#EngTalk: learning English vs. Indonesian nationalism

Today I would like to invite you to join in a discussion. The topic is still related to our country’s independence day celebration. :)

A few days ago, one of our admins who is an English teacher, read a statement on a Facebook group that says something like this:

“There’s a paradox in the practice of English teaching as a foreign language in Indonesia. It is said that when you learn a language, you also have to learn the culture. Thus resulting Indonesian students (the young people) who learn (and use) English are more fluent in talking about Western culture than their own culture, Western food than their own food, Western music than their own traditional music, Western history than their own country’s history, Western celebration than their own local celebration, etc.”

This topic is quite interesting to be discussed as we’ve heard it before that many voices said, “English reduces the sense of nationalism.” Tell me what you think about this. Do you think the statement is true? Do you think nationalism is at stake if we learn English? Thoughts!

  • Why do you think they are bad? Share your thoughts. :) “@tamarischa97: aren’t those bad things?”
  • @syarifmaulanaa: I don’t really agree about the paradox,because as a student,we can choose to fully accept western culture or not. I think nationalism isn’t judged by how often we learn english.Nationalism is all about loving your country and make  and do something that can make your country better. And living the life in harmony in pancasila ways. maybe some student believe that if they are western oriented they are cooler than other student, but many clever student who can use english fluently,use english for better change. Like promoting indonesian culture in the world, and etc. so the choices that student choose isn’t really affected to our culture,there’s many young people who love indonesia.”
  • @tamarischa97: maybe cos people more curious with other culture then theirs
  • @Mirta_Mitcel:  I think, it would be better if we learn both of english and our own language as well as the culture..
  • @rinarosliana: we can use english to promote our country, tho hehe :D
  • @TityErlita: i don’t think so. It is based on the person himself. I’ve learned english for 9 years & i still remember our national songs
  • @syifafajrin: no, of course it’s not true. As long as we learn english for a better education. Not bcs we want to forget our country. :)
  • @ArdianPradana18: I think those statement is true because language is not just a tool for communication but it brings culture, local wisdom etc
  • @mariamagdal: Absolutely no! I know when we learn a foreign language, we have to learn the cultures, foods, customs, etc. The point of learning those is to know more about English itself. So we as non-native speakers can be able to talk and have not-so-different knowledge with the native speakers themselves. We learn ‘those’ to interact better with foreigners. and by learning English, we can show the world our rich culture, our good customs, our traditional food,dances,clothes, etc. English can help us to introduce Indonesia to the world. I strongly believe English won’t reduce our nationalism.
  • @ArdianPradana18: I don’ totally agree with your idea. Not every person has the same feeling as you after learning English. @mariamagdal Many people who learn English feels that English more superior than their native language. So, it needs more consideration to say that it cannot reduce our nationality. The point is that your idea cannot be generalize to all people in the world, especially in Indonesia. Let’s see what happens in Japan, China, and other countries that do not use English as main communication. I am sure that they have strong reason why they do not use English very much. Probably, it can reduce people’ nationality.
  • @mardiasih: in fact, by our English capability,we can bring Indonesia to the world. Language is a means of communication. that statement is just a myth. There is no problem dealing w/ Indonesian that mastering English. They contribute more :)
  • @galartsy: NO! I’d rather ppl question my nationality than fooled by other countries just because I don’t speak their language.
  • @dnovac: IMO, the ability to speak in foreign language(s) will help you to promote your own culture to the international society :)
  • @AzwarSD: I couldn’t agree more. The better your English is, the poorer your Nationalism become. Or so I thought. in order to use English properly w/o being affected with Bahasa Indonesia’s terms and structures. a person can always sugar-coat their words about this, but, that’s people being polite about the topic. I do love my country, my nation. But not as much as I did back then. This is my honest opinion regarding this matter. most people are afraid to speak truthfully about this issue.
  •  ‏@ranniisme: i dont think so. We can bring our country to the “world” if we’re fluent in English. Eng is international language, isn’t it?
  • ‏@anhtiss: “Is not about learning a foreign language. It’s about learning an international language” -Mr. Anies Baswedan.
  • @indranosaurus: learning english let everybody to promote their country to the world. Our nationalism even will be stronger by doing that.
  • @RiaFadilah: based on the interview i did years a go among high school students for my thesis, there are 3 reasons. why the students prefer to use english rather than indonesian. 1) it’s more expressive 2) It feels more global. 3) they use english because they think they don’t have some words in indonesian e.g. Online, download, browsing, bluetooth. so there are some reasons behind the use of english not bcause we are assimilated by their culture and forgetting our country.
  • @dbvalentino: if students werent be able to use english, they would be labour all their time. when i was 8th grade my engls teacher said so
  • @hicheekbone: Foreign language learners dont hv to internalize target language’s culture but they have to observe in order to understand understand language spoken by the members of target language
  • @rafiistweeting: wrong. in this modern world of technology we gotta be able to speak english, otherwise we’d be ‘outdated’
  • @angdamdewi: Nationalism is based on how we feel&appreciate this country. Learning English doesn’t mean that we forget our local values.:)
  • @mochibrahim: i kinda sure that english can reduce the sense of nationalism. How can we learn english without knowing its culture. fyi in the rsbi case, constitutional court decided to remove rsbi.. One of the reasons was because english could affect. the sense of nationalism of the students. Thus its not wise to use english in school everyday, based on its verdict. Cmiiw
  • @syarifmaulanaa: I think in Rsbi case,the reason why rsbi was removed because they don’t want there’s a “speciality” in education”
  • @Vincasyait’s based on the person, some people learn english and forget our cultures cause they think it’s cooler but some people dont
  • @bagusnaya: well I’m currently studying English literature as my major and I learn a lot about its culture and stuffs, but… it didn’t really affect my nasionalism. That paradox is unreasonable; people are just way too shallow-minded… that they think when someone is learning a language, they might develop a attitude which against our nationality… oh and plus, would you rather have native speaker humiliate you just because you can’t speak English? Think about it :)
  • @dashingcrook: I don’t think so. I think nationalism has nothing to do with learning English. We learn science not to be a scientist, right?
  • @hanifarahma: speak English when you’re abroad, to show youre knowledgeable. do the other way around, to show you’re proud being Indonesian
  • @toshimayasin: “why most of us get better score at english test than bahasa test?” same with that :)
  • @Arina_Istianah: the problem begins when we rarely promote our culture using English. Ask them why this issue just arose recently.
  • @straycatrenate: that’s not bad. Sometimes we need to learn other culture to realize how great our own culture is.
  • @kcleopatria: and if learning english could make you a more qualified person for the globalization and for the sake of the country,why not?
  • ‏@quadrinata: it’s not true. By learning English we can understand the world in a better way, so that can help develop Indonesia.
  • @anggiemya: learning english is not only fun but also can improve our knowledge about countries all around the world
  • @dinsjune14: it is much better if the young ppl also learn about all the Indonesian culture so that it won’t be forgotten.
  • ‏@sayaarie: I disagree with the statement, I personally get a lot of positive things in learning English.
  • @NiaAmandha: there’s nothing wrong with gaining more knowledge right :) english is an international language, we need to go deep into it because it help us in many ways. Like when we travel abroad or looking for a job, etc.
  • @RenRealOfficial: we live in the modern world so we gotta be able to speak english If you don’t want called “kudet aka kurang update”
  •  ‏@sonyafel: Can we compare about this learning English things with ppl who don’t speak and write Bahasa Indonesia properly? I mean, it’s the same thing. Talking about nationalism.
  • @AzwarSD: this is something we, young people, need to think about. I’m thankful that finally someone brought this topic.
  • @adieriyanto: Difficult question, let’s ask our Bahasa teacher :D RT @EnglishTips4U “why most of us get better score at english test than bahasa test?”
  • @gitgrace: Good topic indeed! I’m so glad that you guys finally brought this topic. This is something that we have & need to think about
  • @priscillatiara: Indonesian is our mother tongue, so people tend 2 take it 4 granted, ex:not studying 4 the test (re: better score in english)
  • @diargh: We learn more about English structure than Indonesian. Basically, we’re only able to speak but have no deeper understanding.
  • @amboiX: I’m a Javanese Literature student and learn English also because I feel that I have to.
  • @ranniisme: lots of student think learn Bahasa isn’t important thing because that’s their daily language. Actually, we always use informal language and the Bahasa test always ask us about formal language. So, most of us got bad score. and learn new language = learn the formal language first. So, it’s natural if we get better score for English test.
  • @vioUul: Learning ur own grammar&literature of language’s nvr been easy.British mostly find it hard learning Engl grammar.It’s common. Regarding my experiences with native people, they dont use formal English in speaking and daily writing..
  • @Elfindataufik: people who said that statement maybe they cant speak & understand English well, they blame people for something they cant do.
  • @izmiist: Those who think by speaking Eng can make them look cooler are those who lose their nationalism

