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Raffi Ahmad while while receiving a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 13, 2021. The event was shown on a live broadcast on YouTube.

As I was watching celebrity and host Raffi Ahmad being among the first in Indonesia to receive the COVID-19 vaccine during a live broadcast, my first thought was this: Why?

It didn’t come as a total surprise because I’d seen a draft list of priority recipients a few days prior, though I honestly didn’t think the government was going to go through with the part of including social media influencers. …


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Photo by Sheany

1.

Sometimes I wish my thoughts would just write itself. There is just so much swirling around in my head that it paralyzes me, making me feel as if I don’t have the necessary tools, time and space at my disposal to make sure that they are conveyed properly. It’s a mash-up of laziness and insecurity; a part of me yearns to take it easy (but I can’t) and the other feels like what I have to say won’t matter anyway.

Yet a smaller part of me often nudges, telling me to use this momentum with courage and determination, that to…


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Photo courtesy of Indonesian Health Ministry

We are approaching the end of March. 2020 has been brutal, huh? It feels like we have been at this social distancing thing for so long and it’s already creeping into a point where we’d all very much like this to be over soon. Realistically speaking, of course — we are not quite near the end of the tunnel, I don’t think. In fact, it’s impossible to really pinpoint where we are exactly. Should we consider this early days still, or are we somewhere in the middle? Have we even passed through the first stage? How many stages are there…


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COVID-19 Situation Update, per 22 March 2020.

It’s Sunday. From what I’ve seen, life appears to be normal around here. People are still going about their daily activities and even with a few banners on COVID-19 suggesting people should stay at home, parking lots are still swarming with cars and motorbikes. I was out for a bit this past week to restock some supplies, and even with the precautions I am taking (masks, hand sanitizers, alcohol wipes, safe distances from others), I still feel so exposed. That’s the thing about viruses; the fact that you can’t see them is what makes it so threatening.

The Indonesian government…


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Photo courtesy of iStock

There’s so much going on in the world right now, but it’s possible that you have come across one viral statement from a commissioner at the National Commission for the Protection of Indonesian Children (KPAI), which has been making its rounds across international news outlets (including non-English speaking ones, y’all) for its undeniably WTF nature, as she’d said that women can get pregnant by simply being in a pool with men.

Let’s recap a little: this commissioner, Sitti Hikmawatty, gave an interview to an Indonesian news outlet published on Feb. …


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I woke up last Monday morning to heaps of tweets sharing news of and expressing condolences over Kobe Bryant’s passing, after a helicopter accident in California that also claimed the lives of eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant.

I’ve never been much of a basketball fan myself and so I can’t speak at length about his achievements or what his career meant to a lot of people out there. Yet I know of him enough to understand the gravity of this devastating news and even I can’t help but feel a huge sense of loss; for him, for…


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University students took to the streets of Denpasar on Tuesday, 24 September, 2019. Photo by Sheany

Once upon a time, there was a little Indonesian girl who knew so little about the world. At a young age, she learned that people viewed protests and demonstrations in a negative light, as if they were the harbinger of chaos. Thankfully that little girl grew up and saw the world, and soon discovered that taking to the streets to speak up about issues that matter is a form of freedom of expression, and therefore part of a basic human right.

In time, she also learned how it was the students’ movement and protests back in 1998 that brought an…


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Screenshot : Agnez Mo / Instagram

If you’re Indonesian and you’re on Twitter or Instagram, you’ve probably come across a post or two talking about Agnez Mo’s new hairstyle. I don’t think it’s too far off to even say that it’s become a national topic this week.

It’s probably worth pointing out right from the beginning that Agnez Mo’s international career has always been a bit of a divisive topic in Indonesian pop culture. …


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Jakarta skyline. (Photo by Sheany)

Many people love to hate Jakarta, and I suspect it’s because they get a kick out of it.

It’s a flawed city in many ways, from traffic jams, pollution, to the lack of green spaces — sometimes it could feel like SUCH an achievement to survive a day in this city. Nothing drives me crazy as much as when it starts to rain, because that’s when everything tends to get even more chaotic.

There’s no doubt that Jakarta could improve in many different ways, but I think we are living amid that process right now. I mean, we finally got…


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Indonesian Election Day on April 17, 2019. (Antara Photo)

On Wednesday, Indonesia pulled off the country’s first simultaneous presidential and legislative elections: and what was perhaps the world’s most complex and largest single-day elections. There were over 800,000 voting stations, more than 190 million eligible voters and around five million election staff, just to name a few of the aspects that made April 17, 2019, a day worth celebrating for the whole nation.

Political uncertainty looms large across the globe, and Indonesia had good reasons to be optimistic, but cautious. I was anxious about the elections, and stayed up the night before worried that I won’t be able to…

Sheany

Indonesian journalist, currently based in Bali.

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