The Bogans Are Here Again

December 30, 2010

It’s the silly season in Bali again and the bogan hordes are here in force.  I’m not talking about those who are here to see and enjoy Bali in all its vibrancy – the culture, the markets, the people, the beaches and the sheer ambience of this chaotic and beautiful island.

No, I’m talking about the true bogans who, immersed in their own sense of self-importance, manage to annoy practically everyone here. There are thousands stumbling around the streets of Kuta, spilling over into Legian and even daring to desecrate the hallowed precincts of Seminyak (formerly reserved for the gentry). Happily proclaiming their individuality by wearing identical Bintang singlets and clutching bottles of beer, groups of these unfortunates clog up footpaths for extended ‘conversations’, oblivious to others trying to squeeze past.

Oh, if you’re not from Australia, the word bogan may have fazed you. How about oaf, dolt, dope, jerk, dipstick, twit, pillock, wally, git, nyaff, schmuck, bozo, schlemiel, turkey, galah, drongo, dill, gobshite? Or in Bahasa, orang kampungan? Whatever the names we give them, this dopey subset of humanity is the same the world over.

In Bali, they are the ones who light fireworks while walking down the streets in a drunken haze and think it is amusing to throw them in front of motorcyclists. Or terrorise sleeping dogs and laugh like drains while watching them run into heavy traffic in panic.

They are the ones who think nothing of stopping their bikes, in a big group, in the very middle of a busy street while traffic grinds to a halt around them. Why? To take photos of each other – sans helmet, licence, shirt, or any vestige of common sense.

They are the ones who, never having ridden before, rent motorbikes on which they wobble and weave, their arms straight and elbows locked so they have zero control while screaming abuse at traffic in which they have no business being.

They are the ones who walk four and five abreast down narrow streets, glaring and yelling at the vehicular traffic that dares to try to use a road that they have decided to take over. Or the ones that, having been granted total immunity from harm merely by virtue of being parents, wheel pushers containing the fruits of their loins down the middle of those same streets. No point running over those – they’ve already reproduced.

Then there are the males who believe that the magical transformational properties of Bintang have enhanced their masculinity, made them absolutely irresistible to all females, and conferred on them the right to proposition, grope and leer at will.

Their female counterparts, of course, believe that the magical transformational properties of cocktails have enhanced their desirability, caused them to lose weight and conferred on them a magical ability to dance erotically on bar counters while screeching lyrics to bad karaoke tracks.

I wish the silly season was over. I wish that the bogans would discover another destination. Or that Jetstar and Virgin go broke and take their cheap airfares with them. Or perhaps I should just go and live on the North coast in splendid solitude and eat worms …



  1. Thank the gods you’re back.
    We missed you.
    Happy whatever!

  2. Sure this wasn’t written about western Sydney? 😉

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Stuart McDonald. Stuart McDonald said: The bogans are here again. http://j.mp/dXfOUg #Bali #bogan […]

  4. And we can all identify with someone we’ve met over the years that fits the description 🙂

    Love your work, keep it up !!

    Happy New Year !!


  5. I share your pain – every new year we have a 3 day trance party held on Koh Tao – enough said!

  6. I feel & share your pain Legian style. I think the indonesians also call them kurang ajar. If you suffer any withdrawal symptons, just pop in Bar Too Australi (Legian Pub) for a quick dose!

    • Where do you think I get most of my source material? 😉 It’s like watching a cultural train crash in slow motion in there!

  7. Hey, it’s great to see you back on the web – I really missed your witty observations of life in Bali.

  8. Well written indeed. I will be once again gracing Bali’s shores this week. I will be carefull NOT to select any Bintang shirts for my wardrobe in your honor after reading your post. Most entertaining, but unfortunatly so true.

  9. Echoing my sentiments exactly…
    I had the fortunate ability to retreat to my private villa in seminyak after overdosing on schoolies meatheads everyday in every conceivable location…

  10. Any time I’m in Bali (usually banging around Jakarta), I take great delight in seeing how many bogan elbows I can thwack with my car’s side mirrors. My record stands at 8 in a 30 minute period.

    I’m not an aussie, but I can imagine fellow Australians must be cringing inside somewhere when they see these specimens out and about…

  11. An entertaining portrait! Despite the fine lines of your brush, you missed one small detail… having your ears assailed by the inevitable call and response… yes, I can feel you cringeing already… A.. A .. A.. O…O…Oh Nooooo!

    Just found your blog, and will be staying tuned for more !


  12. […] The Indonesian government will announce the introduction of a Bogan Baru Visa (BBV). Valid for Kuta and Legian, it also allows for daytrips to other selected regencies including […]

  13. Bloody bogans giving Aussies a bad name.

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