Friday, 28 May 2010

Kidung Suci by ipod

Kidung Suci by ipod

The pedanda is only present via a skype video call to pak klian's ipad which is propped up on the bale pawedan, and all the banten are bought online at;, with the sesari transmitted via paypal to . Next there will be drive-thru gerias for quick melukat, nunas dewasa ayu, and so on . . . like mcdonalds drive thrus . . . . ok, a balinese family rolls up in their hummer and "nawegangs" into the microphone on the lit-up menu panel, then calls out their order . . . a chirpy voice blares out of the speaker, "let me repeat your order sir, that's three dayu anom deluxe pejatis with all the trimmings, and a side of tirta mengening hold the cempaka, plus two jumbo-bokor-bucket-o-kwangen specials and one kiddie melukat? can i get you anything else today? y'know you can super-size that tirta, and get a free dupa-lupa gift pack. no? ok, that'll be Rp 764,500. please drive forward sir, to the pickup window to pay and collect your order, then for the melukat just pull into auto bay number three. thank you for choosing mclingsir's go-international geria, and have an om-santih day!!!!

The melukat bays work like drive through car-washes in america, it's all automated, you go get a token and chunk it into a slot in the steel box at the front of the bay, then when the light turns green you ride through on a conveyor track in total comfort with slank blasting from the sound system and finding nemo rolling on the flat screen in back for the kids. the tirta and flowers and mantras and all that get sprayed onto you and blow-dried off by automated machinery made in germany and they put a little "mclingsir's" sticker on your back window and a branded plastic packing tape lamak on your grille as you pull out . . . both are freebies, but GREAT for marketing mclingsir's!!

made you wanna be rich in yer old age, get one of those gerias over there in sanur into this concept . . . drive-thru geria stations . . . franchise it out to every desa adat in bali, and you'll make a killing . . .

Susi Johnston

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Bungklang Bungkling: Interview with Balinese Gods (Betara)

Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘Betara’, a column by I Wayan Juniartha, as published in Bali Post, Sunday 23th May 2010. Translated by Putu Semiada.

Interview with Balinese Gods (Betara)

During the Galungan and Kuningan holidays, not only Balinese women and girls are busy, but the gods as well.

Early in the morning when the heavenly ‘kulkul’ is beaten, the gods must clean themselves and get dressed.

“I usually just relax during the normal days. I even have time to do Tai-Chi,” says Ida Betara A (God A) during an interview with a Dewata-Dewati (Gods and Goddesses) TV reporter.

The gods only use their initials. It is an ethical code among them. It has been said that they are not allowed to give ‘press conferences’ if not necessary: as it often happens that some human beings claim that they get utterances from the gods although the gods have said nothing.

“When it is Galungan or Kuningan or other holidays, I have no time to relax.”

Ida Betara A has no high position (1A level), similar to village or district official, instead of regional, national or global level. The ones with ‘global’ positions are Brahma, Wisnu and Siwa. The supreme one is Ida Sang Hyang Widhi of course.

“Not like Sang Hyang Widhi, who is considered wyapi-wyapaka nirwikara (can exist anywhere), for us the gods at local level are a bit problem. We have to be at different places at different time as we have to witness our followers praying and we have to listen to their requests. Our wings sometimes get damaged as we have to fly everywhere: by the end of the day, we are very tired.”

“You are lucky to live in one village: I have to fly from one place to another. In the morning, I have to witness villagers praying at the village temple; in the afternoon, I have to fly to Jakarta to witness the Balinese praying there. After that, I have to fly to New York for the same. I’m lucky I am a god. If I were a human, I might get lost as New York is a very big city,” comments Ida Betara B (God B).

The TV reporter nods. He just notes how difficult it is being a god.

If I don’t act like that, I will be sorry for my followers who have spent a lot of money for offerings. But If I just stay in one place, I can’t stand that two million of my followers call (ngayat) my name at the same time.”

“Some gods are even absent and can not do their duties during Galungan and Kuningan.”

