The ‘Right Way’ to Love Bali

Soapbox | Written By, Alistair G. Speirs |

“Love is a Many-Splendoured Thing”

I’m pretty sure that expression came from a gooey Hollywood movie but it says it – all tongue in cheek! The love that St. Valentine expressed back in the 1st century, was actually one of sacrifice and that’s a very hard thing to do or  even to contemplate. But is it?

When we really love someone, there are sometimes no decisions to make : if you see your love floundering in deep water, you dive in to try to rescue them without thinking , if there’s a fight and someone threatens your loved one, you don’t think, you step in. Love overcomes fear immediately and completely. So sacrifice is not out of question.

Then when it comes to family, do we say to our children “do what you want, I don’t care!” No! We guide them to do ‘the right thing’, we discipline them when they go wrong, even if they protest, cry and stamp. Why? Because they have to learn, have to become a good part of society, have to develop the right skills and attitudes.  So we have to be firm even if they don’t like it. And of course we strongly guard them from danger no matter how foolish they want to be (and kids can be very foolish!).

So when it comes to a country, a city, or an island, why do we let IT run wild ? Why don’t we treat it like our cherished child and keep it on the right track? Why don’t we discipline motorists  and especially motorcycles, punish  errant developers, guide idiots who park in the wrong place or build in the wrong style? Why do we allow dangerous rafting and diving operators to be in business or unlicensed money changers or crazily loud bars and clubs. Do we think we love the island more by keeping quiet and letting “our child” run wild ?  Isn’t it time to show our real love for the island by saying “that’s enough, stop, go to your room until you decide you can behave!”

I truly believe we have let “our children” misbehave for too long, and now no one wants to know them. As noted clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson said ‘make sure your children become people you want to be with!’ Unless we take stern action soon people may not want to know Bali anymore. It will be the unruly child no-one invites to their party.

As parents we feel sad when we have to punish our children. But we know it’s for the best. As guardians of  Bali we should feel the same. We have to do it. That is true love.

Alistair G. Speirs, OBE

Melia Bali

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