FAITH IN INDONESIA

FAITH IN INDONESIA
The shape of the world a generation from now will be influenced far more by how we communicate the values of our society to others than by military or diplomatic superiority. William Fulbright, 1964

Friday, December 23, 2016

INGGRIS - PARE STYLE

Study at Harvard.  Or Cambridge. And never go overseas     
  
         

The dilemma was palpable.  Should Saumi and Nanda keep walking and risk eyeballing a native English speaker? The encounter might enhance their vocabulary.
Or should they dart back to the safety of the Basic English Course (BEC) campus where order rules and decisions are made by others?
The earnest teens in their black jilbab (headscarf) and white blouse uniforms decided to accelerate, tell the foreigner “we must be leaving” and head for the café.  Facing each other across a table they practised to make perfect:
“I am going to the classroom.”
“You will be going to the classroom.”
“She has been to the classroom.”
BEC is the pioneer language school and the biggest in the East Java town of Pare.  This was once a totally rural village relying on rice and sugar cane grown on the fertile flatlands surrounding the city of Kediri. Now it has diversified into teaching English and thrived, largely because of one man.

 Study at Harvard.  Or Cambridge. And never go overseas                
Duncan Graham/ Pare
The dilemma was palpable.  Should Saumi and Nanda keep walking and risk eyeballing a native English speaker? The encounter might enhance their vocabulary.
Or should they dart back to the safety of the Basic English Course (BEC) campus where order rules and decisions are made by others?
The earnest teens in their black jilbab (headscarf) and white blouse uniforms decided to accelerate, tell the foreigner “we must be leaving” and head for the café.  Facing each other across a table they practised to make perfect:
“I am going to the classroom.”
“You will be going to the classroom.”
“She has been to the classroom.”
BEC is the pioneer language school and the biggest in the East Java town of Pare.  This was once a totally rural village relying on rice and sugar cane grown on the fertile flatlands surrounding the city of Kediri. Now it has diversified into teaching English and thrived, largely because of one man.
 Muhammad Kalend Osen arrived in 1978 after studying languages and religion for five years. He met two Islamic university students from Surabaya wanting to hone their English skills for an exam.  Their chosen tutor had other commitments so Kalend’s wife, who had inherited a house in Pare, pushed hubby to take the job.
“I was nervous, I didn’t know whether I’d be successful,” he said. “I’d never been to teachers’ college.  When my students returned to Surabaya and graduated they attributed their success to me, told others and the word spread.”
Now 23,000 students later Kalend has a splendid purpose-built campus where he imposes his own style, discipline and strict dress rules. BEC’s teaching bears little resemblance to a Western language college; it’s more like a pesantren (Islamic boarding school) than the 100 other ‘colleges’ that have followed in his wake to create Pare’s famous Kampong Inggris – a term Kalend dislikes.
“It’s not a village and it’s not English,” he said. “It suggests that everyone speaks the language and that’s certainly not true. But I’m not bothered. That’s their affair.”
Kalend, 71, was born in East Kalimantan where his future in the family’s timber business seemed assured.
“But I didn’t plan to spend my life cutting down trees, I wanted to use my brain,” he said.  “I was also seeking spiritual guidance.  I’d heard of a pesantren in Gontor, East Java led by a scholar called Kiai Yazid who spoke several languages.
“Also at the pesantren was an Australian studying Islam and he helped me learn English.”
Despite having never been to an English-speaking country Kalend’s language skills are remarkable. He’s at ease with idioms. Yet he has never studied at university and has no formal qualifications.  “I’m just a village boy,” he said.
He claims inspiration from American self-improvement salesman Dale Carnegie’s book How to win friends and influence people and its message of learning from mistakes.
Surprisingly he found his abilities useful on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.  “I couldn’t make myself understood in Arabic and was generally ignored,” he said. “But when I switched to English I was treated with respect.”  It’s a story he tells his students to underline the point:  Even in Islam’s holiest places you need the international language.
The teenagers who head to Pare (population 20,000), a two hour drive south-west of Surabaya, come from all parts of the Archipelago. To get here they’ve by-passed established commercial courses like the Swedish franchise English First, and reputable universities with language degree programmes.
In Kampong Inggris the students are spoilt for choice; they can enrol in Sand Course with units for ‘comprehending your complications’ which can ‘make comfortable listening like steady’; they might also discover that ‘a rich vocabulary is better than being single’.
Those with universal ambitions can start at Galaxy or Peace.  More down-to-earth is Global and UNESCO.  Prefer Europe? Try Britain or Cambridge.  No need to get a visa for the States – Harvard is here.  You can even study underwater with EACE, which calls itself ‘the English Aquasition (sic) Course’.
Like the staff at BEC tutors are recruited from the ranks of past students. There’s believed to be only one native speaker working in Pare – an American.  Kalend’s children and in-laws are lecturers so academic dissent is unlikely. BEC has chairs and desks but other courses are conducted on the floor of open sheds.
No government permits needed to start a business so no prowling inspectors to check credentials. The only capital outlay is for a whiteboard, street signs and banners; to entice ditherers these should include images of the Statue of Liberty, London double-decker busses – and even the Eiffel Tower.
Come to us, learn English and go to Paris.  No-one mentions that the Anglophobic French are reluctant to use any tongue other than their own.
Not all graduate with scrambled syntax. Mohammed Ridho Fadli, 22, claims his impressive English mastery has come from study in Pare. He took an undergraduate degree in Bogor before heading to East Java.
“I don’t bother about memorising words,” he said. “Nor do I think much about grammar.  I try to concentrate on listening to people and watching films.  I enjoy the atmosphere here.”
Unlike Saumi and Nanda, Ridho fronts foreigners to sharpen his language skills which he hopes to use in making tourist videos. He spends Rp 350,000 (AUD $ 35) a month for a room and a similar amount on food. 
Pare is cheap even though Wall Street is nearby.  Courses start from around Rp 150,000 (AUD $15) for a fortnight’s part-time tuition.
There’s another attraction – the mixed sex environment.  For many it’s their first venture afar without their parents who doubtless feel their darlings will be safe in a largely Muslim town.  In Australia they might get a world class education but they’d also be exposed to the notorious ‘free sex’ lifestyle.
Melbourne’s Girl Camp sounds like every adolescent boy’s dream, but it has nothing to do with love-ins under canvas. In Pare ‘camp’ is a synonym for course.
To serve the influx of outsiders several support businesses have opened – from bicycle-hire shops to laundries and photocopy kiosks. But no bars – and with the density of living eliminating privacy couples have to cool their ardour by licking ice creams confident with their course motto:
‘We’re gonna make you successful with our gatherness.’
###
Pix credit Erlinawati Graham
153a Muhammad Kalend Osen
167a Mohammed Ridho Fadli
















