Tag Archives: Indonesia

From the Tartar Desert

Maybe THE highlight of my visit at the book fair in Frankfurt this year was the Indonesian pavilion; when you entered you literally were in another world. Much has been written about the late start of the Indonesian preparations for the fair, particularly the late kick-off of the translation grant program – but it was all well and who took a little bit time to enter the Indonesian pavilion with its slightly mystic flair could easily forget the frantic atmosphere at the fair. Well done, Indonesia! And it was a pleasure not only to catch a glimpse of the Indonesian book world, but also of the cultural treasures in other areas (Music! Film! Comics! Food!) that the world’s biggest archipelago has to offer. (Not that it was new to me as a former long-term resident of Indonesia…)

We paid of course also a visit to the Indonesian publishers (not ALL Indonesian books are published by the giant Gramedia), and particularly the visit at the Lontar booth with its interesting program of translated titles was a pleasure. Besides, Frankfurt, as is usual during the book fair, paid homage to the Guest of Honor all over the place: there were many readings, gamelan concerts and several art exhibitions at Frankfurter Kunstverein (Eko Nugroho and other artists from Yogyakarta), and at Portikus (Ade Darmawan) to name just a few activities of the program surrounding the book fair.

That Indonesia presented itself in such a splendour at the world’s biggest cultural event is to a considerable part the work of Goenawan Mohamed. Mohamed, the president of the committee that organized and coordinated Indonesia’s participation, is not only the arguably most important Indonesian journalist and since decades the publisher of the famous journal Tempo that played a big role in Indonesia’s reformasi process; he is also an accomplished poet:


Dari Gurun Orang Tartar

Dari gurun orang Tartar,
apa yang diharapkannya?
Dari luas yang mengancam,
apa yang dikhayalkannya?

Di Entah itu, Sancho Panza,
kita cuma nunggu.

Jangan, jangan mengeluh.
Berdirilah kau
di dekatku.

Sebab para ksatria hanya tanda:
angan-angan dan epilepsi
yang tak ingin selesai.



From The Tartar Desert

From the Tartar desert,
what does he expect?
From the threatening width,
what is he imagining?

In that Anywhere, Sancho Panza,
we just wait.

Do not, do not complain.
beside me.

Because the knight is just a presage:
thoughts and convulsions
that do not want to end.


Goenawan Mohamed: Don Quixote, PT Tempo Inti Media, Jakarta 2013
Translation from Bahasa Indonesia by Thomas Hübner 


P.S. – While I am writing these lines, I receive rather disturbing news from Indonesia: the most renowned literary event of the country, the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, organized since 12 years by Janet DeNeefe, has become the target of some officials who threaten to shut it down. The reason: the festival is – like such events should be – a place for open discussion and exchange, also about topics that are still painful for some people in the Indonesian authorities. If the Festival doesn’t cancel its panel discussions about the mass killings of 1965, one of the worst genocides of the 20th century, and is screening Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary The Look of Silence, it will be shut down according to local police, military and government officials.

Maybe these “officials” should have a look at the Indonesian Constitution before they make a mistake – it guarantees freedom of expression and free speech and renders these violent acts of censorship and intimidation completely illegal.

I hope the organizers of the Frankfurt Book Fair issue a swift statement against this incredible scandal. Indonesia was chosen as a Guest of Honor, as a democratic country that respects human rights and democratic values. Those who terrorize the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival destroy the positive image Indonesia just built up – I hope they will not succeed to suppress freedom of expression and free speech. Otherwise it would have been better to not invite Indonesia as a Guest of Honor to Frankfurt.

© Goenawan Mohamed and PT Tempo Inti Media, 2013
© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-5. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago, is the Guest of Honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2015. This is a reason to use the opportunity to read some Indonesian literature – but it is not the only one. Indonesia is also a country with an immensely rich culture, and it is also the country with the world’s biggest Muslim community – and Indonesian Islam is very different from Islam in the Arab world. It has also achieved a quite successful transition from a corrupt authoritarian regime to a quite vibrant democracy that despite some problems is without doubt a success story. (Ok, since I lived in Indonesia, I feel a great nostalghia and am very fond of this country and its people – one reason more for me to read books from Indonesia.)

