— Paradise without persecution

Balinese persecution.

Indonesian and foreign inhospitality in Bali

Due to the wholesale corruption and human rights abuse which occurs in Indonesia, a culture of cheating and worse exists with many businesses in the archipelago, including people in the so called and often falsely described "Hospitality industry" of Bali. Because cheats and thieves running resorts / hotels / villas have criminal law protection preventing them from being named and shamed, and because the problem emanates from the Indonesian government down, there is no well researched or published data on the problem, but it is the vast majority.

In the mid 1960s when tourists first "discovered" Bali and sang "Love, love, love" around the streets of the then quiet fishing village of Kuta, thousands of Balinese, some 10% of the island's population were being butchered by the TNI (Indonesian army) in the name of an anti-government / anti-communist crackdown. Of course most of the Balinese who were murdered, whole villages of men, women and children were slain mostly a) out of the historical hatred of the Balinese by the Javanese and b) to get their land, they were neither trouble makers or communists; most did not even know what "communism" meant. Travel Ethos hopes the tourists of today will be a little more aware and supportive of Bali then tourists gone by.

Past this massacre, the Suharto regime installed a system designed to fuel corruption in order for loyal support of its own "governmental" corruption and human rights atrocities. Civil servants were all underpaid on the basis they would aggressively seek bribes themselves and with it become crooks that supported the crooks in government. Bali was raped again and again, with vast swathes of land being acquired by Javanese and even foreigners through foul means. The whole of Nusa Dua was acquired for peanuts and many of the original land owners "disappeared".

Although Suharto fell from power, his system and "loyalty" to him remained. His son Tommy Suharto, a convicted murderer, is still saluted by every officer of the TNI to this day. Despite public relation claims by successive Indonesian governments and presidents they were / are combating corruption, "graft" as they call it has actually increased since Suharto fell from power. Recent and apparently deliberately poorly prosecuted corruption and human rights cases against people like the Suhartos have failed miserably proving nothing has changed, except for a few token PR cases where the convicted end up in special jails (luxury suite "jails";, with their own private street entrances / exits).

Most hotels and villas in Bali cheat their staff, cheat on taxes and avoid trade with local Balinese owned businesses. They cheat their staff by forcing them to work extra unpaid hours and by only paying them a small proportion, if any of the service charges they receive from guests; legally the staff and not the management / directors should get it all. They employ people part time, to bypass minimum wage regulations. They employ Javanese workers as supervisors. Female Balinese staff are often subject to sexual abuse. By collecting money overseas for guest stay payments, many villas and hotels avoid paying local taxes; if you imagine how much money "Bali Inc." earns, you need only go and see a Balinese public hospital or school to know the money does not go where it should.

One documented example of the problem is that 75% of the imported alcohol in Indonesia is illegal; it is sold with fake duty labels on the bottles. Incredibly, the vast majority of this business is operated by the TNI; you see, the murderous internationally condemned TNI only get one third of their budget from the Indonesian Government (also a fact), so they have to earn the rest from alcohol and protection rackets. This is part of the Suharto regime culture of corruption outlined earlier.

Many hotels have western brand names, but the western companies behind them are simply management providers, anxious to offer their clients rooms anywhere and everywhere in the world; the hotels and resorts themselves are owned by shadowy Jakarta based corporations, the directors of which you can well imagine are not Balinese friendly at all. Many hotels have been built with illegally gained permits which contravene the island's cultural protection laws, such as being too close to a Balinese holy site / temple and those which deny locals access to the beach.

More recently a flood of foreigners have come in buying land and building villas in Bali. The trouble is foreigners can not own land or run businesses in Bali and subsequently most are illegal, which means they also do not pay taxes. Recent crackdowns on such illegal villas have not resulted in any real changes because foreigners still can not own land or run businesses, so the crackdown has simply resulted in illegal operational licenses and / or turning a blind eye by the authorities; both of which require bribes and simply increases the problem. Many foreigners who own villas in Bali are criminals on the run and worse, often physically abusing the Balinese, including children; Bali is officially a pedophile blackspot according to the UN.

Because the police are the most corrupt officials in Indonesia (source: Transparency International), such abuse of the Balinese is tolerated, even condoned by the Balinese police. Foreign owned villas in Bali can be found on the Internet offering special massage services, including for so called "swingers", actually publishing pictures of the very young "masseuses" striping off on beds / offering "special services" with total impunity because of police corruption. Incredibly, the Balinese police were even named for serious human rights abuse by the UN's special rapporteur on torture rights, citing detainees are frequently raped, beaten and even shot in the legs during "interrogation". Some Bali paradise!

Travel Ethos hopes any potential tourist reading this will therefore understand the problem, the blight of Bali, and only stay at 100% Balinese friendly hotels and villas. It also goes without saying that staying in a real Balinese / Balinese friendly hotel / villa will reward you past feeling good about where you are spending your money, it will also almost certainly make sure you have the holiday of a lifetime, in the real Bali.

Thank you for caring.


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