Topeng Monyet – When the monkey have to work


That Sunday morning I walk to Sempur soccer field to meet my friends. Its not like we were planning to play soccer but every Sunday morning the field has turn it function into a bazaar. The field will crowded by food vendor with their tents, clothes, children toys, souvenirs, etc. And many times I found some animal seller, fishes tied up in a plastic bag, colored chick, hamster or rabbit, even hermit crabs. In one corner of the field I see people were gathering making a circle and as I approached  I recognize the  rhythm as background for ‘Topeng Monyet’ show. That is not a new thing for me as I have been watching it a few times during my childhood. It looks so amazing in young age, but when you getting older and you start seeing things differently, its not amazed me anymore. Some may called it a traditional culture but some may call it animal abused.




The ‘Topeng Monyet’ show is street performance, usually the group walking from street to street to find children to amuse in city alley. One group consisted by one or two man and one monkey. The monkey, which commonly known as Macaca fascicularis will keep in the box, on the box or walking with a chain to attract children. The man will play the small drum and other simple instrumen as the monkey have to act, wearing a mask, carrying a small bag with the umbrella pretending going shopping, riding a imitation of motorbike, or holding a wood machete. lately its not only a group show, the monkeys were use to getting money in an intersection from drivers.


Hardly to call it a culture, especially when the training session of the monkey exposed, I call it animal abuse. A compliment for Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) that has become so active in saving animals from monkeys, stray cats & dogs along with the exotic animal kept as a pet. Animal welfare still a long way to go in here but people do getting care more now. So this serial photos are posted to support awareness of the animal welfare.

You can find some reference of Topeng Monyet in here, here & here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s