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Jakarta Post

Satire, Betawi people’s way of laughing in face of life’s struggle

  • Vela Andapita
    Vela Andapita

    The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta   /   Fri, August 2, 2019   /  03:53 pm
The Jakarta Post Image
Betawi 'ondel-ondel' (giant puppets) are seen during Cap Go Meh Glodok 2018. According to historian and Betawi culture expert, Betawi people use satire to laugh in the face of life's struggles.(JP/Jessicha Valentina)

Betawi people have shared their land and livelihoods with people from different races and ethnicities for centuries.  Jakarta’s strategic coastal location, which has made it Indonesia’s major trading hub, has attracted people from all over the archipelago and even the world to come and settle. Unfortunately, Betawi people have often been pushed aside amid all the changes that have occurred on their land, facing oppression by Dutch colonizers and competition with newcomers. However, rather than complaining and cursing life for the unfortunate events, Betawi people have developed a habit of laughing in the face of their struggles through satire told in both written and oral literature. “Betawi people are among those who fought against the Dutch the longest. As time passes, new races have come in, forming classes and social segregation. That...