Dec 01, 2022 Last Updated 6:29 AM, Nov 29, 2022

Photo essay: At play on the Mentawai Islands

Published: Aug 05, 2018

Maskota Delfi

The Mentawai Islands are famous for their consistently excellent waves which attract surfers from around the world. A range of tourism companies facilitate tours of varying degrees of luxury. Some surfers choose to stay off land for as long as possible, with chartered vessels providing all the necessary provisions. This means some surfers have few direct encounters with the local economy. The tattoo practices of the Mentawai Islands are also a point of attraction. The photos in this collection show another side to the Mentawai Islands – children at play. Children slide down mud tracks into rivers, play klereng (marbles) or invent games using recycled goods. The river becomes a space of play where the life skills of using a boat and swimming become outcomes learned through play. Playing with tyres, or on boats or learning the skills of volleyball are activities far from the grandeur of Jakarta’s stadiums and the discourses of the benefits of sport as espoused by politicians. Playing is an essential element of learning, socialising and enjoying the good life.

Children playing marbles on Siberut Island. (Photo: Rian Alfianda)
The geographic features of Siberut become a site for play and for learning life skills. (Photo: Rian Alfianda)
Discarded goods are reinvented for play. (Photo: Rian Alfianda)
Trekking is a popular attraction for domestic and international tourists. (Photo: Rian Alfianda)
Playing volleyball, Siberut. (Photo: Hafis Rafi Insani)
Teteu Lumang from Ugai. (Photo: Maskota Delfi)
Beaches like this one at Masilo Island make the Mentawai Islands an attractive destination for adventurous tourists. (Photo: Maskota Delfi)

 Maskota Delfi is a member of the International Indonesian Forum for Asian Studies at Andalas University in Padang, West Sumatra.

Related articles from the II archive
White rice of black sago?
Surf Aid groundswell builds
Traditional village institutions

Inside Indonesia 133: Jul-Sep 2018

Latest Articles

Acehnese fishermen and Rohingya rescue at sea

Nov 16, 2022 - BILAL DEWANSYAH

The criminalisation of people smuggling has created complex moral and legal difficulties for those who assist refugees in peril

Review: Bali, 50 years of changes

Sep 25, 2022 - MARY ZURBUCHEN

Chasing a cure for beriberi

Sep 15, 2022 - NIA DELIANA

A long search for a cure for beriberi in Southeast Asia in the late nineteenth century was led by trial and a lot of error

Review: The candidate’s dilemma

Aug 23, 2022 - BURHANUDDIN MUHTADI

Review: 25 years of music activism

Aug 19, 2022 - JULIA WINTERFLOOD

For two decades Bali-based rock band Navicula’s mission has been to tackle some of the country’s biggest social and environmental ills

Subscribe to Inside Indonesia

Receive Inside Indonesia's latest articles and quarterly editions in your inbox.

 


Lontar Modern Indonesia

Lontar-Logo-Ok

 

A selection of stories from the Indonesian classics and modern writers, periodically published free for Inside Indonesia readers, courtesy of Lontar