Sunday, January 18, 2009

On Sunday, Don’t Be Sick*

Sick, thus someone called Godam not so long ago. Unfortunately, someone who said that was someone who he wanted to be invited to share the heart. The heart – who knew what the cause was – was little bit befuddled.

Someone who said that was a beautiful girl named Nita, who hhh, had been for years made Godam could not sleep well. Made Godam fall in love, fall in love, and every night dreamt a happy life together, and then had funny children and so on and so on. In short, someone who said Godam was sick was a girl who very special for him.

That firstly Godam was said to be sick because he asked: what is this life meant? From that question, Godam got a long complicated answer that was ended: be strong!
Fhh…., life was said as firmness.
“Firm? What is firm?” Asked Godam.
“Because this life is loan,” replied Nita.

“We are borrowed alive by the creator of life itself. So thank God you are not given alive as snail for example, but as human. However, given alive as human we should also accept its consequences. Sick, hungry, full, sleepy, having no money, falling in love, broken heart, getting gossip, getting jealous, sad, happy, getting trouble and so on until we die. Between those consequences, we have to try to look for the way so we can feel more comfortable. Just trying, endeavoring, not more. Then between the effort and the result we should face many things that not always pleasant. But we cannot just give up. Cannot be hopeless, frustration, etc. That what is called as firm. Because we have no more abilities alias imperfect.”
“So we have to be firm?”
“Why do you ask me again, are you deaf?”
“Lho, why are you furious? Is furious also the consequences of life?”
“Of Course.”
“It means firm is also the consequences of life. So if you say the meaning of this life is firmness, is wrong.”
“Yes it is. What answer do you want?”
“I don’t know.”

Nita the second semester student of Economics Department, then tapped her leg. Maybe she fed up.
“You’re sick!” She replied sharply.

Godam kept quiet. A pile of earth, which was surrounded by various clump tress flowers in that city park, turned to gloomier. The warm twilight, now turned to night. The people who a while ago were crowded enough, now only some people were left. Meatballs seller, young coconut ice, rujak (fruits salad with spicy sauce) vendor and chicken sate who lined up in the east corner side of the park seemed to start packing their stuff to go home. Godam looked at the south. Mercury lamps illuminating the street had started to burn. A flock of seriti birds perched chirpily on the stem of palm tree on the edge of the pool. Next to the palm tree, in the middle of the pool with fountain, soared up right the statue of Bima twisted by the dragon. The muscles of Bima seemed to stand up powerfully fought a giant dragon, which would swallow him wildly. That was very brave. Both Bima and the dragon were brave. “Is the statue also symbol of firmness? Ah, do you think statue can think?” Godam grumbled in his heart.


Few days later, Godam’s father died. Godam asked Nita again who in that day was wearing pink t-shirt. Godam asked, why could people die?

Nita who was wearing pink t-shirt in that day mused for few minutes before answering. Then, in a half hopeless, she finally said: how could we know about the death, while life could not be understood wholly. That the death, forgot about it, it was just about terminology. That, when the creature stopped breathing, its heart stopped beating, its lungs stopped moving, its blood stopped flowing inside the body, its brain stopped working, everything stopped, at that time it was called dead. “So if you ask how someone can die, just because his heart stop beating, his lungs stop moving, his blood stop flowing and so on. Isn’t that?”
“I mean, why cannot be fixed up, that’s I mean,” Godam was still anxious.
“What do you mean?”
“For example when someone’s heart stop beating, why it cannot be fixed up so it can beat again or it is changed by another heart.”
“That has been done? There are many people who their heart have been changed, aren’t they? There are many people who their lungs have been fixed up, aren’t they? There are many people who their kidney have broken and then have been changed, aren’t they?”

“Yes. My father had done a bowel surgery. Doctor said, my father’s bowel got malignant cancer. It must be cut …..” Godam didn’t continue his words.
“That’s one of examples that parts of our body which is in disorder can still be cured.”
“But why does he still die?”
“Damed! That’s the might of Him who give this life. This life is loan. If he who gives the loan wants to take it back, so, what we can say? ”
“Yeee, when do we borrow it? I never feel borrowing it!” Godam was stinging.

Nita who at that day was wearing pink t-shirt stopped talking. She looked at godam for long time. Then, she extended her palm and fondled Godam’s forehead. “You are sick. The medicine has used up, hasn’t it?” She asked. Godam was dazed.


