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Jakarta Post

'Loud, uneducated': Betawi natives portrayed negatively in media

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta   /   Sat, August 10, 2019   /  01:16 pm
The Jakarta Post Image
People flock the entrance to the Lebaran Betawi event at the National Monument area on July 20. (kompas.com/Vitorio Mantalean)

On big and small screens, the Betawi people, who make up the native ethnic group of Jakarta, are often portrayed as uneducated, loud rowdies with no manners. The trope is so common in Indonesian cinemas or TV series that it has become a stereotype. Hikmat Darmawan, the chairman of the Film Committee at the Jakarta Arts Council, said it was hard for him to enjoy watching recent movies depicting the Betawi culture, like the 2018 flick Benyamin Biang Kerok (Benyamin the Troublemaker), starring prominent actor Reza Rahardian. The movie was inspired by a movie of the same name released in the 1970s and featuring legendary Betawi actor Benyamin Sueb. “The main character, Benyamin, and his family are Betawi. However, he acts like a clown, being exaggeratedly foolish and loud. It is so different from the real Betawi people I know and have grown up with,” he said at a seminar...