As democratic reforms swept Indonesia in the late nineties, the nation’s young generation asked themselves: what does it mean to be free? This novel is a compelling study of freedom and love, community and conformity, told with humour, sensuality and a subtly sharp political intelligence.
Kukesampingkan renda blus sehingga bahuku terungkap. Belum pernah sebelumnya aku keluar di tempat umum dengan bahu terungkap. Aku tak sabar mencicipi seperti apa rasanya. Bukankah kita harus menghadapi rasa takut demi memperoleh pengalaman baru?
Kita berhutang pada diri kita sendiri untuk menjaga keberagaman kita—untuk mewujudkan sebuah bangsa di mana semua orang dapat, dengan aman dan leluasa, menjadi diri mereka masing-masing.
Esai ini merupakan bagian dari serangkaian yang ditugaskan oleh Pusat Australia-Indonesia—penulis dan komentator terkemuka dari Indonesia dan Australia memeriksa secara dekat masyarakat, budaya, dan situasi politik di negara masing-masing. Ketika diminta menyumbang esai untuk serial tersebut, langsung terpikir oleh Eliza untuk menyelusuri topik itu melalui tema trauma personal dan nasional, terutama tragedi Mei 1998.
Eliza Vitri Handayani’s From Now On Everything Will Be Different is a taut and intense novel that depicts a moment in a society, and in two lives, when the hope that everything can be better is real, when it partly happens, a revolution experienced through the lens of a photographer, a young woman who, as author, offers us her own new writer’s voice. Handayani’s commitment as a writer is continuous with her work as a translator and also as an advocate for freedom of expression.
This essay is part of a series commissioned by the Australia-Indonesia Centre, with leading writers and commentators from Indonesia and Australia each looking closely at their own society, cultures and political situations. When asked to contribute an essay to the series, Eliza thought of exploring the subject of Indonesian identity through personal and national trauma—specifically the May 1998 tragedy.
To censor is to say certain voices are not okay. When you don’t see people like yourself represented, you may feel isolated. That’s why intolerant groups must not be allowed to define what it means to be Indonesian. We owe it to ourselves to take care of our diversity—to realize a country where everyone can be true to themselves.
26 August-17 September 2016 Eliza had the opportunity to tour Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide to promote her novel From Now On Everything Will Be Different. Her appearances were supported by WrICE and Vagabond Press.
At MWF Eliza spoke at the panels Muslim Feminism, Protest & Rebellion, and Writers Across Borders. She was also one of the surprise guests at Dumbo Feather’s Caravan Conversation.
Pada 30 April 2016 Eliza mengampu lokakarya menulis tentang pengalaman traumatis di toko buku Post, Pasar Santa, Jakarta.
WrICE brings together a group of five Australian and five Asian writers each year for a face-to-face collaborative residency in Asia followed by a reciprocal event in Australia at the Melbourne Writers Festival. It contributes to an Asia-Pacific community of writers, sparking networks and connections and raising the professional profile of writers across the region. Eliza Vitri Handayani was one of WrICE’s 2016 fellows.