Jakarta just celebrated its birthday last week on 22 June 2014. The local government always hold a parade party along Sudirman Road annually to celebrate it. Despite the huge numbers of people who attended, this event was relatively secure and fun. The theme for this year was “KEAJAIBAN TOPENG NUSANTARA”. Why mask? Indonesian is rich in traditional clothes, food, songs, or dances. But, mask? I don’t remember I learned about traditional masks back in school.
According to Wikipedia about Mask ,
In Indonesia the mask dance predates Hindu-Buddhist influences. It is believed that the use of masks is related to the cult of the ancestors, which considered dancers the interpreters of the gods. Native Indonesian tribes such as Dayak have masked Hudoq dance that represents nature spirits. In Java and Bali masked dance is commonly called topeng and demonstrated Hindu influences as it often feature epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata. The native story of Panji also popular in topeng masked dance. Indonesian topeng dance styles are widely distributed, such as topeng Bali, Cirebon, Betawi, Malang, Yogyakarta and Solo.
So, traditional masks cannot be separated with traditional dances and stories. It is also part of the appearances, pairing with the clothes.
Nowadays, there are masks that we wear and we see.. Like Andre Berthiaume said “We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin.” We socialize and put our best image on. We set our role models and reflect ourselves from the masks of others. Is it bad to wear a mask? Well, it depends. Sometimes people need to mask hate, pain, or disagreements to avoid quarrels or fights. People behave and talk in a positive manner when trying to give constructive feedback or when delivering bad news.
And how about the mask of Jakarta recently? Well, people know Jakarta is a very strategic central business. The traffic jam is getting worse, the flood is unavoidable during rainy season, the beggar is everywhere. But, this city is progressing better. Our new local government, Jokowi-Ahok, is working for monorail train, better waste management, free/cheap medical and education expense, etc. And, this is what to do, which is helping the local government to repair the broken mask and color the mask so that all people living or working in Jakarta can get the benefit from the city.