Ida Betara C (God C) and Ida Betara D (God D) are even suspended as they deeply ‘involved’ during the last local election. They fought and now they don’t talk to each other.” The gods cannot be blamed actually: they defended their own candidates. Both candidates were very serious in dedicating offerings. The one with the bold moustache dedicated a lot of offerings (pejatis) while the one with no moustache collected holy water (tirta) from many different temples. The competition between the two gods has made trouble in the heaven.

“Don’t you think that it’s getting difficult for Your Divine Holiness when your followers (damuh) have spent billions of Rupiahs to make offerings, renovate the temples, prepare Ngenteg Linggih and Padudusan Agung ceremonies,” asks the reporter.

Both Ida Betara A and Ida Betara B nod. They look at each other and wait for the other to comment. Finally Ida Betara A gives his comment.

“The problem is that they always want ‘rewards’ for the offerings they dedicate to me. They dedicate something but ask for a lot of things. That’s why I have to work hard to fulfil their wishes, like lobbying some parties and spilling my magic formulas (mantra) everyday.

Ida Betara B adds.

“It is not a problem for me as long as they pray for their own prosperity, good-looks and safety. I can still give them what they want. But some of them ask for joy and happiness. It gives me a headache because it is not really my jurisdiction. I myself am not happy being a betara.

The television reporter cannot believe what he hears. The conclusion is clear. With billions of Rupiahs spent for ceremonies, the gods should work hard to provide fortunes for their followers similar to what has been spent. But money can’t buy happiness at all.

“Only the Supreme God is able give us ‘laughter’ and happiness: it can not be negotiated or reached using offerings (canang, banten), let alone money.” 

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Bungklang Bungkling: Happy Galungan (Selamat Hari Raya Galengan)

Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘Selamat Hari Raya Galungan’, a column by I Wayan Juniartha, as published in Bali Post, Sunday 16th May 2010. Translated by Putu Semiada.

Happy Galungan (Selamat Hari Raya Galengan)

Usually after Galungan celebration, most of Balinese women suffer extreme fatigue.

“I am so exhausted after making 400 hundred canang (offerings),” says Ni Luh Mantu Andel Matua Kendel (Ni Luh Reliable Daughter-In-Law, Happy Parents In Law).

NI Luh is married to a man from a rich family. The family are very rich but too scared of niskala (unseen) things. Being rich, they think that they must spend millions of Rupiah for offerings, otherwise they won’t feel celebrating the Galungan. As they are too afraid of unseen things, they think that they must put offering in every corner. Everyplace where her mother-in-laws gets small accident or feels scared she will put a small offering as she considers it is a ‘spooky’ place.

Consequently from penyajaan (two days before Galungan) until Penampahan Ni Luh has never been able to sleep well. She has to make 400 hundred canang genten, 300 canang meraka, 150 ajuman and 100 tumpeng. She is still lucky as during the penyajaan, three of her house maids still help her. But on penampahan they are all gone. They are supposed to have holidays according to Labours Laws and regulations from Department of Manpower. So she has to do it all alone.

“If my husband help me do this, it will be much easier for me. Otherwise, I’m too tired,” says she.

The women laugh having heard what Ni Luh says. They relax under the ‘sukun’ tree. In old days, Balinese women look for lice in one another’s hair. But we can’t see thing like that today as modern Balinese women look after their hair properly so it looks clean and shiny and of course no more lice. Instead they do texting (sms) with their friends or lovers. “It’s nothing compared to what I do. My mother-in-law woke me up at 4 o’clock and asked me to do offering and at 5 o’clock everything must have been complete. I don’t think our ancestors wake up by that time,” Ni Nyoman Lain Di Bibir Lain Di Hati (Ni Nyoman Never Keep His Words) says.

Everyone laughs loudly. If you talk about women who are happy to dedicate their energy, time and money and have to suffer low blood pressure, and even have less sleep just for ceremonies, no-one compared to Balinese women.

Given above, it can be said that it is the Balinese women who mainly maintain the Balinese culture. It’s them who have to buy fruits and cake in the market, make elaborate offerings, carry the offerings to the temples, dedicate offerings to the gods, serve their husbands, children and parents-in-laws when they pray, take back the offerings to the house and even remove the rubbish left after praying.

