Chinese Letters and Charlie – Sebuah Terjemahan

This is an Indonesian translation for two stories by Ryan Koyanagi. I found them lying in the depths of my computer, dated 23 January 2017, while I was digging around for short stories I wrote that I can compile into a collection. Koyanagi hasn’t been seen for years and I’ve never talked with him directly, but I’d be lying if he wasn’t one of my biggest inspiration. It’s funny. How your biggest inspiration can be just a rando on the internet.

The original stories are here: A Doodle about Chinese Characters and Charlie.

Coretan tentang Huruf-Huruf Cina

Karya Ryan Koyanagi, diterjemahkan Aliya N. Anindita

Aku dilahirkan di bawah atap merah Phuoc Loc Tho dan Plaza TK. Aku menghabiskan musim panasku berteduh di bawah Jembatan Sut Yat Sen dengan puntung rokok di pinggir mulutku dan dadu buluk di tanganku. Musim dinginku dihangatkan pho dan bibimbap, dari toko kecil yang terasnya didekorasi meja yang kusam dan cangkir teh oolong yang tak ada habisnya. Malam-malamnya kuhabiskan bermain biliard dan menyanyi karaoke di Boulevard Garden Grove, hingga, penuh dengan sake dan sochu, aku terduduk di pinggir teras dan menatapi, sambil setengah terbelalak, huruf-huruf Cina yang tak bisa kubaca, tertulis dalam neon. Aku seperti bisa mendengar nenek moyangku memanggil dalam bahasa yang hampir tak kukenal, yang hanya bisa kuucapkan dengan disisipi bahasa Inggris dan keraguan.


Karya Ryan Koyanagi, diterjemahkan Aliya N. Anindita

Kita semua hanya bocah bermain peran.

Aku bocah yang berperan sebagai pembunuh bayaran hari ini. Bocah-bocah lainnya, mereka menjadi polisi. Tangan di dalam saku, meraba-raba pistol mereka yang membuat mereka merasa besar. Menenangkan mereka. Jimat pelindung di dalam sabuk.

Continue reading “Chinese Letters and Charlie – Sebuah Terjemahan”


Dibagi dengan Nol – Sebuah Terjemahan

This is an Indonesian translation of “Division by Zero” a short story by Ted Chiang. You can read the original online here. Or from the short story collection Stories Your Life and Others, which is excellent and you should definitely read.

Terjemahan ini dimulai dengan iseng, tapi terus berlanjut karena tiba-tiba sadar hanya sedikit orang Indonesia yang pernah membaca science/speculative fiction (SF), karena 1) Nggak banyak yang mahir bahasa Inggris, 2) Jarang sekali ada penulis Indonesia yang menulis genre SF, 3) Sedikit sekali karya SF yang diterjemahkan ke bahasa Indonesia. Padahal genre ini salah satu yang membentuk caraku berpikir dan, ya, nggak enak sendirian tuh.

Division by Zero ini cerpen yang paling kusuka dari koleksi cerpen Ted Chiang (walau mungkin bukan yang terbaik). Kebanyakan orang mungkin nggak akan ngekategoriin cerita ini sebagai SF, genre yang notabene terkenalnya pakai alien dan cyberpunk dan Star Trek/Star Wars. Tapi menurutku justru cerita ini (dan banyak cerpen Ted Chiang lain) lebih SF, lebih fiksi ilmiah daripada cerita lain, karena ia meminta nalar untuk berpikir secara saintek, ilmiah. Continue reading “Dibagi dengan Nol – Sebuah Terjemahan”

Semester Break Playlist

This time last year I had an internship as a software engineer in a start-up. It was a pretty good time—my first time in a corporate(-ish) environment, and the first time I get paid for writing strings of codes to a computer—but it was pretty busy. I didn’t pick up any job for year’s semester break though, partly because it was a miracle that last year I found someone willing to let me only work full-time for two weeks, and only come every other day for the next couple of months, and also partly because I want to do some of my own things. And I got a comic-writing gig. It’s a long-term thing, but I was hoping to maybe get a good stock of words before school start again.

But otherwise I still have lots of free time! And I have lots of video games to get through! Here’s some of them. Continue reading “Semester Break Playlist”

The Books I Read in 2018

I’ve been wondering if I should make a yearly Best Books list the same way I do Games of the Year. Books and Games, the two things I’m willing to throw hundreds of hours and dollars on. I keep less track of my books, though, and often have no idea if I read a book this year or last year or if I haven’t even finished it at all. Sometimes I feel scared to make a list because if it’s a short list, and it will probably end up being a short list, I’ll be disappointed in myself.

But, eh! Maybe I should start anyway! Continue reading “The Books I Read in 2018”

The Coffee Verse – A Translation

This is a translation of “Ayat Kopi”, a short story by Joko Pinurbo published in the newspaper Kompas on 9 December 2018. You can read the original here. Translating is one of the few things I can do consistently even when being attacked by migraine; this one I started to translate while half-delirious with pain.

