Family Comes First

Tjokorda – better known as Tjok Gus – is known for his successful dining destinations in Bali and Happy is a stellar and highly respected director, producer and actor. They mused about how they find time to balance work and raise their daughter and newborn son.

Q: How did you guys first meet and decide to get married?
Happy (H): I knew him from a mutual friend. We started out as friends, but then as time went by, I found that beneath his nonchalant exterior, he shared some common interests with me – like reading and enjoying literary works. We were dating for about three and a half years before we got married, and everything just sort of fell into place.
Tjok Gus (T): I found that she was everything I was looking for in a wife and a mother of my children. So yes, everything just worked out well.

Q: What are you guys up to these days?
I’m still focusing on the restaurants, Biku and Happy Chappy. We’re expanding Happy Chappy with more outlets at the moment.
H: I just finished directing and producing a new TV programme that should be launched anytime soon. I’m preparing to produce a performance next year, and I will start another acting gig by the end of this year. I also still have my jewellery brand Tulola to manage. We recently opened a store at Plaza Indonesia, and another one is to open soon at Plaza Indonesia – we’re opening three stores in Jakarta this year.
I have to go to Jakarta a lot, but Tjok Gus is always dependable. I can rest assured knowing that my children will be okay, even though I’m not with them, and vice versa, when Tjok Gus has to go to Jakarta. We’re partners in raising our family, and we work with what we have.

Q: As working parents, is it difficult to juggle life with raising a family?
H: We used to bring our first child, Kina, along everywhere – including to work, especially when I had a shooting schedule that couldn’t be missed. But I realised that it could be exhausting for her, so we worked out a system where if the trip isn’t that long, I go by myself. I can only do this because I have a good support system and a supportive spouse.

Q: You guys come from two different cultures, was it difficult to bring the two together in a marriage?
T: Of course there were challenges, and it took time. But we just needed to learn about each other’s culture and be respectful, and after a while it got easier.
H: It was quite challenging. Tjok’s family holds on to strong traditional values, especially because he comes from the Ubud palace family. I learned to adapt, but it comes naturally now. The most important thing is to maintain good relations with the family.

Q: What do you want the kids to learn from you?
T: Kina always sees us working, and she knows that we need to work to make money. So she understands that work is important. But first and foremost, we want her to be independent.
H: Working isn’t just about money, it’s also a way to express ourselves. I want her to see that the females in her family are working. I work, my mother works, Tjok’s mother works, and even Tjok’s 95-year-old grandmother is leading an active life. I want her to see the importance of being independent.

Q: What do you do during family quality time?
H: We use the family holidays as time for bonding, and even during the holiday, Tjok Gus is very supportive and doesn’t mind doing tasks that are more commonly associated with females. He cooks, he does the dishes, he washes.

Q: What are your top three family holiday destinations in Bali?
T: We like to go to Amed, Bedugul and Nusa Ceningan.

Model: Tjok Bagus Max KerthYasa, Happy Salma & Children

Photographer: Surya Rizky For Djelantik Photography

Venue: Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort

Wardrobe: By The Sea

Asia Dreams August – October 2019