Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘Plastik’, a column by I Wayan Juniartha, published in Bali Post, Sunday 10th October 2010. Translated by Putu Semiada
It has been raining for three days and none of palm toddy association members has been seen at the warung as they are lazy to go out. No kidding, as most of them are middle aged. They are only excited when see young girls but not to go out when it rains. They are afraid that their rheumatism will flare up again.
On the third rainy day, the members show up one by one. They are longing to enjoy the sweet palm toddy and strong palm wine. They are wearing rain coats and some bring umbrellas. All bring bad news about the troubles caused by the bad weather.
“Damn! Rains like this has made insects, lizards and snakes come inside any house,” says I Made Sial Lemah Peteng (I Made Bad Luck All the Time).
Everyone laughs. Some of them look at Made’s neck. It’s swollen. He has problems also with his eyes and mouth. Probably some lizard has bitten him.
“I think you are still lucky, Madé. The two days rain has changed my rice field into a plastic field. The paddy are spoiled due to plastic rubbish,” says I Ketut Ngangsur Ngangsut (I Ketut Bad Luck).
Everyone nods. All of their rice-fields have been spoiled by plastic rubbish, especially when it rains heavily.
“It is much easier for us to deal with rubbish from leaves and wood, it is easier to remove. Even when you don’t remove it, it will decompose.
Plastic is like black magic: once you ‘fight’ it, it will come again and fight you back.
“It is difficult to remove plastic rubbish. Plastic does not decompose either, no matter how many times we have changed the president, it will remain like that” says I Ketut.
Everyone is upset having heard about plastic rubbish.
“Damn, why is this plastic giving us such a big problem. In the old times, we were able to beat colonialism and fight the criminals as well,’ comments I Wayan Wat Kenyat (I Wayan Temperamental Man)
Why don’t we just make an Anti-Plastic Movement? We can stop using plastic. We can burn all the plastic rubbish at our own house. And we can start to use leaves and paper to wrap things,” continues I Wayan.
“Bali Free of Plastic,” he screams.
Everyone claps. It seems that when it comes to slogans about Bali; ‘Bali is an Island of This’, ‘Bali is an Island of That’; Balinese are very enthusiastic, even when it must comes to vandalism, everyone will join in.
“Well, we use a large amount of plastic: if we substitute banana leaves and paper for plastic, a lot more trees must be cut and it make the situation getting worse and worse,” says I Madé.
Everyone is quiet. They agree to what I Madé says. It is still raining heavily. Everyone approaches Ni Luh Makin Digosok Makin Sip (Ni Luh The More You Rub Her The More She Loves It). They all want more palm toddy to take home.
“Luh, can I have more two plastic bags of palm toddy?”