The Jakarta Provincial Government will soon prohibit the use of ondel-ondel as a means of busking in order to protect its status as a cultural icon in the Indonesian capital.
Ondel-ondel is a large puppet figure used in traditional Betawi folk performances. Once reserved mainly for festivals or to welcome important guests, these days ondel-ondel are often used as props for street busking.
Arifin, who heads Jakarta's Public Order Agency (Satpol PP), said that the reason for the ban is to protect ondel-ondel's status as a cultural icon for the native Betawi people.
"So the presence of ondel-ondel as a means to busking has often been reported, and it has caused unrest among the public that considers this quite bothersome," Arifin said today.
"We would like to use this opportunity to remind the public about the usage of the Betawi cultural icon in accordance with its function, for us to preserve and put it in high regards, not as a means to busk on the streets."
The frequent use of ondel-ondel in busking has made the figure associated with begging, instead of an art performance meant to entertain the people, according to Arifin, who emphasized that it should instead be performed in cultural and artistic events, especially those associated with Betawi traditions.
Arifin also said that many ondel-ondel buskers employ children to perform with them. The Jakarta government plans to raise awareness on the matter before issuing sanctions to the violators.
The sanctions are regulated under a regional regulation on public order issued in 2007, which prohibits Jakartans from begging, busking, hawking, and wiping car windows in the streets of Jakarta. Those who violate the regulations are subject to a maximum jail time of 60 days or a fine of IDR20 million (US$1,384).