Panta Rei

Dear All

In Bali the gamelan youth orchestra has been rehearsing intensively for a few nights in a row. A short, simple tune, but seemingly it had to be perfect, it took hours and hours. Sound carries far… Ceremonies all over the place these days. Restaurants are closed, streets un-accessible, everybody is busy for days. Offerings everywhere, a dogs or a gooses  life is taken; prayers, flowers, fruits… and it will be better again.

Also in contemporary Bali the focus is on what god/the gods need and demand. Or maybe it’s for not falling out of tune with the neighbours. According to Frans more and more people complain about a very demanding religion.

Now, in Yogyakarta (Java) – I’m here to look for some furniture – other but similar things. In my hotel two little girls, I think about 3 or 4 years old, are allowed to “swim” in the pool for kids. They wear long pants, long sleeves and a scarf around their little heads. Looking at their eyes I think they’re beautiful kids. In the Chinese temple the dragon was dancing tonight. Eight young men walked for about forty kilometres with the “dragon” and were not allowed to talk along the way. Tradition you know? Harvest festival with full moon, it was beautiful and at least there were lots of smiling people.

The double bottom in life is still in place. At least, looking at it from the outside. There is enough to criticize but the ‘adat’ – religion and rules how to behave that are a consequence of it or not – shapes society in what it is and keeps, in my opinion, much alive in a country where each and everyone has to be a member of one of the five religions. “There is ONE God and he has many names” says the Indonesian. Because here also we have to work together in respect for the other.

It pisses me of sometimes to see how the group is pushing people, confines them and prevents the most beautiful flowers from blooming but also; the honest simplicity with which life and circumstances, including death and mishap, are (can be) accepted invokes respect.

I wonder how long it will be before the double bottom is gone – and if it will be gone. The stream of tourists has its effect on the outlook on life of people here and there is positive aspect to that. But also quite a bit is ‘imported’ that doesn’t really add to a better world. As so often the focus moves to the money. What’s the price of happiness? Dreams and vision are, here also, rare.

Panta rei, everything flows. It’s always up to us to move a stone in the river and change the flow. Chances enough, every day.

In the meantime I’m occupied with the new house that’s being build. It will be a limasan, a Javanese wooden house, a bit as a joglo but I’m not sure that means anything to you. It’s made of teakwood and at least 60 – 70 years old. A big living room, a spacious terrace, a bedroom and, yes, a guestroom. I’ll see you coming.

End of this week they’ll start with the foundation and then, a month or so later, they’ll put the house on top. Attach a bathroom, a kitchen and in the beginning of December I’ll have my own place again. The plot is a little smaller than in Africa, about 1 %of it. The location is in the rice fields, a beautiful view. Green.

For now Yogya is a pleasure to be. Friends and people I know from long ago, when walking in the street I’m approached regularly. ‘Eeeh, Frank van den Ham’ says the becak driver (bicycle taxi driver) that had me by the you know what for a few dollars, years ago. And he insists to drive me around for free that day. Ganti rugi, make up for the losses. On a motorbike this time. Because most becak drivers have a motorbike next to their becak these days. And becaks with an engine have been seen as well. Panta rei.

With love

Frank

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