Wow! Our discussion is shifting from nationalism to bahasa Indonesia and first language aka mother tongue. We shall continue.. :D #EngTalk

  • ‏@ansharze: (re:better score in english) students in other countries have the same problem like us. my American friends said that their English score also bad. they were complaining like “why we should learn English at school, if we use it everyday. no use”
  • @devipermat: See? @EnglishTips4U RT @miemie19Falinda: Menurut penelitian, menguasai banyak bahasa bisa melindungi otak dari efek penuaan.”

Well, thanks very much for participating. So proud of you guys. Can’t decide which is right/ wrong for you. All opinions are appreciated. :) One more thing: please don’t start a twitwar from this and make us the culprit. :p *run, admin, run* Twitwar is NOT COOL — no?

One interesting statement from a fella earlier that is worth thinking: have we done enough to promote our country or culture using English? Another thing: have we done enough (positive things) with our English ability? This is our homework. We’re young and we can change things.

Hmm.. Worth pondering. “@anindittaaa: bnr jg min, slma ini sk ngbrol sm orang asing tp blm prnah promote Indonesia :-|”

Thanks to Teacher Voices (TV) that started the topic on its Facebook group.

Compiled and written by @NenoNeno at @EnglishTips4U on August 19, 2013

2 thoughts on “#EngTalk: learning English vs. Indonesian nationalism”

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