Yearly Archives: 2011

Happy Holidays!

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Celebrating this holiday season, our Darmawangsa Square shop will close on the 24-26 of December for Christmas and on 31 December 2011 – 1 January 2012 for New Year. On the 27-30 of December we will resume our business from 10am-5pm. Have a cheerful holidays for you and your loved ones!

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Les Papillons de Victor

To celebrate our second anniversary, last Thursday, 8 December 2011 Tulisan launched its first publication of Collector’s Edition story book “Les Papillons de Victor” – written by a French author Virginie Kasse and illustrated by our founder Melissa Sunjaya. Les Papillons de Victor – or “The Butterflies of Victor” – shares a simple story about being happy and giving unconditional love to every living being that surrounds you. The book is available in three languages and limited to 500 first copies for each version.

Project “Les Papillons de Victor” started a year ago when Virginie first met Melissa in a private holiday bazaar for the French community in Jakarta. Virginie started sharing her story of Victor – a character inspired by her son who one day came home saying that he felt as if there were butterflies in her stomach caused by a girl he really liked. Melissa felt an instant chemistry with the story that fit perfectly with the ‘Love’ theme of all Tulisan’s illustrated edition in 2011.

An excerpt from the original French version:
“Ces papillons n’attendent
qu’un signe de ta
part pour se réveiller
et reprendre
des couleurs :
jaune, rouge, bleu,
rose, vert, mauve…
et faire vibrer ton coeur
des merveilleuses teintes
du bonheur.

An excerpt from the Indonesian version:
“Jika kamu melihat Victor,
kamu pasti langsung mengenalinya.
Ada lesung pipit di pipi kirinya,
yang akan terlihat saat ia tersenyum. Lesung pipit itu selalu
tampak di wajahnya.”

An excerpt from the English version:
“Look carefully
inside yourself,
you will discover
hidden butterflies sleeping
in every corner of your heart.”

From Virginie’s words, Melissa started working on looking for different visual elements and references that could strengthen the idea of the story. This preliminary work brought Melissa to three interesting facts founded in three different cultures that helped built the concept of illustrations and breathed life to the story:

1. Aristotle gave the ancient Greek name ‘psyche’ for butterfly, which means soul. In many other European cultures, a butterfly is a symbol depicting metamorphosis of soul from one insignificant state into a majestic being.

2. The Chinese believes that two butterflies flying together is a symbol of love. As the story evolved the butterfly drawings are simplified the symbol of a heart shape.

3. The ancient Hindi acknowledges the existence of a specific energy field located near the human heart, called the Anahata Chakra. The energy is created and brings vitality whenever there is a transfer of unconditional love from one being to another. This chakra symbolizes love, empathy, selflessness and devotion. The seven colors of chakra are the only colors she used throughout this book.

Since January 2011, Melissa had been carrying Virginie’s original manuscript for “Les Papillons de Victor” in between the pages of her Moleskine. The story’s main character, Victor, had followed her wherever she went. The original pen & ink sketches of this project had travelled from a cafe in Bali to her art studio and favorite restaurant in Jakarta, inside a plane to Frankfurt and through an Airport lounge, and all the way to several unique places during her travel last spring through the old cities of Vevey, Montreux, Antibes, Nice, Monaco, and Menton. Finally after many sleepless nights, these sketches are carefully woven into a simple story about Victor who is always smiling and continuously giving unconditional love to his surroundings.

Along with the book, Melissa also created six master illustrated editions of “Les Papillons de Victor” as the Designer’s Edition Giclée Impression – a museum quality art print reproduction method using the highest technology of digital printing and fade resistant, archival inks which have a light fastness rating up to 200 years.

Version Titles:

“Les Papillons de Victor” (Original Version)
Écrit par Virginie Kasse + Illustré par Melissa Sunjaya

“Kupu-Kupu Victor”
Cerita oleh Virginie Kasse + Illustrasi oleh Melissa Sunjaya
Terjemahan oleh:
Melissa Sunjaya, Myra Bianda, Rassi Narika.

“The Butterflies of Victor”
Written by Virginie Kasse + Illustrated by Melissa Sunjaya
Translation by:
Melissa Sunjaya, Myra Bianda, Rassi Narika.

Sold exclusively at
and at Tulisan Shop: Darmawangsa Square City Walk, Darmawangsa VI, Jakarta 12160. Phone: 021 – 72780235

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Book Launch: Les Papillons de Victor

Dear friends,
In celebration of our second anniversary in storytelling and illustrating dreams, Tulisan proudly presents our very first limited edition story book “Les Papillons de Victor”. It is a story about Victor, a boy who holds the secret of being happy, written by Virginie Kasse and illustrated by Melissa Sunjaya. It is available in three versions: French, English and Indonesian.

