DENPASAR, 27 May 2021: Some people can’t see the funny side of driving your motorcycle off a pier into the sea.
An Instagrammer discovered the Balinese appear to be low on chuckles these days. His driving antics got him deported.
Singapore Channel News Asia monitored the antics that are ticking off locals. One joker painted a face mask replica on his face and got thrown out of a Denpasar supermarket.
Bali residents engaging in silly stunts ticks off the local who recognise there is nothing to laugh about anymore during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Authorities are reassuring residents that there is now a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to misbehaving tourists, which is surprising as there are hardly any tourists remaining on the once-popular tourist island.
Indonesia’s visa-free and visa-on-arrival programmes disengaged last year, but few tourists still sneak through the net by obtaining a visa ahead of time at the nearest embassy. Of course, they have to jump hoops and navigate comlicated regulations that also includes a 14-day quarantine.
Despite the complications, around 160 people were deported from Bali last year for various offences, many of them as petty as driving off a pier on your motorbike.
CNA reported that in 2019, deportations reached 165, but that is a drop in the ocean compared to the 6.3 million foreign tourists who managed to see their holiday through to a conclusion without being handcuffed and bundled on a plane.
So far this year, 60 people have been given the boot, including a Taiwanese YouTuber with 3 million subscribers. Josh Paler Lin, along with Russian influencer Leia Se, fooled a supermarket security guard into letting them enter the premises with drawn-on face masks.
In January, a Russian influencer with five million Instagram followers, Sergey Kosenko, was expelled from Bali after he posted videos of him and his friends partying without following Covid-19 protocols. He also posted videos of him and a female friend launching a motorcycle off a dock and into the sea.
Immigration authorities deported American Kristen Gray after she attracted criticism on Twitter for promoting an e-book she was selling that told people how to bypass strict regulations barring foreigners from visiting during the pandemic.
Then Canadian Christopher Kyle Martin was deported from Indonesia for offering a “Tantric Full Body Orgasm” yoga class earlier this month.
Again a forced apology and the boot out of the country followed, leaving us to wonder just what happened to the chill-out Bali and the locals’ sense of humour?
CNA profers an explanation. With 80 per cent of Bali’s economy relying directly or indirectly on tourism, the island has been hit with a recession, Bali’s economy down in the dumps by 9 to 12%.
At least 75,000 people have lost their jobs, while many more have been forced to take severe pay cuts. To keep their heads above water, hotels have been offering massive discounts to attract tourists.
No wonder they have lost their sense of humour, and it is likely to stay that way until everyone gets a Covid-19 jab.