Category Archives: History

Women’s Equality and the Silver Screen

On December 22nd Indonesia commemorates 1928 Women’s Congress, where 30 women’s organizations across Java and Sumatra gathered to fight for women’s equality in then Dutch Indies. How after 1945 independence both Soekarno and Soeharto managed to domesticize the day to … Continue reading

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Why I’m Regularly Mad at Soeharto

No, I’m not talking about the events of September 1965, which have since regularly caused heated debates at this time of the year. Not that I didn’t think those debates were useless either, for the record. I get mad at … Continue reading

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The Milestones of a Lawyer and a Designer

The word milestone is, by definition, a marker of distance—length of the road traveled. On literal roads milestones are measured the same way, yet on life journey the distances and how they are marked vary greatly. Although, sometimes, a couple … Continue reading

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Old Nusantara in New Singapore

One of the reasons many Indonesians love to come to Singapore is to enjoy newer, better, often more advanced things. Things like underground subway, fully-automated system of whatnots, or tropical gardens hanging up in the sky. I do, too, in … Continue reading

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Chicks Throwing Kicks on Flicks

Chick flicks. As a self-respecting, longtime moviegoer I despise that term, used loosely for romantic comedy, teen drama and musical genres. It alludes condescendingly to movies deemed lovey-dovey, fairy tale-y, or full of visual fluffs without much meat. Though I … Continue reading

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Seamless Semarang, Seemingly

When you travel with the genuine willingness to soak in the atmosphere of the destination, there are almost no boundaries of what you can enjoy. That’s the quality I value more on travel mates—the ones who aren’t boxed in just … Continue reading

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Fire Sale: Muslim Voters and the Chinese Bogeyman

Jakarta’s politics never ceased to amaze me. Just when I thought the religion card couldn’t have been used more coarsely, Instagram delivered a surprise earlier this week. And to think I actually logged into Instagram to avoid the highly-political Twitter. … Continue reading

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Fear Not the Label, Hear the Dragon Ladies Roar

Last weekend over a million women marched on the US capital and world’s major cities the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration to protest against Trump’s repeated racist and misogynist comments, including his threat to meddle with women’s reproductive rights, which, … Continue reading

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Mata Hari and Pham Xuan An: The Spies Who Loved Differently

The most intriguing souvenir I picked up during my recent Vietnam trip was Larry Berman’s Perfect Spy, a biography of Pham Xuan An, a journalist working clandestinely as spy during the Vietnam War. Hanoi’s H.63 intelligence network maneuvered to make … Continue reading

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Left or Right, If You Wing It Vietnam Feels Just Right

My last column talked about how Trump’s win further pushed the world that was already leaning right. Depressing is the word muttered openly among friends, and a pal quietly told me of having returned to anti-depressant in the following days. … Continue reading

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