Governor Made Mangku Pastika has taken the occasion of the opening of a photo exhibition to explore the other side of Bali, warning that it is not appropriate to describe Bali of an "Island Paradise" or a "heaven on earth."
Quoted in Beritabali.com, Pastika said: “Who was it, in fact, who first called Bali a heavenly paradise? In Bali there are still many of our brothers and sisters who are living in poverty, in conditions far from heavenly. And, after all, none of us hear have been to heaven!”
The governor’s comments were made on Tuesday, August 19, 2014, at the opening of an international photo exhibition “Terpasung di Pulau Surga” at the Bentara Budaya Hall. The photo exhibition depicts how the mentally ill in Bali are still sometimes kept in chains or locked in stocks.
In a heart-felt address, Pastika told those at the exhibition that “heaven” or “paradise” should be identical with beauty, a cool environment and is, of course, filled with angels.
Continuing, Pastika said: “In heaven there are no poor people; there is no libel, hate or conflict. Meanwhile, in Bali all these things still exist. Bali, as I see it, is not fit to be called an Island Paradise. When it is, in fact, for some an island of hell.”
Pastika said paradise-like conditions in Bali can only be found in Ubud. But even that is (now) a hotel area, quite comfortable and filled with beautiful vistas.”
Pastika painted an emotional image for his rapt listeners: “Meanwhile in other areas of Bali, the conditions are more hell-like. For instance, in Karangasem, elderly women are living in poverty with their sick children and grandchildren. And, just 15 minutes from the city of Denpasar, in the area of Jalan Bung Tomo - there is a single home not fit for habitation occupied by 27 people living in the poorest conditions. This group is comprised of 3 families, 7 of whom are paralyzed and laying on the ground, urinating and defecating together on a filthy floor. That is 15 minutes from the center of Denpasar. This is not a paradise, but a hell.”
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