Way back in the nineteenth century an English philosopher called John Stuart Mill wrote an essay called “On Liberty”. This defined the individuals drive for self improvement, their desire to “better their station” in life, as the sole source of true freedom. But he qualified this by saying that these efforts must not impede the efforts of others, nor impinge on their enjoyment of life.

Personal Perspective

Here in Indonesia, Mill’s philosophy has not taken root. It is quite accepted that someone can own a motorbike with no exhaust pipe, and essentially disturb everyone in their path every time they ride. It is impossible to criticize a mosque in Java, that, despite regulations to the contrary, transmits services, children’s songs and ladies lectures directly into people’s homes at high volume.

In Bali some of the best hotels and villas are designed to be in the quietest, most beautiful areas, but even there, people “trying to improve their lot” can drive people to madness with chain saws cutting down trees, drills tearing up tiles or loud music blasting. There seems to be no law against noise pollution. And there must be. These actions should not affect the right of others to enjoy their peace. It must be enforceable by law.

That applies to the roads too. Yes I know contractors need big loads of sand and brick to build their highly profitable villas and hotels, but they can’t be taken in enormous trucks that take up the entire road, driving others into the ditch. And yes, the bigger the bus, the more the profit, but really have you seen the size of the roads you are terrorising, as you blast down tiny village roads?

Noise and vehicle size materially affect other people’s lives and have to be controlled by law – and by the common sense of those perpetrating them – but honestly if you feel you are being disturbed, report it to the hotel management, who hopefully will try to deal with it. It’s time to bring real peace to the world!

Edward Speirs

Edward Speirs

Edward, or Eddy as he prefers to be called, is the Managing Editor of NOW! Bali and host of the NOW! Bali Podcast. He enjoys photography, rural travel and loves that his work introduces him to people from all walks of life.