Hotel K: The Shocking Inside Story of Bali’s Notorious Jail

Bali has been known as a paradise for surfers, beach lovers as well as party animals. Bali’s natural beauty and distinctive culture somehow have been able to attract millions of travelers to visit the Island of God annually for decades. Yet, the Island of God is not free from the dark world including drug cartel. Wide range drugs from  weed, cocaine to heroines with various qualities are available in the island. Anyone who wants it, they can get it as long as they have money for it and know where to get it. However, drug is illegal in Indonesia. Even small quantity of drugs can bring anyone to long jail sentence, heavy fines as well as cost thousands of dollars to get your freedom back. A Nepalese inmate Den was quoted in the Hotel K: The Shocking Inside Story of Bali’s Notorious Jail saying that “If you want to have a little bit of freedom, you need to pay money, including for beer, movie or even girl (sex worker).” Otherwise, you will end up living miserably in the jail cell.

Hotel K: The Shocking Inside Story of Bali’s Notorious Jail is written by an Australian journalist, Kathryn Bonella who is also the author of No More Tomorrow Schapelle Corby as a warning for travelers. Any holiday can turn to be a nightmare any moment as soon as they are dealing with drugs in the Island of God. With the main source Ruggiero, a Brazilian inmates who was arrested for possessing 146 g of hashish, 43 g of cocaine and one green ecstasy pill, and few other foreign national inmates, Ms. Bonella is trying to bringing the readers inside the Hotel K. Not a fancy villa with private swimming pool and hot shower but a pig house with filthy bathroom, dried poops and dead rats in the water tank. It is just dilapidated.

Through 301 pages of book, Ms. Bonella describes how complicated dealing with Indonesian justice system is and how corrupt Indonesian justice system is -be in the police station, the court as well as inside the jail- is. Really? Is Indonesian justice system corrupt? Yes and it is not surprising. Previously, one of Indonesian top lawyer Hotman Paris was even quoted by various international media outlets including  New York Times and The Age  saying how unclean Indonesian justice system is.

And yet, life does not get any cheaper as soon as one goes inside the prison, one would need to continue to pay their bill as if they are freeman as there is nothing free inside. Interestingly enough, inmates are not only able to buy mineral water, soap or instant noodle but also  beer, weed, cocaine as well as heroin inside Kerobokan prison. What? You could even purchase drugs inside the prison? Yes. That is indeed interesting.

 “Kerobokan is drug paradise. Drugs all the time. No special time for drug. Drugs twenty-four hours. You smoke cigarette, you smoke shabu. The party was daily. Every single day after lunch we’d sit outside and get pissed, those who want to smoke shabu, smoke shabu; those who want to use smack, use smack. That’s on daily basis. ” Brazilian inmates Ruggiero told Ms. Bonella. (132)

So the question is now being “Does arresting drug dealer/runner actually have a significant deterrent effect to them? Will they ever stop of doing their drug business?” No, it does not seem so.

Arman wishes to become Hotel K’s drug lord. He was selling huge quantity of drugs inside and outside, paying Laskar (Bali) for protection, and prisoners and guards to work as couriers supplying bars and club across Bali. Arman made at least 100 million Rupiah a day, sometimes 300 million Rupiah a day. Many times I saw the guy folding up the whole lot of money. He sold shabu, heroine, ecstasy  ganja, hasish, cocaine.” (196) 

I must say that it is slightly shocking but I believe that public actually has acknowledged it through media reports over the years. Even recently, a drug lord Freddy Budiman, who was sentenced to death in 2013, openly admitted that he is still running his business from the jail cell with the help of prison guards because the China-based  drug syndicate does not have any other ‘distributor’ in Indonesia.

Honestly sometimes I wonder how dangerous drugs are? Hotel K gave me clues and  I found it interesting

“With Laskar and Arman pushing drugs and offering unlimited credits to westerners, many inmates let their drug bills spiral out of control. If they couldn’t pay up when Arman called in the cashed, the consequences were deadly.

Many of the westerners who lost control of their drug bills got cash from their parents or friends to avoid being bashed.

Juri (an Italian inmates) lied in any way necessary to get cash from friends and family for his heroin bills.  (198)

You see? Reading Hotel K makes me understand why President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has declared war on drugs. As a president, he refuses to grant president clemency to drug dealers or runners because the drug dealers and runners cannot just be stopped and they do not want to stop. Other than that, an addict would eventually not just hurt themselves in many ways but also their family.

Interestingly enough, it is not only drug dealers who cannot stop themselves from committing crimes when they are in prison. Other criminal still do including  scammers and thugs.

Benoit was one of three Africans doing time for a fake American dollar scam. All three were now acting in sync in Hotel K to find investors among the wealthy drug bosses. Benoit was working with Afong and the third African named Karim. (178)

I must say that I enjoyed reading Hotel K because it was produced through interviews and document research which means it can be quiet objective. It opened my eyes. It brought my imagination inside Kerobokan Prison. It shows the readers what kind of people end up in the prison and what kind of life inmates have inside the jail. It is scary. It drives you insane and brings depression. It kills your soul. Other than that, even though you can buy your freedom by bribing the guards, it is not a life inside the jail cell. For me, it would be very wise to not ignore the warning while you are visiting Bali, the Island of God, the paradise as your holiday can turn into a nightmare any moment.

