Bali Beach Gigolos

Apr 28th, 2010, in News, by

Woe befalls Kuta Cowboys as a documentary shames village officials into action against them.

On 27th April twenty-eight men (and one woman) were rounded up by public order officials on Kuta beach, the raid apparently carried out in shamed reaction to a spate of publicity over the premiering of the documentary film "Cowboys in Paradise" at the DMZ Documentary Film Festival in South Korea last week.

"Cowboys in Paradise" chronicles the lives of some "Kuta Cowboys" or gigolos who entertain foreign tourist women in Bali. Village and tourism officials are unhappy at seeing Kuta portrayed in the film as a haven for male prostitutes.


'Cowboys in Paradise' trailer.

Said Kuta village head Gusti Ketut Sudira:

We found 28 men whose identity was unclear but none of them has confessed to being a gigolo.

In future young men, especially "dark and muscular" ones, hanging around beach areas had better have a good reason to be there: vivanews

We will intensify monitoring of the beach and those who are neither tourists nor vendors will be questioned

Meanwhile the Singapore-based Indian director of "Cowboys in Paradise", Amit Virmani, claims to have received death threats and hate mail from ashamed Balinese, while the contents of the film's website have been removed and (melo)dramatically replaced with:

Cowboys in Paradise

Governor of Bali, I Made Mangku Pastika, said that he would order an investigation into "Cowboys in Paradise", to determine whether the producers had had the necessary permits to make the film.


63 Comments on “Bali Beach Gigolos”

  1. avatar diego says:

    Those curry-smelling head-bobbing funny-accented people…. I told you, Aluang Anak Bayang was damn right!!! And I yet have to locate their skin color in the color wheel…. What a hassle.

  2. avatar ET says:

    Governor of Bali, I Made Mangku Pastika, said that he would order an investigation into “Cowboys in Paradise”, to determine whether the producers had had the necessary permits to make the film.

    Hahaha. Typical attempt of diverting the attention from what’s really going on. Always pointing fingers at those who dare to criticize.

    Actually he, Mangku Pastika, should better stick to his guns by catching Bali bombers instead of Kuta cowboys. He was very good at it. Although I clearly see a connection between Kuta cowboys and Bali bombers, if you get my drift.

  3. avatar ET says:

    Those curry-smelling head-bobbing funny-accented people….

    Do I smell a conspiracy between Batam and Bali?

  4. avatar deta says:

    Although I clearly see a connection between Kuta cowboys and Bali bombers, if you get my drift.

    I don’t get it. Care to elaborate?…. Second thought, let me guess:
    They both tarnished the image of Bali…. They both do ‘the bombing’ job…. They both have interest for bulwom…. I give up.

  5. avatar venna says:

    The indian guy has to be guilty because he revealed (accidentally) the biggest conspiracy work. Those cowboys are not prostitutes clearly, so it could be the spies sent by CIA to destroy this country from inside and gain first-hand information from the terrorists. I don’t know they paid those boys or not.

  6. avatar ET says:

    I don’t get it. Care to elaborate?

    It’s easy, even without a cartoon.

    Kuta cowboys = western inspired decadence
    Jihadis = holy warriors bound to destroy decadence
    Others = collateral damage

  7. avatar ET says:

    the raid apparently carried out in shamed reaction to a spate of publicity over the premiering of the documentary film “Cowboys in Paradise” at the DMZ Documentary Film Festival in South Korea last week.

    Lately Bali has become a prime destination for South Korean tourists. I wonder if the case would be getting so much attention if the documentary had been shown at the Timbuktu Film Festival.

    If money talks, bullshit walks. Pre-eminently in Bali.

  8. avatar venna says:

    But how actually the ethical side was considered during the movie-making process?
    Okay, Amit Virmani said that the boys knew exactly what the movie was about and they shouldn’t feel ashamed with their job as cowboys. But even they agreed, Amit should protect them and aware on any possible things that may ruin their life including social reactions. I think everybody that living in Indonesia for pretty long time will know things that still considered as taboo to be discussed in open forum even practically it happen everyday. By filming them so blatantly open like that, he made those boys vulnerable.

  9. avatar deta says:

    It’s easy, even without a cartoon.

