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. rayner 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.”

    You are perfectly free to express your beliefs as to the veracity of my ideas etc but you stand the risk of being regarded as a Troll when you attack me personally. That is a no no in the IT world. Unless this newsgroup has different rules. I will either ignore you or try to respond in the most civilized way that I know how. You may well be an authentic critic but you come across as a Troll i am afraid. I would love to answer any rational query that you may have or contributions that you can offer, but I don’t want to waste time and energy satisfying a need or desire for Trolling.

    Incidentally I never named you or anyone else as a troll. You have the choice as does anyone else on this interesting newsgroup to either read and learn or teach. I welcome anything that you have to offer on the subjects that interest me. I am here to learn as well as pontificate!

    If the webmaster feels that I am overstepping the bounds he is perfectly free to remove my posts and make sure that I am unable to post again. No problem there that I can see. That’s what I believe can sometimes happen.

  2. timdog says:

    Rayner:

    Incidentally I never named you or anyone else as a troll

    but

    you come across as a Troll i am afraid

    Hmmm..

    attack me personally. That is a no no in the IT world. Unless this newsgroup has different rules

    Did you bother to spend a little while looking at the general tone and style of debate on this particular forum before weighing in? A run-in with me is positively gentlemanly by the normal standards in these parts. As I said before, I was at pains to lay out what was, while perhaps a little caustic, still a structured criticism, rather than a yobbish “rarara – look at the old pervert – lol!”

    What initially caught my eye about you was your formidably anachronistic penchant for the “sexually free” Noble Pacific savage concept – an idea that most would find hilarious, if not downright offensive these days – and the fact that you were apparently fishing for information that might allow you to cut and paste the same out-dated fantasy onto utterly unrelated Bali…
    Incidentally, seeing “parallels” between Bali and the South Seas suggests one is opperating on about the level of, oh, I don’t know – Bing Crosby perhaps…

    As I say, this is what first caught my eye, and what I was addressing in my first post directed at you (I have an interest in the matter of “approaches to the Other” and a somewhat conflicted relationship with E. Said, so things like that always catch my eye).
    A response from you rather than self-righteous sanctimony might suggest that you actually have a right to be on a forum of this kind in the first place.

    And if you think you can strut about peddling an apparent fascination with children interspersed with a line in magic blowjobs and expect everyone to sit at your feet (unfortunate image) lapping up (unfortunate turn of phrase) your ethereal wisdom, or offering nothing but polite and airy input on the topless tendencies of the simple, uncorrupted Balinese, then hell, I think it’s time for you to paddle off into the wide blue yonder – you’ve got more chance of finding Gauguin’s Tahiti than of that happening…

  3. rayner says:

    “Dear Purba,

    Do you have to be mean the whole time?
    They are real people with real feeling too you know.”

    It is not as if the Troll doesn’t know what he/she is doing it is just that they want to feel the pain of the other person because that is what they emotionally feed upon. It is a shame because often the troll is highly intelligent, well educated and would, if only he/she could restrain that sadistic impulse to cause pain contribute a lot of often funny, good comment.

    The internet seems to draw these people, often with sociopathic tendencies who would not be tolerated in any other context. They nearly always attack the personality, weak grammatical skills, any kind of deviance from their often quite rigid rules. They seem to think that because they haunt these form of posts they have the absolute right to overcome any poster, with hard, very sarcastic and biting comments about the personality of whoever they surmise is weaker than them.

    Usually they are quite wrong in their assessment as such judgments are dredged up out of that roiling, black unconscious. Whoops I had better stop here as I am getting somewhat carried away with a lot of Freudian nonsense. But that is how they are so brilliant, they use and distort in such a way that you are convinced at first that they have some mighty significant insights. But as soon as they draw you in they let rip with a comment that can leave one gasping with it’s often childish simplicity.

    You can always diagnosis who they are. They will attack you rather than your ideas. They will not conform to the civilised rules of debate but use sarcasm and unjustified comments about your perceived deficiencies. If you do not want to be drawn into their awful time wasting infantile droolings, (see I have caught their disease!) just ignore their posts once you have determined what they are.

    A fundamental rule of most websites is: Do not attack the beliefs, religion or any perceived personality traits of any poster. You could be horribly wrong. Usually the webmaster will deal with them.
    Rayner

  4. rayner says:

    This is rather a embarrassing subject but I think that it is best addressed. Why oh why did Bali install modern toilets instead of their much healthier ones where you have to squat? This is something that Westerners would really benefit from. Squatting to eliminate really clears the bowels and avoids much of the problems such as constipation, and bowel cancer.

    It is much more hygienic as well to wash your nether regions instead of having to waste reams of toilet paper.

    In addition whoever is responsible is obviously someone who still squats or is female. They didn’t measure a toilet bowl that is produced for the male whose willie bangs on the porcelain when he sits down. It is very uncomfortable and in addition, to squat on the seat of a modern toilet bowl is quite hazardous.