On the other hand what the Balinese men do are just killing the pigs and make lawar, which is not dedicated to the gods, but they eat themselves. If not, they play Chinese cards (ceki). They say that playing ‘ceki’ is not a gambling but to maintain traditions. Or they just make ‘penjor’ (decorated bamboo pole put in the front of house during Galungan holiday). After making a penjor, they often ask their wives to give them massages.

“It is much easier for Balinese men. They start their day by taking a bath in the morning, put on their best sarong and shirt and then go to the temples and in the temple they sometimes steal a glance at beautiful girls. After that they go see cock-fighting for gambling,” Ni Nyoman interrupts.

As they are to busy with workload, the Balinese women never really feel celebrating the Galungan holiday. They get stressed and fatigue. Consequently, they are even too sleepy and never able to enjoy the holiday.

“Actually, all I think of during Galungan is pillow because I feel very sleepy, so Galungan turns to Galengan (pillow),” Ni Luh says.

They all nod, except I Made Pecadang Kuang (I Made Needed at the Last Time). He has been listening to the women gossiping. He doesn’t really agree that only Balinese women play important rule in maintaining the Balinese culture.

“But who always think of new French brocade for wearing during Galungan. Who has been thinking of a set of jewellery since one month before Galungan. Is it what you call maintaining the culture?” I Made pleads.

All the women get angry. Ni Luh rushes to her room and returns with a box and delivers it to I Made.

“Well, now you wear my French brocade, long-torso, the jewellery, the hair bun, nad the Yongki Komaladi shoes as well. You take them all. But when Kuningan comes, you do the offerings; make 400 canang genten, 300 canang meraka, 150 ajuman and 100 tumpeng.

I Made has nothing to say. He puts back the box and disappears. The lesson is that for Balinese men, let alone the lazy ones, it’s better for them to be quiet instead of giving comments on their women friends.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Friday, 14 May 2010

Beach People’s Life After Sensational News of Cowboys in Paradise

Taken from the article of Jawa Pos by Eka Prasetya, Thursday, 13 May 2010
Translated by Putu Wiwid Budiastra



Ignored, Just Disappointed TV Blurred Their Faces

The sensation of the documentary film Cowboys in Paradise makes many people go to Kuta, Bali. Rumors that say beach guy as a gigolo teased partly of beach people community. But, what is the reaction of those “cowboys?”

By Eka Prasetya, Kuta

A group of beachboys enjoy a conversation in the afternoon. The other beachboys play the guitar with tourists, pleasantly, without any strained situation. All of them look so relaxed.

From their conversation, we can hear no complaints: they just talk and make jokes. They laugh.

They still welcome everyone around them. Indeed, if any tourists that want to join, they offer them drinks. They are unphased about sensation of the documentary film Cowboys in Paradise which shows them as gigolos.

“Nothing’s changed. Look, there are some guys having fun playing guitar under the tree. Tourists also still interest to get together with them. This is our job every afternoon. Sit on the beach. Some of us playing guitar, also do some sports. Nothing’s changed,” Joko says (he is a senior surfing instructor in Kuta).

One man with bleached hair says that one thing that has changed is the Kuta Task Force (beach police). In previous times, beachboys skulked around tourists and offered surfing courses without permission (from the task force). Now, they can’t do this.

“They are rules that say when tourists sunbathing are not allowed to be offer anything. If they are walking around, we are allowed to offer. Before, we can skulk around, we are pretending after shower on beach, then find tourist for offering them to rent our surf board. Now, we can’t do that,” adds this guy (he is from Jember, East Java).

Some beachboys that appeared in the film’s thriller also ignore it. They still come together to find prosperity. Arnold only has made decision to absence after this incident. “But sometimes he just sits here doing nothing. Maybe he will be back to work in several days,” Joko said.

Now, beach people not really concerned about the film, they don’t think too much about it. Just one thing that spragged them is about electronic mass media which blurred their faces.