We will be hosting an intimate book launch at our brand new boutique in Darmawangsa Square City Walk, Jalan Darmawangsa VI, Ground Floor, next to Ranch Market. This event is opened to the public on Thursday, 8 December 2011, from 14.00 to 21.00. Both the author and artist will be available for book signing between 14.00 to 18.00.

Every version is a limited Collector’s Edition of 500 copies and each book is priced only at Rp120,000.  In our continuous effort to support the children of the street for building a self-sustained living, we will be donating 5% of the book sale on this launch date to Kampus Diakonia Modern – a non profit foundation dedicated in rescuing abandoned children of the street since 1972.

Please come and get your autographed Collector’s Edition copy of “Les Papillons de Victor”.

Happy Holidays!
Tulisan team

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Melissa’s Tip: Shoe Storage

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Dear Shoe Addicts, use our different colored file pouches to store high heels, stilettos, sandals and sneakers. When you travel, you just need to throw these pouches inside your luggage. No need to search for protective plastics anymore. Voila!

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Soft Opening: Darmawangsa Square Store

Last week we finally set out our new store at Darmawangsa Square. We are now open every day from 10 am-9 pm at unit 24 Ground Floor. See you there!

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Miya’s Bougainvillea Story

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Girls, it’s weekend and we are launching new products! This collection is our “REVERSED” print series from “Pepe and the Flying Balloon” edition. It comes in two color way: Mediteranean Blue and Scarlet Red. This illustrated bougainvillea is my first collaborative project with my six year old daughter Miya Symons. She used pastel to draw the flowers. Then I used her sketch as the printed pattern on the dress of the valiant street kid character in my story. This “REVERSED” print series of “Pepe and the Flying Balloon” are available in four product styles: siesta tote, club tote, runaway bag and confidence clutch. Cheers, Melissa

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Pepe and The Flying Balloon

Pepe and The Flying Balloon is our Fifth illustrated edition this year. I created this piece after Tulisan’s workshop at Kampus Diakonia Modern. It is a place full of hope and inspiration for the children of the streets. I highly recommend for anyone to visit KDM. They appreciate your contributions and volunteering efforts. Find out more at

I hope you enjoy this new story. Triple kisses, Melissa Sunjaya


Once upon a time, there were two little mice who lived an adventurous life in the heart of Jakarta. Hiro and his wife Sur had always been a hard working and courageous duo. No matter how tiny they were, both their hearts were set in rescuing the abandoned children of the streets. Sometimes they slept under the rooftops of big houses, where they could steal some foods for these children. Other times they spent the nights in a clothing factory, where Sur would sew little scarfs from the left over materials. But of all the places they had trotted, they spent most time under a bridge of the vintage train station at Kota – the old town – where about twenty to thirty neglected kids sought shelters for the night. It had a nasty and damp atmosphere, but under this bridge was where they experienced the deepest emotion of humanity. As the children slept, Hiro would discreetly wrap their neck with the scarf that Sur made and placed the food next to them. None of the kids ever found out who their secret guardians truly were.

Many nameless children with mysterious stories came to this dark corner. After a while, some would leave where destiny took them next. A few suffered tragic ends. One day, a shaved head child came limping to this place. The dark, thin, and flat chest body suggested that it was a boy. Yet, starring deep into the child’s large almond eyes, Sur knew this poor soul was a little girl. Her expression buried a mix of rage, fear, and long sorrow; but her eyes held the burning flame of Srikandi’s spirit – an ancient Javanese warrior goddess. Acting like an angry boy was her means to survive the abuse and violence of the streets. It seemed that she had been running for hours from something. Her lips were pale and cold. Her body was shaking from exhaustion. She fell into a deep sleep inside the torn packing box Hiro got from the factory. There was an intensity on her face, and Sur fell in love with the girl’s fighting spirit.

Sur sat down next to her and started to sew a tiny doll while humming an enchanting lullaby. This loving mouse had a miraculous power when she sewed. Every stitch she made was performed with a solemn wish for the child. As she completed the doll, there was a falling star from the blue sky above them. It broke into tiny fireflies which came glowing around this wishful doll and blessed it with a smile. Sur named this doll ‘Pepe’ after the label printed on the box in which the little girl slept. When she carefully put the doll inside the child’s embrace, an air of joy filled the girl’s face as if she had just entered a magnificent dream. The cluster of fireflies twinkled above this girl and lit an image of what seemed to be her dream.

In her dream, this little girl found herself running through a mystical forest. She was wearing a long cotton dress with huge bouganvillea flowers painted on it. There, she met Pepe – a sparkling and witty doll with a warm human heart. Pepe loved jazz and played trumpet like any other crazy musician. The music he played casted a spell that turn some dreams into reality. He listened to her stories and made her laughed, something that she had not been feeling for a long time.

The little girl gave Pepe a big hug and said, “I have been chasing the horizon endlessly, running from the monsters that kept haunting me. Destiny has brought me to you, so that for a few minutes of my life I could discover warmth and tenderness. Please take me away from this dark place so I can stop running. I wish to fly and be in a world where I can stop pretending and be my true self.”

