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As we slide out of the first month of the new year we start to see the false horizon of the setting year 2020. I have been a part of a community that needs to reflect on itself to grow into what the future might hold. We waited all last year with the vision that 2020 will be the end of our troubles. Yet here we are today looking at new curfews as the promise of the vaccine looms. I don’t want to get into a discussion about the validity of that vaccine, that is a talk for a scientist which I am not. I am someone on the ground of Bali who is seeing the collapse of an unsustainable economy.
With an ecosystem-based on the input of tourism cash flow, the local economy of Bali was set to fail with such a disaster like this. While we wait for the cure to this society-debilitating virus, calls to action have risen through the chaos to support the out-of-work hospitality workers who haven’t seen as much support from the government that is needed to help people survive with this continued period of low-tourism and no business coming in.
Bali Hospitality Movement came out of the need to get food to the hospitality workers who were in dire straits after becoming unemployed without back pay due to the closure of venues during the early days of the pandemic. Started by members of the events industry who were looking to help the community that they are a part of. What started out as a way to get some food packages to friends and colleagues, quickly became a movement of those able to help those in need. Although starting out strong with an optimistic mindset about when the pandemic would be over, the Bali Hospitality Movement had to come to terms with what was happening as the situation grew worse. Thus some of the core members had to move on to other employment off the island of Bali as they were unable to continue doing a charity project.
Through the disaster, Bali Hospitality Movement has distributed over 3000 food parcels or sembako as they are referred to in Indonesia. Each sembako contains the food staples that can help a family with a week or more of food. Though very helpful, these food parcels are not the long term solution. This is the community helping itself, but the community itself is hurting and may not be able to continue to get support without the government understanding that there is a problem and such a large percentage of the economy is powered by hospitality beyond just the hotels and tour guides. Luckily, one of the groups who stepped up and helped was the alcohol distributors. For years as being the fuel for the countless parties over the island the continuous amount of funding from the booze suppliers has funded most of the donation batches. But as with most supplies, it is not never ending.
Touched upon before, Bali Hospitality Movement and the community of Bali’s party scene has been affected by the constant shifting restrictions and the continued onslaught of the virus. Bali has been in a unique position compared to other party scenes around the world, with some events being allowed to go on or the not-quite-legal organised parties happening. While the punters that get to go to these events are loving the freedom, the staff who work the parties have to make the hard decision of providing for their life or possibly contracting the virus. The decision relies solely on the ones who make them across the board, but there should be greater support for those who want to follow regulations and not have the prospect of starving at home. As drastic as this sounds, there are cases of people who were unable to ask for help dying from complications brought on by malnutrition. To the very unfortunate disaster when one took his own life. Even though there must be a multitude of reasons for one to resort to such measures, the uncertainty of no proper employment for the foreseeable future definitely added to the unrest in the mind.
Through the darkness there must be light, hopefully, as a community, we can grow out of the unsustainable life that the events industry entails. To help build the community Bali Hospitality Movement will move forward with not only providing food packages but nourishment for the mind as well. The next batch will include skill-developing workshops that will build their CV for future employment. Also a seminar on building a healthy mindset and how to deal with adversity, to help people get through this time with a positive outlook for the future.
Again here we are looking towards the future. With no clear solution in sight, we are mostly left with a hope for what’s to come. Moving beyond the hospitality industry, Bali and even Indonesia as a whole. The world is in the same position, as with 2020 being the great reset. We can only hope for the positive outcomes of all the lessons learned in 2020.
And here’s a mix to live up our energy to brace through this time