A recent wave of foreigners being called out for social media posts deemed insensitive toward Balinese culture has claimed its latest subject – this time, a woman showing off her beach body with a tattoo of the Hindu god Ganesha inked on her thigh.
Entrepreneur and politician Ni Luh Djelantik uploaded the woman’s picture on her Instagram account in addition to locals who reported the picture in the first place.
In the caption, Ni Luh wrote that Ganesha can only be tattooed “above [the] forehead” as the elephant-headed Hindu god of prosperity and wisdom is highly revered by the Balinese people.
Ni Luh proceeded to call on Bali-based tattoo artists to make informed decisions before accepting similar requests in the future.
It is unclear whether the woman actually had the tattoo in Bali (as per this article’s publication, her Instagram account has been removed). But a screenshot of her account shows that she had written Canggu and Ubud as the locations of her beauty businesses.
Previously, Ni Luh was among those who raised concerns about a number of foreigners disrespecting Balinese culture, such a Russian yogi posing naked on a sacred tree near a temple and a Canadian man dancing naked on the top of the sacred Mt. Batur. Most recently, the politician publicly criticized an Estonian pageant contestant who called out the Balinese police for extorting money from travelers.
Some of the comments on Ni Luh’s post on the tattoo, however, said that the calling out this time was “too far” and “too much” with one commenter saying that the tattoo was simply “an art [form]” while another one said that “such a thing shouldn’t bother one’s faith.”
Coconuts have reached out to Ni Luh’s for comment.
Contacted separately, Ivan, 33, a Hong Kong-based Indonesian who lived in Bali for a couple of years told Coconuts that he has a Ganesha tattoo on his forearm for about six years now. Ivan said that he decided to make the tattoo after embarking on a spiritual trip to India and his Hindu friends’ reactions have been “quite positive.”
“For me, I have no harm intention having [the tattoo]. I delved deep into Hindu teachings so it’s not purely [for] aesthetic reason,” he said.