Zàijiàn, Friend…and Good Luck

At Chatterbox, Citos

“So how are you gonna speak there if you can’t speak Chinese?”
That’s the second thing I asked my friend on her farewell party last Saturday, Aug 6, after “When did you get the news (of your acceptance)?”
If I were the one who is going to China within one month, arriving there and barely speak the language, the people would clearly understand when i say, “i’m sorry I cannot speak Chinese,” because obviously i’m not a chinese.
But it’s gonna be awkward for her since her appearance is obviously Chinese. She is a Chinese-Indonesian.
I told her, “If you say ‘I’m a Chinese, but no Chinese (language) please’ what would people think??”
She’s just giggling.

Yeah she’s my friend from college. When we stayed in Yogyakarta for over two months, she was my roomate.
She’s probably the only Chinese-Indonesian I know who cannot speak Mandarin, at all. I’ve asked her once and she said she had no idea at all about chinese language. Her family speak in indonesian, and a very little Chinese-Kek dialect.

Being friends with her, especially during our stay in Yogyakarta give me another perspective of tolerance.
I have quite many mix-race/religion friends since I was a kid, but never really experience dwelling with them like 24 hours a day. I thought praying or reading Quran in the room when she’s presence would be a little awkward, considering our room was so small. But apparently it was not. She’s just very cool with it. And she always asked me to wake her up on Sunday morning because she had to attend the morning mass in the church.
I remember how her Bible+rosario could sit peacefully near by my Quran+tasbih while she and I competed to finish Harry Potter Book 7 as soon as we could. 🙂
It was a 2 days 2 nights competition.

Back in the farewell party, she showed us her Letter of Offer from Chungking University, located in Chungking (somewhere in the center of China). The front page was in pinyin and the back one was in latin English.
Then she showed us how they write INDONESIA in pinyin.

Letter of Offer

One of my friends then innocently said, “I really wonder how could they find out this is how to write INDONESIA? And how is it pronounced anyway?
INDONESia (down tone at the end)? Or IndonesiA (rise tone at the end)? or indonesia (flat tone)?”

INDONESIA in pinyin

I really wonder, how could she came up with the idea of questioning the thing that the rest of us didn’t even notice? Hahahah. But yeah, after that..we all started to wonder too.. 😀
My guess was that the phrase isn’t read INDONESIA at all. Maybe the Chinese has their own words for the country Indonesia.
You know, something like in Bahasa Indonesia “Ivory Coast” is called “Pantai Gading”, or “Netherland” is called “Belanda”.

Well she gets what she wants finally. I sincerely congratulate her for that.
She’s always a witty friend with a bad temper 🙂 , but lots of fun.
She loves hamster so much so hopefully she can find any in Chungking to accompany her.

I write this without any tendency of being racist in a negative way or whatsoever. I’m just sharing about my friendship with her and what happened in the farewell party. Well, I have a Chinese root too from my mom’s ancestor, and i have other chinese-indonesian and chinese-chinese friends and I love them. So there’s no way for negativity.

This friend is always taking her Chinese-Indonesia identity as casual as i’m taking Bantenese and other friends taking Padang or Javanese or half-Balinese or Batak identity.
So we never really feel different one from another, either based on ethnicity or religion.
We are Indonesian and we’re friends. That’s all that matters.

Good luck, Ma! Send us your winter picture and tell us how many kg you gain in the next few months.
You can expect me visiting you for my next year’s backpacking…hopefully 😉

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