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three pairs of lovers with space



The Hindu island of Bali was gradually conquered by the Dutch between 1846 and 1908. The open practice of Greek love throughout Bali in 1881, when only the north had been brought under Dutch control, was described by Julius Jacobs, a visiting Dutch doctor.

Following their bloody extinction of its last independent kingdom, the Dutch sought to make amends by preserving its unique culture.  They opened it to tourism in 1914, and by the 1930s it had a widespread reputation as an aesthetic and sexually tolerant paradise.  The Encyclopaedia van Nederlandsch-Indië stated matter-of-factedly in 1919 that in the Dutch East Indies "pederasty is widespread. The Balinese, under the name menjelit, indulge in this perversion in a major fashion." Consequently, foreign boy-lovers, especially those of an artistic temperament were drawn there, including, for example the German painter Walter Spies. Nevertheless, Dutch colonial law was founded on that of the motherland, which (from 1911) outlawed sex between men and boys under 21, unusual as it then globally was to single out pederasty to such a degree. As elsewhere in the Dutch East Indies, the authorities generally turned a blind eye to it until 1938-9, when they suddenly unleashed a witch-hunt, which resulted in the imprisonment of Spies, the Dutch official Roelof Goris (who had been at the forefront of Bali's cultural preservation), and others. 

One of the chapters of his Some Boys is a vivid description of Bali's charms by English journalist and boy-lover Michael Davidson, who visited it thrice in 1950, when Dutch rule (and repression of Greek love) had just ended, and the island's culture had not yet been spoiled by either prudish interference from the government of newly-independent and mostly-Moslem Indonesia, or the mass tourism that was soon to transform the island. 

Writing about boy prostitution in their Boys for Sale (1969), Drew and Drake referred to Davidson's account and added (p. 137):

In Bali, and in other parts of Indonesia, it was no disgrace for a boy to make himself sexually available. ... Recently, however, many of the boys of Bali were wiped out in purges.

Brothels in Bali were often rural inns near a city. They had boy waiters who were especially skilled in arousing the patrons sexually. One Westerner reported, “I could hardly tell where the dance ended and the intercourse began.” The boys were often considerably older than similar boys to be found elsewhere — ranging in age from 17 through 21 though they frequently looked as young as 13 to European eyes.

Boys probably continue to be easily available today but it is difficult for Indonesians, themselves, to patronize them because of the tense political situations of this decade. Without native assistance, it would difficult, if not impossible, for a foreigner to arrange commerce with boys now.

The Diaries of Donald Friend, IV, covering the years 1966 to 1988, is an Australian pederastic artist's account of his life there in a house he filled with houseboys.

When Friend left Bali in 1980, Greek love was still tacitly tolerated there, but the law remained condemnatory: article 292 of the Indonesian penal code inherited from the Dutch still condemning "any obscene act with a minor of the same sex", a minor continuing to mean anyone unmarried and under 21.[1] As foreigners deeply hostile to Greek love, especially from nearby Australia, arrived in rapidly increasing numbers over the rest of the century and became ever more forthright in their interference, the Indonesian government became embarrassed by their rhetoric and anxious to preserve the image of Bali as a prime global tourist destination. The toleration therefore dissipated and the old law was thereafter deployed with its full severity.


[1] The definition was provided by article 330 of the Civil Code. Sex between men and married youths has thus been strangely exempt.




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