It’s the 17th day of January…that only means 1 thing! Its time for my monthly post on things found (hopely) only in Indonesia.
I believe everybody knows about snake dance in India but no one knows that we also have animal show, not with snake but with monkey 🙂
This month I am going to talk about Topeng Monyet. Topeng means mask and monyet means Monkey, so…literally Topeng Monyet means Monkey Mask…but I kinda think that it’ll be better to translate it as Monkey Circus as it is showing monkey doing some tricks to entertain people. This small circus is same with street performance. Street performance in Indonesia is different than street performance in developed country, the performers will come from house to house or area to area instead of waiting in one spot and hoping people will notice them. Some do stay in one spot but mostly they will walk around suburban area.
The show is called topeng monyet because sometimes, the monkey will perform using a mask on its face. The performers usually consist of 2-4 people and 1 monkey. They will carry some percussion as back ground music during the monkey’s performance. The monkey is tied to a long chain controlled by the people. It has to be chained because they couldn’t let the monkey suddenly attacks the watcher. Their targeted watchers are small children.
They will direct the monkey to do some tricks like riding a small motorcycle, walking around with a mask on its face, dragging a rickshaw and even praying like Muslim. The performer prepares a small sajadah for the monkey to do Sholat (Muslim’s way of praying). The monkey is always wearing cloth.
The show can be entertaining, especially for children…I used to like it too when I was a kid…but now, I feel so sorry for the monkey 😦 When I took these pictures, I felt so sad, when the monkey refused to act, the owner will snap at the chain to keep it going. I couldn’t say that it is a 100% animal cruelty because it’s just like any other animal show in the world…but still, my heart goes to those monkeys.
The performer will try to find places where there is full of kids. They will try to find a space to do the performance and call for attention by playing their traditional instrument. When the performance is over, they will come to each kids (and of course, their parents) to ask for money, they will accept anything because they do not put a tag price for their performance.
The monkey and the equipment such as the instrument and things that will be used by the monkey are usually rented. The performer will pay to the owner a certain amount of money.
I found this video in youtube,it belongs to Damabening
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