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BALI UPDATE #413 - 09 August 2004

Krisdayanti's First Bali Concert
Indonesian Singing Star Stays at New Harris Resort Kuta During Bali Visit.

Voted one of Indonesia's most popular singing and screen stars by a national entertainment tabloid, the dazzlingly talented Krisdayanti, more commonly known by the name KD was in Bali last week to promote her latest album "Bercahaya".

Traveling with a entourage and crew of 70 including her parents, two children and composer-performer husband Anang Hermansyah, the 29-year-old international recording star made her first concert appearance in Bali at the Hard Rock Café in Kuta on August 1 performing before a sold-out audience.

A Unique Welcome

The staff and management of Bali's newly opened Harris Hotel Kuta were so excited at the prospect of hosting the singing sensation and her family during their Bali stay that upon check-in Krisdayanti arrived at the hotel to discover the staff had gathered in the lobby and courtyard where they were dancing to upbeat songs from her latest album. Suitably impressed by such a warm welcome, KD reciprocated by hosting a staff gathering in the Harris Café on the first evening of her stay.



Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 10-16 October 2004
Full Program Takes Shape for Bali's First International Writers' Summit.

Bali's hillside Bohemia of Ubud is home to the inaugural Ubud Writers & Readers Festival from 10 to 16 October 2004. Long a home to artists and creative genius in search of a roost, Ubud has always been regarded as Bali's cultural heart and is famous for its performing arts such as dance and gamelan music, as well as outstanding production of visual and decorative arts: painting, basketry, woodcarving and other crafts.

The week-long festival, initiated by the Saraswati Foundation for the Arts, will offer keynote presentations, panel discussions, interviews, workshops, feasts, exhibitions, tours and culinary demonstrations as well as dazzling performances of dance and music.

To date, 60 writers and cultural workers from Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Europe and the USA have registered to join the Festival. A further 25 writers and performers from Bali, Java, and other islands of Indonesia, such as Sulawesi and Sumatra, will attend pending funding.

A Number of Interesting Topics & Themes

The Festival will focus on several key themes: Through Darkness to Light, Indonesian and Western perceptions of Bali post 2002; Pressing Concerns, which will include discussions by and with Southeast Asian book and magazine publishers; From Page to Stage [Writers and performance]; The Long Way Home [Travel writing and identity]; Children of the God's [Children's and young people's literature]; with one day being devoted to lifestyle, coffee and tropical cuisine.

Highlight of the event will include: Keynote addresses by Goenawan Mohamad [Indonesia] and Amitav Ghosh [India/USA]; the attendance of prominent Australian media personality George Negus; a poetic drama using life-sized puppets from Singapore, composed by the poet Felix Cheong; a wayang kulit [puppet drama] in English, based on ancient Balinese literature, by one of Bali's famous dalang; and a new dramatic collaborative work by Darwin dramatist Sandra Thibodeaux and a Balinese writer. The Threads of Life Textile Arts Center of Ubud will also present a program of dance and music from the island of Sumba, together with a unique textiles exhibition.

There will also be cooking demonstrations and discussions by culinary and restaurant experts from Southeast Asia, and an East Coast Palm Sugar and Sea Salt Tour for writers, who will entertain each other with poetry and narrative readings over a café lunch.

Writers of and specialists in children's and young people's literature will attend from Australia, Bali, Jakarta, India, and Hong Kong. There will also be a well-developed program of activities for the local Ubud primary schools, with the aim of encouraging the love of reading and creative writing among Bali's younger generation.

VIP functions will include a Welcome Dinner in the Ubud Palace; a literary lunch; a cocktail party for the Press and publishers; and book launches and book signings. There will be a reception later in the week to present and honor the winners of the fourth Khatulistiwa Literary Award for the best Indonesian fiction for 2003 – 2004.



60 Endangered Animal Sized in Raids
Exotic Pet Owners Face Possible Imprisonment.

Approximately 60 endangered animals were seized in coordinated raids across Bali on Friday, August 6, carried out by officers of the Indonesian Conservation Agency (BKSDA) in cooperation with forestry police officials.

