Indonesia = Ideas

It took me quite sometime to write and re-write my About page. I have been meaning to re-write it since I saw this post, but decided that I did not have the energy to do so. But when I saw this post yesterday, I told myself that I should make time to re-write. So I did and here it is. I am still not quite sure about it, so I might keep on re-writing it as I go along.


Anyway, today’s topic is writing something that is inspired by the About page. Again, another brilliant idea. I had so many writing points that I wanted to include on my About page that I had to ‘throw away’ (well, keep for awhile and maybe use it in the future. Like now) and I was quite sad about it.


Out of all topics that I had, I left out a big chunk of story about my Indonesian dream. In a way, my Indonesian dream is kind of similar to the ‘typical’ American dream. You know, all those dreams about being successful and being able to provide for the future, especially the next generation’s future. There is a bit of a twist in my Indonesian dream because I do not want my dream to come true just for me. I actually want my Indonesian dream to come true for Indonesia’s sake.


I have compiled my Indonesian dream in one list and these are the top three:

1. I want to make tempe as famous as sushi 

And none of that tempeH, bullsh*t. What’s with the H at the end of the word, English speakers? Where is that H coming from anyway? Is it because it has the same spelling with a city in Arizona? Well, deal with it! It is spelled T-E-M-P-E, please, do lose the H.

Anyway, I really do not understand why tempe is not world renown. I mean, Indonesia does not even produce enough soybeans to make all the tempe we need. A lot of the soybeans to make tempe in Indonesia are usually imported from USA. So why is tempe not eaten globally?

My guess is because a lot of people from first worlds are allergic to the word fermented. Everytime I try to explain that tempe is fermented soybeans to the first-world people, they would look at me in disbelief and most of them cringe at the word fermented. I know it does not make any sense, I mean, yoghurt is fermented milk – or maybe people from the first worlds are not aware of that?

I think it is super interesting how tempe is very unpopular in the western world, where everybody is dying to be more hipster than ever. And by hipster I mean more and more people are turning into vegetarians and vegans because they have the option. (I feel like you cannot successfully open a restaurant in the first worlds if you fail to provide a selection of vegetarian and/or vegan options – do not get me started on the complicated gluten free diet.) So why can’t tempe be popular when it is an amazing source of protein, especially for the vegetarians and vegans?

I am dead serious. If cucumber sushi can be world’s famous, I believe tempe can too!


2. I want the world to know about different types of Indonesia’s kain.

And I am not just talking about batik. Although, thank you very much Unesco for celebrating batik with World’s Batik Day and sincerest gratitude to the late Nelson Mandela for constantly wearing it.

Oh, anyway, kain literally means fabric, but it kind of has double meaning by now. It is because for example when people say “I’ll wear kain to your wedding,” you immediately know that the person kain means fancy Indonesian-made fabric, not just any fabric.

I feel like it is my (and all Indonesians’) responsibility to ‘educate’ the world about different types of kain that we have. Aside from batik, Indonesia has different variety of songket, which is the hand-woven type of kain, as another example. And no, do not get me started on the different pattern that the traditional designers put in their creations, because frankly, I know close to nothing. I feel like every borough in every province in Indonesia has its own pattern (fyi, Indonesia has 33 provinces). It is an extensive knowledge to possess.

I am currently learning the different kain patterns from my mother’s limited knowledge. I also commend Indonesian designers that are working super hard on making this dream come true. I believe there will be ways and a time for kain Indonesia to shine and I hope I will be able to help!


3. I want Indonesian names and Indonesia-related topics to appear more on Google Scholar.

Out of the three dreams, this is maybe the hardest one. First, because it is super hard to get something scientific to be published. Second, my name does not even sound or seem Indonesian, so I am practically useless.

But in all seriousness, I think this is the most urgent one, out of all three. During my Master study, I was doing a research on Indonesia and I had a super hard time finding literature that is specific about Indonesia or Indonesia related or written by an Indonesian person, for that matter. I had to dig deep, attend conferences, do extra hour of reading and literature reviewing to find them. It was exhausting. The saddest thing is when I found some literature that is related to my subject of study and also related to Indonesia, but it was written in the 1980s or early 1990s. I mean, most of them are not even valid or applicable anymore – it has been 20-30 years, for god’s sake!

So my Indonesian dream is to persuade more and more Indonesians to study on a subject that is Indonesia-related and persuade them more to study some more until they become experts who will create useful, insightful, updated scientific literatures on Indonesia. This hopefully help scholars all over the world to do more research on Indonesia and also help Indonesia’s education system too.


Those are my top three Indonesian dreams. I do not know if you are aware, but I am very passionate about these. I know I have a lot to do to make these dreams come true, but I believe they will!



  • Double-like! Tempeh SHOULD be better known the world over and it actually has gained popularity among holistic folks in the U.S. I appreciated all three parts of your dream and enjoyed your thoughtful opening.

    • alienkeren

      Hi Diana,

      Thank you very much for your visit and comment. Please help Indonesia and make tempe become more famous. The world can really make a good use of it. Cheers!

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