1892 De Baliers
Dr J. Jacobs Docter from the Netherlands Indisch Gouvernement
was send to Bali’s Raja’s to ask them permission to vaccinate the population against small pox…
Interesting Quotes From The book ” The Balinese ” 1892
When twins are born..
When a Balinese woman – of whichever caste- gives birth to a twin of different gender ( which is called kemhar bunfjing or bridal twins) the mother has to walk immediately to the graveyard ( sema), her children being carried behind her and there – in a hastely erected shed- she has to stay during three new moons, while food will be provided. Her house will be burnt down so the men and all other family members have to find their fortune elsewhere.
The desa where the house was situated has to be purified ; the temples in that place – with an exception of the temple dedicated to the dead – are closed during 60 days; many offerings have to be carried out and the desa as well as the mother and the children have to be sprinkled with holy water ( toja tirta, see later) in order to erase the incest, the two children supposedly had committed inside the womb.
Only the wife of the King and of a Brahmin are exempted.
One can understand that a human sacrifice has to be offered more than once during these religious ceremonies.
When a woman ( and this is also applied to domesticated animals) gives birth to a deformed child it is considered as an omen that the desa in question will meet with a disaster. The King has to be informed immediately and he will hold a religious ceremony to placate the Gods. This ceremony ior slamatan is called rqasiato.
When a woman dies during her pregnancy her body can not be buried or cremated but will be thrown either into a ravine or laid in a two feet open grave or pit (mepasah) as a token of the deepest contempt as this is – according to Balinese conceptions – the deepest disgrace anybody can suffer. This applies to all ranks and stations, even for the Queens. If the pregnancy was in its latest stage, it can happen that ( at muliiparae) the fetus – because of the gasses inside the abdomen- will be aborted. In that case the disgrace is effaced and the corpse can still get the honor of a cremation.
Young boys dancing…
A description of the gandrungs has to be reflected upon because it will give an idea about the sense of morality that exists – even amongst the higher castes – on Bali.
Gandrungs are boys of about ten to twelve years old who dance, dressed as girls , accompanied by the gamelan ( at the most extensive performance sematpegulingan called). The dress consist of a beautiful sarong, bound high up under the armpits and kept on its place by a band, broad and richly interwoven with gold threads , around the abdomen; a high head ornament of flowers and tinsels ; a slendang wound around the hips ( oncer), with its ends hanging down freely; beautiful bracelets and a fan. You really get the idea that it is a girl dancing so elegantly to the tones of the music, coqquettish gesticulating with their arms, while one hand holds the fan, the other the slips of the oncer. But you know they are boys and it disgusts you when you see that finally men from all races and stations of the Balinese society give them kepengs ( Chinese coins) to perform dances in very strange positions with these children and it will disgust you even more when you know that – after hours of these perpendicular exercises already dead tired and exhausted- the children will be forced to perform horizontal maneuvers with the highest bidder after being kissed by one and caressed by another. The Balinese finds this quite normal; he doesn’t do it secretly and even gives it a religious air, but many walk around with rhagade and anus ulcers, waste away and die a premature dead.
The Time counting..
A day on Bali is divided in two times eight hours, from sunrise to sunset. Every Balinese hours is so the same as one hour with us. At seven thirty it is there one o’clock, at nine two o’clock, six in the evening is eight o’clock etc.
Their timepiece, which can be found also in other parts of the country if I am not mistaken, is very primitive and is lacking all chronological accuracy as we will see. It consist of a perforated coconut or a copper bowl in a large tempajan, filled with water; the opening in the bowl is of such a size that – when it is full and sinks – one Balinese hour has passed. The name of such timepiece is penalikan and one can see a specimen on the forecourt of every royal palace ( purt).
When one hour has passed, the watchman who stands by this timepiece, will announce the hour on an enormous drum, while one can hear in-between the hours that last so long, a little bell . Next to this bedug is a small lath on which eight smaller laths are hanged and with every hour that passes one of these are moved aside so the watchman will remember how much time has passed already,. If this man not immediately sees that the bowl has gone under he has lost track of the time and this will go on until the next morning or evening when the time can be reset with the sunrise or sunset. It happened often on our travels that within 12 hours the penalikan already was one hour behind.
