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Henrik Theiling wrote:
> PS: I'm very sure Mandarin isn't the only example of languages lacking
>     tense, or specifically future tense.  I think Modern Japanese also
>     lacks tense, while Old Japanese had a past tense.  The -ta is
>     perfect aspect as far as I know, or isn't it?
>
You can certainly add Malay/Indonesian (and probably most if not all 
Austronesian lgs.) to the list. All tense marking is optional in casual 
speech; for clarity or more formally and in writing it's customary to 
include it, when necessary :-)), but in any case it's a matter of 
{adverbial/auxiliary} + main verb.

Past and perfect/pluperfect can both be indicated with _sudah_ 'already'; 
_dulu_ 'formerly, once' clearly indicates only past.

Future can be formed unambiguously with _akan_ (actually a preposition 
meaning 'about, concerning') "akan datang" 'will come', or with
_mau_ 'want' (which is ambiguous as to "will Verb" or "want to Verb");

_Akan_ can be combined, in very formal (perhaps Westernized) writing with 
sudah to create a "future perfect":  "sudah akan datang" 'will have come'.