A Bali Readathon #1: Revolt in Paradise

Most unfortunately, my daring plan to cover  5 different books during my 30h flight to Bali failed miserably!

This, when my Kindle app got into a squabble with my Spotify app.. Then my Samsung tablet couldn’t handle the pressure anymore and just abandoned me, mid-reading!

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Those of you my age will know..

Leaving me crying – most literally – because I then had to entertain myself with movies and I made the mistake of watching  100 Metros.

This cry-me-a-river Spanish movie which would have been the perfect start for an in-flight Cry-a-thon!

However!

This is not about me, or movies, or the whims of my tablet.

So I’ll just have to fill you in on the books I did, in fact, manage to read.

Starting with the history lesson.

Revolt in Paradise

Revolt in Paradise is a book based on true events, and whenever that statement shows up, you half expect the tale of something extraordinary, don’t you?

It is, indeed, an extraordinary story of Scottish-American woman Muriel, who moves to Bali in the early ’30s, gets adopted by a local rajah, changes her name into K’tut Tantri, and later plays an instrumental role in publicizing the Indonesian republican cause to the world.

I got a ton of historical facts out of it which, I will shamefully admit, I had no idea about.

The first part of the book though gives an exquisite glimpse into what Bali looked like 70  years ago, when it was not crowded with tourists and soiled by our collective happy camper garbage.

A Bali that you’ll not get to see anymore, and I sincerely hope that neighboring islands of Lombok and Nusa Penida will not follow down the same touristic path.

A Bloody History

If this was not known to you, you’ll learn how Indonesia was apparently part of the Dutch East Indies for over a century and a half, in a typical colonialist setting where white people ruled and locals were seen as blatantly inferior.

“We Dutch rule these people by keeping them in their place. What will happen to that, do you think, if once they get the idea that the white people regard them as equals?

World War II has hit more countries than you’d think, and if you’re not from Asia you’d possibly be ignoring most of the struggle in that part of the world (with the exception of the infamous atomic bomb)

The end of the WW2 presented Indonesia & a lot of other nations with a window to finally reclaim their independence, in a fight which span almost 2 decades.

This is a bloody page of history that most western countries were either oblivious of, or did not care enough to get involved in. 

I am not going to hide it, it’s at times painful reading, which leaves you wonder if humanity will ever learn from its mistakes..

K’tut helped Indonesia by becoming the voice Indonesia’s freedom through the revolution Radio and later became known to the world as Surabaya Sue.

So bloody was their fight for independence, that the Dutch recently agreed to finance a major investigation into the violence towards the end of Dutch rule in Indonesia.

With a pinch of salt..

Though the book is a memoir and autobiography, I have to admit it does sound a little bit exaggerated  at times.

Like K’tut’s unyielding attitude in the face of the horribly cruel treatment of her Japanese captors, while most of the other prisoners were either going crazy or dying.

Or her most crucial role throughout the fight for independence, which other online sources present conflicting versions of.

But I guess memoirs are supposed to be like that..

Let me know in the comments below if you end up reading Revolt in Paradise. I personally found it to be a great reference to Bali’s history and culture.

You’ll find the book on Amazon for 5.95$: here.

And to switch gears and for a lighter, more fun experience, I’ll come back with my review of Balilicious.

Happy reading, wanderlusters!


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