General Nurmantyo, go, yo!*)

(Posting on the case of General Nurmantyo’s being denied entry to the US and program of English for military officers; by one NEB)

General Nurmantyo’s being denied entry to the US is an insult to Indonesia and especially its military institution. Whatever happened afterwards: apology from the US ambassador and the likes is just fake regret. What initially took place is what counts. General Nurmantyo, upon being notified about his not being allowed to get into the US by the flight crew staff could, even, should’ve responded in the manner shown by the brave General Yani once: “Lancang kalian; tahu apa kalian!” He could’ve coupled this courage with President Soekarno’s loaded English to boldly express himself and his ideas.

So, I would love for the General to have said: “How dare you stop me like this! You don’t know anything about who invited me and what I’m invited for. I don’t take orders from you. They don’t talk to people like you to stop me. I’m boarding the plane no matter what. Either you let me in or my military squads arrive in time to wreck this plane down. Get me General Dunford. Only he can stop me from going.”

I understand that in the military world military officers have their own code and way of doing things in the name of protecting the country and maintaining national security. I just hope that whatever they decide to do, they stand up for it and defend themselves; they don’t let some foreign power belittle themselves and take over. General Nurmantyo, speak up to those who may accuse you of something you know you had to do at one point of time in your military career. Use plain English; be strong; be confident; be direct. These few good men render a fine example

In retrospect, as far as education for military officers is concerned, the program of English for military officers should include more language functions serving higher order thinking: defending, arguing, attacking, debating, compromising, winning with a high dignity and integrity, or—if it’s a must—refraining without losing face.

*) To avoid misunderstanding and wrong interpretation, ‘yo!’ is a slang used as an informal greeting; here it is placed at the end and uses a small ‘y’; it is to render a rhyming effect.

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