The Island Of Bali, Indonesia



The young gurus look upon the graceful and healthful costume of the island, so well suited to the climate, as indecent and primitive and demand that their little pupils wear shirts in school. A little girl once told me her teacher said it was improper to show one's breasts. In at least one case the result has been tragic; in he little mountain village of Kayubihi a child was shamed by his teacher because he did not wear a shirt, but his father, who had never owned one (nor had any of his ancestors), refused to buy t for him. He felt so thoroughly disgraced that one night he hanged himself from the tree in front of the schoolhouse.

The teacher forces his half-digested jumble of European ideas o the little pupils, who from the beginning of their education learn to look down on everything Balinese. They are taught .')out what a European child learns in primary school; they learn to speak and write in Malay, a language foreign to Bali, which lost often their parents ignore, and some even have a smattering of Dutch, so when they come out of school they make good, ''lcap clerks, totally uninterested in their own culture.

Most speak better Malay than Balinese and feel above the everyday requirements of Balinese life. Since there are so few jobs available on the island in which such education would be required, making As of the Balinese seems to make European education have negative and even detrimental effect. Typical was the case of rapung, the young school-teacher out of work- who gave me lessons in Balinese; he was intelligent and rather well informed, yet ~ wanted to learn to cook or to serve at table or become a house boy. Of course agriculture was much below him.

It seems too bad that modern education, at least in Bali, where the entire life of the island is so dependent on its traditions, tends disinherit the future generation from their culture, simply because it is snubbed in the educational program of the schools. It is true that many young Balinese are still taught at home the rudiments of the native education, often by old-fashioned gurus, but what is not officially recognized by their teachers will soon became discredited. There are, however, encouraging rumours that - Government plans a revision of the system.

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Seminyak Bali Private Villa