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Indonesia Suffers A Series of Back-to-Back Crises in the Course of a Single Week.
Mark it off to "March madness," but the first full week of March 2007 was full of woe for the Indonesian nation. To wit:
The week began with massive landslides on Flores that claimed over 40 lives and left over 1,000 homeless on the remote island far down the chain of the Lesser Sunda islands to Bali's East.
National attention shifted to the West and the island of Sumatra on Tuesday, March 6, 2007, where a series two large earthquake and hundred of aftershocks shook the region surrounding Padang and Bukit Tinngi. The quakes, felt far away in Singapore where workers fled their office buildings, claimed more than 70 lives and caused scores of injuries in West Sumatra
The almost-daily "dose" of bad news continued on Wednesday, March 7, 2007, with the early morning crash of a Garuda Airline B737-400 at Yogyakarta's airport, near Central Java, in which 22 people died. Both Indonesian and Australian authorities continue to investigate the accident with all parties discounting that sabotage or terrorism played any part in the tragedy.
Bali, which by virtue of distance had thus far managed to escape unscathed from the week's tragedies, suffered strong winds whipped up by Tropical Cyclone George in Australia on Thursday, March 8, 2007. Those winds caused trees to uproot in several locations around the island, killing at least 5 locals and the temporary closure of ferry service to Bali from both Java and Lombok.
With Cyclone Jacob moving across the Indian Ocean towards Australia's Northern Territory, Bali's weather forecasters are warning Bali to expect more strong peripheral winds and large waves.
An Island Largely Unscathed, But Not Untouched
While a lack of international sophistication on the subject of Indonesian geography causes many to think a problem happening anywhere in Indonesia as automatically affecting the entire nation, the truth of the matter is far different. In a country equal in breadth to the entire United States and comprised of 17,508 islands, Bali was far removed physically, if not emotionally, from last week's disasters in Sumatra, Java and Flores.
Explaining the "geographical factor" in assessing the impact of Indonesian disasters, Michael Burchett, Chairman of the Bali Hotel Association (BHA), said: "While Bali is separated by many mile from the three disasters that have befallen the Republic in rapid succession over the past week, the people of the Island are shocked and deeply grieved by the suffering and loss of their fellow Indonesians. From among the more than 22,000 employees working in the member hotels of the BHA, we have representatives from almost every cultural and ethnic group that make up the rich and colorful fabric of Indonesian society. Because of this and as in past tragedies, the members of the BHA are reaching out to console and offer assistance to employees who have suffered the loss of family members and friends or lost their homes in any of the recent tragic events."
Burchett who is General Manager of the Conrad Bali Resort & Spa and the BHA - a professional group of more than 74 star-rated hotels and resorts in Bali, added: "while including all those who have suffered losses in our prayers the BHA is also pro-actively contacting its members to collect aid and material support for the victims of these events, particularly for the people of Sumatra and Flores who have lost their homes or businesses. While efforts are underway to gather blankets, towels and serviceable bedding from Bali hotels who belong to BHA, we are liaising with local charitable organizations to determine the most efficient and effective way to distribute aid and relief supplies."
According to reports received from member hotels of the BHA, many guests currently on holiday in Bali watching TV reports of the three tragedies have approached hotel staff and managers asking how they could personally contribute to relief efforts. Appreciative of the concern for the plight of fellow Indonesian shown by their guests, the BHA is recommending that those wish to assist relief efforts channel donations through the International Red Cross or contact one of following branches of the Indonesian Red Cross located in the general vicinity of the Flores and Sumatra natural disasters:
Palang Merah Indonesia (Indonesian Red Cross) - Jalan Dr. Wahidin No. 3, Padang, West Sumatra 25138, INDONESIA -Telephone ++62-(0)751-27882
East Nusa Tenggara
Palang Merah Indonesia (Indonesian Red Cross) - Jalan Jend. Suharto No. 71°, Kupang, Nusa Tenggara Timur 85117, INDONESIA - Telephone ++62-(0)380-826360 - Facsimile ++62-(0)380-821705.
