Balinese family problem

Yesterday my sister came home, she found me reading a book. I was surprise and glad to see her. I am very happy when my sibling visits me. She saw my books in the shelf and said, “It is good making book as your friend”. I know what she refered ‘friend’ means girlfriend. I am in my forties still being single, and perhaps not getting married and books give me company.

My sisters

I made her some tea and some cookies to nibble. She is the left one in the photo. She is small lean woman 58 years old, hard worker, talkative and strong at heart. I like her perpective about life even she never went to school but she indeed had learned through her hard life. She had raised her children well in the hard time and schooled them till senior high school.

She wants to keep money with my brother in case she could not work again in the future. She often had told us that her son neglects and hardly looks after her. Saving in the bank is not her option because she is illiterate. I feel pitty about it in the old age like now she is still facing hard life. This is the general life of people with lower income here. When they are getting old, mostly their children do not look after them.

She got married at the age of 17, it was hard period for everybody in the eighties. When many people ate rice only on Galungan day which happens every 7 months. We ate dried sweet potatoes every day, vegetables and often no meat, perhaps tofu or salted fish sometimes.

My sister sold herbal drink or firewood to get some money to serve food for her family. Her husband likely had lack of responsibility to their family and was unable to make good decision in critical situation. Many times she handled things well for their family. They had raised a son and a daughter whom give them grandchildren which the oldest grandson is 18 years of age now. For many years she have bad relationship with her husband’s family.

Like other parent my sister was working hard to run the family, providing food, sending her children to school, holding many rituals tradition, but she did not or could not afford to save money for the old age. Pension is only given for the one who works for government, while most of the people being poor farmer.

Old Balinese house

In our tradition every woman will get married and live with her husband and his family in the house compound. Here usually lives three to four men with their wives, children and grandchildren. Yes it is a big family. Balinese believes having many children is better, with the thought their sons and daughters can help the parent in rice field.

Balinese house compound

I imagine of a happy big family live in harmony in the house compound. But in reality is a little different. Living with many heads with different thoughts and emottions could be challenging. With difficulty of financial, thing could go wrong easily. When stomach is empty brain will not work properly. This is where the drama begun amongst the family members. Cold war of mother in law with daughter in law is classic problem around the world just like here. A son who treat his old parents badly, or fighting about family inherentance, and more domestic trouble. I heard these stories everywhere. And it needs huge understanding and compassion being in the family

It happens to my sister as well. In the cold war big family she had work hard to raise her children, giving the best she could do. But she still struggles to live and neglected by her son when she is no longer young.

I love my tradition, the rituals, temples, and our ways of life. It has attracted tourist around the world to visit us and seeing our culture. Life is moving forward and sometimes not toward the direction that we want. But I hope the value of our tradition not fading away.

Paper boat and the rain

Everybody has their own way to have breakfast. I, my older brother, and my nephew have ordinary way. We are sitting on the porch, a place for us to have breakfast. My brother loves black thick coffee, he dresses up with his uniform for work already. My ten year olds nephew, with waking up face is nibbling fried tofu. I am happy with porridge, mixed with assorted vegetables and grated coconut on top. It’s not a typical breakfast for billionaire right?

Three minds with different flavour of thought. My brother is salty kind of mind, mine is sugary, my nephew is sour because he is very young fruit.

The unpatient rain finally falls since the sky is unable to hold condenced cloudy any longer. i finished my breakfast quickly because the porch gets wet. I mutter why the rain should not fall in dessert i bet camel would do breakdance.

We moves and put our backs againts the wall to stay out the rain. The yard is overwhelming like a stream.

I am staring at the water and my mind travels to memory long long time ago. I was small and skinny with dark skin. My little hands were streching and cupping to catch the rain . Then I made a boat from used notebook of my sister that she did not need anymore. I would sail with my boat.

I knew how to make it, it was easy and fun, it took less then a minute to make it. I could make a plane too, flying it high and smoothly before crashing thatch roof of our house.

On rainy day like now a boat was the one i could think of. I was squating by the rushing rain. My head got wet. I placed my boat well on the streaming yard. Not to forget to load two little rocks on it. There you go my little my boat!

The pouring rain tortured the boat. My masterpiece was shaking away like Titanic about to sink, the boat that brought love of Leonardo and Kate Winslet. Just in a few seconds it went upside down. My rocks fell and disappeared in dirty water. The boat was wreck and drifted away.

I did not feel sad or something because i could make another one or two or lot more boats. Suddenly my mother was screaming behind me “that is what you learn, we don’t have money to get you doctor.”

