The Dark World of Balinese Cockfighting

cock fighting

Words by Michael Cunningham.
Photos by Albert Retief.

On an otherwise uneventful day in Bali, I found myself standing in the sweaty crowd of an illegal cockfight. Being the only white person present, I was left wondering what I was doing there, and more importantly, why I was betting money.

I know many of you reading this are already reaching for your pitchforks and blazing torches, and that’s ok. Cockfighting is a dirty sport, and one that probably shouldn’t exist, but the reality is that it does. I only knew of its occurrence through word of mouth prior to my first hand experience of it, and even then I compartmentalised it in a section of my brain I like to call ‘things that exist that I pretend don’t exist’ , and imagined it would do a life sentence there. However, when I was standing in front of that pit, watching two roosters fight to the death in a very violent display, I was forced to re-evaluate my entire outlook on reality, especially the dark side of it that I had simply chosen to ignore.

cock fighting
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Fiji – The Reality of Paradise

By Joshua Thaisen.

After ten hours in transit from Los Angeles we had arrived in paradise. Bri and I were on layover in Fiji en route to Australia. Four glorious days to bask in the sun, drink fruity cocktails, finish a book or two, and enjoy the spoils of a private bungalow only twenty meters from a coral reef teeming with marine life.

When we arrived at Tumukula Beach Resort our first call of business was to dive into the pleasantly warm, crystal clear water, and begin exploring the postcard that is Fiji. This became our routine for the next few days, waking up with a morning swim, devouring an underwater feast of movement and color. We would then retreat to our beachfront recliners and sit contently reading our books for hours.


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