Aum Swastyastu ... Welcome to the Stranger in Paradise

(Published in the Hello Bali Magazine, November 2000)



Anyone lucky enough to have been in Sydney during the Olympic fortnight experienced the greatest show on earth in the world's most picturesque city. Bali's contingent of warriors and supporters, lead by wind-surfer Gusti Made Oka Sulaksana of Sanur (in action top left) were swept up in the tsunami of euphoria. A "Celebration of Humanity" screamed the International Olympic Committee (I.O.C.) "G'DAY" beckoned the blimp above Stadium Australia. "Free oysters on the foreshore" squealed Bali's Olympic cheering squad as they collected tucker in their MAMBO dilly-bags, en route to witnessing Indonesia's rousing win in the Badminton (Men's Doubles) competition. But the true hero of the games was FATSO the big-arsed wombat, the alternative Olympic mascot, created by Roy Slaven and H. G. Nelson of Channel Seven's riotously whacky "The Dream" (see drawing below left). H.G., Roy and Fatso, "The Battler's Prince", stole the show from the official mascots-the Disney-eyed Millie, Ollie and Dickhead (photo below right)—and directed a load of aussie teasing at the poe—faced I. O. C.

15 September 2000
Indonesian state TV's live broadcast of the Olympic Opening ceremony was interrupted by "breaking news" footage of President Wahid's ordering the arrest of Tommy Soeharto, on suspicion of implication in the recent bombings in Jakarta. Ten minutes later footage of Tommy Soeharto being hussled into a lift interrupted a chorus of fat girls in tap shoes. All the while some ring-in from the Australian embassy was droning on in the background about the "teacher-teacher alam" of the Australian aborigines (god knows why the "guru" word wasn't good enough). The local newscasters eyes' glazed over. It was vintage TVRI.


20 September 2000: Rushcutter's Bay, Sydney, The Wind-Surfing Competition. Local (Sanur) hero Gusti Made Oka Sulaksana represented Indonesia in Atlanta, where he finished fifth. Today our Bali support team cheered from the shores of stunning Rushcutter's Bay as the Sanur surfer showed the world's best how to look sinuous and sexy in Sydney. Sadly points were not awarded for personality or Indonesia would have harvested a gold here for sure—the Bali Olympian is a gentleman sportsman in the Rod Laver mould. Congratulations—you did us all proud!

Villa Bebek, 10 October 2000: The cheering squad at last meets their hero.
Gusti Made Oka Sulaksana came to lunch today with two of his pupils: Sanur teenagers with shoulders like Ian Thorpe. He explained how Ansett and Quicksilver had sponsored his Olympic warm-up and how Indonesians Olympic Federation had contributed towards the team's kiwi coach, Bruce Kendal. Gusti said that he got a taxi home from the airport and that his boards were still held up in customs. It's nice to know that, in Bali, even Olympians are treated like us mere mortals.

12 October 2000: Geria Kaja Kangin Alun-Alun, Klungkung, chateau Milo, Seminyak.
Milo is the premier fashion designer in Bali and has been since 1943. "At Home In Bali" says "MILO GAVE BALI THE JERSEY TANK TOP. IN ALL COLORS. He reintroduced Lurex to a populace starved for glamour and la dolce vita. His first house, vast by 1970s standards, in the rice fields south of the Bali Oberoi, was likened to the Emerald City of The Wizard of Oz-everything gleamed and glittered, everyone was young and beautiful, even the pet gorillas had diamonds in their teeth. His vast octagonal pagoda, the starship for his enterprise, had everything. There were marble grapes dripping from the ceiling-in all colors; mother-of-pearl terrazzo bathroom-in all colors; and a phantasmagorical first floor, part Barbarella, part Diana Vreeland, part Karate Kid. Milo's car was speckled gold to match his hair; he took his position as senior wizard seriously". Tomorrow the queen of Malaysia has an audience with Milo, to choose revitalized silk batik designs in Milo's trademark silk for her ceremonial wardrobe. Not since the Sultan of Solo's White Russian coach driver has a faux blonde been so close to a seat of power! Milo's Mama, Vincenzina G. V. Magliavacca, is adored by all South Bali for her adaptability (to her son's chosen Hindu lifestyle) and her zest for life and Gudangs Garam. She could smoke for Italy at the next Olympics! We love her. We worship her-as our Bule Aga Diva Mondo Beyondo.
This month Mama had her teeth filed in a fabulous ceremony in Klungkung (more photos next month) as she officially entered the Hindu-Bali faith. She has always lent her lighter to Milo to light his incense but now its official.

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