Conserving Betawi culture in “Ondel-ondel Village”

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(photo: IO/Yoga Agusta)

IO – Ondel-ondel, a huge puppet figure in traditional Betawi culture, fills Ondel-ondel Village in Kramat Pulo, Senen, Central Jakarta. One ondel-ondel craftsperson by the name of Iskandar explained that four ondel-ondel business owners in the village specialize in creating different ondel-ondel parts, such as the body frame, mask, clothes, hair, to the music wagon.

Established in 1980, Ondel-ondel Village has fulfilled orders for ondel-ondel to help promote and preserve Betawi culture, parading along the streets of Jakarta. The ondel-ondel buskers usually consist of 2 to 4 people. They rent an ondel-ondel through a deposit system. Rent for one day costs Rp 50,000 while transport costs Rp 150,000. The ondel-ondel buskers tour various locations around South, East, Central, North, and West Jakarta.

Inside the Ondel-ondel village is a Sanggar Respal – a studio to practice various arts, such as palang pintu, tanjidor, Betawi dances, Betawi poetry and others. The practice is carried out twice a week. The ondel-ondel craftspeople in Kramat Pulo Village also work together with ondel-ondel craftspeople in the Kemayoran area in Jakarta and often practice together in the studio.

Ondel-ondel are also often ordered by the Jakarta government to be displayed in villages in Jakarta. According to Iskandar, orders for ondel-ondel arrive divided from every sub-district, but mostly from the Jakarta Tourism and Culture Agency. “Usually we are invited to opening events. The rent system is per one packet which includes an ondel-ondel pair. Other than that, many order ondel-ondel to add color to their events, from the model to the clothes. When there is an event, the Jakarta government also asks us to make an ondel-ondel parade,” he explained.

Ondel-ondel are relatively inexpensive, with one set costing Rp 3 million. Iskandar said in one month there can be 5-7 orders. “The most orders came in during 2018: there could be 25 pairs ordered in a month for the East Jakarta government health centers,” he added. If you are interested in ordering a pair of ondel-ondel in Kampung Kramat Pulo, you can do so by contacting Iskandar, through this handphone number: 081296661863. (Yoga Agusta)

(photo: IO/Yoga Agusta)
(photo: IO/Yoga Agusta)
(photo: IO/Yoga Agusta)
(photo: IO/Yoga Agusta)