There is a popular saying in Javanese about something impossible. Popular among common people, the expression is especially used by songwriters and artists alike to tell unbearable emotions that one experiences due to failing love or relationship failure. Ngenteni udan ning mangsa ketiga rose to popularity when Didi Kempot used it in a song.

Didi Kempot, probably one of the most phenomenal singers of Javanese songs, once expresses his feeling as his lover fails to keep her promise to meet him at the Tanjung Mas Port in Semarang, Central Java. Didi is dubbed the pioneer of congdut (keroncong dangdut) that incorporates two streams of music in Indonesia in a fresh way. The fusion is slightly different from campursari that Manthous is well-known for. 

Didi Kempot, king of ambyar (Photo: detiknews)
The famous song by Didi is based on the first line of the lyrics. The following is the complete lyrics that build up the whole story of failing affection thus a matter of futility. 

Bebasan kaya ngenteni udan ning mangsa ketiga | it is like expecting rain during dry season 
Najan mung sedela ora dadi ngapa | it's okay even for a slight moment 

Penting isa ngademke ati | as long as it soothes my heart

Semono uga rasane atiku | that is what I do feel
Mung tansah nunggu tekamu | always expecting your arrival
Ra krasa setaun kowe ninggal aku | it's been a year you've abandoned me
Kangen... kangen'e atiku | I'm deeply longing for you

Aku sih kelingan nalika ing pelabuhan | I can recall our parting at that port
Kowe janji lunga ra ana sewulan | when you promised to return in a month 
Nanging saiki nyatane kowe ora bali-bali | turned out that you've reneged 

Ning Pelabuhan Tanjung Mas kene | here at the Tanjung Mas port
Biyen aku ngeterke kowe | where I once let you depart
Ning pelabuhan Semarang kene | here at the Tanjung Mas port
Aku tansah ngenteni kowe | I'm forever expecting you to come

From Didi Kempot's song we learn that Javanese people have an expression to tell something of futility. When something is impossible to happen or unlikely to happen, then you're ngenteni udan ning mangsa ketiga. If it occurs to you that something is elusive and will cost you nothing but vanities, you certainly know what to do.

My brother has not been himself lately. Owing to extremely huge debt, he has been distressed and avoided meeting people ever since. There is not a single day going by without his engulfment in terrible fear. He is endlessly disturbed by the imagination of lenders' sudden visit who have given him some loan in the past. 

The debt has inevitably caused his life miserable and put it in serious jeopardy. Not only does he risk losing his entire asset including the valuable house, but the marriage is threatened to break up. The substantial debt is really wreaking havoc on his life in its entirety.          

Debt either empowers or undermines you.

Abandon the importance of financial planning

For entrepreneurs, debt is actually normal as it adds to capital and helps business to expand. But my brother has seemed to be overestimating the profit he was going to gain without calculating the risk. A few friends of his came to assure him of profitable investment. He was taken into their persuasion and invested quite a lot of money.

However, he tended to ignore reason before making a decision and neglect the importance of financial planning. It was too good to be true that the business yielded instant profit significantly in the initial months. That was what he did not realize, the fact that he was plainly defrauded. 

Things get worse as the money he invested doesn't belong to him. It was other people's money he had used to invest. The borrowed capital has to be returned to those people despite the fact he was an object of investment scam. He may have received quick money for a few months but he soon learned the guaranteed returns are now fugazi.

This reminds me of a passage in "Serat Darmawasita" by KGPAA Mangkunegara IV that addresses specifically on financial obligations. Does the serat encourage owing money or simply disapprove indebtedness? The sixth stanza of the first part named "Dhandhanggula" puts it this way:     

lan malih wêkas ingsun | and  I have one more message

aja tuman utang lan silih | do not enjoy owing or borrowing money

The lines obviously describe that having debt is okay as long as that doesn't turn into a habit. It can be inferred from the sentences that one who enjoys borrowing money may as well make debt a matter of addiction. Without reason and precautions, one can be easily absentminded and hungry for more loans to cover the other. Once you are in the grip of a loan shark, your life foundation is probably beginning to collapse.

Why is borrowing habit considered bad and highlighted in the serat? When people borrow money to support the growth of their business, it is but a good habit as it is more productive. But when loan is made to sustain one's compulsive buying behavior, debt will likely:   

anyudakkên darajat | abase your dignity  

camah wêkasipun | humiliated ultimately 

kasoran prabawanira | your self esteem degraded

mring kang potang lawan kang sira silihi | by those who lend

nyatane angrêrêpa | giving you but self-pity 

When we are indebted, especially to many people in large sum of money, it is predictable that our life is soon morphing into an inferno. It has become common knowledge that debts breed humiliation during the day and misery during the night. Debtors will find themselves in constant chase by creditors in many ways.

