A collection of short stories, essays, blog-posts and photographs from Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Ubud High « Bali 2021 ~ Bali & Indonesia in the Time of Covid-19

In a pandemic, knowledge isn't power: it's self-preservation. A series of blog posts from the year that is 2021.

Keywords:  Covid-19 / Bali / Mask / Vaccine / Coronavirus / Anti-masker / Russian / Tourist / Anti-vaxxer / Mental health / Crime / Suicide / Foreigner / Indonesia / Sinovac / AstraZeneca / Indonesian Covid-19 health protocol

Balinese street art of a pirate ship flying the Jolly Roger on the wall of a bankrupt restaurant in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, 2021

Balinese street art of a pirate ghost-ship flying the Jolly Roger on the wall of a bankrupt restaurant in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia on May 27, 2021.

Indonesia's virus-hit economy has plunged into its first recession in two decades, with Bali suffering the heaviest financial fallout in the country.

Photograph by © 2021 Ubud High.

Twitter ~ Bali 2021 Digest

Scroll for news, views, links and free-writing on Covid-19, Bali and the Indonesian scene by @DurianLiftOff on Twitter.

7 June, 2021

I'm in the process of transcribing this year's tweets into a more durable place: here.

There are three main topics that I'm interested in. I'm doing the 'east meets west thing' – working forwards from January, and backwards from now. At some point, they should meet in the middle. Then I will update weekly.

Update: 20 July, 2021

There is no way that I can keep up with this pandemic's parabolic news cycle. Please refer to the embedded Twitter feed for current updates. Transcriptions will wait.

“Lots of people are feeling unproductive. But if you successfully infect zero people today with the virus, then you have already had an extremely productive day.”

Dr. James Hamblin, M.D.

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Blog ~ Bali 2021

Covid-19 & vaccine news for Bali & Indonesia

Medical costs, healthcare facilities and treatment for Covid-19 on Bali: Are you ready?

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Hospital / Healthcare / Indonesia / Medicine & equipment / Costs / Insurance

23 Jan 2021

These are the drugs and equipment allocated to a single seriously-ill Covid-19 patient in an Intensive Care Unit at a British National Health Service (NHS) hospital.

Facilities, drugs and equipment for one seriously ill Covid-19 patient at an ICU ward in a National Health Service hospital in Great Britain

Facilities, drugs and equipment necessary to keep one Covid-19 patient alive at an ICU in an NHS hospital in Great Britain.
Image © The Guardian.

In the United Kingdom, this is free. If you're on Bali, it is not – and may well not be available to you. If you're a foreigner living on the island, you need to ask yourself three questions:

1. Do I have private health or travel insurance that will cover me for Covid-19 treatment and complications?

2. If not, do I have enough money in my bank account to cover potentially life-changing expenses? Does my family?

3. Do I protect myself with a surgical-grade/N95 mask to keep me from catching Covid-19, and help prevent the spread of new variants on the island?

If you answer 'no' to any of these questions, you might want to start with No.3 first.

Indonesia reports daily record of Covid-19 deaths; hospitals strained

Indonesia / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Deaths and case numbers

21 Jan 2021

From Reuters:

'Indonesia reported 346 deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday, hitting a new record for the second time this week, as hospitals in the Southeast Asian nation come under increasing strain from the coronavirus pandemic.

Data from Indonesia's COVID-19 taskforce showed that deaths now total 27,203, while confirmed cases reached 951,651, among the highest in Asia.

The record fatalities and sharp rise in daily cases in recent weeks comes amid warnings that the situation could imminently worsen in Indonesia's hospitals.'


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366,000 visitors head to Bali for Christmas and New Year holiday

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Tourism / Case numbers

7 Jan 2021

There were a lot of out-of-town plates rolling around Ubud over the Christmas and New Year period. Domestic visitors were exemplary about wearing masks. Heartening to see the respect offered.

Balinese people are good at wearing the mandated masks in public – but it's strictly au naturel in crowded family compounds.

In the meantime, Indonesia set a new daily record of yesterday with 8,854 Covid-19 cases – taking the country's total to 788,402.


Covid-19 casualty rate for Indonesian doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists highest in Asia; top 5 in world

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Fatality rate / Healthcare workers

4 Jan 2021

'From March to 31 December 2020 in Indonesia, Covid-19 claimed the lives of 504 health professionals, including 237 doctors, 171 nurses and 64 midwives, according to the Indonesian Medical Association.

Fifty-two doctors died in December alone.