    I will leave it to your imaginations to visualise the hazards. Bring back the so called old fashioned squat toilet or at least have a thought for the suffering male who has to hold his willie up as he sits.

    Rayner

  5. timdog says:

    Ever get the feeling you’ve been trolled?
    Is Rayner that rare beast, the double troll?
    Have I been sucked in – and then, ironically, been accused of being a “troll” myself – by some hysterical comedian who posts in the guise of a child-obsessed “sexpert” just to get a violent reaction from the masses?
    I rather hope so, because if not, you rayner, with your toilet fixation and everything else, are thoroughly creepy…

    Giving you the benefit of a new doubt (that you’re not actually a troll) I’ll finish up with this:
    If you really have been toting your magic blowjobs and “respectful” pornography round the world for decades, then I’m sure you’re used to negative reactions.
    But if your only response to legitimate questioning and criticism (and do rememember, my intitial attack had nothing to do with your “sex tips” and everything to do with what I consider a spectacularly simplistic and downright ridiculous imagining of the exotic other) is to clamber creakily up onto a high horse of stupendously sanctimonious debate-deflecting arrogance – “Usually they are quite wrong”, “It is a shame because often the troll is highly intelligent” etc – then you have no business putting any of your ideas into the public domain.

    If this was the way you responded to all the porn-magnates when they raised an eyebrow at your film-making ideas, it’s no wonder you never got very far.

    Freudian nonsense? I’ll give you some Freudian nonsense – just supposing you are for real, and not some monumental troll (which I suspect you might be), then the most charitable interpretation of your creepy obsession with children and exotic, “uncorrupted”, bare-breasted maidens (12 year old maidens?) frolicking under the palm trees and administering magic blowjobs, is that you didn’t get enough love in your childhood. The less charitable interpretation is that you should be in jail.

    PS – “Bali” didn’t install “western toilets”; hotels and businesses aimed at the foreign tourists who are the basis of the island’s ecconomy did…

  6. janma says:

    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

    I told you what to do… write to the bali post… and contact the appopriate government dept. it may not be fast, but it will happen. You fix it once yourself, you’ll be fixing it forever, by yourself!

  7. rayner says:

    Thanks for the advice Jamma. I will do that. Do you happen to know who is also responsible for fixing the sidewalks/pavements directly outside the shops in Ubud and many other shopping centres? It does make it very difficult for tourists who throng those pavements. Many times one has to step out itno the road to avoid falling into an open drain with all the hazards that entails.

    Most of those holes also look quite old. Are the individual tenants/landlords responsible? Or is the ruling bodies?
    Rayner

  8. Janma says:

    dunno rayner…. PEMDA probably…… that’s probably the first step… find out who is responsible for the upkeep of that particular area.

    also….. about the toilet post…. hilarious…. I can just see the look on Timdogs face….
    he must have felt he missed an episode…. I sure felt as though I did…. or did we really just leap from pavements to porn to porcelain? ROFL!!

  9. rayner says:

    “Giving you the benefit of a new doubt (that you’re not actually a troll) I’ll finish up with this:
    If you really have been toting your magic blowjobs and “respectful” pornography round the world for decades, then I’m sure you’re used to negative reactions.”

    Well no, negative reactions have been few and far between. Most posters in the newsgroups that I belong to if they read something which they disagree with will, either maintain a silence or if they do respond obey the rules and never attack the poster just his/her arguments so a reasonably civilised argument can follow. Otherwise they soon get kicked off for wasting people’s time. No one wants to listen to bullies or pseuds.

    I personally welcome argument from which I can learn or from which we can agree to hold differing view points. That does not include name calling or picking out points in order to gain some kind of kinky advantage. That is troll talk. Kinky is an illustration of what I am trying to convey. That is implying that somehow what you have posted has a sexual implication which may or not be there.

    I have been fortunate that the only Troll that I have met or heard off, was on a medically orientated group when I gave a reference to a series of articles printed in the Midwifery Journal an American publication. This was concerning some research that had been done. The Troll purported to be a physician but was soon outed and was removed by the webmaster.

    The lack of response, eg., silence is of course disappointing but to be expected, but sufficient numbers do respond and are interested in learning more, and usually in return will feed me with more information that I need to know. I am mindful of some recent ads in Britain recently. “If at first the idea is not considered absurd then there is no hope for it.” by Alfred Einstein.

    I am tempted to put that at the end of my posts, not because I consider myself to be at that August level of genius but because it does display the usual response to new ideas, and products invented. A typical example, (here I boast) when I invented a modern version of the baby sling which parents world wide have been using to carry their infants for millennia, manufacturers in Hawaii and California all without fail said that there would be no market for it. I was unable to get either orders or more finance to develop it. Although we found a ready market for it in Hawaii.

    The following year, NoJo a Californian company produced and sold over a million of my design of baby slings. 27 years later has seen a veritable explosion of web sites selling my design or variations thereof. Now coming back to Britain after 25 years in the States, I noticed few women were wearing my original design. When I queried them they responded with, “Well it hurts my back and shoulder.”

