Tags: Writing
September 11, 2012
by Yvette Benningshof

Author Marion Bloem: ‘Indonesian Grandma Moemie Predicted 9/11’

By: Yvette Benningshof

Dutch writer with Indonesian roots Marion Bloem stands in the spotlights this year. She has gracefully reached the age of 60 and celebrates a writing career that spans more than 40 years. She has travelled the world, including the Indonesian islands of Java and Bali, intensively. On her travels she met a clairvoyant Indonesian woman by the name of ‘Moemie,’ who had a great influence on her and is the protagonist in her latest novel. ‘Moemie was chased by visions of the Twin Towers collapsing.’

To celebrate this special year, Marion Bloem completed two books ‘Het Bali van Bloem (‘Bali by Bloem’, richly illustrated with photos of the island) and the novel ‘Een meisje van honderd’ (‘A hundred year old girl’) and re-issued her bestseller debut ‘Geen gewoon Indisch meisje’ (‘Not just an Indo girl’) from 1983.

Many of her books are about finding an identity in a world that seems alien. Bloem (1952) was born in The Netherlands as a second generation of Indo (Dutch East Indies) migrants. Her parents repatriated in 1950 from Indonesia. Her father survived the catastrophe of ‘Junyo Maru’, the Japanese cargo ship that was torpedoed by a British submarine in 1944 during World War II. More than 5000 war prisoners and Javanese slave laborers drowned.

August 14, 2012
by Latitudes

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2012

The Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2012 has chosen as its theme This Earth of Mankind: Bumi Manusia, from the title of an epic best selling book by one of Indonesia’s greatest contemporary writers, Pramoedya Ananta Toer. This Earth of Mankind is the first book in Pramoedya’s historical fiction series The Buru Quartet, first published by Hasta Mitra in 1980. The story is set at the end of Dutch colonial rule and was written while Pramoedya was a political prisoner on the island prison of Buru in eastern Indonesia. Pramoedya’s life on Buru was one of deprivation, hard labour and physical cruelty. Denied even the most rudimentary writing implements, he ingeniously narrated the work to his fellow prisoners, who communicated it throughout the prison population.

May 23, 2012
by Yvette Benningshof

Indonesian Writer & Activist Ayu Utami: ‘I love Indonesia with Pain in my Heart’

By: Yvette Benningshof

Questioning politics, human behavior and her own religion made Ayu Utami into a taboo breaking writer, journalist and activist. She gained instant success with her groundbreaking debut ‘Saman’, that was published just before the fall of Suharto in 1998. Her most recent novel ‘Bilangan Fu’ is dedicated to ‘Indonesia, that I love with pain in my heart.’

The question ‘Why?’ is the main drive for the most famous female author of Indonesia Ayu Utami. ‘I’m interested in the dark side of humanity. Why do people do what they do?’, she says at the Tong Tong Festival in The Netherlands. That is probably why she started off as a journalist for several newspapers. When Suharto banned magazines like ‘Tempo’ in 1994, Utami joined the ‘Alliance of Independent Journalists’ to protest against the ban.

May 21, 2012
by Reza Daffi

Brace Yourself, SBY, a Sack of Postcards is Coming

By: Reza Daffi

In the award-winning clay-animated film Mary and Max, the two main characters find a best friend in each other through letters. Mary Daisy Dinkle and Max Jerry Horowitz feel so excited every time an envelope comes, immediately write back after one does, then can’t wait to receive another.

The story is set in the 70s a time without these modern ‘space-and-time compressors’ like cell phones and the Internet. Today, we obviously are. Yet, as shown by Card to Post, an independent project run by writers Rizki, Putri, and Dea, the excitement of keeping in touch by post is back! The long distance and time as well as the human effort involved in sending — and waiting for—postcards, apparently have a nostalgic effect on our generation.

Card to Post is a wordplay on kartu pos, the Indonesian word for postcard. As the name suggests, it promotes the sending of postcards among people. Here, anyone can write to anyone. Anyone can share with anyone. And sure, anyone can make friends with anyone.

