October 12, 2002 Bombing Commemorated with Prayer, Songs and Meditation.
The tragic bombing of October 12, 2002 was marked in Bali in a variety of ways during the week of its second anniversary.
The Bali Bombing Monument
Police closed roads for a 24-hour period leading up to "ground zero" and the commemoration ceremonies held at the newly inaugurated Bali bombing memorial on Tuesday, October 12, 2004, the anniversary of the bombing. During that day hundreds of mourners, many comprised of family and friends of the 202 people who died in the terrorist attack, gathered before the monument to hear songs, prayers, poems and speeches honoring the dead and condemning the perpetrators of the travesty.
Later that same day, people gathered again at the monument for a candlelight vigil that culminated at 11:15 p.m., the exact hour of the original blast.
The monument is a marble edifice standing near the bomb site based on a traditional Balinese design which incorporates a fountain and the 22 flags representing each of the countries who lost citizens in the attack. The monument also features the engraved names of all those who died near the site.
At a separate area of Bali, in the administrative sub-district of Renon thousands of people carrying candles and flowers gathered on the same Tuesday starting from 4:30 p.m. at the Monumen Bajra Sandhi. People came in traditional dress reflecting all of Indonesia's major cultural and religious groups. Spiritual songs, prayers and dances were presented – all celebrating the differences that enrich the world and should form the basis of peace among all people.
Songs were performed by Indonesian folk star, Franku Sahilatua and a speech calling for peace and unity was read on behalf of Bali's Governor. The ceremony closed with the ringing of a peace gong by Bali's Chief of Police, Irjen I Made Pastika and the release of balloons and doves by representatives of all religious groups found in Bali.
A Steadily Improving Patient
Bali by the Numbers: January Through August Arrival Figures Show Regional Travel is Booming While Long Haul Continues to Lag.
Foreign direct arrivals via Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport are encouraging, showing a 55.85% improvement in the January-August 2004 period over the same period just one year earlier. The 951,927 foreign visitors who visited the Island in the first two-thirds of 2004, however, still lag slightly behind overall arrival performances registered in 2001 and 2002.
Asia-Pacific: Savior and Star Performer
Asia-Pacific arrivals are up 75.73% year-to-date, setting new arrival records for visitors from the region. Leading the pack are the Japanese with 204,685 visitors – numbers still down approximately 5% from 2001 and 2002 arrival figures ex Japan. Meanwhile, Australian travelers are back in droves aided by ever increasing new flights added by airlines trying to keep apace of burgeoning demand. January-August arrivals of 175.374 represent all time highs for Australian visitors, surpassing even the "next-strongest" performance of 166,052 set for the same period in 2001. The Taiwanese are also back performing at near to full strength, totaling 132,071 in the first two thirds of the year.
ASEAN – It's About Air Capacity
Give them seats on airplanes and low fares and they shall come!
Arrivals from ASEAN countries are breaking new ground at 76,866 in the January-August period. Massively ahead of any figures recorded in the past, the ASEAN invasion is being lead by Malaysia who recorded 33,510 arrivals in the period – a near 200% improvement from arrivals in 2001 and 2002.
The Americas – Oh, Say Can You See?
Visitors from the Americas, while improving 40.58% over the January – August 2003 totals at 49,019 visitors, are still 14-35% behind the totals recorded in 2001 and 2002.
Europeans: Still Missing from the Picture
European arrivals are experiencing a long, hard slog in the fight to return to former days of glory. Although improving 27.18% over 2003 for the first 8 months of 2004, the European market still lags around 30% behind performances turned in 2001 and 2002.
The long-staying, high-spending U.K., Dutch and German markets still remain badly depressed in terms of Bali tourist arrivals.
An Increasingly Under-Diversified Market Mix?
The fact that arrivals from three main source markets to Bali – Japan, Australia and Taiwan – now account for nearly 54% of all arrivals should give Bali's travel planners reason to pause. Is the Bali market mix becoming under-diversified and setting itself up for another massive shock should any one of these source markets suddenly collapse?
Moreover, toss in arrivals from just two more source markets – Malaysia and Singapore – and the lack of source-diversity becomes even more acute with 5 countries accounting for more than 60% of all foreign tourist arrivals.
