Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Coconut Thieves

"It's a warning to thieves," said Gusti, a Balinese teak and vanilla farmer, scooping spiced picnic rice into his mouth with his hand. He is referring to silang: a six-pointed star hammered into the trunk of a coconut tree.
"What does it warn them?"
"Not to steal fruit and leaves from the tree."

I look around. Nothing but young woodland. "What if someone ignores the sign and steals from the tree anyway?"
Gusti shakes his head. "He cannot. The signs says he cannot."
"What if he's a really bad man and determined to take the fruit. What happens?"
"Then he gets processed. Through the police."

Back in January this year a young couple in East Java were sentenced up to seven years jail time for stealing a bunch of bananas worth less than one US dollar.

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