Yet, I asked myself “Should I buy Ruggiero’s stories especially Ruggiero told Ms. Bonella  the Balinese hate foreigners, they are so jealous simply because only one Balinese guy snitched on him?” He seems like to generalize things and many of his comments sound to be angry or coming from a talker. Well “Snowing in Bali: The Incredible Inside Account of Bali’s Hidden Drug World” has more stories to tell and makes the readers understand about who Ruggiero is. Juicy and eye-opening!

 

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Notes: Let ‘Em Talk!

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As I scrolled down my Facebook’s newsfeed, I came across to an article by The Guardian on a Philadelphia born model Amber Rose titled “Amber Rose interview: Even when I was a virgin, I was called a slut“. I must say that I have been admiring her spirit, I have also been listening to her interviews and following her Instagram as well as Twitter account to understand her perspective on women’s world, as a result, I immediately read the article because I think that Amber is an awesome woman who is outspoken about woman issue. So, I assumed that this article would be worth reading.

As I finished reading the last sentence, this article got me thinking about my personal experience. As time passes, we grew up, we learnt and we choose our own value of life. However, everything that we do, it often becomes the subject of discussion for others.

Why? First of all, because they have nothing else to talk about. Secondly, that is how society taught us. Our society constructs standard what we can and cannot do, the standard of what is right and what is wrong. I would understand that those standards are constructed based on scientific research with sufficient evidence but when it is based on morality, it is very subjective.

In my own experience, I have been called slut or gold digger even right in front of my face over and over again. It still happens until today sometimes. At first, I felt hurt but I grow thick skin by now. At least, I do something real and some (or many) recognise it.

So, if I may say….. do whatever you want to do as long as you do not hurt other people, as long as you are being responsible about it. Never do something just to please others while you are suffering from it.

Notes: Negative Mindset

Negative Mindset Tends to Corrupt My Life [2013: E N U]

Negative Mindset Tends to Corrupt My Life [2013: E N U]

Life has been extremely hard for me in these last few months. Instead of getting better each month, life seems getting harder and worse. I tried to be strong and believe that everything was okay and would get better sooner than later. But no it did not. It got worse and I could not deal with it well. But was it me unable to deal it well or was it just my negative mindset?

Wait…. that’s what I just discovered! Whether were I really unable to deal with the current life situation well or was it just my negative mindset?

Well let me tell you something, I always said to myself that I must always remove my negative thinking when I have/want/need to do something. No matter how difficult my task is… I MUST NOT say that I CANNOT. Instead I MUST say that I CAN. If I have belief in myself that I can do it, surely I will be able to finish any task, which is given to me. Why did I say that?

Few years ago when I was working for an english newspaper, I was asked to write four stories. It was 2 p.m and the deadline was at 7 p.m. I could not say NO and I would not say No. Instead I said yes. I said to myself that I CAN finish it and I WILL finish it. Even though I didn’t meet the deadline on time, I was able to finish and submit all the stories. I was relieved.  I was happy knowing that I had the ability to do it.

Somehow when I worked on those article, I felt no burden at all. Instead I was enjoying it. But here was the key, I believed that I would not do anything properly without God’s help. (I know I might sound so religious but that’s what I believe : ). I believe in God’s grace).

So as I reflected into my current life’s situation and how I dealt with it, I just felt that the negativity has corrupted my life. It was just a constant complaint.  I always said to myself how unhappy I am, how stressful my life is, how difficult my life is, how hard my life is, etc etc etc. Yes perhaps I am unhappy with the current situation but shouldn’t I just consider it as a test from God?

Well I often said to myself that this difficult life would be just temporary, it wouldn’t stay forever as what Saint Paul said There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

And again Jesus also said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

So why couldn’t I deal with my current life situation well? I think it is because I was surrounded by people with negative thinking and somehow it effected to me. No I did not mean to blame anyone here. But now I learnt whenever all those negative opinion comes closer to me, it is better for me to walk away or close my ears to ignore it.

It all comes down to our mindset. If we have a positive mindset, we would deal with difficulty positively, led us to positive attitude and finally we would not feel that we carry a heavy burden. But if we have a negative mindset, we would deal with difficulty with negative attitude, give us frustration and and life getting  hard for us everyday.

I am glad that I have been introduced to God since I was child through Catholic belief. Even though there was a stage of life when I did not want to be tied to any religion but still believed in God, I just found that religious value has taught me something which gives me peace of mind.

Instead of running to alcohol or nicotine  when I got upset (I used to drink a lot but was not an alcoholic, just a cocktail lover. And I knew I smoked few days ago but I rarely did it), I just picked my bible and read it. It might not give me a solution right away but it gives me peace of mind. And that’s all I need.

For me, life is about constant reflection. Perhaps some people might think that I am drama queen or melancholic bitch whenever I share my problem or point of view of life in my blog but I don’t really care anyway. This is how the way I live my life.

And  I just realized that God actually has answered my prayers. Even though it was not a jackpot but God has provided a lot of good things to me during this trial of life.  It might not be the best  but God always provided for us.

Sometimes we just have to appreciate the small stuff because we are blessed more than we realize. I just believed that God would answer my prayers in His own time in His own way.

Have a blessed Sunday readers!
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