As Dalai Lama once said, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
A video of a foreigner who filmed himself getting help from an unassuming Balinese woman after he told her he had sprained his ankle went viral over the weekend. In a plot twist, the man actually feigned the sprain as part of a social experiment, but thanked the woman for her kindness nonetheless by awarding her IDR5 million (US$336).
After a parade of unsavory news from the Island of Gods, such as a random man on a motorbike peeing at a traffic light and a theft attempt in Kuta, the wholesome clip is certainly a welcome change as it portrays Bali’s hospitable people at their finest.
In the video, Zachery Dereniowski was shown nursing a sprained ankle while walking around Pandawa Beach. He later notified a local warung (food stall) owner, identified as Bu Oka, who immediately offered a hand by treating his injuries and offering a cold drink so he could quench his thirst.
Dereniowski told her that he did not have any money, but Bu Oka helped him anyway. Toward the end of the video, Dereniowski revealed that his ankle was perfectly fine. He later gave Bu Oka the money as a symbol of his gratitude and the two shared a warm embrace.
Dereniowski, under the Instagram account @mdmotivator, explained that the clip was a social experiment that is part of his social media journey, which he said began 10 months ago, on TikTok. Dereniowski began the journey as an act of self-kindness after he suffered mentally in medical school in Sydney.
Most of his content follows a similar pattern of repaying a stranger for their kindness, which has resonated with many viewers. Currently, he has 10.4 million followers on TikTok and 1.8 million followers on Instagram.
While critics might denounce the act and label it an example of white savior complex, Dereniowski stressed that he was not “saving anyone”.
He told Coconuts Bali that the money was “never the focus of [his] videos”, but rather a “cherry on top” to his content, and that Oka’s story is the main point of his video.
“I’ve never been to Bali… where people are so loving, caring and compassionate, and I want to be able to showcase it [through the video],” he said.
He added that the money comes from monthly donations by supporters or sponsors on his PayPal. “One hundred percent I give directly back to beautiful strangers that I meet… money is insignificant, in my mind, to what I’m trying to really showcase.”
Separately, the woman in the video, Bu Oka, later identified as Ni Nyoman Resmini, said that she cried with joy when receiving the money, adding that she did not have any ulterior motives when helping Dereniowski.
The video appears to only show a fragment of the whole interaction. Dereniowski said that he was treated to a meal by Bu Oka, and, after the video, they promised each other to meet again for the Purnama (full moon) ceremony, where she will give him a blessing.