Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Bungklang Bungkling: Temple Paraphernalia (Pratima) by Wayan Juniartha.

Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘PRATIMA’, a column by I Wayan Juniartha, published in Bali Post, Sunday 26th September 2010. Translated by Putu Semiada

Temple Paraphernalia (Pratima)

Why do some Balinese dare to steal their temple paraphernalias (pratima)?

“It is because they know how to steal it easily,” says I Made Prasangka Curiga (I Made Prejudice and Suspicious).

His opinion is based on the fact that only the Balinese know where the paraphernalia are stored and when is the right time to steal them. The Balinese also know which ones are common wooden statues and which ones are antique and worth millions of Rupiahs.

“They don’t know how to steal a motor bike because they can not make fake keys. They don’t want to be snatchers either because they think it is not a prestigious job, nor criminals as they are afraid to be caught and hit by people.”

It is considered much easier also to steal something in the temple. They know what and how to do it. And they know that a pratima is the most precious thing in the temple. And it is much easier to sell it compared to computer, television, or other electronic appliances. Many westerners are eager to buy antiques for their collections. They like to decorate their villas with old statues; Garuda statues in their living rooms and angel statues (widyadari) in their bathrooms.

“My question is why do some Balinese dare to steal pretima? Aren’t pretima sacred?” asks I Wayan Kesiab-Kesiab (I Wayan Easily Startled).

It seems that everybody cannot believe Balinese dare to do that and sell for Rupiah. Balinese ruin their own belonging.

“Well, you are all too obsessed of ‘fake image’ of the Balinese created by tourism industry that the Balinese are 100% good people, love their families, like to save their money, love peace, not worldly minded, honest, clean and fair,” comments I Madé.

As a mater of fact, there have been many Balinese doing bad things such as stealing and selling sacred things.

“Look! Who sell the temples-owned lands and the beaches where we do ‘melasti’ ceremonies; sign papers that allowed the investor build golf course at Tanah Lot; ‘magical power charging’ for a political party’s flag and political oaths at temples. Whose ideas are they to make many kinds of ceremonies so that they are able to make good business from selling offerings? Who claim themselves of going into trance and calling the gods’ names (Ida Bethara)?”

“It’s not the Javanese nor the Muslims do that. It’s the Balinese who steal, sell, and ruin their own island.”

The question is why the Balinese steal pretima? Probably it is because that’s the only thing left. The rest has been sold.

And why do they dare to steal the sacred things? Because nothing is sacred in Bali anymore. The ‘sacred’ thing is only the Rupiah.

Monday, 27 September 2010


The Candi Sukuh ruinscape almost complete. Designed by P.T. Wijaya.

Made Cangker (Taj Bekal's contraversial Balinese sculptor)'s incredible statues at Naples Botanical Garden, Florida.

Ketut Batu — the Balinese commando troupe's troubador — places the Sable palm thatch they made after the Balinese alang-alang thatch was confiscated.

The Thai pavilion with the ancient Asian garden beyond.

The south entrance to the Asian Garden. (The statues (still in Customs) yet to arrive so we photo-shopped in).

Starboy Labourer, Lance Boil, in the Asian Garden.

Navy Seal water garden expert.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Bungklang Bungkling: Poor Farmer (Tuna Tani) by Wayan Juniartha.

Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘Tuna Tani’, a column by I Wayan Juniartha, published in Bali Post, Sunday 19th September 2010. Translated by Putu Semiada

Poor Farmer (Tuna Tani)

What sorts of qualifications you should have when you want to be a farmer in Bali?

“First you don’t have to be embarrassed to be a farmer,” comments I Made Pici-Pici Gengsi (I Made Pretends to be Prestigious).

I Made’s comment is based on the situation today where most Balinese are embarrassed to be farmers. They prefer jobs that enable them to drive around, wear ties, with a lot of money and credit cards as well in their pockets. They don’t want to be look like a farmer; wearing dirty shirt, woven bamboo hat, with a sickle on their waists.

