I have been coming to Bali for 40 years and in that time seen heroes and villains, entrepreneurs and hustlers, artists and artisans, chefs and surfers, designers and dancers, all coming to Bali from all over the world and all over Indonesia to “find their fortune” to test their luck and often just to enjoy the lifestyle.
Some have made it, some have not. Some have added immeasurably to Bali, others just added to their own bank accounts. My personal test of who we admire is simple: is that person here to help Bali or just help themselves? Sadly most are here to help themselves and make money without thinking of the consequences.
Now I don’t mind if someone has a successful business, in any field, hotels, fashion, restaurants, or anything, as long as they employ people fairly, pay them well, improve their skills with training and give them opportunities. And of course, pay their taxes! What I really mind is people who alter the lifestyle of the Balinese people with poorly thought out and careless “development”, who dig up the fields, block the views and pollute the air, water, and sound. I do mind if they live in Bali for more than a year and don’t speak the language, and don’t understand the culture. They are not heroes, and honestly should not be here.
But in amongst all the chaos and posturing there are some who really care for the island and do a lot of good. We celebrate them in our August 2018 issue of NOW! Bali. We praise them for their work, often unnoticed and unappreciated, and encourage them to keep going.
Thank you for all you do.
Alistair G. Speirs, OBE
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