My reverie fades away as the rain subsides. I want to make paper boat again and sails it. But what would my brother say when his 42 years old sibling is playing with paper boat?

Am i not Balinese?

One day a westerner told at me that i am not Balinese but from Majapahit. Majapahit was a great kingdom in Java in 14 century, really?

The back gate of Majapahit kingdom

I think many of Balinese people is busy with their life, we do what our parents say, if it is asked they simply answer us with “it’s the way it is.” i bet if i ask my friends probably they would not know about history of Bali either. What usually people concern is how to survive, busy doing endless ceremonies and rituls, and how they can’t resist of yummy roasted pig. The authentic Balinese dish

The young couples are busy to work, if they are lucky their parents will take care of their baby while they are working. Or the wife must stay home look after their children while the husband earns for their family.

Balinese Wedding ceremony

A young married man will think about ceremony he will hold, like a big ceremony for his three months old baby is coming in. There is village temple ceremony is right at the corner. The meeting at the community hall he must be attended tonight. Or next month is his cousion’s wedding ceremony that he should go there to help them. Galungan and Kuningan day will come soon so he must ask the manager to get day off on those days and so on. And more importantly he must think about how to make ends meet. That is how a Balinese man life rolling usually.

An American woman who got married with Balinese man said two third of Balinese life is for doing ceremony. So i think local people here are occupied their life with tradition and how to sustain their life.

To be honest i don’t really think where did i originally come from. So i researched on internet. The tradition, ceremony, and the system of Balinese community practicing now days came from the tradition of people from Majapahit kingdom in East Java in 1343.

The troop of Majapahit kingdom had traversed the sea and defeated Bali kingdom then ruled the area. They brought also their believe here which was creating Hindu religion. Some priests, kings, intellectuals, traders, and sword smiths of Majapahit formed their top three castes in bali. They became Brahmana, Ksatria, and waisya. The lowest caste was called Sudra given to local people and the people of defeated kingdom. They did this to devide the people from Majapahit with the locals

Besakih temple ceremony

So it means according to the internet Sudra people is the local Balinese, i am Sudra caste. Then i am Balinese not from Majapahit. But the tradition and the ceremonies that we see today here came from Majapahit tradition that practiced by locals. Actually there were local people who refused the influence of Majapahit. Now they live by lake Batur in Trunyan village called Bali Aga. Bali Aga means original Bali. So those people have different tradition with most of Balinese do in Bali.

When I go to bookstore i hardly look at the Hindu or Bali history stand. I am at the other corner browsing at self-help books, or international best sellers, like how to win friends and influenced them, the power of now, or novels from Haruki Murakami, the last one i got a book of Mark Manson

Maybe next time i should get more books about history of Bali that relates to it so i can answer when stranger lectures me about my own root.

My happy morning

Our Little princess comes every morning

I like my morning routine very much. I think this is the best day during my day. Having breakfast with my family is something i enjoy indeed

My brother will have black coffee and a little snack. It is breakfast he usually do before he is going for work. I love him, my best big brother. We grew up together, we have been through many things that make our relationship growing stronger, now he has a little family he lives and fights for.

My breakfast is bubuh bali, rice porridge with assorted vegetables. Some people avoid it, because they only have this dish when they are sick. But for me it is delicious, i can have this every day. But now this is the way to get rid of my ascending  stomach acid and dizziness in my head.

Birds are joining us

My favourite moment in the morning is when the birds come to have breakfast with us. I or my brother will throw some seeds for them. These little cute guys are picking up the seed. I feel joy seeing them eating and moving here and there. They are so adorable. There are more birds visit us later in the afternoon

My sister in law is cooking in the kitchen, i like whatever she cooks, especially her dishes are less spicy which suit my dyspepsia.

Meanwhile my little nephew is busy with his phone watching video of men fishing. He likes fishing so much. This new year he went fishing with his father on the beach. He was excited to tell me what he had saw there. I wish i had chances like he has now when i was kid. Life is much easier now then before.

Sometimes a slightly thought whispers in my head, i am a very lucky guy, realizing that i am surrounded by good family and affection in my life. I feel not deserve to complain because i have everything to smile.

My spiritual journey

I had bathed and prayed here

I went to this place again, this is my third times. As i know from the people that this is holy place for everyone who believes the waterfall behind me could cure us from disease of black magic spell. The others heard this holy site also bless people who struggle to have child could be granted offspring here.

I read in internet this place by chance was found by the foreigner in 2007 who came here to this village with a tour guide to enjoy the pristine of the nature of this village. The diseases of the foreigner was healed after bathing in this waterfall.

