Behind the Mask
Opportunity in Adversity — Singapore
I was away from my home, Indonesia, during the pandemic. While studying abroad, I could only observe Indonesia’s COVID-19 situation from distance. We were advised by the Singaporean officials and our parents to stay in Singapore for the duration of 2020. Therefore, I have been in Singapore for a whole year now and even though Singapore is similar to Indonesia in some ways, I still miss many of Indonesian’s delicacies.
It was the little things; buying nasi goreng from the stall in my neighborhood or going to a cafe at higher ground to get a bird’s eye view of my town, the chilly air of Bandung or road tripping through Java.
It was the precious little things that you can never experience in a developed and bustling country like Singapore.
When I was denied from going home in 2020, I was suddenly struck with a realization: I love my country and other Indonesians should feel the same as I do. I then realized that the root problem of our indifference to our country is the media’s portrayal that highlights us as a corrupt and dirty country. However, these do not represent the whole of Indonesia. With this in mind, I wanted to share my feelings and love towards my country by highlighting our culture and history that many people might not know of.
I rounded up my fellow Indonesians who are also stuck in Singapore and asked if they were interested in helping make my vision come true. Turns out, Jade, my present co-partner, also has the same yearning as I do, added with the longing for an international audience to understand Indonesia from an Indonesian’s perspective.
Thereafter, @khatulistiwa._ was born with both of Jade’s and my values. This was during the summer of 2020, and 6 months later, here we are.
We planned around our school schedules and examinations so that it wouldn't affect our grades as Singapore’s education system is already rigorous enough without having to manage a non-profit organization. We create posts in bulks, with each bulk lasting for approximately 3 months.
So the secret to managing our time between school and @khatulistiwa._, is simply planning and a lot of patience. We do not just jump into the waters without a solid plan and preparation.
— Sherleen Meilikha, 16