“Being a Balinese, you mustn’t be poor or shy. You should look like a rich man, and you must spend billions of Rupiahs for ceremonies (makarya), no matter if the money is a loan from a bank. Some Balinese even steal temple paraphernalia to afford ties, mobiles phones and buy cars on credit.”

“Being a farmer, you will have nothing. And you have to be ready to be embarrassed. I don’t promise myself to be a farmer.”

Everyone nods. One of I Wayan Dangap-Dangap (I Wayan Nod-off)’s sons wants to study in Agriculture Faculty. That’s why he needs some advice from his friends on how to be a successful farmer.

Secondly, you have to borrow money from the bank,” adds I Madé.

“The cost of fertilizer, paddy seeds and pesticide is getting higher and higher. The rice price increases as well, but the fact is that the benefit of the increase doesn’t go to farmers, but to grocers and rice importers instead.”

“When you are a farmer, you don’t get the result soon. If you plant the rice today, you will harvest in 3 months. Therefore, you have to have money to buy rice seeds, fertilizer, and pesticide first. You also have spare money for your own meals during the three months when you work in the rice field and while you are waiting for the harvest.”

No wonder many farmers become ‘loyal customers’ of village banks (LPD), local banks (BPR), and renters. An ironic situation is that farmers grow rice-paddy but they borrow money to buy rice for their meals.

“It is still lucky if you can harvest in 3 months. The fact is that, the climate has been unfavourable these days. Lots of rice paddies are died. Fail to harvest means more debt to pay.”

And to enable to pay interest of your debt then you have to borrow here and there. And this will make you have more and more debt and are getting poor.

“Being a farmer, you have to be ready living in poverty all your life.”

I Wayan looks sad when he thinks of his son who is going to be live in poverty.

“Why does your son want to be a farmer? Why not a legislative member? You know, when you are a legislative member, all of your expenses are covered by government, or why not a bell-boy? Although his job is carrying guests’ luggage, but he will wears a tie and polished shoes.”

Not a word comes out from I Wayan’s mouth. His heart is gloomy. If he smoked, he might have heart attack. He is still lucky as he just drinks palm toddy so he just has problems with his stomach due to stress.

“The most important thing when you are a farmer is to own your own lands. Of course, where would you plant your rice paddies when you didn’t have any? Can you plant rice paddies on concrete? Can you plant them on ceramic tiles?”

The problem is that there is no much land left in Bali. Most of them have changed to villas, hotels, roads, malls, Alfa Marts, Indomarets, Circle Ks, even the temple courtyards have been paved, and they even wall the river.

So no matter how strong your will is to become a farmer, but what you can do if you don’t have lands at all.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Nozer Wadia's fabulous beach house outside Bombay.


Super-chub of this millenium Nozer Wadia gives ancient Parsee gesture of welcome

Indian Celebrity Architect Nozer "Captain Canonball" Wadia(right) and Dirk Gastmans checking out the BeauMarcia potplants at the Wadia-designed roof terrace bar at Four Seasons Mumbai

Music room cum garden pavilion in coastal Kashid holiday home designed by Nozer Wadia; garden designed by Taera Chowna.

Karshid, Maharastra; cooks in Nozer
Wadia's smart beach house.

Dirk sits pretty in back seat of Range Rover on way back from Alibagh

Bale Materdam Puri Kanginan Karangasem column brackets rescued from stock pile in India for second time!!!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Bungklang Bungkling: Ganyang Malaysia (Attack Malaysia!) 
by Wayan Juniartha.

Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘Ganyang Malaysia’, a column by I Wayan Juniartha, published in Bali Post, Sunday 12th September 2010. Translated by Putu Semiada.

Ganyang Malaysia (Attack Malaysia!)

The discussion at the palm toddy warung is full of sharp opinions.

“Our president is too weak. If I were the president, I would ask my military forces to attack Malaysia (Ganyang Malaysia),” says I Made Patriot Kreyat Kreyot (I Made Pretending to be Heroic).