When a man dies..
When a man dies and when his body is laid in de ba bandung until the cremation, it is at some places the custom that his wives will go to him the first few days to work at his penis in various ways – probably to show how much they loved him ( the man that is ) and how difficult it is to part from him ( the spouse). I heard from authorative sides that the women show great enthousiasm at this act. Really, Antisthenes could have learned something from the Balinese ..
..When a person from one of the Bali Aga has passed away, the body will be cleaned from head to toe and then placed outside the desa. The water used for this cleaning will now be used to cook an enormous amount of rice, which then will be shaped into a large figure. A relative will break the head off this effigy and starts to eat, giving herewith the signal to a general attack on the rice figure and everybody will enjoy this food to one’s heart’s content. Bon appetite ! One must keep in mind however, that – not so long ago- the Bali Aga were cannibals and specifically the people from the desa Bratanj in Buleleng, who were gold- and silversmiths- were well known for this.
When one is a guest of an important person – a King for instance – , the host would be considered inhospitable if he would not invite all the ladies from his harem to oblige his guests for the night. Not so long ago, when a delegate from the Government with his European retenue came to visit, a certain amount of girls from the Royal Harem were chosen as decoration for the rooms where the guests stayed. For the Delegate himself, being the highest in rank, the most and the best were reserved : five to ten girls. As mentioned, this custom has – more or less- died out thanks to the weakness or willpower ( depending on how one sees it) of earlier Deputies, but the Kings themselves only hesitantly abort this idea, because they feel that their conception of hospitality is inseparable from the respect they have to show their guests. As they don’t dare do this openly anymore they now usually send for some dancing girls, ordering them to stay after the performance near the guests as to be available if needed.
When a man from the lowest caste passes away
without leaving a son behind
When a man from the lowest caste ( Sudra) passes away without leaving a son behind who is old enough to take over his place of pengajak ( Statute Worker), the custom is that the brothers of the diseased will get unlimited use of his estate including the wives and children. As I said before, a woman is not considered a person in her own rights, not as a somebody, but as a something. If there are no brothers or if they reject for one reason or another the inheritance, all and sundry will be possessed by the King, who will then sell the goods and will take the wives and the children into his puri. This claim of the King on the inheritance of a sudra is called njabud.
Also all the possessions of a person who is outlawed ( hedagan) will fall to the King. I wanted to point out here how easy it is for the King to appropriate someone’s possessions and one can imagine that this can easily cause misuse, tempting as it is, without violating the existing laws.
When a man during his lifetime compensates his lack of virility by adopting a boy and has him legitimized (inen ianak hangidih sentana) or when a man has not yet paid the purchase price (pi-tumbas) for his wife to her parents ( in which case she still is the property of her father); in those cases the wife and the children will not fall to the King as is no more the case when the man has died a honorable death on the battle-field.
If they become property of the King the old people have to do all sorts of housework whereas the middle aged have to do heavier chores, The young girls, after having reached puberty – sometimes even before that – are forced to “Corpus quaestum facere” i.e. “in name of the King” sell their honour and innocence to the highest bidder. Those who are not chosen by the King himself for private use as replenishment in his harem, are being sent to all parts in his Kingdom as would-be ronggengs, but in fact to serve as meretrices ( the whores of Bali). A part of their earnings they have to hand over to the King. In Badung for instance it was 9/10 of the income, in other Kingdoms one or two “rijksdaalders”, depending on the beauty of the poor individual or on the density of the population she had to serve. The little money that was left she may use herself. Now the reader understands the generosity of the King to supply – if he sees a chance – some panjeroans to his guests. In this way he exploits his guests as go-betweens for his panjeorans. Now one also understands why a King has a harem although he already has so many wives and concubines.
But let us get back to our panjeroans. The most outrageous is that – when such a girl has become a panjoaran while her Lord has violated the laws- she is unable to end her forced, honor less occupation . She can not marry without the consent of the King, which she never gets while she is still productive and she also has to keep on earning her living and income for the King for as long as her working-uniform , provided by Nature, is not completely worn out, So there is no way for her to provide for herself in a honorable way ( nor for her King).
