Category Archives: Politics

A Festival of Fasting, Fear and Factions

A festival Ramadan has become. For the urbanites, it’s an endless series of retail sales, grocery hunts and iftar invitations, that an atheist friend of mine had busier Ramadan than I did. Add in the nightly firecrackers, once a merriment only in villages without … Continue reading

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From ‘Kafir’ to ‘Komunis’: The Bogeyman Lives On

A long while ago I read somewhere that the more diverse a group, the stronger the bond must be created to hold them together as a group. Logical. In the case of The Prince and the Pauper, or Beauty and the Beast, it … Continue reading

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Postcards from Milan and Frankfurt

Supporting one’s country means different things to different people. For Mom, at least this time around, supporting Indonesia on global stages mean physically being there. After some debate she finally put her foot down—so we hurriedly applied for visas, bought … Continue reading

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The Long, Winding, and Loaded Street of Asia-Afrika

No, it’s not a typo. I did mean “Asia-Afrika”, not “Asia-Africa”. Because this is not about the much-hyped 60th anniversary of a certain conference held here this week, but about the street named after the conference that many of us … Continue reading

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Waiting Longer to Raise My Glass Here

It’s that time again for the collective social pulse when the great alcohol debate rages on, fueled this time by the Government’s hastily-concocted policy to restrict beer retail sales. As happens often in Indonesia’s vibrant society, the public debate has carelessly … Continue reading

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His Version, Her Version, the Public Consensus and the Elusive Truth

Everybody who’s had a lovers’ spat must be familiar with that famous line. Usually, and this is my experiences talking, after gaining timely wisdom one may look back to acknowledge that the truth was somewhere between one’s and the significant … Continue reading

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Kick And Goal, That Great Equalizer

Raise your hand if you’ve walked around half asleep because of a World Cup match. No? Then you’ve been missing out, darlings. I’m no major football fan, but I was raised by a man who is one, and once during … Continue reading

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Kami vs Kita, in Fully Devilish Swing

Birthday? / Why, you want to send gifts? Religion? / You’re going to send me holiday basket, too? Marital status? / Gawd, are you asking me out?? It was a particularly harried day when I swung by an electronic store … Continue reading

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16 Years Ago, Did Any of Us See This Coming?

If you read through Indonesian media this week you’ll find many references to how Indonesians eventually won our democracy these days sixteen years ago when Soeharto finally relinquished his 32-year iron grip following bloody protests, brutal attacks on Chinese descendants, … Continue reading

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Beyond Lion Dances and Red Lanterns at Fancy Malls

I spent my formative years in a low-key neighborhood near where Central, West and South Jakarta meets. My public school’s classmates were the local Betawi kids, some of us ‘newcomers’, and a lone Chinese boy named Icong. Icong came from … Continue reading

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