Month: February 2017

From Bali, with Love and Lust

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Is Bali cheesy enough? Go through this 8-point quiz to discover facts about love and lust surrounding this enchanting island!

Scroll down to begin.




(1) In the film Eat, Pray, Love, the main character Elizabeth Gilbert came to Bali and found her love who is:

(A) A Balinese man

(B) An Italian man

(C) Her first husband

(D) A Brazilian man

Scroll down to see the correct one.







Answer: (D) A Brazilian man. Elizabeth left her first husband and the film did not tell that she returned to him. A Balinese man, Ketut Liyer, was a traditional healer who only acted as her spiritual adviser. Elizabeth went to Italy to eat, not really to love.


(2) Much of Bali’s image as an art and cultural wonderland was started by Walter Spies, who eventually resided in Bali and believed that the creative inclinations of the islanders derive from folklore and religious beliefs. In 1939 he was arrested by Dutch colonial authorities for what offense?

(A) Rape of a female servant

(B) Sexual relations with underaged boys

(C) Adultery

(D) Public masturbation

Scroll down to see the correct one.







Answer: (B) Sexual relations with underaged boys. Walter Spies was a painter and musician who went to Bali. He was the leading personality in making Balinese arts and lifeways known to the Western world by the late 1920s, partly the reason why streams of anthropologists and artists became attracted to the island. He was gay.


(3) Clifford Geertz, a prominent anthropologist, wrote an essay about Balinese cockfighting. What was its title?

(A) Deep Play

(B) The Sexual Life of the Savages

(C) The Empty Shell

(D) The Chrysanthemum and the Sword

Scroll down to see the correct one.







Answer: (A) Deep Play. It’s an essay about masculine power in Bali as manifested through village activities such as cockfighting. The Sexual Life of the Savages is a post-punk music album released in 2005 (while The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia is an ethnography by the anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski published in 1929). The Empty Shell is a recent ethnography of witchcraft in an Indonesian island, and The Chrysanthemum and the Sword is about the Japanese people.


(4) Semara, the god of love in Balinese mythology, lives in the:

(A) Caves

(B) Ocean

(C) Volcanoes

(D) Sky

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Answer: (D) Sky. The sky in Balinese mythology is still divided into different parts, but for now we will be content that the god of love resides in one of these. We’ll just have to accept the traditional narrative.


(5) This anthropologist once stated that the Balinese do not have “free libido in the whole culture.”

(A) Charles Darwin

(B) Margaret Mead

(C) Howard Carter

(D) Edmund Hillary

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Answer: (B) Margaret Mead. The only rose among the three other thorns. Her expertise touches on child personality and development. Charles Darwin was a naturalist who was more into rocks and birds, Howard Carter was an archaeologist who discovered King Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt, while Edmund Hillary was a mountaineer who was among the first to step on Mount Everest’s peak.


(6) A growing urban legend in Bali in which a curse is said to cause persons not being able to marry is said to primarily affect travelers to the island who are:

(A) Singles

(B) Married couples

(C) Unmarried couples

(D) Same sex couples

Scroll down to see the correct one.







Answer: (C): Unmarried couples. Legend has it that an unmarried but engaged royal couple went to Bali to enjoy themselves. After having sex, the prince refused to marry the princess and left her. In her anguish, the princess is said to have placed a curse on unmarried couples going to Bali, their relationship ending soon in a break-up to prevent marriage.


(7) Caffeine gives a punch for energy in sexual performance. Crops that produce these three caffeine-containing beverages below are all being cultivated in the Balinese highlands. Which of the following puts Indonesia among the commodity’s top 10 global producers anytime within 2014-2016?

(A) Coffee

(B) Tea

(C) Cocoa

(D) All of the above

Scroll down to see the correct one.







Answer: (D) All of the above. Yup, a huge tropical country with lots of highlands made possible by volcanoes, Indonesia possesses the planting requirements of these three major products to satisfy your daily cravings for a hot drink and snack.


(8) Andrew Chan, one of the convicted drug traffickers of the “Bali Nine” who was in death row, was married to Yogyakarta princess Febyante Herewila when?

(A) A year before his execution

(B) Two months before his execution

(C) A week before his execution

(D) Two days before his execution

Scroll down to see the correct one.







Answer: (D) Two days before his execution. Andrew Chan, arrested at the international airport in Denpasar for drugs in 2006, met the princess (who is a pastor) during one of the latter’s jail visit. After Andrew proposed to her in February 2015, the two were wed on April 27 of that year. His execution took place two days after.


Many, many thanks!

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Text and photos by Skippy

Tarsilas: Royal Family Trees of Sulu and Mindanao

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Sultans and datus (local rulers) were the ancient rulers of the southern Philippines who commanded fleets of seasoned mariners and sea warriors. The first kingdoms of the archipelago took shape as trade and interaction developed within the Southeast Asian region, exchanging not only commodities but technologies and belief systems as well. Ma-i (location unknown) and Butuan (at the northern Mindanao coast), its earliest known kingdoms, existed more than a thousand years ago during the spread of Hinduism and Buddhism from their homelands in India. Then from its point of entry at Sumatra, Islam made headways especially in the Malay Peninsula, Java, and Borneo, before moving northwards to the Sulu and Mindanao islands.

Islam reached the islands of the southern Philippines around six centuries ago. Sulu first heard of the Good News in the 1400s as its early teachers strengthened the faith. Among them was the magical Karim ul Makdum, who according to legend arrived by sailing on an iron pot or vessel. Another important personality was Rajah Baginda, a Sumatran prince whose daughter became the wife of Sharif Abu Bakr who established the Sulu Sultanate. Among Maguindanao’s first teachers was a member of the Malay royal families. Sharif Kabungsuwan, a son of Melaka’s last sultan, was instrumental in stabilizing the monotheistic belief system possibly at nearly the same time when Christian missionaries were beginning to evangelize souls in 16th-century Visayas.

Names of the princely founders were the first to be written in the Tarsilas, the royal genealogy records of Mindanao and Sulu islands. The Tarsilas are written in local languages of the region and incorporate Malay and Arabic terms, but using the Arabic script. They have been handed down across generations and are recopied into newer sets of writable medium when the need arises. Tarsilas, which means “chain,” illustrate the relationship of royal families with the Prophet Muhammad and thus legitimize their rule within both Islamic theocracy and the Malay royalty network.

In the 17th century the Cotabato Basin of Mindanao was governed by an array of several competing datus, each with its own degrees of power. But the whole region divided itself politically into two basic parts – the Maguindanao area, centered on the lower reaches and estuary of the Pulangi River, and the Buayan area situated around the now infamous territory of Mamasapano and its neighbouring municipalities (others may be more comfortable with four parts – Maguindanao, Buayan, Kabuntalan, and Ganassi). These parts corresponded with the influence of the most powerful rulers of the basin who were able to fold lesser datus into their control, and their paramount rulers have their own stories. While those of Maguindanao claim descent from Kabungsuwan’s son, Buayan chiefs are said to have been descended from a daughter of the Melakan prince. The Maranaos of the Lanao Plateau also tell of themselves as coming from the prince’s lineage, while other versions elsewhere narrate a common origin for all Sulu, Mindanao, and Brunei kings.

Although not written on ancient material, the Tarsilas no less constitute an important source of historical information and cultural rules about Southeast Asia. It is a significant link to the past when tales of kings, queens, and faraway kingdoms have become lost in the collective memory.

Photo and text by Skippy