Bali Culture

Oct 23rd, 2008, in Society, by

Questions about Balinese culture from Rayner.

I am a frequent visitor to Bali. Try to understand the local customs, religious ceremonies, not to upset unwittingly or otherwise, and also a frequent bather!

Something puzzles me. I quite understand why your government does not repair the sidewalks and roads. Obviously not a priority. But as I walk the sidewalks dodging the holes etc., sometimes not being able to look clearly into the windows because of the dangers I still see many Balinese sitting on the sidewalks with nothing to do.

Why don’t the shopkeepers get a few bags of cement, some sand and just repair the holes for the sake of their own comfort and to reduce the wear and tear on their vehicles?

When we hit that same pothole for several years running I got a little fed up and asked my Balinese companion if he knew where I could buy some cement and sand to repair the holes myself. Would he help me to repair some of the holes along the route which he usually takes?

As the Balinese that I usually meet are kind and solicitous of my welfare I thought that the sight of an old fart of 78 repairing these holes might inspire them to do a little repair work themselves. His response was quite startling. Oh no, you can’t do that was his response. Why not? I was unable to get any reply that made sense. He is usually very interesting source of information about his culture and I have learned a great deal about Bali from him. But on this he would not give me any cogent reason at all.

Can any poster on this list give me an answer?
Rayner

I really enjoy my visits to Bali. Your young men are polite and well behaved. You are one of the most hospitable cultures that I have ever spent time in apart from the Pacific Islands such as Hawaii. You are kind and apart from 7 or 8 years onwards when you seem to require children to conform and do as they are told, your love and caring for your children is an example to the rest of the developed world. We in Britain have much to learn from you regarding caring for children and helping them to grow into responsible adults.

I have two daughters who are happa-haoli. That is mixed race. Happi in Hawaiian is half, haoli means a man or woman without soul. Usually Caucasian. Hawaiians still resent having their country being taken from them by the Americans and having their culture suppressed and almost destroyed. Quite understandably. Any person who would ban their language, and their dance, take their land without permission, to a Hawaiian that is a person without a soul.

So my daughters are not fully welcome in Hawaii the place of their birth. They are not fully welcome in America either. Because I had married their mother a part Hawaiian and part Japanese I was guilty of miscegenation, (Marrying or consorting with a race of a different colour to you.) Neither would they be in Britain. When economics get really tight racism emerges in Britain and any one with an Asian face is under threat. Might never happen of course but it is a threat that will make them uncomfortable. At the moment they reside in San Francisco where there is a large population of mixed race people. My eldest daughter soon goes to a college near Rhode Island which does give me concern. Racism with the always present threat of the KKK is a constant concern.

So a question. Would they be welcome and be able to live peacefully in Bali? They were homeschooled for the first 14 years of their lives so are polite, well behaved, and would be able and willing to contribute to whatever culture that they reside in. They would also be willing and able to learn the language of their host country.

Now I know in the past there have been problems with the Chinese and there are mass graves all over Indonesia to remind one. I sense that as your economics get more restrictive as they are round the world, tensions will again build up between the Chinese and Indonesians. I sincerely hope that they don’t but I am a realist and history does tend to repeat itself. Will my daughters with their Asian looks also be under threat if trouble erupts again?
Rayner.


43 Comments on “Bali Culture”

  1. avatar Haddie says:

    Now I know I am off topic here but I don’t know how to start a thread in order to pose some questions which only Indonesians can answer. I really enjoy my visits to Bali. Your young men are polite and well behaved. You are one of the most hospitable cultures that I have ever spent time in apart from the Pacific Islands such as Hawaii. You are kind and apart from 7 or 8 years onwards when you seem to require children to confirm and do as they are told, your love and caring for your children is an example to the rest of the developed world. We in Britain have much to learn from you regarding caring for children and helping them to grow into responsible adults.

    I have two daughters who are happa-haoli. That is mixed race. Happi in Hawaiian is half, haoli means a man or woman without soul. Usually Caucasian. Hawaiians still resent having their country being taken from them by the Americans and having their culture suppressed and almost destroyed. Quite understandably. Any person who would ban their language, and their dance, take their land without permission, to a Hawaiian that is a person without a soul.

    So my daughters are not fully welcome in Hawaii the place of their birth. They are not fully welcome in America either. Because I had married their mother a part Hawaiian and part Japanese I was guilty of miscegenation, (Marrying or consorting with a race of a different colour to you.) . Neither would they be in Britain. When economics get really tight racism emerges in Britain and any one with an Asian face is under threat. Might never happen of course but it is a threat that will make them uncomfortable. At the moment they reside in San Francisco where there is a large population of mixed race people. My eldest daughter soon goes to a college near Rhode Island which does give me concern. Racism with the always present threat of the KKK is a constant concern.

    So a question. Would they be welcome and be able to live peacefully in Bali? They were homeschooled for the first 14 years of their lives so are polite, well behaved, and would be able and willing to contribute to whatever culture thet they reside in.
    They would also be willing and able to learn the language of their host country.

    Now I know in the past there have been problems with the Chinese and there are mass graves all over Indonesia to remind one. I sense that as your economics get more restrictive as they are round the world, tensions will again build up between the Chinese and Indonesians. I sincerely hope that they don’t but I am a realist and history does tend to repeat itself. Will my daughters with their Asian looks also be under threat if trouble erupts again?
    Rayner

    I know I’m 14 years old, and people think I’m still immature in many things in life..
    But I’m Indonesian, and I’ll try to help you out,
    In history, there were the Chinese issue because our second president, President Soeharto, the most corrupt person in the history..
    What he did to the country was to corrupt all the money and give those money whom are related by blood or friends to him…
    At the time, Chinese people were mostly rich, so Indonesians whom are poor thought that Chinese people are involved with Soeharto..

    Not only Chinese whom were killed, people whom lived in Pondok Indah (Jakarta’s Beverly Hills), the big houses were burned down…

    So, it’s not about racism, it’s more to a misleading thought,

    But then again, some Indonesians do think that Chinese Indonesians aren’t Indonesians, but now it’s different…

    I’m only 15% Chinese, so I’m not considered as a 100% Chinese Indonesian, but still, whether we’re Chinese or not, we respect their cultures…

    Now Chinese Indonesians can pray according to their beliefs…
    They can celebrate Chinese New Year, and I tell you, it is one of my favourite events in Jakarta..

