I’ve recently developed some more interest on Balinese heritage
induced by my Balinese team leader at the office. I don’t know where do these feelings come from but since the Balinese are the best conserver of (ancient) Majapahit heritage, Balinese customs feel like time tunnel to me. Thus I have some notes on my recent findings:
1. Married Balinese with children would be honorably addressed as Pan (from “Bapa”, father – or uncle) and Men (from “Mémé, mother – or aunt) followed by their first child’s name. However, the widening usage of bahasa Indonesia in everyday conversation leads to some sort of language shift; for example, instead of being addressed as Pan Thya and Men Thya, my team leader and his spouse are usually called as Pak Thya and Bu Thya by relatives (note: they have two children, a daughter named Thya and a son after her).
2. If you take a walk around Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Sukawati, or another tourist centres/shopping attractions, please don’t be mad or feel fishy if they talk just too lovely, such as “kemari Cantik, lihat-lihat dulu Cantik” (“come here Beautiful, please come and see Beautiful”). It is common to them to address people of the same age or under as “jegeg” (beautiful, for woman) or “bagus” (handsome, for man), so their speaking style is really just a literal translation of their Balinese speaking habit. Ha-ha.
3. Many people consider that basa Bali is quite similar to basa Jawa. Big NO imho. Yes, basa Bali and basa Jawa share basa Kawi as their noble language, but that’s all. Basa Bali resembles basa Sunda and Betawi more to me (remember “mbok” in Bali, “mbak” in Jawa, and “mpok” in Betawi, all of them means “older sister”; don’t forget to consider their geographical location on analyzing the difference). Oh, and keep in mind that Balinese simply replaced their r into h, resembling Melayu Riau’s flapped r (instead of Indonesian’s trilled r); Indonesian’s “belajar bahasa Bali” (“learning Balinese”) is “melajah mebasa Bali” in Balinese. Extra note: Karl Alexander Adelaar of Unimelb classifies bahasa Melayu (including e.g. Riau, Betawi, Ambon variants of Melayu), basa Sunda, basa Bali, and some other greater Sunda languages into Malayo-Sumbawan group while excluding basa Jawa from the group.
4. Balinese loves the prefix me- so much. Look at the phrase “melajah mebasa Bali” above.
5. I bet that I and Ni title on Balinese name are parallel to Kemas and Nyimas or Kiagus and Nyayu of Palembang, Ki and Nyi, Kyai and Nyai, and else – just mention. Seems the title I of Balinese male names was Ki at the older times.
6. Out of linguistic matters, my team leader once made computer network bandwidth management analogous to the water flow management of Balinese subak irrigation system. Arhh, I do believe that subak is a Majapahit legacy, they were really damn good at irrigation management.
Okay, and I think my list would expand soon. *wink*