As Jakarta moves at a frenetic pace toward modernization, native Betawi culture plays an important role in providing a much-needed identity for the metropolitan.
An expert on local culture, Yasmine Zaky Shahab of the University of Indonesia, said that currently the native Betawi culture did not only belong to the natives of the city, but “immigrants” who had adopted it.
“People say that Betawi culture has fallen by the way side, but this is not the case,” Yasmine told a discussion at the University of Indonesia in Depok, West Java.
In fact, the native culture of Jakarta is thriving.
“The Betawi culture now has a new face as it has been adopted by the industry and treated as a commodity,” she said. Yasmine said that as a result of the commodification, people of other ethnic groups in Jakarta had adopted it.
There has never been a shortage o...