Hi Rosa! Would you tell me a bit about yourself?

Yeah. I’m… you know, an eternal student needing to (yes, more than “wanting to”) graduate. I’m 26 and still live off my parents because I’m too lazy to find work and my scholarship had already ended. I live in The Hague where there are a LOT of cool activities and I hate myself because I don’t speak Dutch, making me unable to participate in a lot of events. I spent 23 years of my live living in Indonesia before coming here for my master’s study. I am currently the only daughter of my parents because the universe decided to take the life of my sister two years ago.

How did you know about feminism?

Actually I know nothing about it, you know. I don’t read any Simone de Beauvoir‘s or Virgina Woolf‘s books because I’m essentially illiterate, in the sense of I don’t read many books.

The only books I read were the ones that were in my reach when I was small, and that includes Habis Gelap Terbitlah Terang by Kartini. Obviously, since I was still small, I don’t remember much of it. I only remember that it was a series of letters sent to her penpal in the Netherlands. If she lives in the present day, that’d be blogs. Or articles in a webzine, I guess.

I have no idea about women’s movement, third wave feminism, you name that. I’m not familiar to those. The movement doesn’t originate anywhere near where I’m from. Indonesia is a new country and ever since the first election, women can vote (I guess. The 1955 election). They had female president back in 2001, even though she’s viewed a bit negatively now.

Several months ago, I attended Indonesian Minister of Woman’s Empowerment and Child Protection Yohana Yembise’s talk about gender issues. She mostly discussed domestic violence to women, that is still prevalent in Indonesia. More about women in Indonesia can be read in this Quora thread.

Currently I read a a website quite religiously, checking every time they have a new article. It’s called Magdalene and I got the exposure from them, as well as Quora.

But, how does it connect to your life?

Yeah well. I’m kind of a privileged bitch who don’t even know how to struggle since my parents and my surroundings grant me that privilege. I never had to work super hard, never been so depressed, yada yada yada. Moreover, I tend to be opportunistic. At work, a lot of the time I got away from something just because I’m a girl. There’s a scary client-boss? He’d gladly explain me things just because I’m a girl–with guys he was more harsh. Weird hair as a result of a shitty experiment? Just put on a headscarf. Guys don’t have those privileges. They can’t just put on a headscarf if they accidentally dyed their hair blue. And what else? A lot of them. There aren’t many girls in STEM? Good! More eye-candies in campus, because I’ve always chosen technical university (Insitut Teknologi Bandung in Indonesia and Technische Universiteit Delft in The Netherlands).

Then, the usual women’s problems–catcalls and sexual harrassment. I actually thought that I’ve never been catcalled. There was one time when I walked with my cousin and she was the one getting catcalled, not me. Then I saw this and I realized that the “Miss, where do you want to go?” or a “Hi” on the street were catcalls. I um… I actually replied those people. If I feel like it, I would actually ask for direction. If I don’t feel like it, I just replied them while still walking, basically a bit shouting so that they could still hear me because I’ve passed them. I actually think that I would still do that, while telling them that women might be uncomfortable with their catcalls.

Then, sexual harrassment. I’ve had it twice; one in Jakarta and one in Rome. Back then I had no idea what to do, so I didn’t do anything other than dodging their hands and running away. (Now I know that I should confront those people.) But then, yeah, I thought it was just another crime, such as being pickpocketed and that there is nothing I can do to avoid that.

How did your upbringing play any role?

With gender equality and feminism kind of issues? Again, privilege. I only have a sister, so I have no comparison on how my parents would raise any son. But I guess it’d be the same, because age and context also matter.

One thing I remember is when I used to put my legs up when I’m sitting (“duduk mekokok”) because mom said “you’d be raped” (“nanti diperkosa”). I was small and I didn’t even know what rape means. Oh, there’s one more character on me: I’m not critical. I don’t question things and hence I didn’t even ask mom what rape is. Moreover, mom complains a lot that I’m super messy and she was like “Your dad is even more tidy than you! Girls should be tidier than guys!” — my answer was “It doesn’t have any connection with gender, mom”. Sometimes also, when dad was drilling a hole on the wall when he needed to install something, I wanted to try but he sent me off saying that it’s a male job. Privilege! I don’t have to do that, my dad would do that.

Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I was also not into the “boys” things, such as football. I didn’t have to “fight the stereotype” or anything, probably because I don’t have anything to fight for or “oh, it’s so rare for a girl to do that!”.

So you’re not a feminist.

My semi-boyfriend (duh?) told me that if a woman (or someone, anyway) is not a feminist, she doesn’t understand what feminism is. Ok let me look up the definition of feminism.

Merriam Webster: “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes”, “organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests”

Wikipedia: “a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define and advance political, economic, personal, and social rights for women”

OK, sure. There should be equality among sexes. Women’s right? Yes, where the rights are inequal, it should be equal. Does it make me a feminist? Are you satisfied yet that now I’m categorized as a feminist?

Usually, I don’t use the term and declare myself as a feminist because I couldn’t identify to that–it wasn’t popular in Indonesia and I can’t label myself something I don’t understand. Anyway, I’m into gender equality. I think that people should be empowered, people should have freedom. People should be able to live a life without domestic violence–men, women, children. The victims, probably most of themare women, should be able to report to the police about the violence. If there is a marginalized group of women, you should fight that, such as what you can see here. I’m into empowerment.

So you’re into gender equality and women’s empowerment. Have you always been that way? Probably you weren’t like that because patriarchal society had influenced you. What views have changed over the years?

Yeah, of course. The society put expectations on genders. E.g., men should provide for the family. I used to think like that and I disliked my previous partner’s view which says that the wives should also contribute to family income. Now I think that both should contribute to their household based on their own agreement, financially or not, without any societal expectation. I have a friend who is a mom of two and she came here to the Netherlands to study. At that time, her husband left his job in Jakarta and came here to be with his wife and children, mainly doing things online. Did I think that she shouldn’t ask her husband to come here because he has his own career in Jakarta? Did I think that wives should follow their husband and not the other way around? Yes (and obviously now I don’t think that way anymore).

However, I’ve never thought that your worth as a woman is defined by a set of things, such as her ability to have children, no. Moreover, I always thought that I could be anyone I want to be; there is no limitation just because I’m a woman.

Due to the exposure of the internet and long talks with my friends/partners, my views on several things also changed. It’s not about gender equality though; it’s about being ok with myself (it empowers me, actually! That I don’t have to conform with what society thinks). It took me a long time to be ok with myself. My ex used to hate me because I kind of led him into sin; that I had sex outside marriage. I used to think that it would be easier to live my life if I’m a virgin. That if I could turn back time, I should be 18 again and not have sex with my boyfriend at that time. But as I grew older, no. I’m ok with myself. I’m ok with those sleeping arounds, as long as I’m responsible about that. I learned the “as long as I’m responsible about that” the hard way. At one point, I slept with a guy who slept with other women too and as a result I got genital herpes (HSV-1). So, use condoms, people. Abstinence OR be faithful OR use condom. Lol.

But then again, I didn’t feel any gender inequality over the virginity thing. I read on the internet that the society is ok with boys sleeping around but not ok with non-virgin girls. It was not the case with my life. Where I’m from, it’s not ok for boys and girls to have sex before marriage. My ex was even threatened to be disowned by his family (his mom?) if he had sex with me.

Okay, I think that’s it for today. You’re a feminist in your own way, I guess. Any other remarks?

Due to my “good” surroundings, I’ve never had to fight for any “injustice” just because I’m a woman. I’ve never been told to be the second sex or anything. I have my freedom which I take for granted–in fact I took advantages of some things because of my gender. Anyway, in a more equal society, I’m ready to lose those trivial privileges I’ve had as a girl (you know, the getting away from things because I’m a girl or having more eye candies in campus because more girls choose STEM).

