Editorial: Days After Another Bomb Attack, Bali Marks 'Galungan' Recalling the Holiday's Celebration of the Triumph of Good Over Evil.
On Wednesday, October 5, 2005, - Buda Kliwon Dungulan on the Balinese calendar, the people of Bali paused in the midst of their grief surrounding recent events to celebrate Galungan - the day in the Hindu ritual cycle to remind that in the end, good shall always triumph over evil.
On that day, businesses closed as devout Balinese returned to their villages to offer prayers and offerings at ancestral temples. Across the island Penjor bamboo altar-poles decorate streets and doorways of every hamlet. Their looming presence proclaiming an ancient victory of Dharma over King Mayadanawa, an evil and godless king who once controlled Bali.
Ten days after Galungan, this year on October 15th, the Balinese undergo another important day of religious observance - Kuningan. While it is imprecise, it is illustrative to think of Galungan as something on the order of an All Saint's Day - the day when ancestral spirits make an annual visit to this earthly plane for a ten day period leading up to the second holy day of Kuningan. In preparation, ancestral temples are cleaned, special offerings are made, and dances presented to humor the hearts and bring contentment to those members of the family, now deceased, back for a brief reunion with family and friends.
In the Balinese view of the cosmos, this is a period in which every attempt must be made to accede to the three basic ordering principles of Balinese life - Tri Hita Kirana - the absolute need for balance to prevail in all matters between Man and Nature; Man and God; and Man and Man. Balinese-Hindu's will traditionally use this period to repudiate those negative elements in their persona - such as deceit, thievery, violence, anger and jealousy.
Galungan and the marking of Kuningan ten days later when ancestral spirits again take their leave of this earth, is a very special period when the people of Bali are on their very best behavior: every village bustles with musical and dance performances; streets are clogged with elegantly dressed families carrying huge mounds of breathtakingly beautiful offerings to nearby temples; and the Balinese feel a very special attachment with their families, friends and the island they love.
Bali Bombing October 1,2005 A Bittersweet Irony of Timing
Such is the high regard for which the Balinese hold this time of year that death itself, when it occurs in close proximity to these holidays is considered unclean, often mandating a quick burial and the postponement of normally elaborate burial ceremonies until more propitious period on the Balinese calendar.
Knowing the special regard for which the Balinese hold their celebration of Galungan and Kuningan, prompts the question of whether the decision to bomb three Bali dining venues just 4 days before this very important Bali-Hindu religious cycle was purely coincidental or just another cynical component of evil minds determined to defile this precious island?
Whichever planning scenario you choose, it's safe to conclude that the timing of the latest Bali bombing attack will eventually prove but yet another miscalculation by the perpretrators of the evilattack. Coincidental or purposely planned, early indications are that the close proximity of these important holy days has only served to once again frustrate any plans by the terrorists to foment internecine violence among religious and racial groups in Bali. The Balinese are staying true to character and, as demonstrated following the 2002 bombing, refusing to snap at any proffered bait for widespread civil insurrection.
As was the case three years before - numerous prayers, offerings and commemoration ceremonies are planned over the coming days and weeks which almost without exception will include representatives of every faith and race as active participants, shoulder to shoudler with their island neighbors.
At the same time it might prove fundamentally incorrect to interpret Bali's spiritually introspective reaction to the latest round of violence as some form of sublime docility. That the evil men behind the attacks purposely or inadvertently chose to pollute this hallowed period on the Balinese calendar with blood, death and violence is a fact not lost on the Balinese. Those behind the outrage must and will be brought to justice.
For, as any Balinese will tell you, good must ultimately triumph over evil.
Bali Surfers Gather to Remember Remember
More than 150 Surfers Gather at Jimbaran Beach to Remember and Reject a Night of Evil.
One week to the day after suicide bombers descended on two Jimbaran seafood restaurants, more than 150 surfers gathered on Bali's Jimbaran beach on Saturday, October 8, 2005, to commemorate and reflect on recent events.
Indonesian surfers, together with wave enthusiasts from New Zealand, Australia, Brazil and Japan climbed aboard their surfboards to form a giant circle of remembrance, to pray and toss flowers into the Indian ocean.
