As our world is more borderless and the desire to explore every corner of the world is bigger day by day, what are the languages you expect to be expert in? And why?
I still vividly recall at a time when I was almost graduated from high school. NUS and NTU Singapore were on my priority list of my next academic journey. Although I passed A-Level exam but my english proficiency test result was still under prerequisite. I blamed God in my pray why I failed on that test when I passed A-Level exam. I already worked my ass off to get it. I think it was ridiculous. I blamed my parents why I never given opportunity to took IELTS course and just pushed me to took primary subject course instead, just for the sake of SNMPTN while my dreams are bigger than that.
Time flies and my wound healed. I face a new phenomena regarding the economic growth of my motherland. When global crisis hit our earth, analysts were shocked by the fact that what happened in Indonesia is the contrary. Indonesia is the only country that survives from this disaster (Thanks to Bu SMI & Pak Beye). Our annual economic growth is always above 6%, the growth of middle class, joined G20 forums and predicted as world 7th big economics far beyond Germany and UK in 2030. How come foreign investor will not say it’s a sexiest market on earth? While Lafayette, IKEA, Blackberry are lost their profit on their own home country, Indonesia is a market savior for them.
Facing this issue, so many international forums suggest that Bahasa is now included to recommended-language-to-learn list. Just Google it, with over 300 million speakers in South East Asia Bahasa will be ASEAN primary language. Most of people who learn Bahasa will say that Bahasa is easy compared to another language. We do not need a specific grammar, tone, structure, special letters, feminism-masculine words, etc. This is why now I’m more grateful of my mother tongue instead of complaining.
We can’t avoid the fact that our world is getting borderless and my mother tongue is not (yet) a primary global language. Been studying English since elementary school, I’m grateful knowing that English is included in our main curriculum and I live a circle to implement this language as my second language: enrolled to “Sekolah Berstandar Internasional” since Junior high school, join a global youth network and having so many foreign friends from here, an (ex) foreign bf as well as his circle, my workplace, the dreams which I’m still working on, any excuse to not to improve my English? :)
Literally I have an interest to learn this language since I was in junior high school. At that time my Economics teacher taught us about Chinese and Asian economics. She said that in the future China will surpass USA in terms of economics power as China is called “the world’s factory” No need to wonder why Mandarin is the most-speaking-language on earth. With around 1.3 billion natives, it’s two times higher than the total of English speakers. Not only my economics teachers but also my faculty dean said the same when he was in class. He gave us 2 justifications about it: the biggest telco operator is in China and half of Indonesian telecommunication shares are owned by Singapore. He was dreaming that someday one of his pupils will buy back all of Indonesian Telco shares even make Indonesia dominating in telco sector.
So I don’t hesitate when my dad gave me opportunity to learn another language, I choose Mandarin. It’s not intended to please my teachers but as a business student I have to think to look for supplement that can support my future career. I must confess that it was not easy to learn but then anytime I got demotivated I have to look again the reason why I want to learn this language. I’m sure that anything we have been learns, there is always a room to implement it.
I’m grateful that although I’m no longer studying Mandarin formally but I have opportunity to improve my Mandarin as my third language thus far. I had opportunity to go China and my current workplace is Chinese based company.
Hopefully both of my teachers who successfully brainwashed me will proud of me when they know this. Lol.
Grew up in Islamic elementary school, they empowered us to learn Arabic even more than English. Arabic is on school’s curriculum and of course we had Arabic score on our semester report. Now I’m no longer learning Arabic regularly even my Mandarin is better than Arabic, but then I’m quite amazed on a phenomenon that the number of western who learning Arabic is increased. It’s not about Islam or Middle East thingy but it’s about oil and raw materials that has a largest mining site in Arabic speaking countries. I see it’s disconcerting for me as a Muslim but I can’t speak what my bible taught.
Effective yet easiest way to improve Arabic in my version? Read Koran regularly as well as the meaning in Bahasa per verse. I’m grateful that I was born as a Muslim and automatically having literacy in Arabic letters.
To those who read it, I’m pretty sure they will ask “How do you learn Hebrew when they are limiting their resources to non-Jewish?” or “How can you keen on unpopular language?” It’s not an easy question to answer indeed. Even when I told to my friend about this bucket list, she responded “It’s enough to mastering Mandarin and Arabic only for beat those smartass Jewish.”
Sheryl Sandberg, Natalie Portman, James Franco, Adam Levine, Michael Bloomberg, Amy Chua – Jed Rubenfeld, Dona Karan, Sergey Brin, Janet Yellen, all of them are my favorite influencer on their field. You know what is 1 main identity they have in common? They are all Jewish. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not really about religion. I just impressed by the traits on Jewish’s upbringing. Everyone knows who is actually has the power behind America’s influence and the reasons why USA never pro with world’s outcry to ban Israel.
With this in mind, I’m sure there are so many unpublished literatures, research or references written in Hebrew that has a great influence globally.
Maybe for you who think that this reason is complicated, you can simply make an analogy like Kpopers or Korean drama lovers who keen to study Korean.
Another language – the primary language of a country where I belong
Just in case if someday I live at a non english speaking country (or any country where the language didn’t mentioned above) I will try my best to adjust in their primary language and mingle to the inhabitants in order to survive. Either it’s long term or short visit, it’s painful knowing that we can’t do anthing just because we can’t speak on their mother language. At the same time I also must accept the fact that nobody speak english. For example when I traveled to Hongkong where their primary language is Cantonese, I bring a small cantonese dictionary to speak with a trader in Mongkok (and to get a discount on CK perfume as well and I got 40% cheaper!). Let’s say someday I live in Denmark, I really don’t mind to learn Danish and making friends with native speakers. How about if I move to another country? No problem, at least I can understand for the basic conversations in order to survive and experiencing their culture. Are these the characteristics of an extrovert? Ignore it because I’m an extrovert, indeed. Potential to be a polyglot? Why Not? The world will be boring if it is just colored only by 1 language isn’t it? :)
Additional: Javanese and Sundanese
Although I was naturally born as Indonesian but I couldn’t deny the fact that I also belong to one of an ethnic group. Literally my family speaks Javanese more than Bahasa (seriously!). Destiny led me to another place to embark my horizon in a land where most of the dwellers are speak Sundanese. At the outset I didn’t have any desire to speak Sundanese at all. But you can imagine of this: living in Bandung for your entire college life and I was surrounded by friends who speak Sundanese, frankly I can’t deny that day by day I can understand what they were saying when nobody taught me. I realized that I already being part of this city and it’s hard to leave. I think the only way to always be glued to this city is by marry a (charming) Sundanese guy. (Lol, I shouldn’t spill the beans here) :P