Far off in the eastern city of Jakarta which is located in Indonesia is a rather unusual spectacle happening. Monkeys with masks are captivating bystanders. This section of the city is considered the slum part of southern Cipinang Besar. The smell here can be unbearable in some areas—with trash and sewage littering the ground. With so much of this in this area—it paints a dismal picture of this place. Tourists are warned to keep their purses close and their wallets safe.
A lot of scams happen in this area comparable to a real gypsy swindling for attention. You might notice a gnarled hand reaching out to you asking for any change you can spare. Glancing carefully, the hand may be harry as it belongs to a monkey wearing a mask! These small monkeys are known as macaque monkeys, some weigh as much as 25 pounds. The monkeys used for these street stunts are also of other species as well. In total, there are about 350 monkeys which are known to be working the streets of Jakarta, but this trend is on its way out.
Wearing children masks, these monkeys suddenly become a creepy sight to some. Their movement is awkward. These monkeys are trained to walk on their back legs. They wear dresses, cowboy hats and even ride bikes. Their condition as slaves is more apparent by the eerie masks which they wear. The place seems like a mad carnival sending shivers up the spines of those wandering through; gives this part of Jakata its own unusual identity. The locals call this place Kampung Monyet (Monkey Village).
These monkeys from the slum are known as topeng monyet which means “masked monkeys”. The origination of these monkeys dates back to the early 1980’s. They were introduced as entertainment for the children who grew up in this part of the city. During this era, these monkeys became quite popular quite often being snatched from their mothers breast in the wild.
These small monkeys have long tails and are now bred in captivity as well. With these monkeys being dressed as they are, more often than not wearing bright colored clothing and lavish masks (they were meant to be cute and more human like) just the opposite seems to happen—often creeping people out like some sort of nightmare.