April 15, 2004


Renowned international peace scholar Johan Galtung recently told us that Australian underage-sex fiends may have provoked the bombing attacks in Bali:

I don't know how you can talk about the Sari night club and the 12th of July ... and not mention a word about Australian pedophiles operating in Bali, and what that might have meant for the people in that blessed island ...

Alison Broinowski previously implied that awful Australian beer drinkers were responsible. Who to blame for all this Asian resentment? Maybe we should ask Alisonís husband.

Posted by Tim Blair at April 15, 2004 04:04 AM

'Who to blame for all this Asian resentment?'

A good point and worthy of further debate. The resentment is real and should be identified if we're ever to close the gap.

As for the past behaviour of Aussie tourists in Bali...well, let's be honest. We crapped in their beautiful, religious society. Because they just smiled, we thought it was cool. Another reality to face. Sorry.

Posted by: jafa at April 15, 2004 at 05:27 AM

We're here! We're queer! Get used to it!

Posted by: Mr Bubbles at April 15, 2004 at 05:41 AM

>'Who to blame for all this Asian resentment?'

Well the people most to blame are those doing the resenting. Then there are those who legitimize it. If indonesia doesn't like how europeans behave in indonesia they should make that behaviour illegal and enforce the law - punishing the individualls who do it, not just "collectively resent the individual's race".

Posted by: scottie at April 15, 2004 at 07:05 AM

They can make a law saying the air should never be "jagged with Strine".

Posted by: Donnah at April 15, 2004 at 07:09 AM

We crapped in their beautiful, religious society.

You might have a point - where it not for the fact that it was Muslim Javanese who blew up people in Bali, not Balinese, whose "beautiful, religious society" we apparently crapped in. That's the reality you have to face. And no, I'm not sorry.

Posted by: Quentin George at April 15, 2004 at 08:01 AM

Firstly, the people of Bali are Hindus, and the terrorists were Islamic. The sad fact is that lots of Hindus died in the bombing, and the Islamisicts didn't care. In fact, they may well have thought it was good. In any event, they didn't bomb Bali because our drunken boorishness sullied their pefect pre-modern society or some such, because it was somebody else's culture and not theirs. If we "crapped over" the island, then it was an entirely different people than the ones we "crapped over" who took to killing us for it. (And Bali is not just Kuta beach, and it actually features lots of different kinds of tourism, most of which cannot be described this way. I love the north coast of Bali, personally, which is much more relaxed and far less a drinking and dancing scene). This was an assault by the Islamicists on the Balinese at least as much as it was an assault on us. Not to mention that on my moral scale, I rate drunken boorishness as pretty harmless, and muder of innocent people (even those guilty of drunken boorishness) as unspeakably evil. Although that may just be me.

Secondly, Bali is a poor place, and its people are and were far better off because of the money brought in by Australian and other western tourists. Just ask them. You know, actually allow the Balinese to decide whether they want tourists to come to their island or not. On the basis that it is their island. Generally they answer the question pretty affirmatively by doing things like selling stuff to tourists.

Thirdly, if the bombing in Bali was a response to anything that Australia had done, it was to Australia's military assistance to the Balinese in kicking the Indonesians out. Even if Bali was partly a response to this, my only criticism of the Australian government on this particular issue is that they didn't do it a lot sooner. The fact is that the bombers objected to something we did where we were morally right, and they then bombed us for it because they are the bad guys. All the bombing tells us is that sometimes being right requires you to be tough and requires you to fight.

Posted by: Michael Jennings at April 15, 2004 at 08:14 AM

"Thirdly, if the bombing in Bali was a response to anything that Australia had done, it was to Australia's military assistance to the Balinese in kicking the Indonesians out."

Er, that would be East Timor you're thinking of. Otherwise good points.

Posted by: Craig Mc at April 15, 2004 at 09:06 AM

Jafa, recent reports from Bali indicate that child prostitution has soared since the terrorist attack. Reason? The decline in tourism dollars.

In the words of one of the bombers, he hates 'white people' because we supposedly force good innocent Muslims to go to bars, and corrupt their morals. Oh, and there is no distinction between Australians, Americans or British - we are all 'white people', therefore we are all the enemy.

So in your opinion, its perfectly understandable to murder tourists because they are of the same race as some degenerates who indulge in pedophilia.

