Friday, 8 October 2010

Bungklang Bungkling: SARASWATI by Wayan Juniartha.

Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘Saraswati’, a column by I Wayan Juniartha, published in Bali Post, Sunday 3rd September 2010. Translated by Putu Semiada

Saraswati (Goddess of Art and Knowledge)

Saraswati, considers that the island inhabitants are getting ‘dumb’; more and more people are using their muscles instead of brains to solve problems; greedy people always win, proven corrupt officials stay in safe positions. Hence, the goddess has decided to come down to the island.

Riding a white swan, she visits the senior high school SMU Favorit Untuk Wong Gerit (Favourite School Not for Unprivileged Students). She is amazed by the students’ smiles and their kebayas chemise.

And the students are amazed by the Goddess’ beauty, with 4 hands and riding a swan. But the students also wonder: usually when a company wants to promote its product, it uses a mascot such as clown like the Telletubbies, but as they see now the Goddess is wearing old fashioned dress (jadul).

“Well, as you are good students, now you can ask me for any subjects you would like to be good at; math, molecular genetics, theoretic physics, nuclear quantum, quarks, cold fusion?

The students look at each other. They think that the ‘lady’ riding a swan is a TV reporter who they have often seen on TV distributing presents door to door.

“I don’t need to be good at all subjects. When we have national tests, the teachers give us the keys. Even when my grades are not good, the teacher always help me by upgrading them. Everything is fine. What I need is a free Blakberry? Can you give me one?” asks an ugly-look student.

“How strong is your swan?” asks another whose skin has a lot of scars from motorbike accidents. “What product is that made in? Is it a Yamaha? A Suzuki? Can I borrow it to use in a race?”

The Goddess Saraswati is surprised having heard what the students have to say. She decides to visit the teachers’ office and bless them. It is assumed that the teachers never get a proper income. They are praying when the goddess comes in.

“Oh My Lord, I hope I will be appointed project manager for classrooms renovations, so I get enough fees to by a new car on credit.”

“Oh My Lord, I hope the principal will die soon as he is very corrupt and never gives us our share.”

The other teacher prays: “Oh My Lord, I hope my business as property and car broker runs well.”

“Oh My Lord, I hope my lover doesn’t get pregnant. If she doesn’t, I will I will make an offering which has a suckling pig.”

The Goddess Saraswati gets more confused due to the bad teachers prayers. Even the swan throws up due to negative energy vibrated by the bad prayers of the teachers and students.

As she is so frustrated, finally she comes to the palm toddy warung. She has been told that the warung is the place of intellectuals.

“Wow, look! There is a fat swan…Why don’t we just catch it and cook for our meal. It will be good with our palm toddy as well,” says I Wayan Basang Linggah (I Wayan Pot Belly) when he sees the swan.

“Why is there a beautiful girl here? Hi Girl, what can I do for you? Do you need a ride? If you need a place to stay, come to my house,” says I Madé Keong Racun (I Madé Playboy).

He thinks that Saraswati is a prostitute.

She is totally frustrated. She gives up. She then returns to brahmaloka (nirvana). Suddenly the swan bites I Wayan and he becomes unconscious, while I Madé can not open his mouth, probably cursed by the Goddess Saraswati.