In Indonesian "wanita" is defined as an adult female person
so is "perempuan" and "inong"
"céwék" and "ibu" mean woman
"bu" is translated dame, gentle woman, lady,
ma'am, madam, mother, as well as woman
and I wonder how women are treated in Indonesia
by the author of the dictionary including
these example sentences:
"Just bite the bullet
and have a Cobb salad with the woman"
"Nikmatilah saat yang buruk
dan juga salad Cobb dengan ibu"
I imagine shouting and wonder
what a Cobb salad and a bullet taste like in Indonesia
"A woman fell from a ship into the sea."
"Seorang perempuan jatuh ke laut dari sebuah kapal"
a story comes about why she was on the ship
and how she fell
loss of life followed by a string of words and losses
"A woman whose husband is dead is called a widow"
"Seorang wanita, yang suaminya meninggal, disebut janda"
and "The woman had just lost her only daughter"
"Satu-satunya anak perempuan wanita itu baru saja meninggal"
Then I imagine a man saying this sentence using "woman"
but she doesn't really seem to be there in Indonesian
"How dare you touch my woman!"
"Beraninya kau menyentuh istriku!"
he is trying to posses this woman
who has lost so much and control
three Indonesian housewives arrested for posting a video
advocating for lesbian rights
And a mother of sons responds
"When a woman gives it to you straight
don't give her a line like you don't remember"
"Saat wanita berterus terang,
jangan ucapkan kalimat misalnya kau tak ingat apa-apa"
I relax when these words are spoken
maybe women are taking back the power
that was always ours here and there
around the world
© Kimberly Burnham
(Written in Response to Three Indonesian Women Jailed For Advocating for Gay Rights.)