I have been a professional writer for five years.

Gastronomy, lifestyle, travel, sustainability, culture, and history are some of the themes that I have worked with in the past. I love getting involves with individuals, companies, organizations, and communities with stories to tell.

Words, sentences, stories... these are my passion. I love to take new challenges in writing for various format and media. I create contents for websites, blogs, and communication materials.

Reach me at eve(dot)tedja(at)gmail(dot)com

How The Grand Voyage Starts

The older generation has a saying in Indonesia, “seek the highest possible knowledge all the way to China.” The younger generation, of course, just disregarded it all together and with the global Americanization sweeping Asian countries, decided there was nothing cool about China. Off they went to any other coutries with “cool” culture. Only recently, in Indonesia, we (as in the millenial generation) are more aware of the Dozing Dragon, the land of Uncle Mao. Chinese culture oozes into our skin slowly, effortlessly. After all it has been an inseparable element of Indonesian culture for God-knows-how-long. We know the food and we watch the movies from time to time (Indonesian practically grows up by watching Bobo Ho or Jet Li or Hopping Chinese Mancurian Vampires). Our neighbor might be partly Chinese although they know nothing about their ancestral culture apart from celebrating Chinese New Year or cooking a mean fried noodle.

That last sentence may also fit to describe me. Yes, I have a Chinese heritage. And yes, I, like most of the population of Chinese Indonesian, shamefully speak no Mandarin nor Cantonese, except the small wee bits we learned from TV series. And yes, there are some occasions I don’t feel quite comfortable announcing my Chinese-ness to the world. It might be something to do with the oppressive regime of our then government or a colonial legacy with their apartheid classification, but in the end, being a Chinese (or partly Chinese) in Indonesia isn’t something that you’re boisterously bragging about.

However with free tickets at hands, itchy traveler feet and curiosity, I took my enthusiastic Mother to visit our ancestral motherland. Sustained by sheer bravado, a guide book and stacks of printed research papers about China, we decided to visit three neighboring cities. Chengdu, Xi’an, Guilin and back to Chengdu for the flight home. A friend snorted and incredulously asked, “Why China?”, when I told him I’d travel there. Another one tweet me and said, “Make sure you bring a phrase book.” Uh-oh.

Off we went on mid-January, despite dauntingly cold weather forecast. First, to Kuala Lumpur and the next day, fly to Chengdu. While waiting for our Air Asia flight, I noticed something quite astounding. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a room where everybody are Chinese, or in our case, looks like one. Nor have I been in such a raucous waiting room before. Eyeing a couple in front of us who produced voices like there’s going to be a domestic crime happening anytime soon, my Mother only said, “It’s going to be a long, long four hours flight.”

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