the old culture from balinese and all i know will show in this blog

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Balinese Culture and Traditions

GUARDIAN OF THE BALINESE TRADITIONS

It’s not a secret that the sensuous Balinese women bewitch a lot of men. Their sexuality remains firmly anchored in Balinese life, expressed in popular folktales, arts, mythologies and mystical rites. Yet, not many know that, behind their glorious outer looks, the Balinese women experience a rather not pretty story in carrying out their duties as a woman bounded by traditions and, most importantly, as the guardian of the traditions themselves.

Balinese women have somewhat became a trademark for Bali’s tourism industry. Glorious images of their strength, sensuality and elegance ornament every hotel brochure, coffee table book and postcard. Women participate in gorgeous pageantry of Balinese ritual, gracefully balancing tower of handcrafted offerings on their heads. They dance for the gods at the temple festivals, dressed in glorious costumes that show off their legendary beauty. Far from being secluded by tradition, the Balinese women can be seen working in the fields or at construction sites, buying and selling at the marketplace, and driving motorbikes all around the island.

The Balinese women are responsible for maintaining much of the Balinese ritual glory, which is so often immortalized in tourist snapshots. While men prepare certain ceremonial food, build cremation towers and march in ritual processions, the women are in charge of everything else. They direct family ceremonies and spend many hours a day crafting the offerings to the gods needed for daily devotions, holidays and life cycle rituals. The praise these women receive as ‘guardians of Balinese traditions’ often comes at the cost of aching backs and sore fingers. 

The Balinese wives handle money matters, paying food or school fees, or doling out cigarette money or cockfighting fund to their husbands. This, however, is hardly experienced as a privilege. Men reserve the right to approve major expenses – or to put the family’s motorbike at stake at a cockfight event. And Balinese women who work, no matter how prestigious their degrees or how high their wages, are still expected to be responsible for all that goes on in the household.

Before Bali became a tourist destination, Balinese women bodies were no big secrets. For the sensual way of the day was to wrap themselves tightly in a sarong, leaving their breasts bare. But today, modernity has requested these women to cover their breasts from the pornographic focus of foreign cameras. Even so, sexuality remained firmly anchored in Balinese life, expressed in popular folktales, arts, mythologies and mystical rites. It’s not a secret that the sensuous Balinese women bewitch a lot of men. For those who get bewitched and finally hooked, consider yourselves for being so fortunate because these women will serve their men with gentle grace. 

In Balinese society, descent status and inheritance are traced through the male line. While a high-caste man can marry anyone he pleases, a woman may only marry someone of at least the same standing or risk from becoming a social outcast. Arranged marriage is no longer common, thus a Balinese woman must choose wisely; because once she is married, it’s extremely difficult for her to turn back. Should she divorce, her husband’s family keeps her children and the property acquired during the marriage. Unlike customary law, the national law gives women the right to a share of marital property; hence, the Balinese men make sure their divorce is handled by the village authorities rather than in a civil court. Thus, a lot of Balinese women will go to extraordinary length to avoid a divorce or any related ‘shame’.

The good news is that things are now changing a bit for the Balinese women, especially those in urban areas. Many Balinese families become more aware of the need to educate and respect their daughters. Yep, today we have Balinese women doctors, lawyers, professors etc. In addition, all Balinese children of both sexes are now required to attend elementary school; and the numbers of girls continuing their studies to the middle and high schools are rising. The higher education level has also affecting the drastically lowering number of men with more than one wife, and polygamy, once glorious, is now often judged backwards. Balinese women with wealth can now open their own bank accounts to save against the possibility of divorce. Several local organizations are now offering supports for the Balinese women seeking divorce in civil courts.

Unfortunately, a coin is two-sided. Yep, the Balinese women still need to face new trials. For every Balinese woman who works, the responsibilities to make, as an example, ritual offerings is disturbed in a way. Modernity has created a widening gap between the “career women” who can afford to hire a maid, and the traditional women who devote their lives to her family and the gods. Even tourism has sometimes made a Balinese woman’s life even more stressful. The pressure many Balinese women feel to conserve traditions in the face of foreign influence means that the ritual calendar has become a lot busier, requiring additional labor from the women.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Kuta Beach Activitties

Most of the activity in Kuta is related to the beach. The options are endless – you may try surfing, swimming, wakeboarding, sunbathing or kite flying, or heading into neighbouring Tuban for some waterslide action. If you just want to have fun or relax, you can try kite flying or employ a team of masseurs while you sunbathe.
You will know the massage ladies immediately from their cries of ‘Hello, yes? Massage?’ and if you aren’t accosted by a team of them offering pedicures, manicures and hair-braiding alongside a massage as soon as you step onto the beach, you will easily spot them sitting along the beach, waiting for their next customer.

Kite Flying

Here is an idea for a safe, fun activity on the beach with your family – kite flying! Wondering where to buy one? You can easily find a line up of small shops and vendors selling traditional Balinese kites ranging from small to giant size, such as Bebean (fish-shaped), Janggan (bird-shaped) and Pecukan (leaf-shaped), the prices vary according to size and the material. Now, find a deserted windy spot and away you go!

Slingshot

Care for a little bit of adventure? Kuta has its own way to slake your adrenaline thirst. At a spot in front of Kuta Paradiso Hotel, there is a giant slingshot that can catapult you 52 metres in the air. The forked Y-shaped frame has two rubber strips attached to the uprights, leading back to a pocket for holding two safely designed seats. Open every day 11:00 – late.

Waterbom Waterslide Park

Waterbom is a sprawling 3.8 hectare tropical adventure park of thrilling water rides. It has 15 high-speed slides, some reaching up to 50kph, dizzying trails, cardiac-pounding rides and wall climbing. Even for the faint hearted, there are a lot of facilities; try the river raft that leads you down a lazy river where you can enjoy drifting along in a tube raft through cascading waterfalls, languid ripples and even luxuriant tropical foliage to screen you from the flurry of excitement, not to mention the spa facilities for an even more relaxing option.
On top of that you can sunbathe in the grassy gardens, relax in a gazebo or swim along to the Poolside Bar, to quench your thirst before a second round of adrenaline-charged adventure! For children, the park features a Kiddy Park, which is designed for child safety and is supervised at all times. If you get hungry during all the activity, head to the food court in the centre of the park as it is forbidden to bring any food or beverages in from outside.

Surfing

Kuta Beach is famous for its breaking waves and waist-deep water, making it such a perfect beach for surfing beginners. To get some basic knowledge of surfing, sign up for lessons with one of the well-known surfing schools located just in front of the beach such as Odysseys, Rip Curl Surf School or Surfer Girl Surfing School.
A three-day surfing course in an accredited school costs approximately US$ 100. The next time you come back, as long as you keep in practice, you’ll be able to explore the hidden surf beaches on the island, for sure! For more advanced surfers, you can choose from over 30 other surfing breaks, all within 30 minutes drive from Kuta.

Sunbathing

If you are coming from more temperate countries, sunbathing must be tempting. Kuta Beach is a magnet for beachgoers, especially for those who are keen to get that much-coveted tan. Lying on the beach wearing your bikini or shorts and sunglasses could be an effortless way to spend the day in Kuta or you can rent a sun-lounger for only around IDR 30,000 a day.
However, beware of the harsh rays – you will be very uncomfortable the following day if you don't apply sunscreen! Choose protection with a high SPF content and avoid the intense midday heat to be sure you get a beautiful glowing tan before you return to your home country. To avoid dehydration you are advised to drink plenty of water and soft drinks – all available from vendors patrolling the beach, also selling snacks, ice cream and fruit.