It's no accident that when skimpy two-piece swimsuits were introduced right after the Second World War, the apparel was named Bikini, after an atoll in the Pacific-based Marshall Islands, where nuclear bomb tests were being conducted. Bikinis are second nature these days, but not after a series of bombshells from irate moralists over the years.
The latest outrage comes from the government of Bali, who are apparently so shocked over the presence of women wearing those stringy items on the Indonesian island's beaches, lawmakers are currently drafting legislation banning the bathing suits outright. However, it's so much the itsy-bitsy-teenie-weenie wardrobe that's gotten under the skin of Bali's politicians as the apparent misbehavior of tourists posing for selfies in that garb in front of sacred landmarks.
Some selfies that have since surfaced on social media show bikini-clad women draping themselves over temple monuments and other holy figures. Others have them simulating amorous positions that have some officials deeming the images as blasphemous. And with more tourists from other countries having discovered Bali as an ideal getaway locale, some locals have commented that the level of politeness has sunk to even newer lows. In 2018, some five million tourists visited the island.
Earlier this year, police launched an investigation to find a Danish couple responsible for what they call desecrating a monument at the Puhur Luhur Batukara temple. One of the tourists was photographed sitting on the shrine, which locals call the Hinggih Padmasana. The throne is considered holy and is not to be sat on as it's reserved for the supreme god who rules according to Balinese Hindu scripture. A mortal occupying that seat is seen to be committing blasphemy and is reinforced severely by law in the country.
In 2017, tourists got into provocative poses in front of an erupting Mount Agung, considered to be a sacred volcano. And in 2016, a photographer captured an image of a bikini-clad woman in a yoga position by the entrance to a temple.
Because of these incidents, local officials are pondering over the possibilities of restricting access to holy sites, including making it mandatory for authorities to accompany tourists to these locations. Others are considering making the sites inaccessible to foreign visitors.