Bali, the paradise on earth, hosts over 3 million visitors per year. I must say 5% out of that figure comes from us, Malaysian travelers, since KL and Bali are just 3 hours away by flight.
Little do we know about the dark side of that lively island. Most of the tourists are so drowned in the beauty of this place that they miss out the other half of the coin. Speaking from my personal experience, when I was on my vacation trip to that place, I never knew that this ugly side of Bali existed. Mainly because I was too amazed by their ability to master at least 6 languages on their own.
It was a total shock when I read about this at Lens Culture that the mentally challenged people in Bali are chained and locked up by their family members, often in dreadful conditions.
This is because in Bali mental illness remains associated with evil or even demon possession. The sick are chained and kept deep in the jungle or forest, far away from human contact.
Indonesia, Bali, Singaraja. April 16, 2013. Komang is 26 years old. She has spent the past 8 years in an isolated hut in the jungle near Singaraja. Her only neighbors are cows, her hut has no natural light
Indonesia, Bali, Singaraja. April, 16 2013. Komang’s family says that she could not deal with her parents’ divorce. When she was found wandering aimlessly through the village, naked, the family decided to put her in chains.
Indonesia, North Bali. April 18, 2013. A dark, moldy shack that was once home to the mentally ill Wayan Budiawayan. He was chained for 18 years to this bed.
Indonesia, Bali, Bangli. April 19, 2013. A psychiatry clinic has been set up in Bangli and has 600 patients. Although bad, the conditions here are better than at the state mental asylums. After all, more than half of the patients are unchained in this facility.
Indonesia, North Bali. April 18, 2013. Ketut sits on a bamboo lounge chair. He has been sitting there for 19 years. Once, Ketut was a construction worker. He used to go to work every morning and provide for his family. Now he is stuck here
Once, Ketut was a construction worker. He used to go to work every morning and provide for his family. Now he is stuck here.
Indonesia, Bali, Singaraja. April 16, 2013. A chained man in the jungle in Singaraja.
Indonesia, Bali, Singaraja. Kadek, age 42, has not spoken for years. She has spent more than half her life in a room without windows, lying on cot.