Was ‘coblos’, is ‘contreng’

‘Coblos’ means to perforate.

In Indonesia during the New Order regime, ‘coblos’ relates to voting for someone by perforating an election symbol. Back then, the symbols were three. Not that many.

Now, the symbols, in the democratic era in Indonesia, I can’t seems to recall the number, amounts to a lot of symbols.

One other thing that one would notice is that one do not perforate but place a mark on the election symbol of ones choosing.

The word has shifted from ‘coblos’, which was THE word for this kind of action, an action of significance to ‘contreng’.

‘Contreng’ is another word for ‘conteng’. ‘Contreng’ does not have a place in the Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia or KBBI in its entry, yet. But ‘conteng’ or ‘centang’ does.

The two (contreng, centang) literary means to put a mark, a cross, an indication, anything of the sort that signifies that the scribbles means simply: “I choose this one”.

An article Indonesia in bahasakita.com, puts forward this concerns.

Setelah saya cek di Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia (KBBI), ternyata kata contreng yang digembar-gemborkan selama ini tidak ada. Kata yang paling mendekati adalah “conteng” yang artinya mencoreng dengan arang (tinta, cat, dsb).

All I can say is: why don’t they simply say. “mark your choice (tandai pilihan Anda)”.

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