8degreesoflatitude

THINGS THAT INTEREST, ENGAGE AND ENRAGE

Month: May, 2016

A Load of Buluh

Buluh Abu Kacang is Made Wijaya, who used to be Michael White, an adolescent student of Sydney, before he dropped out ahead of finding time to actually drop in, and parlayed this feat into a successful Bali-based career as a landscape gardener. Over the many years since he has acquired considerable and valuable knowledge of the island, the people and the Hindu religious and social culture of Bali. He writes the long-standing and well-known Stranger in Paradise column, which most recently has been appearing in the magazine NOW! Bali. It also appears on his social media pages.

 He doesn’t like Hector’s Diary, which he reads but pretends he doesn’t, since he says it is crap; and he doesn’t like me, though we have never met.

 As a rule I wouldn’t bother publicizing the profane and scatological invective with which he peppers those with whom he is displeased.

 But his most recent email traffic is so hilarious that it would be a shame not to share it.

 

MADE WIJAYA

That’s him, above, not quite walking on the water.  

Buluh Abu Kacang

May 20 at 3:01 PM

You really are an incorrigible git.

I refer to two of your articles <My note: they are in the Diary of May 11, 2016>:

Keystone Kops:

You pontificate yet again.

You over dramatise, sensationalise and ingratiate yourself with your pompous drivel.

You guild the turd with the use of words like “slain”, “executioners”, “uniformed killers” and “Public executions”.

You speak with naive expertise in criticising the police in the way they handled the incident. It’s a pity that you weren’t there to offer your expert negotiating skills with your silver tongue.

That would have rendered a blank space in the Bali Advertiser for some worthy journalism and not the crap that you produce.

Your “straitjacket” solution is a laughable lame duck and “the men in white coats” would have been covered in their own blood. Your bleeding heart is pathetic. Get rid of your rose coloured glasses Dick.

You offered no condolence to the family of the dead police officer Anak Agung Putu Sudiarta, yet you seem to express some sympathy for the maniac Sabet.

You insinuate that the death of the police officer was attributed to (in your opinion) the mishandling of the incident by police.

You mention that the fatal shooting of Amokarne Sabet was unnecessary. How you came to that conclusion baffles me.

There are several videos of the incident on the internet, one in particular is more graphic and represents a clearer picture of events leading up to the death of Sabet.

It clearly shows Sabet ignoring police instructions to surrender and drop the knife he was wielding. A plainclothes officer fired a warning shot in the air, Sabet then taunted the police ranting “I am god” “come shoot me” he then made a charge at the officers who open fired with a volley rubber bullets in order to subdue the maniac, he stopped momentarily then wildly charged again stabbing to death the police officer resulting in Sabet being fatally shot.

What the hell do you mean by “Any element of selfdefence fled the field”, are you insinuating that Sabet had a right to defend himself? If so you are more of an idiot than what I gave you credit for.

I wonder how you would have reacted in the same situation, more likely than not you would have shat your pants.

You know damn well if this incident had happened in other countries with people behaving in the same manner as Sabet they would have been shot dead on the spot. Stop having yourself on Dick.

Your criticism of the police is based on your own prejudice. You are the one who has the explaining to do when the police pay you a visit to sort you out. Hati hati Dicki.

Aussie Break:

Good to read you are still smarting from the last time I gave you a well deserved kick up the arse.

Richard Laidlaw

May 20 at 11:55 PM

Dear Buluh (or is it Kacang?)

So nice to hear from you. I do enjoy your little missives. Nothing quite beats a spew of invective for risibility.

Cheers

Hector

BAK

May 21 at 12:15 PM

F U Dick.

RL

May 22 at 9:37 AM

Brevity can make a point.

BAK

May 22 at 10:19 AM

Schmuck

BAK

May 22 at 4.59 PM

<Here Buluh (or is it Kacang?) appended a recent B&W profile photo from my Facebook>

I didn’t realise that you were such a decrepit old fart.

Obviously the early onset of dementia has taken effect which accounts for the drivel and crap you write.

The next time you give me cause to kick you up the arse I’ll be a bit more gentle with you, I do have sympathy for the infirmed.

Pip pip and all that old chap, keep your pecker up if you can manage it.

Till we cross swords again.

BAK

May 23 at 8.13 AM

Leaps and bounds ahead of you old Dicki

RL

May 23 at 8:46 AM

That depends on the direction in which you’re leaping and bounding, old chum, and the skill with which you perform these feats.

