Last month I began a Bahasa Indonesian class at the Indonesian Embassy of Washington D.C.
I love ASEAN, thus I aspire to be proficient in Bahasa, Thai and perhaps another language from the region. I believe that ASEAN and Latin America/Caribbean have a lot in common and want to build a bridge between them and the U.S. through our Diasporas. Furthermore, Indonesia is a great country with a lot of potential and someday will continue to become a global leader.
As for the language? So far I love Bahasa. I discovered that there are many similar words between Portguese/Spanish and Bahasa such as: bola = ball, bendera = flag, meja = table, roda = wheel, tiempo = time, dadu = dice. This happened because the Portuguese sailed there from the 16th to the early 19th centuries.
Another interesting note is that there are many loan words from Arabic. They are mainly connected with Islam. In fact, the first contact between the two happened in the 5th century during spice trading. It is estimated that upwards of 5,000,000 native Indonesians have Arab ancestry.
I have had some very unique opportunities to serve in the U.N and the U.S. Federal Government, but getting there wasn't very easy; therefore, I want to share my story in hopes of inspiring other young individuals to consider entrepreneurship or public service during a time of much need.