Conversations With Difference: Essays From Tempo Magazine (Reissued 2005)
by Goenawan Mohamad
About This Book
Goenawan Mohamad, former editor of Tempo magazine, has re-invented himself and emerged as
Indonesia's most prominent essayist. Goenawan's essays explore today's complexities, from the positions of exile, of 'native informant', of tourist, of poet, from in front of the ruins of the World Trade Center -- he was in Manhattan on September 11 - and in front of the mirror.
Goenawan left Indonesia to study abroad in the early 1960s, under pressure from the Indonesian Community Party, or PKI, who termed him 'counter-revolutionary' for his arguments against social realism in the arts. Upon his return he co-founded Tempo, a weekly news magazine, in 1971. Tempo managed over the years to carve out an independent voice in an ever-increasingly controlled Indonesian political environment, until it was eventually banned in 1994, driving Goenawan and his colleagues to write in a network of underground publications.
Goenawan's essay style developed in the 1980s, in the belief that "in a time when one could easily follow the prevailing grammar of injustice, lucidity always lay with fewer words". And Goenawan's lucidity that is one that self-consciously avoids "turning into an unbreakable crystal of answers".
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