In honor of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month we interviewed one of our amazing community partners, BASAbali (now BASAibu). Our Balinese course for English speakers was created by BASAbali in 2013, and our Balinese course for Indonesian speakers followed in 2014. It has been utilized in middle schools across Indonesia. Balinese is a language spoken by about a million people in Bali, Indonesia.
Please introduce yourself:
My name is Ni Nyoman Clara Listya Dewi.
What is your title at BASAbali?
I am the Engagement Director.
What was the initial impetus for creating the BASAbali Balinese course?
At the time, there were no modern digital courses for teaching Balinese. We were particularly attracted to Transparent Language and 7000 Language’s use of videos and dialogues to teach languages.
How did the creation/implementation of the course in middle schools affect the speech community?
The course being taught in middle schools is designed to develop students' self-capacity through identification, assessment and planned learning processes. By holding the training, students gain new knowledge about developing soft skills that may not be obtained in class. I believe that the training provided can help students with their ability to speak in public, plan targets for achievements while studying and be able to be more actively involved in the community. This will be useful for their role in the future, if they join community-based organizations.
Tell us about the creation of Luh Ayu Manik Mas:
Luh Ayu Manik Mas (LAMM) is one of BASAbali Wiki's programs in the field of literacy and the provision of child-friendly reading materials. Luh Ayu Manik is a female superhero character that is shown virtually, who is described as an outgoing and smart 8th grade junior high school student. She is an orphan who lives only with her grandmother and mother. She has a special birthmark, in the form of a dragon silhouette on her right wrist and a Tri Datu thread given to her by her grandmother. In urgent situations, she can turn into a superhero through the dragon's silhouette on her body and the Tri Datu thread she has. She transforms into a super heroine whose name is Luh Ayu Manik Mas. The story of her struggle is told in storybooks in three languages (Bali-Indonesia-English), of which there are now a total of 8 series. The trailer of the story is also made in 2D and 3D animation.
How has the Balinese language flourished since the creation of the course and utilization of other resources?
Youngsters in Bali are now increasingly aware of how important it is to preserve their respective local languages. Moreover, supported by advances in social media, young people are now utilizing their social media to create content related to the use of local languages. The existence of the courses has become their provision in the future to understand more and more the importance of maintaining their mother tongue and how to participate in preserving it, in the style of today's youth.
How has BASAbali (now BASAibu) evolved since the course launch?
The development BASAbali has been very good, especially in attracting many stakeholders and encouraging the community to be more involved in this movement.
What are your favorite aspects of Asian/Pacific Heritage?
My favorite is the diversity of cultures and ways of appreciating culture in the modern era. I also love how food can make a difference.
My favorite food is Bakmie.
2022 was the launch of the decade of Indigenous languages, what are your hopes for the decade and beyond?
My hope is that there will be more and more young people who are concerned with preserving language and more and more who have the awareness to respect all forms of difference.