At some point, Bali may discover its substantial success limited to so few markets may some day end up holding the island's tourism fortunes ransom.
USA Today Reports of Bali's Rebound from 2002 Bombing.
USA Today correspondent, Jayne Clark, recently paid a visit to Bali to review the state of the island's economic health and tourism industry 2 years after the Bali bombing. She spent a number of days visiting local businesses and hotels in her quest to monitor the current state of affairs in Paradise.
The verdict: Bali's magic is indeed indestructible and, following a traumatic past two years, the island is moving on.
Read Jayne Clark's article and her helpful suggestions on how to plan a perfect Bali Holiday.
Immigration Department Established Intelligence Directorate.
Closer scrutiny of both Indonesians and foreigners leaving and entering Indonesia is expected to be the result of the establishment of a new intelligence directorate within the National Immigration Department.
On Friday, October 15, 2004, the new directorate was formally inaugurated with the appointment of Haryo Sasongko as the Directorate's first Director by Indonesian Justice Minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra. Sasongo's last posting was as the Head of the West Java Justice Ministry office.
Elevating the function of monitoring the flow of people both in and out of the country from a division within the immigration department to a now full-fledged directorate is expected to enhance coordination between the immigration department, law enforcement agencies, the armed forces, police and the National Intelligence agency.
The new directorate will play an active role in international efforts to stem trans-national crime and tighten control at border on people sought by the police and other government agencies.
Drum Roll, Please
No Injuries Reported from Moderate Earthquake on October 14th.
Following by almost exactly one month a 5.5 Richter Scale earthquake that shook Bali on September 15, another moderate quake of 5.0 on the Richter scale shook Bali residents just after noon on Thursday, October 14, 2004.
No reports of major damage or injury were reported in connection with the quake which rumbled on for 20 seconds and was felt in hotels on the southern part of the island and the Capital.
The epicenter of the earthquake was pinpointed to be located in the ocean 153 kilometers southwest of Denpasar, at a depth of 74 kilometers below sea level.
Seeking Miss Waterbom 2004
Local Water Recreation Park Holding Contest to Select a Beauty Ambassador for the Coming Year.
South Kuta's popular Waterbom Park is seeking a young woman of exceptional beauty and poise to represent them throughout the coming year.
According to the park, the lady eventually selected to the role of "Miss Waterbom 2004" will be someone who reflects the fun, relaxing and friendly personality of the Waterbom Park and is able to represent the attraction at special events, exhibitions and social events to increase brand awareness for the Park throughout the coming year.
The contest is open to local female students, aged between 15 and 22 years. Semi-final selections will be held at Waterbom's H20 and Pleasure Pool on Sunday, November 28, 2004 with the final run-off set for Sunday, December 5, 2004.
Registration opens from October 25 through November 17, 2004.
For more information contact Rahmat at Waterbom Park telephone 0361-755676 or follow the e-mail link provided.
Agung Prana Cites Health Issues in Resigning from Head of Tour and Travel Association.
Agung Prana, the popular Chairman of the Bali Branch of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA) had tendered a formal letter resigning his leadership post, effective October 7, 2004.
Citing health concerns and the advice of his physician, Prana, who was elected to a 5-year term for 2003-2007, thanked those who had assisted him in the first year of his Chairmanship. In his resignation letter he listed a number of unfinished duties left to the association and his successor, including:
• The incomplete recovery of Bali's tourism industry.
• Responses to the intense competition of other tourism destinations in the region.
• "Dumping practices" still occuring in local tourism circles where guests are traded by unethical operators.
• The need for more and better coordinated tourism promotion.
• The optimizing of efforts to create "culture tourism" based on the genuine interests of local populations.
• The limiting of new licenses for tour and travel agents operatingin Bali.
• The further development of the domestic tourism market segment.
Prana, a successful local tour operator, is also founder of the Karang Lestari Reef Restoration Foundation in Pemuteran, Northwest Bali. He played an integral role in creating the now-famous community marine patrol to end destructive fishing practices, the first of its kind in Indonesia. Such community-based marine restoration and protection projects have won Agung Prana national and international awards, including the Best 2002 Marine Coastal Program in Indonesia from the Indonesian government and Best 2002 Underwater Eco-tourism Project in the world from SKAL International, the world's largest professional tourism organization.
