Languages of Security in the Asia-Pacific

College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University

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Indonesian – Kepercayaan

May 27th, 2011 · No Comments · Confidence, Indonesian


Relates to confidence; trust

The term saling menghormati (mutual respect) seems pivotal in confidence and security building.  The prominence of the principle saling menghormati derives especially from the experience dealing with Australia in the period following East Timorese independence and during the era of global terrorism. Two cases can illustrate such a principle: ‘megaphone diplomacy’ and rondha.

In 2002 the Indonesian ambassador urged PM John Howard and Alexander Downey not to employ ‘megaphone diplomacy’, i.e. making a public statement in the media on issues that have not been discussed privately as it would only be responded to negatively.  Kepercayaan, which can mean ‘trust’, ‘confidence’ and ‘faith’, involves something secretive, pre-arranged and not entirely public.  Making a public statement on something supposedly secret could be considered betraying kepercayaan.  Such principles may conflict with the idealized transparency and public-ness of a democratic foreign policy.

Rondha usually signifies a neighbourhood night watch, commonly practiced in urban settings in Indonesia not only to prevent crimes but also to create a neighbourhood security community and to set territorial boundaries.  Theoretically, every resident of the neighbourhood community is responsible to do rondha by staying up all night and sometimes touring the neighbourhood area while beating the indigenous alarm bamboo/wooden drum kentongan to make noises to ward off thieves.  In practice, the community is divided into those who perform the rondha and the ones who pay instead of performing rondha.  It was the term used by Indonesian Ambassador in discussing security issues with Foreign Minister Alexander Downey when he sensed that Australian government would pay the bills while Indonesian security apparatus would carry out the security jobs. The Indonesian Ambassador suggests that there should be an equal footing and saling menghormati between the two countries.

The English terms ‘confidence building’ and ‘confidence building measures’ (CBMs) are not translated into Indonesian in their usages. The closest translation for ‘confidence building’ would be membangun kepercayaan, which sounds one-dimensional, or membangun saling percaya (building mutual trust).




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