While their debt accumulates, they are in grave danger of losing self esteem and pride. All they have in mind is how to manage to elude the pursuers at all cost. Without people touching him, he is already making a road to perdition by undermining life in its basic.

In terms of debt, Muhammad the messenger of God mentions in a hadith that all sins of those who die martyrs are forgiven except those with debt. This underlines the importance of dealing with debt wisely, as to know our financial condition without always getting into debt we will be unable to repay.

In brief, "Serat Darmawasita" doesn't forbid debt but encourages one to manage it carefully. A decision to be in debt should be made with serious calculations and debt should never be an option to become an addiction.   

There has been quite a hullabaloo lately across the country since many people spoke up in view of digital fraud in the form of binary options. They have claimed to experience loss from their investment in billions of rupiah. It is said that influencers should be held accountable for the huge loss as they have not been honest when inviting people (followers) to invest in the platform. Financial planners soon surface and offer generous advice to follow. It is indeed catastrophic when the fund is used for illogical investment instead of acquiring an apartment that generates money. 

Those people would certainly wish to have the benefit of hindsight. But there is no way to turn back the hands of time and they now have nothing but regrets. Numerous financial planners and experts alike appear on TikTok and Youtube to educate about how to make investment and where to invest.  

It's obvious that some people tend to focus on instant result when it comes to gaining profit instead of taking the process. When the so-called influencers showed off their monetary gain in a relatively short period of time, the hungry followers instantly took the steps exactly they’re told without consideration of learning the method carefully. So when their demand for immediate return was denied, mental breakdown is what occurs.

Financial planners can help us with our investment plan. (Image: pexels/karolina grabowska) 

The Javanese have the privilege to refer to “Serat Darmawasita” by KGPAA Mangkunegara IV to look for enlightenment, both spiritually and financially. Born Bendara Raden Mas Sudira, KGPAA Mangkunegara IV was then Prince Adipati Prangwedana III before coronation. KGPAA is the abbreviation for Kanjeng Gusti Pangeran Adipati Arya that indicates his title of nobility when assigned to rule Mangkunegaran, a principality in Surakarta.


The eight benefits in financial planning

In this serat, Mangkunegara IV introduces eight precepts called asthagina that literally stands for astha (eight) and gina (benefit) for people who search for a true life. If you are to succeed in life, financially in particular, the eight rules should be manifested in every single way possible.

From the third to the sixth stanza of the first part named Dhandhanggula, there are several passages that encourage us to better plan our finance even without having financial planner certification. Let us observe the following. 

1. Employ reason and competence

panggaotan gêlaring pambudi | 

warna-warna sakaconggahira | 

nut ing jaman kalakone | 

Do what is possible to make a living by employing reason based on your competence. Focus on what you can do at the moment without worrying too much about what others say as there are certainly plenty of jobs we can take. We are now in the 4.0 Revolution when everything is digitized and we should therefore make use of the sophistication of the digital world.  


2. Be well-ordered

rigên ping kalihipun |

dadi pamrih marang pakolih |

Be organized to ease you to achieve what you do want. Organization makes your life orderly that you are prepared for any disruption with no confusion to exist.   

3. Value frugality

katri gêmi garapnya |

margane mrih cukup |

The third point to remember is to save money for future reserve. In the age of unpredictability and high volatility it is imperative we provide what the need for later use by being thrifty. This teaching values the concept of frugality to equip us with relevant resources in the face of mercurial challenges in the modern life.   


You can be a financial planner of your own using insight from "Serat Darmawasita".

4. Assure perusal

papat nastiti papriksa | 

iku dadi margane wêruh ing pasthi |

Scrutinize to avoid missing important details and insightful information. Do not be tempted to take the road most traveled by simply due to the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). In some extent you are encouraged to develop the joy of missing out (JOMO). Make sure you know what platform you are using for investment and comprehend accurately the very consequence of the investment you are about to make. 

5. Understand calculations

lima wêruh etung ika |

watêk adoh mring butuh saari |

It is also fundamental to understand calculations when it comes to investing money. If you don't do simple math, the investment is most likely to incur you loss without anticipation. When calculations are hard to make, you can always consult a financial planner or those knowledgeable about investment. In this sense, making calculations is said to be a way of envisioning future possibilities.   

6. Ask to gain knowledge

kaping nênêm tabêri têtanya |

ngundhakkên marang kawruhe |

In response to any important moves, including investment plan, we are to inquire in order to gain as much information as we can before making a decision. People say that a good question leads to a good decision making. With careful insight, data, and relevant statistics we can come up with a better plan especially when deciding to invest a lot of money. 


7. Control your wish

ping pitu nyêgah kayun |

pêpenginan kang tanpa kardi |

The seventh tip is to control what we desire. This will require a good skill of distinguishing between needs and wants. There may be cool items offered at a discounted price, but we don't have to purchase them simply because we think it is too affordable to skip while we actually do not need them. Every decision and purchase has to be made with reason on a scale of productivity.