Pepe held her hand and looked deep into her teary eyes. As he whistled a melancholic melody, a striped balloon magically appeared. She climbed and sat on top of it as it slowly raised to the sky. With a small kite to navigate the balloon, they followed the wind which carried them from the dark forest, passed the mountains, above the cities’ sky scrappers, and through the clouds. From up above, she saw people living different lives. Some enjoyed a more fortunate moments, while many others had to face a more traumatic and challenging fate than hers. Yet, even the fortunate ones felt lonely and suffered deeply in their soul for they chose to see their lives from only one point of view. She found that she could paint her life in any colors she wished and draw her own horizons without having to reach out for them. Sorrow and monsters existed only in her minds, not in her reality. It all depended on how she would look at them. And now seeing it from a new perspective, she felt better.

She was on the top of her universe when Pepe gave her a sudden warm kiss, flew away and disappeared behind the moon. Her funny valentine was nowhere to be seen. The balloon drifted down at a speed she could not control, her breath was thin and the world was again a fearful place. She collected the remaining courage that she had, took a deep breath, and slid away from the top of the balloon. Her white cotton dress served as a parachute so that she could gracefully make her landing. As she touched the ground, the little girl woke up from her sleep and found herself holding unto the little Pepe doll that lied in her embrace.


Pada suatu hari, ada dua ekor tikus yang hidup berpetualang di tengah kota Jakarta. Hiro dan istrinya Sur adalah pasangan yang pemberani dan giat bekerja. Walaupun tubuhnya kecil, hati mereka tetap teguh menyelamatkan anak-anak jalanan yang terlantar. Terkadang mereka tidur di bawah atap rumah yang besar, tempat mereka mencuri makanan untuk anak-anak itu. Mereka juga suka bermalam di pabrik pakaian, dimana Sur dapat menjahit selendang dari sisa kain yang ada. Tapi dari semua tempat yang telah mereka jelajahi, mereka paling sering berada di bawah jembatan stasiun Kota Tua. Di sana ada sekitar 20 hingga 30 anak terlantar yang mencari tempat berteduh pada malam hari. Tempat itu kotor dan lembab, namun di bawah jembatan inilah mereka menemukan rasa kemanusiaan yang paling dalam. Saat anak-anak ini tidur, Hiro diam-diam menyelimuti leher mereka dengan selendang buatan Sur dan menaruh makanan di samping mereka. Tidak ada yang pernah mengetahui siapa pelindung mereka yang sesungguhnya.

Banyak anak tanpa nama maupun latar belakang yang jelas datang ke sudut gelap ini. Setelah beberapa lama, sebagian pergi kemana nasib membawa mereka. Sebagian lagi mengalami kisah yang tragis. Suatu hari, seorang anak yang rambutnya dicukur habis datang dengan tertatih-tatih. Kulit kusam dan tubuhnya yang kurus menyerupai anak lelaki, namun saat Sur menatap bola matanya, dia tahu bahwa anak yang malang ini adalah seorang gadis kecil. Wajahnya menyiratkan kemarahan, ketakutan dan kesedihan yang panjang, tetapi matanya memancarkan kekuatan Srikandi – seorang dewi ksatria dalam kisah Jawa kuno. Dia bersikap seperti anak lelaki yang pemarah untuk dapat bertahan dari siksaan dan kerasnya hidup di jalanan. Sepertinya ia telah melarikan diri dari sesuatu. Bibirnya pucat kedinginan sementara tubuhnya bergetar karena kelelahan. Gadis ini tertidur lelap di dalam kardus bekas yang Hiro bawa dari pabrik. Ada ketegangan di wajahnya, Sur pun jatuh hati dengan semangat juang gadis ini.

Sur duduk di dekatnya dan mulai membuat sebuah boneka kecil sambil menyenandungkan lagu pengantar tidur untuk gadis kecil itu. Tikus penyayang ini memiliki kekuatan ajaib ketika ia menjahit. Setiap jahitannya dilakukan dengan harapan yang tulus bagi anak itu. Ketika Sur menyelesaikan boneka itu, sebuah bintang jatuh turun dari langit biru. Bintang itu terpecah menjadi kunang-kunang kecil yang datang mengelilingi dan menganugerahi boneka itu dengan sebuah senyuman. Sur menamakan boneka ini ‘Pepe’ yang diambil dari tulisan di kardus tempat gadis itu tertidur. Ditaruhnya Pepe dengan hati-hati di pelukan sang gadis, dan tiba-tiba sentuhan kebahagiaan memenuhi wajah anak itu seakan dia sedang memasuki mimpi yang sangat indah. Sekumpulan kunang-kunang berkelip di atas kepalanya dan membentuk bayangan mimpinya.

