Currently, Balinese people are apparently very eager to watch the Mahabharata TV series aired in one of the private television stations. The elderly, youth and children are so captivated by the beauty of the players and content of the storyline filled with the philosophy of life. Inevitably, aside from Bali, the other regions are also avid to watch this series.
When Bali has lost its Balinese aura, is it still called the Island of Bali? When it has lost the cultural aura, the nature is damaged, the population is no longer friendly, degradation occurs in various fields, is Bali still worth calling the Island of the Gods?
Presidential election has drawn to an end. Now, this country has a new president. With the new leader, people surely commend a new hope as well. They hope an overall improvement in all areas so that the people’s welfare can increase. No more poverty leaves on the Indonesian fatherland that is rich with natural beauty, culture and natural resources. Unlike these days, inequality is clearly visible between the surpluses and minus areas, rich and poor people, developed and underdeveloped regions and so on.
The presence of foreign art troupes to enliven the Bali Arts Festival has started long time ago. Their involvement in this event, either as gamelan players or other artistic fields draws sympathy and appreciation of many people. Relation of Balinese people to foreigners has been started long time ago. Approximately in the 1920s, when world travelers were captivated by the island breeze, the traces of travelers even spread, and were then followed like the fragrant flowers so that it tempted other travelers.
In the Bali Arts Festival extravaganza, they also spread respect and appreciation for the culture they admired and engaged. “We should appreciate their measure. Their love to our Balinese culture makes us proud that Balinese culture deserves to be admired,” commented a friend of mine while referring to the news and TV show, how graceful the foreign dancers were when dancing skillfully and playing Balinese gamelan.
Various people say that Balinese people have a special adaptability against the entry of foreign cultures and influences. As a tourist destination of the world, like it or not, it has become a thing that should happen where Balinese people, especially in tourist areas, directly get in touch with strangers. Even, for some people, groups and circles, the interaction can be very intense.
Is this really an adaptation? I try to observe this in terms of different perspective. Instead, in more extreme view, the praise about the adaptability actually poses a subtle ‘satire’ against the real contemporary condition of Balinese people. The adaptation may be considered as an acculturation, protection, preservation or even a self-education against external values and then reflected as cultural acquisition.
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