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Dialita choir, a celebration of hope

The Dialita choir’s “Song for my Child” concert on Dec. 13 was both an emotional and empowering experience. The performance moved the audience and brought tears to many eyes, while offering an alternative form of dialogue. For me, the tears that night were ones of joy and hope. The program was inspired right from the opening. The producer wanted to …

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Dialita Choir: Voices of the silenced

In times of absolute madness, sometimes it is the voices of our loved ones that get us through the worst of times. In the nation’s prisons, inmates often take to singing their own songs in the discomfort of their cells as a means of expression. Most of these songs, however, are lost over time as the prisoners themselves usually pass …

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Applying Kartini’s Message In Present-Day Indonesia

“In my mind and heart,” a young woman read. She took a deep breath and went on, “… I do not wholly live in the Dutch East Indies; I feel like I live in an era with my white sisters in the far away West.” The young woman stood on a stage in a dimly lit room. In her hands …

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Celebrating Kartini Day With Letters By the Heroine

Born on April 21, 1879, Raden Ajeng Kartini was a women’s rights pioneer during the Dutch colonial period and an inspiration for women after independence. In 1964, she was declared an Indonesian national heroine by President Sukarno and her birthday was subsequently named Kartini Day, which is celebrated annually by Indonesian women. “We read her letters to remind Indonesia that …

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Women in Indonesia — Striving for Equal Rights

Celebrated yearly on April 21, Kartini’s birthday stands as a reminder of the remarkable progress Indonesia has made over the past two centuries in achieving greater equality for women. Grace Susetyo talks to feminist playwright Faiza Mardzoeki about the present status of women in Indonesian society and her recent production at Komunitas Salihara. Set in the late 1800’s during the period of …

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They Call Me Nyai Ontosoroh

Faiza Mardzoeki’s adaptation of Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s Bumi Manusia (This Earth of Mankind), staged at Amsterdam’s Tropen Theater last month, shed the spotlight on a situation many tend to forget, which is as relevant today as in previous centuries. Unlike the original version where Minke, the Javanese student educated at the exclusive Dutch-language school and of royal Javanese birth, plays …

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The rise and fall of Indonesia’s women’s movement

Girls are made of sugar and spice, and everything nice. Boys are made of snips and snails, and puppy-dog tails. The famous lines — made popular through an old nursery rhyme — might sound nothing but funny to us. But if we look beyond those amusing words, we will soon realize they are ridden with gender stereotypes. Yes, like it …

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April Festival: Celebrating women’s `herstory’

The image of the famous heroine Kartini might evoke nothing other than a graceful aristocrat Javanese lady wearing a kebaya – a traditional long-sleeved Javanese blouse – and a sanggul (elaborate chignon). That is why today, every time we celebrate Kartini Day on April 21, we’ll see parades of little girls in colorful kebaya, or other traditional attires – along …

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Public Discussion: “Quo Vadis Indonesia’s Women’s Movement?”

Ten days before the performance in Jakarta, on February 29, in the Galeri Cipta III room at Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta, Institut Ungu and Yayasan Pitaloka organized a public forum with the theme “Quo Vadis Indonesia’s Women’s Movement?”. This discussion helped start the 2008 events discussing IWD and the reflections upon the state of the women’s movement ten years into …

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Foundation to stage play for Women’s Day

The play Perempuan Menuntut Malam (Women Seizing the Night) will be staged by two foundations, Institut Ungu and Yayasan Pitaloka, to commemorate International Women’s Day on March 8. Three actresses — Rieke Diah Pitaloka, Niniek L. Karim and Ria Irawan — will perform the piece at Graha Bhakti Budaya in the Taman Ismail Marzuki cultural center in Central Jakarta on March 8 …

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