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The Book Bali Impressions

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     Introduction

“Bali is n‛t Bali anymore”,
the tourists often exclaim, when they are here for a second time.
“Bali is n‛t Bali anymore”, exclaimed Han Snel, a famous painter who lived here already fifty long years. “ There are no more beautiful, young women with naked breasts on the pasar” and he begun to paint abstracts.
And it is true.
Dr.Julius Jacobs, a physician, visited Bali in 1883 (”enige tijd onder de baliers”) and wrote the following :
“Bali is divided into nine small Kingdoms, governed by Kings, the Rajahs.
A poor Javanese family had even a cleaner house then a Rajah, blighters as they were .
They shared their hovels with pigs, chickens and ducks…
They owned about a hundred wives, hundreds of concubines and an army of prostitutes.
Ninety percent of what the latter earned, -whilst spreading syphilis –
had to be handed over to the King.
A woman was not a human being, just a thing, and she had to work lest men didn‛t have to.
Besides she was there to please him.
Men squandered away their time gambling, cockfighting, smoking opium and with women.
If a girl was born, the man despised his wife and, as soon as the little girl could walk,
she had to work until she died.
She was never allowed to play like the boys, never..
When she had her first menstruation, the Father threw a big party, hoping he could soon get rid of her..
Her value was similar to that of a cow, but, if one stole a cow, the punishment was harsher..
And, when the husband died, the wife was cremated with him, -free of charge -,
after not having had food for a couple of weeks, nearly fainting and completely drugged.
The caste system was still very much practiced.
A woman of a high caste was not allowed to play around with a man of a lower caste.
 If this happened, the man was punished by putting him in a wicker-basket, made of bamboo.
This then was completely tied up, keeping a little hole open to allow some food to be given,
and was laid on a sunny spot.
The woman was, naked, chained to a block next to him, also in the sun..
After a month, she was burned alive and he was allowed to watch.
Then he was thrown into the sea, still inside his basket…
Smallpox bacilli roamed over the island and many people were infected,
after which half of them died and the other half was scarred for life.
Thank God, Bali isn‛t Bali anymore…
1 Februari 2008.
 

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