Not so long, Godam met Nita again in ……., somewhere. For this, the place suddenly became unimportant to have name. A place, could be an office, kitchen, bath room, street, market, shop, beach, wardrobe, closet, yard, library, foot ball field, public telephone ……, let them still with their own name. But for this case, let the names were not called, because actually – this – did not really need certain place, which was special, although for while, perhaps many people realized the names were important at least as the silent witness. Nevertheless, for Godam, and also Nita, let them unlike the other people, did not have problem for the name of a place.

Godam spoke with a half whisper, - a short sentence that actually had been kept by him even for centuries – according to his feeling. “I fall in love with you. Would you also fall in love with me, Nita?”
Nita was surprised half-alive. She looked at Godam for long time.
“Please, what happen to you, Godam?” She asked.
“So why?”
“Why are you so easy to say falling in love?”
“Because I really fall in love with you. Because I want something that is always easy. Because, whatever that we have tried to do with so much consideration, calculation, thought, sublimation, sedimentation, etc, actually will be ended easily. Like…. like … ya like everything. The price for instance, how easily it increases without asking agreement from the buyers. It is just like the law for example, how easily it changes the attitudes depends on who use it or for whom it is used. It is also like politics for instance, how easily it change the direction, compromise, without memorizing the history, without memorizing how much the victims is, who have been caught up for protecting ideology which is adored Before. It is also like the death, it simply happens. Have a look around the street, people can easily die just because an accident. Anywhere people can die easily just because of being stabbed, shot, hang oneself, drinking poison, heart attack, stroke, cancer, typhus, AIDS, cholera, dengue fever, TBC, diabetes ….”
“Are you sick? Ough…. Let’s go to the doctor!” Nita pulled Godam’s hand.

To make the problem easier, Godam obeyed.

All long the road to the doctor, Godam’s thought was round and round by the questions. Why in every point of talking that too serious Nita always called him sick? Why, when he thought and spoke honestly based on his heart, he was always called sick? If everybody had the way of thinking, speaking and acting like him, would everybody be called sick? What is sick actually? Was he perhaps a sickness?

At the doctor Godam laughed. Apparently, it was Sunday and the doctor closed. So, on Sunday, don’t be sick!***

One day

Nanoq da Kansas

*The title was inspired from a short story “Dilarang Membunuh Di Hari Sabtu” (Don’t Kill On Saturday) by Satmoko Budi Santosa.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pauperization in Bali

foto by gembong ismadi

Sayu, just called her with that name, leaved her village together with her husband, to seek fortune to Denpasar. They were heavy-hearted to leave their only one son who was just six year-old. They trusted the grandmother to take care of their child. One of a thousand reasons they went to work in Denpasar was, because they didn’t have large garden or rice field in their village. Their parents “just” inherited them garden 15 acre in width, which could accommodate some of banana cluster, some rambutan trees, and some cocoa trees. Before working in Denpasar, besides taking care of the garden, the husband sometimes worked as a construction coolie. While Sayu took care of two pigs and a cow which were got by “ngadas” from the neighbor. In short, this married couple was a portrait of poor farmer in general in Bali, although actually there was no too much problem with their income in the village. As common expression in village, that was the most important thing was the kitchen blew the smoke, that’s enough.

But every day this married couple thought, that now their child had begun to school and grew up. The life cost and the school needs of their child would more than before. There was no just to make the kitchen blew the smoke, but the continuity of life would demand more properties.

Half year working as a cleaning service in a Japanese restaurant in South Denpasar, in which the working time was eight hours per day, Sayu got salary Rp. 400.000 per month. Without any allowance, she just got once lunch in restaurant, plus the working uniform. Meanwhile, her husband worked in another place with income Rp. 700.000 per month plus once lunch allowance.

If those were summed, their income per month was Rp. 1.100.000. Then, that income was used for room fee (that too far from comfortable) Rp. 200 thousand, breakfast and dinner for two persons Rp. 360 thousand per month, detergent, soap, tooth paste, shampoo, face powder, lipstick, deodorant, mosquito repellent and water for two persons per month was Rp. 150 thousand, then was also used for bed credit, bed sheet and pillow Rp. 200 thousand, so the income of this married couple remained Rp. 190.000! It was not yet used for petrol of their old-motorcycle that was used for working.

