Lessons to be Learned

Personal Perspective | Written By, NOW! BALI |

For those of us who come from Europe, it is often a welcome respite from the weather, the politics and the television to come to somewhere like Bali! In Europe nowadays it’s either too hot or too cold…. and plenty of reason to complain about them both! The politics swing from left to right, with monotonous regularity and the television makes heroes of very ordinary people and cuts down the politicians with equal regularity! In Bali, the weather is always hot, and sometimes wet (apologies),

Text by Alistair G. Speirs

For those of us who come from Europe, it is often a welcome respite from the weather, the politics and the television to come to somewhere like Bali!

In Europe nowadays it’s either too hot or too cold…. and plenty of reason to complain about them both! The politics swing from left to right, with monotonous regularity and the television makes heroes of very ordinary people and cuts down the politicians with equal regularity! In Bali, the weather is always hot, and sometimes wet (apologies), there are no visible politics (for visitors at least), and there is no reason to watch television at all (except for some sport perhaps…). So plan to enjoy every moment away from normal life. 

But there are some things Bali should learn from Europe, and they need to do so fast. 

The first is parking. All across European cities, the parking is organized, disciplined, safe, perhaps a bit expensive, but available everywhere. If you are going to an event, a concert, a festival, a football match even, there are areas set up, the planning is done, the wardens are out in force and the whole thing flows like clock-work. Not so in Bali. Even down Bali’s most popular streets for restaurants and shops, there is not one public car park, no rules for parking on the street and as a result traffic flows like mud.  Sometimes like rock. 

The second is re-cycling. Wherever you go now in Europe, there are no bins for “garbage”. There are containers for paper, for plastic, for glass, for organic materials, and as a last resort, small bins for “landfill” (where even the terminology makes you feel guilty!). Not so in Bali, where plastic is welcomed everywhere, supermarkets dispense it with glee, packaging is compulsory and waste disposal is easy, just throw in the river. Result: pollution, destruction of the environment, and the spread of vermin. 

The third is culture. Europe has made it into a multi-billion dollar business. Every cathedral, every old building is worshipped, restored and becomes an economic force as well as a preservation of heritage. Not so in Bali. The emphasis is on building new, non-Balinese structures. Hiding the old, devaluing the heritage and history, ignoring the amazing culture that should outshine the less impressive European ones.  Result: a modern, pseudo-western environment that loses the best of both. 

If we combine these three factors, and that happens in many places across the island, you end up with a very serious problem. Wake up please the relevant authorities and figure out how to address these critical areas before the visitors ignore the weather and head back to Europe where it’s clean, safe, easy to park and where culture is preserved and well presented.  

 

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NOW! BALI

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