A good bloke in Greater Kuta; a review of the book "Bali Raw: an expose of the underbelly of Bali, Indonesia".
Bali Raw is a first person "expose of the underbelly of Bali, Indonesia", written by long term Australian resident of Kuta and surrounds Malcolm Scott, of which we received a review copy.
Malcolm goes to live in Bali to work for his three brothers' property business; originally he is taken on by the firm as a sort of charity case on a one million rupiah ($100ish) salary per week, and lives in a cheap and nasty bedsit type room in Kuta, but years later it appears he has become an established man in the company.
The bulk of the book is made up of Malcolm's personal recollections of adventures he had and people he knew, or recollections of conversations and stories told in the bars and restaurants of Kuta. These stories focus heavily on expats:
These tales are done in exhaustive, every twist and turn detail, with the obvious purpose being to portray Bali (well Kuta really) as a violent, seedy place.
While most of the anecdotes are focused on expats Malcolm's observations on the locals and Indonesians generally are intended to dispel the myth that too many tourists have, that
the Balinese are a peaceful, spiritual race of people without a bad bone in their bodies. This is just not true. There is good and bad in any society.
All very true if pedestrian and for evidence Malcolm cites the bloody turf wars that go on between security guards, the casual, open willingness of some Balinese men to sexually exploit quite young girls, the sex for sale everywhere you turn (in Kuta..., and Sanur), the exploitation of dopey, naive westerners for money, money, money.
In summary Bali Raw is Indonesia seen through the eyes of a decent average bloke Australian; for the casual visitor to Bali the book might well be an eye opener, while for the more knowledgeable Indonesia hand much of it will be quite familiar, and it is certainly entertaining.
Minor pedantic gripes - the book could have done with some copy editing to root out grammatical mistakes (too/to, for eg.), and Bali is not a "town", unless it is and it's Greater Kuta.
Bali Raw is published by Monsoon Books of Singapore and can be bought in bookshops in Indonesia, Singapore, and Australia. The UK shortly.