Voila a scipt that could be used for a great drama play:
Dramatis personae : a Balinese King
A Pater Familias from the Sudra Caste
His daughter, a budding beauty in her puberty
A young man of 18 years
A haljan ( sorcerer)
Members of the Kerta etc. etc.
First Act : Monologue of the young daughter doing some sort of housework about the obduracy of the young man to whom she has repeatedly showed her love , but who doesn’t want to understand her, at least who doesn’t answer this love. She invites a balian who gives her a love potion (oena), which she has to administer to the young man one way or another.
Second act. Effect of the mentioned magic spell : the infatuation of the young man gets through the various traditional stages. A pledge between the two lovers to an abduction i.e. a marriage.
Third act. Death of the father by coincidence. There is no son who can succeed him as pengajah, nor any brothers who could accept the in heritage, so this in heritage, including the daughter goes to the King who makes her the favorite of his harem because of her beauty and youth.
Fourth act. Madness at the young man at the discovery that his sweetheart is lost forever to him. In his madness he decides to abduct his loved one by force in spite of the fact that she is now owned by the King. He carries out this plan and is so – according to the Balinese law -guilty of lese-majesty
( prasangga). Both are caught and sentenced to death by the Kerta (dandepati). The King, feeling that this punishment is not strong enough for the serious crime committed, decides to increase the punishment by locking him up for one month in a krankeng ( den, where the delinquent can only lie without being able to move because of the multitude of thorns inside ,with only one small opening to pass food and wherein the prisoner also has to relieve himself ) The girl lies in chains – also for one month – very close to him (mablenggoe). The young man now realizes that they both will die at the same moment. During this time there follows a dialogue between the convicts, for instance that they will be joined together again in Indra’s heaven, where no Balinese Monarch or law can separate them. Curses then against a Government that rules over countries that have such laws and under which flag such atrocities can take place.
Fifth act. Execution. He is stabbed to death with a kris ( kesalang), but not after he has to witness the death of the girl by having set to fire ( labu g’ni).
Did such drama’s really take place on Bali? Dear reader !
The end is certainly not always so tragic, so poetic, but it is certain that these drama’s happen and that the first act various times have been played out.
Apart from the degrading immorality in all the Kingdoms of Bali, one can also understand that in this way syphilis is spread everywhere. During my travels over Bali I have had the opportunity to talk to various of these deplorable beings – many of them still very young – who lamented their unhappy fate with tears in their eyes. I have met pajoroans in Badung who were not even in their puberty but were forced by the Kings to supply their montly quantum of the bloody earned money. Every King has 200 to 300 panjorans working for him so they are a large source of income. But, though we recognize the fact that this is – mildly spoken – inhuman according to our Western standards, we can not put the blame completely on the Kings. They have to take care – forced by the law – of the widows and children who came into his possession by circumstance. At least they have the duty to take care of the old women, the young children, the sick as well as the nubile girls.
The Woman in the Balinese society
Let us see now what place in general the woman has within the Balinese society. The birth of a girl is not met with the same joy as of a boy. It is the wish of the Balinese man that his wife will give him many sons and – of course – the woman might have wished the same, but she still will love her daughter as much as she will love a boy . The father will nevertheless place the sanggah ( offerings at the birth of a child ) on the forecourt of his yard, but not wholeheartedly.
The mother will love and feed her daughter with the same feelings as if it were a son, but the father will hardly care about the child and will hardly notice her. The girl is breastfed and caressed by the mother and the child will even play together with the little boys in the sand and in the water until she is five to six years old.
Then she will get the task to keep an eye on her younger sisters and brothers and to cradle the baby who lies in the ajunan (a sort of crib) when the mother is away. Or she goes with her mother to the pasar to sell the fruits, which she herself carried in a basket on her head; or she helps the mother at the tjagfag ( loom ) weaving kains; or in the so-called kitchen (pahm) preparing the food, and even at the manji ( harvesting rice), njukutin ( weeding) or other scores on the field. And often – during these arduous task for a child of her age – her thoughts go to her brothers and their friends who play without worries at melalajangan ( fly kites ) ; amuse themselves with megangsing ( top spinning ) and with other child plays or have so much fun watching a wayang performance. She will get no intellectual education, let alone a moral one. All she will get are lessons in hard work and drudgery.
