The local government has advised people to practice social distancing. Picture: Jenny Jusuf
The local government has advised people to practice social distancing. Picture: Jenny Jusuf

Bali tourists slammed for ‘irresponsible’ pic

A luxurious Bali yoga and meditation retreat has come under fire after more than a hundred people gathered for a "celebration of community and bliss" flouting local coronavirus restrictions.

Guests were invited to House of Om's luxurious "Sky Shala" in Ubud last Thursday in an invitation shared on social media. The invite said: "Our intention is to gather more than 100 Bhakti and Kirtan lovers in order to co-create an amazing celebration together." Kirtan is a ritual involving chanting.

The organiser of the event has now issued an apology for their "irresponsible actions" after photos showed the attendees gathered tightly together chanting with no masks on.

In Bali, more than 1000 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus and nine people have died. The Balinese government has banned foreign arrivals and urged locals to practice social distancing to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Photos of the gathering were shared online by author Jenny Jusuf, who told triple j Hack many foreigners had remained in Bali through the coronavirus pandemic on emergency visas.

The group were mostly Western tourists according to reports. Picture: Jenny Jusuf
The group were mostly Western tourists according to reports. Picture: Jenny Jusuf

"Most of these foreigners are living in Bali on emergency stay permits from the Indonesian Government, yet they act like they own the island," Ms Jusuf said.

The owner of the yoga retreat initially denied the gathering had occurred, and edited his Instagram posts to change the location. He told triple j Hack the event had occurred in December on 2019.

However, more footage of the event surfaced including a YouTube video and an Instagram story, shared by attendees.

The school's founder, Wissam Barakeh, posted on Instagram on Monday, saying the event was a "big and unreasonable mistake that happened in this difficult time".

View this post on Instagram

Untuk semua masyarakat Indonesia, khususnya masyarakat Bali. Nama saya Wissam Barakeh, saya adalah pendiri dari House of Om. Saya bertanggung jawab penuh atas acara yang terjadi pada tanggal 18 Juni 2020 lalu. Dimana banyak orang yang datang ke sekolah kami. Hal tersebut adalah kesalahan besar dan tidak masuk akal yang terjadi dimasa sulit seperti sekarang ini. Komunitas kami sangat menyayangi dan menghargai Bali dan masyarakat Bali. Sejak beberapa bulan terakhir kami mulai mendistribusikan 100 box makanan dan sembako setiap 2 minggu ditujukan kepada masyarakat yang tinggal di desa untuk mendukung mereka yang terkena dampak dari situasi ini. Kami mengadakan acara pada tanggal 18 Juni yang lalu bertujuan untuk menggalang dana agar kami bisa membantu semaksimal mungkin masyarakat yang membutuhkan bantuan. Saya mohon maaf sebesar besarnya karena sudah menimbulkan resiko yang serius atas tindakan kami tersebut. Kami meminta maaf kepada seluruh masyarakat Bali atas tindakan kami yang kurang bertanggung jawab. Kami bekerja di Bali sejak tahun 2017. Kami banyak melakukan hal untuk menunjukan rasa cinta kami terhadap Bali dan masyarakat Bali. Dimulai dari membantu banyak keluarga yang kehilangan rumah akibat dari meletusnya Gunung Agung beberapa waktu lalu. Membantu proyek di beberapa sekolah lokal; membagikan seragam sekolah, membantu Pusat Kanker Anak, membantu Pusat Disabilitas Anak dan beberapa lainnya. Semua hal tersebut kami lakukan sebagai bentuk rasa cinta kami dan terimakasih kami kepada Bali dan masyarakat Bali. 🙏

A post shared by Spiritual community (@houseofom.bali) on

He said in the statement the event was held to "raise funds so we can help as much as possible for people who need help".

"I'm so sorry for causing a serious risk for our actions".

Originally published as Bali tourists slammed for 'irresponsible' pic

More than a hundred people at the House Of Om in Ubud. Picture: Jenny Jusuf
More than a hundred people at the House Of Om in Ubud. Picture: Jenny Jusuf
The local government has advised people to practice social distancing. Picture: Jenny Jusuf
The local government has advised people to practice social distancing. Picture: Jenny Jusuf


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