A male ondel-ondel puppet is seen wearing a face mask at Kramat Pulo, Central Jakarta on Friday. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

No More Dancing: Pandemic Becomes A Quiet Time for Jakarta's Ondel-Ondel

BY :YUDHA BASKORO

AUGUST 07, 2020

Jakarta. Even the large Betawi effigies 'ondel-ondel' are not as smiley amid the pandemic.

Ondel-ondel, usually comes in a pair of enormous male and female puppet figures, have always been a staple to kick off extravagant festivals and parties. In the evening, ondel-ondel buskers would liven up the streets to entertain the passersby and cars stuck in a traffic jam. All this has become a rare sight due to the crisis-hit economy and stay-at-home orders.

With fewer people renting the brightly colored puppet, the business has become sluggish for ondel-ondel artisans and rental services. Even so, they still remain hopeful that their ondel-ondel can perform once again.

The witty smile of Jakarta's cultural icon popped out from the thicket along Kramat Pulo street, Central Jakarta, on Friday. Joyous music played by brightly colored carts filled the street. The sun was right overhead, but no customer had arrived yet.

"We just line up our ondel-ondel on the side of the road to let people see. Hopefully, they will come to buy or rent them," artisan and repairman Yono said on Friday.

He admitted that the pandemic has taken a toll on his business, but he hasn't given up easily.

Similarly, ondel-ondel rental service provider Heni displayed her female puppets near the bridge at Jalan Pacar. She even had a three-wheeled taxi or bajaj ready for delivery.  

"If someone is going to rent, I just put the ondel-ondel on a bajaj. Poor her, she hasn't been dancing for a very long time," the 59-year old said.

Ondel-ondel craft centers in the region have been around since the 1980's, but started to get lively in early 2000. The pandemic is the toughest challenge yet for ondel-ondel artisans in Kramat Pulo after staying alive in the capital for decades.

An old lady walks in front of ondel-ondel at Kramat Pulo, Central Jakarta on Friday (07/08). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
An old lady passes by an ondel-ondel at Kramat Pulo, Central Jakarta, on Friday. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
An old lady walks in front of a mural at Kramat Pulo, Central Jakarta on Friday (07/08). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
An old lady stands in front of a mural of the American Flag. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Ondel-ondel artisans sleep on the side of a railway at Kramat Pulo, Central Jakarta on Friday (07/08). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Ondel-ondel artisans sleep on the side of a railway at Kramat Pulo. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Heni, 59, an ondel-ondel rental provider prepares her female ondel-ondel at Kramat Pulo, Central Jakarta on Friday (07/08). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Heni strikes a pose with her female ondel-ondel. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Ondel-ondel stranded at Kramat Pulo, Central Jakarta on Friday (07/08). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Ondel-ondel stranded at Kramat Pulo, Central Jakarta. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A bajaj brings ondel-ondel at Kramat Pulo, Central Jakarta on Friday (07/08). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A bajaj is ready to drive off the ondel-ondel. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Yono, an ondel-ondel artisan paints an ondel-ondel at Kramat Pulo, Central Jakarta on Friday (07/08). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Artisan Yono paints the face of an ondel-ondel. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Ondel-ondel line up on Jalan Kembang Pacar at Kramat Pulo, Central Jakarta on Friday (07/08). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Ondel-ondel lining up as they wait for a customer to arrive. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A woman sunbathes a newborn baby near ondel-ondel music carts at Kramat Pulo, Central Jakarta on Friday (07/08). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A woman sunbathes a newborn baby near ondel-ondel music carts. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

 

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ondel-ondel