Raided by the authorities were private residences on Jalan Diponegoro, Jalan Ciung Wanara, Jalan Pemuda, Jalan Kanda and Jalan Tukad Balian.

According to reports in the Indonesian-language Bali Post, the raid on the home on Jalan Diponegoro yielded 2 lions, 1 tiger and 8 ligers (cross breeds between lions and tigers). According to the press report, one of the addresses where animals were confiscated is also a well-known local meat factory on Jalan Diponegoro, Titiles, which sells sausages and hams.

The owner of Titiles told the local press that he was in the process of "renewing" permits authorizing the keeping of endangered species.

The combined raids by authorities also netted an orangutan, a honey bear, 2 crocodiles, a python, 3 Arwana fish, and a number of endangered birds, including 3 Bali starlings.

Although seldom enforced, Indonesian law provides for imprisonment for people caught keeping endangered animals. Conservation authorities have promised that the "owners" of the protected animals just confiscated would be brought before the courts.


Air Asia Lands in Bali
Budget Carrier Says Service to Become Twice Daily by Late November.

The Malaysian low cost carrier that boasts "Now Everyone Can Fly" and offers fares low enough to make that possible, landed its inaugural Bali flight on the island on Thursday, August 5.

The Air Asia Boeing 737-300 with 148 sold-out seats landed at Ngurah Rai International Airport with the return flight carrying a somewhat less impressive load factor of 73 paying passengers.

Those hoping to spot the distinctive livery of Air Asia had to be quick to catch a glimpse of the aircraft on Thursday as the aircraft spent only 22 minutes on the ground before its was once again airborne and on its way back to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Quick turn-around times on the ground are just part of the airlines compulsive fixation on efficiency and cost-savings that includes one class of seating, paperless ticketing, first-come-first served free seating on the aircraft, no complimentary refreshments on board, and no refunds for late operation of aircraft.

One-way fares between Bali and Kuala Lumpur start as low as Rp. 249,999 (approximately US$ 27.80).

The airlines regional manager for Air Asia, Shamsul Salin, quoted in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia said that based on the initial strong response for the new service between Bali and Kuala Lumpur he projected the current daily service would be increased to twice a day before late November 2004.


AIDS/HIV in Indonesia Now at Epidemic Levels
Health Experts Sound Warning. Greatest Growth in New Sufferers Among Intravenous Drug Users.

At a recent meeting of health experts meeting in Kuta to discuss HIV/AIDS concluded that the disease has already reached the "concentrated level of an epidemic" in Indonesia with an estimated 90,000 – 130,000 people infected by the virus.

Indonesia's Minister of Health, Achmad Sujudi, told the gathering that while official statistics place the number of full-blown AID sufferers at only 1,525 and those infected with HIV at 2,865, the real numbers are much higher with the disease resembling the proverbial "tip of the iceberg" that is only 10% visible to the naked eye.

According to the Minister, the highest prevalence of HIV in Indonesia is among intravenous drug users, estimated to be between 22-47 percent of all those affected. Moreover, in 2003 epidemiologists estimated that 80% of all new infections in Indonesia were among intravenous drug users.

Statistics from the National Narcotics Center (Kalakhar) estimate that there are 3.9 million illicit narcotic users in the Country.

Meanwhile, commercial sex workers in Indonesia were estimated to have an infection rate of something between 5-26%.

In an effort to stem the onslaught of the disease educational programs are being carried out in 30 provinces of Indonesia, and government-funded subsidies are being provided for condom distribution and the administration of anti-retroviral (ARV) treatments for those who have already contracted HIV.


Pura Besakih Beefs Up Security
Local Village and Police Cooperate to Improve Security at Bali's Mother Temple Complex.

In response to growing complaints of petty crime and harassments by unlicensed guides and others at Bali's ancient Mother Temple Complex Pura Besakih village officials and the local police precinct have agreed to create a higher law enforcement presence at the popular religious site on the slopes of Mount Agung.