The Indonesian Medical Association Mitigation Team Chairman said in a written statement today that these losses of life amounted to the highest number of casualties among health & medical professionals in Asia, and were in the top 5 in the world.

The IMA blamed the surge in deaths of health and medical professionals on increases in activity and mobility associated with recent holidays, regional elections, and gatherings outside the home. Bali was among 11 provinces with the highest number of these deaths.

Indonesia has 4 doctors per 10,000 people; Australia averages 3.67 per 1,000.'

[Via Indounik @Indounik]

High death toll of Indonesia's doctors, nurses, pharmacists and healthcare workers from Covid-19


Surge in Covid-19 deaths and cases: Indonesia is worst-hit country in South-East Asia

Indonesia / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Deaths and case numbers

3 Jan 2021

Indonesia, Southeast Asia's most populous country, is also the worst hit by Covid-19 in the region. Today's infections alone are roughly the equivalent to the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases to date in nearby Thailand.

From The Jakarta Globe:

'Indonesia recorded the highest seven-day average of newly coronavirus cases and related deaths on Saturday as the government began registering citizens eligible for mass vaccination starting later this month.

The country has recorded 7,203 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 758,473, according to the government figures. A further 226 Covid-19 patients have died in the 24-hour period, taking the total death toll to 22,555.

It's also the deadliest week in the country's outbreak with an average of 223 deaths per day. The daily death toll has topped 200 for the fifth time in the past week.

The Health Ministry announced earlier this week that it has been preparing a list of eligible vaccine recipients who will be notified via cell-phone later this month.

The government's mass-vaccination program is targeting 181 million of the country's estimated population of 270 million people.'


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December 2020

The end of 2020

Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Coping

31 Dec 2020

I intend to be fully conscious, and 100% sober, to make sure I witness the back of this shitful year flick forever into the sorry wastebin of the past.

Twenty-six minutes to go. Fvck Brexit, fvck Trump, fvck de Pfeffel Johnson, fvck Putin, and fvck everyone who was too selfish to wear a mask.

Dark prediction for Indonesia in 2021 by ex-Trade Minister

Covid-19 & Coronavirus / 2021 Forecast

31 Dec 2021

Dark forecast for Indonesia in the coming year from Tom Lembong, the country's ex-Trade Minister:

'Prediksi saya: 2021 akan lebih berat buat Indonesia dari 2020 – saya sampaikan ini dengan sangat berat hati.

My prediction: 2021 will be harder for Indonesia than 2020 – I convey this with the heaviest heart.'

[Via Tom Lembong (@tomlembong). Ex-Menteri Perdagangan, ex-Kepala BKPM / ex-Trade Minister, ex-Chairman Investment Coordinating Board of the Republic of Indonesia.]

That's all, folks. Here's to 2021.

7-day rolling average for Covid-19 cases in Indonesia


'Entitled' foreigners fleeing to 'cheap' tropical destinations

Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Tourism

31 Dec 2020

Bali, anyone?

'I love seeing the same people who were like "omg why do these hicks insist on going to church in the middle of a pandemic?!" now posting pictures from their tropical vacations to poor countries that don't have the health infrastructure to take care of the resort staff they infect.

It's "I'm one of the good guys" syndrome on steroids. Loudly proclaiming your liberal values on social media or on lawn signs doesn't magically exempt you from the rules – or following public health guidelines that the overwhelmed healthcare staff are begging you to follow.

It's a simple question, but it bears repeating: just who do you think you are?'

[Via Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe), Correspondent @GQMagazine.]

Twitter 'entitled tourists' fleeing to less-privileged tropical destinations to escape Covid-19


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International visitors banned from Indonesia from Jan 1, 2021

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Tourism

28 Dec 2020

Latest news from The Guardian:

Indonesia is set to ban international visitors for two weeks, beginning on January 1st, in response to the new UK and South African coronavirus variants.

The new regulation applies to all foreign visitors.

Bali is sinking into deeper trouble.

Indonesia: Covid-19 deaths, cases, recoveries and 'Long Covid'

Indonesia / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Numbers for confirmed cases, deaths and recoveries / Long Covid

28 Dec 2020

Indonesia's a great one for its 'recovered' figures. Scores on the board so far:

☳ Confirmed cases: 713,365.
☰ Deaths: 21,237.
☶ Recovered: 583,676.

'Long Covid' is not a thing in Indonesia. Bearing in mind that the above stats can safely be doubled for a more accurate picture.

