Life in a small village – when is close too close?

Today is just a short response to a recent email about living in a village in Bali. This is a fairly common theme in many of the emails that I receive about living in Bali, and so I’m writing here so that I can redirect emails to this blog. Hmm…Does that seem complicated enough?

Life in a small village, or a small neighborhood (if you life in the city) is pretty much the same here as it is in the US. The key point to note is that everyone knows all of your business – if you tell one person, you can assume that you’ve told them all. Village life has a limited number of amusements; gossip is one of the favorites.

If you happen to live in a typical village anywhere in Indonesia, you’ll most likely be within earshot of your neighbors unless you happen to own a large property or keep an air-conditioned house with all the doors and windows closed.

We have a large house here in Sumbawa with a fair amount of land surrounding it. Our neighbor to the east is a hotel and our neighbor to the west is the jungle. My wife and I could have a screaming argument and unless someone in the hotel was trying to listen and we were right by the door in the living room, no one would hear it. 

Our house in Bali is set in a very crowded kampung (neighborhood). Our house was built for the tropics and is very open as we don’t use air-conditioners. If I fell off my balcony, I’d fall on my neighbors roof. So not much privacy. If we have a screaming argument, our neighbors know every detail. In fact, neighbors two or three houses away would probably hear it as well.

If you have a hard time being constantly on stage, it can be hard living in a small village. You might want to air-condition a room just to have family arguments in.

So what’s the lesson here? Keep good relations with your neighbors; in a small community they will be your support if you cultivate good relationships or your downfall if you step on a lot of toes. Neighbors will help you with all sorts of things without you asking and won’t expect anything in return other than that you reciprocate when they need some help. If you make enemies, they can make your life quite uncomfortable until you repair the damage. I’ve been on both sides, and I make it a point to stay as friendly as my rather cranky constitution allows.

The second lesson – keep your fighting (and lovemaking) down in decibels and you’ll keep some of your privacy.


~ by drbrucepk on March 17, 2008.

3 Responses to “Life in a small village – when is close too close?”

  1. Nice Site layout. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to reading more from you.

  2. Thanks Joshua. Comments are always appreciated.



  3. Bali is not doubt as one of the most popular holiday destination in South East Asia. It has long white sandy beaches, beautiful mountains, green rice paddies and last but not least modern as well as Balinese style Bali hotels and villas.

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