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A Struggle in the Crossroads

Bali is well known to the world, for its natural and cultural beauty. It is one of the most favorite tourist destinations in the world. Many are very much familiar with the beautiful beaches and dynamic Balinese performing arts, but perhaps only a few know Bali Aga, the native community of Bali. They are Hindus, but worship different god, and casteless. Today there are only three Bali Aga villages in Bali, and one of them is Tenganan.

When the government determined tourism as one of the main engines in its economic development program, Bali was immediately positioned at the forefront. Most areas in Bali with tourism potentials were developed and promoted including Tenganan. Tourism itself is never meant to harm anything, but its practices often focus only on the commercial benefit, and ignore other equally or more important aspects. This brings consequences that are not easy to tackle, especially when none feels responsible.

Tenganan is a one-thousand years old village, and it is painstaking to watch how the long history of culture is helplessly imposed by outside forces. Being open to the outside world has its prices; if we had no idea what the price were, we would be in deep trouble. With the intention to assist the Tenganan people in dealing with this situation, Sacred Bridge set out another action research initiative.

The research started last May, 2012, with field assessment. Ritual ceremonies, Gringsing fabric, Sanskrit scripture, and Selonding music are the focus of this research. The deliverable of this action will be a plausible model for the Tenganan people in facing uncertainties in the new reality.