“I would describe myself as a student, as a learner,” said Mita, 25, who accompanied me as an interpreter as I visited pesantrens in Central Java. “I’m open-minded.”

When I asked her to compare her experience of wearing jilbab while reporting with not wearing it during her regular life, she thought about it for a second.

“Yes, of course I feel different,” she said.

Watch our short video interview below.


Irfan Prawira: Interview in Jakarta, September 2008

“I don’t see you as a native, I don’t see you as Chinese,” he said a decade later. “We’re all the same.”


Watch an excerpt of the short animation / spoken word film, MIGRATIONS (35mm / 7:50), commissioned by the City of Pasadena in 2006. It explores the Manila Galleon Trade of the 17th – 18th centuries that ran from China – Manila – Acapulco and began a vast transnational migration. I wrote and performed the poetry, artist Alyssa Sherwood created the visuals, DJ Highend produced the music. The film was an entry in the Nashville International Film Festival (2008) and won the Poetry Foundation Award at the Chicago Children’s Film Festival (2008).


Evening in Jakarta – A view from my rooftop

This evening begins the second week of Ramadhan. The puasa, or fast, is broken at sundown with a call to prayer and a light meal. Here’s one evening in Jakarta Pusat (Central Jakarta).



Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s