Toponym: Identity and National Identity

Hotel Grand Inna Kuta, Bali - Indonesia
28 May 2015

Denpasar, Geospatial News - Nusantara or known as the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) has various kinds of resources, cultures, ethnic groups, including Local Languages.  Local Languages ​​in Indonesia is a cultural heritage that is invaluable and needs to be protected. Including in naming topographic elements known as toponyms, must be considered the language used, because each name has meaning and history. In toponymy, names have broad and profound meanings. Certain elements are carried such as background, environmental conditions, local culture, local rules, and others. Toponym or topographical name or geographic name is the name of topographic elements or the name of the element of geography or the name of topographical elements. So giving toponym names will show the identity of a nation.

Geospatial information (IG), like a map, requires an accurate toponym because map without a toponym is just a blind map. In the era of globalisation with the rapid growth of information, it takes a standard toponym to used as a reference for IG. The toponym is part of Basic IG that must be held by the Geospatial Information Agency (BIG) as written in Law Number 4 of 2011 concerning IG. Furthermore, as written in Law No. 24 of 2009 concerning Flags, Languages, and National Symbols, as well as the National Anthem, it is stated that Bahasa Indonesia must be used by toponym in Indonesia; and based on Minister of Home Affairs Regulation No. 39 of 2008, related topographical names must use local names, and use Bahasa Indonesia and or Local Languages. Referring to all of that, BIG held a toponym National Seminar on 28 May 2015 at the Grand Inna Kuta, Bali Hotel which was opened by the Secretariat General of BIG, Titiek Suparwati.

Titiek explained that toponym is one element in the base map, that means toponym not only a place name on the map but also the location and spatial information. "Therefore naming topographical elements must be based on principles of the topographic name" she added. Nows day a lot of building names, housing or tourist areas is ignored on principles of topographic name and using foreign names instead, which is certainly not following the rules that apply in the community. "Through this seminar, we expected that various parties interested in managing topographical elements, both government and private institutions would increasingly understand the provisions of topographical names", said Titiek.

The Toponimi National Seminar with the theme "Using Indonesian or Local Languages ​​in Giving Topographic Names / Geographical Names" was attended by 120 participants from various government agencies in 15 provinces in Indonesia, including representatives from: Bali Province, Development Planning Agency at Sub-National Level of Denpasar, Local Government of Buleleng, Province North Kalimantan, South Kalimantan Province, South Sumatra Province, Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and so on. The seminar was divided into 2 sessions, where the first session was presented by BIG representatives and the Ministry of Home Affairs, while the second session was a presentation from representatives of the University of Indonesia (UI) Dialectology Expert, as well as Language and Development Division, Ministry of Education and Culture (Ministry of Education and Culture).

The first material was given by Rizka Windiastusi, Head of the BIG Toponymy Division with the title 'The Importance of Toponyms in Regional Planning and Management'. Rizka explained the importance of toponyms, as well as how to standardisation topographical names as a common task. "Topographical names that are accurate, consistent, and standardised, will be managed in the National Gasetir. National Gasetir is important as the main key for National, Regional and Global IGs," She said. Its use, for example for disaster, where it requires information of place names or topographical names, this is where the role of a topographical name has been standardised and managed in a spatial database of topographical names take essential roles. The government formed a National Team to Standardize Topographical Names based on Presidential Regulation No. 112 of 2006. The national team is tasked with setting standards for the topographic names, standardising national topographical names into national gasetir, providing guidance to local governments, and so on. BIG is also part of the national team as a secretary. BIG must also hold toponymy technical guidance, and actively involved in topographical name verification.

The next presentation is presented by Endah Kastanya, from the Toponymy Subdivision, Region II Data, Directorate General of Public Administration of the Ministry of Home Affairs with the theme 'Standardization of Topographical Names in Indonesia'. He explained the background and basis of Standardize Topographical Names activities, the urgency of standardising topographical names, the Standardize Topographical Names national team and the provincial /district/city committee, as well as the achievement of standardised topographical names. Endah also presented the standardisation procedure for topographical element names starting from the sub-district head as a resource for data collecting of topographical names in the region. Data then submitted to the district/city committee which will review and submit to the province committee, and then the province committee will review and submit to the Standardization of Topographical Names National Team. Furthermore, the Standardization of Topographical Names National Team will carry out the process of standardising names, spelling, writing, until the issuance of standardised topographical names, and Final process President sets out Government Regulations related to this matter. Until 2013, the National Team has set national gasetir for the name of the island, administrative areas, and natural elements. "In 2015-2017 gasetir will be set for the name of artificial elements. While in 2018-2020 gasetir will be set to name cultural heritage", said Endah.

After a break, the third material in the seminar was delivered by Multamia RMT Lauder, Professor of University of Indonesia Expert in Indonesian Dialectology. Mia, as her nickname, explained 'Implementation of Law 24 of 2009 and Expert Roles in Topographical Naming'. She presented material on toponymy studies and the involvement of the United Nations (UN); Law No. 24/2009 and implementation steps; Standardization of Topographical Names; understand the diversity of languages; tracking generic elements; and expert roles. "Currently toponym studies are growing so that it requires a multidisciplinary approach", Mia said. It can be seen from the seriousness of the United Nations in handling toponyms by forming two organisations, namely UNGEGN (United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names) and UNCSGN (United Nations Conference on Standardization of Geographical Names). Not only that, but Indonesia has also regulated the use of Indonesian Language and Local Languages ​​in providing topographical names contained in Law 24/2009. She revealed the importance of holding a National Coordination Meeting involving all parties to compile the implementation of the Law immediately. "Conducting a toponymy study is not a trivial job; it is a big job, national and international for the sake of social order", concluded Mia closing her presentation.

The fourth presentation with the theme 'The Use of Indonesian and Local Languages ​​in Topographical Naming', was the last material presented by Abdul Gaffar Ruskhan from the Language and Development Division, Ministry of Education and Culture. He explained that Bahasa Indonesia is a national identity, while Local Language is an ethnic identity. Standardisation of the name of geography in Indonesia is carried out thoughtfully and synergistically by relevant agencies, using Bahasa Indonesia in geography naming is the high manifestation of nationalism for Indonesia People, mainly to preserve and respect local people who have valuable local wisdom. "Instead of using foreign languages ​​for housing names, it is better to use Bahasa Indonesia, such as Puri Permata Alam, of course, it will be beautiful", he said. The application of the rules for writing geography names must be made consistently, especially in the Act. "The use of foreign languages ​​in the name of geography is a form of the dissolution of a sense of nationalism so that the identity of the nation will be" pawned ". Supposedly, the Indonesian language will be the master of his own country" he concluded.

It is hoped that through this seminar there will be a common understanding of various national policies in terms of giving and standardising topographical names. Increasing awareness of the use of local names as an effort to preserve the national culture and respect the history of local communities and increasing awareness of using Indonesian or Lokal Languages to respect cultural diversity and national unity. So, love Bahasa Indonesia and local Languages, because toponym is also a national identity. (LR / TR)


source: BIG