BAK

May 23 at 8:57 AM

Poor old Dicki, you’ve got incontinence of the mouth as well……messy, very messy indeed.

RL

May 23 at 1:07 PM

Give it away, there’s a good little fellow. You must have other things to waste your time on.

BAK

May 23 at 3:54 PM

I tell you what little old Dick, let’s do a deal.

You stop writing crap in your column and I’ll “Give it away”, you will never hear from me again.

You continue to write the excrement that you call journalism I’ll rub your nose in it.

I don’t consider my valuable time wasted when it comes down to giving you a well deserved kick up your withered old arse.

RL

May 23 at 4:05 PM

You have valuable time? Good. Use it to effect old chum. Do something useful with it. Write your own column, for example – that’s usually readable. It’s not journalism, but it’s fine. And save your unqualified lecturing for those who sit at your feet.

BAK

May 23 at 4:33 PM

I assume you have to pay Bali Advertiser to print your pathetic column.

Yes your right you are not a journalist nor have you been a political advisor of any repute (if any), the only advice you may have given a politician would have been at the urinal.

No-one sits at my feet old Dick, I just kick contemptible people like you up the arse who deserve it.

Can’t handle the criticism can you Dicki.

RL

May 23 at 4:48 PM

I think you meant to write: “Yes, you’re right, you are not a journalist; neither have you been a political adviser of any repute (if any). The only advice you may have given a politician would have been at the urinal.”

You’d still be wrong, but at least you’d have been grammatical. Try that for a novelty.

As to criticism: Water off a duck’s back, old chum. Comes with the territory.

(I’m enjoying our conversation. It’s the longest one we’ve ever had.)

BAK

May 23 at 6:26 PM

You are a loser Dick and you know it.

You are a legend in your own lunch and you know it.

Enjoy you life in the pasture Dick, what’s left of it old Dick.

RL

May 23 at 7:23 PM

I’m not a legend at all, and I don’t eat lunch. I sometimes have amusing conversations with idiots.

BAK

May 24 at 7:50 AM

How original Dicki, pity you can’t eat your own words.

RL

May 24 at 11:05 AM

Oh, you’re back. I was getting worried about you.

 

 

Ordure of the Day

Hector’s Bali Diary

His fortnightly diet of worms and other non-religious experiences

May 25, 2016

News that Bali’s beaches are the repositories of sewage is hardly novel, and it’s not by any means confined to the Legian beachfront, where the latest discovery by those who should ensure it doesn’t happen has stirred up a noisome furore.

There is hardly a pristine beach or sea swimming area left in Bali or indeed beyond. They have all been colonized to some degree or other by rubbish of very questionable provenance, not to mention the plastic and other detritus that surfs along with the board riders and wraps itself around the limbs of people splashing around on the waterline.

A story reported in  the Indonesian language newspaper NusaBali, said that on May 9 open sewers from Jl. Padma in the heart of Legian were draining black liquid into the sea and giving the popular bathing beach a terrible stink.

When this news broke (reporters really should stick to just reprinting media releases from the proper authorities, shouldn’t they?) there was the usual scurry of activity. Everyone ran for cover or off to find the bit of paper that says, “My friend did it”.

Legian district chief I Made Madya Surya Natha conceded that the problem of untreated sewage flowing on to the beach was a long-standing issue. But then he said that while efforts had been made to build sewage holding areas, heavy rains had caused these to overflow. Ah! When your friend who might have done it cannot be found, blame it on the weather. It’s not at all unreasonable, after all, in a place where torrential tropical rain is known to occur on a regular basis, to fail to provide adequate storm drainage. It’s so much easier that way. You have to maintain infrastructure, or so the notional SOPs go, if you’ve bothered to build it in the first place.

He said he hoped the environmental agency (BLH) would investigate and provide a long-term solution. (See above re building and maintaining required infrastructure.)

Beach Follies

We were at Pantai Bengiat at Nusa Dua one recent Saturday – it’s our weekend office quite often and we like it because it’s operated by the local cooperative, which tries really hard to look after visitors – and had an opportunity to observe the new demographics of Bali tourism. Our sojourn was punctuated by loud Chinese frivolity. We think these particular Chinese were from Taiwan, on the basis of the women’s nearly daring choice of beach attire and the class of juvenile bonhomie exhibited by the males of the party.

Brazilians were also present, speaking their incomprehensible variant of Portuguese; as well as, we thought, some Romanians.

