The Lady and Her Mighty Pen
IPA Voices recently launched a writer’s recognition award program as our appreciation to a resident writer who has made significant contributions to our community in the past year.
This year’s award goes to our resident writer with a pen name “Sang Kelana”. The lady whose real name is Margareth Sembiring is no stranger to IPA Voices’ readers. Her articles are consistently featured in our website and are characterized by her brave take on controversial issues in Indonesia. Her thoughtful analysis and critical comments show her keen interest in the progress of Indonesia and its society.
You can find her more recent writings here: Question Marks Surrounding Corby’s Clemency , The High Price of Belittling Violence , Lady Gaga ‘Mengguncang’ Indonesia
In this article, IPA Voices gets up close and personal with Sang Kelana who is currently taking her Master’s degree in International Peace and Security at the King’s College London.
What do you like about writing?
I like the process of doing it. Writing is akin to creating something new; transforming abstract ideas that initially exist only on my mind into something visible to others. It’s a real art. Just like painters paying close attention to the mixture of colors on their paintings or sculptors observing very keenly the details of their creations, writing process also has similar touch to it.
From the moment ideas come to mind into the instance a readable, digestible, and understandable piece is produced, lots of discipline is required. The mind can get easily distracted by some other thoughts and this can divert the flow of the logic. Should this happen, the readers would fail to grasp the intended messages.
Further, the same ideas can be expressed in many different ways. The choice and mixture of words shape the nuance of writing, and accordingly, it is really up to the writers to set the tone of their piece. Getting the right message across is indeed the most challenging part of writing. To this end, among other things, I endeavour to constantly build up on my vocabulary.
I find the whole undertaking very enjoyable. It feels very much like a journey to conquer a mountain. And knowing that I am doing it for others to be able to read my mind easily and clearly, and hopefully to a certain degree of enjoyment, provides a whole set of incentives by itself.
What is your “must-do-before-writing” list like?
There is nothing in particular. As a start, I need some inspirations. From here, ideas will flow to mind and I’ll start drafting the outline. Where possible, I’ll share my thoughts with others to see if I can enrich my draft in ways I cannot see by myself. Then I’ll find a cozy place to sit, make a cup of coffee, and start writing.
What kind of role do you think citizen journalism play in developing countries like Indonesia?
Indonesia is a progressing society whose people are getting more and more informed and involved in the day-to-day business of the country. The development of technology enables citizens to be in the forefront of news reporting as and when they occur. Further, it also allows them to express and share their thoughts with other fellow citizens. This is undoubtedly important for it narrows the gap between the source of news and the spectators, and it allows people to have a bigger share and sense of belonging to what is happening. This unites people, and they feel stronger ownership to what is going on in Indonesia. I find this a very promising step towards a greater and a more glorious Indonesia.
At this point in time, you do not live in Indonesia. What keeps you interested in issues within Indonesia?
My love for Indonesia. The song “Tanah Airku” explains everything. (“Tanah Airku” means My Homeland. The music video can be viewed here)
Do you have any tips for friends who also want to write?
Just do it. It is indeed hard to get the engine started, but you’ve just got to do it. Writing is a process, an art. Don’t get deterred by the mountain; you’ll get there by continue walking. Ask for constructive feedback and work on it. One can only get better by doing it more and more and learning from mistakes.
What are you currently busy with? Would you like to share with us?
I am currently writing my masters’ dissertation. The deadline is looming and I need to sprint. Wish me luck! =)
Aspired to be IPA Voices’ Resident Writer? Click on this link: http://www.ipavoices.com/contribution-channels/