Friday, 8 March 2019

Gentle Women, Adult Female Persons, and Housewives in Indonesia ♀

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.)


Kimberly is a brain health expert and poet. Kimberly's 2019 project is world peace / inner peace with her recently published book, Awakenings: Peace Dictionary, Language and the Mind, a Daily Brain Health Program.