As Bali’s 5th Annual Balinese Language Preservation Month comes to a close, one academic in Bali has spoken out about the importance of integrating the Balinese language and the tourism economy. According to Prof. Dr. Made Budiarsa, MA, the Head of the Central Association of Local Language Researchers, tourism is a double-edged sword for Bali.
He shared that although the inherently international nature of tourism in Bali can have negative implementations on local culture, it can also serve as an essential tool in the survival of local culture, wisdom, and traditions.
Prof. Dr. Budiarsa told reporters that the impact of the ‘onslaught’ of tourism is not to be underestimated. He said that due to the high levels of international industrialization required for a thriving tourism industry, the impact of foreign cultural influences is becoming evermore prevalent.
While this global influence could allow free reign to corrode away local customs, Prof. Dr. Budiarsa suggests that the situation offers Bali a chance to invite outside cultures in and share traditional and cultural heritage. This could include environmental preservation, and the Balinese language should come as a top priory for preservation.
He told reporters, “Bali is [famous for] cultural tourism. Cultural tourism must accommodate local languages. Based on the local language, this culture can survive.” Prof. Dr. Budiara continued, “Tourism requires [unique] characteristics so that it can develop differently than other countries in the world. The local language strengthens character and characterizes life.”
Now retired, Prof. Dr. Budiara was a full-time academic researcher and lecturer at FIB Udayana University. He emphasized that preserving the Balinese language is crucial for local people to maintain their sense of identity and psychological closeness to their culture. He noted that the Balinese language is the gateway to the culture and that complete language mastery is required for cultural survival.
As a province, Bali is taking big steps to persevere the local language. During Balinese Language Month 2023, events have been held in schools and public meeting spaces across the island. In Sangkanbuana Traditional Village, Klungkung Regency, schools have hosted Balinese writing competitions for young students. One writing completion was set on the theme of waste management, a very present issue across Bali.
In Denpasar, the Wimbakara Bali Mabaso Debate was held on Monday, 20th February, and was attended by dozens of language enthusiasts. The debate saw high school students compete in a formal debate using the Balinese language.
One of the judges, Dr. I Nengah Medera MHum, told reporters, “We assess not the subject matter of the debate, but the children’s ability to express themselves in Balinese regarding an issue. The participants who appeared this time were really good, full of enthusiasm, and spoke the good language.”
Speaking at another Balinese Language Month Event, Drs I Nengah Medera MHum told reporters that Balinese culture is like a tree that must be cultivated and tended to with diligence and care so that it may be preserved. Drs I Nengah Medera MHum is a Practitioner of Ancient Javanese Literature and was an Advisory Board member for the Dharmagita Development Institute for the Province of Bali. He, too, had insights to share about the impacts of tourism on local culture.
He said that the tourism industry may provide a market for the performing arts and cultural attractions but that the traditions must not be traded as a commodity, moving away from their original cultural significance.
He said, “If you only want to sell flowers and fruit without giving fertilizer, one day the Balinese will lose their culture.” Coming back to the imagery of the tree, he said that the roots of the Balinese cultural tree are the language, script, and literature, all of which must be studied, nurtured, and preserved.
Remove All Ads & Unlock All Articles… Sign up for The Bali Sun Premium
Plan Your Bali Holiday:
Book The Best English Speaking Drivers For Airport Transfers & Tours
Choose From Thousands of Bali Hotels, Resorts, and Hostels with Free Cancellation On Most PropertiesBook Cheap Flights To Bali
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance That Covers Medical Expenses In Bali
For the latest Bali News & Debate Join our Facebook Community
SUBSCRIBE TO NEW POSTS
Enter your email address to subscribe to The Bali Sun’s latest breaking news, straight to your inbox.