My Old “Moon River”
Yesterday, accidentally I listened to a song entitled “Moon River” by Andy Williams. It brought back my own “Tom Sawyer” memories. Back in 80s when I was a little boy, my friends and I used to take bath in Ayung River that runs on the western part of our village. We swam, played, or did various mischiefs while taking bath in our “Moon River”; and for the adults, they were busy washing their clothes or having a little chitchat about the current gossip in the village. Boys and girls, men and women, crowded the river late in the afternoon up to the evening. The river was our public meeting place where we had a chance to mingle with other villagers.
However, nowadays, rivers in Bali are losing its unique function as public meeting place especially in south Bali, such as in Denpasar and southern areas of Badung regency and in other areas in Bali, the number of the people who taking a bath in the river diminishes greatly in two decade. These drawbacks are the result of many factors such as the volume of the water in many rivers in Bali has decreased makes it quite difficult for bathing and washing activities; some even cease to flow. The quality of the water also contributes to these drawbacks; clear and healthy river water can only be found in the mountainous regions; pesticide and pollution decrease the quality of river’s water. Last but not least, most of Balinese have their own bathroom and taking a bath or washing in the river become impractical since we have to walk or ride a motorcycle to reach the river.
My “moon river”, however, still serves as public meeting place though the number of participant of the meeting becomes less and less day-by-day.