Dye Another Day
Bali Police Crackdown on Batik and Textile Dyeing Companies Located Along Denpasar's River Banks.
In the face of worsening pollution of Bali's rivers and seas, local authorities have brought to court and heavily fined 23 cloth dyeing operations located along Denpasar's river banks, promising that a further 185 companies are slated for a police crackdown in the near future.
The fines already imposed by Denpasar's courts at an average Rp. 5 million (approximately US$544) per company are among the highest ever imposed on the small enterprises who dye batik and sarong cloth for sale to tourists in local shops.
The head of Denpasar Administrative Police (Pamong Praja) told the Indonesian-language DenPost that his office would pull no punches nor offer any quarter to the remaining 185 illegal dyeing companies guilty of polluting the City's rivers and operating without the required licenses.
The initial 23 companies who were brought to the court and charged with criminal misdemeanors were all held by authorities and only released after their fines were paid.
The imposition of the maximum fine allowable was widely protested by the small textile firms who claimed their punishment was both selective and onerous. Authorities have responded claiming that their enforcement program was ongoing and that those punished by the courts had received numerous warnings from enforcement teams in the past.
In the course of the crackdown dyes, pumps and dyeing equipment were seized to be used as evidence by the police who also cited a number of workers at the facilities for failure to hold local identity cards as required by law.
Sunday Night Rijsttafel at The Wharf
Destined to Become a Bali Culinary Tradition Sunday Evening Rijsttafel at Ramada Resort Bintang Bali.
"Rijsttafel", Dutch for "Rice Table," is a delicious legacy of Indonesia's Dutch colonial past created to bring the best recipes collected from across the archipelago to the dinner table. Comprised of course after course of well-spiced and succulent dishes followed by a final act of exotic fruits and sweets a "Rijsttafel" is best met with a hearty appetite and at least a momentary inability to count calories.
Sundays at The Wharf Ramada Resort Bintang Bali
Following extensive research, the chefs at the Ramada Resort Bintang Bali have compiled over 15 separate dishes representing all the main culinary traditions of Indonesia and now present them every Sunday night at their beachside restaurant - The Wharf, starting from 7:00 p.m..
In keeping with the more than 3 centuries of tradition surrounding the "Rijsttafel," the multi-course meal is served by a bevy of beautiful young women in traditional sarong kebaya, while music is provided by a keroncong Orkestra.
The "Rifjsttafel" Menu
Some of the delicacies on offer every Sunday night include:
Lumpia from Central Java traditional Spring Rolls
Soto Ayam from East Java clear chicken broth with glass noodles
Sambal Goreng Printil from Yogyakarta beef meat balls in spicy red sauce
Kambing Begana from Jakarta - lamb stew in young coconut
Opor Ayam from Jakarta chicken stew in a coriander flavored sauce
Sate Ayam from East Java chicken satay with peanut sauce
Ikan Masak Woku from North Sulawesi spicy tuna fish in basil and ginger
Cumi Masak Tinta from West Java baby squid cooked in natural ink
Udang Lada Hitam from Bali deep fried king prawns cooked in black pepper
Plecing Kankung from Lombok water spinach in a shrimp paste sauce
Mie Goreng from North Sumatra wok fried yellow egg noodles
٠ Nasi Putih & Nasi Kuning from West Sumatra steamed yellow and whit rice
Aneka Buah Segar - sliced fresh fruits
Klepon Ubi - sweet potato dumpling with palm sugar
Es Puter Ubi - sweet potato ice cream
Cost for the "Rijsttafel" at The Wharf at Ramada Resort Bintang Bali is Rp. 185,000 plus tax and service (approximately US$24.40) with a 50% reduction for children under 12 years of age.
For reservations telephone ++62-(0)361753292 extension 2202.
Tourism Official Says Little Will Happen in Increasing Indonesian National Tourism Without More Promotional Spending.
Requests from the Department of Culture and Tourism for a supplemental budget of Rp. 135 billion (approximately US$14.67 million) to promote Indonesian tourism remain unanswered by Jakarta, despite calls by Vice President Jusuf Kalla for higher tourism targets and more international promotion.
