A friend of mine makes a joke if he ever found a link between Bali, heaven and hell. What are their relations? It’s okay if Bali is called a Paradise Island. However, if Bali Island then gets a nickname as hell, whoa! What are the criteria? “Please wait, I do not mean so. Do not prejudice first!” he said while sipping his coffee remaining warm. Oh yes, we were in a small stall then near Kuta. Visitors were not so busy yet. There was only one to two going to and fro who purchased daily groceries. Traffic condition in front of the stall stayed relatively smooth. When approaching midday, congestion started to occur.
“And what is next?” I was trying to figure out. I knew it would only lead to a joke, a humor and the like. But, even though it is a joke, it can turn very serious when we respond to it in a high spirits. Moreover, it has something to do with ourselves. A wise man ever says that laughing at the ugliness as well as our incapability is a first step towards improvement and wisdom, right? Maybe yes, maybe no, I do not know exactly.
“Look,” he added. He started his own story while sipping his coffee again until running out. In the past, if we were going to Kuta, for instance, we had to pass through damaged roads, is not as good as that of today. We did not find luxurious tourism facilities like we do today. So-so if we consider it a hell at that time, what did we find when going to Kuta? “Heaven… heaven man..,” he said with a grin. Similar sight could also be found when we first went to Lovina, Kintamani, Ubud and other locations, in which the road infrastructure and supporting facilities remained very minimal. They were like a hell. But, when we passed through that hell, then we would enjoy a heaven.
“But, now the fact is in the contrary. We pass through heaven but finding a hell. The road is smooth, transportation is smooth though sometimes find traffic jam. Many tourist objects have been contaminated. There is no longer a paradise,” he complained while comparing the past to the current condition. From the joke, there may be something true inside. And maybe it is indeed true. In the past, we pass through the hell to heaven. Now, we go through heaven but are ultimately stranded in hell. Or there may be another analogy: we pass through a hell and finally find a hell, too.
Although it was not a performing art, a total of 735 Balinese women roasting coffee…