Saturday, July 23, 2005

Aside #2 - Did you know that...?

1. Balinese society is still very traditional, despite the influx of tourists and the onslaught of foreign influence. Although Ubud has so many hotels and homestays, up until recently, the people of Ubud refused to work in the hotels. According to Wayan, that is why he is the only local boy working in Tegal Sari. Everyone hails from somewhere else in Bali, including Nyoman who comes from Lovina! Even now, the staff members on night duty are all men. It is not considered respectable in Balinese society for women to work at night.

2. The Balinese have a very feminine concept of what a woman should look like. At least that is what I surmise from my observations of Balinese women and my experience with the Balinese. Almost all the Balinese women we saw were curvaceous, moved gracefully and had flowing long hair. Secondly, while HM has long hair and wears skirts and blouses, I am quite “butch”, both in appearance (short hair, always dressed in shorts and t-shirts) and manner (low voice, swaggering walk). I must not fit the Balinese mental model of womanhood because we were asked several times whether we were on honeymoon!

3. Japanese tourists love Bali. Momoko has been there 10 times. They love Ubud even more. In Sanur, we were asked if we were Singaporean. In Ubud, everyone greeted us with “konichiwa”. At Tegal Sari, staff members all seem to speak some Japanese, not surprisingly so, since the majority of their customers are from Japan. Little wonder though, since the Balinese and the Japanese cultures both have great reverence for beauty and aesthetics. The Japanese must love the Balinese resorts.


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