In Kuta tourism center, a boy who admitted from Seririt regency, Singaraja, worked as a waiter of a star-hotel restaurant. In that place, he and teens other employees had worked for four years. Now, just called the boy as Budi, “had succeeded” to get salary in the amount of Rp. 850.000 per month (just a little over the UMK of Badung ( the minimun salary of Badung regency), plust transport charge Rp. 100.000. Totally, Budi earned Rp. 950.000 per month.

From the total salary, Budi should pay his room Rp. 300.000 per month. Then, the cost of his eating and cigarette a month Rp.420.000. (Budi just bought food once a day, because he could eat in his working place once). Besides that, Budi also spent about Rp. 150.000 a month for other needs such as washing tools and bathing and water supply in his boarding house. So, Budi’s salary remained Rp. 80.000 a month.

It was not also different from Nengah from Jembrana. This father of a three year-old girl worked as a currier in a goods-carrying industry (well known as cargo) in Denpasar, owned by a businessman from Jakarta. As a permanent employee, Nengah received his main income Rp. 600.000. Incentive Rp. 150.000, transport charge Rp. 350.000, service charge regularly Rp. 75.000 and rent-motorcycle fee Rp. 50.000. Totally, Nengah got Rp. 1.225.000,-.

Same as other lower class, Nengah should also pay the room Rp. 300.000 a month. He should look for rather large room because he took his wife and child together with him. For eating needs (daily cooking and milk for the child), this small family spent money for daily expense Rp. 500.000 on an average a month. The cost of washing tools and bathing and mosquito repellent was Rp. 150.000 a month. There was still monthly outcome for paying the electricity and water jointly in the boarding house Rp. 30.000 a month and unpredictably child-care fee was Rp. 100.000 on an average a month. Therefore, roughly the income of this small family remained Rp. 145.000.

The questions are, how should Sayu meet the daily needs and her child school fee in the village with money Rp. 190.000 a month? What kind of prosperous family could Nengah and his family build with remaining money Rp. 145.000? What kind of future would Budi face if his pocket only remained Rp. 80.000?

They could not even cover the end of the month properly, much less a future. Because as a human being that coincidentally born and lived in Bali, in fact every month they should also spend for social fee like attending invitation in relatives and friends who had ceremonial feast, religion ceremony in family and in the village, and the cost of a piece of suitable cloth. It was not yet the cost for toothache medicine, headache, traffic ticket fee, administration fee in the district as a new comer, parking fee and other fees.

With income which is not so much a month, as society, tens thousand Sayu, teens thousand Budi and teens thousand Nengah, absolutely cannot yet feel the freedom and sovereignty in their life. They do not even have ability and freedom for repairing plaited bamboo’s wall of their parents’ house, much less hoping that they can give something for developing their village.

Then, everyone can have opinion, that the job vacancies and job opportunities which as if are created and opened by the tourism capitalist with its all aspects and effects in Bali, are not a blessing like what is thought all this time. It is not different from the presence of colonizers, who clearly ignored the ethic of life and the human right in this independent world, because they apparently did not have commitment for changing the condition in their surrounding, from poor and dull became better. The job opportunities that are created, in fact are just able to accommodate the sweat of the workers just for developing and increasing their industries. So, what is the difference between the presences of the future’s hope youths who work in the crotch of the tourism capitalists’ octopuses and the Nusantara’s societies who previously worked under the boot of colonizers?

This is a serious offense of human right that continuously happens in this God’s island. Is there anyone who realizes it? Maybe no one! Because the elites just keep quiet and take part enjoying all of that. Because the societies also keep quiet while dazzled by the shining of colorful lamps in star – hotels which who knows the owner , mesmerized by the magic of escalators and lifts in malls which who knows the owner, surprised by the line of luxurious cars along the street from Kuta to Sanur which who knows the owner.

In this context, really, Bali has buried the human right happily with small changes that flow from bikinis of the tourists who come to buy the twilight in the beach, who come to buy the fresh air in the mountain, who come to buy the glance of legong dancers in the dim corners of star – hotel yard. But no one can change it.

nanoq da kansas
translated from indonesian firs by yudi ariani

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

To Every Man’s House who Became Father

The Short Story by Nanoq da Kansas
“Has dad ever thought that is dad appropriate to be called as a hero for us?” suddenly my five children asked me together. They asked me that question when I was relaxing, enjoying shiny evening weather at the back garden of our simple house, on an antique rocking chair given by one of my son in law, in the middle of green grasses, between a lot of clump trees arranged neatly, in the north west corner of the small pond made by a famous gardener in our town.
I was surprised. Astonished looking at their lips stuck beautifully in my children’s face from the oldest to the youngest. I was surprised by their togetherness. It was the first time they looked out me as compact as this. Previously, they never did it. Previously, I didn’t know.

