The Bali Blog « A Dutchman Goes to a Gypsy Fortune Teller...
This year's gift from Pseuds' Corner at the Jakarta Post is late, but just too beautiful for words.
A DUTCH BOY goes to a gypsy fortune-teller in Holland who tells him he's actually Balinese. His uncle then visits the Island of the Gods and brings him back a wooden carving of a bare-breasted lady.
Lucky it wasn't one of those funny-shaped wooden bottle-openers that look like a cock.
The boy's karma – though complex – is set.
'After immersing himself in Balinese studies – and having made an academic career of it – De Jong has learned that the Balinese do indeed live, speak, and even walk differently compared to other people in the Malay archipelago.'
Didn't know there was an O-Level in Balinese Studies. You mean... They have their own language? I'm getting interested...
'On environmental issues, which he believes is a big issue for the island, De Jong has been showing the Balinese the way by walking or cycling everywhere.'
Ever tried walking differently from Ubud to Tampaksiring after a ten-hour restaurant shift at 11pm?
'He had learned during his studies that Balinese culture had been under siege from globalisation, from western economics, information technology, and of course, from tourism.'
Try cancelling my Facebook page, mister.
'But he also understands that it's not possible to stop the Balinese from wanting to own cars and big modern houses, shopping at malls and supermarkets.'
Oh God, thanks. So I can still go to Bintang supermarket for my weekly shop. But what about my small, leaking, 3x4-metre modern house? Is that allowed? And do I get to wear my conical farmer's hat all the time in the padi?
'He is simply a Balinese born ahead of his time, in a future from where he must return, imparting his humble knowledge so the culture he so admires is preserved and the uniqueness of a community (of which he is a part of) can continue to walk gracefully on the path of modernity.'
Bless you, De Jong! Didn't think we could do it without you!
Try this from another visiting Dutch scholar who washed up on the beaches a hundred years ago – one-time empire-builder and director of the Bali Instituut, Gerrit Pieter Rouffaer:
'Let the Balinese live their own beautiful native life as undisturbed as possible! No railroads on Bali; no western coffee plantations; and especially no sugar factories! Let the colonial administration... treat the island as a rare jewel that we must protect and whose virginity must remain intact.'
Yes, meneer, you may well have been reincarnated here...
Dutch colonial official poses with naked girls outside Goa Gajah in Ubud, Bali.
© Collectie Prenterkabinet Universiteit Leiden.
Related Content at Ubud High: Dutch Colonial Rule and the VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie) in Indonesia
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