A Bellyful of Bali: Travel, Writing and Australia/Asia Relationships


Bali's bastardisation--its descent from Oriental utopia to dystopian nightmare of contemporary tourism; from Eastern Eden to Western dumping ground--has become almost a staple theme of contemporary travel writing. Australians have participated in this discourse as ardently as the rest. Yet there is a special edge to Australian writing about Bali which reflects not only a reorientation of attitudes to the multi-headed monster 'Asia' but a revision of the way Australians define their place in their part of the world, and by extension, themselves. The sense of a shared colonial heritage that has led many Australians to respond to Asia with solidarity rather than superiority in recent years, a period marked by fashionable if simplistic ideas about the 'post-colonial identity', is in danger of breaking down as Australians come to grips with what belonging to Asia implies and entails.

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Published 1 October 1996 in Volume 17 No. 4. Subjects: Asian culture, Disillusionment, Tourism.

Cite as: Gerster, Robin. ‘A Bellyful of Bali: Travel, Writing and Australia/Asia Relationships.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 17, no. 4, 1996, doi: 10.20314/als.4f3cf72753.