A Conversation at the Rice Field

It was a beautiful morning. The sun was shining bright and the birds were chirping by the river just outside my house. I could hear the sounds of children playing in the distance.  I was wearing my sarong, working in my home office. This was an ambiance that you could not get in any big city.

Time flew really quickly that I had just realised it was already 2pm. It was rather unusual as I would normally sit in front of a computer for a maximum of four hours. I decided to go for lunch. I took my old motorbike out without knowing where to go. Along the way I thought, “Why not try the local warung*?”

I changed the direction of my motorbike, passing rice fields that were entering harvest period. The first few warungs that I stopped at did not suit my taste bud. As I continued my search for another warung, I noticed one with the word ‘vegetarian’ on its banner. I was not a vegetarian yet at that time but the cleanliness of the warung tempted me as I was getting hungrier. I decided to have a takeaway. The meal was wrapped in banana leaf.

On my ride home, I saw a cosy cottage in the middle of a rice field and decided to have my rather late lunch there. The meal was delicious and the ambiance reminded me of my childhood as a farmer’s son.

As I was about to leave, a farmer taking his break came to the cottage. He greeted me and offered me some drink. Eventually we had a small talk. I took the opportunity to discuss about agricultural matters in Bali. The following is my rough translation of the conversation.

“Pak, what do you think about the agricultural sector in Bali?”

“It’s changing and it already has an impact on the Balinese culture and our behaviours,” he replied.

“What do you mean by that, pak?”

“I sent my children to school so that they could be better educated than myself, so that they could get better paying jobs. Nowadays, better pay equates a job in the hospitality sector. But if they do move into that sector, who would then tend the land?”

I reflected on what he told me. I was in the same position as this man’s children. Just like his children, my father was a farmer and through his hardwork I became a much more educated person than he is.

Sure, I had my fair share of struggles earlier in my life but I persevered and became the person I am today. Without my education I would not be here and I hope this man’s children could be as successful or perhaps do even better than I am.

One question remains unanswered though. Who would then tend the land if the younger generations move to work in different sectors?

*Warung is a small shop, some are selling meals whereas some others are selling limited amount of grocery items. Some warungs sell both meals and grocery items.


Iyan Yaspriyana is one of the co-founders of ONEWORLD retreats. He was born in Java and after moving to Bali he discovered the depth and true merits of yoga. In 2003 he achieved his designation as an “Ashtanga” yoga teacher with the renowned Australian ‘Yoga Arts School’ of Byron Bay. Iyan has been successfully leading retreats since 2004. Naturally curious, Iyan is currently exploring aromatherapy and is creating some exciting essential oil blends to compliment his body therapies.

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