Have you ever thought about what love making entails when you cross a border and change cultural background. You may say the basic working of the thing is similar, and, as a frequent traveler, I will tend to agree of course…But, as you know, in some countries, people eat bread, in others, rice. So while
Identity, especially in a country as large and diverse as Indonesia, can be a confusing and somewhat muddled topic. For centuries, the Indonesian archipelago has been subject to the mixing of cultures, religions races, ethnicities and so on, resulting in the ‘Indonesian people’ of today. However, it is perhaps Chinese Indonesian identity that stands out the
Children always follow him wherever he goes, shouting and throwing stones at him. He is about 40, dressed in rags, carrying a worn-out leather bag. On his head is a cardboard box containing various kinds of rags and a worn-out mat. He wears a shoe on one foot and a slipper on the other. His
Outside the building, two young girls are giggling. Above the entrance hangs a big board with the word “Bar” written in awkward letters. Shadows dance as red lights flash on and off to the beat of hard-rock music. Boys are sitting, drinking, surrounded by pretty girls. Is it a go-go bar? Have the Bangkok lights
Love and sex have always been one of the most interesting fields of encounter between cultures, if not always between people. In this matter there is little which is not already known about the Balinese women and Western men relationship, the Balinese women being subjected to the luscious desire of the latter – originally as
Old Age and Religion Growing old means getting closer to the moment of death, which, according to the Balinese, opens the possibility of moksa, i.e, blending one’s human microcosm with the ultimate cosmic spirit, or God. In order to achieve this and not reincarnate, people have to live in accordance with the principles of cosmic
The Balinese know tolerance not only as a proclamation of intention, but also as a daily social practice. For one thing, there is no Balinese who claims that his or her religion is the only keeper of truth. Truth, they use to say, is beyond the apprehension of human kind. The “ethical” endeavour in the
William Shakespeare has his Romeo & Juliet, and Bali has its similar tragic love story. Sitting on the top of the hill in Kalianget village, North Bali, is the gravesite of Jayaprana and Layon Sari, the island’s ‘Romeo’ and his beloved ‘Juliet’.
Unlike religions from the Middle-East, which rest on a “revelation” transmitted through the entreaties of prophets, and in the case of Christianity, of a Messiah, Balinese religion rests on the notion of cosmic balance. The Universe and Man are considered as “similar” to one another. They consist of the same five elementals (Panca Maha Bhuta)
Here is a story of Ni Luh Koncreng, in which the way the Balinese see, feel and interpret time is illustrated. You can guess, of course, it is quite different to how Westerners view the very same aspect. We are in the compound of Ni Luh Koncreng, an old, wrinkled Balinese lady. She is cutting
You’ve heard about reincarnation, right? Of course you have. But my guess is that you have heard about the formal, reformed-Hindu version of it, “You will reincarnate as a dog if you behave like one”, meaning, you will bear the consequences of your deeds in your future incarnation(s). While some narrow-minded Balinese will insist this
Westerners and modern people have a bad habit when it comes to making money: they have a rational approach to economics. You work, they say, save and invest, and then you will earn x % or more, if lucky, in one or five years. There is little pleasure to be had, and no fear.