Dawa, painter & restaurant staff | Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
January 19, 2010
Dawa is a painter and also works at a popular restaurant for tourists in Ubud.
Surrounded by lush rice fields and home to ancient temples and palaces, picturesque Ubud is the center for arts, dance and music in Bali. Conde Naste Traveller named Ubud as the most favorite tourist attraction in Asia in its January 2010 issue.4
LPT: What do you think about tourism in Ubud or Bali?
Dawa: You know, we need the tourists, yeah? Because our lives depend on tourism, you know? We’re protective of tourism in Bali. But, you know, starting from maybe 10 years ago, there’s been a lot of competition for me.
LPT: Can tell me a bit more about this?
Dawa: So many local people doing own business, like painting and starting restaurants. And also the foreigners, they have little companies in Ubud too.
LPT: How does tourism help Bali and the local people?
Dawa: Some of them (foreigners), they start foundations and help the lower class of local people very much. Also for me, without tourists, I cannot live because we live on tourism, yeah. Without tourists, we cannot live, yeah.
LPT: What are some not so good effects of tourism?
Dawa: The effect, maybe, only the culture. You know because we have different cultures.
We don’t like…this is about me, yeah?
LPT: Yeah, this is about your opinion.
Dawa: My opinion, yeah? I don’t like so much the night clubs. Yeah, I know they (tourists) need to rest in Bali. Maybe they need to be enjoying Bali very much. But like the food and clubbing ‘till the morning, those are very distant things for me. I don’t like the night life. I don’t like it.
LPT: Culturally, how is the tourist culture different than the local culture?
Dawa: I mean, for me, I like to go the temple, yeah. We are very, very, holy people who go to the temples. Maybe, I don’t know, they (tourists) don’t understand that, but maybe, the local guide, can give information about this.
LPT: Are there things that concern you about tourism?
Dawa: Yeah, because…for example…when a woman is menstruating, they cannot enter the temples in Bali. How are we supposed to know if they are, yeah? We cannot ask them (female tourists) if they’re menstruating or not. So yeah, I worry about something like that.
LPT: Well, maybe there should be a sign? Somebody should make a sign in front of the temple. In English, you know?
Dawa: I usually like that (signs), but for me, they’re like very dirty words to put up in temples, so that’s not common.
LPT: So for example, if a woman goes to a temple and she’s menstruating, is that bad luck or something?
Dawa: Yes, maybe if we know someone has entered while menstruating, we have to make very, very special ceremonies – lots of ceremonies – to clean it.
1Danasari | http://www.danasari.com/ubud-favorite-tourism-in-asia
2Indo.com | http://www.indo.com/destinations/bali_info.html
3BBC, Poverty ‘surged’ after Bali bombing, October 13, 2003 | http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/3186436.stm
4The Jakarta Post, Bali’s tourist arrival record of 2.2m difficult to break | http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/01/09/bali%E2%80%99s-tourist-arrival-record-22m-difficult-break.html