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At 16, Frances Caitlin Tirtaguna is a proud Betawi culture warrior and much more

Keshie Hernitaningtyas
Keshie Hernitaningtyas

The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta  /  Fri, May 24, 2019  /  11:12 am
At 16, Frances Caitlin Tirtaguna is a proud Betawi culture warrior and much more

Astounding as it seems, Frances is just a regular teenager who enjoys Korean dramas and saves her money to attend K-pop concerts. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)

Fifteen-year-old Frances Caitlin Tirtaguna was traveling home from school one day when she happened to look out the car window and saw a grubby ondel-ondel (giant Betawi effigies) busking in Jakarta's congested street. "At that time I didn't know much about Betawi culture, but I did know that ondel-ondel is one of the culture’s icons. They are usually present during important events such as opening ceremonies and weddings,” Frances recently shared with The Jakarta Post. Seeing an icon of Betawi culture appear in such a manner left her confused. "I started questioning why they were on the side of the street [like that] – what was happening? I asked my mom and then I began browsing the internet [for information]." During her research, Frances found little information regarding Betawi culture online. Unsatisfied, she d...