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The Land
The People
The village Community
The Religion
The Priest
The Cremation
The Mount Agung
The Cosmic Force and Spiritual Harmony
The Offerings
The Calendar
The Temple Ceremony
Nyepi and Galungan
The Cockfight and Toothfiling
The Dances
The Popular Tours
The Shoppings
The Balinese Food The Books on Bali
The Future

The land
The People
The Flora
The Fauna
The Food
The Public Holidays
The Tourist Areas

The impact was felt in Bali too. In 1343, the great General Gajah Mada, chief minister of Majapahit, defeated the last king of Pejeng dynasty of Bali and appointed a new king in his place.

But the days of Majapahit empire were eventually also numbered. The rise of Islam was the signal for the disintegration and eventual collapse of the great Hindu kingdom, as more and more Javanese princes embraced the new religion. In the covulsive period that followed, the cream of Javanese Hindu society - the intelligentias, the artists, poets, priests, princes and schoolars - fled ever eastwards until they finally reached the safety of Bali. Right until the present day, Bali remains a unique stronghold of Hinduism in a Muslim country.

The next foreign visitors to Bali were the Dutch, who proved harder to assimilate than the previous waves of immigrants. At first relation was very friendly and the Dutch voyagers fell in love with the island paradise. But gradually the Dutch gained control of the island, exploiting the jealousies and disagreements between the Balinese ruling families.

By the ninteenth centuries, the first Dutch military expedition had been sent to Bali. Over the next fifty years, a series of military clashes disturbes the peace of the island, culminating in the tragedy of a resplendent Balinese army with medieval weapons facing Dutch canon. After this slaughter, which horrified the Dutch, the army was replaced by a police force and the Dutch reorganised the remaining Balinese nobelity along traditional lines.

A period of peace followed for Bali, disturb abruptly by world war II, Indonesia was occupied by the Japanese and, after Japan's surrender, refused to return to colonial rule. However, it took four years of bloody fitghting before the Dutch would admit defeat; fighting which affected Bali no less than the other islands of the archipelago.

In the 1949, the Dutch finally recognised the independence of Indonesia and President Soekarno became the head of a constitutional republic. But it was not until a further upheavel, the attempted communist coup of 1965, which led eventually to the appointment of General Soeharto as President, that Bali began to open its doors to the world. Years of isolation, the lack of an airport and Soekarno's determination to preserve Bali intact had whetted the world curiousity about this misterious island of legendary beauty. Once the doors were open, the tourists began to pour in.

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A would-be soldier.

Called up for the war, a boy had to undergo an Ophthalmological examination. "Can you distinguish the lettres on the chart?" the doctor asked.

"Not from here."
"And closer up like this?"
"Again no."

Finally, two feet away, the boy managed to read out the letters."Very good," said the doctor.

"You can do hand-to-hand fighting."

Contributed by Antonio Carlos Simplicio, in the Reader's Digest, August, 1993.