When you come to Jakarta, you'd find that the Indonesians in this megapolitan are speaking with a very distinct style of Bahasa Indonesia. No, we're not talking about the Betawi-style dialect, we're talking about all the little slanks and lingos that the modern Jakartans use in their every day lives. While there are specific lingos for each of the five districts of Jakarta–with the most famous being the South Jakarta's mash-up of English and Bahasa–, in this article we're going to look into a selection of some of the most popular lingos that Jakartans use, so you can start being one of Jakarta's cool kids too! Yuk!
These are probably the most common slangs that you'd hear when you're listening to the talks of Jakartans, and they all mean the same. "Ke sana, yuk!" "Makan, kuy!" "Cabs dulu, ya!" and so forth. 'Yuk' (and 'Kuy', which is simply flipping the word, just for fun) is the short-term for 'Ayo', which is the Indonesian word for 'let's go'. 'Yuk' is used when you want to get the person you're talking to to join you in doing something or going somewhere together with you, while 'Cabs' is the short version of 'Cabut', which is a slang term to say 'Go'. So... It is totally legit to say, "Yuk cabs, kuy!" (lit.: Come on, let's go!).
"Jangan Baper, dong". Sometimes, when someone is dealing with someone or something too passionately (either in a positive or negative context), then Jakartans would say that he/she is 'Baper', an acronym for 'Bawa Perasaan' or 'Putting too much emotions into it'. A person who's 'Baper' would cloud his / her judgements with her emotions and feelings, and sometimes would make ilogical decisions. So... Jangan Baper, please!
One thing you need to know about the cool kids of Jakarta is that they absolutely love to play around with normal words; either to shorten it, abbreviate it, or simply flip it. The reason? For fun, like in this increasingly popular word for example. 'Sabi' is simply the Indonesian word 'Bisa', meaning can / able to, being flipped. The meaning? Totally the same: Can / able to, but also 'good'. Sabi is used in response to a call for action, or as a short description of something, someone, or an idea that is considered good. The English equivalent? It's like responding with "Cool" to something.
"Gabut nih, gue". You might hear this sentence sometime near the end of a working day, or during the less-busy period of the year. Gabut or Gaji Buta (lit. blind salary) is a term used to describe someone who's not working properly but still receiving his / her salary. Nowadays, this term is more often used to describe boredom, usually when they day's work is completed, but the break time or time to go home is still quite hours away. Our advise to tackle 'gabut'? Learn something new in the internet!
Jakarta is an extremely busy and fast-paced city, so there must be an unconscious need from its inhabitants to remind each other that they need to slow down and relax a little bit amidst all the busyness. Hence, the terms "Sans, bro!" and "Woles" were created. 'Sans' is short for 'Santai' while 'Santuy' is also a wordplay on 'Santai', which means 'to relax'. 'Woles' also means the same thing, and is a reversed form of the English word 'Slow'. We think it is good to remind yourselves, wherever you are, to slow down and relax every once in a while.
Pe-We or PW is used to describe a space that is comfortable, including a office space, restaurant, cafe, or even one's bedroom. 'Ruangannya PeWe banget' can be translated to 'The room is so cozy and comfy', which is always a good sign. However, if you're too PeWe, then you might become 'Mager'. Mager is the term used by Jakartans to express unwillingness to do something, go somewhere, or–literally–even make a move, since Mager is the abbreviation of 'Males Gerak'. This is the go-to word when someone feels any form of reluctance, and the term is already somewhat universally accepted by the general Jakarta people.
These are basically suffixes that Indonesians love to use, similar to the -lah, -leh, -loh, and -meh of Singlish. -Deh is usually used to emphasize assertiveness, like 'Coba ini, deh' (Come on, try this). -Dong is used to express something obvious, like 'Ya jelas, dong' (It's so obvious, duh!). -Sih is used to express agreement, like 'Bener juga, sih' (Yea, that's true...). There are so many other suffixes such as '-Kan', '-Nih', among others that are impossible to explain and list, but is very much possible to learn when you're learning bahasa Indonesia!
You might not totally grasp all of them in one go, but as you spend more and more time in this buzzling metropolitan, you'll learn the beauty (and comfort) of using these slangs in your everyday conversations. How ever way you plan to learn Jakarta's millions of slangs while exploring this busy city, let SweetEscape capture the moment for you! Anytime, any where, and whichever island you would like to explore, you can simply book your session in less than two minutes through our website or mobile app. SweetEscape is always ready #ForEvery moment!