Once upon a time in a mystical land some called “The Island of the Gods” there was strange and beautiful language called “Bahasa Indonesia” spoken, and all the brave adventurers who came to this unspoilt island, had to learn this difficult language or face serious consequences. They had to find phrase books, dictionaries and massage ladies who taught them grammar as they squeezed their buttocks.

Personal Perspective

Some managed only the basic words in their few days in paradise, like “Terima Kasih”, “Selamat Pagi”, and “Bintang”. Others went all out to commune with the friendly islanders and learnt complicated cultural phrases like “mahal sekali” and “saya mau makan” They enjoyed this cultural interchange very much and went home feeling strangely satisfied with their achievements. The islanders also felt happy at their guests’ attempts to communicate, and their ability to change their wonderful strong currencies into millions of devaluing rupiah.

Today all has changed and you are as likely to hear Chinese, Swedish and Russian as  much as Indonesian. Strangely, some islanders only speak English and travelers only look at Ipads and Androids to communicate. Sometimes whole tribes of travelers only speak to each other on miracle screens called “Facebook” and “Twitter” and post their letters to the amazing “outbox”.

Somehow the magic has gone. Goodbye . Selamat Jalan, whatever that means.

Alistair G. Speirs

Alistair G. Speirs

Alistair G Speirs, OBE, is the Publisher of NOW! Magazines. He has been in the publishing, advertising and PR business for the last 25 years. He started both NOW! Bali and NOW! Jakarta as each region's preferred community magazine.