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Interview: Damhuri Muhammad

What Media Says

In this article: Damhuri Muhammad

Written by Christian Smith, and was originally published in Isthmus, The

Jul 25, 2023

What is life like in Jakarta for a writer? What is the literary culture like?

DM: Jakarta is an overcrowded city, the capital, as well as a trade city. It was the city where all dreams are to be achieved, including the dream of becoming a writer. Many people, from various regions in Indonesia want to urbanize to Jakarta, though surviving as Jakarta-dwelled is not easy. Competition among job seekers in Jakarta is very tight. Without adequate competence, you’ll be unable to compete in Jakarta. Likewise the competition for recognition as a writer. One of the considerations for getting that recognition is literary work’s publication in prominent newspapers which provide a literary page every week. The next problem is, the payment for accepted submission in the major media is too small and can’t support the writer's daily living expenses. Consequently, a writer must work as an employee, so that he could fulfill basic needs. Can you imagine how to write fiction in a situation when you are obligated by office hours every day? Furthermore, you also have to adapt to traffic jams, inadequate public transportation services, and threatening street crime in every single days.

Read the full article here.

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