Witty Indonesian Genie Gods*


“We ran out.”

This is my least favorite Indonesian word.

Mostly because (seemingly) everything is habis more often than it’s in stock!

I’ve been trying for a while to purchase three things: a ukulele, a tuner, and a 2013 desk calendar.

Those are easy, you say?

Not here.

I visited GranMedia recently, an office-y store that also sells instruments.  Making my way to the back, I looked at their ukuleles.  All of them were pretty crazy looking:  black with skulls, white with hundreds of hearts… even an American flag!

Not needing (or wanting) such a ridiculous pattern, I pointed to the brown guitars and asked if they had one like that.


Shoot.  But this was not an impossible situation.  I decided to go ahead an buy a ukulele to practice on, then I could pick up a nice one in Singapore or Bali.  All I needed was a tuner, which I requested.


Oh no!  Why would I want a ukulele if I didn’t have anything to tune it with!?  I determined that I should avoid the attempt at being musical for the day, and instead continued to the third item on my list.

“Ada [do you have] kalendar 2013?”


AH!  Frustrated, I left the store to head for another that should carry calendars.  As I stalked out, I sent up a wish to the genie gods of Indonesia*:

“I wish to never, ever hear the word habis ever again!”

I walked down the escalator and to store #2.  Greeting the worker near the front, I asked whether they had calendars or not, cringing as I awaited the dreaded word.  I had worried for nothing, though:  he responded in the affirmative – my wish had worked!

He pointed to the area where they were, and I walked over to look for them.  I circled the shelf.

Four times.

I didn’t see them.

I walked back over to ask for clarification on the location of the calendars.

Ha ha ha, habis,” he laughingly replied.


Somewhere the Indonesian genie gods were laughing at my lack of specificity and their own wit.

That’s not what I meant when I said I didn’t want to hear the word habis!

*The genie gods of Indonesia are fictional characters created solely for this particular situation.


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