Marga T

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Marga T
BornTjoa Liang Tjoe
(1943-10-23)23 October 1943
Jakarta, Indonesia
Pen nameMarga T
EducationTrisakti University
GenreRomance, Children's

Marga Tjoa (born 27 January 1943) is an Indonesian popular romance and children's literature writer better known by the pen name Marga T. One of Indonesia's most prolific writers, she first became well known in 1971 for her serial Karmila that was published as a book in 1973 and later made into a film. As of 2006, she has published 38 novels.


Marga Tjoa was born Tjoa Liang Tjoe (Chinese: 蔡良珠;[1] Hokkien: Chhoà Liâng-chu) to a Catholic Chinese Indonesian (peranakan) family in Jakarta in 1943.[1] She started writing young and by age 21, had published her first short story, "Room 27" (Indonesian: Kamar 27). It was followed by her first book in 1969, a children's story titled My Home is My Castle (Indonesian: Rumahku adalah Istanaku).[2] During this time she was also educated as a physician at Trisakti University.[1]

Tjoa became famous after first novel, Karmila, was published in 1971. In 1972 she followed Karmila's success with The Storm Will Surely Pass (Indonesian: Badai Pasti Berlalu), which was serialized in Kompas between 5 June and 2 September 1972, with a novelized version being published in 1974.[3] Both novels were adapted into movies,[2] with Badai Pasti Berlalu going on to win four Citra awards.[4] This early success convinced her to continue writing.[2]

During the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Tjoa published more popular novels,[1] including An Illusion (Indonesian: Sebuah Ilusi), The Red Saga (Indonesian: Saga Merah), and Doctor Sabara's Secret (Indonesian: Rahasia Dokter Sabara). She also published some collections of short stories, including Love Song (Indonesian: Lagu Cinta) and Monik.[5]

In 2004, Tjoa published A Bud of Hope (Indonesian: Sekuntum Nozomi) to commemorate the eighth anniversary of the 1998 Jakarta Riots. It deals with the violence and rape of Chinese women during the riots.[6]

As of 2006, Tjoa has written 80 short stories, 50 pieces of children's literature, and 38 novels.[6]

Tjoa currently lives in Central Jakarta.[2]

Chinese-Indonesian Identity[edit]

Tjoa has been seen as trying to distance herself from her Chinese-Indonesian background during a period of legislation regarding Chinese culture in Indonesia, as evidenced by her use of a neutral pen name and a general disregard for Chinese culture and problems in her literary works.[7] Her diction is also described as "identical to that of indigenous writers."[8] As a result, many readers do not realize that Tjoa is Chinese-Indonesian.[9]

Selected works[edit]

Her works include:[5]

Year Title Title in English Notes
1969 Rumahku adalah Istanaku My Home is my Castle First novel
1971 Karmila Karmila
1974 Badai Pasti Berlalu The Storm Will Surely Pass Originally published as a serial in Kompas in 1972
1976 Gema Sebuah Hati A Heart's Echo
1976 Bukan Impian Semusim Not a Seasonal Dream
1977 Sepotong Hati Tua A Sliver of an Old Heart
1979 Lagu Cinta Love Song A collection of short stories
1982 Monik Monik A collection of short stories
1982 Sebuah Ilusi An Illusion
1984 Fatamorgana Fatamorgana
1984 Saga Merah Red Saga
1984 Rahasia Dokter Sabara Doctor Sabara's Secret
1984 Bukit Gundaling Gundaling Hill
1986 Ketika Lonceng Berdentang: cerita misteri When the Bell Tolls: A Mystery
1987 Saskia Saskia Part one of a trilogy
1987 Untukmu Nana For You, Nana
1987 Setangkai Edelweiss A Stalk of Edelweiss A sequel to Gema Sebuah Hati
1987 Sembilu Bermata Dua The Two-Bladed Knife
1987 Kishi Kishi Part two of a trilogy
1987 Batas Masa Silam: Balada Sungai Musi The Edge of the Past: A Balad for the Musi River
1987 Oteba Oteba The final book in a trilogy
1987 Ranjau-ranjau Cinta Love's Traps
1988 Tesa Tesa
1988 Di Hatimu Aku Berlabuh In Your Heart, I Am Anchored
1988 Sekali dalam 100 Tahun Once in 100 Years A collection of satires
1990 Istana di Kaki Langit The Palace at the Sky's Feet
1991 Namamu Terukir di Hatiku Your Name is Carved in My Heart
1991 Sonata Masa Lalu A Sonnet to the Past
1992 Berkerudung Awan Mendung Veiled in Grey Skies
1992 Seribu Tahun Kumenanti I Will Wait for a Thousand Years
1992 Rintihan Pilu Kalbuku My Heart's Melancholic Moan
1994 Sepagi Itu Kita Berpisah We Separated that Early
1995 Dikejar Bayang-Bayang Chased by Shadows
1995 Melodi Sebuah Rosetta A Rosetta's Melody
1999 Matahari Tengah Malam The Midnight Sun
1998 Didera Sesal dan Duka Scourged by Regrets and Grief
1998 Dicabik Benci dan Cinta Torn Between Love and Hate
1999 Amulet dari Nubia The Amulet from Nubia
2001 Dipalu Kecewa dan Putus Asa Hammered by Disappointment and Despair
2003 Dibakar Malu dan Rindu Burned by Shame and Longing
2002–2006 Sekuntum Nozomi A Bud of Hope Four works


  1. ^ a b c d Leo Suryadinata. Prominent Indonesian Chinese: Biographical Sketches. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1995.
  2. ^ a b c d "Apa dan Siapa: Marga T Archived 28 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine" Pusat Data & Analisis Tempo. Retrieved 18 May 2011. (Indonesian)
  3. ^ Musisiku Republika. P. 195. (Indonesian)
  4. ^ Badai Pasti Berlalu Archived 16 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine. (Indonesian)
  5. ^ a b "Marga T: Dokter dan Penulis Novel". Tokoh (Indonesian)
  6. ^ a b "Sekuntum Nozomi 3 oleh Marga T, Memperingati Sewindu Tragedi Mei 1998" Perspektif Online. 16 May 2006. Retrieved 18 May 2011. (Indonesian)
  7. ^ Allen, Pamela. "Penghayatan Lintas Budaya: Pribumi Menyoroti Tionghoa dalam Sastra Indonesia" in Susastra: jurnal ilmu sastra dan budaya. Himpunan Sarjana-Kesusastraan Indonesia. P. 32. (English)
  8. ^ Suryadinata, Leo. "From Peranakan Chinese Literature to Indonesian Literature: A Preliminary Study". in Suryadinata, Leo (ed.). Chinese adaptation and diversity: essays on society and literature in Indonesia, Malaysia, & Singapore. Singapore University Press. P. 91.
  9. ^ Suryadinata, Leo. "From Peranakan Chinese Literature to Indonesian Literature: A Preliminary Study". in Suryadinata, Leo (ed.). Chinese adaptation and diversity: essays on society and literature in Indonesia, Malaysia, & Singapore. Singapore University Press. P. 119.