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UWRF Book Club // Ayundari Gunansyach

Posted: 23 August 2017 Author: sikuska

With an office bookshelf positively groaning with the works of 150+ speakers set to descend on the UWRF17, Festival staff have no shortage of literary inspiration. So what’s keeping them up at night, page by page, in the lead up to this year’s event? In our latest series, #UWRFBookClub, we chat to the Festival team about their highlight authors and artists. To kick things off, we hear from National Media Coordinator, Ayundari Gunansyach.


I first read Seno’s work when I was still in middle school and I picked up Sepotong Senja Untuk Pacarku from the school library. I always look forward to seeing Seno as part of UWRF discussion panels because he is a brilliant human being; his answers and arguments are always sharp, on point and raw. I’ve been wanting to read Kentut Kosmopolitan, Seno’s essays about Jakarta, but I can’t find it in the bookstores. I always check his website regularly.


I read Tarian Bumi by Oka Rusmini when I was still a teenager, on my Mom’s recommendation. I fell in love with it immediately. Reading the book as a teenager, I was only focusing on the love story, but actually it’s much more than a love story; its about the struggle of being a woman in a patriarchal world. As an Indonesian woman living and working in a modern age, I do experience confusion about my role, and I can’t wait to listen to Oka’s view on this at the UWRF17. She has been known as a feminist and her works are a critical examination of Balinese patriarchal culture.


One of my first jobs working for the Festival was to write a press release for the launch of the 2016 theme, ‘Tat Tvam Asi’. My Marketing Manager already had a beautiful Indonesian quote about the theme, but sadly it was in English. I didn’t want to just translate the quote back into Bahasa; I wanted to find the original, so I googled each of Sutardji’s poems and read them one by one. Since then, I’m obsessed! His poems are like a mantra and he plays with words. In English, the quote is “Our hearts will be one, our souls one. Even when they are far apart. What pierces you, will make me bleed.” If you are Indonesian, the Bahasa version is even more beautiful:

kuterjemahkan tubuhku ke dalam tubuhmu
ke dalam rambutmu kuterjemahkan rambutku
jika tanganmu tak bisa bilang tanganku
kuterjemahkan tanganku ke dalam tanganmu
jika lidahmu tak bisa mengucap lidahku
kuterjemahkan lidahku ke dalam lidahmu
aku terjemahkan jemariku ke dalam jemarimu
jika jari jemarimu tak bisa memetikku

ke dalam darahmu kuterjemahkan darahku
kalau darahmu tak bisa mengucap darahku
jika ususmu belum bisa mencerna ususku
kuterjemahkan ususku ke dalam ususmu
kalau kelaminmu belum bilang kelaminku
aku terjemahkan kelaminku ke dalam kelaminmu

daging kita satu arwah kita satu
walau masing jauh
yang tertusuk padamu berdarah padaku


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