Sapta Nirwandar, Secretary-General of the Department of Culture and Tourism, was recently quoted by the Indonesian-language Bali Post as saying that logic dictates that if the Government truly wants 6 million foreign visitors to Indonesia in 2007, current levels of promotional funding are inadequate. Nirwandar defended his Department's request for additional promotional funding as reasonable, saying that expectations for more visitors without a corresponding increase in promotion was "nonsense."
The Formula for Tourism Promotional Spending
Nirwandar used the occasion to point to a World Tourism Organization (WTO) calculation that a minimum spend of US$10 per each foreign tourist was needed for proper promotion. He continued: "The neighboring country of Malaysia which targets 6 million tourism have a promotional budget of US$60 million. But, how is it in Indonesia? Clearly, (spending is) not ideal for the current target. While we realize funding is limited, but if promotion is properly carried out the resulting foreign exchange will be very significant."
Warning that foreign tourism arrivals need to increase dramatically to meet higher targets of 6 million foreign visitors to Indonesia for 2007, Nirwandar revealed that the entire budget for the Department of Culture and Tourism for 2007 stands at Rp. 900 billion (approximately US$97.8 million), an increase from the Rp. 751 billion (approximately US$81.63 million) allocated in 2006. "This amount is far from what was hoped for and (yet) we face demands to open overseas travel promotional offices, to undertake international advertising campaigns and to participate in international travel marts all requiring much more funding," Nirwandar warned.
Outgoing BTB Chairman Bagus Sudibya Files Accountability Report and is Named to Head 'Ad Hoc' Recovery Team.
The Bali Tourism Board (BTB) has formally received a report from its outgoing Chairman Bagus Sudibya at a meeting attended by representatives of all the stakeholder organizations which comprise the private-sector tourism promotion body.
At a meeting chaired by the incoming BTB Chairman, Ida Bagus Ngurah Wijaya, the outgoing Chairman's report covering the period of his leadership was received by the BTB with "several notations" and the explanation that any activities connected with the expenditure of Bali recovery funds was the business of Jakarta to accept or reject.
Wijaya told the Indonesian-language BisnisBali, "We receive the accountability report of the BTB Chairman (outgoing) regarding routine expenditures." He added, however, that several sections of the report dealing with finance require further clarification.
The Vice-Chairman of BTB, Tjok Artha Ardhana Sukawati, echoed the new Chairman's words accepting the accountability for routine expenditures of the organization but insisted the second part of the accountability report dealing with the use of Bali recovery funds was for programs still in progress and could only be approved by Jakarta.
Several stakeholder organizations attending the accountability meeting held on Monday, March 5, 2007, suggested the accountability report of the outgoing BTB Chairman should be reviewed by an independent auditor.
Ad Hoc Committee for Bali's Recovery
Meanwhile, the BTB has taken the step of appointing an ad hoc committee charged with continuing the important work of helping the Bali tourism industry's recovery. Appointed to head the ad hoc recovery committee was the past-chairman of the BTB, Bagus Sudibya. Within the same recovery committee John Panca, the Chairman of the Indonesian Association of Professional Conference Organizers (SIPCO), was assigned the task of heading a special committee to seek sources of funding for Bali's recovery effort.
The BTB have announced their intention to soon convene a general assembly of its members to establish a formal work program for the year ahead.
Head of Seafarers Union Thinks 20,000 Balinese Working on Cruise Ships Should Be Compelled to Remit Foreign Exchange to the Island.
15,000-20,000 Balinese are estimated to currently be employed on board cruise ships around the world earning important foreign exchange for Indonesia.
According to the President of the Indonesian Seafarers Association (KPI), Hanafi Rustandi, the lack of government regulations requiring the cruise ship workers to either save a portion of their wages or repatriate a portion of their income back to Bali causes the loss in value of the desperately needed foreign exchange to the Island.