I looked at them one by one, that three handsome faces and that two beautiful faces. Here they were. Five generations for continuing my life who were handsome and beautiful. Five persons as the result of me and my wife’ love, who now become persons with their own job and status, even who have given me some funny and naughty grandchildren. Here they were, my five children who at the moment looked at me and for the first time asked me: “Has dad ever thought, that is dad appropriate to be called as a hero for us?” damn! They forced me. Forcing me to the vaguest corner in my skull. Pressing my body into the place without dimension in my chest. Damn! I narrowed my eyes, tried to think.

All this time, what had I done and given to them? I loved my wife, then they were born one by one. Then my wife and I look after them, grew them up as the other parents did. My wife and I grew them up with all normal things, plain, something that flew based on the beat of the life that we found, that we walked on.

My wife and I had grown up the children in a family that I thought it was normal and like what a truly family was. If I thought they were wrong, I warned them. If I thought they were naughty, I scolded to them. Beating their bottom or tweaking their ears, once punishing them to stand looked out the wall for tens minutes. I praised or gave them reward for something that made them appropriate to receive it. Inviting them to make some jokes, discussing, having different opinion, or agreeing a case or asking them to forget the things that should be forgotten. I invited them to do jobs that they should do.

Swear! I really felt I had given everything to them, to my children. Inviting them to walk on and enjoy this life from drops of the most pain of my sweat to the most famous of my prosperity in my life history. Even I had given my blood and marrow to them. My breath. My soul. My love. My love and affection. My inner self. My weakness. My madness. My everything.

And at the moment, suddenly they came together with compact lips asked me: “Has dad ever thought that is dad appropriate to be called as a hero for us?”

Damn! How sweet they were when they utter those words. How simple their facial expression when they bombarded that question precisely on my forehead. And suddenly how dim the sky on my head. I didn’t understand, why suddenly I felt they pushed me to the vaguest corner in my experience. Why suddenly I felt under pressure in a place without dimension.

My eyes glittered. Perhaps I was little bit tired. And they, my five children, did not yet move from my face. They still waited. Instead, they seemed to have more desire of the answer from my mouth. In a vague glance, I looked at them did not blink their eyes looking out me. Even their breath was felt touching my chick and coming out at my nape. I closed my eyes. The rocking chair was felt moving by itself. Swinging my body and my feeling.

I didn’t know how long, I was speechless. Then I felt their hands, my children’s hands began to be impatient. They began shaking my body. And their lips still repeated the same question: “Has dad ever thought that is dad appropriate to be called as a hero for us?”

I narrowed my eyelid. Then slowly I felt those hands began scratching my body. Firstly they gouged out my eyelid with their index fingers, then they pried my mouth with all their fingers. Then those hands move to my chest. Those strong hands and smooth hands began pulling my stomach skin and also my rib, opening all of my thoracic cavity widely. They scraped there continuously. Kept on seeking more curiously. The longer the time, those hands were more uncontrolled. And then their breaths changed into bellow of a creature that I never knew it before. But I was still speechless. I still ……
Perhaps my face, my chest, my stomach, my head and all of my body had been messed up by them when I let myself flew slowly from the rocking chair. I flew leaving them. Leaving the clump trees, the green grasses, the small pond…., and quietly I flew to every man’s house that became father.***
bali in a twilight.
for the late wayan mandra, my father,
who had taught the simple life and love for us, his children.
translated from indonesian fisrt by yudi ariani

Monday, November 24, 2008


“Dear, where does the falling star go?” asked the girl to: whether to her lover, whether to her friend, whether to her chemistry teacher, whether to her English teacher, whether her head master, whether her father, whether her mother, whether her older brother, whether her little brother, whether her neighbor, whether herself, whether her dream, whether her fantasy, whether ……

Would you, would you be the falling star? To be something completely burned, felt, but still gave magnificence for the dark sky before finally it was totally gone? Would you be that magnificence in seeking my soul that I didn’t know why it had been eternal for centuries? Would you give me a little explanation, why between that darkness, there was something, which let itself burned for a bundle of light that just also for a moment?

