Bahasa Indonesia

Nov 19th, 2007, in News, by

Australians don’t want to learn Indonesian.

Australian ambassador to Indonesia Bill Farmer said in Surabaya on 16th November that in recent years the demand for studying bahasa Indonesia in Australian schools had continued to fall.

When Indonesia was ruled by Suharto learning Indonesian in both Australian elementary and high schools became somewhat popular but in the last 10 years languages such as Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Hindi had pushed Indonesian into the background.

Bill Farmer
Bill Farmer.

Farmer said this was because more and more immigrants were coming to Australia from China, Korea, Japan, and India, at least according to the report. suarasurabaya

Ever the diplomat, he said the decline in interest for learning Indonesian had nothing to do with Indonesia’s reputation in Australia worsening or otherwise, but was simply based on immigration trends.

According to a March 2007 report only 15% of Australian final year high school students study a foreign language, and of those only a little over 1% study Indonesian. abc

158 Comments on “Bahasa Indonesia”

  1. Aaron says:

    I am an Australian and have been learning Bahasa Indonesian for about 2 and a half months and and would love an opportunity to speak with a native Indonesian so I can improve my skills.

  2. sukaindonesia says:

    BI united the country of indonesia against the colonialists. Why should Australians learn it ..cos orang Indonesia tetangga kita! It is easy to learn.. a common misconception.. all those who say this should have done my third year Indonesian language assignments and exams. Sure if you want to speak like a tourist with poor grammar its easy. But if you want to be respected and communicate on a level where you can actually talk to INdonesians about family , politics , history and its relations with australia then “easy speak Indonesian” will not cut the mustard.

    Why should we learn it , because we are part of Asia and we should look after countries in our area and learn about them. Australians are mostly ignorant and only go to Bali as Neo colonialists to get drunk and abuse the culture ( imagine wanting a beef steak in a hindu country?). You shouldnt learn a language only for commercial gain, its a capitalist attitude.

    We have travelled through Bali and Java about 7 times as well as Malaysia and Singapore 1 time. I love Indonesians and their cultures foods religions and i live the diversity of Malaysia and singapore. A malay doctor i work with says i must have a past life inAsia as i feel very connected to INdonesia and its surrounds. Also the Muslim religion has copped a beating from the west. the call to prayer must be one of the most peaceful , beautiful sounds in the world and Muslims true to the religion are very kind, peaceful and lovers of humankind.
    All australians should be learning about INdonesia our closest neighbours.
    B.A. (Indonesian language and culture)
    Grad Dip. Ed teaching and learning

  3. sukaindonesia says:

    Asron, you have been learning BI and want to speak with a native speaker, then go to Indonesia, but forget Bali unless you go to a remote village or market place as everybody in Bali wants to speak English for the White Tourists.
    Java has less speakers of English in some areas, do a train trip through the place and dont be inhibited, learn to be laughed at at times , however Indonesians are so polite even if you speak very poorly as most aussie tourists do in Bali, they will tell you you are ‘lancar’ or fluent.thats why many people get the impression its an ‘easy language’. Semoga sukses dan selamat belajar dengan bahasa Indonesia

  4. Kim Min Guan says:

    Bahasa Indonesia is very useful in the future. Indonesian is very important for the world future humanity. I have noticed a hidden movement indicating an extraordinary development of Indonesia.
    I have five years to learn Indonesian language. The result is extraordinary. I get the development of exceptional quality of life.
    In contrast to the study of Malaysia, Japan, or France. They already are at a point which is not likely to thrive again.

  5. realest says:

    as much as i feel very comfortable speaking bahasa indonesia (with a mixture of english, mandarin and french), at least for me, i don’t see it as an important language in the future. list of countries using BI-category language: malaysia, indonesia, singapore, brunei and out of those only in indo that bi becomes essential. thx to high literacy rate, most folks in msia+spore+brunei could speak english.
    unless indonesia experienced an economic boom like china and establish itself as a world superpower in the next 1-2 decades(or u wished to live/work here), i dont see bi(malay) as one of the important languages u need to master; esp with the age of mtv and artiste speaking semi english all the time.

  6. ET says:

    unless indonesia experienced an economic boom like china and establish itself as a world superpower in the next 1-2 decades(or u wished to live/work here), i dont see bi(malay) as one of the important languages u need to master;

    Indeed. Even if they manage to develop into a major economic power the language itself will never be able to impose itself on a world scale because it is too primitive, even childish, and lacks structure and vocabulary to convey complex and precise meanings. Everyone who has learned BI knows that it is very easy to learn and use on a day-to-day basis but becomes a pain in the ass once an intellectual discourse is to be made. I have heard that because of nationalistic pride Malaysia has tried to replace English with Malay in their educational curriculum but had to back down due to practical objections.

  7. Pat says:

    Well I study BI at University, because I like it and it will help my future career, hopefully customs or a translator, but yes BI does seem to be being phased out, my last year at high school was the last year that they ran a BI class, and we had to invest in a teacher from another school to come after school during the week. It’s just unfortunate that it is losing popularity, especially as Indonesia is such a close country to Australia.

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