The news was spreaded in the village and heard out of the areas. Now many people from other regions come here for purification. It says the water will turn its color to yellow, red, or dirty if one baths under the waterfall, it indicates of the disease one owns.

The scene on full moon

This holy place is called Penglukatan Sebatu which roughly means purification in Sebatu Village only 15 minutes away from fomaus Ubud area. I choose not to come here on full moon or kajeng kliwon on the special Balinese day for ceremony, because this site will be packed.

My feet and legs felt burned on the way up after i have done my ritual here. But not too much when i was walking down following all the  countless these steepy steps. It seemed like i was moving to the center of the earth. Along the way my eyes and nose were indulged by the leaves, trees, and the smell of the nature, it was all paid my sore legs and short breath.  Raining wetted my jacket. i had to watch and walk carefully because it was quite slippery. Someone had fell on the wet and moldy spot where i thought could happen.

My nephew took me here

I notice some tourists also around here yesterday, it is a spritual tourist destination in Ubud area. they are mostly westerners who want to enjoy the nature and local culture

They enjoy it

I definitely will come here again with my good friend. He wants to get blessed and purifed here as well.

My nephew’s dream

I am scrolling my phone when my nephew showing his drawing to me. He is only 12 years old but can draw this good? I can’t do it. I love the combination of its colors

He said he wants to be a mechanic in the future, buy a used motorbike and change it into something like in the picture.

I am glad you know what you want to do in your life my boy. When i was your age i had no idea what to do, even i am still a loser now. What a shame!

The boy and firewood

Is it only me or somebody else in the beginning of forties missing the childhood moment? I hope i am not the only one otherwise i feel odd.

I found an old photo in facebook, showing the street in Denpasar town dated 1921. The photo looks amazing to me. Now that big tree is standing still, a living witness of history. It awakes my curiosity about the history of this tiny Bali island. I learn about the kingdoms that roled this island in 8 century, how the people had been living here, why so many temples in every site i look at, and when Hindu religion had been spreading here. I did my research on internet.

I feel sorry about this island that ruined by the pandemic Covid-19. The people were spoiling by tourism for many years then all of sudden being ditched like unwanted lover.

I was born grew up living and i don’t want to say to ending here too. Pandemic causes me depressed, i heard many people struggling and returning to their basic fathers in the past did, getting into the mud in the rice field, i mean it is not bad job, but i refer to the lost of their job in tourism, my job too.

To be honest as a kid when my father asked me to help him to weed the young baby paddy and to sink my feet into mud, i prefered doing something else with my cousins. I liked exploring in the back rest land by the river. We were looking for firewood like dried coconut leave that fell from its tree or twig sized as our big toes. Size was matter because we couldn’t carry a block of wood. I was here and there in bushes, like a calf poking my head among the leaves. I was a little boy on a mission doing journey for treasure. I would surprise my mother with a lot of firewood, she would smile at me and called me clever boy. Then she could use it to cook rice and fry fish.

I got many firewood and i tied them with palm leaf. The birds were chirping above there in the tall trees. I turned my head up searching them, a shaft of light coming from rift of the foliege dazzled my eyes. Sun was too bright today. I threw my sight away. I saw my cousins at the other side, i would brag them with my firewood, i shouted ” i got many!” In fact she got twice of mine, what a lucky girl. She is a good girl, two years older than me, i always felt comfortable talking with her.

We had to go home because her younger brother telling us creepy story, there was lemedi living by the river, a scary evil spirit. She was a witch with gray long hair covering her wrinkled old face, her firing eyes shone through her hair. She wore a torned worn-out robe. She would walk along the river looking for kids to catch and brought them to the unseen world under water. When she was hungry she would eat them. As her brother finished his story we all were running away, my heart was beating like drum. My mother asked me what happened, “nothing” i said with my hands and feet still trembling. I was terified to death

Sometimes the thing i see now spark my memories in the past. The memories stay inside my unconscious mind that just needs little trigger to remember it again.

The moon tonight

I look at the sky tonight, i am grateful i can see the moon, she is perfect and round, indeed beautiful in the sky. Her radiant is silky smooth like Goddess divine.

But all of sudden the evil cloud of darkness comes uninvited and unheartedly swallows the moon. The silky smooth radiant fades away then vanished.

How misery it is, i sit still, my eyes glue to the sky. There is no any star but black and silent. I believe she will emerge soon.

My eyes notice something, there she is, slowly unleashing the evil cloud of darkness, i knew she will shine again. Now she is alive even seems more beautiful.

I look at her and she looks at me. Our eyes meet and i say, ” Where were you?”, she said no words but smile. I don’t need her answer either because her smile is all i want. Thank you moon for coming back to me.