'Survival from COVID19 must be measured not only at 28 days, but also at 6 months & 9 months. Also it must be classified as survived recovered or survived but not-recovered. This is essential surveillance work that ought to be done in a 21st century pandemic.'

[Via Dr Nisreen Alwan (@Dr2NisreenAlwan), Associate Professor, @unisouthampton. Public Health. Epidemiology.]

Dr Nisreen Alwan 'long-Covid' numbers in Indonesia


Indonesia's AI-powered Covid-19 test 'GeNose' cleared for public use

Indonesia / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Testing

28 Dec 2020

This is a new one.

From The Jakarta Globe:

'Unlike existing tests, GeNose analyzes one's breath using artificial intelligence technology, offering a much faster and cheaper process with comparable accuracy to the existing tests.'

Hm. Hot air?

'GeNose C19, an instant Covid-19 detection tool developed by Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, has secured a distribution license from the Health Ministry, paving its way for public use.

The GeNose device analyzes a person's breath to detect volatile organic compounds that signify the novel coronavirus infection, and it has been claimed that the test is up to 95 accurate – similar to the antigen rapid test.

The whole testing process takes 3 minutes per person, making it ideal for screening large amounts of people in hospitals, train stations, or airports.'

Might fly? Who knows.


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Indonesia records highest monthly total of coronavirus cases & deaths since Dec 1 2020; seals deal with Chinese pharmaceutical firms

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Deaths and case numbers / Vaccines / Sinovac and Sinopharm

27 Dec 2020

How's Indonesia doing?

From The Jakarta Globe:

'Indonesia has recorded the highest monthly total of coronavirus cases and deaths since December 1st... without knowing exactly what to do to cope with raging infections.'

'Indonesia has recorded the highest monthly total of coronavirus cases and deaths since Dec. 1 and marked the 300th day since the first cases were confirmed on March 2 without knowing exactly what to do to cope with raging infections in key provinces.

President Joko Widodo replaced Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto earlier this week but it remains to be seen whether his successor Budi Gunadi Sadikin, who has never attended a medical school, can make immediate impacts amid growing frustration due to ongoing surge in newly cases and deaths.

The government has sealed supply commitment for millions of doses of the vaccine mainly from Chinese pharmaceutical companies.

Indonesia has recorded a total of 706,837 cases as of Saturday with newly cases growing at a much faster speed than in previous months. It has been averaging 6,460 cases since December, in comparison to the average of 4,293 during the previous monthly high in November. The number of active cases has more than doubled to 109,150 from the figure in the end of November.'


Covid-19 cases surge from local transmission on Bali

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Deaths and case numbers

26 Dec 2020

From The Bali Sun:

'The Covid-19 Handling Task Force in Bali has announced that virus transmission in Bali is on the rise, with a one-day total of 112 new cases on Friday Dec 25th 2020.

To date, Bali has had a total of 16,937 cases of Covid-19, resulting in 15,460 recoveries and 497 deaths.'


Genomics UK consortium sequences the new Sars-CoV-2 'Kent' variant

Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Mutations / Variants

23 Dec 2020

Everything you wanted to know about the 'UK' COVID-19 mutation but were afraid to ask – by a professor of public health and microbiology at the University of Cambridge.

It's up to 70% more transmissable.

From The Guardian:

'Here's what we know about the new variant of coronavirus: it was always predictable that the genome of Sars-CoV-2 would mutate. After all, that's what viruses and other micro-organisms do.

Here's what we need to look out for: whether the variant transmits between people more readily, whether it causes more (or less) severe disease, and whether it can evade our bodies' immune response.

There is currently no evidence that lineage 1.1.7 causes more severe disease or that it evades the immune system. There is also no reason to think that the vaccines being rolled out or under development will be less effective against it. But what does look increasingly likely is that this lineage is more transmissible.

One question that may never be answered is where the new variant came from. The first place we detected it, by looking back through virus samples, was in Kent and London. But it's not clear whether it actually emerged there.

It's worth remembering that the UK undertakes much more Sars-CoV-2 sequencing than many other countries, and the fact that we've found it here may say more about that than about its ultimate origin.

Interestingly, it has been suggested that the variant may have arisen in an immunocompromised person who was chronically infected, with the virus able to replicate and evolve in them over a long period of time. But, as ever, more work is required to understand if this is actually the case...'