Indonesian literature is mostly gloomy and grim and violent (scalding, not thrilling), especially if all you’ve got is newspaper fiction. I asked my friends for a newspaper short story that isn’t grim. This one has a casual, satirical tone, so I took it. The subject matter, upon further inspection, is still pretty grim, though.

More translation notes after the story.

The Coffee Verse

By Joko Pinurbo and translated by Aliya N. Anindita

Coffee shops show up everywhere these days, but Madame Trinil’s coffee shack is still my favourite. Her coffee packs the most punch; I have already felt it blessing my soul.

I can meet and chit-chat with all sorts of people in Madame Trinil’s coffee shack. That afternoon, for instance, I met a man in blue batik shirt whose name was Marbangun. “Just call me Brother Bangun,” he told me.

Marbangun told me that, at the moment, he was trying to get his life in order. He’d spent the last few years of his life searching for a livelihood in the the world of politics, but his labour had so far born no fruit. He had twice taken the plunge and nominate himself to become part of the legislative body in his town, and twice he had failed. Continue reading “The Coffee Verse – A Translation”

Here’s a fun Indonesian noun: haru biru.

“Haru” is the feeling you get when you see a poor beggar on the streets or when an underdog manages to win against all odds. “Biru” is the color blue, which is also used as in the English “feeling blue” (i.e. sad/melancholic).

It’s commonly used to describe an event that’s deeply saddening or where people feel sad. In fiction, it describes a genre of story that’s overtly tragic. Kind of like the English grimdark, but accentuating the tragic instead of the miserable.

But here’s the best part: according to the dictionary, it actually means something disruptive, chaotic, quarrelsome. Apparently it uses the more obscure meaning of “haru”, which is the thing you do when you stir a pot.

( It’s also the thing ghosts and apparitions do to mess with your head. Kinda like “haunting”, but more for your mind. It’s badass that we have a word that means this. )

But does anyone care? Heck, no. It sounds like two sad things, so it’s used for sad things. The dictionaries just haven’t caught up yet.

The Games I Play in 2018

I don’t play a lot of games this year.

This is surprising news. I play games all the time. My games library is an ever-expanding sprawl. I subconsciously, effortlessly, follow after gaming news and analyses. I know Spider-Man is big. I know God of War won a lot of awards. I know all the kids plays Fortnite. Celeste was fantastic. The Return of Obra Dinn was fantastic. Asscreed Odyssey is the same old Asscreed but still fun somehow. Fallout 76 was an embarrassing flop. Super Smash Bros Ultimate is a game I need in my life but I’m okay if it’s not right now.

But then I try thinking of games for my personal best-of-the-year list and it took me a while to figure it out. I certainly talk and read a lot about games this year (I don’t write much about it though, as this blog’s abysmal record for 2018 shows). What have I played in 2018? As it turns out, not a lot comes to mind.

(What have I done in 2018? I didn’t write much. I didn’t do particularly well in school. I didn’t finish a darn thing I’m proud of. I had a four month internship as a software engineer in a start-up company, something which was almost completely swept aside after it was done.) Continue reading “The Games I Play in 2018”

A Voice in the Airports – A Translation

This is a translation of “Suara di Bandara” a short story by Budi Darma published in Kompas, 2 December 2018. I just felt like randomly doing an Indonesian-to-English translation, and I chose it by random. You can read the original at  If you’re anyone to do with the original writer and you want me to take this down, you can contact me.

Honestly, I didn’t like the story very much. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t really go anywhere. It’s more like random strings of thoughts that fit with each other only as well as thoughts that randomly pop into your head while you’re taking a shower. Is there a genre for this? Realism? Because real life is never sculpted like a story? The structure of the some of the sentence also feel like they should take some more editorial work, so in a couple of parts, I was just guessing the nuance of what they really mean.

As usual, I aim for an easier read than “accuracy”. I try to transmit the intent of the words as faithfully as possible, but I’d be remiss to say I didn’t try to “fix” some parts so they’ll be more understandable than the original. I’ve preserved some of the names of places in the story. English readers won’t understand what UNESA university is like just from the name, but hey, I live in Jakarta and neither do I!

Reading the end results feel just a little bit like reading a Haruki Murakami story, but it just doesn’t have that sense of, I dunno, surreal interconnectedness? I should get some sleep.

Enjoy! Continue reading “A Voice in the Airports – A Translation”

Fantasy/Science Fiction

“Fantasy” and “science fiction” are so intertwined they’re not even two sides of the same coin, they’re all the same side of a carved seal cylinder. If you use the carving like a stamp, and roll the cylinder along a surface, you’ll see science fiction drawn on one end and fantasy on the other. On that flat surface they look far apart, but in the cylinder itself, they’re next to each other.

I just started reading Ted Chiang’s Stories of Your Life and Others. A couple of days ago a friend asked me if I know any good contemporary science fiction apart from the old classic. She also mentioned how science fiction tends to rub her the wrong way because when she try to see how it fit with real life science, the whole story falls apart. Had I’ve already been reading Chiang then, I would have yelled his name at the top of my lungs. Continue reading “Fantasy/Science Fiction”