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Thursday, 29 November 2012

STRANGER IN PARADISE: NOT LOST BALI



Bali may be reeling under its own weight but the ceremonial wheels keep turning, and the creative juices keep flowing.
Even the lively expat community is contributing. They have started a Facebook page called LOST BALI where they post photos of themselves sunbathing on still virgin West Coast beaches in the 1970s and 1980s. They also post alarming statistics from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs about the number of shit-faced Ozzie tourists who fall off motorbikes every month, or plough into locals.
Personally, I would like to see the statistics on the alarming rise in sightings by Balinese at beach ceremonies of saggy tourist bottoms and such. Last month one REJANG DEWA dancer had to be revived with the vapours after a particularly ugly sighting in front of the new Alila Pooftah at Petitenget Beach!
Meanwhile the Balinese go on ringing bells and flicking flowers as if there were no tomorrow and I must say I approve whole heartedly.
If the wheels start falling off of your home environment — grid-lock traffic, goldilocks real estate invasion from Planet Seahorse, insipient American cultural infiltration (Malls of Mediocrity) — the only response is to show the world that your culture is bigger than the sum of its parts and bring on the dancing girls!
I mean has anyone else seen the latest wedding gate decorations and fancy dance competitions in every Balinese village? It’s like a parade of Easter-Egg-like confectionary with religious undertones.
(For fuller coverage see my video: Ma'Ped Ngusaba Desa Intaran on Wijayapilem2@YOUTUBE:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-B_-vbfIhw
Last month, Intaran village in Sanur — one of the island’s great cultural hubs — put on two days of ceremonies, called NGUSABA DESA, which were as glamorous as anything I have ever seen on the island. The sheer number alone — of marching bands, high priests, warrior dancers, and wedding cake-like offerings — was astounding.
(For fuller coverage see my video: Melasti, Ngusaba Desa Intaran on Wijayapilem2@YOUTUBE:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9cMHgvjhog & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtAGbXCTXr8
This is the way the Balinese balance the evil influences of mass tourism and urbanization: by holding medieval ceremonies until the cows come home! When restoring harmony, there’s really no time for nostalgia or regime-change.
15 December 2012: TODAY'S POSTING ON THE “LOST BALI” Facebook PAGE IN RESPONSE TO SOME PALE-FACE RANTINGS:
You know before we all came here with our druggie behaviour and hedonism there was no ghetto where single women could not walk at night. There is no “new kinda animal out there fuelled on meth and poverty” just a zone around Seminyak which was, always, even before we invaded,
a very spooky/dodgy part of Bali.

Bali, for the most part, still lives in harmony with culture, nature and art; something none of us could do back then, in the 1970s, without finding a beach-bum-friendly Hindu island, and now can't do because we are addicted to something that has gone. 
I don't think anyone on this (the LOST BALI page (Ed.)) contributed, individually, to the drop in health and safety standards and environmental degradation in the ghetto (soon to be cleaned up and filled up with high-rise condominia like Patong Beach) but that does not give us the right to now, collectively, put the boot into our gracious landlords.