Brotherhood

Dear All

The sun is hardly up in Bali and I read the newspapers on the net. About a the air crash that isn’t an air crash but a disaster caused by people, people blinded by an ideal that can never be worth it… There is no protection against bigots and other fanatics whom, without blinking an eye, not only renounce brotherhood, but fight it with hatred, without any respect for life, using everything possible at their disposal. There is no place of refuge where terrible news doesn’t reach us. Modern techniques force us daily to see our brother and sister, also, especially even, those in need – if we want to recognize… The world became so small that nationality is in fact of very minor importance. The need is so big that huge or small differences in how we see god, cannot be a reason to renounce the brotherhood that is, in fact, already in our genes. It is brotherhood that makes that we want to be close to the other, certainly to those in need.

Four people that are, in a way, closer to me than others are among the victims. Everybody knows someone, directly of via friends or relatives, who was murdered there in the Ukraine sky. Balinese are telling me that there were almost 200 Dutch citizens, 12 Indonesians and 2 Balinese on that plane. They are not the only ones that count nationalities I see in the newspapers. It irritates me. Almost 300 people died, and an enormous number of relatives and friends will have to live with an incomprehensible loss. That’s what it’s about.

Not much later the help arrives, she has bad news she says. I think I know what it is. It turns out different. Ketut, my landlord, died last night. He was ill for a while already but it seemed it was getting better and now this. It means a (temporary) burial the same day, the cremation will be much later. I belong there but during the very extensive ceremonies, my thoughts go back and forth, fly over that increasingly small world that, more than ever, makes brotherhood essential in life. No doubt it will be a very long way, it’s also the only way out of the wreckages in our world.

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The help didn’t know whom to choose but ‘bapak’ (father, she means her husband) whispered a name in her ear. And that’s whom she choose, Jokowi. Bali is a bit of Jokowi land. The presidential elections; both candidates consider themselves heir of a former president, Soekarno and Suharto respectively. The fact that they both were dictators with a keen eye for their own interest… Time doesn’t only heal wounds, it makes forgetting easier as well. Prabowo, the candidate of the establishment, is favoured by those that want peace and order and by a number of fundamental Muslim groups that hope for an Islamic society. Not a surprise that he is not very popular in Bali, Bali being mainly Hindu. Jokowi, the man with a simple background, says he wants to clean up this corrupt society and, as a mayor and as a governor, he has shown some of that attitude already. The elite is threatened in their position. My driver of last week was of the opinion that they both won. Both of them claim victory on radio and tv. My remark that “of course” only one can really win didn’t land. The media were very clear about it, they both won. The final results will come out on July 22, counting votes takes a while, also because of many remote areas. I hope that no irregularities will occur, probably vain hope though. Already there are districts where not a single person voted Jokowi, in other districts considerably more votes were casted than there are voters. The richest man of the country, also politician whom caused a disaster near Probolingo that is still not solved, is doint what he can through his radio and TV-stations. To late I hope. Democracy is put to the test and that’s a risky adventure in one of the most corrupt countries in the world. That (potential) dictators are cheating is not new, that they do it in the most stupid way possible not either I guess. A vague, semi legitimacy is enough for them, the rest they’ll arrange by other means.

Zoef was gone. For days I tried to let him walk next to me without a line. Not overdoing it, not on parts where ducks or chicken were expected. I went fine, till this week. Till the gate he was with me and then he was gone. In the dark I’ve been looking for him, calling his name (nice for the neighbours) but he didn’t show up. I assumed he went to the Pars and that the help would return him the next morning. Not so. Quite a while later Frans brought him back, tied to an extension wire since he didn’t have a proper line. ‘Dear Abby, my dog doesn’t love me anymore, what to do?’

The wedding of the daughter of W&P is postponed. A niece has her wedding in the same period and that already takes so much time and energy for offerings and ceremonies, the daughter will have to wait. It will probably be August. Not much later, she’s pregnant and getting married with a six months belly is not nice. Not that it is a problem to be seen pregnant, it’s quite normal in Bali. A Balinese friend once explained it with ‘you wouldn’t buy a car either when you’re not sure it can drive…’ How it goes with infertile men, I don’t know. A lot of fiancées, sure, but being bachelor forever is not an option either, looking at reincarnation.

Netanyahu goes on with bombing till he reaches his goal: restore peace. The philosophy of Hamas is not different. Now, I assume one can achieve quite a few things with bombs but peace, Mr Netanyahu, uh… no, peace is not available that way. And with that remark I don’t want to choose sides, this sort of sick thinking is done on both sides. Facebook is not willing to remove the page “Jews must die” just like that. It needs extra pressure to get them that far. “It’s not against our rules” is their first reaction. Nice, a nipple is removed immediately, real filth is not against the rules, can stay. Yes, finally they gave in. The page is removed. Were there morals are based on remains an enigma. Not on brotherhood I’d say.

Love, Frank

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Quite common

Consumers that recently bought a so-called sambaballhooter are requested to return it to the shop they bought it. The product contains small parts one might choke on. You can return the article with the receipt. Ah, you don’t keep receipts of you sambaballhooterpurchases (scrabble!) That’s quite sloppy.

