Written by Yaiza Morales
Dewa Kumara, otherwise known as “Kum,” is one of the kindest and happiest souls I’ve ever met during my travels. A well-known and respected Reggae singer in the city of Ubud in Bali, Kum does much more than grace those he meets with his enchanting voice. As he once told me,“ My offering is to bring happiness or peace to people’s hearts through my music or in any other way that I can.” Through his thoughtful actions, wise words, and kind ways, Kum touches the hearts of those he meets and changes them forever. Kum believes in the power of love and giving as the source of happiness and fulfillment in his life, which is why he firmly stands by these words: “Giving is better than receiving, and I will do this until the end of my journey.”
I had the pleasure of meeting Kum at CP Lounge, my favorite bar in Ubud, where he was playing with his band Ubud40 and rapper Jthag. The sound of his sweet melodious voice lured me to the dance floor instantly. After the show, Kum introduced himself with a beaming smile on his face, and that was the beginning of our friendship. I quickly learned why he is such a cherished man in the community of Ubud. Kum is a giver, a server, a man who walks through life helping those in need. As he once told me, “Helping nature and children is my way of religion. Some people may go to church to release their sins, and I clean the mud and help others to purify myself.” I was thrilled to interview him and find out the inspiration behind all of his selfless acts.
Kum’s childhood was a simple one and he recalls it to be one filled with hard work and enriching learning experiences. “I never had everything, but I had everything I needed,” he told me. His parents played a pivotal role in his development and continue to be his biggest influences and inspiration in life. The respect and high regard he holds for them was more than evident when he described his mother as his Goddess and his father as his best friend, and mentor. Working hard was a part of growing up, and he remembers the wise advice he received from his father. As a handyman and the spiritual head of their community, his father did much more than pass on his knowledge and teach him work ethic. He taught him how to be a good son, an honest man, and to always work hard without expecting anything in return. Although Kum’s father passed away in 1997, his legacy and memory live on forever in his son’s heart. His father always shared enlightening words of wisdom, such as; “Do not do things waiting for a result, do it as an offering, or “A hand is for giving and doing things without expecting anything in return. This is more powerful than 1000 Mantras.” These lessons stayed with Kum, and it is the fire that fueled his desire to help those in need. He said, “I cannot give my father anything anymore, but through my actions, I can give him dignity.”
In Indonesian mythology “Dewa Kumara” means God of the children and son of this Earth who has come to save the children. Coincidence? Perhaps destiny. A humanitarian at heart, Kum gives back to the children of Bali in many ways. Since 2009 Kum has been organizing an annual Valentine’s event during the month of February, in order to raise funds for various shelters that cater to the most vulnerable children on the island. Some of these organizations are: Yayasan Panti Guna Dria Raba (a center for blind and autistic children), Panti Asuhan Kesayan Ikang Papa (an orphanage), and Yayasan Senang Hati (a center for children with special needs) among others. On this special day, local business owners, artists, and entrepreneurs all donate “prizes” for an auction to be held. There are singing and dancing performances, and the children have a blast! Kum’s eyes teared up as he told me that this year things would be different and that he would be unable to organize the Valentine’s event. I could see how much this meant to him, and I was already entertained with the thought of having The One Chance Project collaborate with Kum in order to plan a special activity for the children of Bali.
This generous spirit also sponsors the education of four blind young adults in Bali, as their families are unable to finance their schooling. A kind and humble man, Kum described himself as a flip flop during our interview. I smiled curiously when he said this and asked him to elaborate. He explained, “I consider myself a server, not a hero, never a hero. I am like a flip-flop or a sandal. Without wearing this on your feet, you would get hurt. I don’t mind being a shoe or a mat, as long as I can help you from suffering.” Inspired by his kindness, The One Chance Project presented a donation to Kum, so that he could continue to offer his help and support to the youth of Bali.
People like Dewa Kumara make our world a better place. As he once said, “Everyone that crosses your path is a God. I like to see people as Gods. This is what I teach my nieces and nephews. See everyone as a God and serve them with your heart, as you would God.” Let’s all follow Kum’s advice and make an effort to see each other as Gods and Goddesses today and every day. Just imagine…we could actually make the phrase “heaven on Earth” a reality!