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Indonesian Designer Highlights 4 Indicators of 'Colonization' in Bali

29 May 2024 12:02 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta As a tourism destination, Bali is well-known for its natural beauty, rich culture, and the friendliness of its people. Tourism in Bali is known to have become popular during the Dutch East Indies era.

According to the book Revolusi Tak Kunjung Usai by Remy Madinier, the archipelago’s beauty, including Bali, attracts many European travelers. For example, the travel stories of the Comte de Bouvoir (1871) and Thomas Stamford Raffles (1824) played a major role in broadcasting the first tourist portraits in Bali. Since then, Bali has begun to be promoted as an exotic tourist destination.

Quoting kemenparekraf.go.id, Bali was listed as the second most popular tourist destination in the world by the travel site TripAdvisor in the Choice Award for Destinations in 2023. Tourism brings many positive impacts on the country, such as the exposure of Indonesian culture and the growth of the local economy. 

However, there will always be a negative side to the influx of foreign nationals in Bali, as highlighted by an X account with the name Wanda Ponika. As revealed on her personal social media, foreigners in Bali are now interested in doing business, starting from renting motorbikes, teaching dance, and setting up a drug factory. Here are some of the facts.

1. Taking over the profession of local Balinese residents

According to the famous jewelry designer Wanda Ponika, foreign tourists living in Bali have even taken over residents' professions by opening businesses such as dance classes, restaurants, salons, tattoo services, and spas. Some foreigners have even opened services as architects. Quoted from Antara, the Deputy Governor of Bali, Tjokorda Oka Artha, even curbed the businesses of foreigners who dared seize people's land in Bali. 

2. Establishment of New Mockba in Bali

The name New Mockba appears in digital map searches in the Canggu area, Badung Regency. This was revealed on the Instagram page @bixfeedsmedia. Wanda explained that the name was derived from Russian which refers to Canggu. Even though it seemed like a joke, this situation sparked anger against Russian tourists in Bali. It is feared that if New Mockba is allowed to continue spreading, foreigners will create their own settlements in Bali and discard the locals.

3. Foreigners disrespect Balinese customs

Wanda noted that foreign tourists in Bali are often disrespectful towards Balinese customs, including urinating and copulating in holy places. The Denpasar Immigration Office had to follow up on a viral video of a foreigner urinating carelessly on the road. Even though it is not a violation of the law, it disregards the Indonesian culture of politeness and etiquette. 

4. Foreigners take advantage of economic opportunities in Bali

According to Wanda, the arrival of foreigners in Bali does not boost foreign exchange but exploits Bali’s resources by opening businesses. It is common knowledge that foreign businesses evade taxes, and damage society, culture, and the environment. These foreigners with businesses in Bali also only support other foreign businesses without care for local Balinese enterprises. As a result, the local businesses suffer from reduced income and lost consumers.

MELYNDA KUSUMA NINGRUM

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