A personal essay about how reading and writing in many languages have shaped the person and writer I am today.
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.
How was it possible that these people, after three decades of silence and obedience and fear, now found the courage to protest? These people were so used to submitting to fate. How had they decided that they could break the course of History? The protests impressed him profoundly as the first confirmation that one could indeed bring about change. He would never forget how, along with the sound of thousands of students marching, he had heard God lovingly whisper in his ear, ‘You too can change your life’s course.’
Somehow I knew this fire would be here when I wake up, the same way I knew you would not.
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.
Seraya Indonesia menjelang demokrasi pada akhir ’90-an, generasi muda bertanya: apa makna kebebasan? Seorang laki-laki dan seorang perempuan mendambakan kebebasan untuk jadi diri sendiri, meskipun itu berarti hidup di luar norma-norma masyarakat dan budaya.