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Individualism in Balinese Life  

by on Friday, 2 January 2009No Comment | 1,466 views

Individualism, in the context of Balinese can be defined as a value that penetrates rapidly into the fabrics of Balinese life and culture. Though Balinese acknowledge individuality as expressed in Balinese sayings, such as “gumi linggah ajak liu, ada kene ada keto” (world is vast, there are many different people with different ideas) and “makejang anake ngelah pematut” (all people have their own standard); but Balinese individuality is confined within the framework of communality, it is an amalgam of individuals to fulfill a communal goal, clearly not individual enough to be called “individualism” as in the Western countries that put emphasis on individual needs, goal, and ambition; with inadequate attention to the communal interest or goal.

Individualism in Balinese Life

The newly-adopted individualism gives various social and cultural effects to the Balinese life, range from the abstract “deterioration of communal spirit” to the increasing number of absentees in voluntary communal works, from buying offerings (though more expensive, buying offering considered more practical by some Balinese than making them at home with the help of clan and community members) to increasing amount of fine for skipping the regular community meeting.


But individualism can not be solely blamed for the deterioration of communal spirit among the Balinese. Many Balinese work in hotels, restaurants, private companies and other establishment that require certain amount of time during the working days to be devoted solely for the works, minimizing the chance for Balinese to participate in communal works which may be hold during the working hours.

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