A cultural and linguistic exploration of Indonesia with Pak Bei
«Pak Bei» was developed by Prof. Uli Kozok 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.
We have carefully chosen 30 cartoons out of a wide selection, which we believe are culturally relevant, linguistically appropriate, comprehensible, engaging, and fun. At the moment, only 20 of these cartoons are available, but we are working on adding more soon.
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 have been ranked according to their difficulty level. While the first few are suitable for beginners, most of them present linguistic challenges as they are written in colloquial Indonesian, often with a distinct Javanese influence.
In terms of both cultural and linguistic aspects, Masdi Sunardi’s cartoons are an invaluable resource for Indonesian language teachers.
*Helen Riana Agnesia and Maren Behrend also contributed significantly to the materials.