Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘Penyakit’, a column by I Wayan Juniartha, published in Bali Post, Sunday 8th May 2011. Translated by Putu Semiada.
Who says that being wealthy guarantees a happy life? In fact, the wealthier one is, the more sickness one suffers from.
That kind of opinion comes from I Made Sugih Wadih (Wealthy but Unhappy). I Made has a lot of money as described in a song by Bayu KW: “matumpuk-tumpuk kanti alah gunung” (piles of bank notes as if a mountain of money).
His parents had hectares of lands: 2 rice hullers, 10 trucks and 20 boarding houses.
We could say that I Made’s life was like celebrating “Galungan Day” when everything looks beautiful and welcome.
“Things started to change when his mother got intestinal cancer, followed by his father who suffered lung cancer.”
He had to sell his belongings one by one to pay for his parents’ medication. Medication for such kind of sickness cost him a lot for sure.
When the money has gone, his mother and father left too, no longer on this earth. He became an orphan. His money was almost all gone, just a small amount left.
“And now it’s my ‘turn’, I have diabetes: Do you know how much money I must spend for this sickness?”
Diabetes is a kind of “modern” disease (related to diet); the more you are ‘addicted’ to being ‘modern’ the more kinds of diseases you may have. Cholesterol is considered as one of them (too much KFC, pizza and steak); heart disease is another one (too much cigarettes (2 packs a day) and rarely exercise, stroke (thinking too much of many different things), and sickness due to black magic (being very rich that makes your neighbors envy and hate you so that they want you to suffer).
Besides diabetes, I Made also suffers a kind of ‘black magic’ disease: his money is finished and his health goes down too. It’s difficult being rich in Bali.
“I heard that lots of plants can be used as traditional medicines even for serious diseases, which means I can save lots of money. ‘Purple’ sweet potatoes can be used as medicine for cancer, says I Putu Usada Mara (Amateur Medicine Man).
“What did you say? You think that I’m so poor? No matter how poor I am, I can still go and see medical specialists, and I can still even pay the most powerful shaman. Cassavas and sweet potatoes are poor people’s medicine, people who can not even afford for rice. It’s all bullshit.”
In addition to suffering from serious diseases, it seems that I Made also suffers from a ‘lifestyle’ diseases, that is ‘prestige arrogance’.