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An Unhappy Chinese New Year in Bali

Chinese Language Tour Guide with No Tours to Lead in Bali.

How badly Bali’s tourism sector has been affected by the continuing COVID-19 pandemic was recently illustrated by a report from telling how a 65-year-old Chinese speaking tour guide in Bali has had no income for the past ten months due to the lack of Chinese visitors to the Island.

“In the last ten months, there has been no income because there have been no visitors,” said Effendy while wearing his daily garb of a Balinese undeng headdress and batik sarong.

Effendy is of ethnic Chinese extraction whose birth name is Lin Wen Hui. He is a fluent speaker of Mandarin.

Recently interviewed by Voice of America, Effendy related how in the past, many tourists from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan visited Bali over the Chinese New Year period. But Chinese New Year in 2021 is very different, with tourist sites devoid of foreign guests of any kind requiring his guiding services.

“I hope that Bali can soon recover from this pandemic and all activities return to normal,” said Effendy.

Recalling tourism in the “normal” pre-pandemic period, Effendy said every tourist group comprised of 10 to 30 tourists would spend around Rp. 2 million each during a visit lasting three until seven days. Adding: “We are experiencing an economic crisis because of this pandemic, and there’s nothing that we can do about it.

Indonesian Language Video Clip of Tour Guide, Effendy (Lin Wen Hui)

To keep fit and fill his time during the current period when tourists are banned from visiting Bali, Effendy practices kung fu and helps his wife sell small rice packets to raise income for his household. 

Effendy confesses that he and his wife have had little choice but to sell precious keepsakes such as rings, necklaces, and bracelets to meet living expenses. “We are in an economic crisis because of the pandemic, and there is nothing we can do about it,” he lamented.

(Photo Credit: Reuters)

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