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    (left) arrived in 1978 after studying languages and religion for five years. He met two Islamic university students from Surabaya wanting to hone their English skills for an exam.  Their chosen tutor had other commitments so Kalend’s wife, who had inherited a house in Pare, pushed hubby to take the job.
“I was nervous, I didn’t know whether I’d be successful,” he said. “I’d never been to teachers’ college.  When my students returned to Surabaya and graduated they attributed their success to me, told others and the word spread.”
Now 23,000 students later Kalend has a splendid purpose-built campus where he imposes his own style, discipline and strict dress rules. BEC’s teaching bears little resemblance to a Western language college; it’s more like a pesantren (Islamic boarding school) than the 100 other ‘colleges’ that have followed in his wake to create Pare’s famous Kampong Inggris – a term Kalend dislikes.
“It’s not a village and it’s not English,” he said. “It suggests that everyone speaks the language and that’s certainly not true. But I’m not bothered. That’s their affair.”
Kalend, 71, was born in East Kalimantan where his future in the family’s timber business seemed assured.

“But I didn’t plan to spend my life cutting down trees, I wanted to use my brain,” he said.  “I was also seeking spiritual guidance.  I’d heard of a pesantren in Gontor, East Java led by a scholar called Kiai Yazid who spoke several languages.
“Also at the pesantren was an Australian studying Islam and he helped me learn English.”
Despite having never been to an English-speaking country Kalend’s language skills are remarkable. He’s at ease with idioms. Yet he has never studied at university and has no formal qualifications.  “I’m just a village boy,” he said.
He claims inspiration from American self-improvement salesman Dale Carnegie’s book How to win friends and influence people and its message of learning from mistakes.
Surprisingly he found his abilities useful on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.  “I couldn’t make myself understood in Arabic and was generally ignored,” he said. “But when I switched to English I was treated with respect.”  It’s a story he tells his students to underline the point:  Even in Islam’s holiest places you need the international language.
The teenagers who head to Pare (population 20,000), a two hour drive south-west of Surabaya, come from all parts of the Archipelago. To get here they’ve by-passed established commercial courses like the Swedish franchise English First, and reputable universities with language degree programmes.
In Kampong Inggris the students are spoilt for choice; they can enrol in Sand Course with units for ‘comprehending your complications’ which can ‘make comfortable listening like steady’; they might also discover that ‘a rich vocabulary is better than being single’.

Those with universal ambitions can start at Galaxy or Peace.  More down-to-earth is Global and UNESCO.  Prefer Europe? Try Britain or Cambridge.  No need to get a visa for the States – Harvard is here.  You can even study underwater with EACE, which calls itself ‘the English Aquasition (sic) Course’.
Like the staff at BEC tutors are recruited from the ranks of past students. There’s believed to be only one native speaker working in Pare – an American.  Kalend’s children and in-laws are lecturers so academic dissent is unlikely. BEC has chairs and desks but other courses are conducted on the floor of open sheds.
No government permits needed to start a business so no prowling inspectors to check credentials. The only capital outlay is for a whiteboard, street signs and banners; to entice ditherers these should include images of the Statue of Liberty, London double-decker busses – and even the Eiffel Tower.
Come to us, learn English and go to Paris.  No-one mentions that the Anglophobic French are reluctant to use any tongue other than their own.

Not all graduate with scrambled syntax. Mohammed Ridho Fadli, 22, (left) claims his impressive English mastery has come from study in Pare. He took an undergraduate degree in Bogor before heading to East Java.
“I don’t bother about memorising words,” he said. “Nor do I think much about grammar.  I try to concentrate on listening to people and watching films.  I enjoy the atmosphere here.”
Unlike Saumi and Nanda, Ridho fronts foreigners to sharpen his language skills which he hopes to use in making tourist videos. He spends Rp 350,000 (AUD $ 35) a month for a room and a similar amount on food. 
Pare is cheap even though Wall Street is nearby.  Courses start from around Rp 150,000 (AUD $15) for a fortnight’s part-time tuition.
There’s another attraction – the mixed sex environment.  For many it’s their first venture afar without their parents who doubtless feel their darlings will be safe in a largely Muslim town.  In Australia they might get a world class education but they’d also be exposed to the notorious ‘free sex’ lifestyle.
Melbourne’s Girl Camp sounds like every adolescent boy’s dream, but it has nothing to do with love-ins under canvas. In Pare ‘camp’ is a synonym for course.
To serve the influx of outsiders several support businesses have opened – from bicycle-hire shops to laundries and photocopy kiosks. But no bars – and with the density of living eliminating privacy couples have to cool their ardour by licking ice creams confident with their course motto:
‘We’re gonna make you successful with our gatherness.’
###
 (First published in Inside Indonesia December 2016)















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