    So, if you’re scared about Chinese racism issue in Indonesia, don’t be..
    It’s okay….
    Indonesia has changed…

    Also, another reason why we once hated Indonesia might be because back then, our first president got friends with Russia and China, communist countries.. It did turn us into one of the most powerful nations in the world, but then the plan failed..
    Since then, Indonesians hate anything related to Communist, including China….
    But then, it’s been years since that happened, now we think logically and Chinese Indonesians aren’t different from normal Indonesians…

    Indonesia is a country with multiple cultures…
    There are Indian Indonesian, Dutch Indonesian, Arab Indonesian, Chinese Indonesian, and more…
    In the end, we are still Indonesians…
    We are one..:):)

  2. avatar rayner says:

    Thank you for your response. I am still a little puzzled though as to why the Chinese in Bali are usually regarded as rich and also communist? Surely those two things are incompatible? Or am I misreading here. Why were so many massacred as communism was not even illegal at that time?

    Do you have any observations that when the Asian cultures go to foreign countries they get rich? Or is that too gross a generalization?

    Anyway I do appreciate your response and I will come again to Bali. And I will make sure that I wash under my armpits!
    Best wishes,
    Rayner

  3. avatar rayner says:

    If you are interested and have access to Google and type in ‘Hawaii’s Last Queen’ you can see the movie of the whole tragic story of Hawaii and how a most magnificent culture has been virtually lost to the world. I still mourn it’s disappearance. Pacific Island people’s are the most loving, sensual, kind, sharing and caring people in the world. They have much in common with the villages in Bali.
    Best wishes,
    Rayner

  4. avatar Haddie says:

    Thank you for your response. I am still a little puzzled though as to why the Chinese in Bali are usually regarded as rich and also communist? Surely those two things are incompatible? Or am I misreading here. Why were so many massacred as communism was not even illegal at that time?

    Do you have any observations that when the Asian cultures go to foreign countries they get rich? Or is that too gross a generalization?

    Anyway I do appreciate your response and I will come again to Bali. And I will make sure that I wash under my armpits!

    I’m referring to the Chinese Indonesians whom live in Jakarta..
    They are rich, some of them..
    Chinese Indonesians in Bali may not be rich, but Chinese Indonesians whom live in Jakarta are different,
    There are Chinese Indonesians in Belitung (An Island near Sumatra), and they’re very poor..
    Soo.. Yeah, get my point? XD

    And at the time, communism wasn’t legal or illegal..
    We just got our independence, so we weren’t “that” ready yet…

    My history is not that good,
    So, I can’t answer some of your questions,
    Sorreh..^^

    I’m happy to help though,
    I’m just trying to clear our name as a scary and racist country..

    It’s in our past, we’re different now..:)

  5. avatar jawa asli says:

    @Rayner

    There is a big difference between communist ideology and communist party in Indonesia. People who joined the party werent necessarily communist. It was the biggest party and it had a lot of activities that attract a lot of youths. One of my aunt(quite a religious person), being tall and pretty, was picked as the leading ‘mayorette’ for the party drum band. It was like a curse for her after the party’s fallen, people treated her like a pariah, she got jailed and could never be a civil servant. And all she did was just joining the drumband.

    You can google communist party in Indonesia and you’ll find a lot of dirty stuffs that you will never hear if you ‘re an indonesian, always been living here, no access to internet. The bloody massacre was soeharto’s trick to take power from soekarno (the 1st presiden) with CIA helped. Since then the communist party becomes illegal.

    Bali is a nice place to live, but I am not sure about the education quality. It’s not a problem if you are planning to keep home schooling them but one day they will have to go to college.
    I cant name any country that doesnt have racial problem, but, do you ever consider Canada?

  6. avatar Andy says:

    As the Balinese that I usually meet are kind and solicitous of my welfare I thought that the sight of an old fart of 78 repairing these holes might inspire them to do a little repair work themselves. His response was quite startling. Oh no, you can’t do that was his response. Why not? I was unable to get any reply that made sense. He is usually very interesting source of information about his culture and I have learned a great deal about Bali from him. But on this he would not give me any cogent reason at all.

    Can any poster on this list give me an answer?
    Rayner

    Yes I can, Indonesians are bone lazy and sadly the Balinese pip the javanese for the honour of ‘most lazy’. They would be shown up as such and lose face if you were to do their jobs for them so would prefer to leave it as it is. Sad as the Balinese have a virtual goldmine of tourist attractions at their heels and it could be even better and attract even more if they got off their ass and did something. I used to work in an International airport and most aussies want to at least see it once in their lives. A small percentage go back for seconds or thirds. The majority though told me they found the people annoying but the place beautiful. If this small problem was fixed it would be number 1 tourist spot in the world without a contest.

  7. avatar thomasz says:

    Dangerous Holes in the Streets

    Some time ago my Balinese wife drove her motorbike on a slightly flooded road into a deep hole. She fell and she hurt herself badly. She could have been dead, e.g. overrun by a car. When I heard that this very hole was already the reason for several accidents and a number of people hurt, I really got mad. Even after living for several years in Bali, I find it hard to get used to such a decree carelessness. There are shops on both sides of the street where this dangerous hole has been for weeks. My wife, still in hospital, was begging me not to go to that particular banjar (south of Ubud) and raise hell.

    But I DID want to get to the bottom of this! How in the world is it possible that this seemingly cultured and gentle people do not care a bit when day after day people get hurt because of a hole in the very midthst of their banjar? Did really somebody have to die first? Nothing could stop me from finding out how such outright inhuman behaviour was possible? What was their excuse?

    Finally I agreed not to show my angry bule face in the banjar. Instead I sent my (Balinese) assistant with specific instructions and a hidden recorder to talk with the shop owners facing the accident site, some neighbours, the kelian, and a teacher living nearby. I wanted to hear their explanation with my own ears. I wanted to get to the bottom of this. And I did.

    Several people were surprised about the big fuss my assistant made. The people in the banjar new the hole in the street. So it was no problem for them, some said. But what about people from other places? “Well, that’s not our problem. If we have an accident in another place the people there also don’t care…”

    The shop owner facing the accident site confirmed that there was at least an accident a day. Specially during rains and in the evening. She even said: “Imagine, I already run out of band aid and betadine!”

