A collection of short stories, essays, blog-posts and photographs from Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Ubud High « Bali 2020 « Wissam Barakeh & 'The House of Om' on Bali ~ Going full-Covid in the name of heart-centred love and light [Updated 2021]

Bali's House of Om in 2021... “Join us for an ecstatic Kirtan event at our beautiful Sky Shala for a Bhakti celebration of community & heart-centered love and light.”

Guru Wissam Barakeh at The House of Om / Conscious Community & Holistic School Resort / Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) Courses / Kirtan / Bhakti / Retreats / Events / 2021 / Covid-19

Tripadvisor review for a Yoga Teacher Training class and retreat at Wissam Barakeh's House of Om in Bali, Indonesia

Screenshot of an October 2020 Tripadvisor.com review for Wissam Barakeh's The House of Om promoting 'properly implemented Covid-19 safety protocols' during a yoga teacher-training course and retreat held at the Conscious Community & Holistic School Resort near Ubud, Bali.

Blog ~ June 25, 2020

Self-styled Syrian Guru-stroke-NLP-Hypnotherapist comes to Bali to set up a Conscious Community & Holistic School Resort – The House of Om – and bills it as 'a labor of love that brings together like-minded, heart-centered individuals who share the same vision of creating a new way of living in harmony with others'.

With you so far.

Mid-Covid-pandemic, said guru promotes an Ecstatic Kirtan event at his 'beautiful Sky Shala' for a 'bhakti celebration of community' – and encourages his acolytes to 'invite as many friends and family as you want! Our intention is to gather more than 100 Bhakti & Kirtan lovers in order to co-create an amazing celebration together!'

Sixty-plus camp followers turn up – maskless, and mostly in their twenties and thirties – and pack the Sky Shala like canned herring as they chant and sing and om and spit onto each other's backs.

Maskless attendees breaking Indonesian Covid-19 health protocols at The House of Om during an Ecstatic Kirtan and Bhakti session in Bali, Indonesia on June 18, 2020

Social-distancing is for pussies.
Mid-Covid-19 pandemic, attendees at The House of Om meditate during an Ecstatic Kirtan and Bhakti session near Ubud, Bali, Indonesia on June 18, 2020.
© Facebook.

Social media is a double-edged kris with a karmic twist. Post-event pictures posted to Facebook and Instagram quickly make their way onto the Twitter desk of Bali's Immigration Department.

Maskless attendees break Indonesian Covid-19 pandemic health protocols during an Ecstatic Kirtan and Bhakti session at Wissam Barakeh's The House of Om in Bali

Mid-Coronavirus pandemic, maskless attendees at The House of Om sing and chant during an Ecstatic Kirtan and Bhakti gathering near Ubud, Bali, Indonesia on June 18, 2020.
© Facebook.

Devotees sing and chant at an Ecstatic Kirtan and Bhakti event at The House of Om, Conscious Community & Holistic School Resort, during Covid-19 health restrictions on Bali

Maskless yogis and yoginis om and chant during a Bhakti and Ecstatic Kirtan event at Wissam Barakeh's The House of Om, Conscious Community & Holistic School Resort, during Covid-19 health restrictions on Bali. June 18, 2020.
© Facebook.

Wissam Barakeh, founder of The House of Om and super-spreader of Love and Light, is arrested by immigration officials for violating Indonesia's Covid-19 health protocols. Barakeh doubles-down on his dagger, lies about the photographs taken at the event, accuses 'envy people' with 'low vibrations' of trying to shut his business down – and is promptly carted off.

Barakeh is currently being held behind bars at Immigration's leisure as his deportation is 'postponed until a flight to Syria becomes available'.


That may be some time, considering most air-bridges out of Bali are shut.

Plenty of time to learn how to live in harmony with his fellow inmates, not think about tantric sex for a while, shed the ego, and hone his communal bathroom skills.

Wissam Barakeh of The House of Om during his immigration trial in Bali, Indonesia on June 25, 2020

Wissam Barakeh of The House of Om at a press conference at the Department of Immigration in Bali, Indonesia on June 25, 2020.
© Department of Immigration, Bali.

Hot tip while you're in hot water with officials on Bali: don't turn your back on the proceedings, because your paperwork might just take fright and disappear for another month.

