DKI Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has prohibited people from using ondel-ondel for busking and begging on the streets. The giant doll is an icon of Jakarta that many argue should be preserved.
“Ondel-ondel is Betawi cultural heritage that must be preserved and developed,” said Head of DKI Jakarta Municipal Police, Arifin.
Lately, ondel-ondel has been used as a means of busking or begging, even forcing the public to hand over small change. Arifin said that this has actually damaged the value of ondel-ondel as a cultural icon of Jakarta.
He therefore assessed that the use of ondel-ondel as a means of busking would decrease the artistic value because there are no art and cultural artifacts present.
The prohibition of using ondel-ondel as a means of busking is not new. During the leadership of Joko Widodo, when the current president was governor, and Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, prohibition was also enforced.
“Prohibition has also been stipulated in regional regulations and governor-level regulations. The regional regulations governing the preservation of Betawi culture and ondel-ondel have been designated as a Betawi cultural icon,” he said.
The East Jakarta Municipal Police held large-scale raids against buskers using ondel-ondel on roads and in villages. Head of East Jakarta Municipal Police Budhy Novia said ondel-ondel for singing is also prohibited according to regional regulation number 8 of 2007 concerning public order.
“Betawi cultural symbols should not be used for things that undermine the dignity of the culture itself,” said Budhy on Wednesday 24th March.
He went on to say that his party had coordinated with Betawi traditional institutions regarding the raids on ondel-ondel singers, such as the Betawi Deliberative Council (Bamus) and a number of community organisations.
“We’ve asked Betawi cultural observers for their input on how to provide solutions, and they agreed that an order was necessary,” he said.
Furthermore, Budhy confirmed that he would coordinate with the Jakarta Culture Office regarding the fate of the ondel-ondel buskers. Even so, ondel-ondel can still be performed at five recreational spots in the area of ??the East Jakarta City Government.
Previously, the East Jakarta Municipal Police had dispatched 200 personnel to curb ondel-ondel buskers, silver-painted people, and others with social welfare problems (PMKS).
Ondel-ondel is an art form of the Betawi ethnic group native to the capital, Jakarta. Kampung Ondel-Ondel in Jalan Kembang Pacar, Senen, Central Jakarta is a village filled with ondel-ondel arts.
Initially, in the 1980s, ondel-ondel still belonged to the wider community. Ondel-ondel in the area were only be made on important celebrations, from the results of joint money or community savings.