The dominating Javanese and Balinese cultures have traditionally a strong focus on performative art: wayang theater, dance and ballet, poetry performances, gamelan music. Poetry readings are very popular, and the same goes for theater performances in general; but Indonesians usually don’t read much and buy even less books. The national literature is not a subject in school, and even world class authors like Pramoedya Ananta Toer, the grandmaster of Indonesian literature and Nobel Prize candidate, are unknown to many Indonesians. Only very recently things seem to change a bit: there is a quite generous grant program for translations of Indonesian literature (in English and German), several established literature festivals in Bali, Jakarta, and Makassar are becoming more and more popular, some younger authors, predominantly female, have bestsellers that are really widely read among younger Indonesians – in one word: many Indonesians discover the book and literature in general.

A pioneer in bringing Indonesian literature to foreign readers is the Lontar Foundation, which has published over the years a growing number of Indonesian “classics”. One of these I am reviewing here, Iwan Simatupang’s novel Drought, first published 1972, two years after the early death of its author.

The unnamed hero of the novel, an ex-student, ex-soldier/independence war hero, and ex-bandit decides to participate in the big Indonesian experiment of transmigrasi (transmigration) and to start a new life as a farmer on one of the outer islands of Indonesia.

Transmigration was a huge program of the government of dictator Suharto that aimed officially at a better balance of population on the different islands of Indonesia. The government promised land and all kind of other incentives to mainly poor farmers from the overpopulated island of Java that had been willing to resettle on the other (usually not so fertile) islands. As a result, millions and millions of mainly Javanese people migrated within Indonesia, and it is easy to fathom that this was not only a gigantic transfer of population, it resulted also in many internal problems, starting from hunger and epidemics to which the transmigrants were frequently exposed, to environmental problems as a result of deforestation of huge areas, to ethnic and religious clashes between the frequently Christian autochthon population and the predominantly Muslim Javanese migrants. As a byproduct, almost all islands have now an ethnic majority of Javanese that are and were viewed as being more loyal to the Javanese-dominated central government in Jakarta than the local populations. Judging from today’s standpoint, the whole transmigration project can be considered as a huge failure that instead of improving the life of farmers turned out to be a scheme that was spreading poverty all over the archipelago.

Our hero is willing to fight the drought that the village where he re-settled has to face; while the whole village leaves because of the unbearable drought, he is struggling alone left to his own devices. However, he has not only to fight nature, but also later a number of equally unnamed agents of society and the government: a doctor who seeks to cure his “madness”, or an official of the transmigrasi office that wants to send him back to the same village that is suffering from the terrible drought again after he is released from hospital. But he meets also people who treat him as friend – a smuggler (“the little fat man”), his concubine (“VIP”), and a former guerilla fighter turned bandit (“Beard”).

Simatupang’s characters are all without names – they are not only to be considered as individuals but as symptoms of Indonesian society in the 1960s. The smuggler, the bandit, the concubine, and the hero of the novel are failures in the eye of the society, but they show much more humanity and good-naturedness as the representatives of the system for which transmigration stands for. Simatupang is frequently using humor and irony in the novel to expose the pomposity, arrogance and hypocrisy of “official” Indonesia. According to the translator Simatupang

“delights in exaggerating scenes to incredible lengths, and in the to-and-fro of outraged logic.”

That is particularly true for the scene in which the author describes how a committee of university officials is holding a meeting in which they discuss if and how the university can get rid of this student that is questioning the rules and the authorities so much that it is simply unbearable for some of the professors; just when the heated discussion comes to a stalemate and several participants are on the verge of a nervous breakdown, a message of the hero comes in that he resigns from attending the university on his own will – and with a twist, the author adds that the hero liked the lessons of that professor most who was the most persistent advocate to get him removed from the campus – very embarrassing for those professor who looks now in the eyes of his colleagues (and the readers) like a complete ass. These kind of ironic twists are quite frequent in Simatupang’s novel and make it an entertaining read.