Quoted in the Indonesian-language daily Bali Post, Hanafi said Indonesia would benefit greatly from exchange earned by Balinese if the Government followed the example of the Philippines which requires the repatriation of a portion of income earned abroad. As a result, according to Hanafi, repatriated income from Philippine expatriate workers represents the greatest single source of foreign exchange for that nation.
Continuing in the same vein, Hanafi extrapolated that if an estimated 15,000 Balinese expatriate seafarers earning an average US$1,000 per month were required to deposit 80% of that amount in a Balinese financial institution this would generate US$12 million dollars in foreign exchange for Bali every month.
The head of KPI also opined that regulationd requiring the repatriation of at least a portion of Balinese seafarers' wages would not only represent a valuable source of foreign exchange but also encourage saving among Bali's overseas workers.
A Span in the Works?
Local Legislators and City Planners Keen to Start Building Sanur to Nusa Dua Bridge in 2007.
As reported on balidiscovery.com plans have long been under discussion to shorten the traveling time between Sanur Beach and Nusa Dua through the construction of a bridge connecting Serangan Island and Nusa Dua. The proposed toll-bridge would also potentially reduce congestion on Bali's main ring-road Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai, which connects Bali's southern peninsula and Nusa Dua with the rest of the Island.
Detailed engineering studies have been completed for the toll bridge including a design that will allow shipping traffic to pass in and out of Port of Benoa. Preliminary estimates put the price of the bridge at Rp. 900 billion (approximately US$97.8 million).
A Problem of Funding
How a project of this size will be financed is problematic. National funding for the care and development of roads in Bali falls far short of the amount required, with only Rp. 100 billion (approximately US$10.86 billion) allocated by Jakarta for this purpose. Local political leaders supporting the project are urging that the Bali bridge be jointly funded by National and Provincial government in combination with overseas borrowings, with local press reports suggesting the People's Republic of China has expressed an interest in providing financial support for the bridge.
Full Steam Ahead?
The Indonesian-language Bali Post quotes the Chief of Public Works for Bali, I.B. Sidharta, as saying the proposed project will commence this year with the bidding phase to commence for the feeder roads to connect the bridge on Serangan Island and at Tanjung Benoa. "We will try to construct the (feeder) roads first and once they are ready we will seek investors for the construction of the actual bridge," explained Sidharta.
Grab Two Friends or Colleagues, Form a Team and Join the Fun in Bali on June 24, 2007.
Bali International Triathlon, LLC has just announced the Four Seasons Corporate Challenge will be included as a separate division of the first triathlon race ever to be held on the island of Bali. The race, which will take place on June 24, 2007 at Jimbaran Bay, Bali, will feature an Olympic distance course, consisting of a 1.5 kilometer swim in the warm waters of Jimbaran Bay, a 40 kilometer bike course through the Nusa Dua area of the island, and a 10 kilometer run through Jimbaran Village with a beach finish.
Four Seasons at Jimbaran Bay, one of the leading race sponsors, is offering a first prize package consisting of a three day, two night stay in one of their world famous luxury villas. Awards will also be given to the first three finishers in each age group category. Corporations, schools and universities, government agencies or community groupings are encouraged to join the growing list of race teams to compete in 3-person teams which will race the same course as individual participants. Only the first 25 teams to enter will be able to participate in the first year race. Race entry fees for relay teams are $275.00 US, and entries can be made through the race website at [www.balitriathlon.com]
"We would like to challenge every hotel, resort and corporation doing business in Bali to participate in this first year relay race. Our teams are already in training and we expect to compete alongside businesses from our Balinese community, says John OSullivan, general manager of Four Seasons at Jimbaran Bay. "This race is an opportunity for all of us to perform a service for Bali and the Balinese people," added OSullivan. The race is expected to bring in hundreds of athletes from all over the world who will take advantage of this unique destination race.
Corporate participation in triathlon relay team challenges has become a significant part triathlon races in Asia and worldwide. "It would not be unusual to see 30-50 relay team participants wearing their corporate uniforms at major triathlon events" says Robb Strom, one of the co-race organizers of the Bali International Triathlon. "Herbalife and Disney regularly run 10 or more teams at triathlon events all over the world," added Strom.
