One Day

Traditional Puppeteer

Ida Bagus Subiksa is a dalang, or traditional puppeteer, who lives in the North Kuta district of Kerobokan, with his wife Ida Ayu Agung Dharma Dewi and two children, Ida Bagus Gede Putra, 8, and Ida Ayu Ari Dwija Patni, 6. When not putting on performances of wayang puppets, he teaches economics at Udayana University. Subiksa shared his day with The Bali Times.

I wake up and begin my day around 6:30am and straight away go jogging, so that I will be healthy. If you want to have an active life and help a lot of people, you must be fit and strong. Afterwards I have breakfast and get ready to go to university. I don’t always have breakfast; it depends on how I feel. My philosophy regarding food is Eat to Live, not Live to Eat.

Being a dalang runs in my family, so naturally I became one. Apart from that, I’ve always wanted to be one anyway. I’ve always liked what dalang do, the way they can entertain people with their puppets. In Bali, being a dalang is quite important, because you are a servant of the people and also perform during ceremonies. Here, a dalang is also called a guru loka, or teacher of society. You can also tell spiritual stories through puppetry. I learned this craft from my father; he has passed away now.

To be a good dalang, you have to know all about what goes on in society; you must also know about spiritual education and religion. When I was learning from my father, he taught me all his skills and also how to be a nice and sought-after dalang in Bali.

When you’re putting on a wayang puppet show, you must choose a suitable day in the Balinese calendar. The shows are called Ramayana and Maha Bharata, but new ones have evolved, such as Cupak Story, Calon Arang, Ceng Blong and so on.

During important religious days like Tumpek Wayang, I put on special puppet shows, like Wayang Sapuleger, because it’s the day when Sang Hyang Kala, or Evil, was born.

In my life, it’s very important to take care of my family and to live a good, quality life. It’s also important to me to help people who are in need. I hate to see people suffering and in terrible situations, so I try and help out as best I can. I try to do all I can for everyone, for God. I am just a human who is connected to the people, some of whom are in need of help.

I get home from university around 2pm and have lunch. I do some wooden carving in my spare time, usually religious figures. I don’t sell them but give them away to people who need them, and put some in temples. I also like to go fishing, in Canggu, Serangan island and Nusa Dua. Fishing is very calming and refreshes the mind. I also do karate.

I pray at the temple at our house at 5:30pm, so that my family and I and all the people and creatures on Earth will have a good life. Everyone has dinner together at 8pm, and afterwards I like to read for a while, often religious books. I believe in life-long education, keeping on educating yourself as you live your life. My day ends around 10pm, when I go to sleep.

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