Sitting here on my rock with my dogs at the end of the groyne, I hear no evil and see only beauty — oh, what a sunrise! — but I did read something alarming from the Oracle Susi Johnston this morning. She was suggesting that Bali had lost its soul, and that many Balinese thought so too: this shortly after I posted a video on plastic in Jimbaran. I told her not to be negative about matters about which she knows little: she knows a lot about Bali in general, and is a fabulous archivist/environmentalist/activist in a shrieking harpy bluestocking way, but she does not have her finger on the ceremonial or spiritual pulse of Bali, save for what she hears from her staff and her sycophants. I have spent longer than Susi complaining about this and that to the Balinese, but it just washes over them, and they look at one with a level of pity, but never disgust. THEY DON'T DWELL ON THE NEGATIVE — they just deal with it through bakti yoga, the never-ending cycle of ceremonies of placation, which have been ramped up a few notches lately (not that this is the best way to protect the environment ... we need our Susi's). I went to Banjar Pelasa in Kuta,mlate one night last week, and found EVERY village member, beautifully attired, engrossed in a Calonarang play (Susi pooh-poohed the production design in a post — she can be shallow). There was also not a skerrick of plastic anywhere to be seen. Yesterday, in Intaran, I saw a big poster with an image of the wonderful bendesa adat Anak Agung Kompiang of the local Pemecutan-affiliated palace (something else Susi is wary of) explaining how easy it is to keep the village green and clean. And in fact Intaran was looking spotless. A minute later I spotted dear old Pedanda Geria Toko walking down a lane beaming love and joy. I feel a swell of grass-roots support for education about the rubbish issue.
In two hours I will go to Sidakarya nearby for another ceremonial show-of-force by the adat community there, nearly all of whom work in menial jobs in the tourism sector. For six weeks this urban village has been celebrating the soul of Bali.
On the groyne just now I met a young Balinese from Nusa Penida (photo below) who doesn't work, but is a member of an ORMAS (kind of right wing Hindu vigilante group of the type who were fighting in the carpark at Angeline's murder pre-trial hearing in Denpasar yesterday (see ridiculous story on front page Bali Post)). These ORMAS dorks are operating ON THE FRINGE, like Susi (and me really, in my Poobah Palais). But, unlike Susi, they regularly take off their black shirts, change into white, and celebrate Bali's undiminishable soul power.