Someplace Between Respect and Desire

My confusion and alarm soon turned to fear. I felt with every cell on my skin my disadvantaged situation: I was the woman and he was the man, I was Asian and he was white, I was just another local girl and he was the dashing coveted foreigner, I was younger, less experienced, less beautiful, and I probably liked him much more than he liked me.

Beijing Launch, 4 September 2015

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.