I often come across this phrase very often. Never had I tried to take a closer look beyond literal meaning because I used to take this phrase for granted – assuming that memorizing it will help me a lot in understanding it. Well, it’s a huge nonsense. Apparently, I had to experience this by myself, stumbled upon bitter experiences facing this real-life phrase application until I felt that this phrase talked to me while undressing my mere-memorization: showing me how it felt to take something for granted and to be taken for granted!
The very well-known Javanese phrase’s journey of “Aja Dumeh”
• Aja Dumeh Kuwasa, Tumindake daksura lan daksia marang sapada-pada. Mumpung kuwasa sapa sira sapa ingsun. This is to say, just because you have power or are powerful, it doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you want to oppress others.
• Aja dumeh pinter, tumindake keblinger. Mumpung pinter, njur sembrana nerak wewaler. This is to say, just because you have high intelligence or are intelligent, it doesn’t mean that you can do whatever it takes to carry out your goal heartlessly and make everything your rules.
• Aja dumeh kuat lan gagah, tumindake sarwa gegabah. Mumpung kuat lan gagah, njur tanpa arah-arah. This is to say, just because you have strength or are strong, it doesn’t mean that you can use it to weaken somebody else’s.
• Aja dumeh sugih, tumindake lali karo sing ringkih. Mumpung sugih, njur nyenyamah karo sing ringkih. This is to say, just because you have countless digits in your bank account, it doesn’t mean that you can measure everything based on it.
• Aja dumeh menang, tumindake sewenang-wenang. Mumpung menang, njur nyawiyah hake liyan. This is to say, just because you have stronger position and grand self-statement, it doesn’t mean that you can take everybody else for granted and stomp on others.
Reference from Serat Sasangka Jati
by R. Tumenggung Hardjoprakoso and R. Tri Hardono Soemodiharjo