The Balinese Addiction to Water Wrapped in Plastic Part III

In the last two issues I’ve been talking about the environmental disaster in Bali that has been caused by single-use plastic, particularly single-use cups and bottles. As I mentioned at the end of my last article, there are, and always have been, alternatives available. Did you know, for example, that the Balinese have their own […]

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The Balinese Addiction to Water Wrapped in Plastic Part II

According to a representative from one massive brand of mineral water wrapped in single-use plastic, the idea behind producing packaged water in Indonesia was   two-fold: 1. To provide safe drinking water for foreign visitors to Indonesia who were more susceptible to stomach complaints caused by contaminated water and 2. To save the under privileged from […]

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The Balinese Addiction to Water Wrapped in Plastic

    Perhaps the hottest topic in the media in Bali today is plastic waste: the beaches, rivers, rice fields, forests, mountains, parks, roadsides, soil, temples, banjar, public spaces, universities, schools, households, ceremonies, festivals, events, government offices – they’re all overflowing with it. This non-biodegrable, un-recycled, often unrecyclable toxic waste is mostly single-use plastic. “Toxic???” […]

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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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