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Last updated : Nov 2009
Jakarta Culture Guide
Jakarta Culture Guide - TravelPuppy.com
Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation in the world with a population of more than 210 million people occupying its thousands of islands. The country is a melting pot for more than 350 ethnic groups, the majority of whom are of Malay ancestry: Javanese, Sundanese and Madurese.

Indonesians are very traditional. They consider politeness and courtesy as important values, and discourage public displays of emotion. That doesn't mean that they are inflexible and stiff. In fact, they are very tolerant with foreigners' mistakes and missteps, and always treat visitors with respect. Islam is the dominant religion in the country and the constitution advocates freedom of religion and those of other faiths are given deference.

Foreigners should not apply pressure when wanting to get something done as the locals consider it counterproductive. When it comes to getting feedback from Indonesian employees, Westerners in particular must listen with a more sensitive ear. Indonesians, as like many Asians, are not direct in expressing themselves, especially if they are criticizing or saying something negative. Indonesians in general are fun loving, extroverted people that always prefer to work or almost anything for that matter in groups.

Islam has a strong influence in the Betawi culture, which is displayed by art forms, such as the Gambus and Rebana Orchestras and by the Zapin or Japin Dance.

Movements of Betawi Tari Topeng (the famous mask dance) and the style in which they play the gamelan orchestra points to the Jakartanese influence. This influence is also present in the gamelan performances at Wayang Kulit Betawi shows.

Keroncong Tugu, with popular songs like Kaparinyo, Nina Bobo and Keroncong Moritsko, is part of the cultural heritage left behind by the Portuguese and is believed to be the origin of present-day Keroncong music.