Di dalam mimpinya, gadis itu berlari di hutan yang menyeramkan dengan menggunakan gaun katun panjang bermotif bunga bougainvillea. Lalu ia bertemu Pepe – boneka jenaka yang berkilau dan memiliki hati manusia. Pepe menyukai musik jazz dan bermain terompet seperti musisi hebat lainnya. Musik yang dia mainkan mengeluarkan mantera yang dapat mengubah impian menjadi kenyataan. Ia mendengarkan cerita gadis itu dan membuatnya tertawa, sesuatu yang telah lama tidak dirasakan gadis itu.

Gadis kecil itu memeluk Pepe dengan erat dan berkata, “Selama ini aku telah mengejar kaki langit, berlari dari raksasa yang menghantuiku. Takdir telah membawaku kepadamu, supaya untuk beberapa menit di hidupku, aku bisa menemukan kehangatan dan kelembutan. Kumohon bawa aku pergi dari tempat gelap ini agar aku bisa berhenti berlari. Aku ingin terbang dan berada di dunia dimana aku bisa berhenti bersandiwara dan menjadi diriku sendiri.

Pepe menggenggam tangannya dan menatap matanya yang berkaca-kaca. Sembari menyiulkan melodi yang sedih, sebuah balon bergaris tiba-tiba muncul. Gadis itu memanjat dan duduk di atas balon yang naik perlahan ke angkasa. Dengan bantuan sebuah layang-layang untuk mengarahkannya, mereka mengikuti angin yang membawanya dari hutan rimba, menyeberangi gunung, melewati gedung-gedung pencakar langit, dan menembus awan. Dari ketinggian ini, sang gadis melihat orang-orang menjalani kehidupan masing-masing yang berbeda. Beberapa menikmati masa yang menyenangkan, sementara yang lain harus menghadapi nasib yang lebih buruk dan menantang dari yang ia alami. Mereka yang lebih beruntung pun merasa kesepian dan jiwanya menderita karena memilih untuk memandang hidup hanya dari satu sisi. Dia sadar bahwa sesungguhnya dia dapat mewarnai hidup seperti impiannya dan melukis kaki langit tanpa harus mengejarnya. Kesedihan dan raksasa yang menyeramkan hanya ada di dalam pikirannya, bukan sesuatu yang nyata. Semua bergantung dengan caranya berpikir. Kini setelah melihat dari sudut pandang yang baru, dia merasa lebih baik.

Sang gadis sedang berada di puncak dunianya saat Pepe memberi kecupan hangat, terbang, dan menghilang di balik bulan. Kekasihnya tidak terlihat lagi. Balon udara itu turun begitu cepat sehingga dia tidak bisa mengendalikannya. Napasnya tersenggal dan dunia kembali menjadi begitu menyeramkan. Dia mengumpulkan sisa keberaniannya, menarik napas dalam-dalam, lalu meluncur dari atas balon udara itu. Gaun putihnya menjadi parasut yang membawanya mendarat dengan anggun. Saat dia menyentuh tanah, sang gadis kecil terbangun dari tidurnya sambil menggenggam Pepe yang kini berada di dalam pelukannya.

My daughter Miya contributed her sketch for this edition. I used her flower doodle as part of the bouganville flower print on the little girl’s dress.

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The Stories Continue

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We have been going through a very thrilling couple of weeks. We are preparing our first boutique at Darmawangsa Square and we are very excited for that. Pepe is also another thing that we have been very excited for, the doll has been posted at all our sales point and our team would surely be more than pleased to let you know the story behind the cute hand-stitched doll made by the kids at KDM.

With all the different projects we are running back and forth from, it is always a nice treat like some pleasant review at our friends who visited us at Tirtayasa. We love it when the stories continue, like this one from Olive. Olive came on our Batavia Hotel Launch, last July 28th. We remember she told us she was lost on her way to Tirtayasa, and was not sure that the house was where Tulisan is at.

And there was also Desy, who wrote so eloquently about her visiting time at Tirtayasa. She was stealing time in between her day schedule, and we’re glad she had a great time at our place.

A quote about Tulisan from Fenny, “It’s about beautiful prints in your daily life…”. And it is stories – that is again be shared – that made our days printed beautifully here.

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Pepe, A Wishful Handmade Doll

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Our Dearest Friend,

As the new owner of ‘Pepe’ – a wishful handmade doll, you have become a guardian angel to a child of the street. In return, Pepe will be your good luck charm reminding you of the bundle of love you have given to this child.

All profits of each Pepe doll will be donated to Kampus Diakonia Modern (KDM), a nonprofit foundation dedicated in rescuing the children of the street in Jakarta since 1972. Every year they save a number of deserted children of the street – some are orphans, some run away from home and many are victims of child abuse and exploitation.

