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Jakarta Post

‘Ondel-ondel’ Jakarta’s cultural icon in transformation

  • David Caessarre

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, September 12 2018   /  03:22 am

Properly dressed: A craftsman dresses ondel-ondel figures in colorful costumes.Amid the advancement of digital technology, the culture of indigenous Jakartans, known as Betawi, is slowly fading away.The ondel-ondel puppet dance as a Betawi cultural icon is entering a period of being wiped from the collective memory of contemporary Jakarta.The pair of large puppets, which used to be called Barongan, ferocious mythological creatures, have now changed in appearance and are widely popular as ondel-ondel.The new name was adopted after the late Benyamin, arguably the greatest Betawi artist of all time, released his song titled “Ondel-ondel”.So, the puppets were given a facelift to get with gentle expressions, in an attempt to preserve their cultural legacy in Jakarta society.The ondel-ondel studi...