Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bibit, Bobot, and Bebet

In some families people still look at your future spouse background according to the tradition Bibit (pedigree), Bobot (quality) and Bebet (rank/network).

Bebet is the part that I dont really get. Some say it means 'social rank', other says it means 'type'. Either way, I think it's about one's social standing. Perhaps this is what people look for if they are into socialites.

Bibit is something that I can understand from the point of view genetics. Let's say you are a Jew with Tay-sachs recessive gene and your other half is also a Jew. If I were you I would like to know if my other half also carries the gene, so I could think weather or not we are trying to have a child and how. I know a lot of people look at the pedigree as in blue blood or not.

I used to cringe each time my grandma said "tidak menak" when she saw someone acting un-lady or un-gentleman like. Menak is a Sundanese word meaning aristocrat. Mind you, she came from that milieu. Despite being Dutch educated, she still had to crawl in special way like tradition dictated each time she visited her grandparents. After the war, my grandfather refused to use any title because we are living in republic.

I think what's more important for my grandparents were the Bobot part, the quality as an individual. I remember grandma used to say that she'd rather that none of her descendent marrying a police or a prosecutor because according to her, most of them are corrupt. She chose honesty and integrity above wealth and I have to say I agree with her.

Although I have to say, every now and then when things went wrong 'culture' wise (if I can call it that and it can apply to any one Indonesian or not), I heard someone in the family said, "what do you expect, he/she is not from that milieu." What milieu? Bits me.


Harry Nizam said...

I thought that bibit, bebet, bobot are only used by the Javanese from Yogya, Central & East Java, and not West Java (Sundanese).

I think it would be better if you see it from the positive side i.e. your parents and grand parents love you so much that they want you to have a perfect Mr Right.

triesti said...

Harry, our family is mixed from all over Indonesia but we are mostly Javanese. Like I tried to say here, I think our family is looking into the character than the traditional bibit, bobot, bebet. Or at least: I do.

colson said...


At first I thought Bibit, Bobot and Bebet are exclusive Indonesian/Javanese?Sundanese phenomenon. But on second thought...

Though generally we officially believe choosing a partner for life should be an extremely individual, passionate and irrational choice, I wonder how much of a Dutch variant of B3 is (still) virulent.

For instance I think having most of one's friends and acquaintances in specific social milieus determines, at least influences one's choice within this 'rank/network". And sometimes explicitly and often implicitly, subconsciously, the family background, his or her pedigree, is an important factor, - if only by the way parents may frown upon the partner to be.

As for the partner's quality I think most of us fortunately will have a blurred view the moment we court each other. We are entitled to our own major mistakes..

triesti said...

If you think about it, it's universal.. the question is which of those three weight more to you.

Colson, how's your major mistake so far? ;)

colson said...

@ triesti: Haha. Well, let's discuss that topic in private.. But I hereby officially declare I of course am the exception to the rule :P.

Miki said...


I would like to comment about this interesting matter, "bibit, bebet, bobot"

First, I don't agree with "bibit, bebet, bobot"
Especially with bibit, or dna inheritance. As we know, that scientifically prooved that dna inheritance or bibit, is not applicable at all.
There is inheritant law, called MENDEL LAW. So if the mom, is pretty and the father is not, does not mean that all kids, or even one of them, will be pretty or handsome.
Even handsome husband, dan pretty wife, will not 100% create pretty/ handsome kids, might be not even one.

The possibility, is many people only focus with the pretty/ handsome person(s), in one family, but they don't focus nor even talk about the ones that are not pretty/ handsome.
While actually if they search more detail, that theory about bibit, is really a "bull shit"

Second, this theory especially about bibit, after several years, it influences the mating process in Asia, might be not all of them, however quite significant.
Quite many people, especially from India, China Republic, North Korea, Indonesia, some pacific islands, they use it for human trafficking.
When they know about one/ some persons family background, related to good physical features, and intelligency (IQ), skin colour (they like the fair skin to enlighten their kids), financial status (usually they prey on the ones that are not too rich, so they will be more easy to traffick them), etc.
Especially for the female, they traffick them. By approaching the family members, to sell the daughters, with some offer like benefits, or money, or other facilities.

So in my opinion, we should take care and pay more attention to these matters, by stricten the rule about marriage, sexual pressure and torture (due to the victims/ targets sometimes they are terrorized if they refuse the guys, that usually came from mafia background, government officers especially from developing countries, etc).

Actually just recently India, might be the government or the private groups, they made genome project, similar kind with IVF (bayi tabung), however they chose the women (surrogate mother = ibu titipan untuk mengandung dan melahirkan), from that above theory "bibit, bobot, bebet"

Last one, I would like to add beside "BIBIT, BEBET, BOBOT"
so it will be "BIBIT, BEBET, BOBOT, BULL SHIT"