Thursday, February 27, 2014

Don't "Mbak" Me!

My partner and I abhor honorific. And we, Indonesians, tend to use it a lot. Oh sure, we use honorific to others accordingly. Yet we do not really like others to use honorific when conversing with us.

To some extent, I don't mind. My younger brothers call me "Mbak" or older sister (Javanese). Some of my professional contacts, call me Mbak, even though we are of the same age. (Sometimes they are older than I am.) Strangers use honorific all the time, fine by me. Sometimes people call me "Kakak" (older sibling), "Cici" (Chinese), "Teteh" (Sundanese). At times people call me "Mas" (older brother) too, but that's another story.

I prefer people to call me by my real name. Is it too difficult to pronounce, so some prefer to use honorific? Or perhaps they've already forgotten my name?

I tried setting things straight. Not once or twice, whenever I have a conversation with someone else, I'll say, "Please, just call my name. Don't use 'mbak'." This is like a test, I tell you that. The ones that really care, will stop using honorific. And I will respect them for this. Usually, they will become a friend instead of mere acquaintance.

Yet some persist to call me Mbak, even though they know, they KNOW, that they are way older than yours truly.

A relative, a friend of the family, you are not. 

Well, it's your right if you want to continue using honorific when dealing with yours truly. I'll take it as a sign that you want to keep your distance...

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