Quoted in the Jakarta Post, local surf clothing entrepreneur Paul Hudson who helped organize the event, explained, "in the surfing culture, when there's a loss of life we have a gathering like this to pay respect to the dead and pray that the ocean we live by will take care of us."
He later added: "We are gathered here where two explosions took place and this is to demonstrate that life goes on in Bali. We will bounce back as we did three years ago."
We Get Mail
Balidiscovery.com Article on Balinese Response to October 1, 2005, Bombing Draws World Wide Reaction.
balidiscovery.com's recent article [Bali Responds to Bombing: Tat Twam Asi] drew a record number of visitors to our web site; was quoted in a number of international print and electronic media; and was even circulated to the members of the US-Indonesia Society in Washington, D.C..
A large number of our readers decided to share their comments after reading the article. A sampling of their comments and responses are included below:
K.H. Nilsson of Varberg, Sweden wrote :
"I am so sorry for what's happened. I was at Bali in just after the 11 September (incident) in New York. First I thought it was a dream but now when it's real, I feel so sorry for you. I stayed in Sanur at Segara Village. Those people down there are the kindest people I have ever met."
Anne Coburn in the United Kingdom wrote :
"I just felt I had to write and offer my sympathies to everyone for yet another terrible episode. My husband and I have just come back after four extremely enjoyable weeks in Bali. We left just a week before the bombs happened, but if we had been there when it happened we wouldn't have raced back to England as many others did. . .We have been coming to Bali for the last eleven years and will continue to do so whatever else happens. We love Bali and all its people they are some of the nicest kindest people in the world and I wouldn't let them down by turning our backs on them, we are extremely worried about the effect it will have on their livelihoods, things just seemed to be really picking up again this year, we have lots of Balinese friends and I know how desperately worried they will be by the effects of what happened. . . .I can't understand why more British aren't coming to Bali, it isn't as though we are not used to that sort of thing happening here, but as long as we show fear then the terrorists have won, and we will have helped them achieve their aim, so come on everyone show them we won't be beaten into submission."
Katy French, writing from Melbourne, Australia was moved to elegance and sent us the following :
"I am so passionate about Bali. Arriving back to Melbourne just a few days before the bombing, first thing I thought was, GOD, I wish I was back there. I wrote this piece the other night whilst sitting in my little apartment, staring at 4 walls and feeling helpless.
Bali welcomes you with open hearts. We cannot stop the slaughter, the agony, the sorrow one feels when uncalled acts of violence occur on our island. Only together, the people of Bali, You, as a whole, continue to stand together, to stop our beautiful Island from becoming an island lost. This maybe to hard for those who haven't visited the island of Bali to understand, understandable, but for those who have enjoyed the people, the sites, the culture, the beauty Bali holds uniquely, then please don't give up on it.
Come back to Bali, where every night is a Saturday night and everyday a Sunday. Please help Bali to recover again. Please come back. Don't let these mindless creatures win."
Stephen O'Brien, Managing Director, of Knight Frank Phuket Company in Thailand sent his encouragement to Bali:
"On behalf of our organization, we offer our deepest sympathy and respects to those whom lost their lives or who were injured in the deplorable terrorist act last Sunday. Phuket respects the 'tourist competition' we have with your island, you will come back."
Andrea Duffy shared her positive sentiments for Bali, saying :
"We are booked to come to Bali on Nov. 17th to celebrate my 50th birthday. This will be my 32nd visit to your wonderful island. I have NO intention of canceling and nor do our friends who are coming over to celebrate with me. You have to keep living and not let these animals rule your life. I was there 3 weeks after the 2002 bombings and felt exactly the same way. If we all stay away then the ANIMALS win. NO WAY am I giving them the satisfaction. Balinese people need us now more than ever. Tourism is their life. Balinese people are amazing and their culture should be taken on by more people. We have much much more than they do BUT they are happy with what they have. We should be more like them. They will rise above these warped inhumane animals and WIN!!!"
Andrew Sivijs and his family wrote from Brisbane, Australia :
"Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the wonderful Balinese community as the island is again visited by evil. My family and I had only just returned from three wonderful weeks in paradise - our six year old's third visit. He was in tears to leave having had life experiences we hope he remembers for many years. He was also in tears Sunday morning as we explained the horror of the latest cowardly acts. The strength of our conviction that these murderers will not change our open and accepting lifestyles will create an immeasurable force. We stand together against these extremists and all they represent. This terror will not win. Friendship, kindness and courage will prevail and will see us back in Bali soon. United we stand. . . .We say a prayer for Bali, the victims and better future."