Wissam Barakeh of The House of Om in jail at the Department of Immigration in Bali, Indonesia on June 25, 2020

Wissam Barakeh, of The House of Om, meditating in jail at the Department of Immigration in Bali, Indonesia on June 25, 2020.
© Department of Immigration, Bali.

Blog ~ Updated April 1, 2021

2021 Update for 'The House of Om' in Bali ~ Yoga Teacher-Training Courses, Bhakti and Kirtan Events with Wissam Barakeh

He's back.

How a two-year blacklisting from the Republic of Indonesia turned into a handful of months. Lucky for some.

September 2020 at 'The House of Om'

A review of a yoga teacher-training course at Wissam Barakeh's The House of Om, Bali, assuring all that full Covid-19 health protocols are being strictly followed at the Conscious Community Centre

Screenshot of a Tripadvisor.com review from September 2020 of a yoga teacher-training course held at Wissam Barakeh's 'The House of Om' assuring future attendees that all Covid-19 health protocols are being strictly adhered to at the Conscious Community Centre in Bona, near Ubud, Bali.

Hm. Maybe Wissam thinks 6 inches is 6 feet.

Don't know about you – but do you see anything wrong with this picture? Maybe it's just super-sized egos that need space and social-distancing. Mortal bodies are but rich flesh to the meat-eaters of this earth.

The ratio of female-to-male students in this yoga teacher-training class at 'The House of Om' appears to be 18:3, excluding the Yoga & Tantric Master Teacher.

Not bad odds.

December 20, 2020 ~ Video of 'Raising Woman' posted to Instagram by Wissam Barakeh

Look, I'll warn you. This video is disturbing. And that isn't click-bait. You honestly may not want to watch it.

So here it is in stills and short-form – there's a link to the video, if you really want to watch it, below the screenshots.

Instagram BDSM video posted by Wissam Barakeh to Instagram on Dec 20, 2020 entiled Raising Woman

1. Hooded, gowned white man humiliates and dominates Asian woman, who happens to be tied up.


Stills from an Instagram video posted by Wissam Barakeh on Dec 20, 2020 entitled 'Raising woman'.

2. White man walks humiliated skin-coloured-skimp-suit-wearing Asian woman 'round the flower-circle stage like a dog on a lead as the crowd laps it up on their iPhones. Man wrestles woman to the ground.


Stills from an Instagram video posted by Wissam Barakeh on Dec 20, 2020 of the crowd-pleasing 'Raising woman'.

3. Skimp-suit-wearing Asian woman is set free by man. Asian woman, filled with joy and gratitude, forgives white man and starts working the wallflowers one-by-one into a frenzy until all hell breaks loose.


Stills from an Instagram video posted by Wissam Barakeh on Dec 20, 2020 of the titilating 'Raising woman'.

And that's it. That's the plot.

Love that '200-hour Yoga Teacher-Training' vibe.

Link to the video 'Raising Woman' posted to the Wissam Barakeh Instagram account on 20th December, 2020

➤ Video entitled 'Raising woman' posted to the wissam.barakeh Instagram account on December 20, 2020.

What you can typically expect from a 200-hour Yoga Teacher-Training (YTT) course at 'The House of Om'

'Asanas, yoga-cleansing, yoga bhandas, teaching practise, pranayama, nidra, meditation, yoga anatomy, yoga philosophy, teaching methodologies, mudras and mantra.'

Instagram advert for a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training class and retreat at The House of Om near Ubud, Bali for 2021

Advert for a heavily discounted 200-hour Yoga Teacher-Training Course and Retreat at 'The House of Om' near Ubud in Bali.

Looks like a pretty square deal to me. Must have been quite a mark-up to be able to cut it by more than 50 percent. But – needs must.

I suppose we all have to tighten our belts in these stiff times.

About Wissam Barakeh and 'The House of Om' ~ Conscious Community & Holistic School Resorts in Bali, Dubai, India, Sri Lanka, Germany & Russia

Wissam Barakeh of The House of Om meditating at the beach and being at one with the ocean

'The House of Om's Wissam Barakeh taking in some waves at an undisclosed location.
Screenshot of a photograph of Wissam Barakeh posted to his Instagram account on March 12, 2021.

