White brass stick hand-made Fair Trade in Indonesia
Available in black leather
1.5" inside diameter, 2.5" outside
When I first started field research in Anthropology in Bali in 1998, owning a motorbike (not a motorcycle) was very high status and signified personal wealth. Having a car, of course, was an even more stark statement about affluence. The potency of these symbols was such that people said that motorbikes and cars were a kind of love magic. Young men with motorbikes could easily get girlfriends, young men with cars could get anybody they wanted. Young women with cars would have suitors lining up down the block. Most people, however, used a public transport system of mini-buses, privately owned, converted vans that traveled established routes and which you could expect would come by every 5 to 15 minutes. The rates were standard for adults with discounts for school-aged kids and children under 5 riding free. If you had baskets of produce or live animals you had to negotiate higher rates. We smooshed into those mini-buses and sometimes people (always men or boys, never women or girls) hung out the door. But over the years, as local prosperity increased, more and more people had motorbikes. Mini-bus drivers started to worry about their futures and it was no longer enough just to have a motorbike - you had to have the latest Honda or the latest Yamaha with the most gaudy paint job. In short, this was not the ideal universe for an eccentric guy with a Vespa to find a mate. Despite all this, amongst a select group of arty Balinese sporting goatees, leather wrist cuffs and painted jean jackets, the Vespa is it! These Vespa connoisseurs lovingly restore(d) their geeky Vespas by reupholestering them in glossy leather with shiny studs, adding side cars, tassels on the handle bars, and whatever other modifications inspired them. Clubs of Vespa owners would meet by the side of the road at pre-arranged locations with their fabulous Vespas. The Mod Shawl Pin, if it were a person, would ride a Vespa!