index PROJECT Astronesian Atlas The history of the territory
Angga Cipta # Berkumpul dan Bersiasat # Rumah # The Spices of Society

The history of the territory

Jakarta is a melting pot of all Indonesian ethnic groups. Almost every major ethnic group has its own kampung—literally translated as a village—or community area, such as kampung Bali, Ambon, Bugis, Melayu, Banda, Arab, Jawa, and so on. This kampung has recently evolved into a diverse society with little resemblance to its origins. The similarities of every kampung are that they are densely populated and this brings about the warmth of their community spirit. But what causes the territory of a kampung to still exist in many Indonesian big cities?

The Spices of Society

Let's say those ethnic groups that have now spread among many kampungs are the spices, and these ingredients make a recipe. The identities of ethnically based kampungs in the city are getting assimilated. Different kampungs have different ingredients, and their individual ethnic cultural DNA characteristics create different vibes. The accents, slang expressions and when and how they're used can all give off various vibes for the native speakers. So, when traveling and hanging out around kampung in different districts in Jakarta, I can feel like I'm eating mixed rice, culturally speaking.

Rijsttafel, Indonesian, 2021 Image courtesy: Angga Cipta

The existence of mixed rice itself cannot be separated from the composition of the different meal recipes that were once served on different plates on a big tray. This was called a rijsttafel, literally translated from the Dutch word, which means "rice table Such a serving method displays several side dishes from various regions that are usually accompanied by rice on one plate, for example, or rice and sayur lodeh. The display feature of rijsttafel is like a colonial exhibition (Koloniale Tentoonstelling) in a culinary sense. It brings gastronomic luxury to connoisseurs enticed by the exoticism of locally processed food resources from the colonized regions. Those various traditional plates are Rendang from West Sumatra, Babi Kecap/Semur mixed Indo-Chinese, Gado-gado from Jakarta, Karedok from the Sundanese, Sate Ayam from the Javanese, Telur Balado from Jakarta and the Sundanese, and so on.

Warung, Indonesian, 2022 Image courtesy: Angga Cipta

A few decades later, the concept of rijsttafel was changed to mixed rice, more commonly called nasi rames. This term comes from the warung – warteg (Warung Tegal) – or food stall that exists in many capital cities of Indonesian provinces. Rames comes from the acronym in Javanese, Ora Mesti, which means that you “don't have to” use the same side dishes with rice. The window display in the food stall is very unique. You need only to point directly at which food you want to eat. It is listed in the columns and rows of all menus. This also happens in the Padang food stalls, of a Minang or West Sumatranese restaurant. The Warteg and Padang restaurants that are spread in most big cities in Indonesia indicate the migration numbers of the Javanese and Minang ethnic populations. The settled migrant needs the soul of index cooking taste to satisfy the longing for traditional foods.

Rumah (House)

The poster of Big Village(1969)

Imagining Jakarta in the first phase of its national development can only be seen on film. On Usmar Ismail's film poster is written a tagline, “Djakarta, Kota Semau Gue” (Djakarta, City As I Like It). It is of Big Village – a 1969 film that portrays the transition stage of Jakarta during the New Order era. Now we can see Jakarta's real Big Village, a colony of kampung that is spread into five regions: the center, north, south, east, and west. The density of the city's residences is the result of the expansion of the Jakarta area, since it was declared a special capital region in 1966. This designation—even the period before it—invited many migrants from outside the province and the island. This "City as I Like It" attitude also affects the urban planning structure, which is very organically developed and shaped by natives and migrants.

Ali Sadikin, who was the governor at that time, started a revitalization project called MHT, which was taken from the initial name of Muhammad Husni Thamrin, the first Indonesian member of the Volksraad, or people's council, in Batavia. The MHT Project, also known as the Kampung Improvement Project, aims to improve the village, which will have a broad effect: encourage cleanliness and improve the health quality of residents, or at least upgrade it so that it will not be as shabby as it was during that earlier time. Villages that have priority for improvement are villages that do not have ideal road facilities for people and vehicles, as well as the problem of puddles around ponds and swamps that have the potential to breed mosquitoes that can cause malaria or dengue fever.

The most populous kampung in Jakarta is in Tambora. In one RW (Rukun Warga) or neighborhood, there are about 2000 residents who live in level houses that are close together. The area of a house is no more than 36m2 and many houses are constructed from semi-permanent materials. The residents who live there are mostly migrants and it is normal in Jakarta that after Eid Mubarak there will be an increase in population. Some families come to visit their relatives in Jakarta and stay for one or two weeks. Many of them are challenged to pursue Jakarta's dream of success, and this makes them extend their stay for 3 months, then a year, and eventually to settle down. The way they struggle is also interesting to see. Through following sound economic principles, even with the smallest amount of capital, these migrants are often able to obtain the maximum profits from their enterprises. They find various things that can be traded, from food to services, that were never thought of before.

Berkumpul dan Bersiasat (To Gather and To Plan Strategy)

Coffee cup bike, Indonesian, 2021 Image courtesy: Angga Cipta

I've researched a career path for migrants, starting from selling cigarettes all around (walking), selling drinks (by bicycle; usually coffee sachets or carts), and finally selling fried rice. How fast their career develops depends on the particular merchant community. This merchant community is a space for sharing information, such as: which areas have the potential to get a lot of buyers; what events will happen in the near future; services that can increase the selling price; or even just chit-chat about the latest news from social media. This community is not an organization that has a registered structure and membership, but a kind of hangout place at certain hours, before or after traders start their activities. This fluid initiative stems from the common origin of the migrant merchants, mostly from Madura, or several cities on the north coast of Java.

