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.’
Tema mengupayakan keberanian untuk hidup sesuai pilihanmu, untuk merasa dirimu punya harga diri meskipun berbeda dengan mayoritas, dirimu layak dicintai biarpun orang-orang bilang dirimu rusak—apakah itu hanya masalah pribadi? Tidak, itu pun politis. Karena merasa memiliki harga diri memberdayakan kita. Kita jadi punya keberanian untuk mengangkat suara, untuk menceritakan kisah kita, untuk tidak lagi menerima diskriminasi atau penindasan.
May 5-8 Eka Kurniawan and I attended Wordstorm, Northern Territories Writers Festival in Darwin, Australia. We talked about political change in Indonesia, female sexuality, freedom and its costs, and censorship.
Celebrate the launch of Eliza Vitri Handayani’s novel From Now On Everything Will Be Different, finally launched in Jakarta. With Kartika Jahja, Dinda Kanyadewi, Sakdiyah Ma’ruf, Jewel Topsfield, Olin Monteiro, and Vendy Methodos.
Love, freedom, and identity are all connected. If we have freed ourselves from a repressive regime, from unfair social norms, can we be free to be who we are? Can we break free from our own fears, from our own past? Are we free to choose what kind of person we want to be?
My characters and I grew up under the New Order, which enforced uniformity. Just as they were graduating college and it was time for them to enter the real world, there were all these new freedoms. Now they could be different, they didn’t have to fear censorship or persecution anymore. But as the euphoria passed, they realized there was still a lot of challenges, and they still had to face their own fears and self-destructive habits. By drawing parallels between my character’s endeavors to realize themselves and Indonesia’s efforts towards democracy, I want to write a story about how to break free and be loved for who you are.
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.
Yayasan Pustaka Obor Indonesia dengan bangga meluncurkan novel MULAI SAAT INI SEGALANYA AKAN BERUBAH karya Eliza Vitri Handayani.