8. Be determined           

ping wolu nêmên ing sêja |

watêkira sarwa glis ingkang kinapti |    

Finally, persistent determination is all you need to be a successful financial planner. Determination involves promptness to act and to complete what is mandatory. One must be determined to succeed in everything, including investment that calls for solid rumination. 

Regardless of what financial planner definition, we have come to realize that the asthagina prescribed in the "Serat Darmawasita" by KGPAA Mangkunegara IV clearly entails willingness to learn and to collaborate with other people to help us succeed in many ways.               

Raden Ngabehi Ranggawarsita has long been known for his serats. In Javanese serat is a written message addressed to someone. Unlike common letters, “Serat Kalatidha” is presented in a likely monologic discourse. While the author seems to be criticizing the world around him, he is actually making a self-discovery.

Kalatidha consists of kala that means times and tidha that constitutes madness. Together Kalatidha makes the age of madness that Ranggawarsita deems to be happening. This work of his follows sinom meter in 12 stanzas. It is therefore relatively shorter than other serats including "Serat Jayengbaya" and "Serat Wirid Hidayat Jati".

Sinom is originally invented by Sunan Giri, one of the prominent propagators of Islam in Java known as Wali Sanga. Sunan Giri introduced Islamic teaching by way of cultural approach. In Javanese sinom equals young leaves of any plants as sinom is sung to carry religious advice for young people nearing adulthood.

Serat Kalatidha has remained relevant and seemed to permeate any era that it is noteworthy until today.  Let us read the following passage taken from stanza 4-6 that makes up his Serat Kalatidha.

~ 4 ~

Kasok karoban pawarta | bêbaratan ujar lamis | pinudya dadya pangarsa | wêkasan malah kawuri | yèn pinikir sayêkti | mundhak apa anèng ngayun | andhêdhêr kaluputan | siniraman banyu lali | lamun tuwuh dadi kêkêmbanging beka ||

News has been circulating | that turns out to be false | he who is rumored to be ennobled | has been obviously ignored | but after serious rumination | would being a leader do any good? | that’ll just cause troubles | when treason is all that is | nothing but misery comes out of it

~ 5 ~

Ujaring panitisastra | awêwarah asung peling | ing jaman kênèng musibat | wong ambêk jatmika kontit | mêngkono yèn nitèni | pedah apa amituhu | pawarta lalawara | mundhak angrêranta ati | angur baya ngikêta cariteng kuna ||

Men of letters have suggested | words of warning | in this world of despotism | honest people are no longer hired | so after a scrutiny | it's futile to believe | in rumors | will just incur agony | productive we shall be in reminiscence of past stories ||

~ 6 ~

Kêni kinarya darsana | panglimbang ala lan bêcik | sayekti akèh kewala | lêlakon kang dadi tamsil | masalah ing ngaurip | wahananira tinemu | têmahan anarima | mupus pêpêsthèning takdir | puluh-puluh anglakoni kaelokan ||

Past stories hold valuable lessons | of the good and the bad | there are certainly lots of examples | exemplary journeys | problems in life | that we reap what we sow | it takes dutiful observance to run in destiny |  where many things happen out of our logical reason.  

Why the age of madness

"Serat Kalatidha" is so named especially after the seventh stanza that clearly contains the word edan meaning mad. We can observe the following statements that also represent Ranggawarsita's deep feeling back then.

~ 7 ~

Amênangi jaman edan | uwuh aya ing pambudi | mèlu edan nora tahan | yèn tan milu anglakoni | boya kaduman melik | kalirên wêkasanipun | dilalah karsa Allah | bêgja-bêgjane kang lali | luwih bêgja kang eling lawan waspada ||

Witnessing the age of madness | gets us on the horns of a dilemma | going with the flow would be unbearable | but resisting the flow | would exclude us from having | leading to starvation, perhaps | thanks to God's will | the forgetful is less fortunate | than those who remember and stay cautious ||

Survive the test

Reading "Serat Kalatidha" by Raden Ngabehi Ranggawarsita has provided us with insight and understanding that hoaxes are really dangerous. They have detrimental effect if we we let ourselves consume them. History has witnessed the triumph of Trump due to racial prejudice and deceptive hoaxes during the presidential election.

In this serat Ranggawarsita finally comes to be aware that he may be deceived by his own mind and interpretation. He finally comes to terms with the situation learning that indecision should not be confused with caution. Instead of incessantly wishing for something, he has determined to do the best possible with capabilities. What really matters is making a contribution without harming or humiliating other people.

This is the very mindset we need to build in order to prevail through any trials in the modern life; to survive the tests we know yet to come.