It was an eclectic crowd, though the crowd was hardly a crowd. There was a brisk onshore breeze, which may have put off some. We briefly ventured into the sea for a splash, trying unsuccessfully to avoid being snared by passing plastic rubbish.

Goodabaya

Surabaya is Indonesia’s second largest city. It is a place with a significant non-Muslim population, an industrial centre, and a city where foreign business people, many of them highly sought-after Chinese with money to burn, visit to develop enterprises.

The city authorities have decided to ban the production, sale and consumption of alcohol. Muslims are forbidden alcohol – it is haram – and that’s fair enough, though many seem to overlook this behavioural proscription. Drinking intoxicating liquor is not compulsory anywhere. You don’t have to drink, or for that matter get plastered when you do.

It is a policy decision of amazing dull-headedness. Neither Surabaya nor East Java is Aceh. And this isn’t the Seventh Century.

No way, José

That’s not his name, of course. It’s Rodrigo Duterte, who has just been elected president of the Philippines. He has promised to reintroduce the death penalty for a range of crimes including drugs, rape, murder and robbery. At his first press conference after winning election in landslide on May 9, he said he favoured hanging to a firing squad because he did not want to waste bullets, and because he believed snapping a spine with a noose was more humane. Last year he said that he would like to see public hangings.

There are those who would tell you that it is wrong to overlook the varied ethnic, cultural and social imperatives in other countries, or the implied electoral endorsement of a “landslide” election win, when criticizing their policies. As a general principle, that’s sound. It is invidious, however, when what is being proposed is a return to Late Neolithic policies.

The death penalty was abolished in the Philippines in 2006, during the presidency of Gloria Arroyo.

Well Done, Champ

Sweania Betzeba Delisa, Bali’s up and coming young triathlete who is sponsored by the Rotary eClub and Solemen, won the under-18 title in the first 2016 race series of the Rottnest Island Surferfest in Western Australia on May 14-15. Rotary eClub sponsored her WA visit just completed.

The event includes a long swim. The ocean water there is not tropically warm. In fact the Diary wouldn’t touch it without several thermal layers between it and absolutely anything that matters, or used to. So congratulations, Sweania, and welcome back to warm water. The second race in the Rottnest series is in November.

The Surferfest series, with events also held in Victoria, is said to be over triathlon courses that are the toughest in Australia.

Sweania’s Perth trip was not all work, though. After the business bit was done, it included some downtime in the city and a visit to the Perth Zoo where she met her first kangaroo. That’s always a treat for visitors to Australia.

Faith, Hope and Clarity

We heard a lovely little story from a friend in Brisbane the other day. She’d been doing reading groups at her daughter’s school that morning and had been sitting chatting with some of the students. They were talking about animals, the next writing job on their list.

As she reports, the conversation went like this:

Child 1: I like bears.

Child 2: Did you know Jesus can run at 70km per hour?

Me: 70km per hour? That’s very fast. Are you sure?

Child 1: They’re furry.

Child 2: Yes, Jesus can run at 70km an hour.

Me: Look I know he could probably run fast, but 70km/h?

Child 2: Yes!

Me: I’d believe 15km/h but not 70.

Child 3: Bob would know! He skipped year 1! He’s smart.

Me: I’ve got no doubt Bob would know, but Jesus could not run at 70km/h.

Child 2: CHEETAHS not Jesus.

Overloaded? No!

The report on the capsize of a Bali to Java ferry earlier this year that resulted in the deaths of four people says the boat was overloaded by more than double its payload limit.

This is not just yet another example of the cavalier approach to rules and regulations, or sensible cautions, which pepper the avoidable disaster calendar here every year. It is nothing short of criminal.

One’s passage through life might be subject to fate, or karma if you prefer. But Indonesia’s creakingly supine bureaucracy should at least look as if it’s trying to do its job. Any bets on when it might start applying itself to what it’s paid to do, other than shutting the stable doors after the horses have bolted?

Twelfth Man

We’re looking forward to our annual Ubud meeting with old friend Ross Fitzgerald, which this year will be on Jun. 13, the Queen’s Birthday holiday in much of Australia. It’s also the official opening of the skiing season in the Australian Alps, but we won’t go there. We’ll be chatting with Fitzgerald,  a Sydneysider these days but a Melbourne boy at heart, over coffee at an establishment that is screening the AFL match in which Collingwood, his team, is playing Melbourne at the MCG.

