Growing up in 1970’s Singapore, batik was something I saw my parents wear. Associating batik with the cheongsams that my mom wore, it was quite natural that I also created batik cheongsams when I started Tong Tong.



Since my first batik-sourcing trip to Yogyakarta in 2012, I’ve made a few more such trips to Indonesia.


However, it wasn’t until early 2022, when Tong Tong was commissioned to produce 3 outfits for the Batik Kita show, that I decided to dive deeper into the subject.

I realized that Javanese craftsmen were like kindred spirits: they have long embraced and integrated Indian trade cloths and Chinese motifs (two of my favourite subjects) into their batik creations!  


I also learned to understand and appreciate even classical Javanese brown batik soga that I used to shun because ‘they don’t look good on my sallow yellow skin.’ So now, I see batik as a precious inheritance unique to our part of the world.

If I can make it relevant and accessible in our modern life, perhaps the next generation might fondly remember it as something familiar that they saw and grew up with too!


Visit the Batik Kita show at the Asian Civilisations Museum