What Does it Take to be a ‘Bali Hero’?

Soapbox | Written By, Alistair G. Speirs |

In our March 2019 issue you will find heartwarming stories about how some people actually do look after other people less fortunate than themselves. Please read them and think not, “wow , well done them” but “what can I do to help?” Actually it’s easy. Just give some money! What’s not easy is doing the hard work of looking after the poor, the ill, the disabled and the homeless, day after day, week after week because when you start you can’t just stop and walk away.

John-Fawcett
The big-hearted John Fawcett

Bali, like any major tourism destination anywhere in the world, looks bright and shiny on the outside, with not a care in the world, but beneath the surface, and away from the tourists’ eyes, there are the poor and needy too. But as you will see the big-hearted heroes of Bali have come to the rescue in many cases.

When I read that only 4 pct of the world’s population own 50% of the wealth, I am stunned. When I read that the world’s wealthiest man, Jeff Besoz is worth US$112Billion, I am astonished. Now I know that isn’t all in cash in his piggy-bank, but I would hope that he has got at least 50% of this earmarked for the underprivileged. Has he? Are the really rich helping the really poor?

I know the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation employ something like 100 people to help them give away his fortune but somehow he still gets richer every year so he needs to add staff! Boy it sure is hard to be so wealthy.

But back to Bali. This is a relatively rich island with some 5 million overseas and 6 million domestic tourists coming every year. There are 4000 hotels of all sizes and shapes and thousands of restaurants, bars & cafes. All of these are owned by people who presumably are making a good living. Some, the 4/5 star hotel owners, pulling in millions of US$ in profit every year. So here comes the crunch: in early 2018 when tourist arrivals were badly affected by concerns that Mount Agung would erupt, why did these, the rich owners of hotels and villas, send home their lowest paid workers to preserve their profits? This is an attitude, a philosophy I cannot understand or accept. These are the anti-heroes, making the poorest sector of the employed the ones who suffer in times of difficulty.

So as you read about those that care, remember they are, sadly, matched by those that don’t.

Let’s celebrate the heroes today. And if the anti-heroes are reading this, please think again.

Read NOW! Bali ‘Our Bali Heroes’ stories here.

Alistair G. Speirs, OBE

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Alistair G. Speirs

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