Further information concerning the race can be found at www.balitriathlon.com. Event questions and media inquiries can be directed to Brennan Lindner at Generic Events by calling him in Los Angeles, CA USA at +011 310-260-7898.
In the Wake of Repeated Safety Failures, Public Apparently Opting Not to Fly on Adam Air.
"If you think safety is expensive, try an accident."
As reported on balidiscovery.com, Indonesian low-cost air carrier Adam Air has been plagued by numerous mishaps and misfortunes affecting their flight services in recent months. (See related articles below).
According to a report published in the Indonesian-language daily Kompas, the Airline now suffers from a crisis of confidence among customers who appear to be staying away in droves from the company's scheduled flights.
Following the loss of the Surabaya-Manado Adam Air flight on January 1, 2007, load factors on what was once a major route served by the Airline dropped from normal levels of above 90% to below 70%. Because of poor loads, flight operations were suspended by Adam Air on the sector on January 28th with plans to resume service on March 1, 2007.
However, plans to recommence service on March 1, 2007 on the Surabaya-Manado route have now been indefinitely postponed due to a lack of passenger demand. The Surabaya-based district manager of Adam Air, Natalia Budiharjo, told Kompas "How can we fly if no one wants to (fly with us)?"
Efforts by the Airline to re-launch the Surabaya-Manado route by offering fares as low as Rp. 500,000 (approximately US$54) have also failed to reignite demand on the route that once contributed an estimated Rp.2.61 billion (approximately US$283,700) to the carrier's turnover each month.
With the cessation of flights from Surabaya to Manado, Adam Air now only serves Jakarta and Balikpapan from the East Java capital.
Adding to Adam Air's woes, according to Kompas, is declining demand on the Airline's remaining routes with Adam Air's normal flight frequency of 10 flights per day between Jakarta and Surabaya now down to just 6 or 7 flights each day.
Bali Police Adopt a New Security Approach to Nyepi
Over 7,000 'Low Profile' Police to Be on Active Duty During Coming Bali 'Nyepi' New Year Celebrations in Bali.
The Chief of Police for Bali, Inspector General Drs. Paulus Purwoko has introduced changes in the way his officers will keep the peace over the coming Nyepi holidays. In anticipation of this year's the pre-Nyepi festivities, including the traditional ogoh-ogoh parades, Chief Purwoko will deploy 7,000 officers with 400 mobile brigade (Brimob) reserves on stand-by at their barracks.
Differing from the security approach of past years, uniformed officers will adopt a lower profile during Bali's official day of silence, leaving front-line maintenance of the peace to pecalang or local community volunteer forces during this year's celebrations. In explaining the new approach to the Indonesian-language Bali Post, Chief Purwoko said: "the police will be on guard at their posts, awaiting operational commands if there are any disturbances. The function of 'pecalang' will be made more effective; while we (the police) will back them up ensuring that anarchy is avoided."
Purwoko went on to explain that he deemed a full deployment of his officers to the field over the holidays ineffective, with their presence having the potential to disrupt ceremonies and ritual. Instead, the police will be depending on intelligence operatives while keeping a full force in reserve at local station houses. "There will be sufficient officers in the field with full back up in reserve ready to be deployed at a moment's notice," added Chief Purwoko.
As an added guarantee of safety over the Nyepi Eve the Bali police have held coordinating discussions with Bali Hindu religious associations and religious leaders to ensure that every ogoh-ogoh parade seeks prior agreement from every village included on the parade routes. In the past, sporadic fighting has occasionally occurred between parade participants from competing villages.
In striving to coordinate ogoh-ogoh activities the Bali police have already registered 150 separate parades occurring on the south of the Island. In an additional step to keep the peace, police have recently intensified raids to confiscate illegal liquor supplies in an effort to curb public drunkenness during the Holiday.
