Author Archive

Unproductive cattle prodding

June 2, 2011

This Om’bak post is in response to a number of status updates that have been popping up in my Facebook feed and on Twitter after the Four Corners program “A Bloody Business” about the mistreatment of cattle in Indonesia and Australia’s complicity in this mistreatment.

For those reading about this for the first time, The Economist has a pretty good overview of what has been the reaction in Australia after the program aired on Monday.



Returned to Oz

January 10, 2010

Everyone keeps saying, in strong Australian twangs, “You’ve come full circle”. And I suppose I have, ending in the very same place I left a year and ten months ago. After a year working in Indonesia and travel stints in Canada and South America, with dread and an empty bank account I returned to my hometown.

I was scared that I had changed and more that I hadn’t. I was terrified of Australia and Australians and, in particular, the accent. And so I hid from the quaint, beachside town. I hid from my friends and telecommunication. Locked in a weatherboard house, I dreamt of other places.

But eventually cultural cringe subsided and I finally left the house. I became romantic and wistful, and I began to love this sun-drenched country once again.

While I thought I would be soon moving on, I stumbled upon employment at a local newspaper. And in an instant my trajectory changed. No more suitcases. No more backpacks. No more coming and no more going. In 2010, I am staying put, under clear skies and amid gumtrees, with sand forever in my bed.

Snaps from Sulawesi

May 13, 2009

I have to get out of the house ASAP. Oh … the trials and tribulations of not having your own space. But I am really keen to get something up. For those of you who don’t know, I am the half-wit who made the incredibly intelligent decision of moving from Jakarta to the middle of nowhere, or what seems like nowhere when you are not constantly surrounded by people, cars, vendors, motorcyles, people and people. I have become a little bored and a little obsessed with turning my photos into fake polaroids.

Here are some snaps from Tana Toraja.


From the Big Durian to the Australian Burbs

April 20, 2009

My brain wanders, looking for direction

Where ojeks once darted passed the Hello Misters of children,

The streets are silent and the pubs are full.

My lungs rejoice.

My liver braces.

My heart slumps.

The slaughterhouse 12

December 8, 2008


Goats started to line the streets in the week leading up to Idul Adha. Tied on short leads to fence posts, and feeble.

The smell of manure mingled with the stench of the city in the heat of the day, as the goats breathed in the spluttered smoke of bajaj, kopajas and other fuel-inefficient vehicles.

The goats disappeared this morning.


Words, just words, and a moment of silence

November 27, 2008

The words “blogging”, “blogger” and “blog” have started to appear on our … um … blog of late. It seems we avoided the terms for so long despite our web address and our use of “I”.

It’s all happening this week. Ananda Ayu and I attended the nerdiest of nerd conventions, Pesta Blogger. Om’bak finally created a blog roll, tapping into the broader blogosphere. And we received much-appreciated kudos from much-respected blogger Jakartass.

Even in my short career as a “person who regularly uploads her thoughts onto the web”, coming up with something of some substance to say on a weekly basis is not always simple.

Now the thing with blogging is that it is just so:


First impressions

November 17, 2008
Jakarta haze

Jakarta haze

Jakarta is a series of choked arteries, tangled. Motorbikes weave around stuck SUVs and taxis, while the roads collapse under the weight, potholed and vulnerable.

The city is manic and gasping for fresh air. Smog traps the heat and they swirl together, suffocating the millions below.


Post post

November 11, 2008

I am the first to Om’bak post-execution. So it is inevitable that it be what I write about. Inevitable, but not enjoyed. You just can’t have a website that encourages discussion between Indonesia and Australia without mentioning the executions of the Bali bombers.

I don’t believe in the death penalty, and I hate talking about executions past saying “I hate talking about executions”. Violence is futile.


Porn, scorn and prickly relationships

November 3, 2008


After spending two glorious weeks on the Island of the Gods and the Australian Tourist (Bali), I recently returned to the Big Durian. Overall, I discovered two things:

  1. I am moody no matter where I set foot — It has nothing to do with Jakarta. Maybe Jakarta has to put up with me as much I have to put up with it.
  2. For all its flaws, Jakarta is my home. There were flaws I would just have to accept.


Facebook AA: addiction and attachment

October 10, 2008

The addictive Book of Face (and Ego) is creating new psychological minefields, dilemmas and, quite possibly, dysfunctional attachments to people and places.

The Book of Face's logo

The Book of Face's logo

In one week, I had two people use Facebook as a symbolic gesture that they did not want me to be apart of their cyberworlds anymore for whatever reasons.

The deletion of me, a “friend”.