Traditional Thursday

 A week ago, Bali’s new governor Wayan Koster issued a governor’s decree stipulating what I have translated as “Traditional Thursday”. He has declared that every Thursday all Hindus at government offices and schools must wear customary dress and speak Balinese (not quite sure how that is enforced). It so happened that on this day, Trash […]

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Gongs in Bali Part III

  What is characteristic about Balinese gongs? The two common types of materials for gong making are bronze and iron, with the former being more prestigious and therefore a lot more expensive. Although there are a number of iron gong makers in Bali, since the early 1980s, no bronze gongs larger than around 40 cm […]

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Gongs in Bali Part II

How many different types of gongs are there in Bali? A gong is actually not just a round metal object that hangs in a frame and makes a sound when you hit it. There are in fact different categories of gongs in Bali which can be made of bronze, iron or bamboo. I’m going to […]

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Gongs in Bali

To the Balinese, a gong is something that is often revered: for its sound, its prestige, its mysticism. To the lay person, we think of a gong as a hanging instrument that makes a sort of booming sound, but it is much more than that. As a gamelan researcher and educator at Mekar Bhuana Centre, […]

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Bali – Traditions not Standing Still – Part IV

An agrarian lifestyle is the root of pretty much all tradition in Bali, and therefore the basis for ritual and ceremony – the loss of which due to mass tourism is a topic for much debate and a serious threat to Balinese culture and tradition on many levels. Not only this, but an agrarian – […]

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Bali – Traditions not Standing Still Part III

When you look at Balinese society today compared to even twenty or thirty years ago, there have been many developments in terms of how people practice religion, both in terms of spirituality and customs. A turning point I believe was the first Bali bomb in 2002 – rather than retaliate against the extremist elements in […]

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Bali – Traditions not Standing Still Part II

When we see a living cultural tradition it’s easy to assume that things stand still but in fact in Bali this is not the case at all. The list of change at the spiritual, religious and ceremonial level is pretty much endless in fact. The most glaring example is a general disregard for the philosophy […]

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Bali – Traditions Not Standing Still

  Like other cultures and traditions across the world, Balinese culture is by no means immune to change. In the West, we only have to look at a tradition / belief as massive as Christmas, which is not only quite possibly on the wrong date for someone who may not have even historically existed, but […]

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Maaf saya gaptek!

An acronym, ‘gagap teknologi’ means technologically inept. While there are record numbers of Indonesians on social media, in particular Facebook, shockingly few people here actually have a command of basic computer skills or programs. Essentially, the only reason most young people here have an email address these days is because they have to have one […]

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