First, Don’t Forget Your Mother Tongue

Language as an insignificant lesson still become a stigma in this country. From elementary level to university students, most of them give less attention to it. They less prioritize language as the tool of learning. This thought is wired unconsciously within their brain because the mainstream system does not support it for decades. Who are they within the system? They are parents and schools. Schools, in a wider entity is meant here as the education system.

Is language education significant?

Now try asking your nextdoor neighbor children with their local tongue. We can see it is hard now expecting answer in the same language asked. If we are an urban resident, we can have answers in Indolish (Indonesian English). The Indonesia language spoken is mixed and matched with popular English words and phrases. And if you are living in a rural area or village, even in a less reachable area like Cimenyan, the children will answer you in Indonesian, their national language. They are often found stutter in speaking their mother tongue, Sundanese. This local language seems losing its native interest. Should this predisposition become our concern?

Over the past several decades, not just bilingual, even being multilingual is a unique gift experienced by most of Indonesian. It was common to meet people having ability to speak more than two regional languages. Our friends speak Sundanese, Balinese, Melayu and Acehnese at once, while the distance from where each language comes is as far as its region. Geographically, the distance from one region to another may approximately equal to the distance between Spain and Britain. Another uniqueness is that since majority of Indonesia population are living in local culture based Islam, they are also able to read and write Arabic, at least for a limited purpose related to ritual subjects. Such rich multi languages ability may lead to a perception that Indonesian should be literally good in the way of thinking and communication, right? But lately, our children of nation seem too busy in racial and religious issues driven by political and power interests as if we didn’t get basic logics in our language lesson.

Global Connection Landed

The leveraged social life and the emerge of global schools, international standard managed private schools, and community schools help contribute positively to give different education choices for urban advantaged families. Children mingle socially with friends from different nations. Even when they come from passive to disabled English-speaking parents, soon or later the children will be able to communicate adaptively in English with their friends and teachers. The euphoria of speaking English as a second language oftentimes viewed as a kind of cool, modern lifestyle. This creating a mass sudden-shock behavior to parents so eventually they drop their mother tongue and no longer apply it as their first or primary language in family internal communication. While we know that foreign language is meant as a tool for a wider communication and helping us gaining knowledge widely and in depth. Children do not know about the euphoria. Parents know and experience it.

For bilingual parents, means parents with another language active, for example English, such communication problem is solved. But parents with adrift language ability in sudden-shock behavior group, will just creating a stutter communication to their children. A firm, settled language(s) speaking or sign language ability by parents is a basis for a good communication to their children.

Mr. and Mrs. Aep from a disadvantaged family in Cimenyan taken here as a sample case. As parent, their mother tongue is Sundanese and they both are really passive in Indonesian. They let their children speak in Indonesian only because their subconscious mind thinks that speaking in mother tongue will be viewed as old-fashioned. What happen now to their children is that they have a frozen communication not just with parents but also friends and neighbor. Different to advantaged urban families, like many other disadvantaged families, the golden age (0 to 9 yo) was not passed through well by the children. In that time, the child brain should be ideally having opportunity to accept minimum 6 new words (spoken or sign language) every day from age 0 to 3. They should accept informally learning about basic confirmation from age 3 to 7, and so on. There is also lack emotion building formed through the intimacy of mother tongue. Mother tongue has significant role in forming cognitive ability to children at early stage. How can a child be introduced to their mind, experience, and sense natural ability if one of the parents who are responsible in giving education intensively to their children does not have proper ability neither speaking (in the meaning of normal or deaf) in their mother tongue? Gesture, mimic and body expression must be supported with such language because it will create ideas and imagination to children mind.