I know that there are a lot of people who can’t do something they want or experience discriminations based on their gender, and that is not only women–men also, and everyone in between, the non-binary people. This is based on (outdated?) societal expectation and we all should do something to change that. How? By examining again our opinions. Do you think that being a stay-at-home dad is less respectable than being a stay-at-home mom? Do you think that women should be A and men should be B and non-binary people shouldn’t even be in this world? Would you feel devastated if your son feels trapped in a male body and he thinks he’s actually a female? By thinking about how we form our opinion or judgement (and moreover, how we feel about something), we can start small. Start from ourselves. For women and other marginalized groups, empower yourself, and then you can inspire people around you.


Dalam rangka Hari Kartini. Den Haag, 21 April 2017.


Kadang, ketika aku mendengar suatu cerita kelam, sisi idealisku muncul dan aku tidak ingin menjadi bagian dari “rantai-nilai” (value chain)* kekelaman.

Saat Via bercerita tentang perkebunan mawar di Kenya yang mematikan danau Naivasha dan membuat sumber air bersih berkurang, aku akan berpikir dua kali jika ingin membeli mawar di supermarket. Bahkan, mawar tersebut dilabeli fair trade — sungguh kekejaman dunia bisnis! Memang, hal ini bisa dibilang lumrah, tak hanya mawar. Film dokumenter “The True Cost” mengungkap sisi lain dunia mode dan “Cowspiracy” mengulik efek peternakan bagi lingkungan.

Tapi, cerita kelam tak hanya bisa dilihat di situ.

Beberapa saat yang lalu, temanku yang pemusik bercerita tentang pengalamannya (dan teman(-teman)nya?)* menggunakan obat-obatan (untuk dicatat… sepertinya mendapatkan obat-obatan di Belanda lebih mudah daripada di Indonesia, dengan kualitas yang lebih tinggi?). Walaupun tak eksklusif di dunia musik, hal ini tak pelak* mengingatkanku pada musisi dunia terkenal yang mempersembahkan musik yang sangat indah — kemudian meninggal di usia muda karena (penyalahgunaan?) obat-obatan atau alkohol. Kadang aku berpikir hal ini saat mendengarkan musik yang indah. Hal ini cukup mengganggu pikiran, rasanya aku tak bisa lagi menikmati musik sepenuhnya. (Ya, hal ini juga terjadi di dunia lawak, dunia finansial, dan lain-lain, tapi karena cerita yang terakhir adalah tentang dunia musik… Itu yang ada di pikiran.)

Ada pula cerita lain, kali ini di dunia sastra. Penulis Eliza Vitri menuliskannya di Magdalene, webzine yang kubaca “secara relijius” (religiously)*. Di situ, ia bercerita betapa penulis muda wanita kerap mengalami pelecehan seksual oleh penulis lelaki senior di lingkaran sastra Jakarta. Aku sampai mengirimkan pesan pribadi kepada Eliza untuk memperoleh versi bahasa Inggrisnya, karena aku ingin membagikan artikel tersebut pada temanku yang tidak berbicara bahasa Indonesia. Pula, Pradewi Tri Chatami pernah menuliskan hal serupa di catatan Facebook beberapa tahun silam. Apa aku harus teringat hal-hal ini tiap kali aku membaca novel dan syair di kemudian hari?

Tapi, yah, di akhir hari*… Hampir semua* hal memiliki cerita di belakang layar yang tak selalu indah. Tak tahu juga aku, bagaimana harus bersikap. Nikmati apa yang ada, mungkin? Mungkin.



Sometimes, when I heard a “dark” story, my idealistic side surfaced and I didn’t want to be a part of that “dark” value chain.

When Via told me a story about rose plantations in Kenya which killed Lake Naivasha and made the fresh water source scarce, I would probably think twice when I want to buy roses in supermarket. Even those roses are labelled fair trade — oh how the cruelty of corporation world! Indeed, this could be considered normal, not only roses (are like this). Documentary film “The True Cost” revealed another side of fashion world and “Cowspiracy” explored the effect of cattle farms to the environment.

But, the dark stories can also be found in other places.

A few weeks ago, my musician friend told me about his (and his friends’) experience in using drugs (note: obtaining drugs in NL is easier than in Indonesia, and with higher quality, I guess). Even though not exclusively in music, this thing inevitably reminds me to world-renowned musicians who write and perform very beautiful music — then die young because of drugs or alcohol (abuse). Sometimes I think of this when I hear beautiful music. This thought is quite disturbing that I can’t fully enjoy the music anymore (yes, this also happens in other entertainment-related industry and in Wall Street, but since the last story was about music, that’s what’s in my mind recently).

