As I started to type this, the sound of drums and xylophone started up in front of our house ~ a hypnotic gamelan groove, metronomic music to muse to.
The three street performers were with their macaque
, a long-tailed grey monkey generally found in Balinese temples and jungles in the east of Indonesia. The tethered monkey pranced around, donned a mask, stood on his hind legs and we gave Rp.1,000 for the musicians who had come from Cirebon to entertain we urban kampung
However sophisticated Jakarta's citizens may feel themselves to be, we are never far from traditional performances and practices.
Yesterday an international golf tournament, the US$1milliom Standard Chartered Indonesia Open 2005, finished. I shall resist the temptation to launch into a diatribe about land clearances, chemical fertilizers entering the water table and how I prefer sports which are 'open' to the masses in terms of participation and cost.
What was notable about this tournament, however, was that it needed the services of a 'rainman', to keep the thunderstorms at bay. The first three days of the tournament were hampered by rain, so Basar Sumarta from Banten, West Java, was called in.
According to today's paper edition of the Jakarta Post, Basar ~ not to be confused with basah
which means 'wet' ~ was called in by the organising committee on Saturday and seemingly kept the rain at bay despite ominous gray clouds hanging overhead.
Basar told the Jakarta Post, "One of the four rainmen did not do his job well to control the weather, therefore there was lightning on Thursday and Friday and rain on Saturday.
"He recounted how a man came to him in a dream, telling him to fast every Monday and Thursday - a common practice among Javanese and Sundanese
(West Javanese) to increase their spiritual awareness - seven times in a row.
"In my dream, the old man only told me that on the last day of my fast, someone would come to me asking for help,
" he said.
"On the last day of my fast, a man visited my house and asked me to help prevent rain at his event.
"He said he was confused by the request, but prayed to God, read Koranic verses, and the event went off without a hitch.
This is one extraordinary dukun
. Fellow expats planning their barbecues may like to note his address for future reference. It is to be found on page 10 of the Post, the Sports page.
I'd love to write more about the influence of dukuns
here in Jakartass Towers, but it looks as if another storm is on its way so I'll quickly post this before disconnecting my modem and suggest that you read this article
about the traditional healers of contemporary East Java.
And for those interested in different spirits and traditions, you may like to know that the Reveller
has posted my profile
for his readers.