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Impacts of Covid-19 on Bali's society

30-year-old American man detained in mental hospital for abusive behaviour

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Mental health

4 June 2021

A 30-year-old American man has been detained at a mental hospital after continually verbally abusing and disturbing his neighbours in Tegalalang, near Ubud. Various medical drugs were later found at his villa by a civil service officer from Gianyar.

As a foreigner, disturbing the peace on Bali is justification enough to be committed to a mental hospital, jailed, fined and/or deported.

This pandemic has had a laser-focussing effect on relationships and mental health.


42-year-old American woman found dead after heavy drinking in South Bali bar

Bali / Alcohol / Death

1 June 2021

A 42-year-old American woman was found dead in her hotel room the morning after a heavy-drinking session at a South Bali bar. This may not be directly connected to the pandemic or its fallout, but can be seen as a symptom.

Amor Ing Acintya.


52-year-old Spanish yoga instructor hangs himself in Canggu

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Mental health / Suicide

20 May 2021

A 52-year-old Spanish yoga instructor was found hung at his villa in Canggu, South Bali. Police are treating the case as suicide.

Amor Ing Acintya.


17-year-old Balinese schoolboy takes his own life by jumping off Tabanan bridge

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Mental health / Suicide

19 May 2021

A 17-year-old Balinese schoolboy from Badung, South Bali, has committed suicide by jumping from a 200-meter-high bridge in Tabanan.

Amor Ing Acintya.


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34-year-old Balinese man drinks chemical liquid before trying to drown himself off Sanur beach

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Mental health / Attempted suicide

12 May 2021

A 34-year-old Balinese man originally from Karangasem in East Bali drank a chemical liquid before plunging into the sea off the beach in Sanur. An official from the BPBD – the Denpasar Disaster Management Agency – managed to rescue him. Police are waiting for him to regain consciousness in hospital before concluding their investigation.

Admitting to or seeking help for mental health problems in Indonesia carries massive stigma, and is always a taboo subject among the general Indonesian public.

Regular, effective financial assistance for the general public during the pandemic in Indonesia is near non-existent.


37-year-old Balinese man found hanged after checking into Denpasar hotel; 42-year-old Balinese woman commits suicide in Ubud after bankruptcy

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Mental health / Financial desperation / Suicide

10 May 2021

A 37-year-old Balinese man was found hanged in the bathroom of his guest-room after checking into a Denpasar hotel.

A 42-year-old Balinese woman – the owner of a large homestay complex in Ubud – also hung herself at the weekend.

Amor Ing Acintya.


19-year-old Javanese man seriously injured after launching himself at moving car in Denpasar

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Mental health / Attempted suicide

9 May 2021

A 19-year-old man from West Java deliberately launched himself at a passing car and suffered serious head and abdominal injuries as he went through the windscreen. Police are waiting for him to regain consciousness, but assume that he was suffering from mental health issues at the time of the collision.


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Elderly Italian man faces deportation after year of begging

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Financial desperation / Deportation

5 May 2021

An elderly Italian man has been taken to immigration and faces deportation after roughly a year of begging while stranded in Bali due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 75-year-old man had previously worked as a businessman and artist in Canggu, South Bali, before going bankrupt in 2020.

Gotta hand it to him: getting by on begging for a year on Bali as a foreigner is a feat.


32-year-old Indonesian mother of four arrested for theft

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Financial desperation / Theft

1 May 2021

Unimaginative but prolonged crime-spree of gas-cannister thefts by a mum against the ropes.

She faces up to two years in Kerobokan Prison – one of the most dangerous, crowded and Covid-19-rife jails in Indonesia.


Search underway for foreigner seen scavenging from offerings

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Financial desperation

8 April 2021

The search is underway for a shirtless foreigner filmed scavenging for scraps of food from offerings. He faces deportation, as a 2016 regulation on public order prohibits loitering.


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31-year-old South African national commits suicide in Canggu

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Mental health / Suicide

8 April 2021

A 31-year-old South African national was found hanged at his guesthouse in Canggu, South Bali, and police believe that he committed suicide due to depression. Several different medicines were found in the victim's room.

Amor Ing Acintya.


59-year-old Indonesian man found dead in Denpasar after bankruptcy

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Mental health / Depression / Financial desperation

7 April 2021

A 59-year-old Chinese-Indonesian man suffering from depression, relationship stresses and bankruptcy was found dead at his home in Denpasar. As blood was coming from his nose and mouth, police are still examining his cause of death.

Amor Ing Acintya.


