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The Joop I Remember

Bali Update’s Editor, J.M. Daniels' Funeral Eulogy For Joop Ave, Former Minister of Tourism, Post and Telecommunication


Bali Update Editor and president director of Bali Discovery Tours, John M. Daniels, was asked to deliver a brief eulogy at a prayer service held for Joop Ave, a personal friend and Indonesia’s former Minister of Tourism, Post and Telecommunications on Friday evening, February 7, 2014.

In response to several requests, those remarks are reprinted here:

Remembering Bapak Joop

Click Image to Enlarge

The wonderful privilege of having known Joop Ave for more than 30 years has brought back a flood of memories of a remarkable man, his charismatic style and singular gifts as a communicator.

A story that's perhaps worth sharing provides insights into the man, his rapier wit and enduring charm.

One day more than 20 years ago in an informal setting, I was needling Pak Joop on the mysteries of Indonesia's star classification system for hotels. There seemed, at least to me, little rhyme or reason in the star-rating system and the criterion used to bestow star status on any particular hotel.

Staying with the subject, I shared my views on a recent decision to grant "Five Stars and a Bonus Diamond" status to two leading hotels in the capital, saying that such grand ratings only served to heighten the confusion surrounding the already confused Indonesia's hotel rating system.

In the characteristic way known to those allowed to share in his inner-circle, Joop paused, made direct eye contact and sighed aloud while patiently explaining that he often chose to use awards as a way to encourage excellence in the future, rather than as a means of acknowledging achievements in the past.

Joop added: "Now that we've awarded them, let's see what they do in the future."

Then, some years later, in 1995 to be exact, and following in the footsteps of such tourism legends as our beloved Stanley Allison who pioneered the development of the Aerowisata Sanur Beach and Nusa Dua Beach Hotel, I received a summons from Pak Joop to report to his office in order to receive the "Adikarya Pariwisata" - the highest civilian award for service to tourism awarded by the Minister and bestowed personally by the President during a formal ceremony.

Deeply honored and moved by the moment, I sincerely thanked Pak Joop, telling him I didn't think I was truly entitled to such a high honor from the Republic.

Once again, Joop paused, turned his direct gaze my way and said with a sigh: "Let's see what you do for Indonesia in the future."

Ibu May - and tonight across the oceans to Joop's other sisters - Ibu Gretty and Ibu Conny, dear friends, tourism colleagues united in promoting a nation loved so deeply by Pak Joop, and distinguished guests - we are gathered together this evening to mourn the loss of a man whose was in every sense of the phrase, quite literally "larger than life" - his passing has left a palatable void, an emptiness that is impossible to fill, a vacuum that each and every one of us who knew him will carry to our final days.

Joop Ave has left us and I say with absolute certainty that as long as we all shall live we will never know another quite like him.

Radio Announcer, diplomat, peace negotiator, head of the Presidential Palace, Chief of Protocol, Advance man for Indonesian State visits, Director General of Tourism and finally Minister of Tourism, Post and Telecommunications - these positions and the many other nation-building capacities filled by Joop Ave - all share the common thread of the deep and abiding love this man who had for this remarkable nation and his unfailing desire to prepare the way for a coming generation of young Indonesians.

In the final analysis, Pak Joop was a “bridge builder.” Whether preparing a presidential visit or laying bold plans for national tourism - Pak Joop was a trail blazer, a pioneer, a man of vision and builder of bridges to deliver us all safely to a better tomorrow.

Last night, with a mind full of cherished memories of this wonderful friend, I sought comfort in the words of Will Allen Dromgoole - words that exemplify for me the life work and legacy of Joop Ave, Bridge Builder.

With your permission, I'd like to close by sharing those words with you:

The Bridge Builder
by Will Allen Dromgool

An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide

The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”

The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.

This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”

Joop Ave
1934 - 2014

Click Image to Enlarge

© Bali Discovery Tours. Articles may be quoted and reproduced if attributed to


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