A cultural and linguistic exploration of Indonesia
Level: A2-C2 (Lower Intermediate – Advanced)
Cartoon Author: Masdi Sunardi
Textbook Author: Dr. U. Kozok* © 2015–2023
Sample Lessons: Lesson 2 • Lesson 10
«Pak Bei» was developed by Prof. Uli Kozok from the University of Hawaii in cooperation with the late Masdi Sunardi (1944-2008), a renowned cartoonist from Semarang, Indonesia. In over a decade, Masdi Sunardi published more than 700 cartoons in the Sunday editions of the national daily Suara Merdeka. The cartoons have almost all the same format: six pictures on one page.
Out of the hundreds of cartoons we selected 30 (so far only 20 are available, but more will come soon) which we found culturally relevant, linguistically appropriate, comprehensible, engaging, and fun.
The cartoons address issues such as religion, tradition, celebrations and holidays, nationalism, social norms and etiquette, gender-specific behaviour, inter-personal relationships, superstition, magical practices, work ethics, etc. They are, in a sense, a microcosm of the contemporary Indonesian society.
The 30 cartoons are ranked according to their difficulty. The first few can even be used by beginners, but most are linguistically challenging as most of them are written in colloquial Indonesian, often with a distinct Javanese note.
Culturally, as well as linguistically Masdi Sunardi’s cartoons are an excellent resource for any teacher of the Indonesian language.
*Helen Riana Agnesia and Maren Behrend also contributed significantly to the materials.