Thursday, 8 September 2011

Bungklang Bungkling: Seger (Healthy) by Wayan Juniartha

Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘Seger, a column by I Wayan Juniartha, published in Bali Post, Sunday 4th September 2011. Translated by Putu Semiada.

Seger (Healthy)

“What is more important than fortune, position or social status in our life,” comes a question.

“Being healthy,” says I Made Sakit Gede (I Made Big Sickness).

“That’s why, you know, when a Balinese prays at the temple, he would ask for health to ancestral gods. Next he would ask fortune, position, and probably a woman.

One asks for health first because without being healthy, one can not enjoy his fortune, position or something else.

When a Balinese meets a friend whom he hasn’t seen for such a long time, the first question would be “Are you ‘healthy’?”

It tells us how important health is. In addition, being sick would cost you a lot.

Everyone nods. All of them have ever been sick, from the mild ones to the severe ones.

If one is sick, one will find everything costly; doctor, medicine, hospital, let alone operation.

“Today, if one is sick and has to be hospitalized, it will cost him million of Rupiahs; but it still doesn’t guarantee him that he will get well. It happens after one has been operated, hospitalized for two weeks for instance, and sell his land to pay all the medical treatment, at the end he might die.

“That’s why, although one can have medical treatment for free, he wouldn’t prefer being sick.”

“One notes that paying lots of money for hospital doesn’t guarantee one will get well, let alone the one for free.”

“And people like us mean nothing.”

“The reason is we are not categorized as “poor”. Each of us drinks palm toddy at least 2 bottles a day and sometimes another bottle of beer; and with some peanuts and grilled fish.

Secondly, the kind of sickness we have doesn’t need government’s support.

“I drink and smoke on my purpose. I fall into ditch because I often get drunk; I have problem with my kidney because I drink too much; I have problem with my lungs because I smoke too much. It’s all my own business. I don’t need government’s help.”

Everybody claps their hands. They are proud to have a member like I Made who has such a commitment. He drinks, he gets drunk, he pays himself. He is a ‘real Balinese’.

“You know, it happens that one who’s already had several cars, mobile phones, secret lovers, when he gets sick, he pretends to be poor, just to obtain free medical treatment card. That’s not really a nice thin to do.”

However, when one drives his motor bike over the speed limit and get a crash, or look for prostitutes here and there and get infected by diseases, then claims health insurance for free; that’s not really nice either.