JBR into a psycho-sexual cross-cultural hell

Reprise of a story I wrote in 2002 on the expat forum:


(New title by Py)

Harry met Eny in a café. He could not believe his eyes when he first saw her. A beautiful young girl, and she asked him only $25 to sleep with her. Everything inside of Harry resisted, but he said “ok”. When he undressed in the dirty small room next to the café, he thought of the older men he saw walking around with young Indonesian girls, and how he hated this view. Those stupid men, they should feel shame about what they are doing, taking advantage of a poor country, where girls are more or less forced to go into prostitution to get something to eat. And everyone could just see those men walking around with their failure to make it back home. Yughhh. We should liberate those women instead of taking advantage of the situation, giving them education or something. When he drove back on his rented Honda Astrea to his homestay he thought about his ethics, the future of Bali, post colonialism, and he wanted those thoughts to go away, but they kept running around in his head, over and over again. He laughed when he got the idea to take pictures from white men with young Indonesian girls in the streets, now that would be fun, would do great on the internet. Before he fell in a restless sleep, he decided to ask Eny to come to his homestay, as soon as possible. The next morning he wanted extra eggs for breakfast.


Harry got used to pickup Eny from her kos. Eny’s friends got used to Harry. They pointed him where she could be found, usually playing cards. Her friends made fun of Eny, because she is a rich girl now.

This evening her friends shook their heads when he came. “Eny tidak ada”. “Where, where?” Harry asked. “Rumah Sakit with Sitha”.

Eny told Harry a week ago she went with one of friends, Sitha, to some locals for Sitha’s abortion. Only 300.000. Accident at work. The abortion didn’t work out very well, and she was worried about Sitha. When she told Harry about the abortion attempt she made movements like she was holding a stick and poked in the ground with it. Sitha was bleeding. After two days of bleeding they went to the doctor, who gave Sitha injections so “the baby would come out”, and send here home. They made up a story about falling in the bathroom, so the doctor wouldn’t ask too many questions.

He found Eny and 4 other girls, some with boyfriends, in the local hospital, like a wake, as is normal in hospitals in Bali. Today Sitha lost consciousness, and they drove her with a bemo to the hospital. They were worried about the money it would cost, because Sitha didn’t have any, and they could come up with something, but not all. The abortion in the hospital would cost at least 1.000.000 or more. From the room where Sitha was, came groans and cries. Eny went to get some Nasi bungkus.

Suddenly a nurse came running out of the room, with something in her hands. The cries had stopped. A friend of Sitha went to get information. “Hidup, Hidup”. The baby was alive, and she had been pregnant for 6 months according to the doctor. Sitha wanted to eat. More worries. The baby couldn’t stay in the kos with Sitha, what would this cost?

Harry, together with the girls, went to see the baby. The tiny red baby was in a nursing room, with a big needle in his little arm. “He is left there to die”, Harry stated dry to Eny, who was covering her mouth with her hand and looked, as in terror, at the baby. Another girl cried.

Sitha lied relieved in her dirty hospital bed. She wanted to go home, but the hospital wouldn’t let her go, because there wasn’t any money. Harry decided to borrow money to Eny, to pay for the bills. She could pay it back. Sitha had to leave her identity card at the hospital, because the baby, still alive, wasn’t paid for, just for her. Supported by some friends, she walked slowly to a bemo.

Rashid didn’t give up easily. He struggled, abandoned, for air for 2 days, before dieing, without any real care. Discussions in the kos, the dead baby could not be taken there, because of Balinese customs, more money was needed to get the identity card back and to get Rashid properly buried to Muslim customs. The local Muslim leader was consulted, and gave a price for a grave. Cheap. Sitha’s boss came up with half, the owner of the kos gave some, the rest was put up by Sitha’s friends. 1 million.

Suddenly Sonie was there with the dead baby wrapped in a cloth, and she stated, crying, that she had paid for the hospital bills, to help Sitha, but she needed the money back. She came by bemo. Many people took a look at Rashid. Already blue, Eny said. Sonie wanted 300.000 but she was asked for the bills by Eny, she couldn’t show them. Since the grave wasn’t ready yet, and Eny didn’t trust Sonie, the baby was brought back to the hospital again, by bemo. About twenty people were discussing the situation, with high voices. The bills were only 160.000. Eny stated that Sonie has a good heart, but made a mistake.

Rashid found his grave a day later, and Sitha now works as a pembantu in Saudi Arabia.

Harry felt good when Sitha thanked him, before she went. A week later Eny and Harry arranged a girl for a friend of Harry. Harry speculated about taking over the café where he met Eny, and laughed. He liked being involved, feeling responsible. Eny laughed too, she could be the boss.

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