Indian national detained for aggressive begging in Denpasar

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Mental health / Financial desperation / Deportation

7 April 2021

An Indian national has been detained at the Public Civil Service Office in Denpasar. Often seen 'in a confused state', locals had complained of his aggressive begging and regular refusals to pay for food at vendors' stalls.


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52-year-old Japanese tour guide hangs himself in Denpasar home

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Mental health / Suicide

7 April 2021

A 52-year-old Japanese national was found hanged at his homestay in Denpasar; police believe that he committed suicide.

He had been complaining of severe headaches in the two weeks before he died, and had been seen to stagger often while walking during that time.

Amor Ing Acintya.


15-year-old Balinese schoolgirl takes her own life after drinking potassium

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Mental health / Suicide

6 April 2021

A 15-year-old Balinese schoolgirl from Singaraja in North Bali has committed suicide by drinking potassium in her bedroom.

Her family says: "She was a cheerful person, but never talked about her personal life".

Amor Ing Acintya.


Bankrupt supermarket in Ubud

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Economic crisis / Bankruptcy

22 Jan 2020

This is what it looks like when a major supermarket begins to go out of business.

Aisle after aisle of single-stacked non-perishables; fridges switched off; and a dairy section filled with bottles of mineral water. There were 79 full-time staff pre-Covid-19; now there are seven.

Bali's in for a very rough economic ride in 2021.

Bare shelves in a major Ubud supermaket that is going bankrupt in Bali, Indonesia

Bare supermarket shelves in a Cocomart supermarket in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
© 2021 Ubud High.

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Crime, punishment & foreigners behaving badly on Bali

Russian Instagram influencer drives motorbike into Bali Sea; deported for breach of Covid-19 health protocol

Russians in Bali / Crime / Immigration / Deportation / Indonesian Covid-19 health protocols

26 Jan 2021

Sergei Kosenko, a Russian national and 'Instagram influencer' – who caused outrage in December 2020 after being filmed launching off a dock on a motorcycle and plunging into the Bali Sea for Instagram likes – was deported from Indonesia on January 24, 2021.

Sergei Kosenko, seen partying hard with hired models, was deported from Bali for breaking Indonesian Covid-19 health protocols and conducting illegal business on the island

Russian 'social media influencer' Sergei Kosenko, deported from Indonesia after holding a party for more than 50 people at a Bali hotel in violation of Indonesian Covid-19 health protocols.
Image: Instagram.

Would you honestly buy a used hotel from a Smolensk native who looks like this?

Read on... ➤

Putin rides the mafia bear with a Russian Organised Crime (ROC) gang and towing a map of Bali filled with illegal businesses and real estate washed with laundered money

Putin rides the mafia bear with his Russian Organised Crime (ROC) gang as they tow a map of Bali filled with illegal businesses and real estate washed with laundered money.
Original artwork by © David Gothard.

Bali Police report more foreigners than locals breaching Covid-19 health protocols

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Tourists & foreigners / Indonesian Covid-19 health protocols

24 Jan 2021

This is shameful, not embarrassing. The problem is that non-mask-wearers are responsible for deaths they will never know about: a grandmother here, a diabetic uncle there.

It's culpable homicide. Russians are by far the worst offenders in Ubud; the second-worst group, Americans.

Brazen, unapologetic, shameless, murderous.


157 foreigners deported from Bali in 2020; majority from Russia and Ukraine

Bali / Indonesian Covid-19 health protocols / Tourists & foreigners / Russian & Ukrainian / Deportation

20 Jan 2021

From @Indounik:

'157 foreigners were deported from Bali in 2020 – most of them from Russia and Ukraine, and most for abuse of residence permits. Five have been deported or face imminent deportation so far this year.'


Cartoon by Gus Dark about foreigners and tourists ignoring Indonesian Covid-19 health protocols on Bali

Entitled tourists vs. masks and health protocols in the time of Covid-19 on Bali, by the Balinese cartoonist Gus Dark of Darkade Propaganda.

– "My skin needs more Vitamin D than yours! This is how I fight Corona! Geez, I live here!"
– "Bla bla bla... Due to Covid-19... the beach is now closed! (And I don't give a dead frog's damn!)"
– "You gotta be kiddin' me! Can't live with no waves, man! I've been waiting for empty tubes since the 70s!"

Cartoon © 2020 Gus Dark / Darkade Propaganda.

Bali authorities warn of deportation of foreigners for violations of Covid-19 health protocols

Bali / Indonesian Covid-19 health protocols / Tourists & foreigners / Deportation

20 Jan 2021

Nice to see Bali's immigration department getting in on the maskless act. Time for a clean sweep of the lows.

