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Jakarta Post

Debunking the ‘native Jakartan myth’

  • The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, November 7 2011   /  08:00 am

Local politicians have been criticized for making tenuous claims to Betawi heritage. Others, however, say that understanding Jakarta’s traditional culture is not that simple.

“These days, it is easy for politicians to brand themselves as Betawi, simply because they were born and raised here. But when you learn a little more, they actually have done little to develop Betawi culture and improve the welfare of [Betawi] people,” historian J.J. Rizal said recently.

Rizal said that native Jakartans want politicians and leaders who can do their jobs more than they want to elect representatives of Jakarta’s traditional culture.

“Look at people like Mohammad Husni Thamrin, S.M. Ardan and Ali Sadikin, none of whom were Betawi in terms of ethnicity. People see them as Betawi legends because they could accomplish something,” he added.

Thamrin, the son of a Dut...