Bunga Roos dari Tjikembang or “The Rose of Cikembang” is a 1927 vernacular Malay-Chinese language novel written by novelist and journalist Kwee Tek Hoay. It was inspired by the lyrics to the song “If Those Lips Could Only Speak” and William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Nights Dream”.

On 4 February, a literature-loving audience had the chance to see this love story on stage at Galeri Indonesia Kaya in collaboration with Titimangsa Foundation and directed by Wawan Sofwan. The cast included Verdi Solaiman, Vanessa Kalani Ong, Madin Tyasawan, Andi Bersama.  

The story follows Oh Ay Tjing, the plantation manager of a rubber plantation in Gunung Mulia, Bogor where he falls in love with Marsiti. Because of his love for Marsiti, Ay Tjing disobeys the wishes of his family and refuses to marry Gwat Nio, the daughter of the plantation’s owner. In the end, however, Ay Tjing agrees to leave Marsiti and marry Gwat Nio for the sake of family dignity, and Marsiti is sent away.

This heartbreaking tale of love and betrayal was brought to stage with passion and dedication and showed the enthusiastic audience the richness of classic Indonesian literary works as well as the reason why it needs to be preserved.

Sari Widiati

Sari Widiati

Sari has been an arts and culture enthusiast for many years. She has written extensively on the arts, travel, and social issues as Features Writer at NOW! Jakarta.