    The kelian and the teacher finally spilled the beans: They said that they already repaired the hole several times (just by filling it with some soil, of course) but because of the rain the repair wouldn’t last. And now they decided not to do any repairs anymore because this particular road was not a banjar road. So they could not be held responsible for repairing it. “If we always repair it, the provincial government will think we have enough money to do it ourseves and they will never do the necessary repairs. So we just let it.” – “But that could cost a person’s life!” my assistant remarked. Again they said that the people in their banjar would know where the hole was – so no problem.

    After, I considered going there myself with half a bag of sand and some cement and shaming them by having a bule filling that dangerous hole once and for all. I then decided to have it done by my assistant who was kind of heckled when doing the 10 minute repair.

    That particular hole is no more. But there are others. And people get hurt because such carelessness every single day. And of course this carelessness is not limited to holes in the streets. It’s just an example. One for which my wife (and many, many others) paid a heavy price.

  8. avatar janma says:

    Rayner,
    my (mixed) daughter goes to a school in ubud. many mixed, balinese and western children go there as it is a private school started by parents and the expat/mixed balinese community.
    the road to the school had degenerated beyond belief…. on the hill going to the school were three huge potholes that were beyond inconvenient they were dangerous!
    The parents of the school (well the parents on the board) decided to get together and have ‘gotong royong’ to fix the road… gotong royong means communal effort… to work together for a common good.
    I am not balinese or indonesian and I objected to this plan. My western friends couldn’t understand it…. why? For me that road is the governments responsibility. I am not apathetic by nature, but there are a chain of events that can arise from stepping in and taking on the responsibility for that road.
    #1… the government will probably now never again take responsibility for that road. they saw if they let it get bad enough, the bule’s would fix it.
    #2 The balinese who live in the village that also uses that road did not help to fix it, but as soon as it was fixed they had heavy traffic and trucks over 8 tons driving over it to there various building projects in the area, meaning that before two or three weeks of the rainy season have passed, that road will again be unusuable and it wasn’t even the people who fixed it that broke it again… so who will fix it the next time? and the time after that?
    #3 To go out of your way to help people here is at best considered stupid. The concept of helping people without hope of return somewhat of an alien concept here.

    The right way to do it would have been lengthier, but in the long run make more sense…. the school could have written in to the bali pos newspaper complaining about the road. This almost always works (I don’t know why, maybe because big boss reads it or whatever, but it works…) it could take them a couple of months to sort the bureaucracy etc, but it would get done, in bitumen (hopefully) in the right way, by the right people.
    They could also have written or petitioned to the local government section in charge of the road…. (it is necessary to find out whose responsiblity the road is… .could be a village road, made by the village, the local governement or provincial government…)
    Getting out and doing it yourself, would make people laugh at you, and they wouldn’t be able to explain why without (in their minds) offending you.

  9. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    @ thomasz

    Thanks. The shopkeepers would have got a belting from me. At least there should have stuck a long pole visible to all traffic. We need more Bules like you. 🙂

    The 3 Ostrayan stooges – Andy, Rob and Oinkgal would have laughed their head off to see a locals fell into the pit.

  10. avatar Purba Negoro says:

    Thomasz- good for you. Village people can be frustratingly stupid and utterly lacking any form of initiative. This is why they need to punished severely for doing the wrong thing- they do not respect fair treatment or kind leadership.

    They are mentally and educationally wise children. Who need to be dragged by the ear.

    Haddi you’re full of rubbish.

    I live in Pondok Indah- not one house was damaged in all of South Jakarta.

    Why? The Chinese make or more accurately are forced to make an an effort to assimilate- and are shamed int being charitable- as many wealthy and powerful Christian and Catholic indigenous Generals such as Pak de Benny Moerdani, Moerdiono etc cajole and arm-twist the Chinese of their flock to finally opening their purse strings.

    Unlike the predatory scum of North Jakarta.

    All the riots were contained to North Jakarta:
    Houses that were damaged were in the Chinatowns of Slipi, Gorogl, Glodok, Karawaci, Kelapa Gading etc

    This is why no-one believes your sniping Chinese gossip- it’s always laden with lies.

    Janma’s explanation is the best.
    Then there is the issue of graft, improper oversight and general dropping of standards and supervision since the Western betrayal of Pak Suharto’s downfall- then later stabbing Bu Megawati in the back- as any Balinese will be so happy to tell you about.

    Andy is just jealous and heart broken no Javanese woman wanted his sorry hide- seeing him as the petulant childish fool he so evidently is.
    Andy forgets Batak intermarry most with the Javanese and are as thick as thieves together.

    So many Batak pejabat and loyal Pak Suharto soldier- including my friend since primary school and current business partner

    How do explain that Andy?

  11. avatar Haddie says:

    Haddi you’re full of rubbish.

    I live in Pondok Indah- not one house was damaged in all of South Jakarta.

    Why? The Chinese make or more accurately are forced to make an an effort to assimilate- and are shamed int being charitable- as many wealthy and powerful Christian and Catholic indigenous Generals such as Pak de Benny Moerdani, Moerdiono etc cajole and arm-twist the Chinese of their flock to finally opening their purse strings.

    I really don’t know my history..
    I was just trying to help,

    My grand parents live in Pondok Indah too, and so do my friends,
    But that’s what I learnt from school..

    I just mentioned something that I learnt..
    Not really something that I think..

  12. avatar Haddie says:

    The way people understand history is different,
    Some people believe ‘a’ is true,
    But others believe ‘b’ is true,
    I’m really confused now – I should get out of this conversation,

    I’m 14 years old,
    And I live in Netherlands,
    It’s been years since I’ve properly learnt anything about Indonesia,
    So, my brain is out of date regarding to stuff about Indonesia,

  13. avatar kinch says:

    Haddie, PN is a bit of a racist asshole. Just ignore him. There are probably two main reasons why there was little or no anti-Chinese activity in Pondok Indah.

    1) To get there, a mob has to go past places where a lot of unaccountably wealthy TNI generals live. No mob is going to try this on.

    2) Apart from unaccountably wealthy TNI types (yes PN, I know the fattest of them live around Taman Mini… I also know the entertaining story about the Bule and Faisal Tanjung’s daughter and said Bule having to jump out the window and over the fence.) living as their neighbours down South, the simple fact is that the richer Chinese living in PI would tend (as part of basical survival strategy 101) to pay for the overseas education of the children of ‘pet’ TNI generals. Maybe that’s how PN’s children got educated overseas? :)… anyway the Chinese in PI are all paying on one sense of another protection money to the likes of PN.

