Land for sale at Balangan Beach, Jimbaran Bali
headline »
Thu, 5/06/14 – 9:52 | No Comment

Total area of 38000 square meter of land is nestled in Tanjung Balangan; on the beach, white sand, magnificent cave, cliffs ocean view. And Airport in distance is blinking with lights. New Kuta Resort and …

Read the full story »
Arts & Culture

There is probably no place in the world with such a high density of craftsmen and artisans in Bali.

Bali News & Events

Bali’s latest news and upcoming events

Dance, Drama & Music

It’s all about Bali’s art performance


What you need to know when exploring the paradise island of Bali


Patchwork of insights into the soul of Bali

Home » People & Community

Through The Eyes of Researcher: Personal Name in Bali  

by on Tuesday, 14 April 2009No Comment | 1,614 views

Balinese People

Here is an interesting excerpt on Balinese Status Titles taken from Clifford Geertz’s writing entitled “Person, Time, and Conduct in Bali : The Social Nature of Thought”, that will give you an interesting insight on Balinese social-cultural life.

The symbolic order defined by personal names is the simplest to describe because it is in formal terms the least complex and in social ones the least important. All Balinese have personal names, but they rarely use them, either to refer to themselves or others or in addressing anyone. (With respect to one’s forebears, including one’s parents, it is in fact sacrilegious to use them.) Children are more often referred to and on occasion even addressed by their personal names. Such names are therefore sometimes called “child” or “little” names, though once they are ritually bestowed 105 days after birth, they are maintained unchanged through the whole course of a man’s life. In general, personal names are seldom heard and play very little public role.

Yet, despite this social marginality, the personal-naming system has some characteristics which, in a rather left-handed way, are extremely significant for an understanding of Balinese ideas of personhood. First, personal names are, at least among the commoners (some 90 percent of the population), arbitrarily coined nonsense syllables. They are not drawn from any established pool of names which might lend to them any secondary significance as being “common” or “unusual,” as reflecting someone’s being named “after” someone–an ancestor, a friend of the parents, a famous personage–or as being propitious, suitable, characteristic of a group or region, indicating a kinship relation, and so forth. Second, the duplication of personal names within a single community–that is, a politically unified, nucleated settlement–is studiously avoided. Such a settlement (called a bandjar, or “hamlet”) is the primary face-to-face group outside the purely domestic realm of the family, and in some respects is even more intimate. Usually highly endogamous and always highly corporate, the hamlet is the Balinese world of consociates par excellence; and, within it, every person possesses, however unstressed on the social level, at least the rudiments of a completely unique cultural identity. Third, personal names are monomials, and so do not indicate familial connections, or in fact membership in any sort of group whatsoever. And, finally, there are (a few rare, and in any case only partial, exceptions aside) no nicknames, no epithets of the “Richard-the-Lion-Hearted” or “Ivan-the-Terrible” sort among the nobility, not even any diminutives for children or pet names for lovers, spouses, and so on.

Thus, whatever role the symbolic order of person-definition marked out by the personal-naming system plays in setting Balinese off from one another or in ordering Balinese social relations is essentially residual in nature. One’s name is what remains to one when all the other socially much more salient cultural labels attached to one’s person are removed. As the virtually religious avoidance of its direct use indicates, a personal name is an intensely private matter. Indeed, toward the end of a man’s life, when he is but a step away from being the deity he will become after his death and cremation, only he (or he and a few equally aged friends) may any longer know what in fact it is; when he disappears it disappears with him. In the well-lit world of everyday life, the purely personal part of an individual’s cultural definition, that which in the context of the immediate consociate community is most fully and completely his, and his alone, is highly muted. And with it are muted the more idiosyncratic, merely biographical, and, consequently, transient aspects of his existence as a human being (what, in our more egoistic framework, we call his “personality”) in favor of some rather more typical, highly conventionalized, and, consequently, enduring ones.

Your Ad Here