With Rp98,000.-, each doll would sustain a child in KDM for either the following:

  • a proper meal for 5 days/
  • a week of school education/
  • a set of learning materials for 6 months/
  • 10 visits to the local health care center.

Pepe is designed by Tulisan as a sustainable project, made by the children of the streets for themselves. Our team conducts art workshops for a group of children from KDM who have committed their time to this projects in hope that this entrepreneurial experience will give them inspiration and confidence to be independent.

These dolls will be available at our booth and store starting Friday, 19 August 2011. To find out more of how you can help a child at KDM, please visit their website:


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These Made Our Day

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Hosting a launch like we did last week had been extremely fun. This time, we finally catch up with the faces behind each online order and email. Some of them had only been a loyal customer at Dharmawangsa, and finally get the time to catch the place where everything came from.

Just a day after, we received Dyah Ambarwati’s pictures when she put together all her Tulisan collection and have her own Tulisan Day.

Kaho also dropped a comment to say hi today. She had been visiting our booth at Dharmawangsa and had received two of our Personal Note Cards handpicked by her husband for her birthday some time ago. Happy birthday, Kaho! We hope to see you around. (You really should check her blog. Its stories and picture which are beautifully capture as well as being highly informative for expatriate in Jakarta. Oh, and did we mention that it comes in English and Japanese.)

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Batavia Hotel

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Batavia Hotel is Tulisan’s fourth limited edition of 2011 and Melissa Sunjaya’s third illustration of the year. She created this artwork with a theatrical scene and opera like color tones, inspired by the new and reformed Jakartans. The line will be launched on Thursday, July 28th, 2011 at Jl. Tirtayasa IV No. 33, Jakarta 12160 from 11 am – 8 pm. Be the first to secure the ones you want before it runs out. You can also contact our team at to reserve your selection for this Thursday.

Tulisan also features four new products in this edition, including: Monograph Journal, Olio Clutch, iPad Pouch, and Cellphone Pouch. Batavia Hotel was depicted to its narrative background story by Rassi Narika and beautifully translated to Indonesian by Myra Bianda.


If one ever take a walk down south from Stadhuis – the old statehouse now known as Fatahillah – and follow the canal to make a turn on the corner of the street, he would recall a mansion where this story took place. It had been a governor’s residence in the old days and its touch of renaissance breathed life into the building. The pillars in front of the building kept its elegance, despite the narrow alley it was located. The alley was dense, you could find another building a few step across the road, but that did not matter for the guests. Guests came, lured by Hotel Batavia’s reputation. The proprietor bought the building from the governor’s son who struggled to pay his debt. I had heard many old stories of the hotel, when the mansion was quiet and reserved only for the governor’s friends and family. These days, people talked of the hotel as a place where happiness was found. Passers by claimed to have stayed in the hotel and guests admitted to have found their source of happiness there. All these talks might only be an act to disguise what really happened inside the hotel.

To become a guest at the hotel, one would only need courage and one of the licensed carriages from the Port of Sunda Kelapa to escort him. At the grand entrance, a clown would address his utmost service for every visitor. He greeted and hopelessly built entertaining conversations to please the guests. Rumors had it that the clown was funny. I noticed, on our first encounter, his face was made up with drawn sullen lips that in no way resembled a smile.  The clown escorted the hotel’s regulars unto a velvet room where the gentlemen socialized with their gin and cigar; while the fair ladies who had been grooming all day long, amused the men through the night. As every other night, Harlequin was there. A casanova by reputation, he used to be a young man who passed by the hotel and wished to visit. He started to work as the bell boy and climbed his way up with his charm to finally be the main cast of the Hotel’s drama. His impeccable manner and natural wit helped him to get his position. His evenings were spent conversing with the mayor on the city’s new projects and cheering with a group of philanthropists. He kissed every lady with a gentle swift on her cheek, and some often asked for a little more than just a kiss. Harlequin was the only person who always came solo, yet he never left alone.

On the other hand, Colombine regularly entered with a circus of entourage. She was once a Nyonyah of the late general who ruled over the district of South Batavia. A woman of distinction who always got what she wanted. Her smooth-silk skin, deep eyes, and pointy nose resembled most women from her caliber.  They would have looked exactly the same had it not been Colombine’s bold smile that catered her seduction. With a lace gown that effortlessly wrapped her body, she entered and lit the room with a smile that killed every man’s at heart. She bursted with tales of the previous governors and gossips of the bourgeois from back then. It was captivating to watch her and to listen to her stories. Her youth, that came before the eyes, played trick to the mind. No one knew the truth of her age, face, or story. Yet, no one cared.

It was luck that brought me to witness their embrace that particular night. Colombine was very selective in accepting a dance invitation. There had always been a handful of gentlemen with high rank, waiting for their turn to own her at the dance floor. Yet, it was a common knowledge that at the presence of Harlequin, no man could even offer her a single drink. That night, spell bounded Harlequin kissed her slender hand and stunned everyone with their elegance. They waltzed away, shared intimate laughters, and kissed. The room was filled with their passion to each other. As he put his hand around her waist, I tried to hold my tears.

