Aum Swastyastu ... Welcome to the Stranger in Paradise

(Published in the NOW! Bali Magazine, February 2016)


Bogan Heroes


Kelvin Carlyle AKA Django

In 1970, the Sanur Balinese gave Sussex emigré  Kelvin Carlyle the nickname Django, because he used to ride horses on Mertasari beach. He has since had four children — three of whom now live in Denmark — from two Balinese wives, and is now  consulting on the coming Hot Lips Bar  theatre company's all-camel production of Bogan's Heroes (see photo below).
In fact bogans  (Australian slang for Oik or Yob) have taken Bali by storm , encouraged by the government as part of its dumbing -down -Bali  program.
The signature Bir Bintang T-shirt, braided mullet, and shoulder-to-knees  tats can be seen from Nusa Dua to Singaraja. Their mating call — ‘Waz yer larse pries' can be heard, loud and clear, in shopping malls and Hooters  bars across the island.
Having spread out from their original breeding-ground  in ‘Little South Perth’ (Kuta South Beach), there are now various sub-tribes including the Hardynistas (Bali’s answer to Wal-martians), the nocturnal Sky Garden Gorillas, and the infamous surfing Bukit Bogan responsible for some sensationally ugly architecture along the south coast.


Bogan Heroes, Mertasari Beach, Sanur

To be fair, however, it’s hard to justify the constant Facebook shrieking — by the West Coast Expat herbal suffragettes, lead by Conan the Librarian (Susi Johnston) — about environmental degradation, street crimes, and pollution when the expat C.U.B. (Cashed Up Bogans) themselves are responsible for some pretty irresponsible and illegal development, particularly along the coasts and riverbanks. Set-backs, zoning restrictions, and commonsense  rules of geometry and theology are regularly flaunted by these pale-faces. They have their own magazines that display only  photos of Real Bogan housewives of Brawa in bikinis, which they read in their microwave-oven style  abodes.


Official Bogan Magazine

It would be unfair not to point out the positive impact on the Balinese economy of the budget tourist and C.U.B. expats — they prop up the tourism industry no end. Without them there would be an exodus of working girls back to East Java and Bandung, and many tattoo salons and Hooters  bars would have to close.
The numbers of turis  domestik  indigenous bogan or (Homo Erectus Nganjukensis Pithecarpus Boganensis) have recently soared, now that Bali has lots of plastic-fantastic attractions for the culture neutral (the aforementioned camel-rides and such). Fleets of budget airlines help mass tourism fill up the budget hotels and handicraft (oleh-oleh/souvenir) centres  that have mushroomed in the island’s green belts.

Bali Bogan Icon - Miss Widji Wienberg, actress, exotic dancer

6 January 2016: To Sampalan, Nusa Penida for a rare ceremony
I love going to the big island of Nusa Penida — it is ‘Old Bali’ with a touch  of sass: the Balinese there are full of beans, and a joy to be with.
Today I am invited by local tourism - and culture-journalist  Dewa Gede Santana to witness a Ngadegang ritual in the island’s capital , Sampalan. This involves a procession of a Barong Bangkung (Swine Barong) to the harbour — to face off holy Mount  Agung on the main island — with a series of ceremonies aimed at harmonizing/balancing the universe.


Rangda-bearer wearing groovy shades,
Nusa Penida

Dewa Gede Santana, our guide in Sampalan Nusa Penida on
7th January 2016 for the Ngadegang ceremonies

There is a new boat service called Mola-Mola Express, direct from Sanur to Sampalan.
On board this morning I meet a Sanur pedanda (high priest) and his wife, pedanda istri, on their way to perform the climax of an important ceremony in a village temple. We talk about Nusa Penida’s growing popularity for Hindu pilgrims (pemedek  yatra ) from Bali’s new generation of spiritual tourists.
“I am more randy archaeologist than a spiritual tourist” I tell them, jokingly.
There is a new restaurant near Dalem Ped, 8 km West of Sampalan, called Penida Colada which is such a great name. It marks the start of a new phase in Nusa Penida tourist development, as Poppies did in Kuta (forty-three years ago today!!) — of joint ventures (love matches) between a Balinese-foreigner restauranteur couple.

See my video “Ngadegang in Nusa Penida”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nl76l0A0OY8 

•    •    •

9 January 2016: Palastian Pelawatan, Gases of Sesetan
The things you stumble across at Mertasari Beach: this morning I was escaping the free-range spring roll vendor's interrogating me about my marital status when I stumbled across five barong masks floating in the shallows, and, behind them, the wondrous ‘GASES of SESETAN‘ performing arts troupe, with their charismatic leader MANGKU KOMANG CANDRA busy purifying the troupe's spooky masks. North of the group the Saturday beach crowd were soaking, like satiated lemmings, in the warm coastal waters. South of the ceremony a grumpy tourist monitored a sky-high drone. At home base (the pondok  merana ) men in black headdresses gathered, having spent SIWALATRI night on the beach or at the nearby PURA DALEM PENGEMBAK.


Mangku Komang Candra of GASES, Sesetan leads the Pelastian rituals for the Barong masks
at Mertasari Beach, 9th January 2016

See Video Penyucian Pelawatan Sesetan, 9 Januari 2016:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fKxEjPBuEc

•    •    •

VALE
I Dewa Nyoman Muka (Dewa Sari)

31 December 1959 — 7 January 2016

AMOR RING ACINTYA

Dewa Nyoman Muka (Dewa Sari), one of C.V. Swastika Kebun and P.T. Indosekar’s founding garden commandos, died last month.
It's hard to imagine life without the booming voice of gentle giant Dewa Sari entering our office compound every morning, as he has for much of the last 35 years. He was the go-to man for anything that involved special work such as carving deity statues, lifting heavy objects, packing with perfection, taking charge at cremations, offering sage advice (for the last 15 years he became a Sai Baba devotee), and out-eating anyone in the staff kitchen.

Lately he enjoyed an encore career as a character actor in various Wijaya Pilem productions (see photos and links below):

He is survived by his wife, four children (including his superbly talented and beautifully-mannered son, Dewa Nyoman Dwipayana, who now maintains the Villa Bebek gardens) and five grandchildren.

DEWA IN ‘DEMAM MAJAPAHIT’: https://youtu.be/htRgImLiG5U


WIDJILEAK: The holy Bule Hindu see just announced the beatification
of The Mother, Puri Abian Base

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