Everyone laughs. They know that I Madé is a bad temper person and has hypertension. He always argue. “No matter if our side is wrong, the important thing is that we don’t lose,” continues I Madé, telling about his motto. That’s probably why he is never elected head of palm toddy association, let alone higher position.

“Easy for you to talk. All you think is just to attack them. It’s okay if we win. What if we lose? What should we do?” comments I Ketut Demokrat Makarat (I Ketut Fanatic Member of Democrat Party).

In addition, even though the President’s son I Bas-Bas (The Silly Man) doesn’t seem to know anything about military strategy, but still he gives his comments that Indonesia has no money to buy sophisticated military equipments for war against Malaysia and nor the army forces are ready either.

“You are such a silly man. Don’t you know that kind of mentality makes our country underestimated by other countries? Look at what our people did in the past, with no enough financial, nor military knowledge, they fought till the death.”

“I’m really sure that we will win. I also have some ideas on how to overcome Malaysia.”

Strategy 1: Mobilize attacks via air strikes (parachutes). We can not mobilize them through land as we’ve got traffic jams everywhere, nor via sea as many of our ships sink. So attacking must be via air.

We can send them rabies-infected Balinese dogs. We Balinese ourselves can not cope with this disease, let alone our neighbouring country Malaysia. They are not used to seeing puppies. I’m sure they will be infected.

Strategy 2: Divide and Conquer. Send Manohara back to Malaysia. Her main job is to seduce all princes from different states. If they all have similar taste as the Kelantan prince (Manohara’s ex husband), I’m sure they will fight one another. We can even send Ariel, just in case, there are gays among them.

Everyone laughs.

“Well, don’t you ever underestimate my ‘strategies’! Don’t you know, countless wars have been caused by women; from Troya war to Rama against Rahwana in the Ramayana story.”

Strategy 3. Terror with bomb. We can send our mass organizations, such as FPI who are used to do violence against their own people, to Malaysia. They can go there undercover as pendet dancers. Each of them can bring a 3kg gas tube. When they arrive there they can throw the gas tube to the houses there.

“Don’t bother to make bombs. The gas tubes can explode easily and they are inexpensive too. And we have more than enough stock available at Pertamina warehouse.”

Strategy 4. Burn the forest (Alas kobar). Burn all the forest in Sumatra and Kalimantan. I am sure the Malaysians will get cough because of the smoke from the forest fire, economy will be in chaos as no flights available, no boat or car work.

Strategy 5. Finish up (Aud kelor). Move our capital Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur. Send all of our high ranking officials there. Less than three months the Malaysians will be frustrated because of the following situation: a weak president, ministers with no commitment to work hard, corrupt legislative members, and high ranking officials whose hobby is playing golf and tend to corrupt.

I’m sure if these five strategies are implemented properly, Malaysia will become a chaos country, their people will fight among them, bombs explode everywhere. The country will be dark with no light, go bankrupt and be frustrated.

“And they will surrender, ask us for forgiveness and incline to negotiate with Indonesia. And we just need to send one representative to the conference, Mr. Ruhut Sitompul. He will make Malaysian delegation be speechless. At the end, we will win.”

Everyone claps.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Bungklang Bungkling: Criminals (Corah) by Wayan Juniartha.

Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘Corah’, a column by I Wayan Juniartha, published in Bali Post, Sunday 4th July 2010. Translated by Putu Semiada.

Criminals (Corah)

It can be understood why the palm toddy members are not used to going out at midnight time. It is because they live in a village. According to them, midnight is not good. It’s the time for various ‘black magic’ people, prostitutes, frogs and geckos. If they go out, something bad might happen to them.

But it is strange that they are also afraid of going out in the afternoon.

“If one hurts you with black magic, you still can go to a healer (balian) for medication. What if a burglar cuts your neck? What medication will be able to save your life?” asks I Madé Nyali Cenik (I Madé Coward).

Everyone nods. They believe that if you see leak (spook) on the street, you might just get nervous. But if you see a burglar, he may take your wallet, your ring and even your life.

