20 September 2012

BALI BEZA - English version

Frinjan in collaboration with Gerakbudaya & Alt-ourism Asia Bali presents


Date: 30 September 2012, Sunday
Venue: Map @ Publika, Solaris Dutamas Kuala Lumpur


Bali Beza is a program conceived by Frinjan Collective, aims to expose Malaysian to alternative Balinese culture. This effort seeks to establish a closer collaboration between artisans from Bali and Malaysia; Frinjan being the pilot network for such regional collaboration. Consequently, we plan to organize the 'Malaysia Beda' in Bali, inviting various young artist from Malaysia.

Bali Beza strives to expose the other side of Bali. The other side of Bali which often neither near-faux pristine depiction in postcards, brochures or tourism commercial. Nor portrays Bali as Island of Gods or the overrated world renowned tourist destination status. But more of contemporary and honest Bali complete with all the problems and recurring dilemma observed from the standpoint of Bali youth.

The way these youth see, the culture and Balinese tradition is somehow dynamically changing in line to the contemporary wisdom and flow. However, such notion is less conventional. Tourism industry usually mandated Balinese tradition and culture to remain as is and unchanged, even for the years to come. They fear Bali to lose its exotic appeal and eventually the tourists. And the government speaks of the same concern with the industry due to majority of government incomes come are generated from the tourism industry. This shaped public perception to accept their culture as an indispensable commodity. Balinese were ‘forced’ to subscribe to this perception or risked being further divided.

Bali Beza attempts to champion suppressed standpoints – its intention, neither to generate controversy nor just striving to be different, but rather to offer a holistic approach of cultural learning, thus giving us the opportunity to appreciate things we usually take for granted. Fundamentally, the act of blind acceptance and inability to be critical is a moronic disability. As a consequence, culture became stagnant and we shall end up developing imaginary fortress, keeping us away from changes.


3PM - White Box
Literature discourse “Yang Muda Yang Berontak”with poet Frischa Aswarini (Bali) & Rebecca Ilham (Malaysia)
Frischa Aswarini is a Balinese youth committed with Komunitas Sahaja, a literature circle mainly dominated with women. She was honored as the best poet in Poetry Slam Utan Kayu International Literary Biennale 2009 and several of her poetry made way into local and national mass media like Kompas, Koran Tempo, Pikiran Rakyat and Bali Post. As a native woman of Bali, she successfully breaks the paradigm of Balinese woman should be confined to routine domestic rituals. Evidently, this appears to be what the tourism industry wishes unchanged – culturally motivated discrimination towards women. Frischa will be joining the casual discussion concerning the issues of women, literature and cultural dynamics of Bali. Joining the discussion moderated by Lutfi Ishak, is local essayist, Rebecca Ilham. And to conclude, Frischa will be delivering her much anticipated poetry recital. Worth the wait!

5PM - The Stage @ Publika
Shows featuring Nosstress
NOSSTRESS is a three-piece band comprised of cheerful Balinese youth; Man Angga and Guna Kupit, the two ‘knights’ armored with guitars and cajon percussionist Cok. Together they shall entertain us with exuberant songs and heavenly singing in a casual setting. Nosstress is a Bali indie act, recently released new album titled ‘Perspektif Bodoh’. The album conveys a message telling us to never misjudge perspectives we often find ridiculous or mediocre. Nosstress is definitely a self-absorbed band. They proved to have a rather deep awareness of environmental issues and education. They exploit music as medium to educate and liberate injustice around. Acoustic is the genre of their choice, enable us to enjoy a rather refreshing, not-so-complicated but nevertheless optimistic.

8PM - White Box
Screening of '40 Years of Silence: An Indonesia Tragedy' and 'Melawan Lupa' book discussion with Ngurah Termana and Roro Sawita, activists of Taman 65
Film duration is 86 minutes with English subtitles. Discussion will be conducted in Bahasa Indonesia/Malaysia/English.
Behind the all-smiley and friendly face of Balinese, lies a murky history of 1965 where Balinese grew suspicious and began murdering each other. This is rarely discussed to a point of becoming nearly a taboo and no monuments were erected to commemorate such a terrible event. What really happened? Why such tragedy is buried away or is it deliberately forgotten? How the massacre implicated the Balinese? These questions remain central to discussion circle among our colleague at Komunitas Taman 65 Bali, a community active in advocating lessons learned from the tragedy and how to steer clear of such event in the future. Coincidently, they just have published their first anthology work titled “Melawan Lupa; Narasi-Narasi Komunitas Taman 65 Bali”

The Robert Lamelson’s anthropology film ‘40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy’ seeks to glimpse the effects of the tragedy towards Indonesian family. This forum revolves around one central theme - to forget is to repeat the same mistake. In a larger picture, to simply forget a tragedy even if it cost just one life is the prospect of repeating another one particularly if such calamity claimed tens of thousands of life. And that is what that set Bali Beza apart.