There is also another story, now it’s in the literary world. Writer Eliza Vitri wrote it in Magdalene, a webzine I read religiously. There, she spoke about how young female writer often get sexually harrassed by male senior writer in Jakarta literary scene. I had to send a private mesage to Eliza to get its English version, because I wanted to share that article to my friend who doesn’t speak Indonesian. Also, Pradewi Tri Chatami wrote about similar story in her Facebook note several years ago. Do I have to remember these things every time I read novels and poems later?

But, well, in the end of the day, virtually all things have behind-the-scene stories which don’t have to be all beautiful. I don’t even know what to do about this. Just enjoy them, perhaps? Perhaps.


Catatan tata bahasa (*)

I write (and read) sooo much in English these days that I’m kind of losing Indonesian language-sense. My English isn’t that good, but it turns out that my Indonesian sucks as well.

  • In this writing, I had no idea how to translate value chain, religiously, and virtually (which I translated to “hampir semua”). Same goes to “di akhir hari” which is basically “in the end of the day”, even though I guess “di” can’t be used as time propositions, it should only be used as place propositions.
  • My logic is also a bit flawed, there are sentences that are ambiguous, where I rewrote some of them.
  • My use of idiom also sucks, I have no idea whether “tak pelak” is OK to use in that context (I checked KBBI and “pelak” means “salah”, and “tidak pelak lagi” means “tidak salah lagi”, meanwhile I wanted to have an idiom for “inevitably” — “tak terhindarkan”?).
  • Then… punctuation, how I use parentheses inside parentheses. Duh. Is it correct?

Anyway. Not a Gramar Nazi.


Ada barang-barang (yang) bergelimpang di meja seberang.
   Apa pecah? Atau belah?
Bukan masalah.

Ada bunyi-bunyi (yang) bergelombang di luar ruang.
   Apa angin? Atau dingin?
Bukan main.

Ada gawai-gawai (yang tak kunjung) bergelinjang di genggaman mojang.
   Apa jaringan sedang terhalang? Atau bujang ingin hengkang?
Bukan apa-apa, hanya saja, kepada bujang hati mojang berkembang — walaupun tak mojang tahu ke mana bujang hilang.


Den Haag, 22 Februari 2017, inspired by appelsap87

A few days ago, I met with an old friend. We talked over dinner, and he asked me about what was Indonesia’s response to Trump’s immigration ban to 7 countries.

(If it matters, he’s Dutch and a staff in a political party.)

I replied, nada. Indonesians are busy with their own things. I told him we have this Pilkada governatorial election thingy this year so people are busy watching the debate and those things. And they’re busy fighting with each other on that (no, I didn’t tell him that, but basically that’s the fact). And a bunch other domestic issues. They don’t really pay attention of newest Trump’s policies and that’s not something that makes it to the “buah bibir masyarakat” aka trending topic.

In short, they have their own thing.

Then I told him, for me personally I follow an English-language Indonesian newspaper (The Jakarta Post), that’s basically my news source. Sometimes I checked other media such as Kompas, but I couldn’t fathom why they put those news on their website (basically, their web version is shitty, it’s better to read the actual newspaper they sell on the street). Same goes to Tempo. For international news, Quora is my source (it’s a little bit better, previously it was fucking 9gag, LOL).

He then asked me, don’t you follow a proper international news source?

I was like, nope. I used to follow all those New York Times – BBC – everything on Twitter (plus a bunch more of Indonesian news website, actually), but I unfollowed most of them. There were too much shit going on everyday, and I want a peaceful timeline.

Then he said, “Ah, so it disappear from your timeline, and that makes all those horrible things disappear to from the world? It doesn’t work like that…”

I laughed so bad. Of course, that wasn’t my intention. But I just said, yeah, of course it works like that…

He continued, “But anyway, there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s not like you’re someone who can change the world, an influential politician,”. Yes, indeed.

Ignorance is a bliss.


