Finding My Nation's Footprints On My Family's Bloodline

The 1920s. Western Java. A woman sits on her front porch. In broad daylight, she’s wearing nothing but a cloth, and a brassiere.  Her children come home from school and shout, embarrassed, "Mom! Get back inside!" She smiles and follows them in, shamelessly. That woman was my great-grandmother. Read more

the language we speak. 

my childhood memoirs, a language so effortless, always bittersweet.  Read more

Should Have

I heard their voice Seemed so far behind Baby girls with intellectual poise Ears under one’s nose nearby Read more

Thoughts from a Girl Far From Home

“Where are you from?”

The question comes up almost every time I meet someone new. It’s a fair question; I’m at university, I’m an international student – it’s perfectly reasonable for someone to want to know where I’m from. (The implications of that question directed towards someone who is an immigrant is another issue entirely, and not one that I’m qualified to talk about.)

I answer easily, “Indonesia.”

“Oh cool, which city?” they continue.

Here is where I pause. “It’s complicated,” I want to say. “My parents are from different parts of Sumatra, but they both moved around a bit before settling in Jakarta for work. That’s where they met and where I grew up.” The split second it takes me to think up this response is enough to realise I was way overthinking the question.

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The Spirit Molecule

Focus, speed, memory, productivity, alertness. Most of what the world values nowadays seldom relate to what we once used to. The doubling rate of technological innovation makes it inevitable that we will soon co-exist with a new kind of Being, be it Artificial intelligence, or genetically modified humans. With the values we now uphold, it is very easy for us to simply forget our ancestral values. With the voluntary prohibition imposed by the government on the consumption of psychedelia, we may conceive it as another testament to our “voluntary running away” from our past. Read more

Keeping the Indonesian Culture Alive

Literally meaning “ a peanut that forgets its shell”, the Indonesian proverb “kacang lupa kulitnya” reminds us that no matter how far we go, we should always remember our origins. Being the largest archipelago along with 4th most populated country in the world, it is no surprise that Indonesia is culturally diverse. With the increasing trend of globalisation that shows no sign of stopping, the slow erosion or diffusion of culture is inevitably a threat that the government has tirelessly strived to prevent. Below are some attempts that the government has made to maintain the longevity and livelihood of the Indonesian heritage: Read more

The Janusian Way

The People’s Broadcast is airing as we eat our dinner. They are currently live broadcasting Queen Solar’s craft landing on our planet. It’s only been a few cycles since we sent our distress signal but she promptly responded to it. “Queen Majel was a great queen,” my great-great-great-great grandmother (I call her Grandma Ahn) begins. She’s still full of fire as if she’s not many centu-eons old. “She takes care of us. Doesn’t go around telling other planets about our Fountain. For one day she’s out of the picture...” she clicks her tongue, “... and her daughter ruins everything.” Read more

When Should Heritage Be Discarded?

Heritage is one of the most powerful dictators of our behavior. It provides us identity, morality, and grounds for sympathy. In dictating our behavior, sometimes one part of our heritage contradicts the other, and we are forced to choose. Japanese Americans in WW2 who chose to fight as Americans decided that the American national heritage takes precedence over their Japanese ethnic heritage. Indonesians chose to put aside their heritage as former ethnic enemies when we declared the end of our status as a conquered colony. The shared heritage of Christian values and Roman legal system allowed Europe to form a union. Heritage passed down from past conflicts such as that of India and Pakistan could trigger a nuclear war. The cycle of ignoring or emphasizing different parts of our heritage is a constant one. The question is, how do we decide which one is which?Read more

Mixed Roots in Transient Times

The fabric of the dress was soft to the touch, light in the wind, and always had a certain joyfulness about it. The bright rainbow colours interwove to form flowers fluttering in the wind. The sabrina neckline paired with a blue cardigan and buttons down the back finished the look. It was quaint, simple, and belonged to my mother. I often imagine her twirling in it in her high school years, laughing with friends and dancing to ABBA.Read more

Who Remembers Your Name

Legacy, what is a legacy? We have all had that thought at some point in our lives. We stop whatever we are doing at that moment, gaze out the window into the bustling sounds of the city muted behind glass panels and wonder to ourselves to what end is this struggle for?Read more