Bali Broadcasting Service Gets Mail!
By Bali BS News
Aug 17, 2005, 07:29
First; Please, please, please let any friends or colleagues of yours who holiday, have property or are otherwise frequent visitors to Bali know about our site. After all, our greatest weapon is knowledge.
Incredibly, we have received quite a bit of mail, most of it constructive and pleasant. Although we do owe an apology to two or three people who unsubscribed, but still received our first Bali BS Update. This was due to a queuing problem on our mail server, where “you have been subscribed” emails were presumed sent, but in fact still going out when we sent out our first Bali BS Update. Anyway, all unsubscribe requests are automatic and honored. And we have enjoyed more new subscriptions then unsubscriptions, so please keep your friends and colleagues coming!
What follows are some of the emails we have been sent in relation to some of the stories we have run. In one case, we have replied by way of an article actually about the subject they raised.
I have been informed of your web site address by a friend who is longtime in Indonesia and knows well about the Candy Internet incident. I am happy this website is operating just about Time! I read all your articles; it’s good to see honesty and time for foreigners to speaking up. By using the web site is the best way to bring it in the open what really happens, and all will be informed should happened long time ago. No good to go on the road and demonstrate than thy will have another reason to victims as foreigners!
Bali BS additional information: M.O., a 15 year resident of Bali went on to detail what they believe is their own sad tale of police and judiciary corruption. We will be keeping in touch with M.O. to see how things end up, but it is not looking good. Basically M.O. put a deposit down on a house, but it fell through while they were overseas. As the deposit money had to be returned to them but they were not there to collect it, they nominated and asked an old Balinese friend that they trusted implicitly to receive the money on their behalf. Unfortunately their friend decided to use the money elsewhere! M.O. is in a state of disbelief that someone they thought was their friend would do such a thing. They also believe the police and judiciary are anti-western and co-operating with this former Balinese friend to dismiss M.O.’s police complaint and civil case against them. Watch this space (web site) for developments once this case has run its course and can be duly reported.
I found it utterly ridiculous the notion that boycotting Bali is actually pro-Balinese, but the point about fighting corruption was well made and substantiated. I just wish someone somewhere could find a solution to the problem without having to result to this action. The annoying thing is that your solution would probably work, but what would it do to the poor people of Bali in the process?
Bali BS has no response to make.
Unfortunately it is probably true what you say about tourism dollars actually suppressing rather than uplifting the people of Bali with so much corruption around. I heard some terrible stories on my last trip to Bali, and of course I saw the tourist motorbike shake down routine by corrupt police officers. What made me really angry is that they grin all the time, but I understand this is a nervous reaction common amongst the Indonesians (they smile when they are nervous). Maybe this is why people love the Balinese so much, because they are always nervous! Seriously, try it out. Take time, as I did, to actually look at the faces of the hotel staff when they are not looking your way; their faces are pretty forlorn in many cases. But if they catch you looking at them, after a noticeably nervous pause, up come their smiles again. I do not think this is training. Training would mean no long faces when they are amongst guests but somehow feel out of the guests’ gaze. Although most countries in SE Asia have issues, I think countries like the Philippines, Malaysia and even Thailand make Bali a place to think twice about going to. And I say that with great sorrow. I also think it speaks volumes when you get a better room in a better hotel with better food in a country such as Thailand which has less natural resource and yet a higher basic wage. If the maths do not add up, the missing equation is corruption.
Bali BS response: We think Balinese hotel staff often have a lot to be unhappy about. They see guests and hotel owners with unbelievable wealth (by their standards), are often cheated in and out of work, many earn just 350,000 rp a month (if they buy a pair of jeans, that is over half their monthly salary gone), and they are often looked down upon and even spoken down to (in no uncertain terms) by tourists. We know the everyday Balinese have pretty awful lives in most cases. Their culture is to smile through adversity and we can only admire them for this, and ask people do what is needed to change their unhappy lot, not abuse their situation.
This was an interesting story, but I want to caution its author over suggesting that would-be boycotters simply FIND and "sponsor a needy Balinese family" as a way to help Bali.
Bali already has its legacy of "pet tourists" that support random families there. These families always have an English speaker (translation: employable or educated) who created the relationship in the first place. How would a typical foreigner find a family in true need? How does a foreigner make sure that money goes to tuition fees, the doctor, the sustainable business? Stories abound of the inequities these generous foreigners create within villages. Imagine a martian landing in your neighborhood and chancing on that wealthy lawyer guy down the street, giving him a few bars of gold after hearing sob story of how stressful it is to make a living resolving arguments? You'd be outraged.
Balinese villages get instant, very nearly direct, and well-deserved support from the entire tourist base. 3/4s of the population make their living from the tourism industry and its support industries. The "government tax" percentage on your restaurant bill is a perfect example... it is pooled and divided by all staff at that place of business. It is an amount that doubles a base salary in the high season. A family with one or two members working one of these jobs receives a big portion of that income. This is the simplest example of how tourism helps Bali. It is sensible, legal business and should be supported. Target the corruption, please don't lump it all together with the legitimate business practices.
Bali BS response: Dear RT. We absolutely agree that picking a family to sponsor is not the best solution, simply because the average guest will only ever be exposed to the same hotel workers as other tourists, and not to people in the even poorer farming etc., communities. The result would therefore be that some people would receive a lot from a lot of sponsors, and the people most likely to need help most would probably receive nothing.
We figure you simply made a mistake when you said sales tax collected in Bali gets divided up by the business’ staff, when you meant the service charge yes? But, unfortunately, this area is one of the biggest corruption areas going on in Bali. We have decided to feature our response to this part of your emails by way of an article. Please read: The 21% Bali Tax Fraud Cheats.