    No such luck for the less rich ones in Kota/Glodok/etc.

    Living next to Generals probably is the best form of insurance though, as paying protection doesn’t always work… after all it would be amazing if a TNI general actually always kept his word… presumably the Pluit Chinese are wealthy enough to pay meaningful protection money, but still get burned out from time to time.

    Ignore PN. In fact physical avoidance of his type is highly recommended if you value a long and healthy life.

  14. avatar Haddie says:

    There are probably two main reasons why there was little or no anti-Chinese activity in Pondok Indah.

    Thanks for the explanation ^^

  15. avatar rayner says:

    Thank you everybody for your very informative replies. I am going to digest them before I respond.

    “Bali is a nice place to live, but I am not sure about the education quality. It’s not a problem if you are planning to keep home schooling them but one day they will have to go to college.
    I cant name any country that doesnt have racial problem, but, do you ever consider Canada?”

    Thank you for the advice but my eldest daughter entered school at 14 years. She is highly intelligent and told me that I was unable to teach her the skills she needed to survive in a very competitive environment. She said, and I still remember her words as they had quite an impact on me. “I have to learn how to be greedy, grasping, indifferent to other people’s feelings or survival. This is a dog eat dog culture!”

    She is now 27, has an a very good degree and will be entering university again to get an advanced degree. However her upbringing is so much in conflict with the environment around her and with the people that she meets that she is not very happy and wants to make her home in a much more pleasant environment.

    I had taught her in accordance with the culture in which she lived in for the first ten years of her life. Very loving, and sharing and caring for others. Of little use to her in what is predominantly a capitalistic society. I had assumed that I would be able to spend the rest of my life in Hawaii. Unfortunately my daughter and I had to leave, not of our own free wills.

    I had some of my research into the reasons for drug addiction which was printed in the local newspapers in Hawaii as they were recently in Bali. These are the only two places where I get a hearing as my research is not welcome any were else! As the American Government put pressure on the local Hawaiians to pay taxes the Hawaiians decided to grow Marijuana in order that they can pay them. Something which I don’t think that the Americans were expecting!

    So I was warned to leave as my research was being taken somewhat seriously in Hawaii, and I took my eldest daughter to California and my wife joined me later. They never threatened her just the Haoli!
    Rayner

  16. avatar Berlian Biru says:

    Now this is really a fascinating example of Balinese culture from today’s Jakarta Post:

    Cow drowned into the sea for being impregnated by human

    Villagers from Julah in Tejakula, Buleleng, tow (see photo) a pregnant cow behind a boat into open sea as part of a local traditional ritual.

    The cow, which is five months pregnant, was thrown out to the sea about 3 kilometers from land Monday. The villagers believe the animal was impregnated by a village elder.

    During the ritual the man, who was caught red-handed having sexual intercourse with the cow two months ago, joined the boat trip in order to throw away his clothes to to symbolize him discarding his sins.

    Julah customary village head Ketut Sidemen said the ritual, called gamya gamana, or freak weeding, and had been conducted there for generations. The decision to perform the ritual was made a local residents meeting.

    In line with customary regulations, the perpetrator, identified only as PS, 70, was sanctioned to fund the expensive ceremony, which aimed to cleanse him of any bad influences.

    Luh Ketut Suryani, a professor and activist, deplored the sancation against PS.

    She said drowning a cow was baseless because sexual intercourse between a human being and am animal could not cause pregnancy due to the different chromosomes and genes of the two.

    “The cow is not guilty, why shoud it be drowned? Why don’t just use a symbol like what was done by the perpetrator?” she said.

    Suryani’s said she was concerned dealt with the financial situation of the owner, who lives below the poverty line.

    “The cow, which has a high price, had to be thrown away. It will be a pity for the owner, who is already poor and is now forced to lose his priceless belonging.”

  17. avatar David says:

    Ah that cow sex story takes another interesting turn…

  18. avatar rayner says:

    “Yes I can, Indonesians are bone lazy and sadly the Balinese pip the javanese for the honour of ‘most lazy’”

    I can see what you mean but I am wondering if there is another or alternative explanation. I wonder if a better term wold be discouraged. I see Bali as a potential paradise, not an actual one as there is obviously much corruption and upset here, but it still has much to recommend it to Hoali”s (Bules) from Western lands. There is the heat, sun and a way of living which has some attractions for Brits at least. And a general air of Manana which is both frustrating and attractive to a hell bent, acquisitive Westerner.

    There is also at least for the perpetually sexually frustrated Brit, soft skinned delightfully perfumed women at first meeting give an illusion of submissive and obedient. Ultimately though a disillusionment which is quite understandable. Such a different way of looking at things. Many differences in values, thinking etc., religious beliefs, neither good or bad just differences as we all struggle to cope with the often inconsolably differences in culture. And often unbelievable, (to a Westerner) poverty and a feeling of no future.

    I got a real understanding of what living in a Tropical environment really means. I don’t pretend to be able to get under the skin of an islander but twelve years really taught me some things at least. Nature, God or whoever created the Earth and designed it pretty well in my opinion. Only man bitched it up. Hot, humid environments are usually pretty lush. Fruit and many vegetables, nuts and animals all exist for hunter gatherers, not farmers.

    Ample rainfall with many harvests possible in a year. Men, women and children usually don’t have to wear much clothing. (In Bali I am led to believe the women or men did not wear clothing on the upper part of their bodies.) It was the coming of the prurient tourist who were compulsively and salaciously curious that women began to cover up. In most indigenous cultures, breasts are a source of nourishment for children not an aspect of sexual interest or pleasure. to be hidden or reviled as in Britain.

    Neither do they have to build higher than one story, and usually out of bamboo and banana leaves. Frequent hurricanes which are common in tropical environments take care of that. Many eager people to care for children which are conceived usually at ages which are suppressed or not welcomed in more, so called developed cultures. Although when a child menstruates it is a sign to an educated person that at least she is ready for bearing children. Not of course ready emotionally or for meeting the needs of a Western orientated or cold country which does not have the plenitude of a tropical environment. In these cultures the general belief is that children need to go to school in order to learn how to work for long and boring hours in order to make a very few people rich beyond most people’s wildest dreams.