Feel free to attend the event, feast on modest coffee and Balinese specialty (definitely halal) we provide. The Balinese specialty food will be prepared by Made Candra, a real true Balinese cook.


28 September 2012, Friday 8PM
Gerakbudaya, Petaling Jaya
by invitation

29 September 2012, Sabtu
8PM - Rumah Pena, Kuala Lumpur

Besides Kuala Lumpur, Frinjan is also taking Bali Beza to Singapore with the co-operation of The Arts House, Straits Records and The Substation.


26 September 2012, Wednesday 8PM
The Arts House
Presented by CitaXtra & The Arts House
Admission: SGD20, SGD15 student

27 September 2012, Thursday 8PM
The Substation
Entry by contribution
Screening of '40 Years of Silence: An Indonesia Tragedy' and 'Melawan Lupa' book discussion with Ngurah Termana and Roro Sawita, activists of Taman 65 
Film duration is 86 minutes with English subtitles. Discussion will be conducted in Bahasa Indonesia/Malaysia/English.


A bunch of youngsters chatted and eventually agreed to form an acoustic band on the basis of simplicity. They started performing in some small events as croucourt Acoustic with 7 personnel, with the name of Stackato, then left with 4 personnel and changed their name into Sense Acoustic with Kupit as Vocal&Guitar, Cok as Percussion&Vocal and Man Angga as Vocal&Guitar. "Sense" remained in the acoustic path, but in the mid of 2008 after meeting with many musician friends and "strange" artist they were much influenced and changed their musicianship’s mind set. Since then Sense Acoustic created their own songs and changed their name to NOSSTRESS.

To begin with, they didn’t even know the meaning of the word. But after a few research they learnt that "nos" in Spanish means "we", so Nosstress is "our stress", pressure churned inside. The meaning reflected their direction. Nosstress actively played from stage to stage since 2009.The 3 personnel formation with only 2 guitars and 1 percussion is nothing like the normal band, and became their own characteristics. Manipulating their intelligence in creating lyrics and arranging composition is essential in Nosstress’s creative process. It is all about singing the lyrics of everyday life, optimism and environmental criticism. Music is played with a bit mix folk blues atmosphere in the strains of pop and who knows what else. Specifically, Nostress's path is unknown.

Their first album entitled "Perspektif Bodoh" was just released in late 2011 and contains fresh materials from the very beginning this band formed.


Frischa Aswarini 

Born in Denpasar on October 17th 1991. Currently a student of Universitas Udayana enrolling in History Studies. She is actively involved in organizational and art activities in Komunitas Sahaja, Denpasar. She has also been active in poetry and essays writing, earning herself multiple recognition and distinction of her contribution in regional Bali and nationally.

Her poetry has appeared in Bali Post, Pikiran Rakyat, Tempo, Kompas, Jurnal Sundih and some had even been published and selected to appear in anthology of poetry namely Kampung dalam Diri, Temu Penyair Muda Lima Kota (Payakumbuh, 2008), Temu Sastrawan Indonesia II Pedas Lada Pasir Kuarsa (2009). Some of her works had also been translated into French and compiled into Couleur Femme, Forum Jakarta-Paris, Alliance Francaise (2011).

A number of her essays have been published in Radar Bali, Bali Tribune, Bali Post and Jurnal Akar. One of her essay managed to secure a place as one of 25 best Indonesian essays through an essay competition, Menyembuhkan Luka Sejarah (Tempo-Majalah Historia, 2010). Together with three other writers, she co-authored a biography of a creative artist, Made Wianta - Waktu Tuhan (2008), and further collaborated with authors of Menuju Visi Sempurna , Putu Supadma Rudana (2010).

In 2007 she performed a poetry recital before the President of RI Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. In 2009 she succeeded to become the best poet in Poetry Slam Utan Kayu International Literary Biennale. Besides, she was also invited to host the inauguration event of Waktu Tuhan in Malang, Surabaya, Jogja, Solo and Bali (2008-2009) as well as invited as guest speaker at literary dialogue of sastra “Peran Umbu Landu Paranggi dalam Dunia Kesusastraan” (Jakarta, 2010) and Bali Emerging Writers Festival (2011).


40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy 

In one of the largest unknown mass-killings of the 20th century, an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 people were secretly and systematically killed in 1965 when General Suharto began a bloody purge of suspected "communists" in Indonesia through a complex and highly contested series of events where he ultimately gained power and the presidency. Under Suharto's authoritarian rule, any discussion or memorializing of the killings that differs from the official state narrative was suppressed.