I had been standing here all along, entertaining those who could not find the confidence nor attention for themselves that night. For two hours long, I had been under the spot light doing these acrobatic scenes, but no one really cared if I fell or even flew. Those dames who wished to get Harlequin’s attention raised their voices with artificial laughters, calling to the Clown for another glass of wine. He would secretly received envelopes from their unoccupied pretty hands, while their other hands continued to caress the lords who invested in their luxury. Playing this conspiracy, the Clown placed the envelope into Harlequin’s pocket. It was not the first envelope of the night, but no one noticed because they were too enticed to look for happiness.

Up from the stool I was standing, I saw Harlequin’s other hand holding on the balloon I gave out to every visitor. Most guests ignored, some reluctantly took and eventually lost it. However, he always took one and kept it with him the whole night like he always did when we were growing up together in an orphanage just a few blocks away. He was my ground and he was my sky. He was a free spirit who chose his life, but the cast that Harlequin took was a mold sprung from a vulnerable society. The very role he took to salvage his life was also the one that gradually ate the human inside of him. As I reminisced on our childhood, the Clown approached and I could see a grin underneath the sullen lips. He was probably the only one with true happiness that night, with all the fortunes he made on doing these favors. The smile-drawn lips on my face served the same function with the one the Clown’s had – to cover our true feelings. Everyone continued to believe that I was smiling even with these falling tears. To avoid these painful thoughts, I concentrated on keeping my one foot balanced with the help of my umbrella.

In desperate need of happiness, one would refuse to think of the truth. Therefore, we often portray a reality of how we wish to be seen rather than what we are about.

……………in Indonesian……………..


Jika seseorang berjalan ke arah selatan Stadhuis – gedung balai kota tua yang kini dikenal sebagai Fatahillah – dan menyusuri kanal kemudian berbelok di ujung jalan, dia pasti melewati sebuah rumah besar dimana kisah ini terjadi. Rumah ini milik seorang gubernur di masa lampau dengan sentuhan berciri renaisans menghembuskan nyawa ke dalam arsitekturnya. Pilar-pilar yang berdiri di depan gedung ini membuatnya tetap anggun di tengah gang yang sempit. Dalam gang yang sepadat itu, bangunan lain hanya berjarak beberapa langkah di seberang jalan. Walaupun demikian situasi ini tidak menjadi masalah bagi para tamu. Mereka datang karena terbius oleh reputasi Hotel Batavia. Sang pemilik bangunan membeli rumah itu dari anak lelaki gubernur yang sedang terlilit hutang. Aku telah mendengar banyak kisah lama tentang Hotel Batavia, di saat rumah mewah ini begitu tenang dan hanya dikunjungi oleh teman dan sanak saudara sang gubernur. Kini, orang membicarakan hotel itu sebagai tempat ditemukannya kebahagiaan. Para pejalan kaki mengaku pernah menginap dan para tamu mengumbar kisah penemuan sumber kebahagiaan mereka di sana. Semua ini mungkin hanya sebuah sandiwara untuk menutupi kisah yang sesungguhnya terjadi di sana.

Untuk menjadi tamu di Hotel Batavia, seseorang memerlukan keberanian selain kereta kuda resmi dari Pelabuhan Sunda Kelapa untuk mengantar. Di pintu masuk, seorang badut siap memberikan pelayanan istimewa kepada setiap tamu. Dia akan menyapa dan berusaha keras menghibur para tamu lewat percakapan yang dia susun. Kabar angin mengatakan badut ini lucu. Tetapi saat saya pertama kali bertemu dengannya, ada gambar bibir yang muram terlukis di wajahnya – sedikit pun tidak menyerupai sebuah senyuman. Dia mengantar setiap tamu langganan hotel ke dalam sebuah ruangan berlapis beludru, tempat tuan-tuan bersosialisasi sambil meminum arak dan menghisap cerutu; sembari nyonya dan nona cantik yang telah berdandan seharian menghibur para pria sepanjang malam. Seperti malam lainnya, Harlequin ada di sana. Sebelum dikenal sebagai pemikat hati wanita, dia adalah seorang pejalan kaki yang lewat di depan hotel dan bermimpi untuk berkunjung. Dia mulai bekerja sebagai pembawa koper dan dengan pesonanya berhasil menapaki karir hingga akhirnya mengambil peran penting dalam drama hidup di Hotel Batavia. Sopan santun dan selera humornya yang tinggi membantunya mendapatkan posisi ini. Kini, waktu senjanya dihabiskan berdiskusi dengan Pak Walikota mengenai proyek terbaru kota ini atau melobi para dermawan. Dia mencium pipi setiap wanita dengan lembut, dan banyak di antara mereka yang meminta lebih dari sebuah ciuman. Harlequin adalah satu-satunya orang yang selalu datang tanpa pasangan, tetapi dia tidak pernah meninggalkan Hotel Batavia sendirian.

