Bali Raw

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Expats do act stupidly, and spitefully, towards Indonesians, and for the most part it is because they get sick of being scammed or taken advantage of. I am not saying this is the correct course of action, I don’t believe it is, but it does happen.
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Living and working in Indonesia can be incredibly frustrating. There is an endless list of complaints that I could put forward: people push in, cut you off in traffic, diddle bills, etc, but the truth is it is not my country and I choose to live here. I also believe that living in Bali offers numerous advantages and that I’m incredibly lucky to have been given the opportunity to live here. My point is though, when four or five of these things happen in one day, when ten or fifteen of these things happen in one week, or when fifty or sixty of these things happen in one month, expats inevitably explode.
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Living in Bali can be a little like experiencing Chinese water torture. Things happen every day that annoy you, they build and build and eventually you crack. This happens to all expats and it doesn’t matter how calm a person you are.
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numerous occasions I have witnessed Balinese in full ceremonial dress pull up at the seafront in a flatbed truck fully laden with rubbish from a ceremony then dump it in the ocean. Recently an article appeared in Time magazine entitled: “My Holiday Hell”. The article highlighted the problems Kuta Beach had with rubbish, amongst other things, and it caused a bit of a stir on the island.
A Balinese regent and spokesman in charge of rubbish collection came out and released a statement to the press in which he claimed the rubbish problems on Kuta Beach were not the fault of the Balinese. This rebuttal to the Time article was entitled “Kuta Merely Victim of Wind-Blown Rubbish: Regent”. In the article, the Balinese regent was quoted as saying that “This rubbish that is washing up at Kuta Beach is all from outside Bali. Nothing is locally produced; it’s all from outside Kuta. Kuta is just a victim … For example, we all know there are no forests in Bali, but the rubbish that washes up in Kuta includes logs. Also, there’s lots of plastic that certainly didn’t originate in Kuta … we also hope that Indonesians outside of Bali will stop throwing their rubbish into the sea and making Kuta a victim.”
This is the Balinese mindset, it is also perhaps why Balinese never seem to be taken to task for what happens in Bali. Far from what the Balinese like to present to the outside world, all the criminals in Bali are not Javanese. There are good, honest and kind people from all over Indonesia who live in Bali. There are also good, honest and kind Balinese people, but they are not the problem. The problem is that misdeeds are often expertly hidden or passed off as somebody else’s responsibility.
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not be fooled when a Balinese tells you that it is the Javanese who rip everyone off in Bali. The Balinese stick their fingers into the tourist pie as much as anybody. I hear this all the time from Westerners and it annoys me. A lot of tourists trot this out as way of showing they understand Bali.
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Since the early twentieth century and the Golden Age of Hollywood, Bali has been portrayed to the world as the paradise of paradises. But Bali is also violent, ugly and distasteful and living in Bali can be a game of survival.
This is the Bali that I know and that I have called home for almost a decade, a Bali where the fittest survive and those with the biggest wallet and the greatest connections endure.
There may be parts of this book where the reader will not like the author or his actions and there are certainly parts that I did not want to include. For better or worse I have decided not to sacrifice candour for likeability, I want this story to be honest and that means sharing actions that I’m not necessarily proud of.
This is the story of dog-eat-dog Bali, a palm-tree-laden prison where anything goes as long as you can afford it.
This is Bali Raw.
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