Musings from Indonesia: Teguh

Teguh is my host in Yogyakarta as I was spending the last couple of days here wrapping up my fieldwork in Central Java. I came across his profile from the airbnb page and was very struck by the interior design of his house. I was ignorant about everything else about him until I got here yesterday.

Turned out, it was one of the best airbnb experience ever. His place is located at a very secluded Javanese style village down south from Yogyakarta at the city fringe. Facing the widespread paddy fields in the countryside, it is a perfect place for one to immerse in solitude; ideal for personal retreat for anyone who just seeks temporary getaway from a harsh volatile reality.

However, as much as I am attracted to the thoughtful interior design of his place and the perfect location for some quiet me time, I am struck by his personal story - a story about firmness and tenacity - very much the resemblance of his name 'Teguh' (means firm in English).

He came from humble beginnings but accidentally discovered his love for arts during his teenage years. He went on to pursue graphic design training in arts schools, and started his personal voyage of freelancing for arts projects thereafter.

As someone who is devoid of creativity blood, I look up to people who dare to design unusual lives for themselves which are out of the societal norms. As someone who was brought worshiping narrow ways of defining success, I adore people who choose not to conform to the conventional wisdom and steer their lives according to what their hunches and intuitions are telling them at every different juncture.

Building his own house, setting up an art studio, designing t-shirts and logos for companies, and ascribing significance to simplicity and the importance of changing minds, I see him as a person quietly pursuing what he believes to be the true calling, silently rebelling all the expectations that the world is putting on him.

If I am daring enough to be as entrepreneurial as him, what are the norms that I will challenge? What are the boundaries that I will push?

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