Monday, August 17, 2009

Hut RI Ke-64

Anyone who has spent a summer in Indonesia knows what the title of this blog entry means.

Sort of.

64 stands for the number of years that the Republic of Indonesia has been independent – from Japan. RI is simply Republik Indonesia.

Hut is an acronym, and stands for the equivalent of Happy Birthday.

I think.

Ke is short for Kemerdekaan which is short for Proklamasi Kemerdekaan. Which means Independence Day.

I think.

I find it interesting that Indonesia and the United States have a similar tradition in counting their respective years of independence.

We number our years of independence from 1776 when we issued the Declaration of Independence on July 4th of that year. So we have 232 years of independence from the world’s largest colonial power at the time, Great Britain.

Even though Britain hotly contested this claim for another 5 years, and occupied many parts of the warring colonies for that period of time.

Indonesians number their years of independence from a week after the Japanese announced that they were surrendering on August 10th, giving Indonesian patriots a week to hear the news, react and declare their independence.

Their former owners, The Netherlands contested this claim and moved to take back their possession for 2 years. The Netherlands, however, were sapped of any strength, having themselves been occupied by Nazi Germany for nearly 6 years.

So they dropped their claim. A non-issue in Indonesia because, like Americans in the 18th century, independence existed from the day of declaration, and not the actual day of victory.


grrljock said...

Hi Hal,

Just want to confirm to you that your interpretation is mostly correct. "HUT" stands for Hari Ulang Tahun, or birthday. "Ke" just means that it's the 64th, i.e., "ke" is not short for anything.

I'm Indonesian, spent 20 years in Houston, now living in Oakland (they got their own set of issues here). A nice surprise to see this post on your blog (that I frequent from time to time). Thanks for the shoutout.

Hal said...

Wow. Nobody ever explained that to me. My driver tried but he just made the usual translations. Happy Independence Day nevertheless.