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 Language, Culture, and Cuisine

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Sailor Neptune
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Sailor Neptune

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PostSubject: Language, Culture, and Cuisine   Language, Culture, and Cuisine I_icon_minitime21st April 2014, 3:29 am

Language, Culture, and Cuisine OjI14zW

Language

As I said, we have thousands of traditional languages. But we'll talk about our national language, Indonesian. Having spoken it all my life, I don't really know if it will be easy or difficult to learn. Though, as my mom said, "It's super easy; we don't have grammar." Which I suppose is kind of true. At least, we don't have irregular verbs. In order to indicate past, present, or future, we simply insert words that indicate the time, while the verb itself stays the same. We also don't differentiate between "he" or "she" (there is only one pronoun) and do not have different words for "has" and "have", "does" and "do", etc.

The word order is similar to English (subject - predicate - object). However, when it comes to adjectives, we do it the other way around. The verb comes before the adjective (example: "blue bird" becomes "burung (bird) biru (blue)".

Some simple introductory words/phrases:
"Hello" - Halo
"Hi" - Hai
"Goodbye" - Selamat tinggal
"See you" - Sampai jumpa
"How are you?" - Apa kabar?
"I'm fine" - Saya baik-baik saja
"Good morning" - Selamat pagi
"Good afternoon" - Selamat siang
"Good evening" - Selamat malam
"Good night" - Selamat tidur
"Happy Birthday" - Selamat ulang tahun

Numbers:
"One" - Satu
"Two" - Dua
"Three" - Tiga
"Four" - Empat
"Five" - Lima
"Six" - Enam
"Seven" - Tujuh
"Eight" - Delapan
"Nine" - Sembilan
"Ten" - Sepuluh

We use hard pronunciation for our vowels. There is rarely any "au", "ou", etc sounds like most English words. The letter "I", for example, is pronounced like the English "E". The "A" is pronounced the way the British pronounce them (such as in "I can't"). It's a lot like the Japanese language that way.

Now here's the tricky part; we have two types of language within the Indonesian language itself. There's the formal language, which is used mainly in text books, official documents, and formal education. Then there's the every day language, which can sound completely different. Mostly it's a change in a few words, but it can be difficult to learn and differentiate if you're not a native.

For example, the pronoun "I" can be translated several different ways depending on who you're talking to. In formal language, it's always "Saya". But in every day conversation, you only use that when you're talking to a teacher, someone older, or someone you respect. If you talk to a peer, it'll be something else. If you talk to your boyfriend/girlfriend, it can be something else again. The same goes for "You" as well.

That said, even when talking to an authority figure, we don't stick 100% to the formal language. Nobody actually talks exclusively with the formal words unless they're the president delivering an official speech or something big like that. So while foreigners will mostly learn the formal language first, none of the native actually talks exactly like that. You'd have to learn by being among us and pick up the "natural" dialect.

Culture

Our culture is rich with each province's traditional arts, music, crafts, and traditions. You can't see much of it when you live in Jakarta, though. We're mostly just like many other metropolitan cities here, with our jadedness and lack of care for strangers. Indonesia does have the same national culture as most other Eastern countries, which means we're kind of big on politeness and things that are appropriate for kids (I don't think we had any kissing scene in our local movies until the early 2000s). It is also common for kids here to stay with their parents until old age and aren't required to be independent by the time they're 18.

Relationships used to be started with a declaration of one's feelings which then proceeds to dating, not vice versa (it may have changed in recent years). We have sort of adopted Valentine's Day into our culture, but we're not big on Halloween. We sort of celebrate Chinese New Year, because there are a lot of Chinese by descent here (back in the old days this used to lead to a lot of strife with the native Indonesians). My parents are also Chinese by descent and they had Chinese names before they legally changed them (my generation does not have Chinese names anymore). However, we don't speak a lick of Chinese (which is kind of embarrassing).

Christmas is one of the major holidays, but the biggest holiday is Eid al-Fitr, the Breaking of the Feast which marks the end of the Ramadan (fasting) month and an important Muslim holiday. The majority of our country is Muslim and you can't miss a prayer time around here because it's always broadcast from one of our many mosques. There are five recognized religions in Indonesia: Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist.

Our schoolyear starts in July and runs all year until around June. We have playgroups, kindergarten, primary school (grade one to six), junior high (grade seven to nine), high school (grade ten to twelve) and university. Unlike in most Western countries, except in university, students at school tend to stay in the same class all year, while the teachers for different subjects will come and go according to their lesson periods. We also employ the use of uniforms up until high school. On Mondays, we have ceremonies that involve raising our national flag and singing our national anthem.

There's not much to be said for our local movie culture except that we're kind of big on ridiculous horror movies. And not the really good kinds like the Japanese ones, either.

Popular modern sports in Indonesia played at the international level include football (soccer), badminton and basketball. Badminton is one of Indonesia's most successful sports. Indonesian badminton athletes have played in Indonesia Open Badminton Championship, All England Open Badminton Championships, and many international events, including the Summer Olympics and won Olympic gold medals since badminton was made an Olympic sport in 1992. Rudy Hartono is a legendary Indonesian badminton player, who won All England titles seven times in a row (1968 through 1974). Indonesian teams have won the Thomas Cup (men's world team championship) thirteen of the twenty-two times that it has been contested since they entered the series in 1957.