“Honestly, we are disappointed with one of the television news that blurred their faces. If they do that, they are looks like real gigolos. Just let their real faces without blurred. They are not gigolo. What’s more, they want to be interviewed and let their faces be recorded,” Bobby sigh; he is coordinator of beachboys in Kuta Area.

Based on their income, they never complaint too. They still have income in similar grade. “If rain, quite. If fair weather, will be busy. Nothing changed. We are still in middling life. Our rent room, if rain will be leaky. Be understanding, room only two hundred thousand in a month,” Joko talks.

Bungklang Bungkling: Rematik (Rheumatism)

Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘Rematik’, a column by I Wayan Juniartha, as published in Bali Post, Sunday 9th May 2010. Translated by Putu Semiada.

Rematik (Rheumatism)

The local election has just finished. The winner is obvious as is the loser. The drinking association members have been waiting for the winner to come to visit them. They remember that the candidates promised them that if they won they would thank the association members. They have been given 10 million Rupiah already, and now they expect double from the winner.

But as the sun sets nobody comes. “The one with moustache hasn’t showed up nor the one with no moustache. It’s a kind of bad sign. They forget their voters once they win,” says I Made Golput Bukan Dosa (I Made Abstaining is not a Sin).

Everyone laughs. They all know that Made didn’t vote for any candidate but now he expects something.

“That’s why we called them ‘Kepala Kadal’ (Leader of Lizards)”, they will forget us if they win. All they have on their mind now is how to get back the money they have spent during their campaign. That’s why we should have asked them for some ‘deposit’ when they had asked us to vote for them,” says I Putu Coblos Kanan Coblos Kiri (I Putu Give Your Votes For All Candidates).

No ‘Kepala Kadal’ shows up. Unexpectedly, it is I Wayan Sing Man Apa (I Wayan Got Nothing), a teacher of elementary school next to the soccer field who does. Everyone is surprised. Everyone knows that Wayan is a very honest teacher. He is very religious and has good manners. He has never been to the palm toddy warung, he just likes Coca Cola. He never has a love affair (he is afraid of his wife), and when wants to play ceki (Chinese cards), he never tells her.

Without greeting them, Wayan grabs a bottle of palm toddy and sips it. “Bapak is stressed,” he says. He always refers himself as ‘Bapak’ (Mister). It might be because his students always call him “Bapak Guru” (Mister Teacher). He likes people to call him ‘Bapak’. Once his father almost hit his head because I Wayan called himself ‘Bapak’ during a discussion with a priest.

Everyone laughs. Hearing somebody say that they are stressed is not a new thing for them, because who isn’t under the current situation. Job opportunities are rare, and big celebrations are about to happen. And they don’t really have money in their wallets. They also think that the gods may ‘get stressed’ too as everyday devotees pray and ‘ask’ for big things. The devotees dedicate ‘canang’ (offerings) which cost only Rp. 200 each but ask for big things, like a new car e.t.c.. How will the gods deal with their requests?

“I really don’t understand what our government wants: do I have to join a ‘certification’. It is said that if I pass the certification, they will increase my salaries. You know the raise makes no different for me, I am about to be retired. Should I use the raise for my cremation ceremony when I die?” asks Wayan.

Everyone nods. It is understood that an old teacher like Wayan is not really interested in continuing his studies when he feels ‘experienced’ enough as a teacher; also it is difficult for him to do a test when he is used to testing students, and as a teacher, he cannot accept being ‘taught’.

“And I have to make a scholarly paper too. I have rheumatism, especially in my hands. How do you expect me to be able to type? My fingers really hurt when I type. Don’t they know that I have been teaching students for years, and now they ask me to join special training (certification) for teachers?”

Everyone nods. No one wants to comment on what Wayan says. It is said ‘never argue with a guru (teacher)’, let alone ‘guru penggajian’ (guru who gets paid (gaji)).

“I suggest that not only teachers should join ‘certification’, but also legislative members, ‘Kepala Kadal’ (mayors) and high ranking officials as well. Most of them obtain their current positions just because they have a lot of money, financial assistance and physical strength, says Made.