Di lain pihak, Colombine selalu datang dengan rombongan ‘sirkus’ pendampingnya. Dahulu, dia adalah seorang Nyonyah dari almarhum jenderal yang memerintah di daerah Selatan Batavia. Ia adalah seorang wanita ternama yang selalu mendapatkan apa pun keinginannya. Kulitnya yang selembut sutra, matanya yang indah, dan hidungnya yang mancung tidak jauh berbeda dengan wanita lain di kelasnya. Sesungguhnya rupa mereka nyaris sama persis, kalau saja Colombine tidak memiliki senyumnya yang menawan itu. Dengan baju brokat yang merangkul tubuhnya, dia masuk dan menyinari ruangan dengan senyum yang menaklukan hati setiap pria. Dia akan bercerita dengan penuh semangat tentang kisah sang mantan gubernur dan bergosip mengenai kaum borjuis yang hidup pada masa itu. Setiap orang akan terpukau saat memandang wajahnya dan mendengarkan ceritanya. Wajah belia yang dia miliki menipu pikiran orang yang melihatnya. Tidak ada yang tahu umur, wajah, dan kisah Colombine yang sebenarnya. Namun, tak seorang pun peduli.

Keberuntungan membawaku untuk menyaksikan cumbu mereka di malam itu. Colombine sangat pemilih saat ada yang mengajaknya berdansa. Selalu ada sekumpulan tuan dari kalangan bangsawan yang menunggu giliran untuk memilikinya di lantai dansa. Akan tetapi semua orang tahu, jika Harlequin ada di sana, tidak ada yang bisa menawarinya segelas minuman. Malam itu, Harlequin yang sedang terlena mencium tangan Colombine yang ramping dan membuat semua orang terpana dengan keanggunan mereka. Mereka berdansa waltz, tertawa mesra, dan berciuman. Saat Harlequin memeluk pinggulnya, aku berusaha menahan air mata.

Aku telah berdiri di sini dari tadi, untuk menghibur tamu yang tidak mendapatkan kepercayaan diri atau pun perhatian bagi diri mereka malam itu. Sudah dua jam saya melakukan pertunjukan akrobatik di bawah lampu sorot, namun rasanya tidak ada yang ambil pusing bila aku jatuh atau bahkan terbang. Para nyonya yang ingin mencari perhatian Harlequin melepaskan tawa yang dibuat-buat dan meminta tambahan anggur dari sang Badut. Diam-diam, sang Badut akan menerima amplop dari tangan mereka yang cantik sementara tangan mereka yang lain terus membelai tuan yang membiayai kemewahan yang mereka miliki. Di dalam konspirasi ini, sang Badut memainkan perannya dan memasukkan amplop ke dalam saku Harlequin. Ini bukan amplop pertama untuk Harlequin di malam itu, tetapi tidak ada yang sadar karena mereka terbuai untuk mencari kebahagiaan.

Dari atas kursi ini, aku melihat tangan Harlequin yang lain sedang memegang balon yang tadi kubagikan kepada setiap pengunjung. Biasanya mereka akan menolak balon yang kutawarkan, beberapa mengambil balon dengan enggan yang pada akhirnya, itu pun mereka lepaskan. Namun, Harlequin selalu mengambil satu balon dan membawanya sepanjang malam, sama seperti dulu saat kami dibesarkan di sebuah panti asuhan yang terletak beberapa blok dari hotel ini. Dia adalah tanah tempat aku berpijak, dia adalah langit yang kupandang. Dengan jiwanya yang bebas, dia memilih jalan hidup ini. Tetapi peran yang Harlequin mainkan saat ini, terbentuk oleh masyarakat yang rapuh. Peran yang dia pilih untuk menyelamatkan hidupnya menjadi peran yang sedikit demi sedikit menghabisi manusia di dalam dirinya. Saat aku sedang mengenang masa kecil kami, sang Badut mendekat dan aku bisa melihat senyumnya yang lebar di balik gambar bibir yang muram. Kemungkinan, dialah satu-satunya orang yang merasa bahagia malam ini karena semua nyonya tadi memberikan imbalan atas tugasnya. Senyum yang digambarkan di wajahku juga memiliki fungsi yang sama dengan gambar bibir sang Badut: untuk menutupi perasaan kami yang sebenarnya. Semua orang tetap percaya bahwa aku sedang tersenyum, bahkan saat air mata ini mengalir. Untuk melupakan pikiran yang menyakitkan ini, aku berkonsentrasi menjaga keseimbangan berdiri pada satu kaki dengan bantuan sebuah payung.