Dear All,

On the terrace in front of the restaurant, most guests look and look again at something you can in fact see hundreds of times a day. An older, formal Javanese dressed woman stands, with a boy on her arm. It is someone that grew old nicely; mild look in a wrinkled face, her hair combed backwards. The boy just started, dark hair and eyes even darker in a virginal face. They both smile, to each other, we on the terrace are only background, unnoticed.

Quite common; a grandmother with a grandchild – always the most beautiful and sweetest grandchild. A grandchild with his grandmother; always the dearest grandmother. Unconditional I belong with you, for the one by understanding, for the other because the heart knows. Something common that touches the essence of life – being content and secure in the connection with the other. A lady in her winter, a boy that has to do his first steps still.
Strange that we can forget that, specially in the years in between. How does one get on roads that bring obvious damage to others, when does one decide that that bonus is worth it to let go of morals, where comes the idea from that the newest ‘you name it’ justifies a bit of fiddling with good and not good or that my consumer behaviour is just a bit more important than the question how it’s made?
That sort of bonus I never got but I know those pitfalls from inside out. But, if you fall into it, you don’t want to stay there do you? Falling (in) and getting up again, back to when it was good I’d say. A world full of deceivers tries to make us believe that happiness is in a lot, expensive and new. With disastrous consequences, also – and maybe specially – here in Bali. Better not join them. Let those liars call out of that pitfall, let them call. If we all do just that they’ll come out again one day.

(About grandchildren. Today I red “if I had known that grandchildren were so much fun I would’ve taken those first.”)matters

A simple drawing that I found on the net stayed in my thoughts for days. Maybe/probably it’s nothing new for you, for me it was an eye-opener. My only criticism is that the circle of what is important should be quite a bit bigger, the one that show what I control definitively much smaller. But there is a small part where they overlap, if I manage to keep that in mind, my blogs will be less grumpy.

Quite often I go out for dinner – you can’t do the cooking for that money – so another restaurant story. At the grill further down the road I was, for a change, not the only guest. There were eighty young people as well, with gitars. Electric guitars. I should have paid attention but before I noticed I already ordered and then you’re stuck. After a few minutes they started; guitars on ten and singing. Well, singing…. I don’t know a lot about music but to keep tone and melody, I notice if that’s not the case. That, combined with four screaming guitars, was not what I had in mind to eat my chicken cordon blue. ‘Oh, chidren from the church’ the waitress answered to my question. ‘From Java.’ That they were not from Bali I had seen already and this explained all the Jesus’ and Tuhan (lord) that came by. I could suppress the part of me that wanted to put fingers in my ears but it must have been readable on my face. During a small break one of the boys came to my table. ‘You don’t like it I think?’ ‘Mmm, it’s not my favourite music’. Also as hypocrite I do a good job. ‘But you’re from the West?’ ‘Yes?’ ‘Well, then you’re a Christian, then you’re supposed to like this. We praise the Lord.’ It was only back home again that I thought of some nice, to the point answers. At that moment I just kept quiet.

To stay in restaurants, tonight at the Indian, D. came in. That is not possible because D. eats stew with red cabbage or pea-soup at home. D. is a very pleasantly disturbed Dutchman, this was a very unpleasant disturbed American that looked like D. but was not him. Using the F word liberally he managed to bring the staff close to a nervous breakdown within 10 minutes. And other guests started to gaze. When the insults, you could hear them through the whole restaurant, became ruder and ruder, something remarkable happened. Another man, obviously from the same country as the brawler, stood up a talked to him. ‘Hey you, it’s okay to be an idiot, be my guest, but don’t insult our friends here. I’m going to use your favourite word only once but I mean it. Fuck off, now, out!’ I feared disaster but the man went, and the staff could smile again. There are tourists and tourists, one is a pain and you know where, the other makes me smile, even a bit happy.

Tourists, it’s a fact that we have a bit too many of them. Last week three hours in a traffic jam in Kuta. Admitted, partly because the driver was stubborn and manoeuvred us twice in the same traffic jam (I think this will go faster Pak), but still… On a regular basis two busses, each good for one and a half roadway, meet each other on the small roads here and that’s a problem indeed. C. used more than an hour to go over Monkey Forest road, a distance of less than a kilometre… Nah, with time it will change I think. When I see an older couple (omg, my age really) that booked a trip to Kuta – nonsense shops, beach with no swimming and beer – then I wonder what they will tell when they’re home again. Personally I would like a little chat with that advisor at the travel agency that talked about Ubud, a picturesque village where you would think yourself twenty years back in time; yeah, for blind people with a hearing problem and a limited sense of smell. That’s something they didn’t tell you.
But then, tourists and expats – I’m in the last group – are looking for a nice place with lots of restaurants, attractive shops and no guests. Ah, looking for, there is no law against it now is there?

In the meantime Pak Ahok, acting governor of Jakarta now that Jokowi is busy with his campaign for president, several mosques because of Ramadan. Ahok is Christian and from Chinese decent. He goes with respect and is received that way too. That makes hopeful, happy even.

Love, Frank