Mother tongue is the ultimate language to build and preserve civilization. It holds and expresses richly language of mind, sense, experience and imagination. Relying on Google initiatives that continues struggling to preserve the endangered languages around the world, including Balinese, Javanese and Sundanese, would not works well. Native speakers must struggle harder to not letting each regional language as mother tongue lost from this nation. Keeping the mother tongue alive is not just for the language itself. It is for recovering the real education for our children. Our Javanese, Sundanese, Balinese, Bataknese, Acehnese kids and youth generation for example, will used to speak again using direction and navigation language skills that mostly applied in their mother tongue for their daily activities. Imagine there are two boys talking like this when playing with their toy. The Javanese says, “Mas’e ngelakoake drone ngidul-wetan-ngalor, aku ngulon-ngalor-ngidul”. The Sundanese says, “Aa apungkeun drone ngidul-ngetan-ngalor, abdi apungkeun ngulon-ngalor-ngidul”. In Indonesian as national language it says, “Kakak terbangkan dronenya ke Selatan-Timur-Utara, saya terbangkan ke Barat-Utara-Selatan” (the translation in English is “Brother, fly the drone to South-East-North, I fly it to West-North-South”). Mother language with words, numbers, direction and navigation vocabularies contains the essence of imagination.

Last but not least, mother tongue gives big impact to the internalization of values introduced by religious lesson. Mother tongues like Sundanese, Javanese, Minangnese and Melayu are actually having many versions from the very traditional to the modern ones. These mother languages have vocabularies far richer than the national language, Indonesian. As we know such languages, especially the old version of Sundanese and Javanese are also used decades to centuries ago (depends on the religion) as transliteration language in holy books of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. This fact gives us a clear depict that we can learn from history on how language education that intensively introduced by any religion in past had contributed to the way of communication, collaboration and critical thinking. *Siti Nur Aryani










Software Technology and Entrepreneurship

Learn an Unwavering Mental Health from Children

Feeling happy consciously may bring about gratitude in our life. Gratitude that practiced consistently as we believe, is a ground to deal with all our problems. The emotion of such feeling reminds us frequently of the merit of our parents, teachers, elders and all beloved relatives who no longer live within this world. Their existence in past however might had inherited genetically or spiritually memories of how we live today, otherwise thanks to the continued prayers granted during their lifetime, we finally arrived at a point of current mental well-being.

Live within current millennial age requires us to living in mindfulness.
A family are sitting dinner together but each hands are grasping their individual mobile gadget. Each mind traveling to different places out of where their body is currently exist and relates to. The father might so busy imagining what to post in his social media account. Some trending public issues such as religious or political campaign apparently become a high magnet to think about rather than to communicate heart-to-heart with the family member at the moment. Likewise the mother, not enough having arrived home tiredly from work, she got complaint about their kids who nonstop playing games. The kids in turn are blamed for never being focus on lessons they learnt.

This is happened to us. We always ask our children to concentrate while learning. We also demand them to focus on lessons. But we may forget, when we taught them how to concentrate? Have we been their role model on how to focus on problem dealing?

As the growing of technology like Internet of Things (IoT), our way of life for a last decade changed differently. Technology as a tool will always change, and it keeps helpful. Therefore our life circle: family, working, social and education life, will always change too. But the one that should not change as our foundation of life is relationships. The present of technology in our life should not shift our building of relationship, even just “a space of a keyboard”.

Relationship within our family life somehow will become a reflection of how good our relationship within our working, social and education life. It is time for us to reinvent the imagination of how our working, social and education life. Millennials at workplace are having different characteristics which may not compared with how the prior generation work. Having authentic awareness like being supportive and love to encourage each other as a united body, is a significant mental health required to achieve a healthy company.

Education Life

Guarding our children in living their life within global connected age must be started since their early education (0-13 yo). Academic competition is not the main purpose of education. Let children having their own unique competencies. Each competency has its own significant post in society. We agree life is more complex than just a competition. The main purpose of education is that our children can deal with their life problems. To deal with problems in their real life, children must be equipped with a foundation of life, which is mental health. Good relationship to themselves, between them and the educator and their friends is one of a mental health outcome. Both children and educator will pursuit any lessons easier when their mental are health.

To be mindful, educator and children need to know themselves. Parents as children’s role model together with the educator or facilitator at school need to introduce the children with a self-regulator within themselves. Self-regulator is a unit series of three fundamental building structures consist of mind, heart and emotion. By knowing how their self-regulator works, and help them practicing it continuously in daily basis, children are expected to be able to manage and control their mind, heart and emotion. The outcome, they should be able to control and free their mind from any distractions while learning, able to manage their self emotion, and having good relationship with friends by supporting instead of judging each other, for example. A continued, controlled mind, heart, and emotion creates an unwavering healthy mental. Children will having good relationship with themselves. We, as parent and educator will learn much more the true mental health from the children to reflect in our working and social life. An emphatic child, for example, will automatically has good relation with their friends and nature. This way is expected creating an emotional intelligence to the children that in turn creates their social intelligence. (To be continued)* Siti Nur Aryani

[This note was written after giving a meditation session to the English club students in Potahouzz 17th September 2017]



Indonesia Software Localization and Translation

Emma and Company Social Responsibility

People in the past believe that knowledge is everything. At every level of society, knowledge has its unique role to determine whether someone is worth to recognize by community as to be known or deserving to have a higher social status or not.

