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SIGNIFICANT FACTS

Indonesia has a population
of more than 240 million
people, the 4th most
populous country in the
world, after China, India
and the United States, and
this reflects the large
number of the Indonesian  
language users.


About 90% of Indonesian
population, or 210 million,
embrace Islamic religion,
which makes Indonesia the
largest Muslim country in
the world; contrary to the
incorrect general
assumption or impression
that, because Islam was
revealed in the Arab
peninsula, most Muslims
live in some Arab country.


Islam is the fastest growing
religion and the second
largest religion in the world,
after Christianity.


Among every four humans
in the world, one of them is
Muslim. Muslim population
in the world is nearly 1.6
billion.


Brunei Darussalam,
Indonesia and Malaysia are
among the 56 members of
The Organization of The
Islamic Conference.


Brunei Darussalam,
Indonesia, Malaysia and
Singapore are among the 10
members of the Association
of Southeast Asian
Nation(
ASEAN)


Indonesia is a member
of the 11 members of
the Organization of
the Petroleum Exporting
Countries (
OPEC).


Indonesia and Malaysia are
both significantly
pluralistic societies, which
reflect in their mottos:
"
Bhinneka Tunggal Ika"
which means "Unity in
Diversity" and "Bersekutu
Bertambah Mutu" which
means "Unity is Strength."
So much similar with the
national motto of the United
States of America:
"
E Pluribus Unum."
The same is also true with
the island city-state
Singapore, which -- while the
national language is Malay
for historical reason --  
adopted four official
languages, which are
English, Malay, Mandarin,  
and Tamil, that reflect their
multi-ethnic population.
English, however, is the
main language of education,
communication,  and  
literature.
                                WHO WE ARE

Ninie Gaspariani Syarikin is the Founder, Owner, and Director of
"
HOUSE OF CREATIVE WRITING"  which was established in 1996. Ninie is a
professional translator/interpreter, writer, reporter, broadcaster, teacher,
poet and a spoken artist. She mainly translates and interprets from English
into
Indonesian and Malay languages, and vice versa. On rare occasions,
she would also get
Javanese and Arabic-Malay (Jawi) translation projects.
Ninie acquired Javanese language when she was living and studying in
Yogyakarta, Central Java, for 10 years; and she studied '
Bahasa Arab
Melayu' in High School, which she has kept alive over the years, by
continuing to read books and other literatures in that language fashion.

Ninie frequently attends discussions, lectures, seminars, symposia and
conferences, to improve her skills and to keep abreast in the developments
of various subjects and fields. In addition, she is supported by her own large
collections of references in her work, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias,
thesauri, books, journals, etc., and by a group of translators/interpreters and
fellow linguists, to whom Ninie, as the team leader, delegates and assigns
work, as well as supervises, in the case of a big project. She reserves the
rights to edit, proofread and review the final form of the project.

Ninie is also assisted by her three sons, Mohamed, Ibrahim and Umar
who are her webdesigners, webmasters and helpers. All born in Washington,
DC, they  are both bi-lingual in English and Indonesian.


                         ABOUT OUR BUSINESS

"HOUSE OF CREATIVE WRITING," is a woman-owned small business, based in
Washington, DC. It provides translation, interpreting, writing, language
teaching/training and cross-culture training/consulting services, as well as
other language-, literature- and culture-related services. The working
languages are  
Indonesian, Malay, English, Javanese and Arabic-Malay. In
addition, Ninie also works with other fellow linguists from other Southeast
Asia region, in  languages such as
Burmese, Khmer, Tagalog, Thai and
Vietnamese, based on demand. Ninie has managed her business
professionally in the United States since 1996, with prior long years of
experiences in this field, that she brought from her home country, Indonesia.
For further information about Ninie and
HOUSE OF CREATIVE WRITING,
please click
FAQ.


                             OUR VISION

To be a most trustworthy linguist and cultural consultant in providing
language services, suggestions and advise to whoever seeks them;
be they individuals, professionals, companies and government entities
in the United States, in regard to their business operations in Southeast
Asia (where Indonesian and Malay languages are spoken), and in any
related-matters between the region and the United States of America.


                           OUR MISSION

To be a cultural bridge, through language and literature, between the
Southeast Asian Islamic countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei
Darussalam, as well as the vast Muslim communities in Singapore,
southern Thailand, southern Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia) and
the United States of America;

To be a cultural bridge, through language and literature, between
the East and the West;

To be a cultural ambassador, through language and literature, as well as
interfaith/intercultural programs, between people of Islamic religion and
people of other faith traditions in the world.

To be a cultural ambassador, through language and literature, as well as
interfaith/intercultural programs, to help promote a respectful diversity,
pluralism and peaceful coexistence, in the United States of America.
FACTS ABOUT INDONESIAN AND MALAY LANGUAGES

Indonesian or Bahasa Indonesia was originally derived from Malay
or Bahasa Melayu, the language of the Malay people who inhabit
"the Malay peninsula, southern Thailand, Singapore, central eastern
Sumatra, the Riau islands, and parts of the coast of Borneo."
(
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahasa_Melayu).

Through time, gradual historical, social and political processes,
as well as the influences of other Indonesia's indigenous languages --
such as Javanese, Sundanese or Minang -- as well as the absorption
of foreign languages -- such as Arabic, Dutch, English, and Chinese --,
Bahasa Indonesia eventually developed and formed into its own
entity, and used in the territory of the Republic of Indonesia.

