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The Culture, Regional Identity

Written By love on Wednesday | 04:09

Bali is commonly described as a heaven for its cheery, offering-proffering residents but it is a romanticism worthy of a tourist brochure at best. Life is often hard and the average Balinese person has a hardscrabble existence that would be familiar to people worldwide. However, the Balinese do excel in one key area - they have an undeniable talent for making use of every resource on the island: bamboo, vines, flowers and shells for their imaginative offerings; European perfumes, international CDs, brand-name clothing for rip-off copying. Even the tourist is a resource to be painted, oiled, massaged, manipulated, tattooed or plaited.
Balinese life centres around the village, and increasingly, the suburban neighbourhoods of the south. Every activity - from producing crops to preparing food, and from bargaining with tourists to keeping the youth employed - involves everybody. It is impossible to be a faceless nonentity on the island. This involvement with other people in the village extends to tourists. To make you feel welcome, Balinese will go out of their way to chat to you. But they won't talk about the weather or even the football. They are interested in you, your home life and your personal relationships. Chatting in Bali can get rather personal but is never with malicious intent.
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