Tales of the Waria

Goodbye, Makassar. I will miss you.

Tomorrow is my last day in Makassar. I had foolishly thought I might be able to take in a few leisure activities before leaving South Sulawesi. A trip to the famous Tana Toraja, for example. Or a few days spent snorkeling in the renowned waters of Tanjung Bira. Nope. I was clearly deluded. I did […]

Orang Bule

Twice now I’ve hired someone in Indonesia and had them show up with a friend in tow. “Two for the price of one,” I call it. When I was asking Dimas my assistant if this was normal for Indonesia he responded, “Maybe it’s because they’re nervous you’re a bule (foreigner).” He went on to explain […]

Crazy Japanese Lady

Judging from these photos my assistant Dimas took, you’d think that I only have two expressions when I’m shooting: mad and madder. Sometimes I’m struck by how strange I must seem to the local Makassar people. I’ve come a great distance (from Japan, everyone assumes) to spend all my time with transvestites and gay men. […]

The White Hair

Today over lunch, my new production assistant exclaimed with great surprise and a genuine sense of discovery, “Kathy, you have white hair!” Tiara was sitting next to me and gleefully spun around to see my reaction. With a frown, I explained that I had one white hair. That just happened to be prominently displayed. Then […]

Camping in Indonesia

For all three of you that read this blog (hi, mom, Marisa, and Irfan!), I thought I’d share some of my thoughts with you on why shooting in Indonesia is very much like camping. Here goes:

Home Sweet Home

After 2 days in Bali filming Suharni living among orang bule (Westerners), it was time to fly out to Makassar. Stepping out of the Hasanuddin Airport in South Sulawesi, I found myself smiling uncontrollably. God, I love Makassar. Bali may have more beaches and be more accommodating toward Westerners, but it’s also full of obnoxious […]

No Time for Tears…

I’m back in Indonesia for my third and final round of shooting. I have to admit, it was harder to get myself back this time. Love Indonesia as I do, I’m increasingly loathe to give up the comforts of living in a developed nation. But as my good friend Wing advised me, “No time for […]

Love Is in the Air

Weddings. What can I say? I’ve attended about 10 of them since coming to Indonesia. That’s more weddings than I’ve ever attended back in the States. It makes sense—in a densely populated place like Indonesia, chances are there’s always a wedding happening somewhere. I’ve also spent an inordinate amount of time filming weddings. Though warias […]

A New Generation, a New Hope

I have to say for the record that I am very impressed with the burgeoning documentary film scene in Indonesia. Yes, cinetrons (Indonesian soap operas) and vaudeville talk shows still dominate the airwaves, but there is a generation of impassioned young folks who are eager to document all facets of Indonesian life—the good and the […]

Voting Day

Big election day in Indonesia. Today the streets are empty and the shops are closed as people vote for the next president. It’s assumed that the reigning president SBY (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono) will win again, but in Makassar, where I’m at, there’s JK (Jusuf Kalla) fever. JK is from Makassar and around the city, cries […]

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