The children of Bali are like a special breed. Smart, cheeky and often devout, they enliven every day with their cheeky attitudes.
When Robert Koke, author of “Our house in Bali” in the ‘40’s, revisited Bali after an absence of almost 40 years, he was asked if he found Bali had much changed. His reply was that although the island had changed, the essential character of the Balinese remained unchanged, and even another thirty years later, it is still essentially the same.
Children are bright, curious and cheeky and a joy to interact with. Its difficult to walk down a country road or even a beach, without some cheeky kids yelling out “hello” and practising their English, although it may just be the bravest of the bunch who dares to address a foreigner, much to the mirth of his mates.
In earlier years, the older children would always care for the youngest, and even children of five or six, could be left in charge of a shop, while mum went off to attend to other work. Now that school is almost mandatory for all, things have no doubt changed a little but filial loyalty stays strong.
Things have changed a little with the burgeoning middle class kids demanding handphones, motorbikes and all the other attributes of gentrified living, but still in the more countrified areas, the kids are out with their attitude intact.
May the children of Bali long remain that way.