Cuisine

We love rice. Most Indonesians eat rice as the main dish with everything. If we've not eaten rice, it would not feel like a proper meal. A good meal usually consists of rice with vegetables and meat as side dishes. A lot of our cuisine is influenced by Chinese and Indian culture. The most important aspect of modern Indonesia cuisine is that food must be halal, conforming to Islamic food laws. Haraam, the opposite of halal, includes pork and alcoholic drinks. However, in big cities like Jakarta, non-halal food are also commonly served everywhere.

Remember those spices that attracted all the other countries to occupy us? That's also kind of a big part of our cuisine. One of the problems when I lived in England was that all the food tasted too bland. We like a lot of spices with our food, and lots of taste like sour, sweet, and spicy.

Most Indonesian dishes use a wide range of chili peppers and spices because most of us prefer our meals to at least be a little spicy. I have people in my family who couldn't eat anything without chili sauce, and when we travel, we often carry our own packets of chili sauce to add to everything.

The most popular dishes in Indonesia include nasi goreng (fried rice), Satay, Nasi Padang (a dish of Minangkabau) and soy-based dishes, such as tofu and tempe. A unique characteristic of some Indonesian food is the application of spicy peanut sauce in their dishes, as a dressing for Gado-gado or Karedok (Indonesian style salad), or for seasoning grilled chicken satay. Another unique aspect of Indonesian cuisine is using terasi or belacan, a pungent shrimp paste in dishes of sambal oelek (hot pungent chili sauce). The sprinkling of fried shallots also gives a unique crisp texture to some Indonesian dishes. Thanks to our various spices, we have about a hundred different ways to cook our meat, fish, and chicken.

"Rempah" is Indonesian word for spice, while "bumbu" is the Indonesian word for spices mixture or seasoning. Known throughout the world as the "Spice Islands", the Indonesian islands of Maluku contributed to the introduction of its native spices to world cuisine. Spices such as pala (nutmeg/mace), cengkeh (clove), daun pandan (Pandan leaves), kluwek (Pangium edule) and laos (galangal) are native to Indonesia.

Language, Culture, and Cuisine Nasi_Goreng_Ikan_AsinLanguage, Culture, and Cuisine 320px-Sate_ayam_Soto_Ambengan_set_menu
Nasi goreng and Sate ayam

Language, Culture, and Cuisine 320px-Lamb_rendang
In 2011 an online poll held by CNN International chose Rendang as the number one dish of their 'World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods' list. It is a beef, mutton or goat meat dish cooked with coconut milk.

Other cuisine that is very common to find in Indonesia are Chinese food, Japanese food, Thai, and Korean food. We also adopt and modify most other Western dishes to our taste (for example, our KFC and McDonald's serve the chicken with rice).

Our cuisine is as diverse as our culture, so there are also specific regional cuisines as well, and you can find very different food depending on which region you visit.

Indonesian meals are commonly eaten with the combination of a spoon in the right hand and fork in the left hand, but it is also common to eat directly with your hands (with no utensils). We're also quite adept at using chopsticks in restaurants that serve noodles or Chinese/Japanese/Korean cuisine.

Many Indonesian traditional customs and ceremonies incorporate food and feast. One of the best examples is tumpeng. A Javanese tradition, tumpeng is a cone shaped mound of (usually yellow) rice surrounded by an assortment of other dishes. It's traditionally featured in celebration ceremonies. The dishes usually eaten with the rice is fried chicken, vegetables, little dried fish fried with peanuts, fried prawns, shredded omelette, sweet, dry fried tempeh, mashed potato fritters, liver in chilli sauce, and many others. Nasi tumpeng probably comes from an ancient Indonesian tradition that revers mountains as the abode of the ancestors and the gods. Rice cone is meant to symbolize the holy mountain. The feast served as some kind of thanksgiving for the abundance of harvest or any other blessings. Because of its festivities and celebratory value, even now tumpeng is sometimes used as an Indonesian counterpart to birthday cake.

Language, Culture, and Cuisine Tumpeng-Jawa

We also have a lot of street food vendors, who go around on their bicycles and carts around residential areas while announcing themselves by yelling out loud. They are usually delicious, though one should never think about the hygiene of the food.

For dessert, there are various iced and sweet beverages containing fruits, milk, syrup, etc.

Language, Culture, and Cuisine Resep+Es+Campur
Es campur, which literally means "mixed ice"

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PostSubject: Re: Language, Culture, and Cuisine   Language, Culture, and Cuisine I_icon_minitime21st April 2014, 10:15 am

I'm very hungry now. ^.^
You also inspired me to do a food section for Belize

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PostSubject: Re: Language, Culture, and Cuisine   Language, Culture, and Cuisine I_icon_minitime21st April 2014, 7:53 pm

it looks tasty

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PostSubject: Re: Language, Culture, and Cuisine   Language, Culture, and Cuisine I_icon_minitime26th April 2014, 3:16 am

Wow, no tenses etc sounds amazing haha. It must have been really difficult to learn English?? 

That food looks awesome! I think tho, as a British girl, I'd probs find it all too spicy if you found our food bland. =p
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Sailor Neptune

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Title : Drinker of Roleplayers' Tears ~ The Internationaliest™
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PostSubject: Re: Language, Culture, and Cuisine   Language, Culture, and Cuisine I_icon_minitime26th April 2014, 3:49 am

I've learned English since I was very little, so that might be why I don't remember it being hard ^^

You should really expand your palate though xD

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