But that’s not the extra frisson. What will give the conversation a buzz is that Fitzgerald is lead candidate on the Senate ticket for NSW in the Jul. 2 national elections for the Australian Sex Party. This a political party, not one of those indecorous affrays that take place regularly in the Glitter and Gutter Strip favoured by Aussie tourists out for a good time, yair.

Fitzgerald is a professor of history, a four-decade-plus veteran of Alcoholics Anonymous about which he wrote a book, and latterly the author of fictional tales featuring erotic material.

The Australian Sex Party is not a single-issue outfit. It promotes a more liberal view of sexual policy than mainstream political parties do, and no doubt gives the rabid right a nasty turn now and then (good), but it also espouses sensible reforms in euthanasia, recreational drug use, refugee policy, and other things.

It’s a double dissolution election on Jul. 2 so all 12 Senate seats in each state are up for grabs. We’ve suggested to Fitzgerald that he could end up being Twelfth Man. They play cricket at the MCG too.

Oh Deer

Police have arrested a man in Jembrana for looking after deer. The animals had apparently wandered away from the national park nearby and decided they liked his garden. Instead of shooing them away, or worse, he decided to make them feel at home.

It would probably have been difficult for him to establish their regular address, after all.

Hector’s Diary appears, edited for newspaper publication, in the fortnightly Bali Advertiser.

Keystone Kops

Hector’s Bali Diary, May 11, 2016

His fortnightly diet of worms and other non-religious experiences

 

Exactly what went wrong on May 2, when the police arrived in strength at a location to arrest a French citizen, a man publicly known to be seriously mentally disturbed, needs to be fully explained. It hadn’t been explained in any satisfactory form, let alone fully, when this edition of the Diary hit deadline (update: or since).

The police were armed, as such posses generally are, and properly so in the circumstances. It was later stated that they had been issued with rubber bullets. This is a misnomer. A “rubber bullet” is a disabling round, not an eraser-soft object. They can certainly kill, though this is not the object of their use. A policeman was fatally stabbed. Live (lethal) rounds were then fired. The offender was then slain in circumstances that were both desolate and unnecessary. He was said to have been shot 14 times, including according to reports with final bullet through the head as he lay on the ground – by that time more than likely mortally wounded, but certainly immobilised – surrounded by his executioners.

It was a sickening spectacle, a videoed object lesson in precisely how not to set about enforcing the law. The Indonesian authorities should be thoroughly ashamed of these events. They wish their country to be respected. Bombast and bullets won’t earn respect. A foreign citizen is dead in shocking circumstances. Any element of legitimate self-defence fled the field when an ill-disciplined and panicky squad of uniformed killers opened fire. Leadership, fire control and every principle of policing was absent.

The man concerned was a mentally disturbed menace. This was very widely known. He could and certainly should have been detained, put in a straitjacket, and been taken away by the men in the white coats long before the incident in which he killed a policeman and then met his own death. His whereabouts were hardly secret. A little work by the police would have found him; and a little planning would have produced an arrest operation that did not immediately descend into fatal farce.

The French authorities deserve full explanations of all the circumstances that led to these events, and not just those that immediately came to public notice via social media. The police and the national authorities must provide these explanations. It’s in Bali’s interest that they do so too. Public executions are not what tourists come here to see.

Aussie Break

We’ve just spent a week on Australia’s eastern seaboard, the Diary’s home territory and somewhere that resonates deep in our psyche. It was an unscheduled trip. An old friend, a former politician, had a Big 60 birthday and we were invited to join around 300 of his nearest and dearest for the party. So who could resist? The trip also provided an opportunity to attend to some urgent business that had suddenly arisen and which needed to be placed on the agenda swiftly.

Time was tight and some of the things we’d normally have on our to-do list had to be forgone, but we’ll certainly be back in fairly short order. It’s less than six hours to and from Brisbane, where the sun rises gently from an ocean horizon, which we find is a better, less glary way to run your day than that fiery sunset plunge into the briny that you get in Bali’s southern suburb, Perth.

But it’s great to be home again on our favourite smaller island.

We flew with Jetstar. We do not record this so that critics such as those who like to pretend that they don’t bother to read the Diary, but who plainly do, can bleat again about the ethics of providing free publicity in return for special benefits. We’ve never done that. We pay our own way.

We mention Jetstar only in order to remark that the Boeing 787 is a great aircraft. If you pay for “forward” seating in economy you get to turn left when you board the plane, which reminds you of earlier, plusher, days on other (full service) airlines, for example such as Qantas, Jetstar’s big bwother (or is that thister?) when you were headed for Business Class.

