Not like eating chilli: constructing alternative cultural space for the Betawians
Zeffry ALKATIRI, JJ RIZAL, and Ben SOHIB (Translated by Melani BUDIANTA)
ABSTRACT In these excerpts of interviews, four young cultural activists offer their vision of an inclusive, tolerant, and cross-cultural Jakarta. They discuss the marginalization of the Betawians, who are considered to be the native inhabitants of the city, the escalation of identity politics, and power struggles in the globalized metropolitan
KEYWORDS: urban space, identity politics, power, globalization
Zeffry Alkatiri is a poet and a lecturer, who was born and grew up amongst the Arab-Betawians in Jakarta. He also writes essays about the history and culture of Jakarta.
JJ Rizal is from a younger generation Betawian, brought up in the Betawi village in West Jakarta. He studied history for his undergraduate studies, and with several friends founded the Komunitas Bambu, which publishes quality historical books. 'Masup Jakarta’ (Entering Jakarta) is one of its special program.
Ben Sohib is a young novelist from a mixed Arab-Javanese-Betawian background, who spent his youth in a plantation area in Jember, where his father worked, and then moved to Bali. Returning to the Betawian area in the South of Jakarta, the home village of his father, he decided to be a full time writer. He has published two satiric novels on the Betawian culture, which are well received and have been made into film and tv series.