'After numerous reported incidents of foreigners in Bali refusing to follow COVID-19 health protocols over the past few months, an official from immigration warned yesterday that visitors may be deported if they continue to violate the rules – authorities have recorded data of foreigners who have been caught without masks or violating other health protocols in the province.'


Maskless foreigners on Bali violate Indonesian Covid-19 health protocols

Bali / Covid-19 & Coronavirus / Tourists / Anti-maskers / Violations / Indonesian Covid-19 health protocols

8 Jan 2021

Great Twitter thread by @Indounik on foreigners in Bali, masks and... not wearing masks.

You can't have your paradise and kill it too.


'Time the joke was over. Of 150 people caught not wearing a mask in Bali's Badung regency since September 2020, 80% were foreigners. Most were Russian or European, and most were in North Kuta – Canggu, Tibubeneng and Pererenan.



"They don't wear masks, they don't wear helmets, they ride with three or four on a motorbike, they ride in their underpants..." Just some of the complaints of police who deal with foreigners who don't comply with coronavirus health protocols and road traffic rules in South Bali.



This has gone on for months and months. This was back in September 2020 when Bali announced it would fine those caught not wearing a mask outside their home. This report says dozens of foreigners were caught in a sweep at Pererenan Beach. Only 2 were fined.

[3 Irish, 1 Columbian, 2 Czechs, 3 Australians, 1 German, 2 British, 2 Americans, 1 Canadian, 1 Slovakian, 1 Italian, 3 French, 2 Ukrainians, 1 South African and 3 Russians.]



Police said in a sweep in Pererenan in September that foreigners caught not wearing a mask properly or not wearing one at all were made to give their details so police could make recommendations to Immigration. Yet the problem continues.



More often than not, police hand out a mask and make the person wear it, as they did with this French national caught in Jimbaran in November. They're told to always wear a mask out in public and might be made to do push-ups or sweep up some litter.



September 2020. Who me? A mask? Oh, I just forgot. I'm in a hurry. It's in my pocket. I left it at home. I lost it. My helmet? Oh, I forgot that too.



September 2020. After arguing with officers, a Russian citizen – caught with no helmet and no mask – finally agrees to wear a mask and perform a number of push-ups as punishment.



April 2020. There were signs early in the pandemic that there would be people who wouldn't comply with the requirements to wear a mask, but the authorities in Bali were and remained fairly lenient towards them.



Jan 7th, 2021: Police in Bali's Badung regency say they're coordinating with Indonesian immigration and with the consulates of foreign nationals who don't comply with Indonesian Covid-19 health protocols requiring masks to be worn in public.



According to the Jan 6 2021 Kumparan report, of 150 people netted in Badung today for not wearing a mask or not wearing one properly, 120 were foreigners, mostly from Russia or Eastern Europe. This comes as Badung prepares for tighter restrictions intended to help curb the spread of Covid-19.

This report also makes a point of mentioning how annoyed the police are by foreigners who laugh when they're made to do push-ups as a sanction for not wearing a mask.

"What do you know about pandemics?" said a Bali policeman today, parroting a foreigner that he'd reprimanded for not wearing a mask in Badung regency.

Kompas is also reporting (7 Jan, 2021) that stubborn foreigners who refuse to wear a mask have been upsetting the local police.'

Some Indonesian media agencies blur the faces of foreigners committing criminal offences on Bali, others don't

As an aside: I don't know why some Indonesian news agencies blur the faces of tourists committing criminal offences on Bali. Name and shame is the name of the game – no?

– "What did you do on your hollies, Sergei?"

– "Oh, killed a couple of grannies, a diabetic and a pregnant nurse."

Bali, where an unconscious day-drunk on New Year's Eve still makes the front page

Bali / West meets East

2 Jan 2021

Bali, where an unconscious day-drunk on New Year's Eve still makes the news – which, if you think about it, is quite reassuring.

'An unidentified foreign national was found unconscious near a traffic light on Nakula intersection in Kuta. The expat was allegedly drunk when he was found unconscious.

"We tried to wake him up using the [police car's] loud-speaker, but he showed no response," said the fuzz.'

Bali had an 11pm curfew patrolled by the army and police on New Year's Eve.


Cartoon of entitled tourists and foreigners behaving badly and disrespecting Bali by the Balinese cartoonist Gus Dark of Darkade Propaganda

Tourists and foreigners behaving badly on Bali, by the Balinese cartoonist Gus Dark of Darkade Propaganda.