May 18, 2012
by Melissa Lin

Bernice Chauly: ‘Growing up with Ghosts’

By: Melissa Lin

Bernice Chauly is a writer, photographer, poet, lecturer and film-maker. Having been active in the Kuala Lumpur arts scene for almost two decades, Chauly has contributed in a myriad of ways to the evolution and richness of the local arts and literary scene.

Her memoir ‘Growing up with Ghosts’ is a quintessential Malaysian story that seamlessly weaves the diverse threads of ancestry, history, politics and personal narrative. Released just last year, it has now gone into its third reprint.

Chauly has recently completed a two month long residency program by the Nederlands Letterenfonds in Amsterdam and is currently working on a new novel and a new collection of poems.

May 4, 2012
by Latitudes

Write for Latitudes.nu: Share your Views on Southeast Asia!

By: Latitudes

Have you always dreamed of becoming a writer? Do you consider yourself an unlicensed wordsmith?

Latitudes.nu is always on the lookout for fresh talent. As a writer for Latitudes.nu you can contribute to our travel guide, write about culture, lifestyle, art, current affairs, trends, food and anything else Southeast Asian. You come up with topics together with our editor.

How to Become a Writer for Latitudes.nu?

As a freelancer you have to freedom to contribute as often as you'd like. You get feedback from our editor that will help you become an even better writer. Latitudes.nu likes to work with both seasoned authors as well as young inexperienced contributors.

Would you like to be part of the Latitudes.nu team? E-mail info@latitudes.nu for more info and guidelines.

March 12, 2012
by Jesse Boga

Filipino Books for the Lazy Reader

By: Jesse Pizarro Boga

It's never too late to make reading a habit. If you have short-attention span like me, consider the following Filipino titles that turned me from a lazy reader into a mad page turner.

The secret: each book houses short stories that are equally entertaining and interesting. These titles are sure to make you forget the Internet jargon “TL;DR” (too long didn't read).

Take your pick. And if you have a book title to share, leave a comment below.

January 17, 2012
by Latitudes

Online Journalism in Southeast Asia

By: Latitudes

Southeast Asia is one of the fastest growing online markets worldwide! Internet access and speed differ widely, ranging from Singapore with its broadband connectivity to countries like Cambodia and Laos with low penetration rates, or to Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines with huge differences in online connectivity between major cities and rural areas.

Yet, the speed of development is startling all over the region. Mobile Internet access is picking up fast. Internet cafés are losing ground to Mobile as dominant access point. User generated content, micro-blogging and social communities are driving trends. Online search and the amount of uploaded/downloaded video files grow significantly. The spread of Internet and Smartphones is changing the way Southeast Asians are consuming information.

November 7, 2011
by Melissa Lin

Interview with Julya Oui, Author of Bedtime stories from the Dead of the Night

By: Melissa Lin

Julya Oui loves a good story, and writes to appease her imagination and reaffirm her sanity. She loves dreaming up things and making them come alive with the stroke of her pen. Gazing at the night skies, listening to trees, and taking long walks are just some of the things she enjoys doing when she is not lost in the alternate realm

Her collection of horror stories, Bedtime stories from the Dead of the Night has just been released by MPH.

Her stories bring us on a journey into the minds of twisted psyches, and leads us into those in between spaces inhabited by those very creepy things that fill us with dread and fascination. We find in her book, a priest who laments his flock's disinterest in confessing their sins gets more than he bargains for when a prominent, well-respected member of society walks into the confession booth and opens up about his terrible hidden sin.

October 28, 2011
by Latitudes

Singapore Writers Festival

This year’s “Singapore Writers Festival” (SWF) will be featuring some of the world’s major literary talents. The festival is one of Asia’s premier literary events and remains one of the few multi-lingual literary festivals in the world through its focus on the official languages of Singapore—English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil. Check out www.singaporewritersfestival.com for more info.
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