Those breaking Bali’s coronavirus health protocols have been issued an unusual punishment: push-ups. Photos of Bali’s Covid offenders doing push ups in the street went viral last week on social media, with many local news outlets picking up the story – and using the phrase ‘naughty bule’ in headlines.
‘Bule’ is an Indonesian word for foreigners – particularly Caucasians – reflective of the fact that it is largely non-local visitors to the island who have been found breaking the rules. A particular hotspot for infractions is the tourist-heavy Badung regency area, home to the popular Kuta and Seminyak beaches, which recorded the highest number of coronavirus health protocol violations in Bali: 8864 offences this week.
“Most of [the offences] were not bringing their masks, not wearing them properly, and some businesses not applying health protocols,” Badung regency Public Order Agency chief I Gusti Agung Kerta Suryanegara told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Push-ups are being issued to minor offenders, in place of a 100,000 rupiah (£5.23) fine.
“We didn’t fine those who had admitted their mistakes … we didn’t just fine people randomly because they didn’t wear masks,” said Suryanegara. Despite this, 80 per cent of fines for violating COVID-19 regulations have been issued to foreigners, mostly from Europe, for more serious rule breaking. “Some foreigners were found walking on the beach, sitting in restaurants, and riding motorbikes without masks.”
“I’m not saying that Indonesians are well behaved, but fines were given as the [last resort], which means that [those who were fined] didn’t want to comply and were very defensive.”