I am a bad gardener

I read somewhere that if the garderner is the happiest creature on the planet. It means i am an unhappy human being then. Well i guess so, i don’t like planting i mean sometimes i do it but most of the time what i plant is dead. My brother is good with planting. Whatever he sticks on earth grows. I should ask his help if i want to grow something.

Anyway lately i weed every morning, because i am confused what i should do every day. My head is dizzy all the time either this is because of my dyspepsia or my negative thoughts as doctors and healers say, i have no idea. If that’s so who isn’t stressed now in this world pandemic disaster.

Anyway return to gardening or weeding to be exact. Everyday i wake up in the morning, looking at the ceiling, rubbing my blurry eyes, questioning myself what i must do today? I have no job, it has gone since last March. So i have a lot times in my hands and a lot of stress at the same time thinking about where i will get money for living, luckily my brother feeds me. So the world isn’t crumbling yet.

My brother might think that i am bored and have no idea what to do. Seeing me wearing boxer squating on the path weeding around the house. I am thinking why this unwanted grass grows easily while the roses i plant carefully die? Only God knows. The weed is wet with dew, my nails full of mud, and so my bear hands. This isn’t so bad actually. I can do this every morning. With tunes play in my phone and plugged speaker into my ears, slip the phone into my waist. Music makes weeding easier and fun.

I spend most of my times reading book, writing, watching movies, sometimes giving foot reflexology to my regular customers when they call me, i am lucky they still give me job so i can buy some snacks. Beside that mostly i stay in my room like a picked-papaya layed alone counting days to be ripe. In other day strolling on the beach is my pleasure too, i go alone or my nephew joins me sometimes.

I don’t read news it drives me nut knowing pandemic gets worsen, people protest the government new laws. Leaders criticize this and that. Let the brainiacs handle the big problems. While I am here in my own world with my little brain deals with the bushes and weed. Get my fingers dirty, clawing the soil like dog or cat? Being a bad gardener.

I did the exam for my nephew

Yesterday my nephew came to my room brought a bunch of papers that i learned those were examination. I think it is not an examination but more like homework. Normally exam is in the class room and the brain of the student full of memory one night study preparing for today exam. But since the pandemic the schools have been closed for more than seven months. The student study at home and lessons mainly are sent by teachers through whatsapp apps in the phone.

I know i must help my little nephew, he is in six grade now. I am worried with him most of the time like his parents. Because he is not smart kid and not willing to learn the school subject either. Pushing him to study won’t work. What he loves to do is just drawing racing motorbike and colors them or flying kite all day under the hot sun till his skin darker and make his teeth look whiter.

He asked my help for Mathematics ( which is my weakness in school as well) and English subjects. I did the Math first because it is more difficult. Sometimes i think that the second grade student smarter than him. I hear many times his mother yelling to teach him homework. He tears with helpless look. I think only the special person with highly patience could teach him. For sure that is not me, his mother, his sister, even worse his father.

I have a thought in my mind that i don’t want he has bad memory about me in the future. So i try to be calm with him although i lose my gut sometimes.

I feel like i were the elementary student again because i do all of the test. At some point i did the task quite long because it is difficult for me. I was frustated when he was asking me the answer and i said, “do you think it is easy?”. I held my anger in my head, i reminded myself to be patient again. And he stayed quiet. I felt guilty after that.

I want to be as serene as a monk in the monastery when i help him with his lesson. Sometimes i feel it is not fair while he just stay doing nothing when i do all his tasks, it is not good for him either. But teaching him is useless as well because he doesn’t want to learn or his brain can reach the subject? I don’t know.

Done with the Math and he finished to copy the answers. Next is English, i can do it better than Math. So when i answered them all. I let him do the Hindu religion and other subjects. I gave him my phone to browse in google to figure out the answer.

I hope one day when he is adult he can manage his life better. One thing i recognise is he doesn’t seem to worry about all the subjects in school although he is bad with them. he is cool and easy kid. It is quite different than me when i was in elemetary school. I was restless and worried if i couldn’t do my homework, i even cried waiting my father whose not coming home from gathering in community hall in our village at night to help me with my homework. I fell asleep with tears hugging my notebook and my pecil.

Being good in school doesn’t ensure people to be success in real life but brave and grit do. i have a friend whose not finished his elemetary school and often bullied by our schoolmates but now he is doing good in his life, having good business and success. Some of my friends in high school were bad in academic, rebel and often punished by our teacher, now they seem having much better life than mine.

I hope my nephew is happy in the future and having good life too, although he is not so good in school