OK, not all Balinese are liars. But a large proportion,
if not the vast majority are when it comes to business.
"Business" means what they do for a living,
and the Balinese / Indonesians learn from an early age.
Even teachers steal from their class. Most often this
is to take food from them which they have been told
to bring in for a ceremony / blessing, and to require
them to buy their school books through them at inflated
prices. Sometimes it is worse.
The whole Indonesian society is corrupt. The architect
of this was Suharto. His party was referred to as KKN
(corruption, collusion and nepotism - the Indonesian's
spell the first two words with a "k"). Of
course, corruption is self-defeating, unless you are
at the top of the ladder. Such as Megawati, who accepts
that her entire cabinet is corrupt. Or the Police Chief
or Governor of Bali.
An example of self-defeating corruption / fraud is
salt. Salt in Indonesia is meant to be iodinized, that
is have a set amount of iodine added. This is to prevent
disease, as many Indonesian's diet is Iodine deficient
otherwise, which can result in terrible malformations,
retarded brains, etc. But iodine is more expensive than
salt. So some / many salt producers do not add it, even
though they claim to have on the packet. If, or rather
when they get caught, they simply pay the inspectors
some money to ignore their crime against their fellow
countrymen, women and children. Of course, then people
develop iodine deficiency and cost the state of Indonesia
thousands and thousands times more then the profit made
by the salt producers. Madness. But that is the way
Bearing on mind you fall victim to fraud / extortion
from an early age in Bali, it is remarkable there are
any, let alone so many honest people there. But, of
course, the ones with the power and the greater ability
are corrupt, fraudulent and dishonest as they come.
Try it out! Go to a market and find a stained or miscoloured
or slightly damaged item, and ask the seller if it is
best quality! Go to a moneychanger and watch them use
every trick in the book to cheat / short change you
(from dropping the money once they have counted it,
to using a "broken" calculator, to recounting
money they have already counted). Some may laugh, and
say they enjoy catching them out / they are too smart
for them. But these are the easily visible frauds.
What about the fake designer watches you can buy. Sure,
most street sellers will openly admit they are fakes.
But go into a brand name clothes shop and all of a sudden
they become genuine Rolex's (what does this tell you
about their brand name clothes). Go down to Jimbaran
Bay's restaurants and ask if you can squeeze the display
(for sale / to be cooked) fish's belly! Why? because
the chances are it will be hard, not soft as it should
be! Why? Because they have stuffed lead into it's gut
to make it heaver for the scales (you pay by weight).
Of course it is not the money you have been defrauded
out of that matters so much, but the lead poisoning
that goes with it.
Think this only relates to certain stalls outside of
restaurants? Ask your waiter of the fish dish you are
ordering is fresh. When they say "yes", ask
to see it. It will almost certainly be frozen. Ask for
orange juice and se what you get. The Balinese like
to give answers you like to hear.
of investing money in Bali?
May Bali's gods help you. First of all, remember that
you are probably perceived as a money tree. Second,
understand that most lawyers are inept, corrupt, or
both. The chances are they will make costly mistakes,
and or work with the other party and / or government
official to make extra money from you. Next, make sure
you are getting what you think you are. For example,
it is quite common for land owners to remove all the
trees after they sell land to foreigners, unless they
were stipulated as included. Of course, land without
the trees and their root structure becomes almost worthless.
But they don't care. Also, make sure permits are available.
For example, one enterprising officer for Canggu bought
up all the villa operational permits and then sold them
at a profit.
Watch your back every second of the way. Existing suppliers
will try and bump the price up / drop the product quality
whenever they can. Staff will generally see you as outsiders,
with money. The local village leader and committee will
expect donations from you whenever you are around. Local
with land or premises next to you may well make trouble
for you (noise, etc.) if you do not give them a job
or buy from them. If you are buying land, the "name
giver" (the Balinese partner you appoint to actually
own the land on paper, as you can not) may well try
to take it all from you. Whenever someone offers to
help you find or get something, they are most likely
trying to make a commission (especially when it comes
to land - many people claim to own a piece of land you
are interested in to be able to make an often sizeable
commission). Building / operational permits will be
slow in coming unless you have a "friend"
in the appropriate government department.
And finally, the police, your competitors and people
that do not like you (for whatever reason) will have
you ripe and ready for some police corruption. All of
a sudden, those smiling, charming police officers will
get complaints about you. Which means either spending
hours and hours in a hot, sweaty police office answering
the same questions, over and over again. Or paying the
officers some corruption money to make the problem go
away. If you are lucky, double the amount you expect
to pay for your project. Because you are a money tree,
and you will need to pay the piper. Once you have bought
land / invested some money, you are committed, and they
Please do not become a victim or part
of the problem. Read:
Tourism (Should I go, where, and how do I avoid
adding to the problem / putting myself / my family at
risk in Bali?).