Presidential election has drawn to an end. Now, this country has a new president. With the new leader, people surely commend a new hope as well. They hope an overall improvement in all areas so that the people’s welfare can increase. No more poverty leaves on the Indonesian fatherland that is rich with natural beauty, culture and natural resources. Unlike these days, inequality is clearly visible between the surpluses and minus areas, rich and poor people, developed and underdeveloped regions and so on.
The presence of foreign art troupes to enliven the Bali Arts Festival has started long time ago. Their involvement in this event, either as gamelan players or other artistic fields draws sympathy and appreciation of many people. Relation of Balinese people to foreigners has been started long time ago. Approximately in the 1920s, when world travelers were captivated by the island breeze, the traces of travelers even spread, and were then followed like the fragrant flowers so that it tempted other travelers.
In the Bali Arts Festival extravaganza, they also spread respect and appreciation for the culture they admired and engaged. “We should appreciate their measure. Their love to our Balinese culture makes us proud that Balinese culture deserves to be admired,” commented a friend of mine while referring to the news and TV show, how graceful the foreign dancers were when dancing skillfully and playing Balinese gamelan.
Various people say that Balinese people have a special adaptability against the entry of foreign cultures and influences. As a tourist destination of the world, like it or not, it has become a thing that should happen where Balinese people, especially in tourist areas, directly get in touch with strangers. Even, for some people, groups and circles, the interaction can be very intense.
Is this really an adaptation? I try to observe this in terms of different perspective. Instead, in more extreme view, the praise about the adaptability actually poses a subtle ‘satire’ against the real contemporary condition of Balinese people. The adaptation may be considered as an acculturation, protection, preservation or even a self-education against external values and then reflected as cultural acquisition.
Once upon a time, I asked my two children about what they want to be later on when they grew up, whether they wanted to become a doctor, engineer, pilot, teacher, entrepreneur or so on. My eldest child is still confused what she wanted to be someday. She said the most important was to study first. As for my second child, he did not want to be one of the professions mentioned above. “I want to be a soldier, sir,” he said.
“Don’t you want to be a doctor like mom, or journalist like father?” I asked. “No, I want to be a soldier,” he said with a laugh. He is still a child at the first grade of elementary school. Of course, he is still very early when asked about determination on their future ideal. Now, if he is asked again it can be answered that he wants to be a soldier, the next day to be a pilot and another day to be a doctor.
The discourse on the development of Formula One (F1) racing circuit emerges again to the surface. Reportedly, the land of Bali government covering hundreds of hectares in Jembrana County will be transformed into the most prestigious racing circuit on earth. As usual, it also draws lots of pros and cons. As a matter of fact, this proposal has emerged more than a decade ago. The originator was I Gede Wiratha, one of the Bali’s successful tourism businessmen. Wiratha, the native to Jembrana or the region of buffalo race, once occupied the position as chairman of the Indonesia Hotels and Restaurants Association (PHRI) of Bali and the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) of Bali.
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