RIP Arswendo Atmowiloto: “People live waiting to die”

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Arswendo Atmowiloto passes away. The writer takes his final breath at 70 years of age on Friday, July 19, 2019. (photo: Kastara Doc.)

IO – Arswendo Atmowiloto has passed away. The writer took his final breath at 70 years of age on Friday, July 19, 2019, after losing his final battle, this time with prostate cancer.

The well-known writer started his career as a journalist. Born “Paulus Sarwendo Atmowiloto”, Arswendo was also known as an excellent and controversial media figure. He founded the teen magazine “Hai” which became a teen icon in the 1970-1980s. The magazine was also the birthplace of many great young writers.

Characters in Hai stories, such as “Imung” and “Kiki and his gang” accompanied teens during the period.

His guidebook “Writing is Easy” inspired many young people to dare to write.

Arswendo also gave birth to the controversial Monitor tabloid, which was later shut down by the government. Because of content in the magazine, Arswendo was forced to go to prison.

He created high quality short stories, film scripts, and novels such as “Senopati Pamungkas“, “Badminton Opera”, and “Canting“. His work was also adapted into films such as “The Cemara Family”.

Arswendo was very productive. Even after he became ill, he still had time to complete his novel entitled “Barabas”.

“He published his new novel while suffering from illness; it is entitled ‘Barabas’. He is so productive, that even in pain and unable to work, he asked others to write for him. He dictated what he wanted to be written in his book,” said Tiara, in the Catholic Church of St. Matthew Penginjil, Pondok Aren, South Tangerang, at Arsendo’s wake before his body was buried in the San Diego Hills Cemetery, Saturday 20 July.

The “The Cemara Family” theme song was hummed during mass.

Arya’s works often has beautiful strings of words full with meaning. Such as seen in a quote in his novel Canting: “People live waiting to die. Living is actually felt in waiting. The more ways you can enjoy waiting, the calmer you will be in your heart”.

Arswendo is now no longer waiting. Hopefully peace and quiet accompany him. (rp)