Bali IB DP English

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Mrs. Havelaars travel and culture diary #2

In Cultural Context, Language Tips, Max Havelaar, Mrs Havelaar's Travel Despatch, Tina Havelaar on 18/04/2009 at 18:12
The first topeng show that little Max and I watched

The first topeng show that little Max and I watched

Max, my husband has been working hard, always in the room next to me. He is such a sweetheart, as we both do our separate writing, him his work and me my column he is always close by. It has been a lot of fun, sometimes when he begins saying a word or phrase out loud I can finish what he was about to say, it is as if we have the same mind!

Our neighbor, Mrs. Slotering who lives across the road has an annoying obsession with sending away anybody that enters the complex. It is really getting on my nerves as there is nothing in the dapur(kitchen), by the chance that a person may be coming into the complex to sell fruit and vegetables I would like be able to buy them, but I cant as she wont let anybody in. I had never known why she had everybody sent away until one afternoon when I was having tea she sent away another man, and my husband daringly confronted her asking, “Well, Mrs. Slotering, I wish you would tell me why you always send away anyone who enters the compound? Suppose, now, that man who just came in had had chickens for sale, or something else which we could do with in the kitchen?” After replying with a vague answer my husband continued to ask, it was quite amusing. All of a sudden she burst into tears! She proceeded to tell us a very interesting story that had quite a shocked effect on the both of us.

Her husband, wanting to change the laws to be just to the people had been poisoned! I immediately understood her actions and felt horrible for misunderstanding. My thoughts then turned to my husband, Max! What if he was poisoned? He is trying to do the same as Mrs. Sloterings husband did, I was frightened, and decided to strictly monitor the kitchen and food. I wasn’t going to let either of my precious Max’s be poisoned.

After the incident my husband asked me to take little Max and travel to Batavia, as he was about to bring a charge against the resident. I was extremely upset and begged him to let me stay, I wasn’t going to leave him, I was going to eat and drink with him. He gave in and we proceeded to live in the house. I became very cautious with the food that we ate and kept a locked cupboard in which we stored all of our food. Little Max and I spent our days learning Indonesian, here are a list of some of the words we have learned so far:

good-morning- salamat pagi

good-afternoon- salamat sore

good-evening- slamat malam

bye bye- selemat tinggal

kitchen-dapur

eat-makan

milk-susu

fruit-buah

vegetables-sayur

rice- nasi

table-meja

clothes-baju

dog-anjing

cat-kucing

mask-topeng

Besides learning Indonesian we have been enjoying the topeng shows (a traditional dance where the dancers wear masks) Max is in love with the type of music gamelan and is fascinated with the instruments. He has been begging me to buy him a reyong (one of the instruments used in the ensemble) for his birthday. I am planning to order him one in advance with his name carved in the woodwork in time for his birthday. Above is a still photograph of the first topeng show we went to, I plan on having a collection of still photographs to display once we make our way back to Holland.

Hopefully by the next column I will have more still photographs and language lessons to share, salamat tinggal!

Mrs. Havelaar

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