In that case, I hope you extend your understanding to those in the West who dislike and distrust Muslims because of their support of terrorism and the murder of innocent civilians.

What, all Muslims should not be held responsible for the actions of a minority? But isnt that ....

Oh, thats right, people like you have one rule for us and another rule for them.

Posted by: dee at April 15, 2004 at 11:51 AM

Jafa seems to have gone to take a really long crap. Just as well, he got some on the keyboard.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at April 15, 2004 at 12:44 PM

If Jafa thinks Westerners' behaviour causes resentment in Asia, he should check out the Arabs in Pattaya. The Thai beach resort has experienced a Middle Eastern takeover, with planeloads of Arab men from the Gulf on sex tours. Thais being infidels, the Arabs show no respect for them or their culture. Away from the gaze of muftis or imams, they hoon around on motorbikes, drunk on illicit Scotch, a hooker on each arm, or walk the streets holding hands with prepubescent girls (or boys). No-one's thrown a bomb yet. You have to admire the tolerance of the Thais.

Posted by: freddyboy at April 15, 2004 at 02:32 PM

Here I thought it was all about the OOOOIL! and now I find it's all about the BEEEER!

What a pisser.

Posted by: Timothy Lang at April 15, 2004 at 04:11 PM

Where is all this Asian resentment to Australians I keep reading and hearing about in the Australian press?

I have lived,worked and travelled extensivelly throuhgout the South East Asian region (in tourist zones and places us Matsale, Bule, Farang, Gui-Lo never normally go) for the last five years. In that time at all levels of society I have never witnessed or been a victim of such resentment. Political leaders such as Mahatir liked to have a go at us in the press but that was purely cosmetic. His policies were very welcoming to westerners.

I have numerous business dealings with both moderate and 'strict' Muslims and have never had a problem.

These ex diplomat apologists are apologising for a purely imagined sentiment. The last people to believe on any issue relating to Asian sentiment are diplomats. They lock themselves up in the High Commissions and never venture out into the 'real' environment. The Australian media contingent are then briefed on 'situations' by such diplomats who definitely are not qualified to comment.

Here in Malaysia every year we used to have a function at the Aust. High Commission on AFL grand final day. This was stopped last year and we were told to go elsewhere because the danger of attack was too high. The High Comm. is a massively ugly fortified structure that would have survived any potential attack better than the pub we ended up using. At least the diplomats were safe!

Posted by: Fadzil at April 15, 2004 at 04:15 PM

Fadzil is right. I lived in Thailand and still visit there regularly. I don't see much resentment of ordinary Aussies. In fact they are probably the most popular farang race.

Its diplomats like the Broinowskis who give Australia a bad reputation: for their ignorance, insensitivity and grovelling inferiority complex. If our embassy officials got out of the Bangkok bars and bathhouses, learnt the local language and attempted to understand the local culture, they'd earn some respect.

Posted by: freddyboy at April 15, 2004 at 04:35 PM

As an Asian Australian, I got a strange mix of responses when visiting Bali. In the end however, my status as a cash-cow tourist won out over the colour of my skin. You can be sure that rich Javanese tourists in Bali gat harassed and hounded as much as the white tourists.

The people living on Bali (both Balinese and the off-islanders) are like people everywhere - trying to make a buck to support themselves and their family. They understand that there will be costs (social and environmental) but they also recognise the benefits that mass tourism has brought (greater affluence and cultural awareness).

There is no doubt the sight of loud, beer-swilling, skimpy-clothed white tourists would have incensed fundamentalist misfits like Imam Samudra and his goons. Even the Balinese tire of loutish behaviour - who doesn't?

But to draw from that a conclusion that such an attack could have been expected, or that the victims deserved what they got...that simply beggars belief.

Posted by: Fabian at April 15, 2004 at 05:38 PM

The Islamists may like to beat a few placid Hindus around in Bali. But just wait till they find out what is happening to their brethren in India every few years or so!

Posted by: Steve Edwards at April 15, 2004 at 06:57 PM

Um, without realising I started a storm and didn't return till now. Allow me to correct my late, lazy spray by making the distinction between the loutish behaviour of Aussies in Bali and, the motivation of the bombers. Two different animals. One did not beget the other.
I guess, after another night dealing with drunks in my cab, I was expressing a general frustration with drunken yobbos. Poorly.

Posted by: jafa at April 16, 2004 at 01:51 AM