Bagus Sudibya, the First Vice Chairman of ASITA-Bali, has been named the Caretaker of the organization until such a time as a Bali Chapter General Assembly can be convened for the purpose of electing a new Chairman.
Something of a Fish Story
The Big One That Didn't Get Away. Romancing Bali's Giant Mola-Mola Fish.
In 1985, a young Australian surfer was startled while surfing at Nusa Lembongan island when he occasionally saw a massive fin break the water's surface. Concerned that he was being "eyed" by a tiger shark, the young surfer, Michael Cortenbach, was relieved to discover that his swimming companion at Bali's neighboring island was the very rare Oceanic Sunfish or Mola Mola - the world's heaviest bony fish.
A gigantic fish by any standard, the Mola Mola can grow to 3 meters in diameter and weigh as much as 363 kilograms.
Six years later in 1991 and actively employed establishing Bali Hai Diving Adventures, Michael and the enormous Mola Mola were reunited again at Nusa Lembongan while diving at a depth of 30 meters. Considered rare and seldom seen by divers, Bali Hai Diving Adventures have closely monitored the annual visits of the Mola Mola - becoming along the way something of a world center for the observation and study of these gigantic sea creatures. Over the past ten years the Company has played a key role in disseminating information about the Mola Mola to the world by hosting photographers, journalists, dive travel professionals, collecting data, communicating with scientists and supporting an award winning video made by Mr. Chris Paporakis.
Over the past 6 weeks – during this year's annual visit of the Mola Mola - world-wide interest has peaked with Bali Hai Diving Adventures and Bali Hai Cruises playing host to a long list of Mola Mola aficionados:
• They hosted visits to the island by two major marine conservation groups and potential donors for the development of a Marine Protected Area at the island. The goal: the establishment of a three-island conservation area that will preserve Bali's tremendous coral reef assets by showing people the unique natural qualities of the area.
• A visit by the BBC and famed underwater-cinematographer Peter Scoones. Fresh off projects with Blue Planet and Planet Earth, Peter and his team of underwater cinematographers dived to 30 meters day after day to capture the often shy Mola Mola on film.
• A visit by Miss Tierney Thys, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer grant recipient. Tierney, a rising star in the world of marine biology and an acknowledged expert on the Mola Mola, came to Bali to deploy satellite tags on the fish in order to obtain a better understanding of annual migration patterns. Accompanied by two Indonesian scientists, the team's work was documented on film by underwater journalist, Tim Rock.
• The filming of an episode of a new television series "The Equator" documenting close encounters between divers and the Mola Mola. Growing accustomed to having their photo taken, these normally reticent huge fish suddenly decided to appear en masse, permitting an unprecedented single-frame shot of 5 Mola Mola. Playful and full of never-before documented antics for the camera team, the fish did numerous flying leaps that broke the ocean's surface and an unheard of cleaning behavior where 6 different species of fish worked in unison to remove parasites from a single Mola Mola.
Thirteen years after his initial encounter with the Mola Mola, Michael Cortenbach has developed a deep attachments and understanding for the massive Oceanic Sunfish. To acknowlede his pioneering role in local efforts to preserve the species, Michael was recently given the honor of attaching the second satellite tag to a Mola Mola.
Based on Michael's recent experience while diving at Nusa Lembongan one might conclude that the Mola Mola hold a special regard for their friends and admirers. While swimming in crystal clear water Michael discovered that he was surrounded by a large school of the giant fish, seemingly eager to share some quality time with a man leading a community-based movement to preserve their ocean environment.
Comments by Indonesia's Culture and Tourism Minister on Fighting Terrorism with Tourism and an Interesting Picture Taken in Kuta Prompted Readers to Write In.
balidiscovery.com's recent coverage [Fighting Terrorism with Tourism] prompted a number of letters from readers. Here's just two letters selected from the many we received:
• Reader Don Bloye had these comments, including warm salutations to Indonesia's new President:
"I applaud Minister Ardika and his wishes for a greater tourism basis in Indonesia. I will be bringing a group of 12 scuba divers into Bali at the end of this month and we continue on to Wakatobi (Editor's Note: An island dive resort south of Sulawesi). Everyone is very excited and looking forward to this trip although they know and understand the problems brought on by radicals. We are divers, therefore citizens of the World, and harbor hostilities toward no persons. I have lead dive groups to Bali and beyond for a number of years and have truly fallen in love with the Indonesian People - some of the most gently and sincere on earth! We all send much encouragement and luck to Minister Ardika and the new leadership, President Yudhoyono. We are again looking forward to making some new friends!"