"40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy" follows the compelling testimonies of four individuals and their families, located in Central Java and Bali, two regions heavily affected by the purge, as they break the silence with an intimate look at what it was like for survivors after the mass-killings, during Suharto's New Order regime. The families take us through the events of 1965 through their own experiences as they relive and reflect upon how they were and are still subject to both village- and state-level stigmatization and brutalization.

Over time, the survivors and their families attempt to find ways to deal with a tragedy that was and is still not openly recognized by their neighbors, government, or the world. Through their stories, the audience comes to understand the potential for retribution, rehabilitation, and reconciliation in modern-day Indonesia within this troubled historical context.

Melawan Lupa: Narasi-Narasi Komunitas Taman 65 Bali

xxiii, 213 Hlm. Taman 65 Press, 2012.

Time bomb in Bali

A culture that suppresses conflict disguises decades-long tensions in Balinese communities 

Gde Putra 

The southern hall of Made’s family compound is usually filled with women making offerings while they gossip over their favourite soap operas and their never-ending struggles with debt. Today, however, the atmosphere is different. The hall is full of men, and there is tension and hostility in the air. A meeting has been called to try to resolve ongoing conflict over a contested plot of land. Made’s family claims that the land is rightfully theirs, but the certificate of ownership is in the hands of Made’s uncle, a respected elder known for his active membership of the village association (banjar) and his contributions to the temple. At issue is the status of a plot of land that once belonged to Made’s parents. His family accuses his uncle of having stolen the land after the bloody conflict that tore through Balinese communities in late 1965.

According to Made’s family, without permission or blessing from Made’s father, his uncle changed the name on the certificate of land ownership his father had recently inherited from his parents, claiming that he – not Made’s father – was the family member most worthy of inheriting the land. It was easy for him to do this without Made’s father’s knowledge, since his father had been taken into custody as a sympathiser of the Indonesian Communist Party, and was being held in prison at the time. Ever since then, Made’s family has had to stand by and watch his uncle’s family ride out times of financial hardship with the money they earn from renting out the land. For them, the tragedy of 1965 is an ongoing cause of resentment and misery. 

Maintaining tradition 

Made’s family’s experience is not unique in present-day Bali. The tragedy of 1965 not only divided communities, it also created latent warfare between relatives living under one roof, sharing a family temple, and belonging to the same banjar. These tensions often lie buried, because social pressures demand that families live harmoniously. With their common ancestral lineage, different branches of the same family have obligations to the same family temple, so each time there is a family gathering associated with the performance of traditional ceremonies, any underlying tensions between family members have to be repressed. The cultural practices and rituals associated with family temples are entrenched by the state as ways of fortifying tradition and its role in the tourist industry. Under these circumstances, people who may be harbouring vengeful feelings towards one another will be brought together time and again, because they always need to work together on ritual occasions.

Traditional Balinese ceremonies that mark the cycles of human life, such as the celebration of a baby’s third month of life, teeth filing, marriage or cremations, always involve whole families. They cannot be avoided, because they are part and parcel of being a ‘normal’ Balinese Hindu, and they touch on the most personal and intimate of spheres of an individual’s life. In social spheres as well, it is risky for a Balinese to go against norms and cultural expectations. To do so would invite gossip, or even lead to anger being directed at a person’s loved ones, like a grandmother, grandfather or parents. Anyone who ignores social responsibilities suffers feelings of guilt, because to the rest of the community it seems as though they do not respect the dedication of their loved ones in maintaining traditional obligations. Socially, they are perceived as uncaring and arrogant, because their actions suggest that they think they can live independently, and survive without the blessings of their ancestors.

Observance of the rituals associated with family temples in Bali is also important for a person’s sense of security. The temple is the backbone of people’s hopes and dreams, making them feel safe and comfortable when the wider world betrays their sense of trust. In this context, any dark corners in family history continue to be suppressed. Hostilities do not disappear, but they are not expressed directly. Made’s family senses his uncle’s aloofness and poor manners when the families come together to clean the temple compound, but the conflict is always kept on hold so it does not have an impact on ceremonies or get in the way of receiving the blessings and thanks of the gods of the family temple. To an outsider, the level of suppression is practically unimaginable, considering the frequency of temple ceremonies and the tendency for the warring parties to live together in the same family compound.

State reinforcement and individual caution 

Forces that suppress conflict are strengthened by issues that have had a devastating impact on contemporary Bali, such as terrorism and natural disasters. Responses to these issues often take the form of ceremonies to clean and purify Bali from evil spirits that threaten the safety and wellbeing of human kind. This ongoing parade of state-sponsored rituals is aimed at strengthening the belief in the minds of the people that Bali is safe because the Creator protects it, in response to the myriad ceremonies and continuous prayers of its citizens. In this situation, the circumstances that encourage the repression of conflict, rather than its resolution, are continually reinforced.

