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Jakarta Post

Power of 'emak-emak', 'babu-babu' or 'ibu bangsa'?

Jakarta   /   Wed, September 19, 2018   /  02:06 pm
Power of 'emak-emak', 'babu-babu' or 'ibu bangsa'? Sri Purwati, an Indonesian migrant worker in Taipei, Taiwan, in a beauty salon course held by the Global Workers Organization. (JP/Nezar Patria)

What do you call the person who gave birth to you? “Mother” “mom”, “mommy”, “momma” or “mama”? In my own family, I call my mother “mamih”, my son calls me “mama” and my mother called her mother “emak”. 

My grandmother was small in stature, and donned the traditional kebaya blouse and kain (batik cloth) daily. But in fact, she wore the pants in the house. My grandfather, a gentle man, towered over her physically, but it was clear who was the “boss”.

If Giwo Rubianti Wiyogo had met my grandmother, she might not have objected to the term emak. Giwo heads the Indonesian Women’s Congress (Kowani), a federation of 90 women’s organizations. In a video in connection with the organization’s 90th anniversary, ...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.