Emma, a novel by Jane Austen, published in 1815, capturing a reality of women social status in England. Although someone has lower social status just because of poor in economy, they are possible to reach a higher status through a specific marriage by using their intellectual and skills. Jane Fairfax, is represented in the story as a poor woman yet smart in writing, playing piano, dancing and communication. Thus, with her knowledge and skills, she was encouraged by her friend, Emma, to marry a gentleman instead of marrying an ordinary farmer. While Emma, who is told in the story, as a rich, high-class woman and having much money with her skills in painting and playing piano, is told as a woman who at earlier preferred not marrying anyone.

Information to intellectual

Nowadays, knowledge is no longer limited to get, mostly for people in big cities. Internet can make everyone’s head full of information by instant. With new knowledge made of information, people will be triggered to compare and make any changes for their life. At certain level, people will be moved to make improvement in their activities for a better life. We can get anything from Internet. Free language course, online high education lecture, marketing tools, how to farm, personal development, how to make a startup, how to play music instruments, and other unlimited resources.

But such never exhausted information source in today 25 years old of World Wide Web or 45 years of Internet, where human have been uncovered for having huge information, are never experienced by most people in a region in West Bandung, named Cimenyan.

Cimenyan, is a district in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia, where the headquarter of Portalkata Indonesia (Potahouzz) is currently located. The land where the SOHO (small office home office) building stand, was firstly found by accident by two of the company founders. The land is surrounded relative closely by two mountains, Palasari and Manglayang. And luckily, the east side of the building facing East proportionally so every day we are served with different sunrise views. There is a spring water in a rice field in the south side of the building. In summer like this August, the area of the land is never exhausted of water flow.

Realizing that we stand in a very fertile soil, we never want to hurt the land. We always want to let the land free. Just let the plants live there. Let the worms, frogs, toads, snakes, dragonflies and microorganism live in the soil. To preserve the ecosystem, we grow some plants of vegetables and fruits. Such eco-friendly environment surrounding the SOHO, creating a specific comfort place that ideal for media content and translation services company like us. A fresh air, quite place. At late noon to night, animals start making their beautiful, relaxing sounds. Isn’t it ideal for such writing and research activities?

Each of the company top managerial member is or former professional who brushed up years in best companies abroad and the capital city. The author itself also ever worked and lived in big city, Jakarta for long years. But that is not a big deal whether we live in a crowded, full of pollutant city or a green land. Everything is a process if it is not a choice. A happy or unhappy working should not be measured by any dimension, should it? We can say time and place as a hardware that is relative and dynamic by nature, and our mind of intellect we may call it as the software. Both aspects, shall work in harmony giving us meaning if our inner intellect which is called as the firmware, a hundred percent working to provide the true meaning.

The beautiful, happy nature of the area, on the other side is contrary with the people live there. Most people in the area do not have access to education. Most adult to youth got education to elementary or junior high level only. Girls are averagely getting married while their age are 14 or while they are in first grade of junior high school. There are only two to three schools that need to access about 4 to 7 km long on foot. There is no public transportation and poor farmers do not have private transportation for their children go to school.

Starting with many children that always reading books in our mini library plus the said reality did not take long consideration for us to make a small effort. Within our working activity, in early morning for 2 hours in three days and on Sunday, we perform an informal free universal based school for 20 to 25 children. English as intermediate language is only a medium to attract students with something new. The ideal goal of the education itself is for building character with skills targeted on drawing, mapping, writing and farming through a fun and happy schooling method. This August is right the second year of the schooling performed. We believe that this culture based approach of education will bring local wisdom and bright future for our children.*** Siti Nur Aryani

Figure 1. Potahouzz Junior High Level Students