Despite this rather critical approach of the author and his hero towards Indonesian society, the novel ends on a rather optimistic note. The hero, having been going through a long and sometimes painful educative process, realizes that only in living in the company of his fellow-men he can turn his back to failure. If he will finally succeed with his undertaking does not matter so much – at least he will have tried.

“Where to? He didn’t know. Nor did he care. – A new passion seized him. He rolled up his sleeves. He stretched out his hands to the men standing stiffly on the truck. – “Let’s go!””

Drought is an interesting novel, and not only because of its somewhat exotic setting; it is making the reader curious to get to know more about Indonesian literature. The big number of newly translated titles this year is an excellent opportunity to discover this archipelago also via its literature. Make your choice!


Iwan Simatupang: Drought, Lontar, transl. Harry Aveling, Jakarta 2012


© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-5. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Translation Dilemma

The Frankfurt Book Fair that closed just a few days ago, is the world’s biggest book fair. When I was living in Frankfurt, I used to visit this event every year – and each year I was overwhelmed by the sheer size of the fair and by the presence of publishers, authors and other less visible participants from the book industry.

One of the features of the book fair in Frankfurt I like most is that (almost) every year, a country or a linguistic region is the Guest of Honor of the event and has the opportunity to present itself in a thematic pavilion. This year, the thematic pavilion presented Finland – and not only the literature – which is beside Finnish also written in Swedish or Sami language – but the culture in general. (Next year the Guest of Honor will be Indonesia.)

Now what I find interesting is that for a week almost all – so it seems to me – important writers and intellectuals of the guest country are in this medium-sized German city, and this comes with a visibility in public that is quite remarkable. Not only that you have plenty of readings and discussions with writers (and not only from the guest country), but also in TV, print and electronic media, the presence of writers and books is immense.

Knowing well that the thematic choice of the Book Fair is also a marketing instrument to focus the interest of the public on a region that is usually not so much present in the mind of the ordinary reader, the publishing houses include in their programmes also a considerable number of translations from the respective guest of the year.

As a result of these combined efforts (of which of course the translators are a crucial part), I counted 130 new translations and editions of belletristic texts (fiction) from Finnish to German in 2013/2014. Of these, about 70% are books that have never been translated before. Additionally about 60 belletristic books from Finnish authors that write in Swedish or Sami language have been translated into German in the same period.

Just for the record: according to the Three Percent database of the University of Rochester that lists all translations from foreign languages that are available via publishers in the US, in the same period only one (1) fiction book was translated from Finnish to English!

Poor readers in the US (and in the other anglophone countries the situation is almost the same) – when you don’t read Finnish (or Swedish or German), your chances to ever have an opportunity to read a contemporary Finnish novel, story book or poetry collection are almost zero. And the same goes for many many other books even from “major” languages. (I don’t want to insinuate in any way that “small” languages, i.e. languages with a comparatively small number of native speakers produce “small”, i.e. unimportant literature – the contrary is true! I am just referring here to the negligence even of languages with more than 50 or 100 million native speakers)

Maybe Warren Buffett, Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg could sponsor a major translation programme to make all important works of literature available to English-speaking readers? Just asking…

Blogging really opened my eyes about the fact how very important translations of literary texts are. When they are – for whatever reason – not available, many readers are cut off from the chance to really understand what’s going on in the world and how other cultures really are.

The result of this possibly distorted world view is becoming a serious problem – even geo-politically. I am convinced that a lot of the misconceptions and blunders of policy makers are the result of a lack of knowledge – which frequently is the result of a lack of translated information and literary texts.

If this blog and those of many similarly devoted bloggers makes a few people sensitive for this question or in one case or the other finds an important translated book a few new readers – or even a publisher! -, then it has achieved already quite a lot.

By the way, have you read any Finnish fiction? I will for sure later review one or the other book here as well, but I am curious to hear from my readers what they can possibly recommend.

 © Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Colour of September

Fergus Steyn is a bit bored after his retirement. After a professionally successful but obviously quite lonely private life, he is indulging in his childhood memories especially since he was invited as a conference speaker. The conference is on the experience of those Dutch who were repatriated from the former Dutch East Indies after WWII and Fergus Steyn is supposed to deliver a speech and a conference paper on that occasion.

After an early childhood in a caring middle-class family in Batavia (now Jakarta), young Fergus is spending a hard time after the invasion of the East Indies by Japanese troops. Dutch women and children are interned in a camp near Bandung, whereas the men – among them also Fergus’ father – are brought to a slave labor camp in Burma. But Fergus is lucky: his family is surviving the hardships of war and internment and is being repatriated in 1946. But the journey to the Netherlands proves to be much more difficult as the Steyns expected: the women and children are first brought to Ceylon before they are reunited with their husbands and fathers and they have to pass a quite long period on this tropical island before they can proceed with their journey home.

During the ship passage and the time in Kandy, Ceylon, young Fergus (called “Taffy”) gets acquainted with other children with a similar background. There is the ever-hungry Bollie and his big brother Hermann, Filip and his sister Flortje, the Indo boy Jop called “Djangkrik”, and the charismatic girl Pinkie who forms a kind of gang with a secret language and code of this odd group of kids in puberty. The three months in the jungle camp of Kandy are like a paradise for the children: they get acquainted with strange animals and people, they watch films almost on a daily basis in the outdoor cinema, they make friends with gurkha soldiers, while their mothers drink tea and make small talk and try to speed up their reunion with the husbands who are stranded somewhere in Thailand and waiting for a transport to bring the families back to Holland.

Fergus develops an innocent friendship with Pinkie but on one occasion Pinkie is touching Fergus’ leg and this touch is the beginning of a new feeling. Only later, after Fergus has departed from Kandy (and Pinkie) and has returned home with his family, he begins to understand that he loved Pinkie. The invitation to the conference is bringing this lifelong feeling of having missed an opportunity, of not having lived a love that he never experienced again, back to the retired Fergus Steyn. Under the pretext to prepare the conference speech he is visiting two of his childhood friends from Kandy, a slightly disappointing experience. But at least he gets the address of Pinkie, now an old lady living in London with her husband. Finally Fergus is preparing to meet his first love so many years later…

Carel Jan Schneider (1932-2011), the author of “Kandy” was publishing his books under the pseudonym F. Springer. Maybe he thought that for a diplomat – he held various positions in the diplomatic service including that of the last Dutch Ambassador in East Berlin – it is not proper to publish novels and stories, maybe he just wanted to avoid gossip about his mostly autobiographical works. And Fergus Steyn seems to be really the alter ego of its author. “Kandy” is a melancholic book and like his acclaimed novel “Bougainville” has an unlived love as a central topic. The “Forever and ever!”, the oath of the youth gang that was once created by Pinkie, is being replaced by a “Too late!” at the end of the book. What happens in between is told by F. Springer with delicacy and in an elegant style.

F. Springer is an author that is still to be discovered in the English-speaking world, although most of his books are translated in German and “Bougainville” also in French. As far as I know, none of his works is up to now being translated into English. Publishers are kindly invited to change this: they will render readers a valuable service. F. Springer was for very good reasons compared with F. Scott Fitzgerald and Graham Greene.


F. Springer: Kandy, Querido 1998; Die Farbe des September, Suhrkamp 2000 (transl. Helga van Beuningen)

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The first painting

Comics and Street Art are among the major influences of contemporary art in Indonesia.
One of the most influential groups in this field was the (now defunct) Apotik Komik, created in 1997 in Yogyakarta.

Yogyakarta is the art capital of Indonesia. The most prestigeous art school, the ISI (Indonesian Institute of Art) is located there and young artists from all over the country come to the old capital of Indonesia to study. And most of them stay in Yogya afterwards. Art is therefore present in everyday life in this city, and not only in the many museums, galleries and art spaces, but also in the streets. Hundreds and hundreds of mural paintings are scattered all over
the city.

The members of Apotik Komik (Samuel Indratma, Popok Tri Wahyudi, Arie Dyanto and a few others) are now well-established artists in Indonesia and also well-known abroad.


