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Enshrined Stupidity

Estonian Couple Caught Having Sex in a Balinese Temple Tell Bali Police They Didn’t Know that Sex in Public Places Was Against the Law


Bali News: Enshrined Stupidity
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(3/8/2013)

Widely reported in both the Bali local and international media are an Estonian couple taken into custody in Bali after they were discovered having intimate relations inside the grounds of Mengening Temple near Saraseda, Tampaksiring on Wednesday, March 6, 2013.

The Island’s temples are deemed to be sanctified places of purity by Bali Hindus where any of a range of impure acts, including sexual relations, can bring the subject place of worship into disrepute and threaten the safety and well being of the surrounding community.

When he heard of the incident involving Estonians Urmas Silman (43) and his wife Katrin Silman (32), a member of the Indonesian Tourist Promotion Board (BPPI), Nyoman Kandia, said on Thursday, March 7, 2013: “They (the Estonian couple) must receive an appropriate punishment, including deportation. This is needed to make an example of them for all tourists visiting Bali.”

Kandia said that such behavior is intolerable and should be punished both by the central government and in accordance with traditional law.

A professor of law at Bali’s Udayana University, Professor Dr. IGN Wairocana saw the couple’s action as an insult to all Balinese Hindus, adding: “This case can be developed into criminal charges. If traditional sanctions (awig-awig) cannot not be brought to bear because they are foreigners, at the very least they should be reported to their embassy or consulate.”

Wairocana said that in order to restore the sanctity of the temple, the regency of Gianyar should pay the cost of the elaborate religious ceremonies this entails. “Let’s not have every tourist in Bali and who commits a similar act be able to claim they didn’t know such acts are wrong. The police must take firm actions."

The couple were discovered at mid-day by the chairman of the Sareseda Banjar, Wayan Agus Dharmaputra, who was inspecting recent repairs carried out on the temple. Dharmaputra said he caught the two having sex inside the temple. He raised the alarm with the local village and the two escorted to the relative safety of the local police stations by the angry crowd.

The couple, prior to engaging in sex within the temple, had bathed in the temples holy waters.

The couple told the police they were unaware of laws and traditions against engaging in sex in public places or places of religious worship. After prolonged discussions at the police station, the couple agreed to donate Rp. 20 million (US$2,000) towards the cost of the ceremonies now required to rededicate the temples.

Local religious experts are in agreement that the actual cost of the required ceremonies will far exceed the compensation paid by the Estonians.

When he learned of the incident, the former regent of Gianyar and chairman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association, Dr. Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati (Cok Ace), said he deeply regretted what had happened. He suggested that all parties should learn and visitors to Balinese should all be briefed on the parameters of acceptable behavior at places of religious importance.

Many Balinese temples post signs at their entrances, warning visitors in an “impure state” not to enter the temple grounds. This is normally seen as an entry prohibition against people in a state of mourning due to a recent death in their immediate family or against menstruating women. While warnings do not specifically state that acts of sex are forbidden on temple grounds, most nations, including Indonesia, have laws on public decency.

According to Denstu Communication Institute, Inc. Estonia ranks as one of the least religious countries in the world, with 75.7% of its population claiming to be irreligious – that is to say, indifferent or hostile to religion. A 2005 toll said only 16% of all Estonians profess a belief in a god.


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