Panoramic photo by Martin Broomfield.
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Martin Broomfield: Animal Cruelty or Scraping a Living? One of the more disturbing manifestations of urban poverty in Jakarta is the presence of monkeys dressed as dolls, used as props to make a living on the streets. On entering a busy intersection or are stopped at a corner, you often come across street touts selling various objects, or musicians playing guitar – all hoping to make a bit of money from commuters. Occasionally, you spot a macaques fully dressed in miniature human clothes, with a doll’s mask covering its head and face. This sad sight is even more depressing when you see the “monkey-doll”s riding tiny bicycles or pretending to be tiny showgirls putting on make-up and looking at themselves in a hand mirror – the owners hoping to attract attention of the passers-by for a few thousand Rupiah (maybe 20 cents). While most of us would scream animal cruelty, we might also ask ourselves why the poor in cities like Jakarta world-wide are forced into similar situations just to scrape a living. As Indonesia has become more affluent, the numbers of monkeys performing has reduced.