Steve Peller from New York, New York said:
"As a New Yorker and a frequent visitor to Bali (one who has spent over two years living in Bali since 1997), the concept of 'Tat Twan Asi' resonated strongly. As I know you understand, these latest acts have the potential to continue to destroy tourism in Bali. In the hope of keeping Bali tourism strong, I have shared your article with some newspapers such as the New York Times. Thank you for doing such a fantastic job at keeping all of us 'Bali-Lovers' informed, and keep up the good work!"
A regular Bali Update reader, Robert Eales sent the following e-mail:
"I would like to express my heart felt sadness that Bali has once again been abused by the irresponsible people who call themselves part of the human race. I know that the Balinese people will pick themselves up and i hope things will get back to normal soon as possible . . . as you say, Bali's magic is indestructible."
Julie Griffin, a teacher of hypnosis, wrote to say :
"Thank you for your wonderful article regarding the most recent bombings. I am deeply saddened that you needed to write such an article but your comments were precisely what needed to be said to those of us who think of Bali as a second home. Long live Bali, long live Indonesia. Godspeed."
Roy Thompson, in Ubud, Central Bali, added this to a string on [ Bali Expat Forum] :
"Great insight from a man who knows Bali well."
Bali Bird Park Officially Free of Avian Influenza
Long-Standing Safety and Hygeine Procedures Pay Off With Bird Population That's Officially Hale and Hearty!
Bali Bird Park has been certified free of Avian Influenza by the Bali Regional Bureau of Testing and Veterinarian Affairs Office following a thorough review of the facility conducted on Monday, 26 September 2005, under the supervision of a team from Bali's Department of Livestock.
"We had (already) implemented preventive actions over the past few months ever since the issue on Avian Influenza returned to haunt the world's tourism industry with new cases confirmed in China," said Ketut Suasana, General Manager of Bali Bird Park. "I am sure everyone shares our feelings of relief that no cases have been found in Bali in keeping with our continuous commitment to always be vigilant in maintaining high sanitary and hygiene standards," Suasana added.
Since early this year, Bali Bird Park has taken preventative measures including measures against the spread of disease by requiring all visitors to step on disinfectant floor mats and using liquid disinfectant with everyone entering and exiting the park. A bio-security system is also in place supervising the park's extensive collection of birds and close monitoring of all employees' health with tests conducted on a regular basis.
Located on a two-hectare garden site in Singapadu Village, Gianyar Regency, Bali Bird Park is one of several leading natural conservation, recreational and education attractions in Bali, drawing both local and international visitors to view one of the finest collection of birds in the world, including over 1000 birds representing more than 250 species.
Interactive sessions at the Park include twice-a-day Lorry and Pelican bird feeding, "Meet the Bird Stars," and the weekly Komodo Dragon feeding demonstration.
Seen pictured on balidiscovery.com are a pair of rare Bali Starlings or "Jalak Bali." These "Rothschilds Mynah" are a very rare and critically endangered bird found only in Bali with the Bali Bird Park participating in a captive breeding programs that aims to one day restore a viable population to nature.
Join Bali at a Mass Rally for Peace in Downtown Denpasar Wednesday, October 12, 2005.
The mood at Bali's Bajra Sandhi Monument in downtown Denpasar on Wednesday afternoon, October 12, 2005, is expected to be poignant with emotion as Bali remembers those who have fallen to the evil of mindless terror while, at the same time, expressing the island's spirited opposition to those who wish to rob it of its title as an "Island of Peace."
Echoes of Peace Gema Perdamaian III
Originally planned as a mass peace rally in remembrance of the 202 who died in the October 12, 2002, terrorist attack on two Kuta night spots, this year's ceremony has taken on a sudden added significance following the deaths of 22 more following the October 1, 2005 attack on three Bali dining venues.
Open to the public without charge, the "celebration of peace" gets underway at 4:00 p.m. at the Bajra Sandhi Monument in Renon, downtown Denpasar.
