Friday, 23 October 2009

Done for the day..

I'm finally done, restructuring adsense on my blogs.. I might need to check the success in a week or two, but, I'm hoping I can track the performance better now..

I'm also very happy with this Google Sidewiki. Every time I need to post something on one of my blogs, I can just start writing and decide which blog to post it later.. saving a lot of time logging in and getting to the 'New Post' page.

I really suggest everyone using blogspot to try Google Sidewiki, especially if you have more than one blog to maintain. It is a great help.

At last, have a pleasant day!

in reference to: Blogger: Dashboard (view on Google Sidewiki)

Testing my Sidewiki

I have just installed Sidewiki.. and this is my first Sidewiki entry.. I hope it works well..

in reference to: Features : Post Sidewiki entries to Blogger - Toolbar Help (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Endangered Languages

Following my last posting, Elinjo has forwarded to me a link to a video about languages of the world.

There are approximately 6,500 languages left in the world and one is disappearing every week (in average).. It is a very sad fact and a terrible loss for our culture (and our world).

For any of you who would like to know more, please follow this link, 'In Languages We Live'

I hope this video can be a wake-up call for all of us to start passing down any knowledge of culture and ethnic language that we have to our children and younger generations.

Every little step counts!

About Indonesian Language

I never really thought much about it, until just recently, in a comment to my last post (About Batak), Elinjo (in Blogit) mentioned that Indonesian language, as Indonesian official language is planned and relatively new. It struck my mind that it is not a common case in the world, so, there must be something interesting about it..

Come to thing of it.. now I realise why it is often difficult to translate an expression from other languages to Indonesian. Also, the grammar is so technical that there is almost no irregularity.

To make sense of what I'm trying to say here, I will start from the beginning..

The different languages and culture of each ethnic group made the inhabitants of the archipelago, although living side-by-side, were always staying at their own localities (at that time, were still in forms of Kingdoms) and sticking to their own people. Only tradesmen and scholars would travel around to other Kingdoms (these people would even travel to Middle East and India).

The Dutch came and applied the perfect strategy in conquering the multi-ethnic archipelago. Their strategy was called 'Devide et Impera' (Divide and conquer). With that strategy, the Dutch was successful in ruling archipelago for 350 years (the exception were Malaysia and Singapore, which were taken over by the British).

As always, military occupation was never necessarily meant a nation's intention. Throughout the time, there were always scholars who made it to do their higher education in Holland. There, they met scholars from other archipelago kingdoms and realised that to be able to overthrow Dutch ruling, they needed to unite, and to be able to unite, they needed a common ground.

They communicated it to their people back in their localities and the idea was well-reciprocated. They tried to gather all youth from around the archipelago.

The first congress was not successful as not many representatives came and they could not came up with a plan. They didn't give up though, on the 28th of October 1928, they held the 2nd youth congress and finally they came up with the common grounds they were looking for: One Land, One Nation and One Language.. Indonesia!

That was how Indonesian language was agreed to be the national language. Along with that agreement, there were no more little kingdoms in the archipelago. Everyone, every nationality was dissolved into one. Each person must put aside their differences, their pride of their background, to be able to become one part of the big future.. one united country.. one freedom.

What is Indonesian language anyway?

Well, it was originally taken from the language of the Malay ethnic group (another ethnic group from North Sumatra apart from Batak). These ethnic group is closely related with the people around the Malacca Strait (Singapore and Malaysia area around the Strait). Their language came from the same root and can easily be associated with/translated to other archipelago languages.

The downside, however, the newly-born language, definitely lack attachment to cultural development, as it was never really attached to any particular culture. The expressions are forms of grammatically correct sentences. It is a good language to teach as it has been made simple (no tenses and verbs are completed by suffixes), but it bears no deep cultural identity, apart from the spirit of united Indonesia.

The fast development of Indonesia language happened during Japanese occupation, between 1942-1945 (when the Dutch surrendered their position in Indonesia to the Japanese). The Japanese banned Dutch language from being used in Indonesia and encouraged Indonesian to use Indonesian language.

The development of communication finally led Indonesian people to the full-scale of unity, where finally, they successfully proclaimed their independence on the 17th of August 1945.

How are ethnic groups and ethnic languages in Indonesia nowadays?

For families which marriages are still within their own ethnic group (not necessarily arranged marriage, just by personal preference), they usually still speak their ethnic language at home. Indonesian language is learned and spoken mostly at school and at work. Whenever people enrol their children to school, the form always asks, 'Mother Tongue' or 'Home Language' .. so, ethnic languages are still recognised and practiced.

For families which marriages are of mixed culture, usually the mother's ethnic language is more strongly used (although not always), if the family practices the use of ethnic language at home. In a lot of cases though, these mix families use Indonesian at home.

The good thing about this, Indonesian language is beginning to be attach to cultural development as it is being used as a family/every day language.

The downside though, ethnic language in these families are disappearing (by being replaced with Indonesian).

It is a sad reality, but the truth is.. natural disappearance and extinction are inevitable in a lot of aspects in life. The only thing we can try is to avoid it from happening by force.

During the time I lived in Melbourne, I met Australians who spoke perfect Javanese in perfect Jogjakarta accent. I also met Australians who knew more of Indonesian culture than I did (I actually met a Pencak Silat -Indonesian traditional martial arts- teacher, who had travelled around Indonesia to learn all the original branches of the traditional martial arts).

I have also heard from people who have travelled to Holland that finding Indonesian food or culture there was easy. A lot of people know about it and a lot of people speak Indonesian or Indonesian ethnic languages.

Reading the news and watching TV, I've come to learn that nowadays, even the most hidden culture and language can be deciphered by experts!

I think this is really amazing..

Culture and language might extinct from being practiced, but they never really disappeared from the face of the earth.

Curiosity and Unity have brought us all closer together..

The world has become so big but also so small at the same time.. Our culture have become the world's culture.. Our knowledge has become the world's knowledge..

Each of us is a little part of the big world of culture and knowledge..

-20 October 2009-