Wissam Barakeh is a Syrian national who claims to be a life coach, Tantra and Reiki Master, hypnotherapist, Yoga teacher, motivational speaker, a neuro-linguistic programmer, a 'Tapping Practitioner' using the 'EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)', and is the founder of Taijitu House of Om in Dubai and Bali's Soul Journey Retreats.

Wissam Barakeh of The House of Om meditating at the beach and being at one with the ocean in Bali, Indonesia

'The House of Om's Wissam Barakeh, founder of Taijitu House of Om in Dubai and Bali's Soul Journey Retreats taking five at the beach.
Screenshot of a photograph posted to Instagram on October 10, 2020 by Wissam Barakeh at an undisclosed location.

Wissam Barakeh believes in 'the concept of community and going back to the tribe, and to live in a world without borders – beyond race, colour, religion or gender'.

'The House of Om' business enterprise is currently expanding its conscious community centres – with great success – into India, Sri Lanka, Germany and Russia.

In a former life, and before he engaged on his own spiritual path, Wissam Barakeh studied business – working as a regional manager for large multinational corporations like Nestlé and Abbott.

“Enlightenment is when a wave realises it's the ocean. Believe that you are the ocean, open your arms for life – and live to the fullest.”

#yoga #tantra #love #life #houseofom

Words by Guru Wissam Barakeh #houseofoam.

Diamond-shaped, heart-centred words of light by the super-spreader of love, Mr. Wissam Barakeh.

Related content ~ Yoga, Healing, Wellness, Dance & Therapy at the Bali Spirit Festival in Ubud

Yoga, Conscious Music, Healing & Ecstatic Dance at the 2022 Bali Spirit Festival in Ubud, Indonesia

The annual 2022 Bali Spirit Festival in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia – a week's worth of wellness and yoga workshops, bhakti music, watsu, kirtan, crystal sound-healing, ecstatic dance, capoeira, innerlight revival breathwork, hula-hoop dance, tribal electronic medicine music, embodied dance, yin-and-yang yoga, personal development, vision boarding, clarity breatheology, afro-latin medicine loops, mantra music and loveolution cacao ceremonies.

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Fragments from Bali, 2020

Poster shaming Western tourists and foreigners for not wearing face-masks during the Covid-19 epidemic in Bali, Indonesia

Public poster outside Ubud Market shaming Western tourists and foreigners for not wearing face-masks and disobeying Indonesia's Covid-19 health protocols. Masks have been mandated in Indonesia since March 2020. Foreigners' adoption of masks is embarrassingly weak on the resort island.

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia on Feb 13, 2021.
Photograph by © 2021 Ubud High.

© 2021 John Storey. All Rights Reserved.

The Last Pic

Portrait of the Day

Portraits from Bali by Ubud High
Young female beggar from Muntigunung, Bali, on the streets of Ubud

A beggar from Muntigunung on the streets of Ubud in Bali, Indonesia.
Portrait by © Ubud High.

The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

© 2021 John Storey. All rights reserved.

Street art mural of a young topless 1930s Balinese girl using social media on a mobile cellphone painted by the street artist Wild Drawing in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

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Street Art, Urban Murals & Creative Graffiti on Bali

Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, depicted as a spray-can- and roller-wielding street artist in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

➤ Bali's Street Artists, Murals & Graffiti in the Wild ~ From Canggu to Ubud

Street art, graffiti and murals for the masses – the most public of Bali's urban art scene hidden in plain sight on the walls of Canggu, Ubud, Seminyak and Kuta.

Street art and graffiti murals at Batu Bolong beach in Canggu near Old Man's bar and restaurant, Bali, Indonesia

➤ AllCaps Park ~ Street Art, Graffiti and Mural Paradise in Canggu, Bali

Bali street art - Graffiti and Mural Heaven at the AllCaps Park in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

➤ Taman Festival ~ Ghost Town Graffiti, Murals and Street Art on Bali

Urban art, murals and graffiti galore at the derelict and haunted Taman Festival Theme Park in Bali
The Ubud Handbook

The Ubud Handbook

THE UBUD HANDBOOK ~ Your free guide to living in Ubud and Bali in an online nutshell.

