Book Review “Maksud Lo” by Brandon Possin

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By Aldhi Fajar Maudhi

While browsing Gramedia Bookstore, I noticed a unique book called “Maksud Lo?” – which turned out to be a guide to the “real” Indonesian language. 

I was curious to see what (foreigners) know about Indonesian slang. What made it more interesting is that the terms used are not of the formal Indonesian language – these are actually words frequently used in the daily lives of locals.

So, no wonder foreigners (orang bule) struggle to understand the slang of Indonesian social communities and associations that are often used in daily talk. Almost none of these slang words are written in formal textbooks, yet they form the bulk of daily communication in Indonesia. 

Book Review "Maksud Lo?" by Brandon Possin
Book Review “Maksud Lo?” by Brandon Possin

This slang is often used and spoken by young Indonesians. Let’s thus dive into this book.

Book Review of “Maksud Lo”

Written by Brandon Possin and published by Gramedia publishers, it is available for purchase online  (Brandon Possin Book “Maksud Lo?”) for only  Rp. 65.000 in Indonesia and for $19.95 on Amazon in the United States and elsewhere.  Possin wrote it with a readable style and clear descriptions of slang words.

What’s unique about  “Maksud Lo?”

“Maksud Lo” comprises a variety of slangs  often used in Indonesia, not only in daily talk but which also exist in everyday phrases and proverbs. 

Some unique and exciting things couldn’t make me stop reading this book cover to cover!

What's Unique about "Maksud Lo?"
What’s Unique about “Maksud Lo?”

Just like a Dictionary

Presented  in the form of a dictionary, the reader can easily understand every word that can be found in daily talk of Indonesian locals. The lexicon, such as acronyms, contractions, verbs, adverbs, and nouns, are available in this book, and organized alphabetically. 

Description of Daily Use

In addition, if there is a word uncommonly used in daily talk, the writer then gives an example of conversation or dialogue when the word should be used.  One example is the acronym “EGP” or, “emang gue pikirin”, meaning “I don’t care”, which is a phrase that is often used in friendly conversations. 

English Words that Entered Indonesian Lexicon

Several borrowed words from English are spoofed or absorbed into Indonesian slang. Most of these borrowed words are often used in daily conversations by some of our communities or peers. For example, the words bestie, fifty-fifty, chill, sis, let’s go, etc.

Regional Slang Fun

In slang, it’s not only the Indonesian language that is used. Some regions such as Yogyakarta, Makassar, Bandung, have their own slangs too. For example, words like asu, sing, belegug, etc. are also often heard in daily conversations in almost every community.

About Brandon Possin

Brandon Possin is  an American citizen from Madison, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Virginia and has been a guest lecturer at several universities in Chile and Brazil. Brandon has been living in Indonesia for five years as a student of cultural science. He enjoys learning about Indonesian cultures such as Sunda, Sumatera, Madura, Malang, among others. 

Possin managed to collect various words commonly used in everyday languages in multiple regions and cities in Indonesia through engaging with a variety of groups and communities around Indonesia.

Who is Brandon Possin
Brandon Possin

Possin served at the United States Consulate General in Surabaya; as an economic officer at the US Embassy (Pakistan); and other U.S. diplomatic posts. Additionally, he has also opened the Indonesian market for an Ethereum blockchain venture to improve digital wallet inclusion in Indonesia.

A polyglot, Possin has mastered several languages, including Portuguese, Indonesian, Spanish, Urdu, and Japanese. 


Maksud Lo is worth your time, especially to understand the commonly spoken informal language of Indonesia.


As the use of slang in Indonesia increases, especially among young people, this is a must-read. Happy reading!

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42 thoughts on “Book Review “Maksud Lo” by Brandon Possin”

  1. It’s kinda interesting book coz various kinds of non-formal languages ​​in Indonesia are indeed very interesting to learn and follow their development. Salute for foreigner who want to take part in learning Indonesian culture and language as well.

