Monday, 19 December 2011

Bungklang Bungkling: Gengsi (Image) by Wayan Juniartha

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

Gengsi (Image)

Everyone looks happy because the new year is coming soon. They are all thinking about what they will do during the new year’s eve.

They become more happy as they hear the news that they will be given iPad each.

“I hear that the legislative members will be given iPads to support their job. After that, it’s our turn,” says I Nyoman Desas Desus (I Nyoman Rumour).

“It doesn’t matter whether you can use it or not, the thing is that people will be amazed seeing you carrying IPad,” adds I Nyoman.

This is typical of a Balinese: No matter how stupid someone is, he wants others think that he is smart. No matter how poor he is, he will always try to look rich; even though one has nothing, one doesn’t seem to want to work hard.

That’s why probably most jobs available in Bali are done by people from other islands; from working in the rice field to selling rice.

Even some suckling pig food stalls now are run by people from other islands.

“There are lots of jobs you can do, but why do you just sit here and get drunk?” asks I Pekak Pocol Ongol-Ongol (I Pekak Nod Off) angrily.

“You know, you can be a flower vendor: the Balinese need tons of flowers for offerings everyday. Iisn’t that a good business opportunity?”

They might not listen to I Pekak. The Balinese (men) don’t seem to care about flowers (bunga) growing in their yards. They just interest in three kinds of things (bunga):

Firstly, one is more interested in beautiful girls (Bungan Rurung) he sees on the streets. When one sees such a girl, one wants to take her to bed and drop her back at the same place.

Secondly, one is interested in ‘bank interest’ (Bungan Bank), too. One deposits his money he gets from selling his ancestor’s land or other inheritance. By doing that, he doesn’t need to work hard and he can go through easy life. And for some men, they spend their money for girls (Bungan Rurung).

And the last one is that one is interested in borrowing money (Bunga Berbunga). There are lots of banks offering money to borrow for long term period with low interest. Today, it’s common that everyone buys something by credit; mobile phone, motor bike, car, rice, prostitute, anything one wants. One thinks that nobody will ask him where he gets the money from as long as he looks neat, wears expensive clothes, and drives a shiny car.

“Do you understand, Kak? Today is very different. Why should we bother ourselves selling flowers (bunga) here and there, while we can enjoy our life with the three things mentioned above?”

“Well, there is the fourth one; that is “Bunga Politik” (financial rewards obtained after getting a political position). It means that one will collect money from any sources possible to return money spent during the campaign. That’s why the legislative members ask for lots of ‘facilities’ for their own. One day, they might ask for underwear and condoms for free.

That’s how the situation is, when one wants too many things for ‘image’ (gengsi) without the motivation to work hard.