Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Bungklang Bungkling: Tabia (Chili) by Wayan Juniartha

Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘Tabia’, a column by I Wayan Juniartha, published in Bali Post, Sunday 23rd January 2011. Translated by Putu Semiada.

Tabia (Chili)

“What sort of things can make a Balinese man stressed?”

“What about being left by his wife?” Comes an answer.

“No, no. It doesn’t bother him at all,” says I Made Kaung Calep Calung (I Made Crazy PlayBoy).

“The Balinese men never think too seriously when it comes to women matters. They follow what we call “Taxi Driver’ philosophy: that is, “Always remember to bring an extra tire wherever you go,” which means that when your wife leave you, you still can have your friend’s wife or your lover to ‘take care’ of . You can even have bar girls. What you need to do is to buy them something nice and then you can do whatever you like.”

What about if cock-fighting is banned?

“I don’t really care if cock-fighting is banned by the authority,” says I Komang Saya Branangan (I Komang Amateur Cock-Fight Jury).

I Komang understands well that the local authority has been trying to ban cock-fighting as well as other gambling games as it is considered against the law. But the fact: nothing happens. It’s just a kind of lip service. The president has changed from one term to another, as well as Chief of Police, but cock-fighting remains in Bali, in spite of religious leaders and governor Mangku Pastika’s appeal to stop gambling.

You still can see cock-fights during Galungan and Kuningan Holiday or even during temple festivals, from small to big ones. The cock-fights are even guarded by village vigilantes and 20% of the profit goes to the village.

“Nobody has been able to stop cock-fight, so why do we bother when the chief of police wants to? It’s always like that, when a new chief of police arrives”

“Even though n cock-fighting is banned, there are still other kinds of gambling the Balinese men do. They still have Chinese cards (ceki), domino, and lottery (nomer buntut). It is indeed very difficult to ban gambling.”

“So what sort of things makes a Balinese man get stressed?”

Chili! Especially as its price is now Rp.100 thousand a kilo.

“Food doesn’t taste good without chili but my wife doesn’t dare to use too much chili. The food she makes is tasteless. She uses a lot of pepper to replace chili. But it doesn’t help. It makes my throat sore,” I Wayan Cupak PakPak (I Wayan Eating is My Hobby) comments.

The characteristic of Balinese food is spicy: if it is not, then it’s not Balinese.

“I don’t feel like having a meal if the food is not spicy.

All of my family members love Balinese fruit salad (rujak). A kilo of chili can be finished in two days. It’s really ruined my financial situation. I sometimes can’t even afford to buy rice, let alone play Chinese card or drink palm toddy. I spend most of my money for chili,” I Nyoman Medit Pait (I Nyoman Stingy).

The fact is that chili can make you cry, because it’s hot and expensive.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Bungklang Bungkling: Global Warming by Wayan Juniartha.

Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘Global Warming’, a column by I Wayan Juniartha, published in Bali Post, Sunday 16th January 2011. Translated by Putu Semiada.

Global Warming

It has been said that due to Global Warming, small islands, including Bali, will sink.

“It has been confirmed scientifically and it is undeniable; in spite of ceremonies the Balinese carry out, from mulang pekelem to wana krtih, it can not be stopped,” says I Made Ateis Matan Pipis (I Made Atheist but Money-Oriented).

“It is useless, I think, for the Balinese to carry out all these ceremonies as it is due to the ice in the North Pole which has been melted. Unfortunately, our Balinese gods have no authority there.”

If our Balinese gods would like to go there, they will find it difficult as they have no ‘passport’. And it is not possible for them to make, as they have no the requirements; no wig, nor glasses nor money.

“So how to prevent Bali from sinking due to global warming,” adds I Made.

They pretend not to listen. They think life is already difficult, so they don’t want to listen about global warming. They just let Made talk about that. And just let the gods decide what will happen.

“The first thing you have to do is to build huge hotels as many as possible along the Bali coast. Invite investors to build hotels as many as possible,” says I Made.

It was said that mangroves can protect the coast from tsunami. But mangroves are getting less and less. A lot of mangroves have been grown but the problem is that not many people look after them.

That’s why I support the mayors who want to revise the ‘Rancangan Tata Ruang dan Wilayah’ (Regulations on Space Planning and Region) for Bali so that they can invite investors to build hotels along the coasts, by the river banks and close to temples as well. Why have sacred temples, gorges, and beaches but no money in your pockets.

“If Bali is full of hotels along its coast, tsunami will not be able to reach inland.”

“Secondly, plant trees as many as possible. Once you see vacant land, just plant trees on it. If necessary, plant trees at your house front, back and middle yard, temple courtyards, meeting halls, curbs, cockfight arenas, golf course and even football courts, as I am sure we will never become a world champion.

The more you plant trees, the more oxygen you can have. The more forest you have, the more carbon dioxide that causes global warming that can be absorbed.

Thirdly, all the gas resources which cause global warming must be closed. Stop using motor bikes and cars. Everyone must ride bicycle or walk. Use less oil, gas and wood. Try to cook every 3 days. Use less and less water and take a bath once a week. Speak less, so there will be no useless promises or bullshit that worsen the situation.

“Everyone is quiet.

“What did you say? You want to plant trees on cock-fight arenas? No motor bikes and cars to drive around? What am I supposed to use to drive my girlfriend? What should I use to drive the girly bars on the streets?” They ask.

Actually, it is hard to ask the Balinese to control their desires: They are used to living easy life. Whatever they want – coffee, rice – they always have somebody to serve it, and the rest of the business is handled by the local leaders. When tsunami comes one day, they may think that they will get help.

Faces and Fashion at The Cremation of Drs. Gusti Putu Sudiarna's mother, Suwung Kangin

NGABEN at Sidakarya - Putu Suarsa's aunty "Iwa", 23 January 2011.