Close
Bali Discovery Tours: Homepage
Bali Hotels, Bali Villas and Bali News from balidiscovery.com
Home Bali Contact Bali Practicalities Bali News Bali Services Bali Transportation Bali Sports Bali Excursions Bali Villas Bali Hotels
Home · News · Losing Paradise in Bali
Bali Hotels, Bali Villas and Bali News from balidiscovery.com
Bali Hotels
Bali Villas
Special Deals!
Packages
MICE Handling
Bali Excursions
Culinary - Dining
Guided Tour
Bali Spas
Bali Sports
Diving
Golf
Bali Transportation
Car Rental - Selft Drive
Private Jet Charter
Bali News
Bali Services
Bali Practicalities
Bali Contact
Bali Career
Home
 
Bali Update
Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter!
 
PATA header
PATA Gold Award 2007
Bali Update
PATA Gold Award Winner 2007
 
Bali Contact
Bali Discovery Tours
Komplek Pertokoan
Sanur Raya No. 27
Jl. By Pass Ngurah Rai,
Sanur, Bali, Indonesia

Tel:
++62 361 286 283

Fax:
++62 361 286 284

U.S.A. Fax:(toll free)
1-800-506-8633

U.K. Fax:
++44-20-7000-1235

Australian Fax:
++61-2-94750419

24h:
++62 812 3819724

Bali Discovery

SITE PATA ASITA
Bali News

Losing Paradise in Bali

Ubud Writer-Photographer Raises Concerns for Baliís Future via Huffington Post


Bali News: Losing Paradise in Bali
Click Image to Enlarge

(10/7/2011)

Last week, well known photographer-writer and long-time Bali resident, Rio Helmi, wrote a thought provoking and timely article for the [Huffington Post].

In Balidiscovery.com's efforts to share thoughtful voices from the community addressing the future of Bali, we are piublishing Rio Helmi’s article below:

Losing Paradise In Bali

Bali's booming reputation as a must-go international destination comes at a heavy price. This year critical articles about the island's infrastructure woes have run in both the [Wall Street Journal] and  [Time]. The head of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian business association APINDO, Panundiana Khun, stated early this year that land in Bali was no longer economically suitable for agrarian use and should rather be used for the tourism industry and that Balinese farmers were better off transmigrating. The subsequent uproar had him scrambling to 'clarify' his position days later, claiming a misquote.

True, the carrying capacity of the island has hit critical mass. Every high school kid in Bali knows tensions over water shortage (in five star hotels, each room consumes around five times a whole Balinese family's average of 200 liters a day) and disappearing agricultural land (more than 1000 hectares are 'converted' or urbanized annually). A booming population (3.9 million today vs 2.4 in 1978) means tough times ahead.

What caused the uproar in response to Khun's apparent gaffe is a long smoldering resentment in the Balinese community towards the excesses of the tourism industry and foreign investment, especially since government approval for Bakrie Nirwana Resort on land considered within the spiritual buffer zone of one of Bali's holiest sites, Tanah Lot, was rammed through during the Suharto era despite island wide protests. In the 1990s a high ranking (non-Balinese) official in Indonesia's Department of Tourism commented that "Bali doesn't belong to the Balinese or to you who live here anymore, it belongs to everybody in the world."

Everyone acknowledges wealth has been generated by tourism, but many point out the imbalance in the distribution thereof, and the ecologically disastrous nature of many projects.

More pointed is the discussion of identity and cultural rights. A Balinese's spiritual life centers around his or her ancestors: what is inherited in terms of tradition (material and spirit being tightly interwoven), and what to leave for the next generation. Once principally an agrarian society, the emotional bond to inherited land is linked not only to personal but also to communal spiritual well being.

Most homes in a village are the birthright of the families that inhabit it, but unlike farmland, the land actually belongs to the community - known as "karang desa" ('village compound') it cannot be sold - ensuring all members of the community are provided for, and maintaining social integrity and cohesion. Other land that is inherited can be sold yet represents a deep link to the ancestors, who are worshiped everyday in the family temple. Then there is what is considered sacred property of temples, "laban pura", which is also their spiritual buffer zone. Currently there is a heated public debate regarding rezoning the laban pura. Temples, the related ceremonies and 'tithes' all are part of the glue that holds Balinese society together. The most bitter feuds in Bali revolve around land.

