December 15, 2019 / 8:10 AM / 8 months ago

Shouting match: Indonesians given stage to dish out advice to community

Contestants, who are mostly housewives, react to the camera as they participate in a shouting competition at Betawi traditional festival in Jakarta, Indonesia December 14, 2019. Picture taken December 14, 2019. REUTERS/Yuddy Cahya Budiman

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Dozens of Indonesians have taken part in a shouting competition in the capital Jakarta, given five minutes on stage to belt out advice on issues such as health, education and child protection to a crowd below.

The contestants, mainly housewives, come from the city’s native Betawi inhabitants, who have a reputation in Indonesia for being spontaneous and outspoken.

As well as being restricted to certain topics, contestants were barred from using swear words or pointing their finger when addressing the crowd, said organizer Muhammad Rifki.

The competition aimed to capture typical Betawi traditions, with winners competing for 1.5 million rupiah ($107) in prize money, he said. 

“Those are actually words or proverbs which are being used in the daily life,” said Rifki.The competition, which is part of a festival hosted by the Kampung Melayu district, is being held in the densely populated neighborhood in the city of 10 million for the first time.

Housewife Sulistywati, who uses one name and was one of the 32 contestants, said before going on stage she had been practicing her performance at home in front of the mirror.

“I think it’s important how we can send a message through this festival, as there are many kids out there who don’t go to school and their parents also don’t encourage them to go to school,” said the 43-year-old Sulistywati.

Additional reporting by Johan Purnomo; Writing by Jessica Damiana; Editing by Ed Davies and Lincoln Feast.

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