Anik: Accidentally Dreaming

By Risna Okvitasari

“Let us hang on to our dreams, high in the sky. Even if we fail, we will have fallen down on to the bright stars.”

Anik Dwi Kumalasari,32, is from Malang city, East Java of Indonesia (situated around 869 km from Jakarta). She has been living in Hong Kong as a domestic helper since 2003. She did so to earn money to continue her studies at university, and help her mother out as her father passed away when she was 8.

“Another Side of Hong Kong”. Photo by Anik

In Hong Kong, she lived with a family and took care of their four children. She found life to be very difficult and uncomfortable as she couldn’t speak, understand, nor read Cantonese. These are problems faced by other domestic helpers, too. No friends, no families, and only one holiday a month. She cried every night. She coped by writing her feelings down into a diary.

One day, one of the children had an accident at home. Blood was everywhere. Anik was so scared when she heard that the kid had to go through a surgery treatment because of the wound. She packed her clothes, anticipating that her employer would terminate her work contract.

Her employer found her and chided her.

“What have you done? We still need you. Silly.”

Times went on. She improved her language skills by watching cartoon films. Her employer gave her free time to watch video channels after finishing her work. Besides the language skills, good communication was very important.

In 2009, Anik went back to Indonesia for good. At home, she followed and watched an adventure television programme which was hosted by a female presenter. She dreamed of meeting the presenter one day.

Her chance came. The TV station organised a big mountain camping programme that took place for a few days. Anik did not care about the programme, she just wanted to meet the presenter to take a photograph together with her. And, she did.

From then on, she acquired many amazing experiences, friends, and new passions. She has fallen in love with nature, mountains, hiking, and also camping.

Anik, the “crazy hiker”

As an amateur female hiker, Anik was treated well by seniors. They supported and took good care of her, especially when they hiked to Tambora mountain (2581 mdpl) in Sumbawa, Lombok Island. It was famous as it cooled down to a temperature of 9 degrees when it erupted a century ago, in 1915. After the expedition, Anik transformed into the “crazy” hiker.

Two years ago, she came back to Hong Kong again. In early 2014, she joined Lensational for a Holga session of photography classes led by documentary photographer Simon Wan. She learned much about photography.

She is proud to know the Lensational founders and volunteers; they are not only young but they inspired every student to be more confident, and supported every student’s dreams. Simon Wan also “injected” her with other “crazy hiking viruses”. Both of them love hiking.

“I am big and noisy, hahaha,” she says about herself.

Yeah, she is tall. She acts like a big sister who always takes care of her two little “partners in crime”, Sinna and Asti, while they pursued their “insanity” in taking photographs.

The craziest thing that they have done is to dream about holding a photography exhibition. Accidentally, Lensational and Simon Wan supported them. They will exhibit their photos in mid-August, 2015.

Hands Raised. (Photo by Anik)

Another dream Anik has is to hike the seven mountains after returning to Indonesia this coming September. She also wants to roll on snow, touch its cold surface, smell its breeze, freely. She plans to be an entrepreneur as well. She will sell traditional glutinous rice cake (jenang ketan in Bahasa) and market it as a modern culinary product for tourists in Malang city.

“You know, people like us only have the dream to continue life,” Anik said.
“Yes,” I replied. “Without dreams, we’re just a bunch of zombies.”
And we’re laughing together loudly.


Risna Okvitasari, 30, moved to Hong Kong at the age of 18 in 2003. She enjoys hiking, photography and writing, and blogs at ceritanekad.blogspot.com.

Anik Dwi Kumalasari, 32 is from Malang, East Java of Indonesia. She has been in Hong Kong since 2003. She loves hiking because it inspires her about life.

Anik, Risna and Asti Maria will be exhibiting their images at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre from 15–17 August (10am-7pm). Entry to the exhibition is free.