Category : essay

From Ahok, Novel to Khashoggi: reason of our fear

by: Okky Madasari

For so long, I believed that courage was the only moral value that everybody should learn, adopt, apply in life. For so long, I believed that with…

A letter to Habermas

A letter to Habermas

Dear Jurgen,

This is the first letter I have written for fifteen years. Since then, the letter as you and I know it has been forgotten, just like people have…

Islam, Capitalism, and Literature

by: Okky Madasari

NEARLY SEVENTEEN YEARS after the fall of Suharto’s totalitarian New Order regime, Indonesia is a different nation, and many changes have taken place inside South-East Asia’s biggest…

The Survival of Malay Fiction in Singapore

by: Okky Madasari

A room inside the Woodlands Regional Library is full of new and aspiring writers, as well as several established ones, on a Saturday afternoon. They’re discussing various…

Those massive lies in the national curriculum

by: Okky Madasari

So it’s the time of the year again, from the end of September to October.  And again we can expect some ridiculous controversies on the nation’s darkest…

Hijab: Avoided subject on Children's Day

by: Okky Madasari 

The most visible way of celebrating National Children’s Day, which falls on July 23, has been through ceremonies after ceremonies. 

And then? That’s it…

We are neither 'kecebong' nor 'kampret' now

by: Okky Madasari

The last days before the closing of candidates for the president-vice president pairings made an enticing reality show full of surprise, tension, drama, disappointment and excitement, gluing…

Political mothers at their best – and worst

by: Okky Madasari

It’s the month for mothers in Indonesia! 

Many efforts have been made to clarify the history of Dec. 22 — which the New Order…

Questioning Islamic label of books and films

by: Okky Madasari

Please come to Indonesia’s bookstores. You will find many volumes with an “Islamic Book” label filling up the bestseller corner. From fiction to non-fiction, from novel to…

Australia-Indonesia cultural relationship: Those who shaped our critical mind

by: Okky Madasari

As a novelist and also co-founder and program director of the ASEAN Literary Festival, it’s a shame that I know almost nothing about Australian literature. I’ve been…

The illusion of ASEAN and how literature can help

by: Okky Madasari

This month ASEAN celebrates its 49th anniversary. What does it mean for us? 

For almost half a century, ASEAN has been a big illusion fed to all…

Fiction and our despair: A real story of real people

by: Okky Madasari

So, what does fiction mean?

This question returned to haunt my mind when someone asked me to write an introduction for her book based on a piece…

Wiji Thukul: A film alone won't be enough

by Okky Madasari

after Istirahatlah Kata-Kata (Solo, Solitude) has been watched by more than 43,000 people – a very good number for a film that only received very limited screenings in cinemas,…

Wiji Thukul: From Solo to Locarno

by: Okky Madasari

In August 1963, Wiji Thukul was born in Solo, Central Java. This August, 53 years later, a film based on his life was screened for the first…

I hated gays, and they weren't real back then

by: Okky Madasari

Sometimes we hate something just because we don'??t understand it. This is exactly what happened to me when it comes to homosexuality.

Ten years…

On the road with José Ramos-Horta

by: Okky Madasari

“Have you ever imagined, if only Indonesia didn’t invade Timor Leste in 1975, would everything be very different now? Would your country be much better than it…