My Vindication Song

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

Untold Stories

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

Style and Lifestyle through Indonesian Tattoos

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

The Family of GIRLI: the Homeless Children of Yogyakarta

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

Becoming Javanese – How an American in Java Accepts her Fate

Published in the Jakarta Post 15 Sept 09 (the follow-up piece on my mom’s death this year to come, when I get the courage to post it) My dilemma is one shared by so many. When I first moved to Indonesia almost 30 years ago, I already knew this moment would come. It was so … More Becoming Javanese – How an American in Java Accepts her Fate

Merdeka (Freedom: a true story on drug use in Jogjakarta)

Ever since the front room of our small boarding house (kos) came available, and thus given over to the two sons of the house, Kangmas and Dhimas, a demon took over with shocking speed and accuracy. While freedom meant being only some 10 feet away from the main house, the physical distance was compounded by … More Merdeka (Freedom: a true story on drug use in Jogjakarta)