Eka Kurniawan with other panelists at Cooler Lumpur Festival © British Council Malaysia.

In the spirit of building discussion and dialogue as the hallmark of any great society; writers, artists, musicians, and thinkers from all across the globe gathered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on June 20-22 at Cooler Lumpur Festival 2014. The Cooler Lumpur Festival is Southeast Asia’s first festival of ideas. Established in 2013, the festival aims to challenge people to debate, learn and grapple with the ideas and issues that constantly confront the society.

This year, the festival chose “fast” as the theme, to represent exploration of the ways society can move culture forward, by championing young upcoming talent, by getting society attuned to its creative side, by mashing together literature, art, music, and innovation, and by doing it at the speed of thought.

As a form of participation, British Council Indonesia brought Eka Kurniawan, Indonesian writer who shares his thought through novels, short stories, film scripts and graphic novel, as well as essays. Eka performed 2 shows during the festival, “We’re All Beige: New Ideas in Cultural Identity” on June 21 and “Eka Kurniawan in conversation with Ahmad Fuad Rahmat” on June 22 where he talked about identity and culture and discussed it with the audience.

According to Eka, identity can appear from any sources, whether it purposely invented or not, but when it comes to having a cultural identity, people should be productive and bequeath something to the world. 


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