Recommendations from Chief Purwoko
In order to maintain good public order over the Nyepi period, Bali's police chief General Paulus Purwoko has issued 5 recommendations to the people of Bali:
1) Ogoh-ogoh parades should be confined to the home villages of the participants. When the parade route goes outside the home village, prior permission should be obtained from the any villages the parade will pass through. Those organizing ogoh-ogoh parades must assume complete responsibility on the conduct of the activity.
2) Celebrants should avoid the use of alcohol in celebrating Nyepi
3) Ogoh-ogoh statues should be destroyed or disposed of after celebrations and not be left in places that will inconvenience the public.
4) The official day of silence in Bali will take place between 06:00 a.m. on March 19th and end 24 hours later at 06:00 a.m. on March 20th.
5) Religious leaders and community leaders are asked to take an active role in preserving harmonious community relations in order that the Nyepi holidays can take place without incident.
Government Orders Ships Failing to Meet Safety Standards Back to Port for Repairs and Docking.
The Indonesian-language daily Kompas reported that 5 of the 16 ferries operating between the ports of Padang Bai in Bali and Lembar in Lombok have been withdrawn from service following safety audits conducted by the Department of Sea Communications.
According to the Port Administrator in Lembar, Lombok. Liliik Hariwanto, his office is tightening scrutiny on all ships' traffic following recent shipping disasters over the past months. Among the measures now focused upon by port safety officers is the completeness of safety equipment carried on board each ship, inspection of main engines, adequate supply of life preservers and fire fighting equipment.
Based on recent audits, 5 Bali-Lombok ferries were recently declared un-seaworthy and ordered to remain in port pending a complete docking service to correct safety deficiencies. The 5 ferries place temporarily out of service are
Palindo Nusantara I
Despite the temporary loss of 5 of the 16 ferries operating between Bali and Lombok, ferry service between the two islands is reported to be operating without interruption related to the sudden loss of vessel to the cross-straits armada
'Overload' Paintings by I Gusti Ngurah Buda
An Exhibition of Paintings Depicting Bali's Rapid Urbanization March 16 June 8, 2007 at the Jenggala Art Gallery.
When art becomes a medium to express the mind as well as restate realities, even the most restless of concerns can appear beautiful on canvas. Gusti Buda is a highly committed abstract painter who communicates the stark reality of urban environment on his insightful abstract paintings. Using mixed media, he composes elements of architectural forms in gallant colors. For six years Buda has consistently worked with the theme related to the rapid urban development of Bali.
Realizing the limitations of canvas, Buda has created a way to capture messy city architecture in his paintings. Barrenness caused by the prevailing concrete buildings is manifested on bold square and rectangular forms using dominant colors of red, yellow ochre and black. In some of his works, unruly arrangement are reflected as black doors and gray windows on a white landscape emanating daylight coolness.
Gusti Buda studied art in the Denpasar School of Fine Art. Born and raised in Sangeh, outside of Denpasar an area set in shrinking forests and vanishing rice fields of southern Bali. Forced to accept the harsh reality of urban development, Budi allows his concern and his critical views towards Bali's spreading urbanization become an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Through his paintings, Buda wishes to tell viewers about the increasingly sad condition of Bali's natural environment. Buda has been spreading his message and actively participating in international exhibitions since 1995 in Singapore, Hong Kong, the USA, and the UK. In 2004 he ranked as a top finalist in the Sovereign Art Award, Hong Kong.
In his exhibition at Jenggala Art Gallery, Gusti Buda presents "Overload," his latest solo exhibition. The theme embraced by his title reflects Buda's vision of disorderly buildings plundering the green nature. According to Buda, Bali builds so many hotels and villas replacing green rice fields and forests so fast that it is fast losing its natural charm. He believes that the development in Bali should have to heed to the Balinese concept of Tri Hita Karana promoting balance in the relationship between man and man, man and God, and man and nature.
"Overload" an exhibition of paintings by Gusti Buda at the Jenggala Art Gallery open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. March 16, 2006 through June 8, 2006.
For more information, call the Jenggala Art Gallery at ++62-(0)361-703311.
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