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Kontol (bahasa indonesia) - The Penis-word Resource

Jun. 3rd, 2007

02:06 pm - Kontol (bahasa indonesia)

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Indonesia is a nation of some 220 million inhabitants located, conveniently enough, in the Indonesian archipelago. Their language, Bahasa Indonesia is basically Malay with some touch-up paint. By dent of strenuous education by the Indonesian government over the last half-century it has become one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, and this is no small feat considering that Indonesian is spoken as a first language only by the tiny minority of people living around the capital city of Jakarta. Outside of this area, Indonesia boasts between 300 and 700 languages spoken by the various peoples who live scattered around the staggering 17,500 islands that constitute the Republic. Moreover, many of the worlds major language families are represented.

The struggle against foreign colonialism defines much of Indonesia's political underpinnings and has worked to provide at least the appearance of unity. Visited originally by the Portuguese in 1512, the region fell under the influence of the Dutch from 1602 until the Dutch East India company collapsed into bankruptcy in the early 1800's. From there, control was passed to the Netherlands which slowly extended their dominance over the region until the area was appropriated by Japan in WWII. Four days after Japan's formal surrender, the Dutch East Indies declared independence and Indonesia was born. Obviously Indonesia has had rough going since then: Sukarno, the first President of Indonesia, became increasingly enamoured of authoritarianism and was eventually overthrown after a coup and a protected military struggle that left half a million people dead and Suharto, a major-general in the Indonesian army, as head of state. Since 1998 Indonesia has been making dramatic inroads into democratic reforms, but the Rule of Law is still fairly tenuous. For instance, The Strait of Malacca, one of the most important shipping routes in the world, is also the most pirate-infested; also, the province of Aceh has seen a violent islamic seperatist movement, and the country is currently witnessing a slow-motion purge of Christian minorities in an Al Qaeda backed holy-miniwar. Or mini-holywar. Whichever.

All of which has very little to do with penises. At least not in the strict sense. "Kontol" is one of the vulgar terms for penis in Indonesian, it is also a very special entry. You see, apparently kontol is also used as as an exclamation of surprise in Indonesia. That, friends, is fantastic. It is something we as English speakers could (nay, should) learn from our Indonesian friends. As just one example, Leave it to Beaver would have been vastly more satisfying if all the instances of "gee," "golly," and "wow" were replaced by the word "penis."

Wally: Hey Beave, look at this keen racer I made for our Boy Scout soap-box derby!
Beaver: Well... Penis, Wally, it doesn't look like much.
Wally: Aw Penis, Beave, why would you wanna go and say a thing like that?



[User Picture]
Date:June 4th, 2007 04:01 am (UTC)
In other words, it's like Spanish ¡carajo!. (Many Americans will recognise in its euphemistic counterpart, ¡caramba!.)
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