When the girl asked, when those questions were uttered by her, a television was turning on. In the middle of shining light, horrifying pictures appeared in turns with narrations that also so horrifying. About war that still demanded victims in a nation. About bombs that still exploded in a town. About the dead bodies that had burnt without being able to be identified. About dryness of an area in an island. About flood, about storm and hurricane that killed a thousand of people. About a hundred of children who were killed in taking of hostages’ action. About tens of robbery, murder, torturing between human being.

At the same time, a piece of newsletter was being opened and read by someone. There were pictures and letters that were arranged only from anger. There were sentences that were arranged only from suspicion, swearword and spitefulness. There were expressions that were written only from hypocrisy, untruth and pretense. There were also punctuation marks that exactly flying on never been able to touch the ground.


Dear, Would you, would you be the falling star? To be something completely burned, felt, but still gave magnificence for the dark sky before finally it had totally gone? Would you be that magnificence in seeking my soul that I didn’t know why it had been eternal for centuries? Would you give me a little explanation, why between that darkness, there was something, which let itself burned for a bundle of light that just also for a moment? Asked the girl to: whether to her lover, whether to her friend, whether to her chemistry teacher, whether to her English teacher, whether her head master, whether her father, whether her mother, whether her older brother, whether her little brother, whether her neighbor, whether herself, whether her dream, whether her fantasy, whether ……

Of course, I could not answer if the question of the girl was pointed to me. I imagined. It would take me so long to think for finally shaking my head and giving up in the same question. However, I would tell an analogy (that actually it did not similar like this), a story, a fairy tale. That, the dew that came early dawn until morning and than swung in the sharp point of the leaves and in the trunk of the grass, was also something that willing to sacrifice itself for giving a magnificence to the earth. Imagined! What was the advantage of the dew to swing there if in a moment it was absorbed to be unshaped vapor by the sun that came later with hot body always. Why should the dew appear in the morning? Why it swung there, unless if you saw it carefully, so you would be able to catch it then put it into a language with voice: magnificence!

Therefore, that was the reality of life. There were always who were willing to come just when others were willing to go. There were always who were willing to wait between those who were bored. There were always who were silent just when others were noisy. There were always who woke up when others were sleeping. There were always who did not choose between those who were fighting. There were always who gave when others avoided. There were always who were honest when others were hiding. There were always who were sharing when others were hunting. And that dew, that falling star too, actually also took a position in between them.

Therefore, if I could I wanted to be that falling star. I wanted to be that dew. Appeared in a moment even in a very short time, but it had been there. Maybe, there was not many who could see it, but there was always who saw it. Like the falling star, maybe only that girl who (always) saw it. (Or maybe you always waited?) Like the dew, even no one who realized its existence, but a cricket surely needed it only for wetting its throat after singing all night. Yes, I wanted to be that falling star!

nanoq da kansas
translated from indonesian first by yudi ariani

Monday, November 10, 2008

about my name

with my brother ibed

oi, they give me many names
and how rich my image is

while even mother didn’t know
who I was when I asked, one day after it rained
in the yard wiping off my shoeprints
made of velvet or mute

and now who am I
other than someone in a hurry challenged by time
jumping through a train door
towards you
then at every transit platform
I give a greeting: hi, how are you
do we still have time
for just a little lie?

but whose train is this?
dusty window glass is still covered in gray

so about my name, whatever you wish
it must be beautiful, for you are a name specialist
but don’t forget, tell me your name too
because each ticket will be checked
and at any time anyone could say
: is this your train too? don’t forget
your name!

nanoq da kansas
translated by Joyce Adiwinata

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bali, Poverty and Pauperization

Foto: Eka Prasetya

The refusal of local authenticity and sovereignty in the development of Bali to force it becomes exclusive, is the starting point of poverty and pauperization in social aspect, economy and social culture, even Bali civilization structure generally. Forcing absurd ideas that imprisons Bali into the absurd exoticism all this time, clearly dwarfs Bali. Bali has been just like a bonsai in every aspect. It is beautiful and enchanted, but it can do nothing.

One of reason that we don’t want to admit, why the bomb tragedy in Kuta few years ago made Bali paralyze immediately, is because Bali is poor! At that moment, when the only one asset that Bali still had, that was “safety and peacefulness”, was suddenly messed up by the terrorist’s bomb, Bali was directly in agony. It is because “safety and peacefulness”, the only one asset in this modernization era becomes object sold by Bali to support its societies although it just comes from some small changes of the tourists.

