Category: Faces of Indonesia

Rut Dini

Rut Dini: the River Guardian

Dini is a passionate defender of the rivers of Borneo, which is not surprising, as her memories of growing up in a small village on the Kahayan River in Central...

Parman the Tissue and Face Mask Seller

Parman the Tissue and Face Mask Seller

The idea of being an entrepreneur is quickly trivializing itself, and rightfully so. Over the past five years Indonesia—and the rest of the world for that matter—has...

Herawati Diah

An Endless Journey: Reflections of an Indonesian Journalist

One doesn’t plan to live 97 years, but in doing so, it is impossible not to consider how it was accomplished, and moreover, what one contributed to the betterment of...

Inaro the Kerokan Healer

Inaro the Kerokan Healer

A conversation about world of healing would be incomplete without mentioning the wonderful world of kerokan. Kerokan, synonymous with masuk angin, is the storied act of...

Aini Abdul - photo by David Metcalf

Aini Abdul – The Sailor’s Daughter

Aini Abdul was born in a small village in Southwest Kalimantan to a Dayak Iban father and a Javanese mother. Nothing particularly unusual about that in this part of the...

Abdul the Kopaja Driver

Abdul the Kopaja Driver

It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon along Jalan Sudirman, and Abdul Kodir is taking his time. Abdul is sitting in the driver’s seat of his Kopaja, leafing through a...

Linda

Linda the Tsunami Survivor

Linda’s story is somewhat of a reflection of Aceh itself, sad but uplifting. Her life was changed forever a little less than ten years ago, when on December 26th 2004...

Trisno the Mobile Coffee Seller

Trisno the Mobile Coffee Seller

Trisno was far from surprised when Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle chairwoman, Megawati Sukarnoputri gave Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo the nod as their...

Siti the Dayak Dancer

Siti the Dayak Dancer

Siti is an extraordinarily beautiful and determined young woman. Her story is one of courage and determination and a desire to represent her culture through the spirit...

Laiman

Laiman the Cigarette-Loving Restaurant Manager

The ash on Laiman’s cigarette curls and turns grey like a witch’s fingernail. It finally falls on his pants. He sweeps off most of it, but there is a smear...

Pak Anden

Pak Anden: the Dayak Elder and Village Chief

Pak Anden greeted me by smudging my forehead and cheeks with a white powdered paste. After I received my traditional Dayak blessing, we talked about the issues facing...

Dewi: A Success Story

Dewi is a bright, young 19-year-old and has a real spark about her. She was so excited to tell me her story because when she started her first job, straight out of...

Dede - The Ojek Payung

Dede the Ojek Payung

For as long as there have been umbrellas, there have been ojek payung. Every time the skies open over the Big Durian, thousands of unorthodox entrepreneurs like Dede...

Jalan Surabaya

Fizal the Jalan Surabaya Shop Apprentice

For the best deals, it’s a good idea to peek back behind the first row of shops and along the canal that runs just behind Jalan Surabaya. Just off the main road,...