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The Temple Inside

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In this talk, Made Astawa describes his efforts in restoring the temple at his house. He’s disappointed that the wood keeps breaking when he prepares it for every Galungan ceremony. Before the Galungan ceremony, his father and uncle promise to fix the temple, but every year it remains in disrepair. Later he realizes his father wanted to build him first. Made decides to fix the temple himself. “One day, when I have a good job, I will fix you. I promise.” Made speaks about working in the United States, sending his money home every month, and receiving a photo from home showing a new temple. With that, he realizes he needs to step up as a leader and unite the spirit of his village.

I was a boy during the 1995 Galungan ceremony. I think it's the biggest ceremony in Bali. It's an exciting moment for a boy because he knows a lot of food will be there! Sometimes your father will give you new clothes. I was just excited. But before that, I had a responsibility. I needed to dress up my temple. So I walk to my temple. I prepared my temple. Just a sad moment coming. In Bali, our temple is the one thing to be proud of. Without coming into your house, everyone can see it from outside. When I put the last touch to my temple, all the time, it's falling down because all the wood is broken. I looked down at the middle of my temple. I was like just a young boy at that time. "One day, when I have a good job, I will fix you. I promise." My father actually is a builder. When I was a kid, I still remember because my body was not like a Balinese - big enough to help him to work. I didn't have my Sundays free. Every Sunday morning, my mom packed food for us. I was like, "No, Mom, I wanna stay home. I wanna play with my friend. "No, son, go help your dad."

So every Sunday, I go to help, but the question keeps coming. I help my father build everyone's house. Why doesn't he rebuild my house? What's wrong with him? And I have an uncle. He joined the army, and he's the youngest in the family, and he's supposed to have the responsibility to fix the temple because, in Bali, the youngest one has the responsibility to continue helping the family. As he is in the army, he has duty in Jakarta. Every time he comes home, he promises, "Next Galungan, we will have a new temple." I'm excited again. We have hope. "Galungan coming, Galungan coming, Galungan coming." We never had a new temple. So sad.

And then one day I finish college in 2003. I have an interview in one of the resorts in Ushawada. The question they ask me is, "What is your goal?" "I want to fix my temple." Everyone was laughing at me. "It's not about that. What is your career plan? What do you want to be? Do you want to be a chef? You want to be a . . ." "No, no, no, no. I want to fix my temple." "Okay. It's up to you." In 2005, I got the opportunity to go to the US, thank God. To find a job. I needed to borrow money - about US$4,000. The first three months I worked in the US, I worked so hard. I did everything. I told my manager, "Give me a job. If you put me in the dormitory, I will cry every day. I miss my home. Give me a job." Three months later, I repaid all the money I borrowed to go to the US. One day, I called my dad. "Dad, be ready to fix the temple. I will send you the money." "Okay, we will do it." Why did he answer so fast on that day? On that day, I realized why my dad didn't fix the house, didn't fix the temple before. He wanted to build me first. He wanted to build me, to become the man of the house. Phew.

In 2006 I was about one year in the US. Every single month I sent all my money home. Finally, in August 2006, they sent me a picture of the new temple. I was so proud of myself. And I realized again everyone is waiting. So I needed to jump in to lead the action.

To be the leader, there's no need to be the oldest one, no need to be the youngest one, but anyone can jump in and start to do it. And, finally, my uncle's coming to help. My grandpa is coming to help. Everyone's coming together, and they built the temple together. And from that spirit, it brings us to today in our village and becoming the leaders of the village. And the spirit of togetherness is coming to us again. We are together. We can do more, but without somebody starting, everyone will wait, and the time will never come. So don't worry. You need to start. When you start, even if it's wrong, even if it fails, don't care. The results will come in the end. I never dreamed to be standing here today to speak about my story and stand with all the experts that live in Bali.
And again, COVID-19 teaches us Balinese a lot now. Being together in the fields, helping each other. Just as we do now. As you know, stories are important in Bali. And we have, in fact, the most stories in Indonesia. I think because we place our lives too much on tourism, we forget what was sustainable before. Today everything is coming back to bring us a new hope, new spirit. As a leader as well, the question's coming "What do you think is sustainable?" One day it's stories coming back, and everyone goes back to their jobs. Don't worry about it. At least what has been asleep for twenty-five years is awake now. Someone who has never experienced this before knows it now. The new generation understands about the spirit that's been built in our village for a very long time, and they had forgotten about it. So, together we can bring the spirit up. Togetherness happens in Bali. Thank you. Thank you for listening to me. I'm Made Astawa. Goodnight.


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