Wednesday, December 7, 2011

after eating rice

after eating rice
the Sai Sai Bar disc jockey
tells amusing tales

After the midday meal, served on banana leaves, Robin and her oldest daughter listen with amusement to the disc jockey from Sai Sai Bar. He hardly eats anything, only a little rice. He speaks English but with an accent that makes it hard for me to follow his stories. His own life is a walking story, which Robin tells me in bits and pieces.
          His father is a balian with three wives. His favorite was the second wife, who controls the chicken market in Denpasar, a fat, disgusting Chicken Woman. The fifth child, a boy, was given at birth to his uncle and aunt to raise because they didn't have any children. According to tradition, at three months they named the baby, and since he was their only adopted son they gave him a name that means "big brother." His real parents and adopted parents lived in the same family compound and Big Brother was picked on by his real brothers and sisters. At puberty he underwent the traditional tooth-filing ceremony in which the "animal" canine teeth are filed down. This is supposed to keep the six enemies at bay: lust, anger, greed, jealousy, confusion and intoxication. However, it didn't keep one of the enemies, anger, at bay because when he found out at that time who his real parents were he was so furious that he ran away to Java and worked scum jobs.
          When he came back to Bali, he got involved with a Japanese girl whose parents had sent her to Bali by herself (this seems unbelievable) to get over seeing all of her classmates killed during the Kobe Earthquake in 1996. She left the school building just before the quake and saw it crumble. As a pretty young foreign girl in Bali, she became a target for the Kuta Cowboys, who passed her around as an easy lay. Big Brother rescued her and became her protector. She wanted to marry him, so when she went back home she sent $10,000 for him to come to Japan, but it got intercepted by his father, so she thought he didn't love her. When Robin asked him who the girl's father was, he said, "He works for some company called Subaru." He didn't know what that was. When Robin told him, he realized he and the girl were in a different league (and I can't imagine her father letting her marry him).
          His own father arranged a marriage with a girl from a very poor area of Bali. He didn't want to marry her but didn't want to disobey his father. He dressed in a short-sleeve temple shirt and went to the wedding. All of Denpasar had been preparing for weeks. But when the girl's parents saw Big Brother for the first time, his arms covered with tatoos, they called it off, so he was free.
          D. saved his life when he overdosed on cocaine and she brought him to Robin. So now he wants to marry her. But since neither his father nor Robin would approve, it would probably involve ngrorod, elopement or "kidnapping," one of the two types of marriage practices in Bali. Robin tells me her daughter is able to handle men and not get in trouble, but the way she looks at him, I'm not so sure.

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