I am no longer striving to understand something foreign, or to earn some measure of acceptance or belonging that I don’t deserve. I am here, simply, to see the land that my family came from, to know that we have been here before.

Since the new government promised land reform, the have-nots in your father’s village buckled over with joy, while the landed were bewildered

She was a prisoner in this home, where death and decay had collected like a fog.

Paragraph by paragraph I am piecing together the story of my Indonesian family—their trauma and struggle against colonial rule—alongside my dad.

we inherited sickly
 / roots our ancestors couldn’t plant / deep enough to
 / grow

Far from our barrios, mountains, and islands, we cook, so that we may practice swallowing our undesirable truths, acidic and blood-heavy.

There was a time, Abu says, before your great-grandmother, when water was blue because it was a bruise, when it could feel our hands like the skin of a fruit.

Land holds so much of our history and memory—both personal and collective. In this special folio, seven writers investigate and explore Asian relationships with land.

We would like to collect information during your visit to help us better understand site use. This data is anonymized, and will not be used for marketing purposes. Read More on our Privacy Policy page. You can withdraw permission at any time or update your privacy settings here. Please choose below to continue.