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Jakarta Post

Betawi or not Betawi?

  • The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, August 26 2010   /  10:07 am

Debates over native Jakartans or Betawi cultural identity are still ongoing with Betawi marginalized communities asking for official recognition as a part of Betawi.

The issue has come to surface following the city administration’s plan to open a Betawi arts center, which will facilitate only Muslim Betawi culture, known as Central Betawi.

The administration plans to refurbish a former military command post on Jl. Raya Bekasi, East Jakarta, into an arts center thanks to the idea from the Betawi Consultative Body (Bamus Betawi), a body supervising activities of the Betawi Culture Institution (LKB). The arts center is expected to open in 2012.

A historian and Betawi expert from Cina Benteng community in Sewan, Tangerang, Mona Lohanda, said that the plan was good and yet ridiculous.

“[Bamus Betawi and LKB] are very ethnocentric, demeaning other marginalized ...