    In tropical cultures children are usually relished and cared for quite intensively in a manner which would not be possible or even desirable in British and other so called developed countries. Schooling is not even considered as desirable or even useful in many tropical cultures. I soon learnt in Hawaii that reading and writing were not given much approval at all. Memorization of their sacred chants and dances was considered to be much more important. Intimacy and ways of pleasing and sexually satisfying one’s partner was given much more priority in Hawaii. Unlike Britain where sex is regarded as disgusting or at least to be hidden and only performed in secret.

    This was to an uptight Brit rather shocking at first but when I looked at their children and saw how they grew up into loving and caring people. Hospitable and generous I was won over. Totally non competitive, even when surfing they would offer a particularly juicy wave to a fellow Hawaiian unlike the California or British or Germans who would struggle to be the first and boast how they were the best!

    Now in case you are thinking that I am exaggerating how these Hawaiians were, remember I was living in the interior of the Islands with Hawaiians who did not have the inheritance of a part violent race such as the Portuguese. There are almost no pure blood Hawaiians left. Interbreeding and assimulation has virtually drained the Hawaiian culture of their unique loving qualities. Only on the island of Neehai is there a group of 80% untainted Hawaiians left who are trying and nearly succeeding to live in the manner of the Pre-Christian Hawaiians. Haolis are not permitted to even land on their island much less stay there, except for a brief tour of a token village. If a resident of the islands comes off for a doctors appointment they are always accompanied and not allowed to stay longer away than necessary. If they do they are not allowed back in case they infect the inhabitants with the Western diseases.

    When the Hawaiians refused to work on the plantations the Americans, British and German planters brought in workers first from Japan, then Chinese, then all kinds of people on the margins and desperate for a better life. Peoples from various cultures lured by the prospect of wealth. Instead as is typical they got nearly slave like, hideous conditions.

    I soon learnt to avoid mixed blood Hawaiians of a violent nature or whenever I met them I would feel my Hawaiian companions move closer to guard me. I also learnt to use a cockney accent which I inherited from my father. That got me out of a lot of trouble! Many times the locals didn’t understand what I was saying but at some primitive level they knew my sympathies were genuinely with them and not against them. I would yell, “We lost our bloody lands too you know!” With that a grin would follow, a shake of the head and often a Shaka sign of tolerance if not friendship.

    Because I carried my two daughters in a sling I designed, very similar to the slings that have been used in Bali for generations I was at least OK even if very suspiciously interested in their habits! Until I designed the first two ringed adjustable sling Western women would not wear them, they considered them too “primitive.” In Hawaii I was at least tolerated as the man who carried his children! Not a total loss to humanity! But although I lost all my ambition, Western drive and willingness to work all the hours God gave me, I still could not change the color of my skin and all the characteristics of a dominant race. Looking back now to thirty years ago, the Hawaiians must have been incredibly tolerant and forgiving of my many bloops and blunders!

    So my conclusion is if I lived in a culture which on the surface at least tried to imitate many of the behaviors of the conquering races I would not be so keen to fix the roads! I would resent the corruption and the unwillingness of the governing bodies who do not pour back a proportion of the taxes to fix the roads, and share the ample wealth as in Britain and other countries in the West who are facing meltdown economically. To hell with them I would probably say!
    Rayner

  19. avatar rayner says:

    To add to my previous rant. Did you know by the way that the reason why women live longer then men do in the west is because they let their feelings out. If you see two Brits or overhear them. One will say “did you know my wife/girlfriend is having it off with my boss?”

    The other man will say if at all, “Well why don’t you leave the bitch?” Problem solved! Usually embarrassed he will say, “That’s terrible, Lets go and have a drink! Signaling please don’t tell me any more as I don’t know how to to sympathize.

    Two women are very different. One woman will say, “Do you know what my boyfriend/husband/real rotter has done now?” The other woman will respond, “No, the bastard!” and will then either listen to her friends rant for a couple of hours but she will not usually suggest a solution. As she knows that will be unacceptable if not downright not necessary. Her friend NEEDS to rant and certainly doesn’t want to hear about any kind of solution from someone who is also having similar problems!

    So like my mother who read about this research carried out by a woman doctor in Britain during the Second World War decided to tell the truth and bitch whenever she felt like it! I told her when I was a small boy and embarrassed by her attitudes, “Mother all your friends will dies from listening to you!” I was right. She lived to 96 and never suffered from flue or any other diseases or malfunctioning conditions. Just the occasional head cold. If I could have bottled her prescription and sold it I would have made a fortune! Her friends all died before her.

    I have taken after her and usually respond with, “terrible” when asked how I am. When asked why I am feeling terrible, I will respond with “I live here.” And do not like living in an environment with feral children who are shooting and stabbing each other and some elderly folk and then going to jail for 14 years or so. You are very lucky here in Bali with it’s low rates of crime and abuse. Know, not lucky I suspect that is due to something else. What, I do not know yet, or what transforms you from being a happy, loving child into a morose individual with a tendency to explode!
    Perhaps you can help me to understand. No caring for my feelings please. Just the truth as you see it.
    Rayner

  20. avatar timdog says:

    Rayner – I’m afraid to say I find something slightly unsettling and creepy about you and your ideas…

    I’m prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt and cast you as a totally unreconstructed freelovin’ hippie throwback, but scattered through your posts are various troublesome little flags…

    An obsession with matters sexual, even if dressed up as standing at odds with things repressed and ugly, generally seems to suggest at the very least prurience (not matter how arty, anthropological or philanthropic); and worst something thoroughly sinister…

    An obsession with the sexual mores of the “other”, whether we view it negatively or with admiration, is as old as the hills.
    Those who whip out the “sexually depraved Muslims” line probably are unaware that they are tapping into a deep well-spring of demonisation that runs right back to the “West’s” earliest encounters with Islam. In those days, ironically enough, we were at pains to paint the “Moor” as sexually licentious in the extreme, all orgies and unfettered sexuality without any of the restraints of decent Christian morality…

    These days, post “sexual revolution”, we’ve largely flipped that on its head, preferring to paint the Muslim world as severly sexually repressed (though the old bogeyman of Mahound the Philanderer does still come out of the closet every now and again – particularly when some dirty old b*stard marries a 12 year old).
    On the converse of that, the moralisers of Islam (and conservative Hinduism, non-Western Christianity, even communist China) cling with equal amounts of masturbatory fascination and horrified disapproval to the idea of a “West” riddled with “free sex” and godless and immoral infidels humping like rabbits at every street corner…

    Since the earliest days of anthropology, sweaty-palmed academics, for all their interest in rice harvesting and cooking rituals, have generally loved nothing more than to peer into the tribal bedroom – prurience dressed up as academia is prurience nonetheless.

