Image: Czech couple face officials in Ubud. Credit: Tribun Bali Live feed.
The fall-out from the two foreign tourists’ disrespectful video posted during the weekend in Monkey Forest, Ubud continued with a meeting held on Monday in Ubud. The mediation meeting was attended by the tourists, local police, immigration authorities, the honorary consul of the Czech Republic, DPD RI, member I Gusti Ngurah Arya Wedakarna, along with leaders from the customary village.
From the meeting, the customary village did not pursue the case along a legal path.
During the meeting, it was revealed that the couple, Sabina and Jdenek have lived in Bali since August 7, 2019. While in Bali, the two foreigners claimed to be digital nomads.
In a kompas.com report, Arya Wedakarna, Senator of the Bali DPD RI, who participated in the mediation process and was one of the first to speak out about the video online, said after the meeting the two tourists are now subject to customary village sanctions.
“This news has spread to many parts of Bali society, both Hindus and cultural components, who feel offended that these tourist posts related to the holy water in temples. The results of the agreement are subject to customary village sanctions,” he said.
According to Wedakarna, the village sanctions applied were that the couple had to be involved in the temple ceremony of cleansing the temple and apologizing in a customary manner. They must be present on August 15, 2019 during a full day village ceremony. They must participate in and help with some of the costs of the ceremony held at Beji Temple Monkey Forest Area in Ubud.
“They must follow the procedure, because they must apologize to the gods. So three people, the two tourists and one witness must attend the ceremony. This is the way according to tradition,” he said.
Relating to the holy water used by the tourists for their inappropriate acts, the Senator explained that the water was purified water by the Hindu community. Holy water serves as a medium used during ceremonies. In addition, people are also allowed to take it for health purpose and he asserted, certainly the use of holy water should not be taken in jest. It is only for things that are sacred, such as rituals, ceremonies and so on.
When the incident took place, Wedakarna explained that the two tourists arrived at the site without local guides. However, according to him, the two tourists had visited Bali several times.
“There are already warning signs there that the holy water cannot can be used for such things but they still violated it,” he said.
During the mediation process, Arya explained that the two tourists, while they were still in Bali and had already carried out the traditional ceremonies, are still bound by the laws of both the Immigration Act, and ITE and criminal law. However, Arya also explained, that they are currently trying to find a solution because after all Indonesia must continue to maintain good relations with the Czech Republic.
“Recorded material posted online is subject to ITE Law. That can still continue, but we are looking for a solution, because our relationship must be maintained. We don’t want bilateral relations between nations be so disturbed because of two tourists,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bali Governor, Wayan Koster piped in yesterday, saying foreign tourists who abuse holy sites when traveling to the Island of the Gods should be sent home immediately.
“In the future, if there are tourists like this again, they should have to return to their home, (without the governor mentioning the word deported. Ed) because it is not orderly for these people to stay in Bali. This should be a warning to others,” Koster said after attending the Plenary Session of the DPRD Bali, in Denpasar, Tuesday (8/13).