ULUWATU - Bali in Imagination

A Dream of Paradise

And what a lovely dream Bali is.

Millions of visitors come to Bali each year to share it. Bali's life-blood of tourism depends upon preserving the dream of Bali as an island of tranquility and spiritual harmony.

Bali is

  • spiritual,
  • creative,
  • trendy,
  • safe,
  • artistic,
  • natural,
  • eco-conscious,
  • friendly,
  • stylish,
  • sensual...

or whatever else you like.



The Uluwatu Story (the marketing version)

But in real life, Balinese don't meditate in spas, eat in trendy restaurants, or wear crisp white lace. Tourists often like to imagine they are partaking of Balinese culture, but the spas, restaurants, and lace are Western imports.

Most readers probably understand that the images of Uluwatu Boutiques and Kori Restaurant are marketing inventions. The Uluwatu commercial website at uluwatu.co.id is based upon a Press Release I wrote in 1992. (The complete script is available in Documents : II-42 to II-49.)

It is a good story, proved to be effective marketing and created an interesting image for Uluwatu Boutiques. The story is fictional, however, and resemblance to any living person is purely coincidental.

But the Uluwatu story is, like all the stories and images of Bali, an essential part of the Island of the Gods' tourist appeal.

Real life, business, and law in Bali is something else entirely.

Mafia Hukum—The Law Mafia

The Uluwatu case is not really unusual for Bali, and collusion by police, public officials and lawyers to defraud foreign investors is common.

Acquiring and using false official documents is difficult in most countries. Penalties for False Documentation, Fraud, and Perjury are severe. But Made Jati apparently had no difficulty obtaining numerous false documents or using them in multiple suspected frauds. And despite six different reports to the police in Bali, she has faced no penalties.

At the Indonesian Law Advisory website IndonesianLawAdvisory.com we discuss in detail the underpinnings of law and the role of what in Indonesia is called the Mafia Hukum, or the Law Mafia.

The Uluwatu story appears to be a good case in point.

Law Without Law Books

Law Mafias aren't run by Godfathers. They are informal and shifting groups who know how to help people involved in the local scams get things done.

Reality is that Made Jati has an education through 5th grade. She is ambitious, but she did not obtain knowledge of marriage laws by reading law books. The legal arguments are contrary to law, but sophisticated.

In 1985, the idea that an Indonesian wife could cancel a foreign marriage by failing to register in Indonesia would have been a popular theory among certain groups.

There were a few mistakes along the way. Her family arranged the Hindu marriage ceremony in 1994 before they obtained a what they later claimed to be a prenuptial agreement; they apparently had to go back and improvise a solution with a variety of false documents and then obtain a new marriage certificate from Denpasar in 1996.

But when Made Jati was ready for the divorce in 2005, she apparently found solid support from members of the courts, the police, the public prosecutors and even my original lawyers.

The idea that Made Jati controls the legal institutions and law offices and newspapers in Bali is ridiculous. But it appears likely that Made Jati is a client of a Bali Law Mafia.