In the mean time, the Malay language also  followed its own dynamics
in the Malay Peninsula, through much of the same way Bahasa
Indonesia did. With its own development, Bahasa Melayu, as a
national language, is used in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei
Darussalam. It is also spoken in the Muslim provinces in southern
Thailand: Narathiwat, Pattani, and Yala, as well as in Songkhla,
where one third of the population are of Malay ancestry. It is also a
fact, that Bahasa Melayu is largely spoken by the
Cham people in
Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand -- by their association with the
Muslim Malays -- and by some of the
Chin people in Myanmar.

Now, the two languages are spoken in a large region in Southeast Asia,
which can be a huge market for business services and products.

In the four countries  of Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia,
Singapore and Brunei Darussalam, not to mention in the three
predominantly Muslim provinces in southern Thailand), at least 270
million population are able to understand each other in both
languages. Indeed, there are significant differences in vocabularies,
dictions and expressions, but common oral communication is
generally understandable.

However, due to some evident distinctions between Bahasa Indonesia
and Bahasa Melayu outside Indonesia, for the sake of business clarity,
each language must be used for its own target areas. The formal Malay
communication for the estimated 30 million people in the three
countries (Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei) need to be localized,
despite the facts that Indonesian -- as well as English -- is understood.

Both Indonesian and Malay languages absorbed inundated Arabic
words, due to the tremendous impact that Islam has brought on the
population. The same is true, to a certain degree, with Dutch, English
and Portuguese words, due to the past colonial presence of those
nations in Southeast Asia (written up by Ninie G. Syarikin).
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

HOUSE OF CREATIVE WRITING organizes, hosts and
supports literary activities and interfaith/ intercultural
outreach, in its humble efforts to help promote a
respectful diversity, pluralism and peaceful coexistence.
It seeks to create a cultural bridge, through language and
literature, between the Southeast Asian Islamic countries
and the United Stated of America.

           AFFILIATIONS  

The Islamic Center of Washington, DC

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)

The InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington

The Minaret of Freedom Institute

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

The Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES)

The Institute of International Education (IIE)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC)

The National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC)

The Federal Poets

The British Council

The Regional Language Centre (RELC), Singapore

English Department, Faculty of Cultural Studies,
Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Getting ready for a typical and traditional Bruneian meal in Bandar Seri Begawan: vegetable dish, fried shrimp, fish,
beef curry, and salad. The staple, to my surprise, is not rice, as commonly expected, but cooked tapioca flour,
which is on the big bowl on the left. Rice, naturally, is common for everyday consumption. The chopsticks that you
see on the plate is to use to eat the tapioca dish. You grip the tapioca cake with the tips of the chopsticks, then dip
it in the thick fermented 'durian' gravy in the green bowl, and enjoy it with those side dishes. Spoon and fork are
provided, too.
Durian is a typical Southeast Asian fruit, very special and extraordinary, rich and fleshy. Most
Westerners do not like it, because of what they call its strong odor; but for the natives, it is like gold, one of very
few expensive fruits, with recognized fragrance. I, for one, love durian. My parents have their own durian trees
not far from their house. To you who feels hesitant to taste it, my advice is "Never say never." The smell? Oh, it
may be comparable to the smell of alcohol or liquor to who never consumes it.
Just like in the other Abrahamic faith traditions, where the Christians and the Jewish may say some grace before eating,
the Muslims would recite in Arabic, the unifying language of the Muslims all over the world: "
Bismillaahirrahmaanirrahiim,"
which means "In the Name of God, The Most Kind, Most Merciful." Upon finishing eating, we would utter: "
Alhamdulillaah,"
which means "Thanks to Allah," or the complete sentence would be: "
Alhamdulillaahirabbil'aalamiin," meaning "All praise is
due to God, the Lord of the Worlds." By the way, I do not always wear my hijab (headscarf) as a Muslim woman, but on this
occasion, I am wearing mine most of the  time, to attune to my hostess, who is wearing her hijab all the time. Although,
ideally, Muslim women are encouraged to cover their hair to show modesty, like the nuns in Christianity, or the
Amish
women, or the Orthodox Jewish women, in Islam, the Qur'an also states that "Let there be no compulsion in religion."
(The Qur'an, 2:256). So, I cover my head when I go to pray to the masdjid (mosque), when I visit homes where their women
cover or when I go about in Washington, DC alone, walking or riding bus and subway. And, psychologically, indeed, I feel
safer, as if the headscarf protects me. When I am in a familiar environment, I do not cover.

This is not in Brunei, but in Bangka island, Indonesia, in one of my cousins'  home. I realized much later, that,
surprisingly and curiously, after I scrutinized the photos, the motif of the table cloth is very similar, checked green and
white, except that  the one in Brunei is set diagonally and the one in Bangka is set straight. The staple seen in the plate
is plain rice. The side dishes are fried fish, vegetable curry, some fresh and boiled vegetable to eat with 'sambal' or
chili sauce, omelette, other dishes and local fruits. Although spoon and fork are commonly used these days,
traditionally, the Malay people in
Bangka-Belitung eat with their right hand. When food is served, there will always be a
bowl of water on the table, to ceremoniously wash your right hand before eating. In this picture, it is the clear bowl
(Could you see it?). After washing your hand, you would put some vegetable and its sauce to your rice, using a spoon.
You may also take a piece of fish, meat, or omelette and put them on your plate. Using your five fingers, you would mix
a part of rice with bits of those side dishes, then scoop them and bring to your mouth, and . . . . . . . . . . . savor them.
Over the years, I have attended countless formal and informal dinner occasions, both in the East and the West, but up
to now, I still eat with hands at home, and, to me, that is the most enjoyable way to eat.
HOUSE OF CREATIVE
WRITING                                    About Us