    You, Rayner, appear to have latched onto some of the very worst fantasies about the Other – particularly the idea of the Noble (and freelovin’) Savage of the Pacific, a Victorian wet dream that began as a twinkle in a sex-starved sailor’s eye, and leached into the world of literature, science and anthropology by way of the horny scribblings of Melville and Gauguin…
    The same titillated genes of this conception run in the veins of the earliest Western imaginings of “Bali – Island of Breasts” (no matter that the ocean, history, culture and morality were all different – their sky was blue and their tits were out for the lads)…

    The fact that, in the 21st Century, we’re still getting all sweaty over these same fantasies is, quite frankly, pathetic.

    And you also reference the hilarious old Victorian line connecting climate and sexuality – the hysterical claim that once you cross the Tropic of Cancer the trousers come off. This theory was patently a reflection of the fact that the Western observers themselves came unbuttoned in the unfamiliar heat, and, far from stout 19th Century European morality, surrounded by “soft skinned delightfully perfumed women” (your line, not mine), felt a terrifying stirring in their own loins, and in then attempted, with self-flagellating disingenuousness, to reflect these distasteful responses onto the “natives” (who were quite used to the climate) rather than onto themselves…

    And that, ultimately, this is what this is all about. When we obsess and fixate of the perceived sexual differences in others, what we are really doing is considering the sexual responses of ourselves among different peoples and in different environments…

    Now, like I said, I’m prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt as an old hippie, but there are some alarming little frissons, not least this one:

    Although when a child menstruates it is a sign to an educated person that at least she is ready for bearing children. Not of course ready emotionally or for meeting the needs of a Western orientated or cold country which does not have the plenitude of a tropical environment.

    Shudder…

    Doubtless you’ll dismiss me as the archetypal Briton, all buttoned up and out of touch with my feelings, but hell, I’m not the one transfixed by what other people are doing in their bedrooms (or their mud huts)…

  21. avatar Purba Negoro says:

    Lol at Timdog.

    Yes- the whiteys certainly did subscribe to that one.

    Poor Victorian gent Rayner- all hot and flustered without the English Ma’amsahib to wallop him back into line with her parisole.

    Rayner- yes in some parts of Bali some old village women only wear sarung up to below boob level. I’m sure they’d be flattered by your attention and secretive pocket billiards. OR causing a stir strutting about bali/Java dressed proudly in his highly decorative Irian genital gourd- to dress like the native Malayan Indians, of course.

    Actually- most Indonesian willage women went topless- even Muslim Java- it was the Dutch ma’am sahib and the Calvinists that really put the stopper on things.

    Imagine porno aksi dealing with that.

    Kinch- how did you know about my kids?

    Of course we Javanese never talk about money- it’s crude and vulgar. And we’re completely unable to handle money without it falling through our fingers- greasy with moustache wax.
    Why bother with banks when you can just shake your Chinese neighbour by his ankles- and get him to pick it up?

    We use his wife’s big hair for mopping the floor- or suspend her from the ceiling as a disco ball- because Chinese are like magpies- they love sparkly trinkets.

    If only it were true 🙁 and not all stupid myth.

    Then I wouldn’t have to work for a living and worry about tuition fees, credit crunch and a poorly performing global economy impacting the JSX and mainland China”s incidental effect on steel/cement price- subsequent rising prices have limited or outright halted construction from Indonesia, through Mexico to Brazil- the bulk of Cement (yes- not the humourous spelling) Gresik and Cakratunggal-Karatau Steel exporting their goods rather than the historical domestic consumption.

    Mbak Tutut- and Mas Bambang- if you’re reading this- any chance of more construction?
    Thanks- we all really need it right.

  22. avatar rayner says:

    It may well be that the reason why us British, Japanese, Balinese, (I can’t speak for the rest of Indonesia, I have not yet lived there.) German and other extremely cruel cultures which despise women and rape and kill them whenever their leaders give the say so to do that, do so because of some particular way in which we/they are reared.

    All seem to have acquired a veneer of politeness on the surface. This latent violence and hostility which only comes to light when they are drunk, or at times of war when they are given permission by their authorities, whether political or religious, only seems to be present in cultures when the continuum of caring is broken. Usually shortly after infancy.

    In nearly all the cultures which I have studied there is an early period of loving bonding and caring. Then followed by a physical and emotional clampdown usually expressed by “You now have to conform and do what your culture expects you to do”. In Britain if you are born to the aristocratic class you are sent to a boarding school at an early age where you are beaten, bullied and buggered. You are indoctrinated with a feeling of contempt towards any other culture, color of skin, non-Christian religion and led to believe that you are one of God’s children which gives you the right to treat anyone else who did not have your type of privileged background with contempt and often with callous unthinking cruelty.

    Your sexual life is usually determined by those earlier experiences. Sadistic and masochistic proclivities are forged in those adolescent periods of growth. Censorship of any sexual activities are heavily censored whereas violence is not. It always puzzled me why if looking at images is supposed to affect behavior why don’t we censor violence? It is only the Scandinavian cultures that do the opposite. When I lived in Denmark in the early sixties I asked social workers, the police and Judiciary why they permitted images of sexual activity to be freely available to its peoples.

    The answer was: we don’t know if watching images changes behavior. The research is ambiguous, not clear at all. What is clear is that in cultures which censor sex but not violence, rape, sadism and masochism is rampant. Child sex abuse is at an all time high in Britain, USA, Germany, Japan and America. Japan does not even have a minimum age of sexual consent until recently!

    I came to the conclusion that only in sharing and caring cultures, (Scandinavia shared and cared by heavy taxation which was then returned to it’s populace in the form of very generous social services. No poverty when I lived in Denmark, no illness remained untreated etc.,) could such a program be followed. Incidentally no one from the Pacific Island cultures produces or markets pornography.

