featured article
A Kampung
Betawi called

courtesy of Media Dutaservisindo

JAKARTA (indo.com): Jakarta is a real mixing pot of ethnic diversity, with peoples from all over the archipelago - traditional cultures mix and intermingle, co-existing side by side with modern metropolitan life. In such a diverse, flamboyant setting, it is sometimes easy to overlook the native inhabitants of the city.

The original people of Jakarta are the Orang Betawi. "Orang" means "person", and "Betawi" indicates the original Dutch name of the city, Batavia. The Betawi language has a special place in the Jakarta of today, being the fashionable street language of the younger generation of Jakartans - it has been adopted as the hip, modern, trendy and informal language of kids and yuppies alike. The older, traditional Betawi language is also still widely spoken by the older generation of the Betawi people.

In the Jakarta of old, the Betawi people dominated the centre of the city, but as it has expanded, much of their land has been bought up for development and the Betawi people have been dispersed. Condet, however, stands out as a little Kampung (village or community) Betawi in East Jakarta, where traditional Betawi life continues undisturbed, and the old rural lifestyle of Jakarta has been preserved. Surrounded by shady trees and gardens, Condet is famous for its fruit orchards and their produce.

The history of Condet in many ways reflects that of the city as a whole. The book Cagar Budaya Betawi dates the community back to 1860. At that time the land in Condet was owned by a prince from Mataram (in Lombok) and his wife. A sly Dutch landlord by the name of Jan Ameen then managed to cheat the couple out of their land, and after he died, the land was inherited by Jan Ameen's family. Legend has it that they were cruel landowners, but the local people were unable to kick them out as the Ameen family was supported by the powerful colonial government. After independence was attained, however, the land of Condet was given back to the original Betawi people.

This is relatively modern history, however, and the community probably dates back many thousands of years. Along the Ciliwung river in this area, archeologists have found items such as earthenware pottery and stone axe and spear heads - evidence of community life long before the Betawi were there.

The Kampung Betawi of today offers the visitor a great insight into traditional Jakartan town life; the buildings are preserved by government order, and many Betawi people live in their traditional style houses, going about their business growing of selling fruit, fishing, trading amongst the myriad of other activities which are an inevitable part of modern city life.

home | destinations | interests | indonesia | smart tips | members | art & crafts | featured hotel
featured article | news archives | about us | terms | vendors | advertisers | affiliates | contact us

developed, designed, and maintained by indo.com © AllRights Reserved