When I was about 15 years old in 1970, my Aunt Sylvia let me ransack her attic and take with me anything I wanted. She was a professional singer and her collection of street and stage outfits consisted of dozens of boxes of items dating from the 1940s through to the 60s. I was set. … More Gloria Swanson’s Dress
Postcard from Flores: on food Flores is one of my favorite places on earth – a small tropical island in Eastern Indonesia with cool weather, amazing mountains and scenery, fabulous beaches, abundant greenery with things to pick and eat everywhere! One never goes hungry in Flores – or so I thought. In Flores, my favorite … More Postcard from Flores – Signed, a concerned project evaluator
I wrote these words during my tenure as projects coordinator for the Australian Red Cross in Aceh following the tsunami in 2004. I was concerned that none of the interventions managed by most aid organizations had an exit plan, something I thought would be devastating to the already devastated communities we were supporting. You cannot … More The Exit Strategy
Our first full day in Delhi, we three gals flagged a pedicab to take us from our hotel in the touristy area of town over to Connaught Place, the old, but ritzy shopping district. We knew the general direction as well as knowing how long it should take and the general cost. The rest was … More A Day in Delhi
I am in the middle of evaluating a Human Trafficking project in a large Asian country. The well-known international organization I am evaluating has made some great improvements in combatting this awful problem. But I have faced a massive dilemma in evaluating the victim ‘protection’ projects I was taken to see because of what I … More RESCUED?
One mustn’t look into the abyss, because there is at the bottom an inexplicable charm which attracts us. Gustave Flaubert Serene, quaint, calm, are the words that come to mind in describing the Banda Islands, a small group of ten islands in the Eastern Indonesian province of Maluku. Banda Naira, the administrative center of … More The Ragged Edge of Paradise: Postcard from the Banda Islands
Mom died, aged 86, at 7:20pm on 27 Jan 2015 in her nursing home bed in Florida. Her death certificate states 8:59pm because that is when the hospice chaplain finally arrived to confirm her death. I had an hour and a half mainly alone to discuss with my mom everything I’d wanted to talk to … More Losing at the End Game
Gender inequality, elitism, and ivory tower protectionism all succeeded in weeding me out of my academic career twenty years ago, but only now do I have the words to explain or even understand how and why this happened. From the start, I must emphasize how much I wanted that academic career. Unlike most of my … More My Vindication Song
It was already quite late on the last night of the fasting month of Ramadhan, 1993. I was sitting on the bottom bunk bed along side Sari and her youngest brother Atong. She had asked me to come and sit here because she had something to tell me. We were staring at the old ceramic … More Untold Stories
Following a few weeks’ residence in Liberia, in which I spent a total of two days in field research and interviews, I was then off to Sierra Leone for 5 days, in which another day was allotted for field research. Despite a full schedule, I only managed 1 very formal, large, crowded ‘interview’, but a … More My West African Development Safari
It’s time to think about what istimewa really means – before it’s too late.
… More KAMI JUGA WARGA JOGJA ISTIMEWA: ‘LONDHO’ MENGAMATI JOGJA