    It became clear at least to me that a sexually repressed or prohibited, at least overtly culture was needed to create and produce in excess of their need. If it didn’t we would end up like most tropical cultures where the men lazed about, made love to their women and heavens to Betsy did not force the women to clothe themselves or restrict their sexual desires!
    No wonder there was no market for my movies! I had to make them violent or contemptuous of women!

    I am painfully aware of how and why in Britain some of us are raised to be latent psychopaths when we wait for war with barely concealed eagerness. Our pornography and censorship rules really show where this latent violence is best expressed. I for many years attempted to make movies in the USA and Britain showing how people could learn how to be lovingly intimate in a respectful and loving manner. I was constantly coming up against the distributors and censors denying my movies an audience because there was no violence or attitudes of disrespect towards women or men.

    How do you rear your children in Bali and Indonesia generally? Something is amiss. You only have to feel the violence on this website to feel the sarcasm and hatred expressed here. You do not smile when meeting casually. Oh yes you smile when I smile first but rarely do I get any smile at all unless i make the first move. When I do smile, then a great gorgeous beam which reminds me of your children, great beauteous smiles, giggles and a general feeling of blessed behavior. I still feel that I am back in Britain with it’s general air of hostility and simmering violence. People in Britain generally don’t even smile when you smile first. I don’t blame them as they are now living under a real threat of violence from feral kids to dominating old men. But what is it you do to the children that they don’t retain that lovely air of joyous living and loving?

    I miss the smiles from young and old alike in the Pacific Islands. It is so easy to strike up an interesting and very warm conversation which usually accompanies a come and eat, drink and what are you about? Do you like our beautiful islands? Don’t you wish you lived here? Oh yes indeed I do.
    Rayner

  23. avatar Berlian Biru says:

    I’m with timdog on this one, Rayner’s clearly a nutter.

  24. avatar kinch says:

    @timdog – you’re right. rayner is obviously some kind of nutter and this was fairly apparent from the get go. at least PN is amusing despite maybe having a collection of irian or timorese dried ears hanging on a string in his closet.

  25. avatar Lairedion says:

    timdog,

    Another comment I agree with, except for one part. I’m not willing to give rayner the benefit of the doubt. The guy is obviously a sex driven maniac visualizing tropical paradises filled with topless local beauties where he can have unlimited sex.

    I for many years attempted to make movies in the USA and Britain showing how people could learn how to be lovingly intimate in a respectful and loving manner.

    Can you elaborate what kind of movies these are? Considering your statement on menstruating children I am somewhat troubled.

    rayner, it would be better for you to move to another planet. I remember an episode of “Married with Children” where Al Bundy was dreaming about a planet where all women have three tits, two at the front and one at the back so he could hold that one while dancing.

  26. avatar Purba negoro says:

    Kinch
    No-
    not in the closet.
    Proudly displayed on my long house along side my Chinese nose collection and shrunken British missionaries heads.

    Dayak, Java, whatever- same radish different skin- all Moslem Malayalam Indian Malay Archipelago and Straits Settlements native Indians right?

    Us quaint Mad Dog Malay- whatever atrocities will we commit next upon Auntie Britain’s faithful industrious manservants- the Sikh’s and Chinese.

    Have we been watching too North West Frontier and Flame over India?
    Or perhaps The Great White Hunter and African Queen?

    Kenneth Moore- the epitome of British sensibility teaching those ragamuffin Natives what’s what, fair play, what’s just not cricket and all that rot, say what?

    Fighting those uppity Muslims rebels of Hindustan and the Kush, and that dratted van Hayden- the uppity Dutch-Indonesian Nationalist- who gets his just deserts aboard the steam-train Empress of India

    “I say, Gupta?”
    “Yes Sahib.”
    “Another G& T please- and make sure that van Hayden has one in his hand too- never trust a man who never drinks- but it’s just not the cricket for a man to drink when anther chap hasn’t got a drink, now there’s a good Indian chappy
    See what happens when we selfless noble British aren’t around to keep order and stop you nasty chaps having at each other?”

    “Yes Sahib. Jolly, jolly very very good sahib. But my name sahib, is actually Ganesh.”
    “Yes, yes I said Gupta. What the devil is between your ears, more of that Muhammedite business, I suppose. I say Gupta, you’re rather sharp for a superstitious quaint darkie.”

    “Thank-you Sahib. One tries his little Indian mind very very jollyjolly hard Sahib. I hope very much to Shiva my English will be so grand as Sahib”

    “Now then Gupta- you’re still a darkie, old bean. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Martial races and all that.
    Go on now, awf you go, go back to shovelling coal- there’s a good chap.”

    “Very good Sahib.”

    Oh Halcyon days, Kinch, how whitey pines for thee.

  27. avatar rayner says:

    “That particular hole is no more. But there are others. And people get hurt because such carelessness every single day. And of course this carelessness is not limited to holes in the streets. It’s just an example. One for which my wife (and many, many others) paid a heavy price.”

    You have my sympathy. Such an indifference to other people’s pain is quite alarming. Thank you for the information although it does not improve my temper or the springs on the jeep! But perhaps it does give me an opportunity to further understand the roots of the Balinese apathy.

    When I first saw how children were put into danger by riding on the backs of motorcycles without helmets I had a mixture of feelings. Admiration for their parent’s willingness to teach their children fearlessness and the awareness that helmets are really insufficient to fully protect a infant in the event of a crash. I also realised that they are probably an added, unwanted expense.

    With no public transport being provided by the government who apparently are indifferent to their people’s needs what is the ordinary citizen to do? Quite a dilemma.

    When I first came here, being met at the airport and driving along the main road. When we met a busy junction I was horrified at the swarms of people on motorcycles who apparently were hell bent on crashing in to us. My driver would keep on tooting his horn which in Britain would almost certainly result in him being the effect of furious drivers. Here tho I soon realised that most people appreciated his signals of, “I am just behind you, don’t swerve to the left or right as I am two inches from your wheel, I will pass you now!”

    When eventually I relaxed my friend gave out a sigh of relief, “You are making me tense. Thank goodness you are accepting of something which you cannot change.” But what about the kids? Don’t they have a right to a safe a journey as possible? Well if they do crash it it is their Karma and here is nothing we can do to change that!”

    I think after I discovered the relativity high rate of accidents, which resulted in death or crippling injuries in Bali, that Karma is used as a means of avoiding responsibility on the part of the governing party.

