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He was born in Jeneponto, Makassar, Indonesia.
His writings were in the Malay language. In 1943 at the age of 17, Arena Wati became a seaman. In 1954, Arena Wati became a journalist, and later served as the editor of Pustaka Antara.He died of lung cancer.
His numerous awards included: the South East Asia Literary award - the Southern Economic Association, USA Write Award, an award presented by the King of Thailand, and his 1988 investiture as the National Laureate.