    I miss your cartoon, actually. But I think Yoda is busy right now. Press conference about him being filmed in kuta?

  10. avatar ET says:

    @ venna

    But even they agreed, Amit should protect them and aware on any possible things that may ruin their life including social reactions.

    I beg to differ. You make it seem as if these gigolo’s are some young brats doing naughty tricks on the sly. Believe me, they are well aware of what they are doing and so are their social relations. Be convinced that as long as there is money and freeloading involved all eyes remain closed. Some will even brag about it in the open. Everybody in Bali knows about Kuta cowboys and will point them out without problem. But the documentary has made those in charge feel like being caught with their pants down because – as is usual here – nobody gives a damn until the dirty laundry hangs out and – aduh musibah – their tourism revenue might be affected. This why this rounding up is one big show of hypocrisy to keep up the appearance of Bali as a cultural paradise.

  11. avatar venna says:

    Believe me, they are well aware of what they are doing and so are their social relations.
    _________
    Oh ok, thnks for the explanation. I never thought that they are THAT aware.

  12. avatar Cargam says:

    In Europa the cowboys would have a legal case defending them as “tourism entertainment” hehe. As long as they don’t steal or spread diseases i see no point in it, where there is a service, there is demand for it i guess..

  13. avatar William says:

    The female prostitutes in Bali easily outnumber the Kuta cowboys 10 to 1, but no one is making a film about them. Even if they were making a film about female prostitution in Bali, no one would make a fuss. The reason being, most female prostitutes in Bali are Javanese, hence there is no injured pride. Secondly, they are not roaming about out in the open.

    The Kuta cowboys may be prominent, but the actual numbers are very small. You go to any bar in Kuta, and its not going to be a brown sausagefest. Even the tourist clubs/pubs are not packed with hookers (female/male) like the typical expat haunts in Jakarta. Bali is far from becoming another Phukat, Pattaya or even Jakarta/Surabaya.

    I think the reason why the Balinese are upset, because it also reinforces the stereotype among many Indonesians that Balinese men are lazy. I spent a part of my childhood in Lombok in 1980s, where my father was working as an Engineer. I used to go to the construction site in Lombok, and saw the usual, men bashing rocks, pouring cement, etc. Not much different from the rest of Indonesia. But when we went to Bali for holiday, we passed several construction sites and we noticed alot of construction crew were women. Mental Note: Never get into a fight with a Balinese Woman.

  14. avatar Nay says:

    Governor of Bali, I Made Mangku Pastika, said that he would order an investigation into “Cowboys in Paradise”, to determine whether the producers had had the “necessary permits” to make the film.

    I wonder how much those “necessary permits” cost….

  15. avatar Oigal says:

    Oh ok, thnks for the explanation. I never thought that they are THAT aware.

    Seriously how could they not be aware, its common knowledge. Always amusing like the pretend shocked outrage at the latest tax, customs and police corruption. Well amusing for outsiders but I have never understood why the Indonesian populace accepts being treated like mental retards by its lawmakers.

  16. avatar venna says:

    Seriously how could they not be aware, its common knowledge. Always amusing like the pretend shocked outrage at the latest tax, customs and police corruption. Well amusing for outsiders but I have never understood why the Indonesian populace accepts being treated like mental retards by its lawmakers.
    ______________

    Blame it on the Dutch colonialism *lol*
    But for this case, truly, I didn’t know that those cowboys were actually so proud and even bragging about it, and so were their community. The core is the same: prostitution. So even it’s their daily life, I think no one will brag and proud about prostitution job. That’s why I think that Amit probably missed the important point while he made his film: protecting those boys.

  17. avatar diego says:

    I remember when I was in high school in Denpasar, the guys were so proud telling their juicy stories with the bulwoms. I guess it’s vanity (hey I seduced a bulwom, I must be good).

  18. avatar cargam says:

    There is no point made about female prostitution in Bali because the ladies already pay the bribes and have to give free services to the police other government members.

    It’s just a way of local politicians to put the pressure on the beach boys to get them paying bribes to get free when catch by the police and it will probably work..

