Spending more than twenty years living in Malang, the second biggest city in East Java, Indonesia has made me very familiar with a slang language used here. The slang language called Boso Walikan or Reversed Language. As its name, we will communicate by putting the first letter of a word to be the last letter of that word. Does is sound difficult? Wait, it is so much interesting.
Let’s see an example. Just remember that we will use Javanese as the local vernacular used in Malang. Then, we will reverse it to be Boso Walikan. When we want to say young people of Malang in Javanesse, we will say it as Arek Malang. Arek means young people; this word is usually used to address young people in the informal language. Now, we will reverse those two words to be Boso Walikan. There it becomes Kera Ngalam. Arek becomes Kera and Malang becomes Ngalam. Maybe you are wondering why we reverse Malang to be Ngalam instead of Gnalam? The answer is simple. We can spell Ngalam much easier than Gnalam. That becomes the basic rule of using Boso Walikan.
The history of Boso Walikan comes from the colonial era. At that time, the colonialists could easily break the plan made by young people to oppose them. It was caused by the colonialists that dispatched spies infiltrating the meeting held by young people. Thus, to make the spies unable to understand the plan of the meeting, young people created Boso Walikan which could only be understood by them.
So, let’s say hi to Kera Ngalam!
Contributed by ProBahasa Team member from Malang City