Asthmatic Breast

Asthmatic Breast

A couple of years ago, Ulil Abshar Abdalla, co-founder of Jaringan Islam Liberal (JIL) or Liberal Islam Network Indonesia, once jokingly asked us in a mailing list about Bahasa Indonesia’s informal expression of tetek bengek in English that can be understood by English speaker.

Tetek bengek, literally means ‘asthmatic breast’, refers to a trivial unnecessary talk. When you talk to me about something I regard insignificant, I’ll just ignore it or respond it with something like, “Ah, that’s simply tetek bengek.”

Many mailing list member at the time responded seriously, not knowing that Ulil was just making a joke. He then concluded the tetek bengek discussion with his own: ‘The “right” translation of tetek bengek with the right English sense is asthmatic breast.’

Any idea what closest translation in informal english of tetek bengek? Unlike Ulil, this time I ask you seriously.[]

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