Bali’s Continual Cultural Reinvention

Soapbox | Written By, NOW! BALI | November 3rd, 2014

Bali never fails to amaze me. I was recently privileged to be invited to a “brand new” performance at a temple in Gianyar, one of Bali’s six regencies, hosted by the Bupati (The Regent himself). Well, when you are the publisher of a book called Dances of Bali and have watched hundreds of performances in temples, theaters, hotels and restaurants you may forgive me for being a bit skeptical that it could be anything “new”. But it was.

Bali never fails to amaze me. I was recently privileged to be invited to a “brand new” performance at a temple in Gianyar, one of Bali’s six regencies, hosted by the Bupati (The Regent himself). Well, when you are the publisher of a book called Dances of Bali and have watched hundreds of performances in temples, theaters, hotels and restaurants you may forgive me for being a bit skeptical that it could be anything “new”. But it was.

Well in a way… What they did, brilliantly, was to blend many different existing forms of dance and performance into one colossal show that combined Kecak, with Wayang Orang (masked people), with Wayang Kulit (shadow puppets) with Ramayana, with monkey dances, with Giants and finally the giant puppet, which was enormous and very effective!

This was a blockbuster of a show that involved about 80 people and was seriously well done. Congratulations must go to the producers and the choreographers as well as the performers. It really did take Balinese performances up a huge notch. The performance was called “Cultural Wonders of the Royal Pejeng” and you should see if at all possible (see review on  page 12). Well done Bali for once again keeping your culture alive in a world dominated by imported DJs earning ridiculous sums.

Indonesia now has a new President, man of the people Mr. Joko Widodo, affectionately known as Jokowi (see photo above, taken when he was still Governor of Jakarta). We congratulate him and his Vice President Jusuf Kalla and wish them all the luck in the world to overcome the stultifying inertia that has overtaken Indonesia’s administration at all levels. While the private sector has advanced in leaps and bounds over the last thirty years, to where we have world class hotels and resorts, spas, restaurants, shops, malls, parks and other facilities, the public services and facilities remain very much in need of attention.

Yes there is a new airport, but this hasn’t yet garnered much praise. But the roads, the sidewalks, the parking, the public toilets (are there any?) the garbage disposal, the whole spatial planning exercise, needs serious attention. We really hope that Pak Jokowi is able to reach down to the local governments and give them a boost of efficiency.

We wish you congratulations, the greatest of luck and much success in the coming years.!

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NOW! BALI

Mulia
Four Seasons
Karma Beach

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