top of page

[Daydream believer] Regarding New Year's resolutions and sense of time -- the mystery of "Belum"

Happy New Year! I always write my New Year's resolutions and send them by email in the middle of January. This habit is because by then, the "motivational state" has subsided somewhat. But to be honest, I try not to worry too much about what I can do in a year, because I usually overestimate what I can do in a year and end up failing. I'm more interested in what I can do over the next ten years or so. When I look at the short term versus the long term benefits, I always take the long term benefits.

I think the passage of "time" is fascinating because it varies so much from person to person. It's also interesting because it's very different in different cultures. For example, I think the sense of present, past and future is slightly different in English and Japanese. First of all, the Japanese language doesn't have a future tense, so unless you are explicitly talking about the future, it's hard to know whether you are talking about the future or the present. Therefore, the Japanese language is rather vague about what is in the near future and what is in the present. To put it in a more detailed sense, the timing of "becoming the past" is different in Japanese and English.

For example, when you watch a football match on YouTube, the moment you kick the ball is in the past tense in Japanese, "I kicked the ball", but in English it is still in the present tense, "I kick the ball". In Japanese, the action is already in the past when it starts, but the same action is present until it is over in English.

It seems to be a proven fact that different languages have different concepts of time. Swedish, Spanish and English have different concepts of time length because of the differences in linguistic expressions.

I have been living in Bali, Indonesia for ten years, and I use Indonesian in my work, but sometimes I think that I may not understand the concept of time used in "belum". belum is the literal translation of the English word "Not yet". Indonesians use belum in situations where it seems that the work has already done and there is no chance for another. For example, if you ask an Indonesian if the document has been sent, and the Indonesian has not sent it, she or he will use belum. If the deadline for sending the document has passed and there is nothing you can do about it now, they can still use belum. This morning I took my kids to the barber and I thought I'd like a massage, so I asked her if she could give me a massage while waiting and she said belum. I think the correct answer is "Tidak", which is the English word for "no", because if I couldn't do it now, I wouldn't. But her answer is belum. In Indonesia, I sometimes see people waiting for a long time. Time seems to flow forever for them. So maybe it is the belum that leaves the possibility that one day they will do it.

Even if you have things haven't done it yet, it might be a good idea to think "not yet and one day" in order to keep working on it without giving up easily.

I learnt this idea from this YouTube

18 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page