Bali closed its doors to international visitors in April 2020 as the pandemic spread around the world. It reopened on 14 October 2021, but its hotels and beaches remain empty.
Ada ada saja is a saying often heard in Bali. It means “there will always be something”, in the sense that no matter how much you’d like to control what happens in life, something will always crop up that you aren’t prepared for or would prefer not to have to deal with.
In this regard, the Balinese have an extraordinarily graceful acceptance of events that are beyond their control, and there’s a lot we could learn from them.
The Balinese live in the present
An unusual feature of the Balinese language is that it has no past or future tenses. All sentences are in the present tense with certain words added to denote something that has already happened or is expected to happen later. This has the effect that very few Balinese people consider the long-term consequences of their actions. They tend to live in the present, with no thought of providing for the future.
So when the Indonesian government decided in 1971 to heavily promote Bali as an international travel destination, many Balinese farmers leapt at the opportunity to sell their land to developers in order to purchase a motor bike or car. What they did not realize then, and do realize now, is that land is an asset that can be farmed forever, whereas a motor bike or car lasts for a few years and then becomes worthless.
The effect of the pandemic
Today, much of Bali’s arable land has had hotels built on it and lies deserted, neglected and useless. Since the pandemic started, some people have returned to working the acreage that remains as farmland, but many have no employment at all. They simply wait and hope for the return of tourists. It’s a sad situation indeed.
With over 6 million international visitors in 2019, 80% of Balinese people’s income used to come from tourism. The pandemic completely wiped that out. In the first nine months of 2021, the number of international visitors was a mere 51 people (that’s not a typo – just fifty-one visitors arrived), and none were on tourist visas. The island’s airport reopened in October 2021, but tourists have not returned. Bali is like a ghost town, and as a result, many Balinese are now malnourished or starving.
A big thank you
We want to sincerely thank everyone who has purchased Balinese space clearing equipment from our online store during the pandemic.
Space clearing can help to create a precious sanctuary in your home when the world is in turmoil. And what you may not be aware of is that your purchase will also have helped to support many Balinese families at a time when they have no other possible source of income.
It has provided employment for the skilled artisans who create the space clearing bells, harmony balls, bell stands, altar cloths and colourizers that we sell through our online store. In some cases, this will literally have saved lives. We know it only amounts to a drop in an ocean of need, but it helps. It also keeps some extraordinary traditional skills alive that would otherwise be lost.
Copyright © Clear Space Living Ltd, 2022
Space clearing during a pandemic
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