The desperate, ugly state of Bali.
Visitor Susi has submitted this opinion piece about conditions in Bali.
I am extremely concerned about the state that Bali is in today. It is increasingly dire, desperate and downright ugly.
The government, the tourism industry, hotels, and developers have all been "hyping" the heck out of Bali. They have to. They need to promote the island, because their success and livelihood depends on doing so. Brochures, magazines, videos and advertisements all tell us the place is "idyllic", a "paradise", and they go on piling hyperbole on top of cliches to paint a picture of perfection.
The words we see most in their outpourings are: lush, luxury, elite, exclusive, tranquil, pamper, indulge, verdant, bliss, spiritual, haven, serenity, prestigious, gorgeous, unique, solitude, nature, relax, refresh, escape, ultimate, exotic, Eden, oasis, stunning, charming, expansive, harmony and rejuvenate.
I confess, I have been counting words in publications, brochures, real estate marketing materials and government-made Bali-promo materials. I am making an informal study of the frequency these and other marketing cliche words are used.
Read those words again.
Then look around the Bukit, Tuban, Jimbaran, Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Kerobokan. The words do not match the reality. They simply do not. So, the story is a lie, but those involved in promulgating it need desperately to keep it alive, or they will fail.
They have been listening to each other's rhetoric, too. If one developer begins to lose conviction that his hype is true, he only need listen to the words of his competition to be reassured.
If we allow ourselves to believe the lie that we find most comforting, or most wish to be true, to the extent that we fail to see what is really happening here, we do so at our own peril.
We are all responsible, we are all to blame, and pointing fingers is just another way to delay taking responsibility.
Time for change, or our paradise is on a highway to hell, it seems.
I feel it is time for all of us to look objectively at the reality of the tourism and development focused areas of this island, without the hype.
What do we see?
That is only a short list. Take a walk or drive, and make your own list.
Add to this the insane fallacy that foreigners can own a home in Bali. This is not true, and not likely to become true anytime soon.
Let's all stop deluding ourselves and see what we can do, starting with Things As They Really Are.
As they say in 12-step programs, the first step to addressing a problem is to admit that you have one.
We haven't actually done that yet, here in Bali.
We certainly have a long way to go.
But that is no reason to give up before even starting.
We must start somehow. But how?
Or will our addiction to self-delusion, apathy and self-interest above common interests, send us all to hell in a handbasket - and quickly?
What do you think?
By Bule Tulus
(AKA Susi, Seminyak Beach, Kuta, Bali)