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Schooled For Jihad

It is visiting hour at Jakarta's Cipinang Prison and its most famous inmate, the Muslim preacher Abubakar Baasyir, sits on a wooden bench surrounded by a dozen acolytes, assistants and lawyers. Several prisoners attend to him, including a confessed terrorist who has become the cleric's servant and … [Read more...]

Grieving in the Time of Pandemic: Watching My Ailing Mom from Overseas

Watching her mom’s condition deteriorates through video calls from overseas, she is weighed by the heaviness and helplessness of grief in the time of pandemic. I am lying in bed with Beatrice, my 3-year-old daughter, who is eating spaghetti bolognese out of a baby food packaging. She puts a … [Read more...]

Cepuk Flies Everywhere

Can a book take you to fly far into the land of mystery? Of course, it can! And that’s what happened to me. It all started with the suggestion of a favorite editor for me to audition for the author of a children’s book organized by Yayasan Literasi Anak Indonesia (YLAI) for a joint project with Room … [Read more...]


He gave unity to Indonesia, dignity to the downtrodden and anxiety to the powerful, who finally brought him down. He united his country and set it free. He liberated his people from a sense of inferiority and made them feel proud to be Indonesian--no small achievement, coming after 350 years of … [Read more...]

Being a Writer While Young and Female in Indonesia

To all fellow young female writers in Jakarta At an art exhibition a man grabbed my shoulder out of nowhere. He pushed out his bony chest and said, “Hey, I’m a painter!” He looked surprised when I shook his hand off my body and frowned at him – as if that was not the usual reaction he got when he … [Read more...]