Monday, February 23, 2009

Family Values

Family values play vital roles in our social interco--uh, interaction. For instance, many Javanese families share one similar tradition with the Italians: reporting every major occurences to the elder(s).

The difference is there's no Godfather. We do need to touch the elder's hand or cheek to show respect. But failure to do so doesn't result in dramatic consequences. It's pure social relationship. We do it because we think it's natural. Sometimes the situation is far lighter than we expect.

Like the story of a friend of mine, Arga. He had recently got his postgraduate title. They attended a family gathering at his uncle's house. The eldest one present was his grandfather, 93 year old of age. So his parents urged him, "You must convey the good news to your grandfather."

Arga was reluctant. "I don't think it's necessary," he said. "Grandpa won't even remember it."

Yet his parents insisted. "Don't be silly," they said.

Knowing he couldn't convince them otherwise, Arga approached the elder, who was sitting in a comfy chair, "Grandpa?"

"Yes?" his grandfather answered. Suddenly, he looked around in amazement. "What hotel am I at?"


Another friend of mine, Andry, experienced similar thing with Arga's grandfather. During one occurence, the grandfather beckoned Andry and asked, "So you're a friend of Arga?"

It took Andry a while before answering, "Yes."

A long silence passed. Then the grandfather frowned, "I've asked that question before, haven't I?"

"Yes," nodded Andry immediately.


isti said...

mas isman, i have read your 'bertanya atau mati'. and i like it very much. please say hello to your beloved wife -mba dona- . and your lovely nephew, karina for me :)
is her name karina? oh right, i just forgot her name :D

John said...

I like this blog very much. You are kind of setting the standard here! And with good humour too. I have a site which is connected to my blog and I have put up articles on Indonesia and some on life in Britain too. I am researching for a book on Javanese mysticism. I live in Yogya and am retired from a career in international construction. I would very much like it if you take a look at my site; and if you think it suitable I would appreciate a link and I will put one on my site. Whatever; well done on this blog it is good.

aroengbinang said...

I need not to be a 93 years old grandpa to ask the very same questions a couple of times, especially to my wife. Things that have annoyed her and made her really mad at me many times... :D

isman said...

Thank you for the kind words, Isti.

Thanks for the appreciation, John. I visited your site a month ago. Hope you keep writing about your life among us Indonesians. Sometimes we need to realize our blessings when told from other people's point of view.

Hope you weren't referring to the "Do I look fat in this?", aroengbinang.

therry said...

LOL Isman, don't make this kind of jokes, ntar kualat loh :P

isman said...

I think we'll go to that stage in the end if we live long enough, Therry. Hopefully, we'll still be able to laugh it off.