Cartoon © 2020 Gus Dark / Darkade Propaganda.

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The Tale of Ganesha the Globetrotter ~ Bali's Elephant-Headed Hindu God

Street art graffiti of Lord Ganesha with his mouse or rat, on a mural wall in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

‘First stop on Shree Ganesha's round-Asia tour was a spell in Buddhist Tibet with its strong tantric leanings – a convenient spot to re-invent himself as Vinãyaka, and then as the dancing red Nritta Ganapati – before a full-blown alter-ego revamp as the scarlet, twelve-armed Maharakta Ganapati. Now, Maharakta Ganapati was unusually fond of skullcaps filled with human flesh and blood – and this we might charitably put down to a bad trip.

After all, what happens in Tibet stays in Tibet...’

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An American Calonarang ~ Trance & Possession on Bali

Graffiti street art of a Balinese Salvador Dali sipping on a cup of kopi luwak in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

‘To cut an all-night story short, the mask was donned by a dancer who fell into a deep trance. But instead of staying in the temple, he began to run. And run. He became violent and uncontrollable. He ran for four kilometers down the road – the crowd scrambled after him. He ended up in a cemetery just past my house, and in the dead of night began to do frenzied battle with unseen foes...’

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'Nyepi' ~ Bali's Hindu New Year, and the Day of Silence ~ Melasti, Ngerupuk, Ogoh-Ogoh & Manis Nyepi

Balinese-Hindu devotees pray as sacred temple objects are bathed and cleansed during a Melasti ceremony before Nyepi on Pantai Purnama in Bali, Indonesia

‘If previous New Years' Days have seen you waking up with a crippling hangover trying to remember what you did the night before, maybe it's time you headed to Bali in March. Nyepi – the Balinese Day of Silence, and the start of the Hindu Saka New Year – is a day, a night and a day you'll never forget....’

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'Kajeng Kliwon' ~ A Very Bad-Hair Day on Bali

Film poster for Indonesian horror film 'Kajeng Kliwon: Nightmare in Bali'

‘Kajeng Kliwon is the kind of day when anything that can happen will happen. It invariably does.

You have been seriously warned...’

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Personal Stories

Diary of a Market Girl

Photo-realistic urban art by an anonymous street artist of a 1930s market scene in Bali, Indonesia

“When I had my sixth and seventh babies at the hospital – my twin girls – the doctor ordered me to have a Caesarian. And without asking me, he tied my tubes off as well.

I think he thought I'd had enough babies...”

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Food Talk

Durian ~ The King of Stink

“On the third bite,” says one hater, “it was as though I'd just eaten a diseased, parasite-infested animal with a bad case of rabies. I prayed I wouldn't be sick because I really didn't want to taste it again on the way back up...”

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Culture Bites

Cinema Paradiso ~ Bali's Seat in the History of Indonesian Cinema

1932 Virgins of Bali Thirties nudie-cutie bare-native film poster 1930s Bali, Indonesia

‘Boobs and political censorship have never been far from the Silver Screen – in Indonesia, they're its bedrock. The silent flicks of Thirties' Bali sucked hungrily on the island's bare-breasted cabinet-postcard image that encouraged so many gilded tourists – and dodgy film-stars like Charlie Chaplin – to visit its sultry, forbidden shores...’

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Getting Around ~ Bali 'Biking

Surviving Bali on a 'Bike

Motorbike accident victim being treated for a leg-injury in an Ubud clinic in Bali, Indonesia

“For me, some of the most dangerous people on the road are white people. I avoid them like the plague. You can tell the ones who are going to hurt others – the fixed grins, the hunched over the handle-bars, the wobbling around corners and shouts of indignation when they finally hit someone – because they have absolutely no idea how life and the road works around here...”

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It's Silly Season Again ~ Renting a Scooter, and Crashing it, on Bali

A monkey tourist crashes his scooter in a road accident in Bali, Indonesia

‘She tears into the traffic. She can't stop. She narrowly misses hitting a car head-on, swerves past a mum on a 'bike and slaloms across the road. Before she hits anyone – it's a miracle she doesn't – she falls in a bad-sounding heap of bent metal and smashing plastic. A group of Balinese rush to pick her up before the cops see her...’

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The Other Side of the Coin ~ Just Another Motorbike Accident on Bali

Mural by an anonymous street-artist of a crashed, burned-out Honda 70 scooter on a wall near Badung market in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia

‘She starts sweeping and I notice that she's limping. There's a spreading bruise and an angry graze running past her knee and down her calf. She wants to carry on cleaning – I sit her down and ask her what happened.

