A small minority of tourists in Bali have been getting a heap of bad press in the last few weeks. And with good reason.
Following instruction from Bali’s Governor, Wayan Koster, authorities have doubled down on taking action against ‘bad bules’.
This has included cracking down on foreigners breaking the conditions of their visas, driving illegally, and in one high-profile case, grossly disrespecting one of Bali’s most sacred places.
There have been dozens of viral videos of ‘bules’ caught misbehaving, some of which have even led to deportations. One tourist took things a step too far.
The Russian tourist, known to the public by his first name only, Yuri, recently posted a photo of himself standing at the summit of Bali’s sacred Mount Agung with his trousers and underwear down.
Naturally, the image, posted on his Instagram account, went viral in Bali. It quickly caught the attention of the authorities and local entrepreneur and vocal social justice advocate Ni Luh Djlelanik.
The post was quickly removed from Yuri’s page, but the damage had already been done. Yuri, who does not speak English well, claimed that he did not know that he stood on holy ground, nor did he think his decision through.
Shortly after deleting the post, he posted an apology video with captions written in Bahasa Indonesia. He also tagged high-profile accounts that had shared their disgust for his original post.
Offering to pay for and earnestly take part in a cleansing ceremony and to have a constructive meeting to formally apologize for his actions, Yuri appeared humbled and resolute to do the right thing.
Ni Luh Djelantik is a highly regarded and much-loved figure in Bali. Well known for her ability to chair restorative justice meetings between foreigners and locals. In the last few days, Djelantik facilitated Yuri’s formal apology to community leaders from Karangasem Regency.
Although the meeting was held in private, the whole event was subsequently shared on social media due to the large amount of public interest in the situation.
In a post shared on Thursday, 23rd March, which is important for anyone who has been following the ‘bad bule saga’ in Bali to read in full. Although Yuri did something many would consider unforgivable, the outcome is one of the most constructive solutions possible.
Djelantik wrote, “the result of this morning’s meeting there are two important points that Mbok Niluh needs to highlight / bottom line:
“1. APOLOGIES, DEEP REGRET, AND RESPONSIBILITY.
Yuri has apologized sincerely, he is very sorry for his actions and is ready to take responsibility according to tradition through the Mecaru ceremony, which will be carried out by the customary stakeholders of Mount Agung, Rendang District, Karangasem. Apart from that, Yuri is also ready to be deported for his violations based on immigration rules.”
The post continues, “The DO’S & The DONT’S for foreigners. Yuri and his colleague Jinn, at the request of Mbok Niluh, will be an extension of our hands in conveying a message to all her compatriots, [about] what is allowed and should not be done in Indonesia, either in the norms of the oriental, customs, culture and also the need to have official legality when opening a business / working. The message will be delivered in Russian – English – Indonesian language.”
She also thanked all the supporting parties for their cooperation and facilitation of the meeting.
Although Yuri said that he was prepared to be deported should that be a suitable punishment for his actions, it appears at this stage that he will be permitted to remain in Indonesia and play an active role in promoting good behavior by becoming a model tourist.
In his own Instagram stories, Yuri documented the day of the meeting from his perspective. Written in English and in Russian, he explained, “We held a meeting in a good atmosphere and sorted out this situation. It’s my fault, I realize. Ready to answer for your actions. I am also ready for deportation, but before leaving here, I would like to participate in the ceremony of offering to the gods, and after that, I am ready to leave Bali with a calm soul.”
He added, “The Balinese people are one of the wisest and kindest people I have ever met. Thank you for your hospitality and for your patience. This situation taught me a lot and showed me what good people there are on this planet.”
A sentiment that will resonate with many.
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