Current plans for the commemoration include a large number of local musical and traditional dance groups; a brief address by Bali's governor; performances by local choirs; joint prayers led by leaders of all of Indonesia's major religious groups; the sounding of the Bali peace gong; and the release of Balloons and Doves.
Ceremonies are scheduled to end at approximately 7:40 p.m..
For more information, contact the Gema Perdamaian III Secretariat located the Bali Tourism Board Office or by telephoning ++62-(0)361-237272.
All are urged and welcome to attend: Let's Give Peace a Chance!
On the Phar Lap Melbourne Cup Day in Bali
It's Melbourne Cup Race Day at Hard Rock Hotel Bali's Center Stage on Tuesday, November 1, 2005.
If the truth be told, the first Tuesday in the month of November each year should be a public holiday in Australia. On that day, that nation comes to a virtual standstill: offices empty, pubs fill, and people whose otherwise strict Methodist upbringing precludes "betting" manage to make a punt on the horses.
It's Melbourne Cup Day!
An annual ritual held each year since it was first run at Flemington Race Course in Melbourne in 1861, "Cup Day" marks the zenith of the Spring Racing Carnival. Bolstered by copious quantities of champagne, canapιs and the world's most outrageous display of silly hats - you have to be careful not to be distracted away from the main event the 3,200 meter handicapped horse race with prize monies exceeding AUS$ 5 million.
Horse racing aficionados and Australians visiting Bali on November 1st but not wishing to miss out on the excitement of this year's running of the Melbourne Cup are encouraged to bring a silly hat to the Hard Rock Hotel's Center Stage Bar on Tuesday, November 1, 2005, to view a live broadcast of the 144th running of the race.
All the pre-race pageantry and the actual race will be broadcast live to the Bar's "Big Screen" starting from 12 noon, local time in Bali. Pies, puffs, ice-cold beer and, of course, champagne will all be on offer from the bar.
Reclaiming Our Beaches
Nearly 300 Tourists Take Over Bali's Most Popular Beach - Proclaiming "Bali Loves Peace."
On Friday, October 7, 2005, less than one week after the heinous bombing of three Bali dining venues, the people of Bali and hundreds of tourists visiting the island "landed" on Bali's famous Kuta Beach reclaiming as their own what only 6 nights before a group of cowardly terrorists had tried to take away.
As shown on balidiscovery.com, hundreds of visitors joined in a largely spontaneous "Bali Loves Peace" event by "occupying" Kuta's white sandy beach to show their love, solidarity and support for the island of Bali.
Nearly 300 tourists from around the world, including Indonesia, Japan, Canada, Malaysia., U.S.A., U.K. and France flocked to the beach where 40 tattoo artists and 38 masseurs provided services without charge throughout the afternoon.
According to observers on the scene, the temporary tattoo artists were kept busy inscribing arms and backs with "Bali Love's Peace" insignias.
While the tattoo only lasts a week, the sentiment expressed is indelible.
Now More Than Ever: Come Home to Bali. Our Magic is Indestructible!
Seven Delicious Courses for the Soul
Seven of Bali's Leading Chefs Combine Forces to Create a Memorable Meal on Saturday, October 15, 2005. Proceed to the Victims of Bali Bomb II.
And Seven Distinctive Flavors.
Seven of Bali's most talented culinary wizards are at least for a night going to keep their keenly competitive spirits in check and combine talents to present a once-in-a-lifetime night of gourmet delight amidst the tropical elegance of The Ritz Carlton Bali Resort and Spa.
The brain-child of the Bali Culinary Professionals Association, the evening will bring guests step-by-step from cocktails through cold appetizer, hot appetizer, soup, seafood, sorbet, main course, cheese and dessert that, the organizers claim, will set the "gold standard" for all future gala dining events on the island.
After looking at the formidable team of talented chefs they managed to assemble in a single kitchen, we're inclined to agree:
Richard Millar of the Ritz Carlton Resort & Spa :
Chris Salans and Francois Seurin of Ubud's fabled Mozaic Restaurant
Gary Rosen of Conrad Bali Resort & Spa
Martin McLeod of The Oberoi Bali
Nam Nguyen of The Legian
Andre Buser of The Balι
Proceeds to Bali Bomb II Victims
The cost of the evening covering all seven courses, beverages and the evening's entertainments is Rp. 1,200,000 (approximately US$114). Proceeds from the evening will be used to assist victims of the Kuta and Jimbaran bombings of October 1, 2005.
