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 lakonhidup.com.  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”

Reading List: Another Summer Edition

Been having trouble writing (or being productive) again. School’s been done for, about two weeks, now? I got a rewritten game review out, I’m bashing my head against the wall making a new version of my homepage. There’s a story I’m stewing on that is supposed to be done by tomorrow and yet I can’t even get all the plot made together.

But school is done for a year and I have plenty enough of free time to tackle my mounting backlog. Continue reading “Reading List: Another Summer Edition”

The Fire of Farek-Hi

A world-building story bit, grown from a seed given by @lursland with the #GrowAWorld tag on Twitter. I kinda got carried away, yes. And I have to bite myself from adding more metaphysics and sociology to what should be a fun little thing, heh.


Every living being has a light inside of them, this fact all children of Farek-Hi knew well. And conversely, all light are life. When Arha was born, her parents told her, they had taken the still baby to the field of Lifewings, or what in your tongue might also be called Fireflies. Then they sat and waited. Some families only had to wait minutes, some waited days. The field was always alight with Fire, but not all of them are ready to be reborn. Arha’s parents, though she was not called Arha then, waited for two hours before a firefly came to them. It shone bright, brighter, in their eyes, than all the lights around them. It spun around the baby, its light steadfast and unblinking. When it entered her body, and she started to cry, and her tiny arms and legs had moved for the first time, her parents knew what to name her. Arha had meant the Steadfast One. Continue reading “The Fire of Farek-Hi”

Status Update: Distraction Edition

It’s the last week of school before the six-subjects-spread-over-three-weeks exam weeks. I have so many big assignments! Like, three of them! And I’ve having slow, burdensome progress on them. Honestly the more I “learn” here, the less I feel like I know anything. The world is too damn big and filled with too many damn people with too much opinions about everything. Literally nothing is true and everything is permitted.

I’ve also been crap at expressing myself. My writings have been bad and half-hearted. I trust my own opinion less and less. But enough hand-wringing! Have at you!



NieR is really good. I hesitate to say any more, since, as with most of Yoko Taro’s narrative, it’s good in how surprising it is. In how unconventional it is. In its own bloody-mindedness in its messaging. I think I’ve mentioned before how Drakengard is a bad game and it’s great exactly because it’s a bad game. NieR is a lot more accessible while also having everything that makes Yoko Taro’s games unique. Continue reading “Status Update: Distraction Edition”

On the Setting of an RPG – or, why I like Persona 4 more than Persona 5

Persona 5 is a great game with great UI and a great sense of space. It’s set in modern day Tokyo, and it’s probably one of the most faithful depiction of the city in video games so far, with all the details and clever design tricks to make it, not accurate per se, but to make it feel like you’re inside this big interlocking system that is a metropolis like Tokyo. The overworld is filled with people minding their business, the loading screen depict them strolling left and right, the commercial streets are filled with stores and wares in all colours, and you can occasionally hear bits of conversations floating up, too fast for you to read. It’s brilliant.

I hate walking around in it. I really try to enjoy it though. Some parts of me like how vibrant it is, I know, but the other parts balk at the idea of running around Shibuya’s stations again.


Continue reading “On the Setting of an RPG – or, why I like Persona 4 more than Persona 5”

Creating Modal: The Vanilla Method

“But, sir,” I heard Google asking me when I was looking for how to create a modal for a web page. “Why don’t you just use this handy library these fine people had made? Oh, you’re looking for Bootstrap’s method? You can just use this built-in code with it and it’ll run! Ta-da!”

“No, Google,” I replied, exasperation obvious in my voice. “I don’t want to install another library just for this. I think it’s simple enough. No, Google, I don’t use Bootstrap, I just want to know how it implement its modal. No, Google, I’m not going to load Bootstrap’s entire package just for that!”

Realizing that it would be fruitless to hunt through dozens of Stack Overflow answers which are probably five years out of date anyway, I went on and bang my hands at the keyboard and came up with a decent no-fuss way to do modals (or fullscreen pop-ups, if you like) with pure vanilla HTML, CSS, and Javascript. If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re having the same problem as I do.

Here’s the modal I made!

I’ve simplified it as much as possible, so you can learn from it instead of being confused as to what’s what. There’s a couple of things to note here. Continue reading “Creating Modal: The Vanilla Method”

Paying more than twenty bucks for a game

A wise and venerable man once said, “Never pay more than twenty bucks for a computer game.”

As someone who begun my gaming adventure as a pirate, as a student with not a lot of leftovers in my pocket, as someone who buy books more compulsively than I do games (bookstores are notoriously dangerous places), this is a phrase I had unknowingly taken to heart. I set a quota for myself. For frivolous spending, no more than [the equivalent of $14] a month.

It’s not a difficult limit to maintain. I buy games on Steam during sales, and Steam has a ton of sales. The games I look forward to (and can actually play on my laptop haha) are indies costing no more than the aforementioned $14 (and Steam, bless be to the employees who manage it, has a much more generous exchange rate). In any case, I have plenty of books I already have that I can read, games already sitting in my library I can play, and work to be done. I can push off buying that one good game for another month. Continue reading “Paying more than twenty bucks for a game”

Arcaea: A Slick, Premium, Rhythm Game

Review of Arcaea, a game by lowiro for Android and iOS.

I want to like Arcaea. I really do. On so many accounts, it’s a great music rhythm game. Its mechanic is simple, but a pleasure to play. It has the most pleasant-looking UI in all of mobile gaming, with a strong consistent aesthetic.  It has an excellent artcore/electronica music library. A shame that most of that library is locked behind steep paywalls. Paywalls, plural.


Continue reading “Arcaea: A Slick, Premium, Rhythm Game”

Neither Judge nor Executioner

( Found this small short story hiding in my computer. I can’t for the life of remember what circumstances I was in writing it, even though it’s only dated last month. It’s a side-story to something bigger I tried making but never materialised. There’s a lot more to Eric, Erika, and Hilbert I might have hiding in here if you’re interested. )

Eric was deaf and mute, but he wasn’t blind. He saw when it happened, when the man raised his fist, when he was ready to bring it down, and when the smaller man grabbed the knife and pushed it into his stomach. Everyone said there were no screams, there was only the thunder crackling, the storm clouding their hearing. But Eric heard no thunder. He only saw the man’s eye bulging wide open, the blood dripping from the wound. A thunder flashed in a distance, and the smaller man, the one whose eyes seemed like they had seen Death as well, he used the blinding light to kick his dying assailant and ran further into the darkness.

Eric saw all this from the roof above the two. He did nothing, because what else was there to do? He saw what they had done, both. He would not be the judge, neither would he be the executioner. He saw the big man, the one who used to be at the top of his food chain, crawling on the ground. He saw him pulling the knife out from his body, saw how he opened his mouth wide and stared at the sky with what strength he had left. He knew at the moment then that the man had seen him, a thief lurking. Maybe the man was pleading at him. He didn’t know. There was nothing to it but watching him die. Continue reading “Neither Judge nor Executioner”