Wayan Waye, 69, from Denpasar, used to be the head of the Organization Bureau at the governor’s office but has been retired for 13 years. He has two children and six grandchildren.

What’s the greatest lesson life has taught you?
After I finished university, I couldn’t speak English. I had to pick up a diplomat from another country but I couldn’t speak the language. I was nervous and embarrassed. I then realised how important it was to understand another language – especially English, as it’s the international language.
At that point I decided that I had to be brave, disciplined and motivated; with these qualities and good will you can achieve what you want.

What’s most important?
The most important thing in life is that we need to know what we want. Then we have to work hard to achieve what we want and to show the world that we are willing to learn. It’s also important not to be arrogant.

What advice would you give the younger generations?
We are in a controversial era so your moral values have to be improved and kept up without being affected by materialism.
Mastering your life skills is very important. You have to develop your internal skills.
You need to be open-minded and be able to communicate well. Be friendly, alert and don’t be arrogant.
You need to understand how to manage your own life so that your life is more efficient.

Are you worried about dying?
I used to be when I didn’t understand much about my religion. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do much in this life. However, after having a better understanding of my religion, I’m not worried anymore because I have learned that we don’t have any choice. We will all have to die eventually. It’s nature’s law.

When was the happiest time of your life?
When I got my job. I was so embarrassed for not having a job right after I finished my university. I did any kind of job before that and that’s why I was so pleased to get my first real job.

And the worst?
When I was really sick. I thought I would not be able to survive but I didn’t stop praying and God responded to my prayers.

What’s humanity all about?
Respecting and loving each other. We have to work hard for our family and other people who might need our help. We can’t be selfish. We have to care and help each other.

Why are there so many conflicts in the world?
Because people don’t understand that the existing diversity in life is beautiful.

Is a peaceful world possible?
It’s impossible because in this world there is a law called Ruwo Pineda. There are always two opposing things in life – for example, men and women, good and bad etc. Peace will never be achieved unless we learn how to understand the existing differences.

How old do you feel?
As old as I am. I don’t feel younger although I do have the high motivation of a young person.

Is one lifetime enough?
If we are good, one lifetime is enough. But if we have a lot of sins, we need another lifetime to change to be good.

How has Bali changed?
In general, Bali is developing very well. Education is getting better as well as the economy. Technology is developing. However, lately I’ve noticed we can’t really keep all the traditions such as the architecture of the buildings. There are a lot of new modern buildings.
Bali used to be called Pulau Dewata – the Island of Gods – because of our devotion to God. But now it’s changing as there are a lot more people who live in Bali. It’s hard to maintain the system. Also, Bali is not as safe as it used to be.

Has tourism been good for Bali?
Yes. Without tourism Bali wouldn’t be developed. Tourism is the only resource we have. And Balinese culture is developing because of the high appreciation of the tourists.

What are the major differences between the East and the West?
The culture and the lifestyle. People in the West are more individualistic. I think it’s because of their climate.

Have you ever doubted your religion?
Never.

What makes you so sure about it?
Because my religion teaches good morals.

BT/PCAR

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