Space is limited and reservations for this very special evening are essential.
Contact Travel Works Communications International at ++62-(0)361-710508 or e-mail via the link provided.
Bali - Promoting for its Future, Sends Delegation to IT&CMA Travel Show in Pattaya, Thailand October 11-13, 2005.
Despite the shock of the October 1, 2005, bombing attack, Bali's leading tourism operators have resolved to carry on regardless by sending sales delegations to Pattaya, Thailand to participate in two important promotional events - Corporate Travel World Asia-Pacific (CTW) and Incentive Travel & Conventions, Meeting Asia (IT&CMA).
Hosted at the Pattaya Exhibition and Convention Hall (PEACH) from October 11-13, 2005, the simultaneous gathering is expected to attract some 1,500 professional delegates from 39 countries involved in the planning and execution of conferences, exhibitions and incentives as well as top corporate travel buyers from the entire Asia-Pacific region.
The Bali Travel Delegation
The following travel companies from Bali will be on hand at the Pattaya Exhibition and Convention Hall October 11-13, 2005:
Bali Discovery Tours
Bali Hilton International
Discovery Kartika Plaza
DMC Bali Plus
Hyatt Resorts Bali
Le Meridien Nirwana Resort and Spa
Melia Bali Resort and Spa
Nikko Bali Resort and Spa
Sanur Paradise Plaza Hotel
Dialogue: PATA Vice-Chairman Peter Semone
PATA's Vice Chairman for Development Peter Semone Looks at the Potential Effects of the October 1, 2005, Bali Bombings.
Less than 24 hours after the tragic bombing of 3 Bali restaurants on October 1, 2005, Peter Semone the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Vice-Chairman for Development was on hand in Bali, lending his association's aide and support to Bali's tourism sector. Peter paused in his busy schedule to share his observations on how he thinks Bali will cope as the latest victim in the world-wide war on terror with balidiscovery.com.
Peter Semone of PATA The Interview
balidiscovery.com:The current question in the mind of many Balinese is what effect the latest bombing will have on future arrivals. Peter, in your opinion, will bookings take a nose dive in the next few months, or will there only be a slight dip in tourist numbers?
Semone: The situation is less frantic compared to 2002. Perhaps people have become slightly de-sensitized. It is as if this is the new normal. Terrorist groups know no boundaries. To say that Bali is now more dangerous than other places is not necessarily true. We don't know what will happen tomorrow. People can be targets of terrorism anywhere. So in that sense, I think that tourism will take less of a nose dive than it did in the aftermath of the 2002 incident. Look at destinations impacted by the 2003 SARS out break. They are now back at pre-crisis levels, or better. Many of the destinations damaged by the tsunami have reasonably strong forward bookings for the coming November-March high season period. Tourism destinations and tourists are becoming more resilient to crisis, which means much faster rebounds.
balidiscovery.com: What would you advise the Indonesian and Balinese tourism industry to do to facilitate recovery?
Semone:You will remember that in the aftermath of the 2002 bombings, PATA deployed a Task Force to provide recommendations on recovery. I think that many of the findings of that report remain valid today. Cooperation between the public and private sectors; between the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Bali Tourism Industry. A re-look at Bali's destination branding. And close monitoring and support of the aviation sector: after all, Bali is an island that relies heavily on continued service by air carriers. As soon as I return to Bangkok, we will be sure and post the PATA Bali Recovery Task Force on our website. (See Link.)
balidiscovery.com: How can the people everywhere help Bali recover?
Semone: Travel intermediaries and tourists are now in a position to decide Bali's fate. Travel agents should ensure that they are well informed before advising their clients on whether or not to travel to Bali. As much as it would be wrong to advise someone to travel somewhere if there is credible danger, it is equally wrong to discourage someone from traveling to a destination without facts. However, in the end, it'll be the consumer that will determine if and for how long Balis tourism industry will suffer. It's during times like this that anyone that does have a familiarity with Bali and its people should plan on traveling to Bali. The more evidence that tourists are enjoying their holidays in Bali, the sooner the perception of danger will fade.
balidiscovery.com: Do you see any impact of Bali Bombings of October 1, 2005, on the rest of Southeast Asia?
