The sad reality: my Indonesian really really sucks


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There's this perception out there that Indonesian is really easy to learn.  And in many ways, it is.  No tenses, no masculine/feminine. 

But I've been here four months, been taking classes (albeit extremely casually) for a couple of months now, and my Indonesian still really really sucks.  I haven't put in a huge amount of practise, but yeah.  Progress is slow.

This was proven today in a particularly sad way.

I decided, while flicking channels, that maybe the show Dora the Explorer, with a target audience of two-year-olds, would probably be around my level of comprehension.

But I couldn't understand a thing that they said!

I was sitting there, scratching my head, wondering why the hell they were riding on a whale.  Dora talked so quickly!!!  I was so confused.

The other day, I said something particularly stupid.

My taxi driver said something that had the word Obama in.  I assumed he was asking me if I liked Obama or something.  I didn't really hear what else he said.

"Ya!  Suka Obama.  Malam ini, saya mau pergi ke Mariott dan melihat inauguration untuk Banana.  Shit, I mean Obama."

I was concentrating so hard on the Indonesian, I called the incoming US President "Banana".  How sad.

6 Responses to " The sad reality: my Indonesian really really sucks "

  1. Heather says:

    Are you sure Dora wasn’t speaking Spanish? She does that sometimes…

  2. Cassie says:

    I took Indonesian for three years and I can’t remember anything except “Saya tidak tau,” “Terima kasih,” and “Selamat pagi/siang/tidur,” (can’t remember the word for “evening”).

  3. jamin says:

    The Indonesian citizens are enough with most of big party politics.
    They want party politics that can be tested on “open dialog” and not just “party leader speech” and spreading banners.
    The community, raised by a fan of PNBK is searching for more and more party politics that are not afraid for open dialog. The PNBK has been thought for long as a simplest political party that promotes more on dialog than just a big open-day type of speech. The party popularity is getting dimmed by the dialog method that are not well covered in media due to lack of funding, yet it still continue its struggles by initiating low profile open dialogs in any small regions across Indonesia.

  4. jamin says:

    nice self portrait.
    ur portrait must be put in the “louvre”, next to monalisa.

  5. Ashlee says:

    Good news. Jalan Sesama (Sesame Street) is around my level of comprehension. Just. They still talk kinda fast.

  6. just ajeng says:

    “…inauguration untuk banana.”ahahaha..hiahaha…sorry,can’t stop laughing.soo funny!cute.
    yah,i thought bahasa is one of the easiest languages to learn by many expats,as they all say there is no rule in its it really that hard?NO!i guess not.don’t be hard on urself.just give urself a couple of months,im sure u’ll be doin just fine.:)
    OH but this’ april.this issue was so last months right ash?haha.fool me!so hows ur bahasa?theres some progress right?im sure there is.
    its funny really,cos im struggling too just like you.i find it hard to speak english fluently.more appropriately.cos there is past/present/future and all the tenses,,very sorry for my english..:)
    pssshhhh….just so you know,when i get to talk to bule,i kinda use tarzan language.i do.