Pasung Jiwa

Author: Okky Madasari
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication date: January 2013
Pages: 328

Okky Madasari, the receiver of Khatulistiwa Literary Award 2012, is one of Indonesia best authors.  This is her 4th book after Entrok, 86 and Maryam. As usual Okky's writing always brings a sensitive and touching topic about injustice, oppression, and humanity.

Pasung Jiwa is a story about  Sasana, a transgender. Although he is born as a man but Sasana always feels that he is trapped inside his own body. His soul is restless. He just feels something is wrong both inside and outside him. As a little boy, Sasana is forced by his parents to take classical piano class while he actually prefers to listen to dangdut. In his school he is bullied by some students. His life is a total ruin.

Pasung Jiwa is the story about freedom and what it means to be free. When Sasana decides to free himself by becoming a street dangdut singer, he gets lots of bad experiences from the people around, oppression by the authoritarian rule and later on by a group of people who claims to be acting in the name of something holly and divine. Although people actually have the right to freely express themselves but in reality it's not that simple just because the society won't let them.  

Pasung Jiwa is the stories of people who are trapped inside their bodies. Pasung Jiwa is like a mirror who reflect ourselves. According to the author, this book was made to commemorate the 15th year of our reformation. We still have many homework about injustice, oppression and freedom to solve here in Indonesia. From Sasana's life we learn many issues. We get many new insights and realize that freedom here is so hard to get. Freedom as a basic right of human kind is often 'decided' by certain people who have money and power. Independent is just a word.

What I like most about Okky's work is her detailed research for every topic of the books. Although the topic is serious but Okky could deliver it in a simple way. Reading her work is like following a live report since the topic is actual, about our every day's life and surrounding, but Okky is able to transform them into simple things. I guess the author's background as a journalist that enriching her works. Moreover the author seems very much involves with the characters in the books. She could describe all of them in a very vivid way. Worth reading.