Religion Matters

The Tale of Ganesha the Globetrotter ~ Bali's Elephant-Headed Hindu God

Street art graffiti of Lord Ganesha with his mouse or rat, on a mural wall in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

‘First stop on Shree Ganesha's round-Asia tour was a spell in Buddhist Tibet with its strong tantric leanings – a convenient spot to re-invent himself as Vinãyaka, and then as the dancing red Nritta Ganapati – before a full-blown alter-ego revamp as the scarlet, twelve-armed Maharakta Ganapati. Now, Maharakta Ganapati was unusually fond of skullcaps filled with human flesh and blood – and this we might charitably put down to a bad trip.

After all, what happens in Tibet stays in Tibet...’

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An American Calonarang ~ Trance & Possession on Bali

Graffiti street art of a Balinese Salvador Dali sipping on a cup of kopi luwak in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

‘To cut an all-night story short, the mask was donned by a dancer who fell into a deep trance. But instead of staying in the temple, he began to run. And run. He became violent and uncontrollable. He ran for four kilometers down the road – the crowd scrambled after him. He ended up in a cemetery just past my house, and in the dead of night began to do frenzied battle with unseen foes...’

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'Nyepi' ~ Bali's Hindu New Year, and the Day of Silence ~ Melasti, Ngerupuk, Ogoh-Ogoh & Manis Nyepi

Balinese-Hindu devotees pray as sacred temple objects are bathed and cleansed during a Melasti ceremony before Nyepi on Pantai Purnama in Bali, Indonesia

‘If previous New Years' Days have seen you waking up with a crippling hangover trying to remember what you did the night before, maybe it's time you headed to Bali in March. Nyepi – the Balinese Day of Silence, and the start of the Hindu Saka New Year – is a day, a night and a day you'll never forget....’

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'Kajeng Kliwon' ~ A Very Bad-Hair Day on Bali

Film poster for Indonesian horror film 'Kajeng Kliwon: Nightmare in Bali'

‘Kajeng Kliwon is the kind of day when anything that can happen will happen. It invariably does.

You have been seriously warned...’

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Personal Stories

Diary of a Market Girl

Photo-realistic urban art by an anonymous street artist of a 1930s market scene in Bali, Indonesia

“When I had my sixth and seventh babies at the hospital – my twin girls – the doctor ordered me to have a Caesarian. And without asking me, he tied my tubes off as well.

I think he thought I'd had enough babies...”

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Food Talk

Durian ~ The King of Stink

“On the third bite,” says one hater, “it was as though I'd just eaten a diseased, parasite-infested animal with a bad case of rabies. I prayed I wouldn't be sick because I really didn't want to taste it again on the way back up...”

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Culture Bites

Cinema Paradiso ~ Bali's Seat in the History of Indonesian Cinema

1932 Virgins of Bali Thirties nudie-cutie bare-native film poster 1930s Bali, Indonesia

‘Boobs and political censorship have never been far from the Silver Screen – in Indonesia, they're its bedrock. The silent flicks of Thirties' Bali sucked hungrily on the island's bare-breasted cabinet-postcard image that encouraged so many gilded tourists – and dodgy film-stars like Charlie Chaplin – to visit its sultry, forbidden shores...’

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Getting Around ~ Bali 'Biking

Surviving Bali on a 'Bike

Motorbike accident victim being treated for a leg-injury in an Ubud clinic in Bali, Indonesia

“For me, some of the most dangerous people on the road are white people. I avoid them like the plague. You can tell the ones who are going to hurt others – the fixed grins, the hunched over the handle-bars, the wobbling around corners and shouts of indignation when they finally hit someone – because they have absolutely no idea how life and the road works around here...”

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It's Silly Season Again ~ Renting a Scooter, and Crashing it, on Bali

A monkey tourist crashes his scooter in a road accident in Bali, Indonesia

‘She tears into the traffic. She can't stop. She narrowly misses hitting a car head-on, swerves past a mum on a 'bike and slaloms across the road. Before she hits anyone – it's a miracle she doesn't – she falls in a bad-sounding heap of bent metal and smashing plastic. A group of Balinese rush to pick her up before the cops see her...’

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The Other Side of the Coin ~ Just Another Motorbike Accident on Bali

Mural by an anonymous street-artist of a crashed, burned-out Honda 70 scooter on a wall near Badung market in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia

‘She starts sweeping and I notice that she's limping. There's a spreading bruise and an angry graze running past her knee and down her calf. She wants to carry on cleaning – I sit her down and ask her what happened.

