Monday, 31 August 2009


Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘Drama’, featured in Bali Post, Sunday, 23rd August 2009, a column by I Wayan Juniartha
Translated by Putu Semiada


I Nyoman Kocong comes to his father to tell him about his problem.

“You know, Dad! They have cancelled the ‘drama’ (Balinese opera) contest from the ‘Teenager Art Festival’ although we have practicing for three months,” he says.

His father has just woken up from his sleep when he comes. His father is still dizzy as he has not been sleeping well for three days. In the morning he has to join the banjar members preparing things for ceremonies, and during the night he is playing Chinese cards.

‘Teenager Art Festival’ is considered as an event where teenagers can express their talents. The mayor of Denpasar has an obsession to make the city known as a city of culture where there will lots of young artists.

“I have bought new costumes, I take a bath more often than I usually do just to make myself looks better as I will play the most important role for the ‘drama’,” I Nyoman further says.

I Nyoman is really upset. The ‘drama’ group where he belongs to has practiced very hard for the contest. They have combined the art of arja, cinetron, and cartoon. I Nyoman will be playing as a ‘young boy’.

I Nyoman’s father can not accept this situation. He knows that his son has never got any qualifications ever since. He is not qualified enough to be smart student in the class as he is quite dump. He never becomes a class leader because his teachers never really like him. I Nyoman is known for his habit of saying whatever he wants to say. He never will be able to join fashion show contest as he is not a good-looking boy. Now when he is appointed main player, the contest has been cancelled. Poor I Nyoman!

The next morning, I Nyoman’s father is going to the festival committee’s office. He is going to protest them. He never realizes how difficult to meet the committee. First, he has to pass the security first. He has to fill out the guest book and leave his identity card. Once he arrive to desk 1, he is told to go to desk 3, from desk 3 to desk 4.

When he is at desk 4, he finds nobody there. After waiting for two hours, the man shows up. The man says he’s just come back from a meeting. But Nyoman knows he is lying. He can see that the man just came back from lunch because he sees some meat left on his teeth. The man says that he is not in charge for the festival and then asks Nyoman’s father to go to desk 21.

“I am not in charge for building permission letter, permission letter for establishing bar and restaurant, hostel or cafĂ© in the rice field,” says the man.

Nyoman’s father thinks that it is this kind of civil servant has made this country in ‘business as usual’ situation when is looking for desk 21. He has already been angry when he gets there. He has no energy anymore to express his protest.

“The supporters of the contestants often fight each other during the contest,” that’s what the man says why the ‘drama’ contest has been cancelled.

I Nyoman’s father just nods. It makes sense, he thinks. He ‘hope’ that the committee will soon delete the gamelan contest, football competition, cock-fighting and ‘general election’ as these events often bring riots.

He also ‘hope’ that cars and motor bikes will be also forbidden as they often bring accidents on the streets.

“And it runs until late that many schools protest,” comes another reason.

I Nyoman’s father nods again. It makes sense, he thinks. The committee has difficult job that they have to change the schedule of the contest. He can understand that civil servants are ‘very busy’ with their jobs. In the morning they have to read newspapers, they ‘should have lunch’ at noon, chatting in the afternoon, they have to do exercise Friday morning, on weekends they have to spend their time with their families. So they don really ‘have time’ to change the schedule.

As I Nyoman’s father just nods to whatever they say, they think that he is stupid.

They are all laughing when they clarify the reasons behind the cancellation, and unexpectedly, they give the ‘off the record’ reason.

“The juries never follow the committee’s request currently. It happens that the winner is not the committee’s choice.

It is also a good reason, he thinks. He knows that the committee has been bribed by a certain party in which the juries do not like this situation. It will be a shame for the committee if they do not choose a certain contestant in spite of the bribe that they have received.

“Besides, students who are the members of the ‘drama’ group known for their vocal critics. Every time we forget giving the prizes and certificates of appreciation, they will straightly protest us,” that’s the fourth reason from them.

Maybe they are right, I Nyoman’s father thinks. He knows that the committee has worked very hard in preparing the contest. He also understands that the civil servants don’t get paid well. However, it shouldn’t be an excuse for them to take the prizes for themselves and get ‘extra income’ from this kind of event.

Friday, 28 August 2009

CARANGSARI WEDDING: I Gusti Ngurah Dharma Tedja with Cicilia Gita Yanthi, 27 August 2009.


