Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘Jalan’, a column by I Wayan Juniartha, published in Bali Post, Sunday 15th January 2011. Translated by Putu Semiada.
Bali is known for its tourist-industry which gives good income for its people. The thing is: why are most of the roads damaged?
“Well, it’s all about creativity; it’s nothing to do with money,” says I Made Nyuh Kuning.
“In Gianyar, where I live, we are promoting eco-tourism. All are made to look natural so that tourists can feel the real Bali.”
Anywhere one goes in Bali he can see roads in bad condition: the idea is to make roads like the old days in order to attract more and more tourists to come.
“In Buleleng where I live, they leave the roads in bad condition purposely,’ says I Wayan Grogak.
“The people of Buleleng are known for their “craziness”. One doesn’t ride one’s motor bike very fast on good roads as there is no challenge.”
“One prefers to ride one’s motor bike very fast on bad roads.”
That’s why we ask the local authorities to leave the roads like that.
In addition, Buleleng will soon have its own airport so it might not really need better roads.
“In Denpasar, there are no bad roads. Some are being renovated to be better,” says I Made Kertalangu.
“Perhaps that’s why materials of some streets in Denpasar are changed all the time; not until one year a washed pebble road was removed and changed to paving block ones. There is a possibility it will be changed to marble one day when budget available.”
I Ketut Mengwi is going to say his opinion but his friends stop him.
“We people from Badung regency do not need to express our opinion on bad road. We are the “best”. It is just not roads, we even often demolish “candi bentar” (temple gate)”, says I Made sarcastically.
Everyone laughs, except the palm toddy chief.
“You all give strange opinions regarding the roads. Are you sure that it doesn’t have connection with money?”
Everyone shakes their head. Actually they quite understand that the road problem has a strong connection with money. They know that the people’s money has been ‘stolen’ by the authorities.
“The thing is that no matter how loud your voice is, in criticizing them, they keep stealing the money for their own interests while the roads will remain in bad condition.”
“The best thing we can do about it is to laugh.”