Weekly kama muta – Terharu

Weekly kama muta – Terharu

After a summer break, we dive in some new territory of kama muta. The word terharu from Malay is one of the many that can grasp kama muta experience verbally; and shows how different languages embody kama muta experience in their very own manner.

A native speaker explains terharu:

“I think teharu is most commonly used […] when someone does something nice to you when you least expected it (e.g. a surprise birthday party). However, I think something like what happened in the Olympics […] also made people ‘terharu.’ Our country has always won a medal in the badminton, but we lost in the London Olympics 4 years ago. Yesterday was Indonesia’s Independence Day (Aug 17th); and for Indonesia to have won our first gold medal this year during our Independence Day brought tears of joy to a lot of people back home. As the players themselves have said, that gold was a gift to out country. My family and I (at the least) felt very ‘terharu’ when we heard their words and I’m sure a lot of people was too. So in some ways, ‘ternary’ usually arises from any bittersweet moment. It can be (and is often) a private and personal thing, but can also be shared experience depending on the context.”  Gabriella Aliifa Thohir, from an online discussion [1].


[1]: Kama Muta: Discovering the Connecting Emotion (Book, 2019)