Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Bungklang Bungkling: Radio by Wayan Juniartha

Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘Radio’, a column by I Wayan Juniartha, published in Bali Post, Sunday 30th January 2011. Translated by Putu Semiada.


“What is a radio used for these days?” comes a question from one of a palm toddy drinking fellow.

“Of course, we can listen to it, especially when your television is broken,” replies I Wayan Sinetron Mata Balon (I Wayan Cinetron-Addicted).

“You know today, most people watch television, so it’s rather odd if you still listen to the radio.”

“Look at I Wayan: Since he has had a 32 inch television; he doesn’t listen to the radio anymore. He doesn’t even listen to his wife when she calls him for help. Instead he will sit in front of the big screen television watching cinetrons, such as Cinta Fitri, Putri Yang Tertukar, etc. It seems that he might not listen to community wooden drum (kulkul) either when it is hit to summon the villagers.”

What kind of programs on the radio do you think that you don’t find on television? Dangdut?*. None. On the radio, you only hear the voice; but on television you can even see the singer clearly.”

“Balinese pop songs? Lots of them! You can even enjoy the beautiful Dek Ulik** or the handsome Trio Januadi.”

“So the radio is still useful: it still can be used as social media for the community, especially in the evenings where you can ‘make contact’ with your fellows via radio? And if you are lucky, you can ‘get connected’ with Jamu Sentul (Janda Muda Senggol Bedik Langsung Mentul = A Young Widow Who Turns Hot When Touched Softly),” says I Made Kejat-Kejit Buang (I Made Seductive Look).

The drinking fellows shake their heads.

They can’t believe that I Made is talking about ‘getting connected’ with a young widow while they are seriously discussing about radio. I Made is a kind of dirty mind person. So no matter where he is, he will always be like that. They imagine that if he were a shaman, he would be an indecent one, or if he were a PNS (civil servant), he would be like PNS SS (Pang Nyidaang Selingkuh Sai-Sai = Have a Love Affair Everyday). And if he were a radio listener, he might look for a female listener to whom he could talk to intimately.

“Well, why does everyone hate radio? I would say even though it is considered ‘old fashion’, has no picture, or no sexy presenter, but it is still something you can enjoy,” I Ketut Sekali DI Udara Tetap Di Udara (I Ketut Once on Air, Always on Air).

“Radio is inexpensive, easily-maintained, not energy-consuming and you can do something else while you listen to it.”

“You can make offering while listening to the radio, or do ironing or slice onion. Can you imagine you are slicing onion while you are watching Cinta Fitri***. You are going to cut your own finger if you do so.”

“Setting up a small radio station doesn’t cost you much either; you need to have billions of Rupiahs if you want to set up a television broadcasting company.”

“As it is costly, only a very rich person can have a television broadcasting company. As a matter of fact, most of its programs are about rich people.”

“As setting a radio station is not costly: so a banjar, a village, an irrigation organization, a cooperative or other type of organizations can have a radio komunitas (community radio).”

“A community radio can give you a wide range of information; it’s not just about luxury cars, new perfume, new mobile phone, or about ‘some guys fighting one another just to have the same girl as you can see in cinetrons on television.”

They all nod.

“So, what is the benefit of a radio?”

“It can become an alternative source for information.”

“Or if you like, it can be used as a ‘door stop’; a television is too big for that.”

*Dangdut: a kind of Malay music which has constant beat and very popular in the villages.

**Dek Ulik: A beautiful and very popular Balinese female singer.
***Cinta Fitri: One of very popular cinetrons among teenagers and housewives.