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(5/17/2010) [Happy Trails to You, Until We Meet Again], part of our continuing coverage of the controversy surrounding male gigolos operating on Kuta beach in Bali brings in new letters every week. Here's this week's installment :
• Michael in Bali wrote:
"Kuta Cowboys? The expression 'Kuta Cowboys' originated in the late 70's and had nothing to do with the Bali Gigolos, although the Bali Gigolos were in full swing during this period. . . Kuta Cowboys were a tough motorcycle gang headed by a Balinese character by the name of Lolot. Lolot is now a Christian Minister. This Singapore guy obviously got his wires crossed wrong. He is a jerk and its just Tabloid rubbish. So what, Bali has Gigolos, this exist all over the world."
• Maria said:
"What a joke! Police should visit bars and restaurants where you can find many (under aged) girls, offering their 'friendship,' to (often much older) foreign men!"
• Dave had this to say:
"Has anyone pointed out to the government that this is a very SEXIST policy? There are far more female 'gigolos' on Bali than male, but I don't see any level of scandal or attention as for male 'gigolos.' It is also sexist in terms of the clients. So is it OK for men, both Indonesian and foreigners, to be 'entertained' by women but NOT OK for women to be 'entertained' by men. By the way, Bali is not the only place in the world with 'cowboys'. Are the men in government and the police upset that now women can also enjoy the same pleasures as some men do?"
[Gigolos in Bali] – a translation of a opinion/editorial piece on the gigolo situation by a leading Balinese academic, Dr. Wayan Windia – stimulated the following people to write in:
• Mike Edwards in Australia:
"I have been a constant visitor to Bali since the mid 80s and have always known of the cowboys. I can't imagine this disclosure on film would have an adverse effect on tourism. Their activities are very discrete and, as human beings, they are as delightful as any other Bali boys. From your article I can see that no one has made a complaint about them, besides they provide a service to otherwise lonely women. I have been approached by female prostitutes in Kuta on many occasions offering that special massage, not my thing. However, to other men these girls provide..... fill in the gap for yourself. Having a professional sexual liaison person, providing education on condoms to prevent the spread of STI's /STD's would be a better service than rounding up the cowboys and chastising them about morals."
• Alex wrote in to say:
"I really cannot believe that governor Pastika has raised concerns about this load of media rubbish. Bali, like many other holiday destinations, has gigolos, it's part of the way of a holiday romance, for gods sake...I just find it pathetic that Pastika is worried about this "image of Bali"...he would be well better suited to sorting out the ever increasing and annoying street sellers/hawkers....if the women want a Balinese romance let them have it...this is the 21st century."
• Someone, identify themselves only as O.S., applauded Dr.Windia, saying :
"Special to Mr. Wayan Windia a big thank you for this letter. I will hope all the authorities of Bali read, understand and follow this point of view ! Bali has big chances for a growing tourism business, but the Island need to wake up after a long sleep. Yes, it is an Island, but an Island as a part of a world. As long this Island like to earn money from guests from all over this world, it need to grow, learn and work ... I hope the best !! Thank you Pak Wayan Windia !"
[Will Tourists Abandon Ubud?] regarding traffic congestion in Ubud brought another letter:
• Rodger Hempfing wrote:
"Have the tourists leave their coach and walk or take much smaller vehicles. Some tourists may not like it but others will enjoy the change of pace and chance for leisurely exercise. Too many tourists can be bad for business as well. Tourists do not want to look at other tourists, they want to mingle with the locals and appreciate the local culture. Please do not abandon the Bali way of life for the sake of tourism, stay authentic!"
[Rallying for Rails in Bali], the thoughts of local artist Nyoman Gunarsa in support of a round-Bali rail system earned the following letter:
• Roy in Ubud wrote:
"I'm not sure what to think about this . . . This proposal seems to be gaining steam, (no pun intended), however, while on the surface it seems to make a lot of sense, I have to wonder if by adding more "commuter" types of transportation systems are we really addressing the overcrowding which is at the heart of Bali's dire ecological problems?"