Everyone nods. All of them are half-drunk, and they don’t really understand the topic of their discussion. “Galungan and Kuningan” holidays are about to come. Nobody cares about Wayan’s problem anymore. Everyone thinks about getting money to celebrate ‘Galungan’.

“Mr. Teacher, is the teacher certificate to be used as a guarantee to borrow money? If so, I want one. I will bring it with me to the village bank to borrow some money to buy some fruits for (banten) offering.

I Wayan says nothing. He feels that he is a poor guy being a teacher. He thinks that if he had known that he would be like this, he would have grown bold moustache and trained himself to smile, and to be able to be a ‘Kepala Kadal’.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Faces and Fashion at the Body-Washing of Pak Rumi (Pak Mangku)


Photos were taken in ritual body-washing of Taman Bebek co-owner Bapak (Mangku) Rumi,
Sayan, 3 May 2010

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Bungklang Bungkling: Ujian (Test)

Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘Ujian’, a column by I Wayan Juniartha, as published in Bali Post, Sunday 2nd May 2010. Translated by Putu Semiada.

Ujian (Test)

I Made Algebra Tenggek Lengar (I Made Algebra Bald Head) has got a very bad headache because his daughter Ni Luh Putu Anthurium Gelombang Cinta (Ni Luh Putu Anthurium) didn’t passed the National Test. His headache might be worse than Gayus Tambunan (the tax corruptor) has.

“My daughter had been studying hard. Usually, once she arrived home, she soon prepared herself to join extra classes. She joined piano class, swimming class, and language classes (Balinese, English and even Mandarin). That’s why I was very sure that she was ready for the National Test.

The problem was that Cinta didn’t join Indonesian language class. Besides, she watched too much Indonesian cinetron in which the dialogues used are bad Bahasa Indonesia. Her accent is like the Jakartans. One of the test says: “Apa kata ganti untuk orang pertama tunggal?” (What is the pronoun for the first person?). Her answer is “Gua” (me (Jakarta slang)).

“When many of the students didn’t pass, many excuses come from the teacher — I’m sick of their excuses”

First, they say that the students are not very serious about the test, and consider that Bahasa Indonesia is not so important.”

“I don’t think there is any student who is not serious. You see, they all study hard, they even cheat using some pieces of paper with very tiny hand-writing. They also try to seek answers of the test from some sources. They pray to God all the time. They spend a lot of money to pay some administration fees to be able to join the test. “Don’t you think they are serious?”

Secondly, the test of this year is more difficult than the one last year.

“Don’t you think the test must be difficult…..otherwise why do the test if it’s too easy ……. just let all students pass.”

Thirdly, the students got answers for the tests from unreliable sources. The answers were not really accurate.

“My daughter got the answers of the Bahasa Indonesia test, but they were all wrong. She had lost her self-confidence and insisted on using them. That’s why her grade was so bad. The people who give and distribute answers are not really professional.”

The point is that the government is not professional in running the education programs: the teachers claim that they have tried very hard; but the fact is, the students always become the ‘victims.’

But no one is really interested in Made’s complaint. The others think that there are many more important issues than the national test, like the film on Gigolos, and also the coming local election.

“The local election has caused many students not to pass the national test,” says I Putu Partai Boleh Eceran Monggo (I Putu Cheap Retail Party).

He looks very serious ― now they all pay attention.

“I note that for months all the students hear is: “Vote Number One, Vote Number Two.” So what I think is that when the students did the tests, they just did number one and number two,” says Made jokingly.

“If we vote for the candidate with a moustache, what happens then when he shaves his moustache? Should he resign?”

“What if a gigolo becomes a mayor candidate? Which part of his picture we should mark?

Made can not say anything. He understands now that none of his friends are interested in listening to him about his daughter Cinta who didn’t pass the national test.

“Take it easy, . Your daughter still has a second chance. Besides, passing the national test doesn’t guarantee your daughter success. What if your daughter becomes a prostitute in future: Isn’t that a nightmare for you? Well, no matter how smart your daughter is, if she becomes a politician in future, won’t you be sad?

