Interesting little spontaneous essay by “Joan of Bali” popped up in the comments section of one of my posts. Since it was “public” I take the liberty of reposting it here. Thanks Joan.
“When I came here I saw a very different economy than I came from but I didn’t see poverty. I saw a culture where people took care of each other.
I’m sorry to say that as a bule, I did what people in my culture do – we go somewhere where it looks smart to invest because we can upgrade our lives by possessing land and building something. And we compete with each other and try to make something better than our ‘friends’. The effect that that has had on many Balinese is to make them crazy and greedy. So many farmers have sold their padi and jumped into the game that the bule started. When I came here, a lot of Balinese people didn’t even have certificates for their land. Why? Because the land had been in their family for generations and there was no big pressure to change that.
Certainly, for some Indonesian people, to sell off a bit of land so that their children might enjoy a good education and move confidently into the future was a good thing so there was a time when the symbiosis between foreigners and locals was win-win. And many bules were grateful that they could exist in the fringe of a beautiful culture. Many of us loved you and respected the harmony between us.
But then a new wave of bule came, a few years before the bomb. These were bules who came here only to make money. They had no idea about the place they were invading. They just saw opportunity. They opened real estate companies and never integrated with the existing reality. And to make a long story short..then people who lived on neighboring islands saw the opportunity too. And now it’s out of control.”