She's shy; I press...’

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Health Matters

Let's Get Wet ~ The Rainy Season on Bali

Blue sky pokes from behind a gathering of stormy monsoon clouds over Bali, Indonesia

‘Rule number one on a monsoon day? Don't get wet.

You may not realise that getting caught in a cloudburst or shower on Bali – particularly if you're on a motorbike – is the tropical equivalent of walking naked outside during a Prague Winter after a lukewarm bath.

It'll really slow you down. The shivers, hot-and-cold flushes, a chesty cough, diarrhoea, sneezing, stomach pains, a belting headache and aching bones are all at the top of the list...’

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Bali's Scorpions, Hornets, Mosquitoes, Poisonous Caterpillars... And Other Strange Tails

Bali hornet or Tabuhan, a dark brown, stinging, flying, wasp-like insect that may cause anaphylactic shock

‘Nowhere is free from the tax of life. We all have to pay for our slice of Bali paradise – and this often comes in the shape of our biting, stinging, crawling, flying insect-cousins.

It's the downside of environment-sharing...’

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Holidays from the Jungle

The Heads of Trunyan

Human skulls in the open, outdoor cemetery in Trunyan village, near Batur in Bali, Indonesia

‘Agricultural, and unpractised in the dark art of handling international tourists, the aristocratic farmer-people of Trunyan have acquired a damaging reputation for aggression. Their unique tourist draw – a jungle-cemetery where bodies are left in the open to disintegrate underneath a magical banyan tree – is regularly shunned by travellers on the time-sensitive tourist circuit...’

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Lombok ~ A Line in the Sand

‘Ten meters away and the young man finally looks up – an inane, animal-like grin taped across his face as his girlfriend grips his porcelain butt and grimaces towards the empty blue sky. They disengage like street dogs, utter an invective in Russian, and stare...’

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Tourism & Self-Enrichment

Eat, Pray, Self-Love

I love-heart Ubud, Canggu, Seminya, Sanur and Kuta in Bali, Indonesia

‘My concentration's shot to pieces. The spaghetti keeps falling off my fork. She's on her third large beer now. She starts to say 'facking' even more, and is speaking so loudly that people passing on the street have begun to look her way, and she's spitting bits of ciabatta bread and tomato and fish into her friend's dinner...’

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From Ubud With Love

Will you marry? in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

‘I'm staying at a cute, family-run bed-and-breakfast – a homestay – on Ubud's trendy Jalan Goutama. A young member of the homestay's family tours her compound, blessing it with incense and rice and flower-petal offerings in little hand-made palm-leaf boxes.

All is well in Bali's spiritual capital...’

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A Dutchman Goes to a Gypsy Fortune-Teller

Wooden cock bottle openers, Ubud Market, Bali

‘A Dutch boy in Holland goes to a gypsy fortune-teller who tells him that he is, in fact, Balinese. Afterwards, his uncle visits the Island of the Gods and brings him back a wooden carving of a bare-breasted lady.

Lucky for him it wasn't one of those funny-shaped wooden bottle-openers that looks like a cock...’

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The Land of Self-Healing and Snake Oil

Yoga-wear for an Ubud yogini manifesting her abundance, exploring her Divine Feminine and inserting a Jade Egg at The Womb Temple near The Yoga Barn in Bali

‘Shake out those Kundalini Awakenings with some HoopYogini™ and Bhakti Boogie® at the Yoga Barn. Celebrate The Divine Feminine with a splash of Shakti Dance. Puff up your lungs in a Sacred Breathwork Immersion Workshop®, insert a Jade Egg for luck at The Womb Temple™ and polish it off with some tantalising Manifesting And Abundance.

You know you're worth it...’

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Graffiti street art of a young 1930s Balinese girl looking at social media on her mobile cellphone in a mural near Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

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Earthquakes and Volcanic Eruptions in Bali & Indonesia Today

The volcano Anak Krakatau erupting in the Sunda Strait, Indonesia

Gunung Anak Krakatau – the infamous 'Child of Krakatoa' volcano – erupting in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra, Indonesia.

And finally, the weather

Fake styrofoam clouds over the main 'Cloud' stage at the 'Plastic-Free Gili Air Music Festival' near Lombok, Indonesia

Today's weather forecast for Ubud, Bali, Indonesia ⇨