So, when the only one asset was completely crushed, immediately we realized, that we, that Bali, didn’t have anything! Nothing could be sold to make the tourists come and brought their small change for us. Moving to another job, that was impossible! It was because the land for farming had been narrower changed by golf-course, hotel, villa, supermarket, shop, etc. Building a factory, that was impossible. Having a business was also impossible because all places for business had been owned by the outside capitalists. Selling something in a small range on the edge of the street was also difficult, because the street had been filled up by vendors from out of island in which when Bali still lived in safe and peace, we accepted them with smile and thank.

Yes, the reason that also makes the mental of Bali down, just because a bomb exploded in Kuta tourism area, is because the terrorist’s bomb makes Bali aware about its poverty! It is difficult to be objected, that poverty is always easier to make us panic, inferior, and then paranoid. While, the victims of the savage terrorist in that tragedy, actually had enough crushed our heart, after that (as Balinese that are truly spiritualist) we fully surrendered to god almighty. That the dead people certainly go to the appropriate place for them. But, we who are still alive, have to think and struggle very hard (even if it is needed, by allowing every ways), to continue the life more easily as much as we can every day.

But, how can our life become easier every day if we don’t have a foundation for that? And that is it, which happens to the people in this God’s Island in which its bright sprays out to foreign continents. That, as the societies of our nation, Balinese people who live in Bali, actually don’t have better chance than the marginal who live outside in hinterland valley and gloomy hill of Irian, in dry land of Madura and NTT, in the cruelty of Jakarta, the metropolitan city, Surabaya, Makasar and other big cities.

“At the moment, how small the incident that disturbs “the purity of good name” Bali, will easily paralyze Bali like what happened after the bomb tragedy in Kuta. It is because the social economy of Balinese has been taken over and built by the shareholders without the right and proper foundation. Not on the brittle foundation, but without right and proper foundation!” that was the opinion of one of Balinese’ son, Wayan Ratmitha. The reason is, Bali is forced to be elite by ignoring the authenticity of every local aspect, social-culture-economy aspects.

“What is meant by the authenticity of Bali, is Bali with its unity and local sovereignty is allowed to grow, wake up and walk with Balinese natural belief together. It is not in many kinds of form like what happened in few last decades,” said Ratmitha.
The Paralysis of Village Potential

This refusal of local authenticity in the development of Bali to force it become elite that precisely create poverty by poverty in social and economic aspect and also Balinese culture generally. Forcing absurd ideas that imprisons Bali into the absurd exoticism all this time, clearly dwarfs Bali. “So far, Bali has been become bonsai by the elite who collaborate with the greedy capitalist, whether they are local or central elite. Bali is beautiful and enchanted, but it can do nothing. That is bonsai,” continued the activist of Komunitas Kertas Budaya (Jembrana-Bali) pessimistically.

All this time, the exoticism that succeed to be built tidily by the elite and the capitalist has absorb many human resources from all over villages in Bali to go surrendering their faith to the only one industry, that is tourism, that unfortunately is centered only in one place in Bali. The young generations of the villages in Bali are proud of their selves, if they can be gardener, cleaning service in hotel, waiter for the tourist, dress maker in garments owned by the foreigner or surfing board holder in Southern Badung. While, at their house, in their villages, they neglect their garden and rice field or they sell them to the new rich people coming from certain places who have sold their land for the infrastructure of tourism industry. People who leave their rice field in their village are still lucky sometimes, because their parents have to rent someone to work on their rice field. Especially for the people who leave a garden in their village, so the garden finally becomes underbrush area or wild grasses. The potential of the village slowly and surely becomes paralyzed.

By using agricultural modernization as the reason, previously, from their desk in luxurious building, the elite enticed the farmers in all over villages in Bali to plant their garden with export commodity plants. Coconut trees, mango, sawo (kind of tropical fruit), durian, ceroring (kind of tropical fruit , in bahasa Indonesia it is called duku), kepundung (kind of tropical fruit), etc were felled and changed by vanilla, glove, cocoa or imported fruit plants. Because of the enticement that too wonderful and also without sufficient socialization about the classification of appropriate plants to be planted in their garden, not all farmer could feel the crops. While, the farmers who were unlucky because their land was not appropriate to be planted by glove, cocoa, etc, just bit their fingers.

