Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘Gejor’, a column by I Wayan Juniartha, as published in Bali Post, Sunday, 13th December 2009. Translated by Putu Semiada
“What is the different of ‘gejor’ (sexual shaking) and ‘linuh’ (earthquake)?” comes the question.
‘Gejor’ is something that referring to ‘hot’ things, says I Made Dakin Talenan (I Made Grime on the Chopping Board).
The others pretend not to listen and wait who will comment on what Made says.
“What do you mean by ‘hot’. Does it produce fire?” I Wayan Polo Bulbul (I Wayan Stupid Idiot) interrupts.
“Gejor’ refers to a sexual gesture when your body moves up and down, so it’s a sexy movement, pretty much different from earth movement when earthquake happens,” Made replies.
Now they all can understand what Made is talking about and they all laugh. They are all over 17 years old and of course they have experiences, with something like this as they have had ‘sexual’ experience, not just with their own wives, but probably also with prostitutes and their friends’ wives.
Wayan has never been with a prostitute nor his friend’s wife. That’s why he doesn’t follow the conversation. He just shakes his head and continues preparing spices.
They make turkey ‘lawar’ (Balinese meat salad). They usually do this when they have celebrations, such as a temple festival or a political event. They made pork ‘lawar’ when they had a temple festival at Dalem Temple a few days ago. They made ‘turkey’ ‘lawar’ when ‘KPK’ (Anti Corruption Watch) won against the police institution. They are planning to make beef ‘lawar’ if the minister of financial and the vice president step down.
“I don’t think our vice president will step down, unless Jakarta is overwhelmed by flood.”
When they prepare food for ceremony, there are only two things they talk about: gossip or talk about dirty things. When they gossip, they don’t say it loudly, but when they talk about dirty things they will say it loudly and laugh. So it is a bit strange today that they talk about earthquakes.
It is said that Bali is vulnerable to earthquakes. I’m a bit nervous. I’m worried about my assets,” says I Ketut Pakir Miskin (I Ketut the Poor and Needy).
They just laugh to hear what Ketut says. They know that Ketut just makes a dumb joke when he has nothing to say. What he has is just an old house with a cow stable next to it. But he has no cow at all. He had two before he sold them and put his money at the KKM (Karangasem Cooperative) which offered unbelievable interest. The cooperative went bankrupt last year. He never received his money back.
“You don’t need to be afraid of earthquakes: when you are poor, you should not be worried about anything. If you die because of earthquake, it might be good for you as you will reincarnate soon, and who knows in your next life you might become a famous artist, and have a better life,’ Made adds.
It is the rich and the high-ranking officials who are supposed to be worried. They must be afraid if their wealth (houses, cars, wives) will be destroyed by an earthquake.
“Why? They have collected their wealth for years by corrupting funds, and it can be gone in a second in a natural disaster. That’s why they are afraid of natural disasters.”
Now it’s Wayan’s turn to give comments.
“Don’t be afraid of natural disasters: You know how often we make offerings. We do karya agung (big religious ceremonies) everywhere in Bali, so I believe that Bali will survive from any natural disaster. Our gods and goddesses protect us,” says Wayan.
No matter where we live, whether in the mountain areas or by the beaches or lakes, we always do consecration ceremonies.
They all agree to what Wayan says. When they talk about yadnya (offering rites), nobody dare to disagree as they all want to show that they are religious people.
“Well, can you tell me how come we had bombings in Bali twice, floods everywhere, beach abrasion, our forests have finished, the weather is getting hotter and hotter, less and less rain,” says Ketut.
They pretend not to listen to Ketut’s comments. They don’t nod or shake their heads. They don’t dare to admit that the heavenly power is overwhelmed by human beings’ wrong-doings, or by natural disasters.
They don’t dare to admit that there is no relation between ‘yadnya’ and natural disasters at all. They don’t understand that no matter how often you do ‘yadnya’, if you destroy the forests, there will always be landslides.
Heavenly power will mean nothing unless the human beings do concrete actions.
So, although the Balinese keep doing ‘yadnya’, natural disasters can happen anytime.