Wednesday, August 01, 2007



Oh now I know what I’m gonna do when I grow really old, say around sixty. I’ll sell everything and move to bali. Get myself a sixteen year old legong dancer and live happily ever after in ubud or somewhere nearby.i am not particularly impressed with my fellow Malaysians in most things but was quite surprised to find out that in term of numbers Malaysians are the third biggest tourists in bali. Or so according to my tour guide when I was there several years ago, on the day of the second bali bombing to be exact. Well at least malaysians get one thing right. I mean look at average Malaysians. If they read you’ll probably see them reading the damned harry potter. In politics they’ll most likely vote for the bastards in umno or the equally vile mca or mic. Most (english) educated Malaysians are coconuts and bananas and the rest are likely to be racists. But hey we get one thing right. We know paradise when we see one.

And I was there again a couple of weeks back. Hired a car and a driver from the same trusted tour operator and this time traveling from legian/kuta to ubud, went down again towards the south east into gianyar province , went further east traversing klungkung and bangli and took the coastal road, stopped overnight at amed beach where you can see hundreds of beautiful traditional sampans that local fishermen use called jukung beached on the white sands , passed tulamben , a favorite and relatively quiet diving spot for those who shun the over crowded legian and kuta area and drove along the coastal road again to singaraja (the ugliest town I’ve ever seen anywhere) and stopped at lovina beach just a few minutes west of singaraja, where I hired a jukung and went out at day break about mile out into the sea to see the dolphins along with hundreds of other jukungs full of white tourists. And down again via bedugul to an obligatory sun set stop at tanah lot (the most over hyped tourist trap of bali perhaps only second to kuta beach).

And along the way visited enough puras to get myself fairly templed out and got myself sprinkled with hindu holy water enough to make me feel like a Balinese hindu for a couple of days which is ironic considering that I’m basically an extremist muslim in my intellectual make up. An added irony was that my driver is a hindu through and through but very recently married to a muslim who is living far away in Jakarta and who keep sending him sms of the holy quran verses among which was the surah al ikhlas (about the nature and concept of god in islam) and another surah al kafirun (about freedom of religion) …which shows that his wife is a fairly educated muslim who chooses the quranic verses carefully to send to her husband. In normal situation this kind of thing can get my blood boiling but this is bali, so I let it pass….

if I were to pick a place to stay in bali I’d probably choose ubud like all those now famous (and mostly dead) foreign artists many years ago (although I can’t paint a picture to save my grandmother) and as those who know bali will probably expect especially if you like arts and culture. And they have it by the tons . Just spent a night there but managed to visit some of the major art museums –puri lukisan where you can see some rudolf bonnet and nyoman lempad’s drawings and other traditional Balinese paintings , agung rai museum where the highlight is probably the single walter spies painting in a room full of crappy walter spies reproductions , neka museum where you can see more traditional Balinese paintings arranged by styles from the traditional wayang influenced early paintings ( the best of which is probably the ones that you can see in in karta gosa about may be an hour’s drive south) to ubud and batuan styles and a whole gallery devoted to aries smit who is still now living but getting on in years and then off to the eccentric Antonio blanco museum. And my, this guy is one interesting character. He painted mostly nudes in western style with special attention to the pubic region. Not surprising as he was generally described as “pengagung wanita” and a close fried to sukarno the legendary Indonesian president and another woman worshipper (but not a painter as far as I know).

The only major foreign artist that didn’t make ubud his home was le mayeur who lived in sanur a place full of women of easy virtues these days and he has a lovely house by the sanur beach which is now turned into a museum of his paintings which were mostly about naked ladies too and especially his young wife the legung dancer ni polok. It was said that if gaguin had known bali he too would have chosen this place instead of Tahiti which have women that look like ogres compared to the petit Balinese ladies.

But one never know, gauguin at one time had a young Javanese girl as a mistress (who to her credit ran away with most of his belongings) but still preferred to go to Tahiti. May be he just like ugly women. Some people do.

And if I were to pick my favorite foreign artists who came to live in bali, I won’t pick aries smit with his fauvistic paintings, or blanco with his voluptuous women or bonnet with his fine drawings of Balinese boys (he was gay) but one that was completely unknown to me before. willem hoffker. He also painted nudes but with a kinder and more innocent feel. Just what I like in girls… here’s an example.

and among the indegenous balinese painters, you'll most likely have seen all those decorative paintings with birds in foliage with bright colours which can be very charming or those so called 'new artist' style of paintings which is really a form of naive paintings first founded and encouraged by aries smit but i prefer those batuan style paintings with all those crowded detailed drawings of people and barongs and rangdas and rice terraces or puras and religious ceremonies sometimes in color sometimes in monochrome that tell a story and is actually a book in itself.

and you can visit here if you want to learn a bit more about the foreign artists of bali…


In the meeting now..........

Reducing my headache with ur pics n writing.

Some people have all the fun n some people have all the pain :b
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