Bali Raw: An exposé of the underbelly of Greater Kuta

Jun 27th, 2012, in Featured, Society, by

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.

Bali RawMalcolm 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:

  • Malcolm getting king hit in a nightclub and narrowly avoiding a further beating from the club security team;
  • a bloody dispute involving a prostitute between the author’s brother and another Australian, the latter of whom seems to be quite handy with a broken Bintang bottle;
  • an “English rose” getting deserted by her countryman boyfriend, then roaming the streets in a drunken haze for a month dressed in the same vomit stained dress;
  • how Malcolm managed to persuade four prostitutes to come to an impromptu buck’s party by the pool one afternoon;
  • Malcolm attempting to find a prostitute who would be willing to service a very ugly western man, and failing
  • Malcolm taking a young Australian tourist to an infamous prostitute named Angel, and how the tourist would never be the same again;
  • and many more

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.

32 Comments on “Bali Raw: An exposé of the underbelly of Greater Kuta”

  1. Hemingway II says:

    Insightful, overdue & hard to put down!

    MS ~ when is Bali Raw II on the shelves?

  2. Sweetpea says:

    I did read half pages I this book.
    Even I know I moved from Jakarta to Bali about 4 years ago but I start from zero and struggle/hard work for my self.
    Some article that M.Scott wrote, I am disegree as I am Indonesian, you have no idea about culture, don’t compare too much Australia vs Indonesia culture, and Indonesia is not only BALI or Java!!
    I really want to talk with you and make your mind open about Indonesia, your book COMPLETELY speak about hooker in KUTA area, Bali is not only KUTA mate!!!
    That’s I don’t like you said for INDONESIAN are pretty much “money can buy love” and love, loyalty, friendship are commodities in INDONESIA!!!! Are you sure? Did you find this research????
    I am Indonesia and I read this book, this book completely speak about BALI HOOKER!!!
    I am Indonesian and living in Bali and I always hard work for support my self NOT doing that you said on your book!!!
    Indonesia is big Mate, we have many culture not only Bali, when you speak Bali it’s just Bali, don’t mention INDONESIAN!!! That’s completely wrong!!!! We have 250million people’s and how many people’s in Kuta ?!!!??
    Please be careful what you said BALIness or Javanesse or INDONESIAN as general? How many Indonesian like you mention on your book who only love money!!!??!!! Be careful when you speak as general or just as example!!!!

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