Kampung Monyet, the Masked Monkey Slum of Jakarta

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The Masked Monkey (Hardy Boys, No. 51)

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  • These monkeys travel in order to entertain the poor kids of these slums. Now, as these monkeys have gained popularity they are being used for getting money from tourists. The practices of getting these monkeys to perform tricks and to have plastic doll masks shoved on their heads is as inhumane as you could imagine. Many of the monkeys don’t even make it through the vigorous training; often times dying from injuries, exhaustion and stress. For some of the people living here, the masked monkey is their last chance for survival in hopeless poverty.

    In The Masked Monkey Mystery, by Franklin W. Dixon, we find the Hardys trying to find a rich man's son who disappeared. While on the case they are almost eaten by a man-eating fish and much more. They go from around their hometown to South America. In South America, they come face to face with a killer of a monkey. The Masked Monkey is a true excitement tale!

  • There is no clear way to put an end to it. Perhaps the best way to start is by simply not encouraging it by refusing to throw out your coins to the monkeys, no matter how heartbreaking a sight they may be. For the foreseeable future, it seems that the masked monkeys will remain a feature of Jakarta’s slums. They will continue to do their tricks as they stare through doll’s eyes, haunting the squalor of the streets, and perhaps haunting our dreams as well.

    The masked performing monkeys have become a fairly common sight in many places of Jakarta since their beginnings as a mere oddity. Most Indonesians will pass by without giving much thought to them. A few will toss a few pennies out, more out of pity than anything else. It is with Western tourists that the monkeys are able to make the most money and such visitors are often confronted with the masked, costumed monkeys soon after venturing out on to the streets.

    The Masked Monkey
    Author Franklin W. Dixon
    Country United States
    Language English
    Series The Hardy Boys
    Genre Detective, Mystery novel
    Publisher Grosset & Dunlap
    Publication date
    1972[1]
    Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
    Pages 178 pp
    Preceded by Danger on Vampire Trail
    Followed by The Shattered Helmet

  • Guest More than 1 year ago
    You know, I've read a lot of good Hardy Boys Books, but I just think this just might be the best one I've read sofar. . . Here is the list of the top five Hardy Boys Books I've read 1. The Disapearing Floor 2. The Masked Monkey 3. The Ghost at Skeleton's Rock 4. The Clue of the Screeching owl 5. The Secret of Wildcat Swamp.


    The monkeys of this slum are called topeng monyet, or literally “masked monkeys,” and have their origins in the 1980s as traveling monkey acts to entertain the poor kids of the slums, or kampungs. As the shows became more popular, the monkeys became increasingly used for getting money from tourists.

    The monkeys, typically long-tailed macaques, are either bred in captivity, or captured by poachers in the wild, often snatched away from their mothers while still breastfeeding, to embark on a life of servitude. They are usually trained to walk upright and are most often dressed up in bright, garish costumes and masks, which are meant to make them cuter and more humanlike but in reality just transform them into nightmare fuel.

    Some of the animals simply have a plastic doll’s head from a children’s toy shoved over their heads. The sight of these masked monkeys is certainly a bizarre, almost otherwordly experience. Associated Press photographer Ed Wray, who spent some time studying and photographing the phenomenon, succinctly described the common impression that these monkeys have on most:

    The sight struck me as so completely surreal. Bizarre, but also surreal in the sense that it struck me that there was some meaning to the juxtaposition of the baby doll heads on the monkeys that couldn’t be put into words. I was visually fascinated by the sight.

Hardy Boys 51: the Masked Monkey: Franklin W

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