Bali is not Africa. (oh, really?), here no weekly or even daily situations – positive or negative – life is more of a calm and quiet stream. Mister Par and his son were ill and finally forced to stay in bed – not good because no work means no income. But going to a doctor, not them. It’s common knowledge that doctors sometimes give injections and they didn’t even want to think about it. This time it ended well, they work again. I hear other stories in which it didn’t, people died. Doctors…
In the meantime I have a dog again but maybe I’ve made the same mistake as in Africa with Dopie, it’s a friendly dog. He wags his tail to whoever comes in the yard, sits up and offers his pow. How are you doing? Only the fish in the pond are his enemies, he barks at them fanatically, the fish don’t bother. That friendliness was not what I was looking for, I was hoping for a dog that would frighten burglars. Now I can only hope that the burglars don’t know about the dogs softness. His name is wrongly chosen as well, it’s Zoef (pronounce Souf). Balinese usually pronounce an F as a P so it becomes soup. A soup dog, not good. (I’m usually mister Perang which also means war.) The burglars are in custody, the police got them. It was a couple; one person from Java – ‘now, you see?’ is the Balinese reaction. The other is Balinese. Oeps. Fortunately he’s from far, from Buleleng which in the very north, so it’s not really… you know. The police took them through the neighborhood so that they could point out where they did it. It’s a good thing, says mister Par, that they did it on a rainy night. Otherwise the people here would have beaten them up. (!)
Now I have to go to the police. They probably have the stolen goods – there were nine burglaries in this area and it cannot have disappeared just like that – but there is a potential problem. From different sides I hear it’s going to cost me money. Pay half of the value of the stuff to the police, a sort of finders wage, then I still have my goods back at a very low price. Is what the Balinese say. Well, I don’t think so. The whole day now I’m doing a mister Rabbit. (for those that don’t know the story of mr. Rabbit, it’s below).
Recently there were a few video’s on the net, as far as I know on television also, about corruption here in Bali. Man (journalist) drives motor without helm and without drivers-license, pays € 16,– to a police officer and can drive on. It would have been better to warn against the dangers of driving without a helm on this island (anywhere I guess) instead of sensation seeking journalism. Nevertheless the was quite a bit of commotion around here. Dewa, the driver with whom I went to Denpasar the other day thought it a shame and it was, in his opinion, good that that policeman was fired. During the very same trip we are stopped by the police. Dewa is not wearing his safety-belt. With routine he puts Rupiah 10.000.– (about € 0,80) in his drivers-license and within 5 seconds we can go on. When I bought my motor there was no numberplate, accompanied by a license. Such a thing takes about ten days. No problem though; the dealer put on some false plates and I could drive. ‘But what if I’m stopped by the police?’ No problem, 20.000 rupiah (€1,60). This is no secret knowledge that is whispered in my ear, it’s common knowledge. There is also a price to become policeman, customs-officer or civil servant. Not cheap but it pays itself back in no time. It’s endearing how officials react to the video’s. ‘This is terrible, people might start to think that the police is corrupt!’ Ah well, maybe it makes the police a bit more lenient when I have to pick up my things tomorrow, maybe I’ll get them for free.
The NRA (National Rifle Association) did it again. The most sensible laws to control weapons, just a tiny little bit, were blocked by congressmen and senators that see huge parts of their election campaign financed by that very same NRA. You advertise yourself as keeper of the interests of the people and once you’re elected, you go for your own interest and power. You’ll get far with shitty arguments, made up by spin-doctors and when worse comes to worse, you can always say sorry. And next elections there will be money from the NRA again to polish you imago as shiny as possible. People forget easily, not only in the US. Whether it’s about banks, churches, politicians, ever greedy multinationals or whatever. Sorry. Yes but you created a crisis, the company is robbed empty and bankrupt, lives of people are in shambles, an asylum seeker is dead. I did say sorry didn’t I?
Does it ever happen to you that you’re in a period in which you think that it’ll never be okay again. not with the world and not with yourself? I didn’t inherit the iron optimism of my mother. She drives through her life (wheelchair) with happiness and I sometimes find it hard to just be happy, knowing what I know. Her expression ‘it will be over before you’re a girl’ drove me nuts when I was young. In trouble and on top of it a mother that told platitudes. It has taken long before I could see that, behind those airy words, there was the wisdom of being happy with what is. She shows it, every day, and makes her happiness work towards a better world. Now me. For now I read that last year a € 140.000.000.000,– was spent on arms. That depression of mine might take a few more days.
with love, Frank
Mr. Rabbit has to mow the lawn and that’s not a small thing if you have a big lawn and only a small scissors. For days now he’s postponing it but suddenly he has an idea.
‘My friend, mr. Bear, my good friend, he has a lawnmower. I can go and lend it from him.’
And there he goes, to the next block where mr. Bear lives.
‘Nah’ he thinks while walking, ‘of course mr. Bear is extremely careful with his stuff but hey, I’m his friend, it won’t be a problem.’
‘At least I hope so, always that over-careful attitude of his. I’m his friend for goodness sake’.
‘I can see him letting his friends down just like that, that Bear. It’s a shame.’
‘You’ll see, he won’t lend me the machine. Well, if that’s the way it is, I don’t even want it anymore.’
In the meantime he has reached the house of mr. Bear and he rings the doorbell. Mr Bear opens the door.
‘Hi mr. Rabbit, good to see you!’
‘You know what Bear’ mr Rabbit replies with his face red of anger, ‘you can stick that lawnmower up in your …’