Monday, 22 February 2010

The International Mother Language Day

Look at the picture here! Can you spot the mistake? Yes, it is "check" in English, or "cek" in Bahasa Indonesia. Yet, we've got "chek" instead...

The need to be able to communicate in English as the international language made our national schools compete to be national plus schools. "Plus" means that they provide English language and sometimes Mandarin (Chinese language). The problem is that our children is not mastering the national language, Bahasa Indonesia, yet. It's no wonder if sometimes youngsters are getting confused about their own language.

The billboard is surely a spelling mistake. I've found the same picture with the word "check" written on it. So, even without a spelling mistake the billboard was meant to be wrong (if we read it in Bahasa Indonesia).

While our national language is struggling to survive in its own land, the dialects of the Indonesian ethnic groups face more challenges. My generation would probably more adapt to the ethnic dialects than the younger generation, especially those who are in my kids' age. These children knew English and Mandarin better than their traditional mother languages.

I speak Makasarese language orally, but I can't understand it's lontara scriptures. I try to find some blogs which use the traditional dialects. This Hariring kuring is a Sundanese blog, it's a pity that it seems to stop at the end of 2008. We do have Wikipedia Jawa, a special pages of wikipedia in Javanese language.

While expecting that googling the word Mangkasara will give me a blog in Makasarese language, I found that is written in Bahasa Indonesia. Another friend's blog is Simpang Limo Bengkulu, but the content is mostly in bahasa Indonesia, or somtimes a "gado-gado" of bahasa Indonesia, Bengkulu dialect, and I also trace Javanese dialect.

Indonesia has more than 500 traditional languages/dialects. And we are not going to keep it if the youngsters aren't able to use it. Gladly the social media like face book is now providing a space for us to use the dialects. As long as we know that we are using it to keep our own heritage, not to build another gap of languages, then we are using it for the better solution. We should use nationalism while pertaining those dialects as a part of our root and heritage.

Yes, we are facing the reality that the world's languages are in danger of disappearing. UNESCO put forward the dialogue of civilization as the basic of the International Year for rapprochement of cultures (2010).

There are experts who gather in Paris today and tomorrow (February 22 and 23), to attend the International Symposium: Translation and Cultural Mediation, to discuss topics including bridging global and local languages and Translation, Mutual Understanding and Stereotypes. It would really be wonderful if some expert over there are keeping their blogs and share the discussion topic with us.

I write this post as my contribution to the Bloggers Unite. I believe that together we are going to be stronger. I've known the importance of sharing languages. Through English and French languages I've found a lot of interesting readings. From those readings I developed a part of my knowledge of life. Blended with my real daily life they build my own power to face my life.

Yet, while trying to develop a better communication, we also need to guard our own languages. I write this blog in English as I would like to bridge the gap. As a bridge blog I tried to tell readers the information that came from Indonesian's newspapers and from Indonesian public. I have my other blogs in bahasa Indonesia. They are my more intimate blogs; my meditation blog, and my blog about being a mother. Actually I would like to write another blog in Makasarese (in phonetic writing, not the authentic lontara scriptures) but I need to balance my schedule first. It is difficult to live in the real world and in the cyber world in a balance time schedule.

The BOBs from the Deutsche Welle is now including blogs in Bahasa Indonesia. So in their map of blogs, Indonesia is now one of the eleven languages that could go for a competition to achieve category awards of the best blog.

The internet translation tools still need a lot of development before we could really speak (or write) in our own languages and be understood by others (who are not speaking our language). But, on the other side, the need to know the meaning will make us interested in learning other languages. Jadi, ingin belajar bahasa Indonesia?

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Plagiarism Again...

It's been quite a while I didn't write about plagiarism. Plagiarism is now a hot issue in Kompasiana. The opinion about plagiarism came out after the issue of plagiarism by a professor from a reputable private university that came out in the printed Jakarta Post. Is it unintentional? Is it an editorial oversight or a lack of concern? Another citizen wrote in Kompasiana about the serious danger of keeping it as a culture.

My writing on plagiarism for had received some reactions, yet I like the reaction from Kurniawan Djunaedhi. He was not aware that his writing came out in another printed media under the name of another person until he read my post in wikimu. Although at first his reaction is "no comment", but now he posted three postings under the label plagiat in his blog. So, he finally found out that Abi, who used his writing, is doing plagiarism. I think it is important that we educate youngsters. Let plagiarism happened and acted as if nothing happened, or depending on one's self conscience won't help us gain a better younger generation.

Actually there was another case of plagiarism that I found out from printed Kompas. An artist that I've known wrote about how an article on art was probably being written with his thesis as one of bibliography without mentioning it. He knew that the writer had read his writing. The answer from the writer of the article said that they were using the same sources of information, and he didn't need to quote that artist's paper as he used the same source of bibliography (he made it sounded that the research of his fellow Indonesian is not important as he found it out himself through studying the same bibliography). I only read the article published in that printed newspaper and I haven't read the paper from that artist, so I sent a letter to the artist asking for his comment after reading the answering note from that writer. I did link my concern about plagiarism that I wrote for wikimu. He never answered that e-mail. I thought he was just letting the case go and put it to the writer's self conscious (who, at that time, is a lecturer of a well known art academy) and to the scrutiny of the public.

Now that this case happened in an English newspaper, and the paper used by the writer is a copy from the paper of an Australian writer... then everybody are screaming about plagiarism. May be the article I've mentioned in the previous paragraph was not copying the paper of the artist whom I've known as a photographer, but writing it after reading the paper without mentioning that paper is not an ethical approach (in my perspective). Actually I did not write about it as the artist didn't reply my e-mail, but it kept bothering me...

Now that the issue of plagiarism is blown up in the newspapers, I think we should really try to educate youngsters on the ethic of writing and quoting. It's not because I'm an expert on it, but because I think it is important for the nation's future. I'll keep myself learning...