    So I saw that the majority of parents were using buggies, push chairs, or prams which infants don’t like being in. They want to be held close to the heartbeat which reassures them or in the case of the mother, their source of nutrition. So I designed a fairly shallow plate which would clip on to the handle bars of most strollers and on which a parent could rest their infant and the sling which they are held securely in. Most handlebars are 36″ from the ground.

    Again the merry go round of manufacturers, retailers and the parents for the usual testing and evaluation. Most of the push chair manufacturers say that there is no market or it isn’t safe! Shades of 27 years ago! I now have a design which is specifically for a parent who wants to use a sling and also be able to push another older infant and will not tip back with the weight of extra shopping bags etc., resting on the handle bars. Again no interest.

    I am not alone, many inventors or researchers are considered crazy or missing a part of their brain cells. Dyson is one of them. he had eventually to set up his own funding, research labs etc. It took him many years before his inventions were on sale.

    In Bali quite recently I saw several parents struggling to push their infants in prams over the rough hewn rocks and trying to avoid the holes in the various pavements etc., instead of taking their cue from the Balinese who with out apparent effort carry their infants in a very simple sling. Of course many of these parents have intermarried with very large, tall males and have produced infants which are larger than couples of the same ethnic origin. They have not had the experience while growing up of getting used to carrying their young siblings from an early age.

    So it looks as if I will have to finance the production of the shallow dishes myself. I would like to either produce them in Britain or Bali where I get my brand of Baby Sling sewn. manufacturing in Britain has virtually ceased and as far as i have been able to discover. Manufacturing such an item is not feasible here in Bali. A great shame I think. Still these are early days and a manufacture may soon pop up.
    Rayner

  10. rayner says:

    “Janma Says:
    October 28th, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    dunno rayner…. PEMDA probably…… that’s probably the first step… find out who is responsible for the upkeep of that particular area.

    also….. about the toilet post…. hilarious…. I can just see the look on Timdogs face….
    he must have felt he missed an episode…. I sure felt as though I did…. or did we really just leap from pavements to porn to porcelain? ROFL!!”

    I am afraid i did leap! I probably should have given a warning. Obviously the first signs of dementia or many other degenerative diseases, (wonder what fun and games Timdogs and others will make of that!) and, dreadfully off topic for which I apologise. But I didn’t see a section headed “toilet matters of concern to Westerners!”

    Incidentally another leap! Concerning Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. There is a marvelous book just been printed. For those that have friends or relatives who are suffering or beginning to suffer from this dreadful disease. Contended Dementia, by Oliver James. You can easily find it on Google. An incredible and very simple breakthrough on dealing with sufferers in a very benign and loving manner.

    Back again to toilets. I never cease to marvel at Brits, Germans, not Italians who I overheard in a Balinese cafe swearing very noisily about the ridiculous lavatories!
    I think that he was a little unwary and sat down too hard! We do keep some very interesting topics to ourselves. I couldn’t understand it at first. I am not specially well endowed and yet I was contriving all sorts of devices to hold my willie up out of harms way and also concerned with hygiene.

    So as is my wont I started bringing that up in conversation with all kinds of expats. Did they vent once a rather austere Brit had brought the subject up! What is the explanation?. At first I thought it might be a particularly vengeful Indonesian who is trying to get back at us expats or visitors. But I gather plenty of locals use those types of toilets. Then I next thought that it was a women designer not aware of how much space we men would need. I just don’t know. Anyone?
    Rayner

  11. janma says:

    Most posters in the newsgroups that I belong to if they read something which they disagree with will, either maintain a silence or if they do respond obey the rules and never attack the poster just his/her arguments so a reasonably civilised argument can follow.

    yeah…. no we don’t do that here…..

  12. rayner says:

    So that means anyone is up for open season here? Whoops a daisy! Oh what fun. Fortunately the education system in Britain really prepares one for trolls. The bullies, sadists and experts in sarcasm really get a good grounding in how to put people down. I am not going to do that, bullying arouses a surprising amount of rage in me so that I then have to go to my gym and beat the hell out of a punch bag. But I will not hesitate to take the appropriate action when necessary.

    We do have a horrendous sense of humor which usually hides our nice or nasty side. On an earlier newsgroup some one labeled me a paedophilic cannibal. This was on a midwifery group when I described an incident at the birth of my eldest child. In Hawaii it was quite a “thing” in certain circles to eat the afterbirth in the early 80’s. Well herbed, fried with onions and other delicious things by the midwifes. Delicious. Ah the grandiosity of youth.

    Wanting to be “in” with the latest “ism or ology” I succumbed to a large portion. Oboy, was I ill! I suspect after that while all mammals eat the after birth both for nutrition and to leave no traces for predators to find, males would not. It was probably full of minerals and proteins far to rich for my my weak stomach!

    I took the appellation as a joke and would display it at the end of my posts. It was taken as such and caused a great deal of amusement and much speculation which was the point. Lets see what the trolls make of that!
    Rayner

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