  2. Malu gak sih budaya kita malah ditulis sama orang luar. Mereka jauh lebih paham drpd kita loh. Jadi iri dan salut sama penulisnya nih

  3. Cukup bangga juga karena sekarang tambah banyak aja bule yang tertarik dengan adat di Indonesia. Bahkan kalau diperhatikan, mereka banyak lebih paham dari orang Indonesia sendiri hihihi …
    Keren aja, sih, in Mas Possin mau nulis tentang bahasa slang kita. Mungkin supaya turis yang datang ke negeri kita bisa lebih mudah berkomunikasi ya… 🙂

  4. Ternyata penulisnya pernah kuliah ilmu budaya di Indonesia ya. Jadi paham tentang bahasa slang di sini, terutama di beberapa daerah di Indonesia. Keren loh dia bisa merangkum bahasa slang dari bbrp daerah shg akan jd panduan bermanfaat bg turis asing yg ingin dtg ke Indonesia.

  5. Menggunakan bahasa Indonesia secara formal dalam kegiatan sehari-hari memang jarang dilakukan, namun bukan berarti tidka mau menggunakan bahasa formal. Bisa jadi karena memang untuk lebih mengakrabkan diri dengan yang lainnya.

    Btw, buku ini sepertinya bisa dijadikan referensi dan bahan edukasi bagi masyarakat

  6. I think this book is a good reference, not only for foreigners, but also for Indonesian too.
    Since the writer is polyglot, I wonder how he explain Indonesia language based on his point of view.

    • Iya nih, kupikir penulisnya orang Indonesia. Ternyata orang luar. Bangga sih bahasa slang Indonesia dijadiin judul bukunya orang luar negeri.

  7. Suka banget sama orang luar negeri yang mengapresiasi budaya dan bahasa daerah kita:D. 5 tahun di Indonesia bisa memahami bahasa daerah kita, amazing. penasaran sama isi bukunya

  8. Diplomat tuh kerjaan keren banget deh.. bisa jalan2 ke banyak negara meski bebannya juga berat sihh.. yang berat juga kalo harus belajar bahasanya apalagi bahasa slang.. kita aja kadang nggak tahu bahasa milenial anak jaman sekarang..

  9. at first I thougt the writer of the book ‘Maksud Lo’ is Indonesian, then absolutely wrong lol.
    In my point of view, this book is not only good for foreigner who will come to Indonesia, but Indonesian need to know this good book too

  10. menurutku keren sih, seorang bule yang emang ngelocal banget dan care dengan bahasa indonesia terus bikin buku terjemahan. bantu banget bule yang mau mengunjungi indonesia bahkan orang indonesia itu sendiri

  11. Informal Indonesian languages makes the relationship between interlocutors feel closer and feels like brothers. So in Indonesia, the feeling of brotherhood is as warm as that.

    • to learn informal Indonesian Language, I think this book is very good for reference to read it. And I definitelly agree that Slang languange could make us connected each other warmly

  12. Bahasa slang seperti itu malah sering dipakai memang ya daripada bahasa baku. Aku aja pakai bahasa formal Indonesia kalau acara resmi aja. Hehehe sisanya, ya gpp, kek gitu deh hehehe

  13. It’s funny to see how Indonesian slang could be attractive as a book title! Tbh, I’m really curious, sih, about this book! Will definitely looking for this book next time I go to Gramedia!

  14. Buku ini recommended banget buat bule yang nggak mau ribet belajar bahasa formal. Soalnya pas di lapangan tentu aja pake bahasa informal biar terkesan merakyat. Keren banget nih penulisnya. Jeli soal pasar.

  15. Sometimes we need to learn the real culture of a place or a country from the local. Thats why, learning about the slang languages so important. So happy to know that Brandon Possion wrote a guide book about Indonesian Slang. It will help the traveler or foreigner who came here to have a good conversation. I like the book’s title, by the way.

  16. wah, bisa bahasa Malang sama Madura jugaa ya. aku aja nggak bisa haha. kalo orang luar bahas bahasa malang kayaknya seru ya karena dibalik2 gtu. pengen tahu pendapat mereka

  17. Keren, buku yang pastinya cocok dan membantu bule-bule yang ingin memahami masyarakat Indonesia dengan bergam kultur dan bahasa yang dimiliki.

  18. bahasa slang kita dari EGP, maksud loh, de-el-elyang beragam ternyata menarik perhatian siapa saja ya heheh.


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