Popok Tri Wahyudi, The Chosen, 2005, oil on canvas, ca. 68x120cm, Collection Thomas Huebner 

When I was living in Yogya, I was therefore already quite familiar with the style of Apotik Komik and other street and comic artists, when I one day saw the above painting in an auction in Jakarta. It became the first artwork I bought in Indonesia.

The work is typical for the style of Popok Tri Wahyudi (born 1973, lives in Yogya). It is strongly influenced by his comics, but compresses a whole story in just one picture. As is usual in his work, he is not so much interested in depicting individual persons, but shows more the archetypical features of people by their gestures and movements, mimic or color that is used.

The central figure, the ‘Chosen’ is surrounded by a group of people that react differently to his obvious suffering (or gift). The man in the blue shirt seems to be curious and is stretching his hand in the direction of the flames, like to see if they are for real or maybe in order to warm his hands. The person left to him seems in the contrary to be shocked and frightened. The other men in the background turn away their faces from the event, one of them as if in embarrassment, the other one looking to the ground but bringing also a towel that might later be used by the ‘Chosen’. Also the man in front of the ‘Chosen’ turns away from him in order not to see his suffering. But he seems ready to help the man with the burning hands by providing a tub with water. The woman right next to the ‘Chosen’ is the only one that has physical contact with the ‘Chosen’ and tries to comfort him by touching his head who is placed in her lap.

The yellow and red colors are dominating and the impression you get looking at the painting
is very strong. How would you react if you were one of the people on the painting?

Recently the artist has been travelling quite a lot, e.g. he stayed at Schloss Solitude near Stuttgart/Germany as a participant of a residency programme. He published also the comic ‘The Light House’ in 2009 in which he is describing in a humorous form his experiences with the difficulties of multidisciplinary cooperation between artists from different cultures during his time as a Solitude stipendiary.

Popok The Lighthouse

Popok Tri Wahyudi: The Light House, Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart 2009


© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Republic of Fun


Today is election day in Indonesia. The voters in one of the biggest democracies of the world (and also the country with the biggest Muslim population) elect a new parliament. It will be noted in the Western media if the political parties close to SBY or Jokowi (Indonesians love to call their politicians by short nicknames) have won and if the election process went on without major problems and irregularities.

But beside from that there is usually not much in our media about the biggest archipelago in the world, a country that resembles more a continent in terms of its variety of cultures, religions, languages, or (endangered) biodiversity. We hear from this country normally only after another big natural disaster (tsunami, earthquake, volcano eruption) has struck it or when holiday time is approaching and we are presented another report about the “exotic” island of Bali, also an endangered paradise. Only recently two new topics have popped up that made it to our news: the Indonesian childhood of the present US President and the ruthless activities of the palmoil and extraction industry that is destroying the livelihood of millions and the natural habitat of many endangered species like the Orang-Utan.

I admit it: when it comes to Indonesia I am a bit emotional. After I arrived in 2009 for the first time in the country, I almost immediately fell in love with this tropical country and its warm and genuinely friendly people. And after two very happy years in Yogyakarta, the center of Javanese culture, it was clear to me that I will come back to this place as frequently as possible.

Of course it is impossible to describe the fascination of Indonesia in a short blog like this. Nor is it possible to give an impression of the life of contemporary Indonesians here in general. But considering the fact that Indonesia is somehow a success story in recent years: a 250-million people of incredible variety got rid of a corrupt authoritarian regime in a comparatively peaceful way and without military intervention from abroad, established a quite robust democratic system with citizens that are no longer afraid to voice their opinions, with millions of Indonesians nowadays moving slowly up the social ladder into an emerging middle class, with arts, literature and any other form of human expression and creativity booming, and with media that don’t shy away from touching topics that were taboo for a long time, such as the excellent “Tempo”, or with documentaries such as “The Act of Killing”, touching on the genocide following the putsch against Sukarno in the mid 1960s which killed a probably 7-digit-number of people, most of them completely innocent of communist sympathies or with the intention to plot against Suharto’s government. Even regarding the colorful personality of Tan Malaka, a more differentiated public discussion is possible nowadays. Considering all this and also the general very fast shifting of economic and political power to South-east Asia, I think it is worth it to start reading a bit about this country.

