A round up of images and quote-ables from the last day of Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, all photos ©Rio Helmi

lead photo above: The Hydrant on stage at the closing party in the Blanco Museum.


Above: the panel for Life After #MeToo, from left to right: Joan Arakkal (Australia), Eliza Vitri Handayani (Indonesia), Sanam Mayer (Pakistan), Nazli Karabiyikoglu (Turkey) Below, moderator Sam George Allen.


Sanam Maher, on the blaming and belittling of sexual violence victims in Pakistan, and how the authorities gave the perpetrators her contact numbers and address:

“How the case of the murdered social media star Qandeel Baloch was handled became the  blueprint for how women who come forward in Pakistan are treated. “

“Of course now you can bypass [everything] and use social media to call someone out. But perpetrators have become savvy now, and use cybercrime laws to press defamation charges, then the original crime gets subsumed into lengthy, costly legal process..”

“All those peoples who support you on social media aren’t there to help you when real life situations arise.”

Joan Arrakal:

“If we try to succeed as men we have already lost.”

“I believe that men don’t hate women,  I think they fear them.” 

” [All this ] focus on equality, the blurring of gender lines…  I think we should succeed as women with all our strengths”


Eliza Vitri Handayani:

“Here women are criminalized for coming forward. But we fight we continue to fight. We have compromised and we have compromised, we have compromised so much.” 

“Forced pregnancy is sexual violence”

“We shouldn’t be gender blind. But we have to see women as human beings not as property.”


Kathrin Honessa  in the Reading in the Age of Instagram session:

“Numbers don’t define my work”


Tara June Winch in the Blending in, Blending out session:

“White Australians have a problematic relationship with their landscape.”

“Colonization is a kind way of describing of what happened in Australia. It was genocide, it was rape.”


Melati Suryadarmo in Blending in, Blending out:

“It’s too much always taking about identity. I’m over it. Nowadays there’s too much about identity.
After all this it’s more how to be with others, how to find the language of humans. Art doesn’t have to be propaganda to be political.”


Eunice Andrada in Blending In, Blending Out

“As a person of color in Australia you’re expected to play the identity card. I and my artist friends ‘of color’  in Australia are so over it, we’re way past it.”

Moderator of Blending In, Blending Out Jonathan Miller

Adrian van Dis in Blending In, Blending Out:

“As a writer i have so many personalities to manage. I’m the knife, I’m the wound. I’m the colonized, I’m the colonizer.”

“Only 9% of the world’s population is white yet they make so much noise about it”


The Indonesian Cinema panel, from left to right: Rayya Makarim, moderator Leila S Chudori, Richard Oh, Garin Nugroho, Seno Gumira Ajidarma; as Richard Oh holds forth:

“I think ‘local go global’ is no longer valid”.

Rayya Makarim:

“We need to talk about standards of film making, not global or Indonesian standards.  Just basic standard standards”. 

“I like to write scripts that my neighbors understand but also someone in another country understands. So then the film can travel. But that’s me..”


Irvine Welsh in ‘Choose Life’:

Regarding the bullying that goes on on social media: “It’s hard to be offensive these days.”

“We’re all heading for a cliff. I think we all  subconciously know that capitalism and our systems of government don’t work anymore so we choose the most extreme idiots to get it over and done with quickly so we can start all over again.”

“Don’t be shy, your Mom wasn’t”


Pak Made Taro: A Lifetime of Storytelling

“I discovered that children loved stories being read to them, and that you could use it to teach them and even discipline them if you have to.”


Above – Kids reading next to Taman Baca: the future generation…

Below: the often under-appreciated role of the translator (I prefer ‘interpreter’) is a vital one – when they’re good like Laksmi Dian Wijayanti (on the left) it makes all the difference!

Below: scenes from the final party at Blanco Museum – Akala, celebrating the wrap, The Hydrant, Marshello of The Hydrant,

Marshello of The Hydrant rockabilly-ing away


SO IT’S A WRAP – see you all next year!


(feel free to leave your comments, scroll down to the box)

All photos ©Rio Helmi