“Don’t be afraid to be called kampungan (uncultured) because of our Betawi accent”. It was Firman Muntaco‘s famous message to his children. Firman, born in Petojo on May 15, 1935, was known to be very strong in practicing Betawi culture. He did not want Betawi cultures to be lost because of young generation’s stigma. They appeared to be lacking prestige in using Betawi accents.
Firman was known as a writer who liked to use Betawi dialect. The first of his writings appeared in the “Cermin Jakarta” column in the weekly newspaper, Berita Minggu. His writing then continued to grow more popular. Various Betawi short stories, silat stories, and successful film scenarios were produced. One scenario of his famous writings is “Ratu Amplop” which film was starred by Benyamin Sueb.
His love for Betawi made him set up the ‘Sanggar Betawi Firman Muntaco’ or Firman Muntaco’s Betawi Studio. Through this studio, he appeared several times on television introducing Betawi culture. He was also a guest star “Salam Canda” which was hosted by Ebet Kadarusman, a popular singer in 1992.