UPDATE: mojok.co just wrote about Trump & “muslim ban”, so I guess it should have more response from Indonesia, lol.

Derainya hujan,
kelabunya awan,
sekeliling tak
tunjang perasaan, hati nan gelisah akan

satu sangkalan
yang engkau ucapkan.
Teguh dan yakin
terlempar bak sauh, jauh dari keyakinan.

yang kau bilang.
Ah, luluh lantak aku.

Aku teringat saat bahagia adalah kita. Cengkrama.
Itu apa?
Itu khayal.
Itu bayang yang

kemarin masih,
kemarin hidup,
kemarin ada,
kemarin nyala.

Apa aku harus lupa akan kita?

Kemarin cerah,
kemarin ceria.

Apa aku harus lupa akan semua?

Kemarin tawa,
kemarin tiada.

Apa aku harus bakar tanda mata, apa aku harus rendam tenggelam kisah yang ditutup dengan kelam?

Jalanan tak juga menyepi burung gereja berkicau tanpa henti.

Kita bertolak.
Tak toleh belakang.
Kau naik k’reta
dan aku berjalan, sampai datang kesunyian.

Canda semesta ke manusia.

Suatu hari…


Pelangi ­­­­­­–

di mana beruang berperosot

ke bak bijih besi

sambil bernyanyi —


cepat-cepat pergi

ketika matahari menyerobot

dan gerimis berhenti.

Sementara aku berdiri,


berdiri melihat semua hal-hal absurd ini yang aku tak tahu apa nyata apa maya apa mimpi.



Jakarta 6 September 2016



Beruang dan Pelangi (Lostgirl Deviantart)

The first time I went to Europe, it was Malpensa Airport. 2011. But after that the journey took me and my friends to Perugia, so we didn’t stop in Milan. We visited Milan the day before we had to fly again back home. It was nice going around Piazza Duomo and Galeria.

I made a stop in Milan, back in 2014. It was short and confusing: I was in a bus and it was a stopover to Rome. I knew no one, no one spoke English, no ticket counter open, and I had to survive alone.

The third time, I met someone here who I met on the internet. We talked everyday and never spent any day without talking to each other. He was, and still is, my support to live my daily life. We had a great time strolling around Milan. Mid March 2016. Only for a day.

Now I’m in Milan again. Doing thesis. I met him also yesterday, for only a short time. We bid goodbye in S. Ambrogio metro station: an awkward romcom-drama thing. Milan was rainy. We broke up. (The day after I’m still here because my flight is still tonight and I need to still do my thesis.)


(In the hotel, I found a map of Milan and found the great museums. I need to come back here. Someday. Visit the city the way I visit others. Look at the culture, look at the history, and everything. For Milan itself. I know I will.


Because Milan is the city I keep coming back to.)

Yippi! Sumpah gue boros banget akhir2 ini. Beli macem2. Earphone lah. Webcam lah. Buku lah. Semua aja dibeli. Hahaha.

Satu deh nih yang barusan gue beli. Mikrofon. Udah niat dari jaman masih jadi penyiar Radio PPI Belanda, pengen beli USB mic. Berikut penampakannya.


[suddenly switch to English]

I bought this microphone from bol.com, around 58 euro I guess. The voice setting isn’t omnidirectional; it can only capture voice from in front of the mic. Entry level mic. As good as my previous laptop’s mic, I guess. Not that good. But it’s the best I can find with my budget lol. I didn’t buy pop filter also… so I’m looking forward to make a DIY pop filter. And btw I need to make the mic a bit far… If not my voice will go beyond the freq range and give the buzzing sound.

Wanna hear the sound test? Listen to my cover below 😛 😛 😛

Note: I used a sock for popfilter *abal-abal*, and used Audacity for mixing & editing. I only amplified some parts and did reverbs (small bright room settings), WITHOUT NOISE REMOVAL omg lol. Oh and btw I noticed my clock could be heard if I didn’t put it somewhere else.. So for now my wall clock is *safe and sound* under my blanket.

Meanwhile this is the UNEDITED one (no noise reduction, no reverb, no amplification, etc. recorded in my room)