Studies about Multiculturalism must be differentiating from the study of heterogeneous society, though both of them have a relationship. The concept of heterogeneous society belongs to a number of identities that are differed from one to the other, while a multicultural concept belongs to the differences between identities too, but there are an intra-cultural differentiation, as well as differences in a unit of identity.
The concept of multicultural also emphasizes that cultural difference is not something “marginal” from the identity but something as important as cultural identity itself. These two phenomenon are represented in the daily live of the people of Tangerang, especially in the district of Teluk Naga.
Since late 19th century this area was already occupied by Chinese descendants who are named by the “native” Betawi people as Cina Benteng. The relationship between the Buddhist Cina Benteng and the Moslem Betawi people is expressed in the presence of one group in the important rituals of the other.
Cokek is an entertainment dance used to celebrate the Cina Benteng’s marriage feasts. The dancers, Wayang Cokek, are native women. During the colonial period Wayang Cokek must be initiated in the klenteng, before they are allowed to perform the Cokek dance, or in the Indonesian terminology nyokek; received Chinese names and had to undergo a dancing lesson. As times goes by, there are no longer initiation at the klenteng, no longer have a dancing lesson and they only dance to “accompany” the male guests. The local government don’t feel satisfied with this situation. Therefore Cokek needs to be straightened up and lessons have to be conducted.
This paper would like to show the attitude of the Indonesian cultural politic to multiculturalism, which always put the local community as an opposition for the state. If the state understood local community and its cultural expression as something “marginal”, it has been the assumption that culture is simply an identity and it does not able to see differences. If the state deals with Cokek as something different, than conflict between the local community and its cultural expressions in opposition to the national political culture, becomes irrelevant.