“There have been many crimes these days: I always get nervous when I go out,” comments I Nyoman Jerih Kabilbil (I Nyoman Always Nervous).

There are snatchers everywhere, robbers (once we had a robber who wore underwears only ─ probably he is too poor), children kidnappers and rapists, tourist kidnappers, temple paraphernalia thieves, criminals at ATM booths, hypnotic crimes, car thieves, and bank robbers.

“I have bad feeling every time I watch TV, and I get nervous when I read newspaper. So, I have decided to just stay at home. You know, I’m very handsome. If I happen to be a victim of a robbery and I’m dead, my wife and my lover will miss me very much,” adds I Nyoman.

They nod but actually they don’t buy what he says: They just agree with the bit about the news on television and newspapers.

“There are many ways to die these days: You might be robbed and get killed or a motorbike or car hit you when you walk or drive on the streets. No matter how carefully you drive, anyone can drive crazily and hit you.

Usually, when they discussed these sorts of things, the Balinese tend to blame people from other islands; the Javanese rob and the Sasaks (Lombok people) steal. But now they understand that Balinese sometimes do the same. They even steal temple paraphernalia.

“I think it’s time for the Balinese kstaria (warrior) to show his heroism and defend Bali from criminals. We have many martial art clubs (perguruan silat) in Bali. There should be enough of them to fight the criminals,” adds I Madé.

Everyone is quiet. They’ve just read in the newspaper that a martial arts master attacked a university and beat the security who didn’t seem to know anything. The reason they did that was just because they didn’t find somebody they were looking for.

“Our vigilantes (pecalang) are too busy as parking attendants and security at cockfighting arenas, guarding kite club convoys and blocking the roads. They ‘have no time’ to deal with criminals.”

On the other hand, most kstarias (warriors) have turned into wesias (merchants), who are too busy selling their inheritances (land, etc.) or become project brokers. Some are too busy being rich, that they don’t have time to deal with unprivileged people.

In addition, the banjars and villages (desa) are also too busy to claim themselves the best, fighting each other on unimportant matters.

“So, how do we expect Bali to be safe and peaceful?” asks I Made.

Nobody comments. Everyone knows that Ajeg Bali (Sustainable Bali) and Bali Santhi (peaceful Bali), are just ‘mere rhetorical talk’ of educated Balinese, high ranking local officials or the established ones. They are the ones who never need worry about not being able to afford a meal, or worried about having an accident on the street, or being robbed by street thugs (preman).

“It’s hard being common people like us. We are poor and always in a bad position. No wonder that more and more of us commit suicide: It seems that it is a better choice than living in the current situation.”

Wednesday, 8 September 2010



K.A SUNKACA SOLO - SURABAYA, 6 September 2010

Thursday, 2 September 2010

MOTORBIKE by Made Sugianto.

A short story, taken from Bali Post, Sunday, 22nd August 2010. Original title: "Motor" by I Made Sugianto. Translated by Putu Semiada.


Nang Dadag’s daughter has given him headache since she started her study at senior high school. After paying the school admission, which is quite lot, now she asks his father to buy her a mobile phone. She says she feels embarrassed if she doesn’t bring a mobile to school. Therefore Nang Dadag has to borrow from the village bank.

“When I was young, I was already happy when I was just able to go to school. The shirt and trousers I worn even have holes. It was like you were looking at the beautiful moon. But now, what happens to our children. They need many things,” he says to himself.

Not until one month, another problem comes. His daughter, Luh Kladi, decline to go to school at the public school. Every morning, tears drop from her eyes. It makes her parents confused. They think that somebody has hurt their daughter with black magic. She is their only daughter. Luh Kladi is very beautiful, her face is like an Indonesian cinetron star, Bunga Citra Lestari; she has nice body and sweet smile. That’s what make them think that somebody has sent he black magic.

“It’s quite difficult to have beautiful daughter. There must be a lot of young boys want her. If she refuses them, they might go to balian (healer) to hurt them. Someone might have hurt my daughter, that why she doesn’t want to go to school anymore and always cry. I think we should go to see a healer and ask for advice,” says Men Dagdag.

