In the Mood for Kopitiam


Kopitiam, or Chinese coffee shops, are important to the lives of millions of people in Southeast Asia, but for Vema Novitasari of Surabaya, they have played a more particular role in her life.

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Why Do Equatorial Trains Have Antarctic Temperatures?


We’re sitting next to each other on hard, straight-backed seats, the type that can’t be adjusted at all. No problem if you’re only sitting for a few minutes. But if you’re on a train travelling all night and you’re trying to sleep, this type of seat is hell for your backbone. You can try valiantly to shift your body left or right, but neither direction is much help…

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Online Learning In The Javanese Countryside Isn’t As Easy As Turning On Zoom

Artikel Edot Pic 3

The school where I teach is in a small village on the outskirts of Pemalang, a city of around 1.5 million people in north-central Java. The road I take to get there, while asphalted, is only around three metres wide, pothole-riddled, and flanked left and right by rice-fields…

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The Kost of Freedom

Kost Of Freedom

Young people in Indonesia commonly think of living in a kost, or studio flat, as the essence of freedom. Vema Novitasari wonders: are they right?

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Why I Walk With My Eyes Cast Down In Jatinangor


In my four years as a college student in Jatinangor, a small city just outside Bandung, West Java, I shied away from looking straight ahead of me when out and about. When walking, I assumed a hunched, bowed posture and I kept my eyes fixed on the ground, looking up just often enough to avoid crashing into anything. Not without cause, naturally…

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Last Angkots of Bekasi


Though it seems perfectly normal to take pride in where we came from, the concept remains foreign to me. The thing about my city is, there’s not a lot to brag about. It’s not easy to be proud of something that’s become the butt of so many jokes…

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