She's shy; I press...’

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Health Matters

Let's Get Wet ~ The Rainy Season on Bali

Blue sky pokes from behind a gathering of stormy monsoon clouds over Bali, Indonesia

‘Rule number one on a monsoon day? Don't get wet.

You may not realise that getting caught in a cloudburst or shower on Bali – particularly if you're on a motorbike – is the tropical equivalent of walking naked outside during a Prague Winter after a lukewarm bath.

It'll really slow you down. The shivers, hot-and-cold flushes, a chesty cough, diarrhoea, sneezing, stomach pains, a belting headache and aching bones are all at the top of the list...’

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Bali's Scorpions, Hornets, Mosquitoes, Poisonous Caterpillars... And Other Strange Tails

Bali hornet or Tabuhan, a dark brown, stinging, flying, wasp-like insect that may cause anaphylactic shock

‘Nowhere is free from the tax of life. We all have to pay for our slice of Bali paradise – and this often comes in the shape of our biting, stinging, crawling, flying insect-cousins.

It's the downside of environment-sharing...’

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Holidays from the Jungle

The Heads of Trunyan

Human skulls in the open, outdoor cemetery in Trunyan village, near Batur in Bali, Indonesia

‘Agricultural, and unpractised in the dark art of handling international tourists, the aristocratic farmer-people of Trunyan have acquired a damaging reputation for aggression. Their unique tourist draw – a jungle-cemetery where bodies are left in the open to disintegrate underneath a magical banyan tree – is regularly shunned by travellers on the time-sensitive tourist circuit...’

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Lombok ~ A Line in the Sand

‘Ten meters away and the young man finally looks up – an inane, animal-like grin taped across his face as his girlfriend grips his porcelain butt and grimaces towards the empty blue sky. They disengage like street dogs, utter an invective in Russian, and stare...’

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Tourism & Self-Enrichment

Eat, Pray, Self-Love

I love-heart Ubud, Canggu, Seminya, Sanur and Kuta in Bali, Indonesia

‘My concentration's shot to pieces. The spaghetti keeps falling off my fork. She's on her third large beer now. She starts to say 'facking' even more, and is speaking so loudly that people passing on the street have begun to look her way, and she's spitting bits of ciabatta bread and tomato and fish into her friend's dinner...’

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From Ubud With Love

Will you marry? in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

‘I'm staying at a cute, family-run bed-and-breakfast – a homestay – on Ubud's trendy Jalan Goutama. A young member of the homestay's family tours her compound, blessing it with incense and rice and flower-petal offerings in little hand-made palm-leaf boxes.

All is well in Bali's spiritual capital...’

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A Dutchman Goes to a Gypsy Fortune-Teller

Wooden cock bottle openers, Ubud Market, Bali

‘A Dutch boy in Holland goes to a gypsy fortune-teller who tells him that he is, in fact, Balinese. Afterwards, his uncle visits the Island of the Gods and brings him back a wooden carving of a bare-breasted lady.

Lucky for him it wasn't one of those funny-shaped wooden bottle-openers that looks like a cock...’

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The Land of Self-Healing and Snake Oil

Yoga-wear for an Ubud yogini manifesting her abundance, exploring her Divine Feminine and inserting a Jade Egg at The Womb Temple near The Yoga Barn in Bali

‘Shake out those Kundalini Awakenings with some HoopYogini™ and Bhakti Boogie® at the Yoga Barn. Celebrate The Divine Feminine with a splash of Shakti Dance. Puff up your lungs in a Sacred Breathwork Immersion Workshop®, insert a Jade Egg for luck at The Womb Temple™ and polish it off with some tantalising Manifesting And Abundance.

You know you're worth it...’

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Graffiti street art of a young 1930s Balinese girl looking at social media on her mobile cellphone in a mural near Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

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Earthquakes and Volcanic Eruptions in Bali & Indonesia Today

The volcano Anak Krakatau erupting in the Sunda Strait, Indonesia

Gunung Anak Krakatau – the infamous 'Child of Krakatoa' volcano – erupting in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra, Indonesia.

And finally, the weather

Fake styrofoam clouds over the main 'Cloud' stage at the 'Plastic-Free Gili Air Music Festival' near Lombok, Indonesia

Today's weather forecast for Ubud, Bali, Indonesia ⇨