Tasting Jakarta

This coming June 22nd, Jakarta will be five years shy from turning half-a-millennium old. This megacity has come a long way from its humble beginnings when it was still called Sunda Kalapa, a port that was controlled by successive Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms in the […]

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Sarinah: A Compelling Restoration

Until three weeks ago, if you asked me if I would ever write a blog post about a mall, I would have certainly said no, or highly unlikely at best. That was also what I had in mind when I decided to revisit a decades-old […]

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Jakarta, Three Ways

Next month, the Indonesian capital will turn 495. Its position as the business and economic hub of the nation will likely stay for many years to come, although it will soon be stripped of its special status as the country’s seat of government. The administration, […]

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Why Tegal?

To my international readers the name Tegal might sound distantly foreign, but those from Indonesia would almost certainly have heard of it. It’s a city in the western part of Central Java whose residents speak a dialect of Javanese that is so distinct compared to […]

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Lessons from Kampung Naga

Modernity. This word has for long been associated with all things positive. It’s something communities aspire to, it implies progress, it’s the way to go. On a personal level, the word often goes hand in hand with the notion of freedom, of leaving old and […]

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Raw Beauty of Papandayan

Living in a place with the highest number of historically active volcanoes in the world (as per USGS), most Indonesians (except for those living in Borneo and a few other islands) have for generations been accustomed to living a life attuned to the deadly cycles […]

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Cisadon and A Look Back at 2021

In a post I wrote last year, I referred to 2020 as annus horribilis, the horrible year, for life as we knew it suddenly ceased to exist. Cities became eerily quiet, our movements were restricted, we could only meet friends online, and wearing a mask […]

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Kathmandu’s Garden of Dreams

Six years ago this month, I set foot for the first time on a land that felt foreign yet familiar at the same time. India and Indonesia are separated by the Indian Ocean, but relations among kingdoms from the subcontinent and the sprawling archipelago had […]

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A Short Escape to Ambarawa

“Please take me somewhere out of town. I want to see something refreshing.” That was a request my mother made over a phone call prior to my week-long holiday in Semarang back in late May/early June this year. For months until my father’s death in […]

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Memories of Anuradhapura

I don’t know about you, but I am one of those people who like to look at their old travel photos to relive the good memories that might otherwise have been forgotten. Images I took at night around Singapore’s Marina Bay remind me of the […]

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Snippets of Yogyakarta

About one and a half years ago, we were all shocked into disbelief as the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic, and life as we knew it was abruptly turned upside down. In the ensuing months, we adopted new habits so that we could […]

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