Freedom is probably one of the most discussed topics among people my age. Most of us are trying to live free from the shackle that is the culture that we were born with, strict parents, curfews, and even bullshit governmental rules that inhibit our identity.
When I talked about freedom to people who are at least 20 years older than me, most of them gave me similar answer: you’re still young, that’s why you yearn for freedom that much. But, Freedom is something intangible, freedom does not always mean that someone is free from regulations or cultural madness, freedom does not mean you can freely go out and kill people, or get drunk without consequences at night. For me, sometimes freedom is as simple as accepting my whole self and able to express my individuality and identity without hurting anybody and also without people judging me.

I’ve lived in Jakarta since I was born in 1993. I still live in the same house that has raised at least two generations. I was born with the privilege of having an abled body, good education, financially stable family, and a warm shelter. Yet I feel like I am not free. I feel like I’m shackled. I hate myself, I hate the way I look, I think I lack knowledge, I feel like I don’t deserve any good things. These things make me feel like I’m a horrible, ungrateful person. I feel like I’m way too privileged to feel that way.

I’ve travelled roads all around Jakarta, looking through the window, wondering how life looks like out there. How people achieve their freedom in the busy roads of Jakarta while inhaling toxic gas and pollution. This city is a wasteland. It’s amazing how a lot of people manage to survive the madness and also the cruelty of Jakarta. It’s probably the only place where you can see a filthy rich socialite parking their sports car in front of a high end mall that is located in front of a slum. It’s probably the only place where maids can have maids and probably the only place where the only meeting spots are malls and buildings.

That’s why I want to know what freedom looks like for other people, especially those that I usually encounter on the streets. Have they achieved their freedom? Are they still looking for it? What is absolute freedom? Can someone be too privileged to yearn for freedom?


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