So when the tourists needed to eat fruits, immediately the capitalists exported oranges from China, apple from New Zealand, grape from Bangkok, rice from Siam, soy bean from America, and so on.

Balinese people that their daily life are full of many rituals in which its concept is always in accordance with nature, so the equipments used to conduct the rituals also come from nature, have to buy those equipments outside the island. Bananas have been rare to be found in Bali because the local banana trees have gone by plant pest as the effect of the raging cultivation of species of banana as the result of crossbreeding conducted by the agricultural experts, a few days ago. Fruits for offerings, want or not, we have to use imported fruits that nowadays can easily be found from market to the small shops on the edge of the street. Whereas, the price of those fruits are more expensive and are not equal to the result of selling cocoa seeds, vanilla, glove flowers that all apparently depends on the need of global market.

So that is it, the exoticism of Bali which nowadays is only absurd exoticism, instant, tasteless and brittle. Whereas, previously, something that made Bali brighten, something that made Bali as “Morning of the World” (said a friend who cites Nehru), was the life in villages that became the authenticity of Bali itself. Bali with its people that grew naturally with the rice field and subak (Balinese irrigation) together, with corn garden , kesela (Balinese word for sweet potato), palawija (crops planted as second crop in dry season), and local fruits like kepundung, ceroring, katulampo (kind of tropical fruit), poh gandarasa (kind of mango in Bali), poh golek (kind of mango in Bali), poh gedang (kind of mango in Bali), durian, mangosteen, biyu buluh (kind of banana in Bali), biyu raja (kind of banana in Bali), biyu ketip (kind of banana in Bali), biyu gedangsaba (kind of banana in Bali). It is not Bali which is developed instantly by following concept of many kinds of imported fast food.

Because if we want to be honest, till now Bali still needs corn, kesela, kesawi (Balinese word for cassava), undis (kind of nuts that is classified as vegetable in Bali ), kepundung, ceroring, katulampo, poh gandarasa, poh golek, poh gedang, durian, mangosteen, biyu buluh, biyu raja, biyu ketip, biyu gedangsaba. And, how ridiculous if now Bali should buy all of them outside.

The Systematic Pauperization
What is explained above is also a pauperization process that runs systematically in Bali. That is actually because; the systematical pauperization itself empties into a point in which (in this case) Bali finally depends on the kindness of the outsider. Now, Bali depends on the kindness of the farmers from Java in order to get local stuff for eating and for conducting tradition and religion ceremony. Bali depends on the kindness of the capitalists in tourism and business centers in order that its young generation can be a labor or a coolie. Bali depends on the kindness of the croupiers in order that they want to buy the glove, cocoa seeds and vanilla fruits from the farmers that is not so much. Bali depends on the kindness of the brokers of advanced country in order that the craft made by its societies like wood-carvings, statue, to silk-screening T-shirt can be exported with very cheap price. Yah, it is better than becomes rotten or eaten by termites, everything is accepted sincerely.

In the case of employment, the dependence of Bali on the outsider who unfortunately is nothing but the capitalist is also extremely huge. It is because the magic of tourism industry which is too glamour, has killed the societies’ belief to provide their selves with good and proper education. Almost all parents in Bali push their children to finish their school until senior high school only. Afterwards, they should go to tourism centers to be a coolie. It doesn’t matter, whether they only (as what is said before) become gardener or cleaning service in hotel, waiter, shopkeeper, dress maker in garments, alcohol bottle taker in bars, sandpaper and shoe polisher, whatever. The most important is they can close to the tourists, the case closed!

Why do the parents choose that way for their children? It is because the school fee is extremely high. And the high cost cannot be pierced by the agriculture crops that has been ignored so long, cannot be pierced by the income as a coolie. So the management of economy in Bali is wholly managed by the human resources from out of Bali that certainly come with impassioned capitalistic desire, which is the same as El Nina and Katrina storms in Pacific Ocean. The income or high salary runs outside, while small change goes to local worker. “If we talk about all of this, whether we just aware or because of frustration, it will never stop! That Bali is poor. From the beginning, Bali has been poor, and then Bali is made become poor continuously, so the poverty become having its descendant in Bali. There is only one solution, the willingness of the elite together with the societies in Bali to change totally the development regulation that all this time are oriented to bourgeois, back to the local authenticity and sovereignty of Bali itself!” Thus, some of Balinese young thinkers mumble. Only mumble!