She only has to watch her mother to learn how hard she will have to work later to supply her husband with whatever he needs, also for his pleasure and amiiun.
Finally she reaches the age of 12, 13 years and only now she will get her father’s attention. He will give feast as a token that the virgin girl has had her menek ( first menstruation ) and has become marriageable The girl herself will ( most often ) not attend because she will be locked away during some days. The father’s interest in giving a lavish party is wholly self-centered : he has to try to sell his daughter to the highest bidder or – at least – attract the attention from whichever suitable young man. Once more a party in her honor will be given before her marriage ( sangih) when her teeth will filed ( mesanngih in common Balinese, mepandes in high Balinese). (The teeth-filing for boys will be performed later, when they are about 16 years old.)
Usually on Bali only the front teeth will be sharpened or filed off a little. This religious ceremony is highly valued because the Balinese strongly believe that a person whose teeth are not filed, will be punished after his death with the cruelest tortures, for instance continuous chewing on hard timber. The strange thing is that a Balinese will never talk about such penalties that can befall him in afterlife. Maybe it is a kind of holy fear, maybe reverence, that he doesn’t talk about it and only by surprise one can get some information. Most of the particulars I got from my interpreter ( a Muslim-Balinese).
A marriage as seen in f.i. the European Countries is not known here. The desired girl has been bought or stolen from her parents. The first can be done in two ways : either one pays directly to the father( mepadik ) the total sum of about 60-100 guilders ( in comparison : this is the price one pays for a horse) or by earning first a similar amount by subservience (merunggu) to the father, as in the time of the Patriarchs.
The second way to obtain a wife – which is almost the standard rule with the lower castes – is abduction, with (merangkat) or without (ngedjuk or melegandang) the consent of the girl.
In the first case the abductor pays a fine to the father – about the price for a cow – but in the second case the price is higher. If a girl whose teeth are not yet filed is abducted, the abductor pays twice the price he would have had to pay otherwise. It will be clear that also here it makes a difference to which caste the abductor belongs. The higher castes do have also in these cases more privileges.
(If you would like to know more about these various primitive forms of marriage – i.e. by abduction which was common in the earliest ages and which is still quite common with the most uncivilized peoples , I can strongly recommend to read a most interesting article in the Indische Gids, edition 1880 and 1881 ” Over de primitieve vormen van het huwelijk en de oorsprong of the family” by G.A.Wilken.)
Bought or stolen, they became cattle and the possession of the buyer or the abductor, at least if they didn’t fail to pay the price (
pthumas). I said “cattle” but this is not quite right because a much higher fine is administered, even outlawry, on stealing cattle ..
The girl just changes owner and she will never be asked if the new master is the man of her choice, no more if his acts are pure love in the holy meaning of the word , or just plain ,voluptuous, brutal lustful acts.
So, finally, she has left her parental home where her path was not strewn with roses; she got married and will now be somewhat compensated for what she missed in childhood with the joy marriage will give her, you think !
Well, in the house of her new master she will only be tolerated as long as it suits him. After all, he has the right to send her away, for instance if she doesn’t provide him with children or for whatever reason, even without any reason at all. He can give her away to others if he chooses so, sell her, gamble her away, or stake her as a wager at a cockfight. He can pledge her when buying a cow or pig, to redeem her when the pay-off has been completed. The law permits such a connubium promiscuum and though ,not stipulating the right of the man to misuse his wife in these ways, it happens often. You might say that in most cases she will improve her situation by these exchanges and – in case she remains childless – I agree, but the Balinese woman also knows the word filial love and although she hardly gets a taste of the joys of life and although she will never know the sweet and pleasant enjoyments it can imply, she also has a throbbing heart, a great and burning love for the children she bore and of these children she will be robbed, they may not follow her. They will stay with the father as his legal property. This is one of the reasons why one rarely hears of divorce. It is certainly granted by law to the wife if she feels she is badly mistreated but the man has to be given twice the original sum he paid for her and – of course – if she renounces the children. She can also decide to go into service with the King (ngajero) if she feels too badly treated, by also in that case the man can demand that the children stay with him.