Bungklang Bungkling: Sro(m)botan (Balinese Mixed Vegetable)

Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘Sro(m)botan’, a column by I Wayan Juniartha, as published in Bali Post, Sunday 25th April 2010. Translated by Putu Semiada. 

‘Sro(m)botan’ (Balinese Mixed Vegetable)

There has been a question during local election: who cheats who?

Do you think that the politicians lie to the people? Or do the people cheat the politicians?

“All I’m sure is: the politicians talk a lot of bullshit, promising this and that. They talk like the God Indra: they think that they can change the world in one night,” says I Made Apatis Celengis (I Made Very Apathetic).

“It’s local election fever in the village at the moment, not to mention in the palm toddy warung. No matter how heavy it rains, they are always excited to watch the debates among the candidates on television. They don’t need to worry about getting wet due to rain water splash as two giant billboards have been installed in front of the warung. It seems that the pictures of the ‘handsome’ candidates are able to scare the rain away’.

“Talking about promises: it seems that there will be no poor people in this world; they promise that if they are elected they can create welfare for the people, security is guaranteed, and no more natural disasters. Everybody smiles because of happiness,” adds I Made.

As a matter of fact, even when Yudistira was once a king of Astina, that kind of situation never really existed, not to mention the behaviour of many current politicians; “Yudistira face” (good-looking) but “Dursasana” character (evil heart).

“You are right, Dé, the politicians today are very good at acting like movie stars. If culture becomes an issue then they start to talk about culture, and claim that they are culture-lovers. If agriculture is the issue, they will talk about it and make programs that they claim are the best. As a matter of fact, they have never been to the rice-fields, so, how can they talk about agriculture?” I Wayan Praktis Kritis (I Wayan Practical and Critical) agrees with I Made’s opinion.

All of them have the same programs: It’s just like making ‘srombotan’ (mixed Balinese vegetable), taking a little bit of this, taking a little bit of that.

The results are the same. The people are bored with the politicians.

In addition, all of them indulge in money politics: All kinds of village associations are offered money, from village association (banjar), irrigation association (subak), youth association (sekeha teruna), ladies association, to cooperative association ― from the young to the old.

This situation makes a negative on the people’s mentality.

“They might not know that Balinese are not good at dealing with money: You know, even when they do not really have enough funds, they want to renovate their meeting hall (bale banjar) to be a two storey one. When they get money, they may demolish anything; they may even pave the cemetery.

Promises made by politicians have spoiled the mentality of the people. In future, they may ask the government for money for a facial, or a salon car, etc.

“Wait a minute, why do you blame the politicians. Aren’t we the one who often cheat them? Don’t we always get ‘blind’ when we are given money, and always want to be co-opted?” asks I Ketut Towal Towel. (I Ketut A Little of This A Little of That).

“Two days ago I saw Bli Madé come to the Regent’s office bringing a proposal for financial assistance and he promised to the incumbent candidate that he will mobilize people to vote the candidate. But just yesterday, I saw him visit the other candidate. He asked the candidate for billboards, T-shirts, money for meals and campaign operational costs. What happens, Bli (brother)? Why are you so greedy?” asks Ketut.

All the palm toddy association members laugh. I Made tries to be calm. Just this morning he also brought a proposal to the municipal office on behalf of Sekehe Ceki (Chinese Card Gambling Association). He wants to arrange a ‘Chinese Card Gambling Festival’. He has indeed made up a proposal: He thinks that if the proposal is approved, he can afford a Vario.

“Don’t always blame other people, brother. If all of us here are clean, why do we all wear T-shirts given by different candidates?

All the palm toddy members laugh. They can understand that during the election season one may use two or three different T-shirts with different colours and pictures of candidates at the same time. However, the most outer T-shirts they use are their own association T-shirts. And during the election season, all candidates will offer them financial assistance with different names.

“We can decide which T-shirt to use depending on which candidate visits us. When the candidate with a bold moustache comes, we will wear a T-shirt with his picture. If the candidate with sun glasses comes, we will wear a T-shirt with his as well. But when our wives come, then we just take off our T-shirts,” says I Made jokingly.

The conclusion is that during election season, politicians and people often playing games with each other.