The chief of Prakraman Besakih Village, I Wayan Gunatra, recently announced that an agreement had been reached with the local police precinct to increase from one to three the number of police posts around the complex. The village, home to Bali's most sacred temple, also said the pacalang or village security force which numbers 30 men would also be increasing its level of vigilance to ensure a more orderly environment for pilgrims, worshippers and tourist visitors to Pura Besakih.

More information: Take a Tour to Pura Besakih


Air Paradise to Lombok?
Leading Tourism Official Suggests Bali's Home Grown Airline to Fly Direct Services to Lombok.

Statements made by the Deputy Chief of Marketing for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Mr. Udin Saifuddin, to the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia suggest that Bali's Air Paradise International may be considering international services from Australia to Lombok.

"Arrivals of tourists to Lombok have improved and I have received information that Air Paradise has requested permission to fly to Lombok," Saifuddin told reporters.

Seen by the tourism official as further proof of Lombok's improving fortunes, he pointed to a recent decision by Silk Air, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, to increase the size of the aircraft used to serve the Singapore – Lombok route in order to accommodate increased demand. He also cited improving occupancy rates in Lombok which, according to Saifuddin, now average above 50% at the island's major hotels.


Rugby Without the Cuts and Contusions
Touch Rugby Comes to Bali October 2, 2004. Part of Kuta Karnival Festivities.

Jakarta's Touch Rugby Club will hold its second Bali International Touch Tournament in Seminyak on Saturday, October 2, 2004, as part of Kuta Karnival 2004.

Action will get under way at Lapangan Banteng, Seminyak from 10 a.m..

First held in 2000, the one-day tournament returns to Bali by popular demand. At least eight, 10-player teams are expected to participate in the tournament with teams traveling to Bali from Jakarta, Singapore and Malaysia.

Shade, food and drinks available on the pitch will help for a great day of action for event spectators and players alike. Post tournament celebrations are also planned at a local restaurant following the match.

Touch rugby or "touch," as it is more commonly known, is a minimal contact version of the sport. Played worldwide by men, women and children of all ages, the game emphasizes running, agility and ball handling skills, such as passing and catching.

"Touch appears similar to rugby, minus the tackles, scrums and kicking. It is played on a flat surface, half the size of conventional sports fields. Although a social game, there are now commercial leagues and school competition held around the world. The official governing body is the Federation of International Touch.

Proceeds from the October event will benefit facilities improvements at local schools near the field and the Harry Burton Memorial Scholarship Fund. This year's Bali tournament is organized by The Works, ProMotion Events and Jakarta Touch Rugby Club. Sponsorship opportunities are available.

For more information, call Intan at ++62-(0)361-425754.

More information: Kuta Karnival Web Site


Indonesia Seeking Fifth Freedom Air Rights
Onward Passenger Rights Seen as Critical to Expanding Indonesia's International Air Network.

On the heels of the new [Open Skies for Indonesia and the U.S.A.], the Indonesian Government is seeking to expand multi-lateral air agreements by securing fifth freedom traffic rights from various countries in the northern hemisphere.

Fifth Freedoms are the air traffic permissions granted to a country that allow the carriage of passengers and cargo to and from another airline's flag state both to the granting nation and to onward destinations in a third country. For example, a joint agreement between Indonesia, Japan and the United States to allow passengers and cargo to move between gateways in all three destinations represents the granting of fifth freedom air rights.

Statements made by senior aviation officials at a recent seminar in Jakarta suggest that Indonesia will approach a number of countries, including Japan, Korea and Thailand to negotiate fifth freedom rights and open the way for Indonesian air carriers to operate commercially viable long-haul scheduled flights to the United States with intermediate stops in one of those countries.

Given the considerable distances involved for flights between Indonesia and the U.S.A., the ability to disembark and embark passengers at intermediate ports-of-call are seen as necessary to maintain profitable load factors.

The national carrier Garuda Indonesia is unlikely to start services to the U.S.A. anytime in the near future due to its current program of massive route reductions, which has effectively rendered what was once the largest international airline in the southern hemisphere into what is today essentially a regional carrier. While unable or unwilling to undertake long haul routes in its current condition, Garuda may decide to enter into code-sharing agreements with a major U.S. carrier in order to maintain a commercial presence on the potentially lucrative Indonesia-U.S.A. routes.


