Bahasa Indonesia as a UN official language?

Yes, why not?

And I am proposing this as a means to promote moderate Islam - to everyone's benefit.

Prior to the execution of Tibo, Riwu and da Silva, the telephones in my division rang inexhaustedly. The callers questioned, begged, cursed, gave sermons -- different ways and expresions for one purpose: that the execution be stopped, and the three defendants be given amnesty. One conversation, though, still left an impression on me. That is when I tried to explain the difference between "Islam in Indonesia" and "the radical Islam."

"You may see that those 'stereotypes' about a Muslim society don't apply in Indonesia," I answered him. "For instance, we already had a female President, the largest Buddhist temple in the world, and more Christian holidays than in the United States!"

I can't remember other things that I told him, but obviously he was so taken that he asked: "Why don't the moderate Indonesian Muslims speak out?". To which I replied, "They did. Only they were not quoted by the American media!"

He agreed that it is indeed one of the core problems: the lack of media attention to the voice of the moderate majority.

I was reminded to the dialogue when I read this article, written by a Reuter's correspondent, and later another article published in The Jakarta Post, by an Indonesian Muslim scholar. Both underline the need of the moderate Muslim population in Southeast Asia (Indonesia in particular) spreading out their progressive approach in translating the Islamic teachings into daily life. This will have dual advantages: the changing perspective AND attitude towards the Muslim society, and the catalyst for moderacy AND democracy in the more "conservative" Muslim nations.

Unfortunately, as Jonathan Lyons captions, there is this language barrier: many of the moderacy proponents don't speak English. Let alone WRITE in English, in proper grammar.

While an abundance of sources to improve English fluency are available everywhere, including here *hi Edsye!*, perhaps another thing that we can do at the same time is proposing Bahasa Indonesia as a UN official language.

This way, while we expedite the process of spreading the moderate views on Islamic teachings embraced by the people in the Malay-speaking zone of Southeast Asia, we will also get more gains, such as:
1. Less time for our delegation's preparations in UN-related conferences and meetings -- we won't have to translate policy documents!;
2. We don't have to worry about our president's (or other high dignitary's) pronounciation when he/she is delivering his/her speech;
3. Pride, folks, pride!
4. Etcetera (I can't think of one, now *confession mode on*).

But of course, there is the not-so alluring prospect of having Bahasa Indonesia as a UN official language, like, we will probably not be able to say something nasty on their face (or, worse, on their back), as more and more people are learning Bahasa Indonesia. When a TV station airs a scene in which a group of people shouting insults, or insensible action plans ("Sweep out all Westerners from our country!", "Kill the infidels!"), we can't say that, "Well, they are not really happy about a situation here, but they are understanding..."

And there will be more parliament members getting disturbed when they visit a country and Bahasa Indonesia is not even recognized by their counterparts (or whomever they meet there) -- and demand that the respective country's government do something to increase the usage of Bahasa Indonesia in that country. After all, Bahasa Indonesia IS an international language, right?

Now that we come to that point, I guess it's not a brilliant idea after all. Let's just send the moderates to English courses, and the radicals to obedient schools.


nananias said...

Let's just send the moderates to English courses, and the radicals to obedient schools <<<< SUPERB, edsye!


jadi inget suatu hari saya pernah menjadi interpreter untuk kontingen indonesia di satu konferensi international peace league gitulah, kontingen indonesia terdiri dari 6 penggede yang ngga bisa bahasa inggris, nyebelinnya selama konferensi berlangsung saya ribet interpret eh mereka malah ngobrolin belanja, main pool dan ... cewe! pathetic!

paman tyo said...

>>> Let's just send the moderates to English courses, and the radicals to obedient schools. >>>

Huhahahahahahahaaaa! Ntar ada placement test yak? "Oh no! You are radical! Silakan ke ruko sebelah, Mas..."

snydez said...

kalo iya,...
siap siap buka bisnis baru di NY,
kursus bahasa indonesia (by native)hehehe :P

enda said...

let's say some of us really wanted bahasa indonesia to be the one of the UN official language, how that might be?

what's the requirements to be eligeble for that?

Dinda said...

"Why don't the moderate Indonesian Muslims speak out?".

meskipu these moderate muslims adalah mayoritas, tapi mereka ini adalah tipe SILENT MAJORITY. dan yang radikal lebih kenceng geraknya walaupun jumlahnya dikit.

jadi, apa yang harus dilakukan oleh media amerika? kikikikikik...*bukan pembenaran loh yaa...*

kunderemp said...

I'm ready to be sparring partner for Indonesian language.. :D

treespotter said...

ha ha ha... that's good.

to dinda, that's not entirely accurate. the majority speaks out all the time, only they wouldn't be sensational enough to be covered by the media. just like not all americans agree with bush.

miund said...

Here's another thought:

Why not send American press people to Indonesian Language course? I, for one, am ready to teach them the goodness of 'bahasa gaul' and other trendy Indonesian jargons to spice up their news?

And at the end of every piece they write / report, it will be mandatory to say "naik sepedah ke rumah nenek... dah neeeekkk!!!"

Because people always say that laughter is the best medicine, no?

guario said...

Ah the issue of balance, or rather unbalance, of media. I don't envy your job explaining to those people, ya Bu:).

I suggest you all to read this website: to get to know about the voice of the so called moderate Muslims.

Apey said...

great posting bu !! Wah, ntar kalo beneran jadi bhs Indo jadi bahasa UN mauuu dong gw jadi kayak Nicole Kidman di Interpreter tuh *ngayal mode on* :)

sontoloyo said...

maybe we never try it yet..i mean lets think about the possibilities.

Possibilities 1
you have to conquer at least half of the world so you can enforce your language as their least you have to conquer it like two full generation before it could happen.

Possibilities 2
By sheer luck that all people in UN geting tired to speak english and they just vote Bahasa Indonesia for their next Comunicating tools.

Possibilities 3
All the Indonesian left to another country and try to marry with them and start teaching their children to speak with Bahasa...hey 200 million people is quite a lot to make another generation of Bahasa Indonesia speaking people.

ugh head hurts....too much thinking.

serenity said...

Well, bahasa ngga bisa (atau belum bisa) jadi salah satu bahasa resmi UN karena bahasa Indonesia hanya dipakai di Indonesia, tidak dipakai secara resmi (contohnya) di Asean - walaupun orang Singapur atau Malaysia ada yang ngerti ngomongnya -bukan berarti resmi bisa digunakan di Asean

serenity said...

Menjawab pertanyaan Enda, kalau ngga salah digunakan di tiga atau empat negara secara resmi. Walaupun sebagai bahasa kedua.