Driving to a wedding at Petang yesterday, I came across mejejauman procession of barongs and sacred topeng masks. Well it sort of washed over me and my travelling companions. The procession caught my eye coming up from a village lane—all coloured umbrellas and sashes and white clad celebrants with dark tan faces—AND WE FOLLOWED IT IN ASTATE OF COLOUR SHOCK into a temple with two courtyards each perfect clean shaven grass floors. Being a mountain temple there were lots of painted glass Wayang art as shrine elements and masses of ginchu and gold leaf decorative touches. It was noon and the sky was a blazing blue. The highlanders went through their piety paces with immaculate yet relaxed precision. Within minutes the barongs had been greeted in the front court and then 'enshrined' with their attendant umbrellas, then lined up along the temple’s inner wall.


Wednesday, 26 August 2009

BOOK REVIEW: The Best of Stranger in Paradise 1996 – 2008, by Wiryawan Paritranaya

Published in

An Expatriate Weird-Diary—Stranger in Paradise

Book: The Best of Stranger In Paradise Bali 1996-2008

Author: Made Wijaya

Editor: Rachel Greaves

Publisher: Wijaya Words

Pages : 380 pages

Year of Published: 2008

Have you had a question in your mind about what have been done by expatriate community in Bali? Did you think they just spend their life with having some fun, or may be building villa as much as they can? Do you think so? I don’t think so. Well, I mean some of them may be just what I have been told to you before. Nevertheless, I know one of the expatriate who surprisingly has a big eagerness to preserve Balinese culture, when reading a book entitled “The Best of Stranger In Paradise Bali 1996-2008”. This book is written by Made Wijaya an Australian who have been live in Bali since 1973 after had dropped out from Sydney University’s School of Architecture. He was actually named Michael White but after living in Bali with his rural Brahmanan family in Gria Kepaon he changed his name. The book its self is about his journey or diary exactly, around Bali and another sophisticated town in Indonesia while he was ’enjoying’ the culture there. You can find some article and picture which show how much he ‘enjoying’ the Balinese culture as the first smoking male condong ever, he have done it well.

As a book using English as the language of writing, it must be hard to follow for some people who do not able in English. Then Made Wijaya is different . He stick on such a big number of pictures, so that if you cannot follow the words you may follow the pictures. This is a style that is rare found in most of all the writers. Besides, he also arrange the writing very well as good journalism product. It is no wonder because actually at ‘the ancient time’ he was a contributor for some news papers and magazines in Bali. Well, as I said before that he is very different with other expatriates in Bali. He is a kind of people who is freaking inspiring to me as his book reader. It is because by reading a book of him (he got a lot of book that have been published), it opens my mind that actually much more things that I can see in Bali. It’s a lot of part in Bali that is never exposed, than is exposed in this book. Just like cultural or international marriage that usually done by some people in the palace, binan(bisexual orientation) community in bali, palaces around bali, and some others culture outside Bali. It was so informative, but it is not the best part of this book. I think the best part of this book (for me) is the REJECTED chapter. This is a chapter that presents you some articles, drafts, and caricatures of Made Wijaya that is never published before. This is a funny chapter but also weird, so I know why those things are rejected. Then, I also realize some of them are worth to be published. One of it is entitled “Bali’s Moslem Kampung”, this is an article that shows how good is the relations between Moslem community and Hindu community in Kampung Islam Kepaon. Moreover, I found some nice pictures and you may think this as a weird one where a moslem boy sell Canang and a holy tomb of Balinese Moslem princess Raden Ayu Siti Khotijah which is decorated in Balinese way complete with its Prada and Canang Payasan.

Do you a bit curious with this book? Let your desire speak up. Say yes, and don’t miss this book. This is one from hundreds worth books that deserve to be collected and read. This thick book will surprise you with its own way that could not tell by any words. “Don’t ask Don’t Tell” (Stranger In Paradise page 236).

Tuesday, 25 August 2009


Click image to enlarge

Friday, 21 August 2009

BALI — NORWAY WEDDING: 19th August 2009

Many years ago a young mountain lad from Penelokan started work with us in Sanur.

Eventually he married and had two pretty daughters.

These girls grew up and went to Norway as nurses, as the Balinese sometimes do. There they found big husbands. Today the joint wedding took place in Penelokan.