    With a good lawyer they would have a strong case when brought to court. Don’t know the written Balinese law, but i guess there is nowhere written that muscular brown skinned guys are not allowed to hang around on the beach.. All they have to do is unite and fight this stupid crap from the “officials”.

  19. avatar ET says:

    I think no one will brag and proud about prostitution job.

    They don’t consider themselves as regular prostitutes who just get laid for a quickie at a certain tariff. They are more like escort boys or freeloaders who will try to cajole their ‘clientèle’ into giving some money or buy them things. Like “honey I just saw a nice pair of Oakley’s in Kuta Square. They look absolutely gorgeous on me. Your friend Melissa will become green for jealousy if she sees you with me wearing them. But aduh, so expensive…” And of course free meals and booze etc.
    They may even not think anything at all and just do as they please. Like so many here.

  20. I ever heard many foreign women, including from NGO go to “Jari Menari,” health and massage spa, to ever get special pussy treatment.

  21. avatar Chris says:

    I once read in another article that’s it not only Western women, but that Japanese women are the most common clientele.

    If only I could find the link…

  22. avatar ET says:

    I once read in another article that’s it not only Western women, but that Japanese women are the most common clientele.

    Anything with boobs and money to spend will do. Eastern, Western, it makes no difference. Although I’ve heard that Taiwanese are not so popular, having a reputation of being rather stingy and not very adventurous.

  23. avatar madrotter says:

    welll… we got mak erot here in west-java….

  24. avatar justme says:

    here is their facebook page, alot of editing gone on, within the page itself since the bule women wives of some of these guys have made complaints…

    http://www.facebook.com/cowboysinparadise?ref=ts

  25. avatar timdog says:

    This is such a grimly funny story, and it neatly highlights some of the more ridiculous/ugly aspects of Bali Inc…

    ET says:

    I clearly see a connection between Kuta cowboys and Bali bombers

    but then makes the wrong connection (ie “Western decadence”-Terrorism). Actually, in the eyes of the Bali government and the outraged owners of various luxury villa companies, the connection between the Bali bombers and the Kuta Cowboys is that most of them come from Java…
    And in mythical Bali it is better if nothing bad is ever made public knowledge, but if it is, then it is vitally important to make it clear that it originates, not in Bali, but in Java.
    Most of the cowboys hanging out on Kuta beach, hiring surfboards and looking for bulwom, really are from Java – they were in the Jawa Pos today protesting that “we’re just beach boys, we’re not ayams!” They all seemed to come from East Java…
    (I previously spent a certain amount of time hanging out with their ilk in the company of a couple of young Canadian bulwoms who certainly made the most of their time in the exotic east – they too seemed to be Javanese to a man)…

    But anyway, the hysterical protests of the Bali government and tourism industry types and the witch-hunt, initially targeted at the cowboys themselves, but now apparantly shifting towards one plucky little Indian, is entirely symptomatic of the way “Bali”, perhaps the most carefully constructed of all tourist myths, works.

    Early this year I spent a good few weeks paying unusually close attention to the Indonesian-language press in Bali, and good grief! It was grim reading. I really do think that Bali may be the most chaotic, corrupt and violent part of the country – even more so than Jakarta.
    Read Bali Post, Radar Bali, or any of the lesser rags (my favourite of which, for it’s crassness, is Warta Bali) and your morning kopi and bubur ayam will be quite spoilt. There is crime – lots and lots of it, and what’s more, crime in Bali seems far more likely to be attached to violence than in other parts of the country. There is also lots of wanton violence (my favourite being the north Bali youth who went home and got a kitchen knife after a neighbour playfully flicked water at him, but the guy who battered a grandmother to death with a sledgehammer after she refused to serve him cigarettes at midnight was pretty good too). There is murder and sexual violence, lots of crime targeting foreigners, within the tourist industry there is thuggery and premanism that puts even Jakarta in the shade, and the corruption at all levels is staggering… And then of course there’s epidemic rabies, dengue and suicide.
    And be sure, by no means all of that bad stuff is being done by Javanese immigrants…

