It’s news that will likely cause smartphone addicts to break into a cold sweat, but as long as you steer clear of Bali this weekend, you’ll be just fine.
The Indonesian island is set to turn off mobile internet services for the whole of Saturday to mark the sacred Hindu holiday of Nyepi.
The local communications ministry told news outlets on the island that phone companies have agreed to comply with the request for Bali’s first-ever internet shutdown.
Nyepi marks the new year according to the ancient Balinese calendar and is known as the Day of Silence. As part of the celebrations, Bali’s largely Hindu population is encouraged to take some time for self-reflection. The idea was suggested by Balinese civil and religious groups, according to the Guardian, and was accepted after the issue was discussed by the central government in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta.
“Many Hindu people are addicted to gadgets,” Hinduism Society head Gusti Ngurah Sudiana told the BBC. “I hope during Nyepi they can be introspective.”
During the pause for reflection, some people may end up contemplating how much time they spend on social media, how few books they tend to read nowadays, and if there might be a way to get back online once their period of introspection is over.
If the internet’s temporary disappearance becomes just too much for Bali’s residents or the thousands of tourists visiting the island, they can make a beeline for the nearest hotel where Wi-Fi connections will still be available, allowing them to fire up their apps and browse the web in the usual way. Home-based internet set-ups will also remain available should people still want to hop online to see what they’re missing.
Aware that a blanket internet shutdown could cause problems, the authorities are making sure that connections remain available for important services, among them the security forces, medical facilities, and disaster agencies.
Made Pastika, the governor of Bali, quipped that if people stop using the internet for the duration of a day, “people will not die,” adding that he intends to power down his own tech on Saturday for a spot of quiet reflection.
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