCs, ‘ordinary’ civil servants and managers & workers of local companies, NGOs, etc.
We need them to think of living humble & simple. To be the men and women of substance. Spending not beyond our capability. Without which corruption eradication will be only a discourse without any reality. And without which the prospect of Indonesia as a country of prosperity and justice for all will be gloomy. Very gloomy.
Expertise and Commitment
Agus Set is a PhD student on Oceanography in Hamburg, Germany. He’s one of those few Indonesian students who are fortunate enough to have the opportunities to further their studies that far.
Indonesia lacks in human resources. Everybody with PhD degree will be considered a pakar or expert. Regardless whether you have a real expertise in that field or not. PhD or S3 (in Bahasa Indonesia) does matter! Outside Jakarta/Java, this kind of phenomenon even more worrying. Hence, many lecturers come in flocks to get a PhD, no matter what!
On universal standard, you’ll get an expert “degree” only if you’re prolific enough in writing scientific papers and published in some international and recognized publications or writing one or more books and regularly write an op-ep piece in newspaper.For Agus Set, this universal standard even not enough! For him, the so-called expert apart from those universal standard requirement, should also have a commitment on the ground. He says,
I just want say that just claimed our selves as experts or relied on publications are not enough, we need more than that: responsibility, action and commitment.
Fair enough and I agree with that.