Stranger In Paradise

Bogan Heroes

Explore Bali | Feb 22, 2016

To be fair, however, it’s hard to justify the constant Facebook shrieking — by the West Coast Expat herbal suffragettes, lead by Conan the Librarian (Susi Johnston) — about environmental degradation, street crimes and pollution when the expat C.U.B. (Cashed Up Bogans) themselves are responsible for some pretty irresponsible and illegal development, particularly along the […]

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Peliatan Style

Culture | Jan 14, 2016

A lifetime achievement award also went to Milo for services to batik, the Baris Cina troupe of Renon for trance-wear and Janet De Neefe, for services to bulletproof white corsettes.

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The Brahmans are Coming

Stranger In Paradise | Dec 13, 2015

Will it eventually be like Hindu India, where the Brahmans now rule the roost and control the land deals; the ksatria having disappeared up their collective bottoms and down their perfume bottles decades ago? So many princely houses have folded lately — sold due to gambling debts, or just deserted under the weight of the […]

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Bali’s Wild Side

Culture | Nov 03, 2015

I have been documenting Bali for 40 years now — writing this column for almost 25 years — and I am sick of trying to explain the irrational. People often ask me why the Balinese are always flailing about and pulling the heads off chickens and I always feel like answering ‘Because you’re a twit’. I […]

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Bali Tourism at the Crossroads?

NOW! Bali Opinions | Oct 10, 2015

Amongst the plethora of fake festivals, with all their padding and pyrotechnics, there is sometimes a quite purely authentic Balinese ceremony; it is to these that I am drawn, like an old diehard moth to a pre-mass tourism lantern. 20 September 2015 There is an odd article on the front page of today’s Bali Post […]

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Of Indokrupuks and Tjokaholics

Explore Bali | Jul 31, 2015

In the late 1970s, Aussie girls in particular started falling in love with Kuta beach stud-muffins and ‘Love as long as your visa lasts’ sometimes become a life of drudgery in a Perth suburb. There were of course many exceptions! But these girls tended to take their exotic hubbies home.When I first lived in Indonesia […]

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Bangli – Bali’s quiet Kingdom

NOW! Bali Opinions | Jul 03, 2015

The local prince Gusti Dapat receives us in a disco-palace VIP lounge veranda, part of an otherwise simple rural home. It turns out that Gusti Dapet is a traditional architect: the Malet clan annually sends 40 exquisite jaka leaf penjor (woven banners) to the main palace for the tenth full month ceremonies and build all […]

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Looking Lovingly at Penjor

NOW! Bali Opinions | May 15, 2015

I sweep past the pretty penjor (woven banner) and pretty aprons in the shrine holes on my house gate and can only think of dogs slaughtered in the name of God 3 April 2015: An historic Friday Today is both tenth full moon and Good Friday — it’s very rare that these two holy days […]

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Days of Palm Toddy and Fighter Jets

Stranger In Paradise | Apr 02, 2015

Even the poor Aussies on death row got a riotous send off with an extraordinarily honour guard in black masks, a pair of Barracuda armoured vehicles and an air escort of Sukhoi fighter jets. All my cups are chipped. I am sun-damaged. These are the silly thoughts that pop into an old diarist’s head when […]

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Beauty Pageants in Paradise

Stranger In Paradise | Feb 27, 2015

Balinese in classical dance costumes fl ung fl owers at Dewa Baruna, God of the Oceans, co-opted for the occasion, as she-males on pontoons in digga-digga-do-do jungle costumes twirled fl aming batons. It was what the Indians call Caca-phoney, but with greased loins It is amazing what passes for a ceremony in New Age Bali, […]

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