Semone: Obviously, these sort of events remind everyone just how fragile and vulnerable the travel and tourism industry are. We're really a soft target and it's not always easy to harden our infrastructure against terrorism. It's very difficult to balance increased security and at the same time maintain the relaxed atmosphere that a holiday destination like Bali is famous for. Based on the assumption that nothing else happens in the coming days, weeks and month, I don't see this event having much impact on Southeast Asian tourism.
East Timor's President and Family Spend a Week's Holiday in Bali.
The bombing attacks of the previous weekend apparently did little to deter East Timor's President Xanana Gusmao, his wife, and three sons from spending a week's long holiday in Bali.
Arriving in Bali on Thursday, October 6, 2005 for a one-week vacation in Indonesia.
Quoted by Agence France-Press, Xanana, the head of the World's newest nation and Bali's nearest foreign neighbor, commented on the timing of his visit by telling the press that "in times like now, Bali needs all the support it can get."
Ubud's Writers and Readers Festival
Whilst holidaying in Bali, Timor Leste's First Lady, Kirtsy Sword-Gusmao appeared at the Ubud's Writers & Readers Festival in Bali, October 6- 11, 2005 to discuss her best-selling memoir, A Woman of Independence, and life in the world's youngest nation. At that festival, Together with husband, President Xanana Gusmao, Madame Sword-Gusmao read excerpts from her book about their blossoming love and the President's romantic poetry.
In addition to attending the Ubud Festival, the Xanana family are also scheduled to visit Surabaya in East Java before returning to East Timor's capital of Dili.
Popular Former Minister of Tourism and Telecommunications, Joop Ave, Offers Advice to Bali Travel Industry Following October 1, 2005, Bali Bombing.
Seeking to bolster Bali's tourism players' spirits following the October 1, 2005 bomb attack, Indonesia's former Minister of Tourism and Telecommunication Joop Ave called on the nation's tourism industry to never surrender to the forces of terror and fight back by continually promoting Bali as a tourism destination.
Quoted in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, Ave, speaking at a tourism breakfast in Jakarta said: "The case of the (latest) Bali bombing demonstrates that terrorism is not selective in choosing its victims; this time it was our own domestic tourists who suffered the most casualties." Ave went on to remind that Bali's recovery will, once again, depend on the revival of domestic tourism.
Ave, a member of the Indonesian Tourism Think Tank (MPI), said he was confident that the people of Indonesian would never surrender to terrorism and that increased vigilance and security following the latest attack will ensure that the economic fallout will be less severe this time than following the attack of October 2002.
In the opinion of Indonesia's very popular retired elder-statesman of tourism, professional management of the current crisis by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the government he leads will do much to contain the damaging effects of the latest bomb attacks. Ave said: "Trust in the quick handling of the government. Moreover, (the fact) that the Head of State served as the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs during the first Bali bombing means that he (the President) knows exactly what needs to be done in the current situation. The whole world admits to Indonesia's ability to overcome terrorism with the perpetrators of the Bali Bomb I being successfully bought to justice. The police are working quickly, and former President Megawati and other ranking officials have all come to Bali demonstrating Indonesia's commitment to dealing with this latest act of terror."
Ave went on to call for the press to continue to be supportive of efforts to restore Bali's good tourism image, pointing to the lower rate of cancellations and lack of a mass exodus from Bali following the October 1st bombing as largely due to the moderated response of the media, both in Indonesia and abroad.
More Security for Restaurants
In separate comments in Jakarta, also published in Bisnis Indonesia, Ave called on restaurant owners across the country to enhance the level of security provided at their establishment.
Urging restaurant owners to require all guests to pause momentarily at the entrance when entering a restaurant, Ave urged: "Don't let your guests directly walk in and sit down, instead use the U.S. system, where every guest must wait to be seated. If necessary, increase the role of reservations for meals."
The former Minister said that he hoped restaurants would not be reluctant to inspect every customer and that the public would accept such inspections as necessary to general security. "People should stop complaining about security checks whenever they visit hotels, shopping malls and other public places. We should, in fact, be thankful for any security measures implemented for our common safety," Ave added.
The links below provide access to the graphical version of the Bali Update.