Posted by: Mark | March 5, 2008


So far, the greatest achievement of my time in Indonesia is the, at this time, partial assembly of an Interlex list of bizarre words and their translations. The words rather unexpectedly come from the highly recommended Kamus Indonesia Inggris by John M. Echols and Hassan Shadily.

I guess the idea for the vocab list was initially planted in January of 2007, when Kieran revealed to his fellow AIYEP kids this discovery:

Rambo /rembo/ the movie character Rambo. me- destroy completely, annihilate.

Later, after I had bought the two dictionaries myself in Banjarmasin, I found this during an Indonesian language class:

naar boven /nar bofen/ (Coll.) go to mountain resort areas, esp. for sexual adventures. Kalau pikiran tegang, kita mesti – utk santai If we feel tense, we should head for the resorts to loosen up.

However, compilation only began in earnest when, while doing some incredibly basic homework, I stumbled upon this gem:

kemet o. with the magical power to have sex with a woman from afar.

In the next Tata Bahasa class, I shared this discovery with, most importantly, Arjuna and Fe, who really ran with the idea. You may know Arjuna as the guy who went on to start the first Kamus Echols and Shadily Facebook group, but probably not.

From then on, I’ve been steadily trawling through the dictionary, letter by letter, looking for hilarious words, translations, and examples. Work stalled over the holidays, but now I’m getting back into it, and I shall share a few of these, you know, to increase anticipation of the final product.

kapurancang (Jv) ng- stand with the hands covering the genitals as a sign of deference (of men).

kepet1 (Jkt) fin (of a fish).
kepet2 fail to clean o.s. after defecating or fail to bathe. ng- (Vulg.) be a shit ass.
kepet3 ng- magically turn into an animal babi ~ a supernatural being that turns into a pig and steals for his master.

kusuk ber- rub the body with leaves.

Just a few ‘K’ examples to whet the appetite. By the by, should it ever come up, kung means to have a properly developed voice, but only for doves. I don’t think we have a word for it in English.

(P.S. Real stuff coming either tomorrow or when I get back from the North Coast next week.)



  1. Just on Kepet, I can only imagine the hilarious double entendres that find their way into Indonesian sitcoms.

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