    “Getting out and doing it yourself, would make people laugh at you, and they wouldn’t be able to explain why without (in their minds) offending you.”

    So, what to do? Put up with the terrible state of the roads and the risk of people being killed or badly injured or having people laugh at one? I find that the really difficult thing for me to get my head around is the concept of inexplicable difficulty in explaining something without offending someones susceptibilities.
    Rayner

  28. avatar kinch says:

    @PN – Proudly guilty as charged. You are addressing one who upon first seeing the Peak Cafe in HK and finding out that it had once been a shelter for sedan chair coolies to rest in after carrying Whitey up the Peak exclaimed ‘Dang! I’m 120 years too late!’

    And a damn shame, too, that we’re not living back in a time when on certain days I’d saunter out of the bar and on over to the resident Harmoni bootblack (your good self) for a quick shine.

  29. avatar rayner says:

    I usually never respond to the trolls which always appear on most interesting discussion groups but just in case you do have a genuine interest I will tell you. First tho please read my comments again about menstruating children which gives you so much concern. “I will almost certainly regret this!”

    These movies are describing a technique of oral sex which by using the mouth as a vibrator assists people particularly in the West of achieving some form of pleasure rather than pain. It is used by both women and men alike to give and receive sexual satisfaction and by doing so achieve deeper levels of intimacy and understanding.

    And of course it is just plain good fun! Noise is so far the major problem of using it. Unwillingness or the inability of many Western women to give energy to the male is also another aspect. If a women is willing to learn the very simple technique she will have the pleasure of discovering her partner has the innate capacity of multiple orgasms with which he can satisfy her. And of course oral sex is both disturbing and highly pleasurable to most women in the West. Often the only way in which they can achieve some measure of satisfaction.

    “Feeling you feeling me” is also a method of awakening dormant abilities of caring for one’s partner which has been lost sight off in the West. Particularly by the male. Now my work was mainly directed to people who are in chronic emotional and/or physical pain. Not to the Balinese or other Asian cultures which do not have our problems in the West.

    Of course this is all very questionable and Californian feely feely stuff and I am well used to the barrage of criticisms and distorted accusations that will be directed at me by both authentic critics and trolls alike. I do have some sympathy for these criticisms as it is very open to misunderstandings and overemotional reactions. And if my movies were violent and disrespectful to women and men alike not a peep of protest would be aroused. Strange isn’t it?

    Even movies made by women and promoted as being made from woman’s point of view are made in the same old macho dominated manner. There is not one movie on the market that I can recommend to those poor benighted fools seeking my help that will give them any instruction and help in becoming intimate. That is why I got into the business of making movies only to find that plenty of money was available if my scripts were full of violence or “money shots”. But virtually none was available for producing movies that had pleasure and instruction as their goal and that didn’t show shots of “coming all over a woman’s face” Why producers are obsessed with that I will never fully understand.

    So I used my own money to produce them only to find that it was almost impossible to get a distributor to handle them. Women porn producers tell me that the male distributors count the number of “money shots” in a movie and the gaudiness of a movies cover way before any possible artistic quality of a movie. If you don’t have a money shot forget it, your only hope of getting your movie to be seen is by using the internet with all it’s mixed blessings.

    That is one of the points which I attempt to address in my movies. It does boil down to a very simple, (some critics call it simplistic!) dictum. In my view censorship is only ever directed at any sexual orientated display rather than any violently depicted behaviour however obscene that is.

    In San Francisco I discovered that S/M brothels are legal. Or at least they are rarely raided and closed except when sexual pleasure is also available. One of my movie scripts which I wrote years ago after discovering that training women and men to become sexual surrogates is illegal in America is an account of a sex therapist opening a very violent and sadistic brothel that specializes in giving pain rather than pleasure.

    One of the workers in the brothel is a man who works as a sexual surrogate who had to stop training as he discovered it was illegal. He makes the point that for many years in Britain he ran a series of clubs that teaches people including children how to kill and maim. He was an expert in martial arts. In no way even if he wanted to could he teach men and women how to experience sexual pleasure without being subject to disapproval and suspicion. While that is understandable there is so much pain and misery that some of us want to try to change this. I for one think that it could bring some measure of peace to the world. Ridiculous I know but that is my choice.

    In any case I will open the worms den and suffer the consequences. Go to raynergarner’s website and follow the directions down to the link at the right hand side and click on the link to getorgasmic.com Not a porn site I am sorry to say but hopefully a sex education site.
    Rayner

  30. avatar timdog says:

    Rayner – what precisely is it that makes me a “troll” and not an “authentic critic”?

    I am a regular contributer on this forum; unlike some here, the views I state are those that I actually hold, and in this instance I was expressing a genuine sense of distaste and unease at your ideas.
    I also was at pains to back it all up with a clear demonstration that I did actually know what I was talking about, rather than just sneering “Rayner’s a dirty old b*stard! LOL!” (which, with hindsight, is perhaps what I should have done).

    I would suggest that you, popping up out of nowhere and posting ideas that are certainly likely to prompt aggressive debate, meet far more of the traditional criteria for a “troll” than me.

    Your idealised, patronising/admiring fantasy about the Pacific Other (which you also seem tempted to connect to the totally unrelated Balinese – as many others have done before you) is so spectacularly prehistoric and unreconstructed that anyone involved in modern cultural studies, anthropology etc would end up rolling around on the library floor, howling with hysterical laughter at reading it.

    I read your comment about menstruating children very carefully indeed – which is precisely why I chose to give you the benefit of the doubt.
    It was this bit that got me shuddering:

    for meeting the needs of a Western orientated or cold country which does not have the plenitude of a tropical environment

    the subtle suggestion being that perhaps, just maybe, amid the bare-breasted bounties of the South Seas, all sensuousity, palm trees and hula girls, a menstruating 12-year-old girl might be ready for child-bearing…
    yuck…

    Your ridiculous attachment to the ancient concept of a langourous, sexualised Orient blended with your twin fascinations – children and sexual pleasure (double yuck!) – are scarcely a breath away from something spectacularly nasty.

    “But officer, I was just teaching them about love… it’s different here, not like England… it’s the climate… they enjoyed it…”

    Off to the Bangkok Hilton with you Garry…

    Incidentally Lairedion, the doubt from which Mr Rayner was previously benefitting has now evaporated altogether…

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