Moding, Beginning 2008
nanoq da kansas

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


However, when a dead body was found in a place without head, without two hands and feet, everybody was surprised. And all of us felt horrify to imagine a human body laid incompletely, not only without soul, but once again, it was also without hands and even without head. And, the most touching our heart, all was clearly the result of human behavior.

We still can’t believe, how a human being is able, dare and mercilessly do that kind of cruel action to another human being who at least is his friend, his neighbor, or just his acquaintance. We always can’t believe how a human being is able, dare and mercilessly to cut another human body, then bring it anywhere whether it is thrown or for something. That is really a behavior that perhaps has passed many processes, so the common sense, normal thinking, have lost their power for controlling the muscles that have done it.

And the incident that in a few days later becomes news headline in mass media continuously, of course doesn’t stop as news only. We play back again the time and the days half-intentionally or even truly intentionally. We remember, have we ever heard the same thing before?

In fact, it is not difficult to find and play back once again our memory about the same incidents. In fact, we have heard and read, that the incident of killing between human being by using the same way, in which the victim is cut alive or dead, has ever happened. The way that later is known as mutilation, apparently is not a new thing in the middle of our harmonious life between human being. The fact is that mutilation had been there or had happened in the pain of our historic civilization.

In normal life, the murder incident or action by using extreme ways, for example by cutting off the victim’s body into several parts, is a kind of behavior that always causes horrible and sadness with intense physiological pain, even for far people like us, who just read and watch its newsflash from the television. We are horrified and sad, how can a human being that has the same characteristic like us, loose their normal awareness so becomes sadist like that? Is there anything which has greatly entered and ruined our humanity, and then control our brain every time, muscle and our inner heart to leave our sense of humanity? Is it this which all this time we know as devil? If it is true, how come? Haven’t we been so religious in walking on this life? Doing many ritual ceremonies, prayers, etc? Does it become evident that all this time our religiosity only in form of a camouflage by camouflage?

Here, I am suddenly dazed to myself. It is that suddenly, how a large part of our humanity behavior only till the grey line, between sincere and that camouflage. And sadly, our religiosity is till the grey line too. Ironically, we have mutilated our religiosity so long, massively. Imagine how we really like cutting our holy book, taking its verses part by part to be adjusted and used for a moment need. How we really like to cut the holy ceremony, holy dance, holy place, holy land, to holy prayer, just for certain interest that if we want to be honest, it is much for self-interest that too exclusive, just for a little purpose, just for the partner, just for….. ah, in fact a large part of our religiosity has ignored our togetherness, ignored our universalism, and, ignored the humanity itself. Whereas, religion, holy ceremony and prayer, as how the world is, universe and life, based on the simplest understanding, they are ours and for us.

In a smaller space, for example in a nation, we have been so long doing mutilation continuously and massively to our nation. How we mutilate the symbol and the foundation of the state for our group’s interest and belief. Every politic party, in such a way mutilates the foundation and symbol of our state. One party just takes only its divinity, another party just takes its democration, another just takes its justice, another one just takes its unity and so on. We mutilate and cut happily the state’s foundation that had been created, implemented and agreed in one unity and belief for all people’s benefit, just for winning the interest that is pointed to the group’s authority. While, for some people who are not partner, who are not the member of the group or who are not from the same party, just become procession object for defending the eternity of that authority.

In daily life, we also mutilate continuously our mother earth, the place where we stand and live. We take its sand a sack by a sack, take its stone a basket by a basket, take its gold a gram by a gram, its iron, its steel, its medal, its cooper, its coal, its oil, its diamond, its valleys, its forest, its water, etc. How happily we cut part by part of the earth, ignored its suffering, while, we easily forgive ourselves in a moment when we are warned and realized by a disaster. Regretting our bad behavior to the universe and for forgiving ourselves, have always been done only from our side. We just pray and do ceremony together, and ask the God for giving the earth and the universe back. We just stop till a prayer, and then we feel that we do not need to implement it in our real life, how we are willing to heal the earth’s wound, the mother earth’s wound, the humanity’s wound that we have mutilated.

So, when a dead body was found in a place without head and two hands, or when another human body was found anywhere into several pieces, hopefully, we will remember that we all are creature that like to do mutilation and we have to stop that behavior soon!

nanoq da kansas

translated from indonesian first by yudi ariani