Painting the town red, and more

A slum area in Central Java, Indonesia, has become an unlikely tourist attraction, as well as a social media hit, after its houses were painted in vivid colours to transform the district into what is now being called Kampung Pelangi, or Rainbow Village.

Originally named Gunung Brintik village, the poor hillside area recently had a month-long facelift costing 300 million rupiah (S$31,200) and paid for by the local government, in a bid to rejuvenate this part of Semarang, 450km east of the capital Jakarta, reported Reuters.

Visitors have been flocking to the village to take photographs and pose for selfies next to the brightly coloured homes.

The paint job is the brainchild of Mr Slamet Widodo, a 54-year-old high school teacher who was inspired by similar projects in other parts of Indonesia.

"In the future, it will bring benefits to our community, especially economic empowerment. The project will be supported by the activity and creativity (of the people) in the village so the local community has a sense of belonging," he said.

Residents are already saying that their livelihoods have improved since the makeover, as they can now give tours and sell souvenirs.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 22, 2017, with the headline 'Painting the town red, and more'. Print Edition | Subscribe