Ni Wayan Murni
Editor, Hello Bali, April 2005
Ibu Murni is a well-known character in Ubud as owner of Murni’s Warung, Murni’s Villas and many other enterprises but it wasn’t always like this.
Back in the 1950s, life was hard. Murni’s parents split up and at the age of 6 or 7 years she was sent to live with an authoritarian aunt in Denpasar. She made her get up every morning at 2 am to prepare and sell food.
After she had sold everything, she was then allowed to go to school. Murni went back to Ubud when she finished elementary school, and lived with her mother in Ubud market. Life was still very hard; helping her mother eke out a living.
On the three days each week that the market was open, she carried a load of salt from Ubud to Penestanan and on the other days sold warm beer and sarungs to tourists and locals. When the market closed at 5 pm, she had to walk to Padang Tegal to help her mother’s sister pound rice.
Tourism increased after the opening of the international airport and, from1965 to 1974, she lived in Sanur where she opened several shops on the beach.
Her major break occurred in 1974 when she bought some land in Ubud and opened Murni’s Warung. Initially, she sold only clothes and paintings but after marrying her American husband, things started to improve when she realised that by selling Western food, she could attract more business.
Being married to a foreigner caused a lot of problems and for some time, the only member of her family who would speak to her was her father, but she persevered with the business.
From a very small enterprise with no electricity or refrigeration, Ibu Murni has moved on to become one of Ubud’s most successful entrepreneurs but it hasn’t changed her. She has never forgotten her origins and she is one of the kindest people I know.
A visit to Murni’s Warung is a delightful experience as the food is
excellent and inexpensive and you will also experience the stunning views over the river from any of the four levels on which the restaurant is built.
Many people in this country have achieved success after starting from humble beginnings but they have mostly become arrogant and egocentric. Murni is one of the rare exceptions and I feel proud to consider her as a friend.
Ni Wayan Murni