The passion the current ongoing debate on Bali's zoning stirs up indicates that this is something of a symbolic last stand for Balinese culture as a living, breathing entity. An ongoing real estate boom has meant more and more rice fields are replaced by luxury villas for expats. The other day when I remarked that the days of the Balinese farmer seem to be over, a Balinese journalist friend, Wayan Juniartha, commented: "No, actually they will remain farmers, but they will be tenant farmers. The Japanese and Taiwanese have been buying up land, not to build villas but as an investment in agriculture".

While the government fails the all-important agricultural sector in Bali, foreign investors are injecting capital into it, meaning the Balinese will no longer own their inheritance.

Why has it taken so long for the Balinese community to act? Part of the problem is that though there is a tightly woven fabric of Balinese culture, the same weave also keeps the Balinese "in their place," separated by caste and clan. As one vocal, high caste Balinese activist spluttered:
"As soon as someone voices an opposing opinion everything breaks down into camps defined by caste and clan. If a person feels attacked because of his policies etc, he maneuvers through the loyalty lines of caste and clan. We don't have enough freethinking intellectuals on this island! That's why activism is so poor in Bali."

For sure Balinese culture will continue to be featured in presentations and museums, and will continue to find a market. Just recently in the so-called cultural center of Bali, Ubud, the [Philip Kotler Marketing Museum]  was launched - much to the bemusement of most locals who have no idea who the man is. The much quoted slogan of Balinese communal philosophy, Tri Hita Karana (which refers to the threefold relationship between man and god, man and fellow man, man and environment) will continue to be quoted academically, it might end even up as a marketing display in the museum. But who will be left to live and breathe this philosophy?


© Bali Discovery Tours. Articles may be quoted and reproduced if attributed to http://www.balidiscovery.com.


 
 
Bali News by Bali Update
Subscribe to the Bali Update
Receive the latest news from Bali by email!



Our [Privacy Statement] explains how we handle the data you are providing.

 
Bali News by Bali Update
Explore the Archive of the Bali Update
Find related articles in our news archive!




or try to use Google Search :

Home · Bali Hotels · Bali Villas · Bali Excursions · Bali Sports · Bali News · Site Map · RSS

Bali News: More News
Heinz's 100 Varieties of Indonesian Cuisine
Bookshelf: A New Approach to Indonesian Cooking by Heinz von Holzen
(10/20/2014)
We Get More Mail!
Folly has its Price. Spirited Comments of Disaffection Continue to Flow in About Baliís Newly Renovated Airport
(10/20/2014)
Who Owns Baliís Heritage
Legality of Badung Regency Funding of Taman Ayun Questioned by Badung Legislator
(10/19/2014)
The Gods Must be Irritated
French Climber Evacuated From Upper Slopes of Mount Agung
(10/20/2014)
Sauvetage en Mer
Bali Lifesavers Show Their Skills at International Surf Rescue Games in France
(10/19/2014)
Chefs Al Fresco in Sanur Bali
Bali Culinary Professionals to Meet at Swiss-Belresort Watu Jimbar on Saturday, October 25, 2014
(10/23/2014)
World Travel Agents to Meet in Bali
United Federation of Travel Agents to Meet in Bali November 16-19, 2014
(10/19/2014)
Travel May be Ebolaís Biggest Victim
Editorial: In the Unfolding Ebola Epidemic Crisis the Most Deadly Symptom May be Fear
(10/20/2014)
Human Charity Ė On the House
ĎTogether as Oneí Fun Run Raises More than US$9.000 to Improve Housing for the Poor in Bali
(10/19/2014)
Passing Gas
Denpasar, Bali Mayor Joins Chorus Urging Port of Benoa Not be Used for LNG Depot
(10/19/2014)
Ignoring the Protests
Tirta Wahana Bali International to Go Ahead with Benoa Bay Reclamation Project
(10/19/2014)
Ease of Access
Indonesia Fails to Enforce Rules on Handicapped Access
(10/18/2014)
All [News]!