A full day and night of silence in an increasingly wired up world is a rare happening indeed. Bless Planet Bali for sticking to and maintaining what is of course a tradition with incredibly deep spiritual meaning and ancient cultural significance. For those who will immerse in the vacuum of expansive quiet and retouch reality for a short period, it can be a glimpse of not only what Bali once was, but also a direct experience of what life really is doing, in between the frantic insanity of our human made mind stuff.
One can only imagine and speculate what The Street Dogs are doing, on very empty very quiet deserted Bali. In the human realm there are those who revel in silence and slowness and others who even at the mere thought of such torture exhibit agitation to the point of physical self immolation.
In the canine world there are also personalities that mirror such human types. Which if you take that to be a scientifically observed fact on the level of dog, it can only mean that right at this very moment, there are absolutely hoards of hounds hunkered down out there. Hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands. All of them raising their snouts to the air and in one unified force, a pack of free roaming pooch are collectively taking very deep slow breaths, long languid whiffs and giving high praise indeed to whatever Dog God they worship.
As they take back the streets that once were their ancestral homelands, all of them out there, are offering themselves and their stressed out minds to the deity of all dogs. As they gather around once again at this ancient and designated time of ritual, with paws held high and tails erect, they celebrate in luxuriant silence and peace. And all the while, deep respect and humble homage is given to their master, the wise one who invented such a wondrous tradition.
A strict no negotiation law, that forcibly locks up all those annoying bipeds, for one full quiet day and one full dark and silent night.
From the frenetic and anorexic new age yoga fraternity, who paradoxically move at the pace of sloths in their endlessly chattered about self actualization and holistically homogenized structured sessions, yet who pace speedily around what was once a languid and lazy hill top tropical paradise. To the rampant globalization and materialistic reality of a progressive and exponentially driven economy, Ubud has certainly gotten what it has asked for, especially in the past three years.
So where does that leave and what are the consequences for the relatively lazy and slow moving Bali Street Dog and the people of Bali?
The people of Bali can and certainly will speak for themselves. But in and on whatever reality you place your eye, in so many ways they have created and understandably wanted such conditions, an emerging ‘new age paradigm’, with outcomes that have in effect purposely brought such an unprecedented speed of change upon their community. What they are left with is a movement of rampant momentum, with its resultant affect of rapid change and adaptation angst, coupled with emerging first world problems and dilemmas. Situations that only time and the judgment of history can and will bring a positive or negative verdict to bear upon.
And as for the Bali Street Dog in such a shifting scenario, well the consequences are really inevitable, especially in an environment that is in danger of catching the Kuta syndrome. In Southern enclaves the Islands very own dog has been progressively driven out or killed off and they are now being outnumbered by trendy foreign dogs. Their natural habitat is being replaced with pavement and concrete pods specifically designed for pleasure. It can only be hoped that the Ubud community can benefit positively from the spoils of progress and its Banjars can actively protect promote and preserve their very own Bali Street Dogs.
And as another wave of mid afternoon rushabouts burn up the vicinity in and around Ubuds Bali Buda restaurant, all scurrying to jostle for position at the ever growing wall of hanging paraphernalia, one recent foreign resident was heard to painfully utter the fateful words, “it was inevitable, I guess”.
Nothing on Bali is simply black and white, except for many Bali Dogs who are simply named according to their respective color. There are a plethora of Brownies Blackys and Whiteys, as of yet there hasn’t been a rush on Stripey, usually Anggrek meaning literally orchid or flower, is bestowed upon such a beautifully colored animal. There are many traditional names given to the Islands very own ancient canine, but most of them are now being replaced with more modern names, as the next generation become more influenced by all things foreign, much to the chagrin of many elders.
Upon first hearing after enquiring from a local person as to what their dog is named, the simplicity of such an obvious identification can be somewhat stupefying, especially when compared to such elaborate and thought out references and labels given to most foreign canines. Whitey, Blacky and Brownie now seem so appropriate economical and eminently sensible, unfortunately strict and stringent political correctness prevents the usage of such simplicity with our human counterparts.
And just as so many things on Bali are not simply black and white, the existence and future for Bali people and their unique dog will be most certainly shaped and colored by a growing foreign flavoring.
Will the Bali Dog become a Hybrid Street Hound, mating with, emanating from and over time evolving into some new age foreign and unrecognizable local variation? One can only speculate on what simple names will be given to these, ‘anjing Bali baru’.
If it walks like a dog, barks like a dog and wags its tail like a dog, then it’s a dog, right?
Well actually no, not necessarily so, unfortunately no.
Altruism or selflessness is indeed a slippery slope when it comes to the welfare of others in lieu of self gratification and it’s a rare quality to be found in humanity. But history is very good at actually exposing that many of the performance methods used are just a selfish cover. Grandiose statements as "it’s not for me, not for I and not for self", are in fact only a spinning show and a clever and cunning ruse. In truth they are a plethora of distracting techniques used to mask a much more sinister reality of the ego driven infantile narcissist.
So what’s this scene of human folly and immaturity got to do with The Bali Street Dog. When it comes to the welfare of The Bali Street Dog there are certainly enough of the beasts on all points of this relatively small Island to fill the time and resources of endless organizations and individuals. However there appears to be an ongoing and growing turf war. A war, like any battle built upon the, 'who has the biggest weaponry' view point, can only result in a classic Pyrrhic Victory. Whereby the victor having inflicted such a devastating cost is also subject to defeat and annihilation in the long run.
And the cost to The Bali Street Dog that is being used in such a war at the hands and minds of those imbued with such a mentality? Well it and they will survive no doubt, because they like Bali people have endured many challenges and survived inflicted suffering from those who purport to have their best interests at heart.
But what is particularly saddening about all this is the growing evidence that once again it is those who are devoid of a furry tail, a classic indicator of true and real intention, who are dictating what is best for The Bali Street Dog.
Shame on you.
Nothing lasts forever and everything else just changes by constantly reforming reconstituted bits in new evolved and adapted ways. Bali Street Dogs know all about these real world things, they and Bali people have been doing it for life times. They are the ultimate survivors, amazing adaptors and impeccable innovators and we have learned so much by just spending every moment with them.
No amount of preparation can dilute the reality of endings and even though consciously it can be imagined, the physical feelings are an intense and unbearable grief process.
Bali, Bali people and The Bali Street Dog, thank you so very much.