Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ember Bocor!

Ember bocor, in the Indonesian language, means "leaky bucket," and is a favorite term to apply to a woman who gossips and cannot keep a secret--which appears essentially to sum up the character of Indonesian women in general. I'm not going to say women in general, because that would be going too far. To actually say so, I mean.

I am instructed, therefore, not to talk to my wife's friends. At all. For whatever I say--that has any promise anyway, any potential--will be passed on from mouth to ear, from woman to woman, just as quickly as the spread of the black plague. Or more so.

Emmmmber bocorrr!

Now whereas Indonesian women have this tendency toward hyperactivity of the mouth, men--and I do use this as a term of comprehensive inclusion--have a tendency toward putting the foot in the mouth. It just automatically drifts in that direction, irrepressibly. We find ourselves desperately trying to extract said foot--yet too late, too late--for the word will already have proceeded forth, and once loosed, cannot by any means be recalled.

Men are not very careful. They are, by and large, not very good at putting a spin on things. And they do not understand the art and nuance of the lie that is not really a lie, but the whole truth from which a few pieces have been quite accidentally removed. Curiously, these missing pieces often turn out to be the most important pieces of the puzzle, essential to the very meaning of the picture.

So I find myself now, because of my foot, in a bit of a pickle--for my foot has punctured a particular bucket, and the bucket has begun to leak profusely--and not this bucket only, but all of the buckets throughout the community, as if leaks were things that can be catching--like measles or mumps.

No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. (Matt 9:16-17)

Make of that what you will. (I did).

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