Seringkali kenyataan didasarkan atas apa yang seseorang ingin lihat, dan bukan tentang keberadaan dirinya. Saat seseorang putus asa mencari kebahagiaan, dirinya akan menolak untuk memikirkan segala yang nyata.

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The Dust of Time

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I love taking photographs of objects that have collected the dust of time. One of my favorite subjects are doors, especially old doors. These doors have become witnesses of weather changes, conversations, correspondences and emotions. In the old towns of Europe, some of these architectural anatomies have existed since the early centuries, capturing events and changes in people’s lives.

If one day, I would ever open my personal Face Book account, most likely these would be the kind of faces that I would broadcast. It has been difficult for me to sort out this collection, since they each carry a unique story. The following pictures are only 5% of my entire library. These were taken during my recent travel to the old towns of Vevey, St Saphorin, Cully, Gruyere, Antibes, Menton, Nice, and Monte Carlo.

Warmest wishes, Melissa

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Sound of Dawn – The Collection

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Sound of Dawn

Tulisan’s third illustration of 2011, “Sound of Dawn” will be launched on Thursday, June 16th, 2011 at Jl. Tirtayasa IV No. 33, Jakarta 12160 from 11 am – 8 pm. Be the first to secure the ones you want before it runs out. You can also contact our team at to reserve your selection for this Thursday.

Also new this month from Tulisan are Club Tote, Confidence Clutch, and Runaway Bag in “Sound of Dawn” series as well as “Psychedelic Sorbet” tea set collection.

The beautiful story of “Sound of Dawn”, is delicately composed by Melissa Sunjaya:


Every life form begins with love. As the first strokes of sun rays travel to fill every inch of space with a cosmic kindness, darkness slowly bids farewell. Sleeping creatures start to awaken their sensory, absorbing energy and transferring warmth to one another making the earth beneath a happier ground. Like a conductor who is about to lead a grand symphony, a shiny black cockerel raise itself on to a fence, summoning others to join his sunrise orchestra. The hummingbirds set an opening tune, the daisies dance the cha-cha, while the leaves and the morning breeze sing a soothing ballad.

Capturing this delicate sound of dawn and surrendering the body to these early minutes of the day is profoundly subliminal. It is a brief euphoria that is hardly spoken and is often missed. I wish to open my eyes to the soft voice whispering that I am loved. These sacred words are a magical spell. I am a simple being like all other living things in my garden, but with these words I become a goddess to one person. When this moment appears, the sound of dawn is heard longer compared to other mornings.

Love is a universal gift that does not choose sides. Love empowers you and me, reaching the unlimited possibilities. Love is the only reason for our existence. Love is my unconditional gift to you.

……………in Indonesian……………..


Setiap kehidupan bermula dari cinta. Ketika kirana matahari yang pertama menyentuh setiap sudut dengan pancaran kebaikan, kegelapan beranjak untuk menyampaikan perpisahan. Para makhluk yang terlelap mulai membangunkan inderanya, untuk saling menyerap kekuatan dan memberikan kehangatan kepada satu sama lain sehingga bumi ini menjadi tempat yang lebih bahagia. Bagaikan seorang konduktor yang hendak memimpin suatu pagelaran musik agung, seekor ayam jago yang hitam berkilauan naik ke atas pagar untuk mengundang semua turut ke dalam orkestranya. Sekumpulan burung bersiul dengan nada pembuka, bunga daisy berdansa cha-cha, sedang dedaunan dan angin pagi bersenandung balada yang merdu.

Merekam bunyi fajar dan berserah diri kepada detik-detik di waktu dini, seperti sebuah mimpi indah. Suatu euforia yang jarang dibicarakan dan seringkali terlewatkan. Aku ingin membuka mataku kepada suara lembut yang berbisik bahwa aku dicintai. Kata-kata ini memiliki kesaktian. Aku adalah wujud yang sederhana seperti semua organisme lain di tamanku, tetapi kalimat tulus ini menjadikanku seorang dewi bagi satu manusia. Ketika saat ini tiba, bunyi terbitnya Surya terdengar lebih lama dibanding pagi hari lainnya.

Cinta adalah karunia alam semesta yang tidak memihak. Cinta memperkuat aku dan kamu, meraih kemungkinan yang tak terhingga. Cinta adalah satu-satunya sebab keberadaan kita. Cinta adalah pemberian tanpa syarat dari aku untuk kamu.

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Psychedelic Sorbet

Psychedelic Sorbet is a series of designs made by Melissa Sunjaya in 2010 for Tulisan. Six different characters of Melissa’s illustrations:  Kakaktua Raja, Contemplation, Gardener’s Note, Arachbiscus, Coral Wonders, and Mrs. Picklenuts imaginarily meet in this tea set. The set is a combination of all illustrations, individually presented with its vibrant color and unique design. Each character stands strong as a cup, tells its own story, and intensifies as a full tea set. The Psychedelic Sorbet tea set collection is made exclusively for Kedaung Group.


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