In the last month, two major incidences have taken place involving foreign tourists posing naked at sacred sites in Bali. Today, the Governor of Bali has announced that Jeff Craigen and Alina Fazleeva, along with her husband, will be deported in the coming days. This announcement is an affirmation from the Balinese authorities that they are serious about their zero-tolerance approach when it comes to people disrespecting Balinese culture.
Jeff Craigen posted a video of himself dancing naked at the summit of Mount Batur and was met with instant condemnation. Craigen is said to be a wellness guru come actor from Canada. In the video, the original of which has since been taken down though there are reposts all around the internet, he appeared to be doing the Haka.
The Haka is a traditional dance of the Maori people of New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. His behavior has been received as a huge insult by both the people of Bali and the Maori people.
In a tearful 18-minute video posted on his personal Instagram channel, Craigen endeavors to apologize to all those he has offended with his actions via an explanation of the life experiences that influenced his decisions up to this point.
Comments on the post were mixed. Some were supportive and loving while others were utterly scathing, asking where the real apology is in the lengthy video.
His passport was seized earlier in the week by Immigration officers in Denpasar. He is currently detained in the Immigration Detention Centre in Depensar pending deportation. He will be blacklisted from Indonesia meaning he will be unable to return to Indonesia for the foreseeable future.
His blacklisting may also be flagged by other countries making it difficult for him to travel at all in the coming years. According to Jamaruli Manihuruk, the Head of Immigration Bali, deportation orders have been formally presented and he will be flown back to Canada as soon as possible.
Manihuruk has urged Balinese people and tourists to immediately report events like this to the authorities. This kind of behavior is illegal in Indonesia and local people are tired of having their culture disrespected and their sacred sites abused by tourists.
In the case of Aline Fazleeva, events have gone from bad to worse. She had been caught posing naked in the roots of an ancient and sacred Banyan Tree on temple grounds in Tua Village on the 1st of May. She had been seen to be being fully cooperative with authorities, had offered to pay for and participated in a cleansing ritual, and had issued an apology.
Despite this, the Bali Governor held a press conference on the 6th of May announcing that she will be deported in the coming days. Fazeleeva and her husband were present at the press conference. Both were dressed in traditional Balinese clothing and wore face masks in accordance with Covid-19 protocols in Bali. They both appeared solemn and were not invited to speak.
These incidences are just two of many similar cases of public nudity and cultural disrespect from travelers, tourists, and influencers in Bali over the past few years. In 2019 a couple from the Czech Republic were filmed bathing in the holy waters of a Balinese Hindu temple.
In one famous viral video, five men from Australia were filmed running through the streets of Bali naked, while screaming insults to people nearby. They were also caught urinating and vomiting in the street.
Bali has been famous for decades as a tourist destination where travelers can be free and debaucherous. While local people benefit greatly from tourism and have a high tolerance for sharing their home with people from all over the world, they draw the line at breaking the law and sacrilegious acts.
While there have been high-profile cases that have resulted in deportation, others have been resolved through fines and written warnings. It is clear that as Bali begins to reopen to tourists, the authorities are keen to renew public awareness and respect for the island’s unique heritage, as well as the very real consequences of breaking the law in Indonesia.
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