If she gives no cause for complaint and he finds her appropriate and doesn’t treat her badly, she may share the conjugal bed with three, four or even more women with who she has to live in peace as to not run the risk to be chased away as a mischief maker, again abandoning her children. Her fate is not to be envied as you can see, absolutely not. One can understand that there hardly is any place for family happiness or cordiality in this.
But even when all goes well for her and she – so to speak is – hits his fancy, she still has to work very hard from morning until late into the night to provide her husband and her children with all they need, while the husband prefers to spend his days in Dolce far Niente, which is only when the work on the fields are finished, because only then and there he works and is even quite industrious. One rarely sees women present at festivities or folk games; this would not be appropriate Apart from that, they have to look after the household and have to see to it that there is money available for the men to be able to play the dice or smoke opium. Birne says in his earlier quoted brochure, that he never saw a servile attitude. Well, he obviously never has seen how a woman approches her husband. I have various times been able to observe that the statement of Mr. Birnie can not be related to the relation of the woman with her husband.
On an earlier trip the Raya Kasiman of Babung asked me to examine one of his wives who suffered tightness of the chest as did one of her children and I diagnosed both with a heart disease . It was embarrassing to see how the woman – his first wife if you please – was crawling around the Raja’s chair to – eventually – squat behind it with bent head and in a most subservient pose. The Raja needed a lot of persuasion to make clear to her that – in order that I could examine her – it was permitted to raise, which she – finally and after a lot of sambas- did, but the examination was hardly finished or she krept back into her own inner rooms. Maybe , in this case , this servile submissiveness was more because of the presence of a Raja than of her husband, as one can see with most Oriental People, but one can observe more of this attitude in non-royal presence everywhere on Bali ,
Perhaps you’ll blame religion for this. On the contrary I see this as proof that Brahmanism – the main form in which Hinduism manifests itself on Bali -has lost most of its character. In Clavel’ s “Geschiedenis der Godsdiensten” one can read in the book Manava-Sastraj ( the Code of Conduct) which describes the duties of the followers of this religion, the following : ” Where the women are honored, the Gods will be satisfied, but if one doesn’t honor her even the most pious deeds are unfruitful. A family where the women live in sadness will not exist for long, but when they are not unhappy, the family will prosper. Houses that are cursed by women to who one has not given the honor due will perish as if by a magic spell. So the men who want to see wealth have to pay homage to the women within their family and have to supply them with finery, clothes and nice food, especially at feasts and ceremonies. Happiness will befall to each family where the man finds pleasure in his wife and the woman finds delight in her husband. If a woman is not dressed elegantly she will not be able to arouse happiness in the man and if the man is not happy, the marriage will stay sterile.”
One can say that the Brahmanism of the Balinese nowadays is far alienated from this moral lesson and it is not been administered. This will result in punishment : of course a lower one for a member of the higher caste. Belongs the girl to the highest caste and the boy to a lower, the first – as we saw already – will be burned to death, the other drowned in the sea. In Buleleng and Jimbrana this punishment is now changed into a life-long banishment from the island. At the lower castes both will be stabbed to death.
Sex at a very young age is not always done secretly, but often with the knowledge of the parents of both sides. So it is well known that the present vaccinator of Buleleng, Ida Mantra Bagus already at a very young age shared- at his parent’s house- his room and bale-bale with his niece Ida Ayu Futu with the consent of both his- and her parents who had destined these two children for each other. They had hardly reached the age of fourteen – their teeth were not yet filed – or the boy’s father urged him to – seemingly – abduct the girl and by doing so he was taking care of the essential formalities, which meant : marriage. It was done to prevent another Brahman from Banjar to abduct the girl The father had learned that said Brahman was planning this. All went smoothly, the children were married and only after the marriage their teeth were filed. This unlimited and unpunished prostituting of unmarried girls (which can be found at other half-civilized people ) should not be considered as a lack of shame or morality – developed during the years by circumstances – but more as a residue from the communal marriages from the time when the personal marriage didn’t yet exist but all women in a tribe belonged to all the men ( See “Das Ausland, 1882 no. 6 or the earlier mentioned article “De Indische Gids” from Wilken).
