Thursday, 8 December 2011

Bungklang Bungkling: Bisama (Agreement) by Wayan Juniartha

Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘Bisama’, a column by I Wayan Juniartha, published in Bali Post, Sunday 27th November 2011.
Translated by Putu Semiada.

Bisama (Agreement)

For the first time the sound of the kulkul (wooden bell) in swarga loka (the world of gods) is too loud. Since the war against giant-king Mayadenawa, there has been no kulkul sound and the gods live happily ever since as the people keep doing ceremonies and praying to them.

Then, one day, the divine kulkul sounds vey loudly; all the gods come out, each carrying a weapon.

“What is going on?” asks God Wisnu.

It is Sang Suratma who hit the kulkul.

“We are all in danger,” says he loudly.

“Why is that? Who is our enemy? Or are there drunk bad people coming here?” ask God Brahma jokingly.

“Well, actually all the mayors in Bali and the legislative members will omit the ‘bhisama’ (unwritten regulations) on space planning (i.e. permitted distance to build commercial building from important temples) and building height.”

“If the ‘bhisama’ is omitted, the temples will be surrounded by hotels, cafes, bars and discotheque. If the regulations on building height are omitted, there will be many building higher than meru, which is not good for the gods,” Sang Suratma (the secretary god) further says.

All the gods become discouraged, having heard what Sang Suratma said.

“Don’t panic, you know my position when we talk about tourism in Bali, says Bhetara Rambut Sedana (The God of Money).

Bhetara Rambut Sedana has the same mind-set—like the legislative assembly members and the mayors—that is how to increase the local income (PAD). If there are more hotels and other buildings, more money will come. And when there is more money, more ceremonies will be done.

“How can this little problem give me such a headache; I get bored of taking care of the Balinese; they keep talking about ‘Ajeg Bali’ (Sustainable Bali), but they are too greedy to achieve that,” says God Wisnu.

“What things are not sold by the Balinese? From their ancestors’ land to their culture, and even their own dignity?”

“I have nothing to do with bhisama: If all the temples in Bali are gone, it would not affect my divine power at all.”

“It is the Balinese themselves who will face problem, if the forests are lost, and with abrasion, social conflicts among themselves due to land acquisition and money from tourism business owners. Most of them will just become “slaves” on their own island; and how they will look after temples with no gods in there.”

“Whatever happens on the island, the gods will remain living peacefully in nirvana.”

“Shouldn’t ‘important people’ such as agung (kstaria) and dalem descendants (anak agung, cokorda), and mayors who should look after and defend Bali?” says Sang Suratma rhetorically.

All the gods laugh loudly.

“Don’t be too romantic: everybody is equal before me. You see, in Bali many of them claim themselves ksatria descendants but their mind is more business-oriented,” interrupts God Siwa.

“You just write down the names of legislative assembly members and mayors as well. If I have time I will see them one by one. I want to see their reaction when they see Banaspati Raja (the God of Death),” says God Siwa laughingly.