Weekly Photo Challenge : Gone, But Not Forgotten


When I was still in elementary school, there is a subject I was always afraid of. It was Javanese. Though it’s my mother tongue, but when it was taught at school, I couldn’t follow it as it has got three social dialects which also has different words even in the same root word. But, the most frightful part of the lesson was Javanese writing. Once a week, we learnt about how to write Javanese aksara correctly (it was derived from Brahmic script which came to Nusantara thousand years ago and akin to Thai, Lao, Burmese, Cambodian, as well as Southern Indian languages).

When my teacher gave me Javanese writing homework, I always asked my late grandfather to write it down for me. It was scary for me and I didn’t want to learn it anymore. You know, it happened when I graduated from Junior high school, as there’s no vernacular subject in Senior high school. But when I was in my thirties, I just realized that this script was beautiful. It used to be written in every aspect of life particularly in Java, but after Indonesia’s independence, its usage has been diminished. It was taught at schools in Central Java, Jogjakarta and East Java, but then…it was forgotten by most youngers and even they cannot read it at all.

It is only used for artistic reasons, though many more people try to use it again as daily writing. It’s (almost) gone but not forgotten and even saved by few people.

1461436_10152675254974335_6701575504702630599_nThis is not Thai, this is Javanese

I tried to re-learn this beautiful characters and my friend said “Is it Thai?”. I replied ,”No, It’s Javanese.” Many friends learnt it in their childhood, but it’s gone from their minds. While for me, it’s not forgotten. I tried to re-establishe it at least for private reason.

Special for this challenge, though it’s not really related to the theme.

10799_10152677054874335_8238113577542125512_nI wrote it for refresh my memory on this script.

Regards, gone but not forgotten and it’s back on my life

generations. E

12 Comments Add yours

  1. pike says:

    It is same in every place, the old manners and skills are gone…and often also forgotten???

  2. Mabel Kwong says:

    Very meaningful post, Nono. Language is hard to learn as it takes time, and maybe that’s why many youngster today don’t want to learn it, and have short attention spans. And writing and reading a language are two different things.

    1. Yes Mabel, all have changed and I am afraid of its extinction soon. And I try to write it again but for typing in the script, I haven’t installed the software yet.

      As you know, learning Javanese is as if you learn 3 languages in one package. What do you think?

      1. Mabel Kwong says:

        Javanese does sound like a very complicated language, especially if we’ve grown up learning A-B-Cs all our lives. Learning how to speak a language takes practice, so does speaking it, and then using it conversational and formal setting. Whew, what hard work. Good luck with learning Javanese!

      2. Javanese is my truly mother tongue and I speak it everyday even at work among friends who are from the same region. I am just learning its real writing system as in the past, it’s written in three systems : Hanacaraka, Arabic and Roman..but now solely Roman script.
        It’s artistic to learn it and many Australians and Americans learn Javanese for cultural reasons.

  3. There’s a Brazilian short story by Lima Barreto named ‘The man who knew Javanese’. It was published in 1911 and tells the story of a man who pretended to be the only Javanese translator to get a job and became famous because of it

    1. Can you share it? It’s okay if it is in Portuguese, I understand it quite well.

      1. http://www.releituras.com/limabarreto_javanes.asp
        Some words aren’t of common usage anymore, besides it’s a literary text. Any doubt ask me.

      2. Okay, let me read it later 🙂

        Brigadu

  4. It really is quite beautiful. What an excellent photo for the challenge.

    1. Thank you very much. I just want to share another aspect in this challenge.

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