With the Covid-19 pandemic in Indonesia nearing the fourth quarter of its second year, we’ve experienced countless hardships.
For Bali in particular, the pandemic has crippled its main artery: tourism. Particularly, international tourists. Receiving bad news from our good friends in the hospitality industry has been a daily thing. From temporary closings, massive lay-offs, drastic price drops, or a complete shutdown altogether.
And I don’t know whether this next fact is supposed to be good news or not, but Bali’s recent limited accessibility and affordability opens the door for a new kind of market: the WFHs or workers from home. To be exact, they’re a hefty population of large city Indonesians who are not bound to work from their office, so they took the opportunity to move temporarily (at least during this pandemic) to Bali. With low rent rates for budget resorts as well as private villas, and ricefield-side cafes craving for diners, this is a wonderful set up.
I’m not clear on how big these neo temp-residents affect the island’s economy – most probably not much. But at the very least, it got some smaller businesses breathing for another week or month. And that’s still good news. As a former resident who now resides in the capital city, my two cents for this is simple: envious. Given the chance, I would take the opportunity to spend my dreadful pandemic in the calm neighborhood of Sanur rather than between the buildings of Cilandak. Drinking beer while witnessing the sunset certainly hits differently than when I do it while the MRT pass above me.
I have to admit that to be able to pull the work from Bali culture needs a few privileges. An adequately paying job is one, time and space flexibility is another – two things that many, such as me, do not have at the moment. And my jealousy is more than missing the atmosphere of the island, or being able to meet my friends on a daily basis. I also wished that I could participate in contributing (albeit in a micro scale) to the economy of my second home by doing exactly that. You can say it’s a very wide margin to call it “win-win”, but being back in Bali and spending my hard earned income for a latte in Whale & Co. or a bottle of Bintang at The Orchard would be a dream come true.