    But here’s the thing, having browsed your Bali Post, now turn to any of the glut of glossy english-language media in Bali and you’ll find nothing but yoga classes and temple ceremonies, and that, is how the powers that be in Bali want it to stay. Anyone tries to report anything marginally negative, or indeed not involving frangipani flowers and luxury spas, and they’ll run into distinct hostility.
    A friend who wanted to cover leprosy in eastern Bali (not in a “shock horror expose way; just nice stuff about charitable work) got a strong warning off – we certainly wouldn’t want foreigners knowing that there are lepers in Bali…

    What’s interesting is that it’s not just the tourism bigwigs and the government who engage in this window-dressing: the whole population of Bali seems willingly to have signed up. Not to long ago I got down off a bus in Denpasar and took a taxi. I asked the driver about the recent demos against the Blue Bird company in Bali. He responded with almost-aggressive alarm: how did I know about those demos? I told him that I’d read about them in the local Indonesian-language media. He eyed me suspiciously and then proceeded very firmly to tell me that the demos were entirely peaceful, and had carefully been staged in Denpasar to make sure that they didn’t disturb tourists, and that if tourists did know about them they had to understand that they were peaceful and orderly, in Bali no one runs amok; that only happens in Java (this is manifestly untrue; during the demos in question the rival drivers attacked Blue Bird’s Denpasar office, destroyed signboards, attempted to force their way inside, and had to be beaten back by armed police. Naturally I thought better of telling him this)…

    And this is how Bali works – you can’t say anything bad about it. Sex tourism, drugs tourism, f*ck-and-vomit tourism probably makes far too much money for anyone to truly want to remove it, but it must not be publicly discussed in the English language, and neither must any of the other bad stuff , and if it is, then lead a witch hunt against the messenger, or if all else fails, blame the Javanese.

    I come from a tourism area; I understand the need to make things look good (obviously no one mentions the fact that Cornwall is the poorest county in England with some of the highest rates of unemployment, heroin abuse and teenage pregnancy in the country in the tourist brochures, but equally no one goes on the rampage when those facts get mentioned), but in Bali they push it way to far, which in turn makes it look all the more horrifying to anyone who manages to peek beneath the surface, and which then in turn provides fuel to the fire of the bizarre online “Bali Hate” phenomenon… A plague on all their houses I say…

  26. avatar Oigal says:

    There is murder and sexual violence, lots of crime targeting foreigners, within the tourist industry there is thuggery and premanism that puts even Jakarta in the shade, and the corruption at all levels is staggering… And then of course there’s epidemic rabies, dengue and suicide.

    Mmmm.. Makes all that Zen chanting in Ubud look even sillier then. Of course, the nonsense that the Kuta Cowboys is fresh news just makes the idiot officials so offended look even more brain dead than usual.

    f*ck-and-vomit tourism

    (Great term, I am going pinch that at sometime).

    Its always funny when people complain about “yahoo” tourists yet that is the very market that Bali pitches at, cheap and nasty infrastructure, cheap and nasty bars (for the most part) and dodgy temple tours. Yet surprised when the bintang tshirt and thongs turn up..duh!

    Lets be honest, its a long time since any of Bali’s beaches were worth visiting and the infrastructure failed to cope 15 years ago. My recommendation Vietnam for your next holiday..

  27. Friend,

    For men ‘of a certain age,’ mainly Bules, this film is very threatening. For Bule, it show that in one of the most primal tests of manhood – givin’ of lovin’ – he comes up short against the Melayu man, even the guitar strummin beach urchin.

    Bulwom, as a Bulwom in the documentary said, doesn’t feel like a real woman in the West. She is frustrated, so she comes to Bali beach for a dose of real manhood and will pay for the priviliege. It also explain about Indonesia-corruption-Indonesia-inefficient-bad-infrastructure, because of this inadequcacy compared to Bali beach boy.

  28. avatar Oigal says:

    Yawn.. Assmad..

    Everyone is tired of your patronising, phoney Indonesian, one trick pony show..If you have nothing else be a good little troll and come back when you have grown up. It was almost funny the first 100 or so times.

  29. avatar Oigal says:

    Oooh are you serious? You call that an insult, we all know there is very little (ok none) substance to you but really…

    Nagh nagh “you’re so gay”!

    Laugh, just when I think you reach pathetic rock bottom you grab a shovel and start digging. Have you every thought of being a poster boy for pro-abortion mob?

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