• A reader in Singapore, David Bernard, feels there's still much to be done to improve security in Bali:
"It's great what the minister says, but as a frequent visitor to Bali (I feel) basic security leaves much to be desired ... Especially as the terrorists have probably caught on to the fact that their biggest 'success' has been here in Bali. After all, the bombs in Jakarta only succeeded in killing mainly Indonesians; only in Bali have they been successful in murdering foreigners. I constantly ask the question as to why on busy nights there are no police checkpoints at the end of Dyanapura street and 66 street stopping and checking cars, instead sometimes you see a few policemen with no barricade ... very easy for a determined suicide bomber to drive through. Maybe it should be up to the bar operators to recognize that by providing this security they can increase their business as guests will be more comfortable visiting their bars when their is some assurance that there is a higher level of security - perhaps similar to that provided at the entrance to establishments such as Ku DeTa."
• Another reader took a snapshot of a "unique" pedestrian crossing in downtown Kuta that we include at balidiscovery.com for our reader's enjoyments.
Melbourne Cup in Bali
Sanur Paradise Plaza to Host Melbourne Cup Race Event November 2, 2004.
In what has become something of a tradition in Bali, the Sanur Paradise Plaza Hotel will host its annual Melbourne Cup Race Day on Tuesday, November 2, 2004.
Not to be outdone by those attending the real event at the Flemington Racecourse in far away Melbourne, those attending the Bali event are encouraged to wear an outrageous hat and participate in non-monetary betting games provided.
Celebrated in Australia on a fashion approaching a public holiday, the Melbourne Cup is an annual "rite of spring" televised internationally. First held in 1861, the race is now held every year on the first Tuesday in November on a 3,200 meter-long course.
Melbourne Cup in Bali
Festivities in Bali commence at 11:00 a.m. at the Denpasar Room of the Sanur Paradise Plaza Hotel on race day, November 2, with live entertainment, a fashion show, a 3-course set luncheon served with wine, and various sweeps and prizes in connection with the actual race which will be televised live.
Cost of participating is only Rp. 88,000 (approximately US$ 9.60 per person) which covers the race, lunch, and 21% tax and service.
Seating is limited. In order to book, follow the e-mail link provided.
Moslem Cleric May Go To Trial in Less Than One Month.
Indonesia's militant cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, the alleged leader of Jemaah Islamiah (JI), has been named in a formal indictment related to the Bali bombing of October 12, 2002, and the Jakarta Marriot bomb attack of August 2003.
These two terrorist incidents claimed a combined 214 lives and maimed hundreds of others. The 65-page indictment filed by State prosecutors in Jakarta on Friday, October 15, 2004, contain main charges of inciting or ordering acts of terror and also alledged ownership of explosives. If convicted of these crimes the 66 year-old Bashir could be imprisoned for 20 years or face a firing squad.
Bashir, who was in police custody when the Marriott bomb attack ocurred, insists he is innocent of all charges filed against him.
Prosecutors have indicated they are ready to go to trial in as little as two week's time from the date of the October 15, 2004, indictment.
To date, 32 people have been brought to trial in connection with the Bali bombing incident.
Line and Body Language
An Exhibition by I Nyoman Erawan 26 October – 19 November 2004 at Ganesha Gallery.
The Ganesha Gallery at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay is featuring a solo exhibition of painting by Balinese artist I Nyoman Erawan from October 26 until November 19, 2004.
Born in Sukawati (Gianyar) in 1957, Erawan studied at the Indonesian Art Institute (ISI) in Yogyakarta on his way to becoming an internationally regarded painter, installation and performance artist. His work is part of the collection of Bali's Neka Museum and he has exhibited in Basel, Amsterdam, U.S.A., Australia, Singapore, Tokyo and Jakarta.
The current exhibition at The Ganesha Gallery is titled "Line and Body Language."
The Gallery is open daily from 10:00 a.m. until 6 p.m..
For more information call ++62-(0)361-701010.
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