Sunday, January 31, 2021


The weather has actually been good enough for the past few days, at least until the evening--meaning that it has not been constantly flooding down rain for a change--to allow me to visit my customary coffee spots on the beach and in the town of Sanur. Today's stop was at Bread Basket, a pleasant little cafe on Jalan Tamblingan, and while there I picked up a a little newsletter called Sanur Weekly. This isn't much more, really, than an advertisement pamphlet for local restaurants, bars, and shops, with bits of local news popped in here and there. 

 One article in particular caught my attention. Follow The Rules Or Go Back Home was the headline. The short piece detailed the unhappy fates of three foreign residents, two Americans and one Russian. Leave it to Americans to win the foreigner expulsion prize, right?

In the first instance, an American citizen, and her girlfriend (whose nationality is not mentioned) had stayed in and travelled about Indonesia during the months of the pandemic, ignoring the various safety protocols along with the rules, it seems, of the immigration department regarding the proper permissions that should have been obtained. Not such an odd thing, probably, and probably not something that would have attracted much attention had they not posted the details of their transgressions and bragged about it on Instagram, which caused outrage among Indonesian netizens and prompted an investigation by authorities for violation of their stay permit. It was discovered as well that the woman was working locally while on a tourist visa (a no-no), and (horrors) that she and her friend were lesbians. Also a no-no, homosexuality being against the law in Indonesia. Not that anyone normally pays any attention. But the couple had made a point of posting liberally about this relationship as well (clueless, or at least careless about the local laws and customs, I guess), and so this suited the government authorities just fine, providing as it did just another reason to support deportation. The two women were deported to their home countries. 

In the second instance, the newspaper tells us that the foreigner deported was "a Russian influencer", although I have no idea what this means. The man's crime--in the first place driving a motorbike in the ocean (and I'm not sure how one does that) and then filming the crime while hosting a party wherein none of the guests were wearing masks or following protocols such as social distancing--was enough for immigration to deport him. 

In the third case, a US citizen had simply overstayed his visa, and then, for some reason, decided to be uncooperative about solving the problem with immigration authorities. Perhaps he had thought, as some foreigners do, that there is no such thing as an authority in Indonesia. Say what? They have authority in their own country over western people? Yes, they do. And so bye-bye to this American too. 

To be honest, I was not aware that very many foreigners get deported at all--but these three were just in the space of one week. Nonetheless, I doubt whether anyone would get deported if only they made some reasonable attempt to observe the laws, follow the rules, be aware of the culture. It's not that hard. Or is it? A friend of mine who owns a cafe in Canggu (a heavily populated tourist district) told me the other day that the westerners there are by and large refusing to wear masks and often throwing a bloody fit when asked to do so. No doubt they believe that in this foreign land they themselves are subject to no laws. Well, good luck with that. I for one am not about to press my luck, nor do I have any reason to be other than cooperative and obedient to simple regulations, either in this country or in any other. After all, the wages of sin is death--or, in this case, deportation. 

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