Bali is a top tourist destination spot for many, especially for those coming from the Western world who are in search of that white sand blue sea exotic experience, but a recent Twitter thread wrote by an American woman about her move to Bali had sparked accusations of her being tone-deaf.
A so called “digital nomad”, @kristentootie who has now went private on Twitter, intended the thread to be a guide to “how you can thrive in life”, but turned out to show the privilege she holds on to as it starts out with one simple step – book a one-way flight to Bali. She also boasts of the island she has been as she built her own graphic design business and live in a “treehouse”.
She then described this experience as the “perfect medicine” for her physical and emotional health and went on to list the benefits of living here such as, safety, low cost of living, luxury lifestyle, and the acceptance towards LGBT people.
She has since locked her account after backlash against her utilizing her privileges and also being guilty of gentrification.
Apart from that, the thread is also problematic for a number of reasons which includes the mis-labelling of Bali as LGBT-friendly when in reality, locals who are part of that community live in constant fear and are targeted by authorities and groups.
Her perception of a so called “low cost living” may be affordable for a foreigner as she talks of the US$400 rent, but little did she know that the provincial minimum wage is only about US$177.
What’s more disturbing is that she also encourages people to work their way around imposed travel restrictions during this whole pandemic to visit Bali, especially when Indonesia is trying to control the pandemic themselves.
Even though the pandemic is well present in Indonesia, she mentioned of staying there ever since the pandemic began there in March, as her plans “went out the window”.
While official policies may take sometime to take place especially during this pandemic, locals on Twitter sure weren’t waiting around to see privileged folk run their country dry of the resources.