Tjia Kie Mong, 60, is a mechanical engineer from East Java who has been living in Bali for seven years and owns the Aneh Aneh gallery in Sanur.

What’s the greatest lesson life has taught you?
To learn as much as you can.

What’s most important?

What advice would you give the younger generations?
Work hard and be honest. Also, be free of alcohol, tobacco and drugs; they’re very bad for your mental health.

Are you worried about dying?
I don’t really think about it. Every day someone is born and someone else dies. Death is part of the life cycle.

When was the happiest time of your life?
I can’t think of any specific moment. I’m always a happy person.

And the worst?
When my son, Jordi, died in a motorbike accident three years ago.

What’s humanity all about?

I can just say humanity is a disaster. Wherever we go we destroy our environment. It’s so hard to change this.

Why are there so many conflicts in the world?
Because people want money; people are greedy. People who want money will do anything to get it, even if what they’re doing is bad.

Is a peaceful world possible?

Not as long there are gun factories. That’s why there are so many wars.

How old do you feel?

Is one lifetime enough?

Yes, it is.

How has Bali changed?
It hasn’t changed so much since I’ve been living here, at least not in the last seven years.

Has tourism been good for Bali?

Tourism has had advantages but also disadvantages. But the good side of things is that the Balinese people haven’t changed. Their mentality is still the same.

What’s the major difference between the East and the West?

People from the East are more family oriented. I lived for 25 years in Germany and four years in Spain. People in Europe are more individualistic.

Have you ever doubted your religion?

I believe in God but in my own way. I used to believe in karma, and when my wife died 20 years ago I kept on believing in karma. But when my son died three years ago things didn’t make sense anymore. Now I believe there’s something above us, but I’m not practicing.

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