Thursday, April 23, 2015

EF #16: Fortune Comes to Those Who Are Right

There is not much that I can remember from Indonesian tales in my childhood. I read a lot of books, including comics and encyclopedia that came from varied countries. I remember some beautifully illustrated tale books that I saw in Gramedia at that time, but it was too costly. My father bought me some Indonesian books though, but mostly the illustration was like Balai Pustaka book, haha.. For you who were born in 1990, Balai Pustaka was a publishing company owned by the government. The books for students had a lot or writing and only few pages had black and white illustration. 

Maybe that’s why I seldom bought Indonesian books at that time: they were not well-packaged, there were only limited publishers, and book industry wasn’t as lively as nowadays. To preserve Indonesian tales or folklores, government put them in school books or reference books, usually in Bahasa Indonesia subject. From them, I remember tales better, not from my parents. Once I was able to read, my parents let me choose and read what I wanted. 

Among all tales I know, Bawang Merah Bawang Putih and Malin Kundang are the ones that I still remember well. Bawang Merah Bawang Putih is similar with Cinderella in terms of wicked step mother and step sister. Malin Kundang is a story of a son who disrespected his mother, thus he got an accident and became a statue.

What is the moral value of the stories?  Step mother is cruel! Haha, I’m just kidding…but seriously, Bawang Merah kind of story had built that bad image of step mom. The image is strengthen by Cinderella as a very popular story in my childhood, and a dangdut song with this lyrics: “Ibu tiri hanya cinta kepada ayahku saja..” (Step mother only loves my father –and not his kids, maybe). In reality, I seldom find cruel step mothers. So sad, I think this is a character assassination LOL

If step mothers are difficult to find, Malin Kundang type of children are easier. When I was a kid, if I talked back to my mom she often said, “Be careful, you’d be a statue like Malin Kundang!” Hahah.. So, the message of the story is quite strong since it relates with our daily life. The older I am, the more I believe that this story is true, especially when I my religion says so (about how to respect our parents). 

If I can generalize, both tales above shows us that fortune comes to those who are right. Bawang Putih and Malin Kundang’s mother were violated, but in the end they are proved right. Thus, they “win” (I wanted to write “they are happy” but I’m not sure Malin’s mom was happy, too). At least, I always remember that we reap what we sow, as stated in Quran: “So, whoever does an atom weight’s of good will see it, and whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.”

Are you feeling like being a Bawang Putih now, or Malin Kundang’s mom? Don’t worry, you will find your happiness. You will :)

This post is a part of English Friday Challenge from Blog English Club. Dare to join?



  1. Don't be a bad boy, or I will curse you like Malin. Hahahaha.

    I remember that also Mbak.

    Balai Pustaka.... Is it still publishing its books?

    1. according to Wikipedia, BP published ebooks in 2013 mas..but I'm not sure bout now..

  2. In Bali we also have Bawang Merah and Bawang Putih but Bawang (the onion) was the good and Kesuna (garlic) become the bad. Kesuna from word 'pisuna' means denigration. But, the same story :)

  3. Ah ya I has just remember about Bawang Merah and Bwah Putih after read your post Mba.. :p