We Cats Were Sent Away So the Mice Could Play

You must go to a resort for Nyepi – only two or three days,” urged our former housekeeper Komang, as the Balinese Hindu New Year approached during our first year of living on the Island of the Gods, place of extreme personal and regional disparity in its commitment to the rituals of Silent Day. “You […]

Our Movie Industry Needs Incentives, Not Nonsense

In a developing democracy such as Indonesia, any move that is likely to reduce people’s access to popular art-forms such as (foreign) movies, from which viewers can gain insight into the culture of others and exposure to global issues and trends, is regressive. While unspecific rumblings from Jakarta that excise duty and taxes on the […]

Gearing Up for a Homecoming Showdown

How long is it reasonable for a trader to keep your Rp274 million (US$30,900) when he cannot provide the product you paid for? ILAND readers will recall details early this month of the exhausting and therefore deliberately shortened process of purchasing a new car. As it turns out, we don’t have the car, the dealer […]

Stop These Monstrous Mammoths from Hogging Our Roads

It was the first time I’d driven alone to Ubud, and I hoped for an uneventful journey on roads free of obstacles and mindless maniacs who need lessons in the concept of road-sharing and traffic lanes, instruction on the meaning of traffic-light colours and a lecture on courtesy and safety on the road. Our old […]

Enough of Empty Promises and Bare-Faced Lies

One really tries to support local business, but a plethora of outrages has made your columnist resolve to cop no more wretched service, inferior goods, shameful scams and bare-faced lies. Prannie, trusty old steed of the Feroza breed, was booked into the local bengkel (mechanic). Papers were laboriously prepared and signed. All was understood: Prannie […]

How Driving a Fair Deal Drives You to Distraction

We curtailed the process of buying a car because the salesmen, their translators and supervisors were monopolising our telephones and demanding our total time, day after day. And we’d only contacted two of the four dealers intended. It started as a casual look at a couple of vehicles on show at a shopping centre. I’m […]

It’s Crystal Clear that Being a Bully Takes Its Toll

You can get very tired in Bali, despite a healthy diet, intake of recommended vitamins and a normally manageable schedule. Even if you add to the equation self-inflicted late nights, bouts of insomnia and inadequate exercise (thanks to the horror of rabies), there’s something else that saps your energy. It’s the sheer physical and mental […]

Denial Doesn’t Rate on Judgment Day

The national government is to be commended for quickly committing US$1 million in flood relief to the crippled Australian state of Queensland. While the amount is a fraction of the estimated $10 billion damage unleashed on homes, businesses and infrastructure by Queensland’s rampaging rivers, it is an honourable gesture, and fitting given Australia’s long and […]