In Bali, the ritualisation of worldly problems detracts from belief in individual strength and discourages Balinese people from straying from the pack. It also serves to silence those voices wanting to reveal the ugly side of the nation’s past. The scars of past conflicts never appear on the surface, and the ghosts of family histories only appear in gossip and rumours. Witnesses to that dark history only tell their stories with great caution. They are riddled with internal conflict because they know that their testimonies would threaten the solidarity that is fundamental to the ceremonies of Balinese people. Opening up the past could stand in the way of their family’s receiving the Creator’s blessings.

Philosophical underpinning

Balinese culture is not lacking in a philosophical underpinning for the avoidance of conflict. The philosophy of karma phala, or ‘fruits of past actions’, is a trusted way of coping with histories of conflict between people who are obliged to meet face-to-face in the performance of traditional obligations. It became part of a powerful discourse in post-1965 Bali, where the state did not defend the interests of those who lost relatives, and people were discouraged from holding the nation to account for the disappearance of their loved ones. Karma phala reassures those who follow its law that justice will be upheld and sinners cannot escape the due punishment that will come to them in time. The oppressed and weak have faith in this philosophy, and find solace in the knowledge that someday, the oppressors will get their just deserts. Families of victims of the 1965 tragedy have their belief in karma phala confirmed when they see misfortune befall the butchers of that time of savagery.

Karma phala gives hope to those who are powerless because it assures them that time is not blind. Though it may be too risky for them to fight the powerful, they do not completely surrender. They are able to maintain their desire for revenge in the hope that time will eventually bring fairness. Conversely, it can be argued that karma phala has protected the oppressors, because it deflects any attempt to hold them accountable, or denounce or destroy their power. Yet the universal belief karma phala attracts from Balinese people means that the philosophy also has an impact on society’s powerful. They too have to live with the knowledge that their sins will one day catch up with them and they will need to find redemption. Many people believe that the donations made for ceremonies by powerful people is a form of ritual contrition, rather than an expression of gratitude for blessings they have already received.

Belief in karma phala enables Balinese people to suppress feelings of anger and the need for revenge. It helps those who harbour these feelings to appear as though nothing is wrong when they come together for a wedding, cremation or tooth filing ceremony. It is also one source of the profits government and private investors draw from the image of the Balinese as good, friendly people who value community solidarity in an age when people living in the modern world are seen as individualistic and selfish. Cultural tourism is a gold mine for land owners and investors, so it’s no wonder the tourist industry would like to see the dark sides of domestic history erased from the collective memory of the Balinese people. Optimistic slogans that encourage people to forget these memories, like ‘Continue going forward with optimism, don’t look back’, are not only promoted by the greedy and powerful people at the ‘top’, but also by the people living at the ‘bottom’ of Balinese society.

From the perspective of modern-day Bali, it is hard to believe that tragedies as terrible as those of 1965 actually took place. But the tensions those tragedies have bequeathed are never far from the surface, and there is always the possibility that vengeful feelings could one day explode. Made’s family appears ready to take the risk of confronting their feelings of injustice, but when it comes to the crunch, some of them are unwilling to disturb the appearance of family harmony. Why risk alienating an uncle who regularly lends them his car when a family member falls ill and needs medical care, or who is known to be one of the most generous donors for ceremonies at the family temple? In Bali, it is risky to express what one truly feels. It is almost as though one has to wait to go insane, or go into a trance before expressing oneself honestly. Stories of the tragedy of 1965 in Bali remain in the dark, partly because revealing them could lead to a battle amongst relatives that might ultimately be of benefit to no-one. But the suppression of conflict cannot last forever, and a question still remains. What will happen if one day karma phala is no longer enough to contain the anger of those victims of past events?

Gde Putra is a member of the Taman 65 community, a group of individuals focused on the study of the1965 tragedy and its implications for contemporary society.

Ngurah Termana 

Ngurah Termana is a community activist of Taman 65 Bali, an NGO dealing with the issues of human right and social justice in regards to 1965 tragedies. He is equipped with experience in various disciplines from the like of Fair Trade Forum Indonesia to becoming the head of Yayasan Seni Sana Seni Bali. He cited that the approach of multi-disciplines plays a significant part in championing humanity and civil causes. He mentioned, “Separation of cultural space, activism space and intellectuality, are great concerns of a corrupted leader”. He is widely invited to speak about human rights, politics, social and culture at various events in Indonesia and internationally. He is now engaged actively to promote alternative tourism via Alt-ourism Asia.

Roro Sawita 

Since 2001, actively engage in 65 Bali tragedy community. Documenting and advocating previous violation of human rights. Observer of social-political sphere and documenting a few stories of victims and survivor of Bali 65.

Sponsor venue: Publika https://www.facebook.com/mapkl

For more info, email to frinjan@gmail.com or contact Zul 010-802 8292

Thank you!


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