Pederasty is quiet normal on Bali and is not carried out in secret. I spoke about this earlier.
Nearly as often one can find amongst the girls the so-called Lesbian Love (
mefjenfjeng djoeoek : literally : knocking the pelvises together without making a sound. In Malay : bertampu labu; tampu is the crown of a fruit, maybe a hint to the clitoris) with all its digital and lingual variations. The strongly developed clitoris with which the Balinese seem to be blessed according to the experts, promotes this misuse tremendously. In spite of the “entree libre” that seems to be the standard here, masturbation is quiet common, especially among the young. Its is called jfjoktjok. Ketimun and pisang are widly used by the girls and not only as a snack. In the bedroom of many a beautiful Balinese girl ( and certainly in the harem) one can find a waxen “plaisir des Dames” whose modest name is jganeni or tjelak-tjelak nialem ( tjelak is penis and nialem is wax ) and many a hour is passed there in silent seclusion. The ganem is also called kumpentji.
The Balinese know of a lot of means to enhance the lustful feeling at the coitus (mekatukan) and to stimulate the sexual urge and they are liberally used. Early impotency but specially bladder disease are often the result.
Already old Kings have asked us about potions that would enhance an erection because the locally known remedies were exhausted. These remedies are mainly vegetarian. One of the best known is the Padang-derman ( Bal. oi pander, Jav. man), the leaves of the Artemis Vulgaris, Fam. Compositae. Many Chinese sell remedies to obtain this goal. To enhance the lust at the coitus a red, resinous powder – geopita -will be strewn into the vulva ( teli or srira) before the coitus. This powder has stimulating and astringent qualities and seems to bring about a stricture of the lumen of the vagina. Van Eck is wrong when he says that this is to enhance the fertility of the woman and that is only used for that purpose.
The Balinese is also very clever in using mechanical means to enhance the pleasure at the coitus and to invent new exiting positions during this act.
Luckily I have never seen such an horrible act but I can imagine it. Everything around the place where the cremation will take place is decorated with flags and pennants; the square is filled with anxiously waiting curious people of every rank, station and age, called there by the monotonous beats on the kul-kul; the gong gede sounds from all sides. And look, there come the victims doomed to the fire. Volunterary ? No, by God ! By instinct, drugged by opium, prayers and lack of food, drink and sleep they follow the priests who accompany them. Virgins and female friends follow her on her last journey to recieve as a sad souvenir part of the valuables with which they are bedecked as if going to a party. They stagger onto the structure and one after another throws herself into the blasting fire. One only hears some spine-chilling cries and then there is just silence. The only sound comes from the crackling flames devouring the just received prey. A short, terrible pause and then the onlookers start to cheer, the priests start their holy prayers; higher and higher the flames go as if they want to tell with fiery tongues what sufferings have been met with during one minute. One minute only but what a terrible unspeakable suffering. And above this all the Dutch flag flutters happily and proudly.
Earlier I said that the wife doesn’t follow her husband voluntarily into the death by fire, but this might be too general a remark. There are women who really throw themselves – so it seems – into the hell of fire or – when the man died on the battle field – will stab them self with a kris after having thrown themselves on his body ( beh); even a mother often follows her child into death; a bride her loved one; a child the mother, indeed even a friend a friend. Partly there is heart-felled grievance, holy reverence here but for a greater part it might be that she is convinced that – if she sacrifices herself -she will be taken into the Satijaloka immediately after her death, where she will get unspeakable enjoyments and that hereby also all her sins will be forgiven and she will reach eternal happiness. Consider also the enormous influence of the priests on the woman : they will try to persuade her with all possible promises to carry out this self-sacrifice, persuading her to fast and pray while giving her intoxicating drinks to bring her into a state of irresponsibility, so what means “voluntarily “?
It surely has happen more than once that these women, confronted by the glare of the fire in which they have to throw themselves and especially if her children are accompanying her on this last journey , will try to pull back. Their struggle must be horrifying, their cries of distress drowning the shouts of the masses ; they beg their torturers, the priests, to save their lives that are now twice as dear, seeing the faces of their children who they want to embrace once more.
They try to escape, but this will be thwarted by the priests and the fanatical crowd. Clavel also mentions some touching examples hereof.