As one of the largest democracies on earth, Indonesia holds a general election (pemilihan umum, abbreviated to pemilu) every five years to elect the president, the 560-member People’s Representative Council (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, DPR) and the 128-seat Regional Representative Council (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Daerah, DPRD). On a different date, the Indonesian people also select regional representatives such as the governors (gubernur) on the provincial level (provinsi), the regents (bupati) on the regency level (kabupaten), and the mayors (wali kota) on the municipal level (kota). This election is known as pemilihan kepala daerah or pilkada.
Naturally, not everyone participates in the elections. Voters who abstain from voting are known by the portmanteau golput, from Golongan Putih, the “blank group” or “white party”.
Our text is taken from the advice column of the online journal Mojok. The request for advice is answered by Agus Mulyadi who is intimately called Gus Mul. Letters to the editor are usually written in relaxed formal Indonesian, in which one usually finds a few elements of colloquial Indonesian.
What would it be in formal Indonesian?
What would the three words be in formal Indonesian?
What would it be in formal Indonesian?
Click on the plus sign and read the summary carefully. Pay attention to the spelling of each word as this is a dictation exercise. After you have read the text, close the spoiler, and then complete the dictation exercise.
Ipul from Pekalongan in Jawa Tengah (Central Java) has a problem. His girlfriend broke up with him. Now he is seeking advice from Gus Mul whose answer you will find in the next lesson.
Diriku Diputus Pacar Gara-gara Golput (Pertanyaan)
Dengarkan rekaman dan lengkapilah teks di bawah.
The name Ipul is derived from the Muslim name Syaiful (sword) or Syaifullah (sword of God). In most cases Ipul is a nickname, but it can also be found as a proper name in birth certificates. The Arabic name Syaiful is also often spelled Saiful, and as there is no f-sound in native Indonesian words, the ‘f’ gets substituted by a ‘p’ and hence we arrive at Saipul and then Ipul. Indonesians Indonesians tend to shorten names, especially in the vocative. So, a person with the name Ipul may be called ‘Pul’.
In our reading, Gus Mul is an abbreviation of Agus Mulyadi, and it is not the Javanese title Gus given to the sons of Islamic religious leaders (Kiyai). Agus is a popular Javanese name meaning ‘the honourable’. Because of its association with the word Agustus (August), Agus has become a popular name for children born in said month.
The most prominent Indonesian person with the title Gus, is the former president Abdulrahaman Wahid, who in Indonesia is better known as Gus Dur. He was in fact a religious leader, and the chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama.
The indefinite number suatu ‘a, one’ is similar in function to sebuah (see Sneddon 2.21). Suatu usually occurs with abstract nouns whereas sebuah tends to occur with concrete nouns, but this is not always the case so that there is considerable overlap between suatu and sebuah:
Suatu, but not sebuah, is also used with time words to form
indefinite temporal phrases:
The indefinite number suatu is not the same as the pronoun sesuatu!
The pronouns seseorang and sesuatu correspond to English ‘someone’ and ‘something’ respectively:
The reflexive pronoun diri ‘self’ can be used to form reflexive phrases. It usually occurs as the object of a verb and indicates that the object is the same person as the subject of the verb:
Diriku is ‘myself’, dirimu is ‘yourself’ and dirinya is ‘herself/himself’:
Note that the full phrase is diri + possessive pronoun + sendiri, as in Dia membela dirinya sendiri ‘He defends himself’, or Ratna memperkenalkan diri sendiri ‘Ratna introduced herself’. The addition of sendiri makes the phrase particularly emphatic.
For more explanations and samples see Sneddon 2.162-164
The common position for the subject is to precede the predicate:
The predicate can be given special emphasis by placing it in initial position. The particle -lah is then usually attached to the predicate:
Lah- attaches to the first word of the predicate, which may be a negative, temporal marker or modal:
Here is the above text translated into English. Some words are printed in bold. Translate those words into Indonesian.
Let me get straight to the point, if I may. It’s like this, Gus. Once I had an argument with my girlfriend; our argument was trivial – it was about the local elections. Yet, as we both have very different viewpoints, the debate became pretty heated.
I think that amidst the rotten political climate, the most sensible choice is to abstain from voting.
But on the other side, my girlfriend has a completely different opinion. For her, using the right to vote is a way to participate in developing our nation.
It evolved into a strenuous debate. “Don’t you love your own country?” said my girlfriend.
As a result of this debate, my girlfriend ditched me for abstaining, which is not using my right to vote for who is going to become the leader.
Well, Gus Mul, may I kindly ask you for your advice so that the two of us can get together again even though we both have very different thoughts on how to love our homeland and nation.
Read the following English phrases and try to guess their meanings in Indonesian. Click “Balik” to check your answer. Then locate the phrases in the text to see them in context.
Review and memorise the following words.
How do you think Agus Mulyadi will respond to this letter? What will is reaction be? What advise will he give Ipul. Write a few sentences. Incorporate phrases such as menurut saya ‘in my opinion’, saya kira ‘I think’, saya kurang yakin ‘I am not that convinced’ etc.