Freddy Subiyanto 1943 - 2004
Local Restaurateur and Community Leader Dies - Known for His Commitment to the Island of Bali.

On Saturday, July 31, 2004, well respected and much loved local restaurateur Freddy Subiyanto passed away after a long illness.

The owner and operator of the popular Kura Kura Restaurant in Seminyak, Freddy was perhaps equally well known for his tireless devotion to the Community. Active in the Rotary Club of Denpasar, Freddy spearheaded a drive, started in 1997, to build a much needed modern blood bank at Bali's Sanglah General Hospital. Approaching the Rotary Foundation, based at the organization's headquarters in Evaston, Illinois (USA), a link was eventually established with Rotary Clubs in and around Traverse City in Northwest Michigan who joined forces to raise the funds to build the modern facility.

During a 14-day visit to Michigan in May 1998 with members of a Rotary Group Study Exchange, Freddy exchanged ideas with his hosts on how to build Bali's desperately needed blood bank. A few months later, in October Freddy was back to give 12 formal presentations in Michigan and Canada trying to raise the US$ 70,000 needed to build the blood bank. Working under a time pressure imposed by the rapid devaluation of the Rupiah occurring at that time, Freddy and his fellow Rotarians had to raise the necessary funds quickly or risk watching the cost of the project soar out of reach.

Rotarians in Traverse City responded to Freddy's appeal donating US$ 17,500 supplemented by an additional US$ 10,000 from the Rotary Charities of Traverse City. The District Governor of Rotary in Northwest Michigan lent his support coming up with an additional US$ 20,500 in just two weeks. And, fortunately, while Freddy was busy fund raising in Michigan, his fellow Rotarians back in Bali had been busy doing some fund raising of their own obtaining an additional US$ 36.000 from Rotary Clubs in East Hiroshima, Japan.

Today, a modern and clean blood bank has replaced its dingy ill-equipped predecessor – a lasting tribute to the generosity of Rotarians around the world and the determination of Freddy Subiyanto to improve the chances of life for people requiring blood transfusions in Bali.

Finished and operating smoothly, the Bali Blood Bank played a key role in the rescue efforts following the tragic Bali bombing of October 2002.

Freddy Subiyanto was 61 years old. He is survived by his wife, Christina, a son Anton and his wife, and a grandchild.

Freddy Subiyanto – Bali will miss the difference he made to our daily lives.


Impressing the Chinese Press
20 Chinese Journalists Spend a Week in Bali.

20 Chinese journalists comprised of print, photographers and television reporters are in Bali for the week of August 3 - 11 to increase understanding and awareness of Bali as a tourism destination for the Chinese market.

During their visit the journalist will tour the island, see a variety of cultural and tourism attractions that Bali has to offer, and meet with local tour operators.

The group including several Chinese diplomats has been invited to see first hand the potential of Bali tourism and the security and stability of the destination.

The group of Chinese journalists hosted by the Bali Chapter of the Association of Indonesian Travel Agents (ASITA) are from the Guangzhou province of China.


Bound and Bound for Borneo
Seven of 33 Bombing Convicts Now Serving Sentences in Kalimantan.

On Monday, August 2, 2004, 7 of the 33 convicts found guilty by courts in Denpasar of involvement in the Bali bombing tragedy were transferred from the Kerobokan Prison facility in Bali to a penitentiary in Balikpapan, Kalimantan.

The seven men are serving varying sentences of between 3 and 6 years for helping two of the Bali bombers evade arrest in Kalimantan before their eventual capture by the police.

The transfer is part of a program that allows convicted Indonesian felons the opportunity to serve their sentences at correctional facilities in closer proximity to family.

The transfer was carried out under the supervision of heavily armed guards supervising the prisoners who were bound in chains. According to officials, the families of the convicts must bear all costs related to the transfer process.


 
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