“I’m also confused. There has been two weeks like this. She never says the reason why she is like that. I still owe the village bank (LPD) to pay the school fee and her Blackberry. But what does she really want next?” Nang Dadag is really confused.

While cooking, Men Dadag tells her husband about some powerful healers. She mentions about one in Timpag Village and the other one in Jumpayah. But Pan Dadag is not really interested to them. He prefers the nearest one to where their village, Kukuh. Adeng, Senapahan and Koripan Villages are where he wants to go. He then decides to go the one in Bedil Village.

They both go to the village. The healer’s place is located in a BTN (real estate complex). When they arrive at the balian, he has another customer. Nang Dadag brings some coffee powder, tobacco, fried bananas, betel nut and tobacco. He knows that every time he goes to a healer, his ancestor will ask betel nut and tobacco.

The healer asks them to his house temple. He lit some incenses. The smoke from the incenses makes Nang Dadag has a coughing spell. The healer starts his mantras. He calls gods from all temples in Bali, Besakih, Lempuyang, Batukaru, etc. He also calls the gods in Mecca, Moscow and Africa. And a voice from the healer comes:

My children, what happens? Why did you call me your grandpa? You know I’m serving the gods in Dalem Temple. You must have some problems, otherwise you won’t come to me. Before I talk more to you, I want to ask you something? Did you bring some coffee, betel nut and tobacco? I haven’t smoked for such a long time, so give a cigarette too, says the ‘soul’ of Nang Dadag’s late grandfather through the healer’s mouth.

He hands the coffee, betel nut and tobacco to the healer. After that, the ‘soul’ asks a cigarette. What a ‘crazy’ soul, he thinks. After coffee and cigarette, he asks for Rp. 2 million so that he can gamble in heaven (suarga loka).

“You call me, but you hesitate to give me two million Rupiahs. Don’t you know that we also have food stalls (warung) in heaven. I owe one of them a lot of money. So just give me two millions Rupiahs. So, once you arrive home from here, you will sell your land. So, I just want my share,” says the soul (atman).

“So, what happens to my daughter?” asks Nang Dadag.

“Your daughter is not sick. It is just something that she really likes to have. Her heart is just kepingit (stuck) somewhere.”

“So what should I do?” asks he again.

“What you should do is go to a motorbike shop and buy her a motorbike. Once you buy her a motorbike, she will be okay again”

“My God, where can I find the money. I’ve already borrowed money from LPD for her school admission and her Blackberry!”

“I just told you……you must sell the lands so there will be no problem. Then you give me my share, two million. I know that my grandchildren have a lot of money from selling lands. You must know that I bought the lands. So just give me my share.”

Nang Dadag and Men Dadag do not buy what the balian says. It sounds crazy. They can’t understand how come he says that Luh Kladi is being ‘captivated’ by the gods of motorbike shops. And the solution is a ‘motorbike’, something that they can not afford. How they can buy a motorbike when they don’t have money that much, even when they have to pay by instalments. Selling their lands is the only way. That’s why they don’t buy the healer’s words.

When they arrive home, they find their daughter crying loudly and it seems she will never stop. They are getting more nervous.

“My dear, what does really happen? I’ve sent you to favourite school, matter that I have bribed the school. You asked for a mobile phone, I bought one for you. Just let me know, what happens to you?” ask Nang Dadag to his daughter.

Luh Kladi is quiet. She doesn’t give a response. His father keeps asking her. Men Dadag then brings an offering to the house temple and pray.

“Luh, let me know. Is there a boy who really likes you at school? Have you eaten any unhealthy food. Just let us know. We might be able to help. “

“Father,… “Luh Kladi starts to speak.

“Okay, go on…..no matter how bad it is…..just let us know! We will try to do our best.”

“Father, just buy me a motorbike (Mio), so I will be more confident at school.”

“Well, the balian is right. My daughter wants a motorbike.”