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
Originally published in Latitudes vol 12. January 2002 Since her rape by an unknown assailant, Docter Monik (Sophia Latjuba), was traumatized. All efforts by Jimny (Gito Gillas), her fiance, to please her always failed. Monik hated Jimny, after she caught him fooling around with one of the nurses in the hospital. Since then Monik always rejected … More Style and Lifestyle through Indonesian Tattoos
Ageing just means getting better at being me! … More Never Too Old
This is one of the very first ethnographic articles I ever wrote, and which went on to thoroughly influence how I went about the rest of my career. Street kids trained me in ethnographic analysis, patience, trust, and how to combine advocacy with research. In short, if you are not giving back something to the … More The Family of GIRLI: the Homeless Children of Yogyakarta