Yesterday, Aaron told me he needed twenty Indonesian words, expecting me to rattle off the tip of my tongue (he expects too much of his mother.) I told him to change to Tagalog instead.
‘Why?’ Asked him.
‘Because Irene is Filipina, not Indonesian.’
‘But I need it because of my Indonesian buddy,’ he sort of explained.
Aaron has been a buddy to an Indonesian exchange student for the past few days.
‘But I don’t know any Indonesian.’
‘How would I know,’ I thought to myself. Then…
‘OK, here are some for you: Gado gado, Mee Soto, Nasi Padang…’
‘My teacher said all that cannot,’ he exclaimed, exasperated, using the familiar excuse every time he disagrees with me.
Later that evening, we visited Grandma. She was having dinner with her maid, Wati. Wati was having Nasi Padang.
‘Aaron, you have a perfect teacher here! Wati is from Indonesia.’
Even with help at hand, he was reluctant and said he didn’t know what words to ask.
Too bad, my boy! Mommy is not doing your work for you.
Wati helpfully rattled off a few words suitable for little boys’ first lesson in Indonesian. I sat in to listen. Granny too tried to show off a few phrases.
‘……. means do not tell lies…,‘ she said, in between rinsing her mouth and brushing her dentures. (Gran, how come you know this phrase and to use it so appropraitely to this boy!) Although I tried to remember what she said, it fails me now.
All I can remember is, Salamat Pagi, Adik (small brother), saya ibu.
And Aaron, don’t forget to call your Abang Abang that tonight and see how they react to your new lingusitic skill.