Gathering practices like this happen not only to merchants, but also in almost every strata of society. The simplest gathering practice is hanging out, usually called nongkrong (literally translated as "squat"), which can happen in many places and times around the city. Through hanging out, we can practice manifesting and bringing together ideas that are parallelly connected and constantly evolving. The result may be just a slang expression or a way doing something, but it is a product of urban culture that becomes the identity of a particular district.

Siasat, Indonesian, 2021 Image courtesy: Angga Cipta

Meanwhile, in regard to the art scene, gathering can be an appointment at the opening of an exhibition, biennale or festival. The event is not very important, but attendance for the purpose of meetings and reunions is the main agenda. But there are also many art events whose ideas start from a hangout. This practice could be described as a movement, and usually comes from college students. If we see an Indonesian timeline history that mentions activism from college students, there must be included some demonstrations to overthrow the power of a president who has become the leader of an authoritarian regime. It is also the same way concerning what the art students are making as their movement, that we can name GSRB (Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru or Indonesia Art Movement), which has a mission to break the boundaries of the medium in fine arts.

Reenactment of 60's college student movement in movie Gie(2005). Screen Shooting, Image courtesy:





什錦飯的存在,與另一道菜「Rijsttafel」的關係密不可分。過去這道菜是把幾碟不同的菜餚放在一個大盤子上享用,名稱取自荷蘭文,意即「 飯桌  」。這樣的擺盤方式能呈現不同地區的菜色,通常搭配一碗米飯,或是米飯和蔬菜咖哩,就像是飲食文化版的「殖民博覽會」(Koloniale Tentoonstelling)。源自不同族群的在地菜色,讓這道美食饗宴充滿異國風情,深深吸引著饕客,例如西蘇門答臘的仁當、混和印尼和中國菜式的紅燒豬肉/滷肉、雅加達的加多加多水煮青菜沙拉、巽他的Karedok生菜沙拉、爪哇的雞肉沙嗲、爪哇和巽他的辣汁炸蛋⋯⋯等等。

經過數十年,「飯桌」的飲食概念轉變為什錦飯,在當地較常被稱呼為nasi rames,這一詞由 warung—warteg(Warung Tegal) —演變而來,意指在印尼各大城市中的食物攤販。Rames是爪哇文Ora Mesti 的簡稱,意思是你「不需要」用同樣的菜色搭配白飯。攤販的櫥窗擺設非常特別,所有的食物都整齊排列,你只需要直接指出想吃的哪一道菜。米南人開的巴東料理攤販或是西蘇門答臘餐廳也一樣,從印尼城市隨處可見的攤販和巴東餐廳,可以看出爪哇人和米南人移居的人口數,他們需要來自老家的靈魂料理,撫慰想念家鄉味的心。


想像雅加達是你現在只能在電影中見到、還處於國家發展剛起步的階段。導演烏斯馬爾伊斯邁耳1969年的電影《大村莊》(Big Village)描繪雅加達在「新秩序時代」的轉變,海報上寫著「雅加達,我所喜愛的城市」。雅加達現在看起來是個真正的「大村莊」,以村落為主的區域擴散在五個地方:中部、北部、南部、東部和西部。雅加達自1966年成為特別首都地域之後,極速擴張使得都市人口高度成長。甚至早在1966年前,雅加達就已經邀請來自其他省份或島嶼的人民移入。「我所喜愛的城市」這樣的精神,也影響了都市計畫結構,可說是由原始居民和外來居民共同形塑成的有機發展模式。


雅加達人口最多的村落位於坦博拉,每個鄰里(RW;Rukun Warga)約有2000名居民住在緊鄰彼此的平房,屋內空間不超過36平方米,且多數使用半久性的材料建造。該區居民多為外來移入人口,而且在雅加達,開齋節之後人口通常會再增加。許多人來探望親戚,在雅加達住上一至兩週,然而,想在這裡闖出夢想並非易事,所以他們大多會再待上更長的時間:三個月、一年,最後決定在此定居。他們的打拼歷程也很有趣,在經濟條件穩定之後,儘管只靠微小的資本,這些移入人口通常能透過自己經營的事業獲取極大的收入。他們找到各種可以販賣的東西,從食物到服務,包羅萬象的程度是前所未見的。


我研究過這些移入人口的創業歷程,他們從沿路叫賣菸煙、騎腳踏車或用手推攤車販賣飲料 (通常是即溶咖啡),最後才賣炒飯。整個歷程進展的速度,取決於當地的小販聚會,他們會在某個地方交流資訊:哪裡可以找到最多的買家、近期會發生哪些活動、可以提高售價的服務,或者只是閒聊一些在社群軟體上看到的時事。這個聚會不是官方組職,沒有既定架構和成員組織,就只是大家開工之前,在固定時間會聚集交流的地方。聚會由外來小販共同的家鄉發枝散葉,主要是馬都拉或爪哇北岸的某些城市。


同時,在藝術場景中,聚會則可以是某個展覽、雙年展、藝術節的開幕活動,活動本身也許不是非常重要,但是,與他人見面或是聚在一起,才是真正的目的。許多藝術行動也就只是從「聚在一起」這樣的概念出發,它可以被形容為一種運動,通常由大學學生發起。回頭看印尼歷史中的學運,一定能看到一些最終推翻獨裁統治者的示威行動。同理,我們可以將學習藝術的學生正在做的事情,視為他們發起的運動,並稱之為GSRB(Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru)或印尼藝術行動,旨在打破純藝術領域中的媒材分野。

Translator | 呂家瑜 LYU Lily
Proofreading | Thomas Argiro