A small book called “Republic of Fun” (and it is really fun to read it) is now on my table that gives an excellent insight in the daily life of contemporary middle-class Indonesians. It is a collection of pieces that was written by Butet Kartaredjasa for the Sunday edition of a newspaper in Semarang, Central Java. Butet is in Indonesia a very well-known actor, not only on stage but also in countless movies and TV productions. He is also a director, a painter (his father Bagong Kussudiardja was a famous dancer and painter), a successful businessman (he founded several advertisement companies) and a journalist and writer as well. “Republic of Fun” and its predecessor “President of Ridicule” introduce to us the Blurt family (obviously shaped on the basis of the author’s own family): Mr. and Mrs. Blurt and their three children “Brother Chubby”, “Miss Tomboy”, and the youngest, 12-year old “Miss Trendy”. Problems within the family, education issues, health problems, but of course also politics and everyday occurrences form the backdrop of the short pieces that have titles such as “Stopping Violence”, “Scary Statues” (on the fake policemen statues that remind drivers to stick to the traffic rules), “Free University”, “Indonesian Obama”, “Steel Chastity Belt” (on the new Anti-Pornography Bill), “The Koi Tragedy”, and others. Once the cast is introduced, the reader likes to come back because he feels already connected and kind of part of the Blurt family. How is the friendly quarreling between Mr. and Mrs. Blurt going on, which of the children will create a problem this time, and what foolishness or corruption of the country’s political elite he will expose this time? Of course it is not the soap opera quality of these pieces and the admittedly very relaxed attitude of this family man (the people from Yogyakarta, Butet’s hometown seem to me to be the most laid-back people on this planet) alone that make these pieces such a nice and entertaining read. It is the ability of the author to catch a problem precisely and to put it in the form of a witty dialogue or funny little story.

But there is also something very serious behind these pieces. “Steel Chastity Belt” for example starts with a dialogue between the usually ironic Mr. Blurt and his more positively-minded wife. But just this once, Mr. Blurt seems to be satisfied with his politicians.

‘Wow, my representatives in parliament are really something. Top class’, Mr Blurt said, putting on a serious expression. So – what’s going on then, that suddenly he’s so positive? It seems he’s been shaken by the ‘achievements’ of the Members of Parliament who have just finished drawing up the new Anti-Pornography bill that will be ratified soon. And if those MPs are spending time managing things that need no managing, then doesn’t that mean that real problems have all been solved? And doesn’t it also mean that more important, pressing matters have been wiped from the face of Indonesia? Crucial issues to do with the people and the State – like the rise in numbers of the poor, rampant corruption, the collapse of the legal system, the totally chaotic public services, the injustice of mining contracts, the collapsed health system – all these have to been solved.’

In the second half of the piece Butet comes to the really shocking content of this new bill that seems so extremely important that for many months it made the headlines in Indonesia: the first clause of the bill says that

‘anything that is categorized as inciting lust has to be wiped out…It’s not clear just how the bill measures someone’s ‘lust’. And who or which institution will do the measuring, and using what scale.’

Tight women’s clothes, even the use of lipstick or a smile, not to speak about any work of art that deals with the human body, can fall under this incredible law.

‘So, in readiness for this disgusting bill, Mr Blurt is preparing two things. Number one, he wants to order a steel chastity belt for himself to protect his sacred ‘family jewels’ from displaying any untoward aggressive excitement. Number two, Mr Blurt just wants to pray. ‘Please let those who drafted this bill based on such disgusting thinking, which insults all women, be cursed by their own mothers for what they have done.’

“Reading Republic of Fun makes me hear again the voice of Indonesia I remember from my childhood”, claims a certain O. Bama, and an obscure S.B. Why has “Three thumbs up”.

“Life is just dropping by for a laugh.”

Butet Kartaredjasa: Republic of Fun, translated by Jennifer Lindsay, Red and White Publishing, Jakarta 2011


© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.