What About Bali in 2009?

The start of a new year, and the rhythms of life continue on. School has started again, and the kids are slowly gearing up for another semester of work and study. People in the neighborhood have been using the good weather the last few days to make repairs on their houses before the next round of storms come in. Stores and government offices have been opened and closed and opened and closed with all the holidays that we’ve had in the past few weeks. They’re all closed again today as this is a Balinese holiday.

So what about the next 12 months in Bali? Despite the economic crisis, it seems that Bali is going to see continuing immigration from both foreigners and Indonesians from other island. The island seems to be increasingly crowded, and yet, there are still large expanses of green up in the mountains and along the east and west coasts. The clearing of agricultural land for villas, hotels, and shopping malls is putting pressure on water resources, and it is not uncommon to be essentially without water for a few hours a day. There have been rumblings that the government is going to put restrictions on development, but so far building goes on, and the south of Bali resembles a large construction zone.

Mayhem on the roads continues as more and more vehicles compete for space on the crowded roads and gridlock is common in the south of the island, especially in the main tourist area of Kuta-Legian-Seminyak. Reports are that one person a day dies in a traffic accident, and if you drive around the island a lot, you’ll see numerous accident scenes.

new time signal in singaraja

new time signal in singaraja

On the positive side, the helmet law seems to be working at least here in Singaraja, although small kids seem to be exempt, and you routinely see tiny little ones clinging to their parent or sibling not wearing a helmet. Will road mayhem get better? Not likely as the pleasant, patient demeanor of the Indonesian people seems to vanish once they get in a motor vehicle. I stay off the roads as much as possible.

The imported alcohol problem continues on and a bottle of Red Label costs almost $60. This is bad news for the tourist industry, but doesn’t really affect locals much as even at the old regular price of around $20, it was still too expensive for most Indonesians to drink. The upside – good news for the Indonesian beer and wine producers which will probably see sales increase this year.

Health care continues to improve, and we can get relatively complete physicals done in the north of Bali these days. Still, people with money continue to get major surgery done in Singapore or Bangkok. It will be interesting to see if market forces contribute to an upgrade of medical care. The example being a local dentist whose reputation has spread by word of mouth and who is drawing a continuing numbers of patients away from other dentists. Will they upgrade their skills and facilities to compete? It will be interesting to see what pans out this year.

Rumors suggest that changes in property ownership laws for foreigners make appear on the books this year. This could be good news for expats who want to feel more secure in the homes that they lease; it may not be as welcomed for Indonesians who are in the business of acting as nominees for expat villas and houses.
Despite the changes that Bali is undergoing as it seeks its way through modernization and tries to cope with continuing rampant and unregulated development, life in the villages and neighborhoods continues on with the cycles of ceremonies, work, and more ceremonies.


~ by drbrucepk on January 7, 2009.

6 Responses to “What About Bali in 2009?”

  1. I do not think they should allow westerners to own land in Bali, its not good for the future generations of Balaneese/Indonesians.
    If they do not stop over population and development they will have big problems and the people who can least afford it will suffer most. Im coming to Bali next month , maybye I will bring a bottle of Jonny walker red

  2. I agree with you on the land issue, Bryan, although I think that most expats and potential expats wouldn’t.

  3. Dr. Pohlman, I sent you an email through the cyberbali.com site. I hope that you received it!! You were my 6th grade teacher back in 1986 at Rancho Elementary, in Novato, California. You were the best, most creative and interesting teacher I ever had! It is so exciting to read all of your blogs and I can’t wait to get your book. Take care and I hope you are enjoying your retirement.
    Mary Krause

  4. I’m in the business of buying land and stripping it (harvesting the timber & reselling land at a discount). Is the government there open-minded to such activity?

    I’ve been looking online but can’t seem to find specifics…

  5. waw, i’m from bali too, howdy? kenken kabare?

  6. Hi Gema,

    Where do you live in Bali? Thanks for stopping by.


    Last thing that Indonesia needs is more destruction of the environment.

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