‘Bali raw’, the other side of the Island of the Gods
Bali raw teaches you as much about the underbelly of Australian society as it does about Bali. It is a must-read for anyone who has visited, or is thinking of travelling to, Indonesia’s Island of the Gods.
Malcolm Scott‘s book (2012, Monsoon, 16.95 USD, 256 pp.) is a must-read, but only for two classes of people: (1) those who made the wise choice not to visit the Denpasar-Legian-Kuta area (i.e. those who have decided to read it for the sake of knowledge), or (2) those who are planning to immerse themselves in the vagina-oriented universe of sex-on-sale (or to observe it very closely).
The Author ‘exposes’ the violent side of Bali through a vivid (although sometimes quite predictable) autobiographical account of his adventures on the island. This is a book about nice people: drunk Australians, Australians who drink too much, and Aussies who never stop drinking. And it’s also – and most of all – about family:
Would you like to live in Bali? This isn’t a gift, you’ll have to work and find yourself a role in the company. I’ll pay you a hundred dollars a week for the first year, same as I paid myself You can rent a room in Kuta and the company will pay for it […] You fuck up and it’s over, you’re my brother but one fuck up and I’ll send you home. I couldn’t give a shit.
These are the terms presented to Malcolm by his older brother Nick. This speech opens the book and marks the beginning of Malcolm’s Balinese life. The experience accumulated by the Author over 10 years of expat life is consistently represented by useful notes and guiding suggestions on how to approach working girls and hookers:
I had met the girl in a pub off the strip and that should have been an indication that she wasn’t working but it is sometimes hard to tell. An Indonesian girl you meet in a big nightclub in Kuta will almost always be a hooker. A girl you meet working behind a bar, on the other hand, is usually not on the game and may not be interested in foreign men at all. I have seen many tourists walk into a bar and treat the girl behind the counter like she is a working girl.
I thought that mass tourism was a valid reason to skip the south of Bali, but one can always add something more. Gangs, racket, urban fights, and sex-seeking Westerners. The Island of the Gods indeed.