It also reduces the quota of squalling infants and badly behaved toddlers travelling under the notional control of their uncaring, incompetent, or exhausted parents (poor devils) who blight other parts of the cabin.

Bovine Manure

Some things make you laugh. Others give you instant nausea. Sometimes, in a rare confluence of the risible and the reprehensible, you get a sick laugh. So it is with the recent comment of the religious affairs minister that corruption cannot be blamed on the corruptors but on their wives.

Lukman Hakim Saifuddin says that the sins of avarice and greed by which, he concedes, self-important males enrich themselves, flow not from their own grasping malfeasance but from a desire to compensate their wives and families for the long hours and absences that their high service to the nation demand.

There’s a word for that: Bullshit.

Top Marx

We were browsing recently and reminded ourselves of an 1844 quotation from Karl Marx that sums up his philosophy rather well. It seemed apt in the light of the item above, even though it was not directly relevant. Here it is:

“What Is Human Becomes Animal: It is true that labour produces for the rich wonderful things — but for the worker it produces privation. It produces palaces — but for the worker, hovels. It produces beauty — but for the worker, deformity. It replaces labour by machines — but some of the workers it throws back to a barbarous type of labour, and the other workers it turns into machines. It produces intelligence — but for the worker idiocy, cretinism.

The direct relationship of labour to its produce is the relationship of the worker to the objects of his production. The relationship of the man of means to the objects of production and to production itself is only a consequence of this first relationship — and confirms it.

When we ask, then, what is the essential relationship of labour, we are asking about the relationship of the worker to production. As a result, therefore, man (the worker) no longer feels himself to be freely active in any but his animal functions — eating, drinking, procreating, or at most in his dwelling and in dressing-up, etc. And in his human functions he no longer feels himself to be anything but an animal. What is animal becomes human and what is human becomes animal.”

Um, yes. Top Marx. Wonder if anyone thought about that on May Day?

Big Day Out

Bali charity Solemen (the link here is to a film by Adithio Noviello, who has also made visual media for the Bali Animal Welfare Association) was the brainchild of philanthropist Robert Epstone and does a great job helping those who cannot help themselves. And so it is with their regular monthly Fun Days for children. In March, for example, Solemen visited Waterbom in Kuta, which is rightly regarded as a fantasyland for children, as well as for adults who are kids at heart.

Solebuddies of all ages visited Waterbom from Denpasar, Klungkung, Sanur and Ubud. Every child came with their unique situation and conditions, from cerebral palsy to Down Syndrome, but such things were pushed into the background on the day and the focus was on fun and frivolity.

Solemen’s Fun Days are made possible by the help and support of generous businesses and individuals. The March Fun Day was sponsored by Waterbom; Zappaz, which provided a delicious lunch; the Bali Dynasty, which supplied towels; and Paradise Property, which supplied transport.

Trying Hard

You do try, really, to put a positive note into your Bali commentaries. No, really. It’s a great place with many more positives than negatives, if you look for them. You must just remember to discount bureaucracy as any sort of starter for the tick list.

So it is with the new system for screening incoming checked baggage at Ngurah Rai’s international terminal. That’s now done before it appears on the carousel for collection. And that’s fine. It’s a better way of doing things than the melee-making x-ray screening point that used to create chaos at the exit from the baggage hall.

Except that it isn’t. They’ve simply shifted the focus of the chaos. It now takes place out of sight while passengers work on their hypertension waiting at carousels that go round and round bereft of baggage for far too long and carries only a forlorn makeshift sign on a piece of red board that says delays are for baggage inspection and customs reasons. The sign apologises for the delays. Are these delays permanent? If so, it would be better to put up a permanent sign.

It can certainly be said, as a general defence against criticism, that airports worldwide are significantly challenged when it comes to producing customer interface congeniality. Brisbane Airport’s massive clearance queues for arriving passengers were a disgrace early on Apr. 27, for example. Though that’s not an airport management issue. It’s another Border Farce. The Aussies are good at those.

But if Bali’s airport wishes to retain its apparent position as one of the best around (we’d love to analyse the questionnaires on which that rating was delivered, but never mind) then someone at Angkasa Pura I should forget about gazing at the gold stars for a moment and trot out to look at the shemozzle.

They might also look at the contract performance on the resurfacing of the runway. This essential work has been interfering with flight schedules in exactly the way it was promised it wouldn’t.

Hector’s Diary is published edited for newspaper production in the fortnightly Bali Advertiser.