UPDATE #580 - 22 October 2007
Pressures in Bali
Planning Experts say Population Density is 50%
Higher than Ideal Levels.
The Bali Post reports that Bali is becoming increasingly
over-populated. While experts estimate the ideal
carrying capacity for Bali's 562,286 hectares
of land area is 2.4 million, a number far below
the more than 3 million people who now make their
home on the Island.
Regional Planning Board for Bali (BAPPEDA), Drs.
Made Adijaya revealed that the current average
of 600 people per square kilometer in Bali is
50% more than the ideal number of 400 residents
per square kilometer. In municipal areas, such
as Bali's capital of Denpasar, population loads
are estimated to equal a very crowded 800 people
per square kilometer.
reaction to this data, the Chairman of Committee
I of the Regional House of Representatives in
Bali (DPRD-BALI), Made Arjaya, said now is the
time to limit migration into Bali, prohibiting
Indonesian nationals who do not hold an official
Bali identity card from staying or seeking employment
on the Island. Arjaya also called on Bali land
and long-term rental accommodation owners to gather
complete personal details and proof of Bali residency
before leasing their lands and buildings to newcomers.
Bali's Vehicles on the Level
Officials Explain Why Overpasses, Suspended Highways
and Monorails Won't Work in Bali
The Deputy Coordinating Economic Minister for
Infrastructure and Regional Development, Dr. Ir.
Bambang Susantono, told a national conference
on transportation meeting in Bali on October 18,
2007, that building overpasses and elevated roadways
in Bali was not a viable means of overcoming traffic
congestion problems on the island. Susantono,
who is also the Chairman of the Indonesian Transportation
Community (TPI), told the meeting that social
and cultural beliefs held by the majority of Bali's
residents make overpasses an inappropriate means
of addressing traffic issues.
Saying he did not agree with building overpasses
in Bali, Susantono told the Bali Post said a more
practical solution would be to upgrade the present
road system and build underpasses, rather than
building elevated roadways which unacceptably
pass over and above the heads of the local Bali-Hindu
populations, their communities and places of worship.
No Easy Solutions
Susantono warned his audience that there are
no road-building solutions that will satisfactorily
resolve Bali's growing traffic problems. To do
this, he insisted, Bali must build a mass transit
system that is safe, comfortable, affordable,
and operates on a fixed and convenient schedule.
Such a mass transit system would have to be constructed
so it could serve both local residents and tourist
visitors to Bali.
Speaking to the conference, Susantono explained
that he does not accept the popular perception
that mass transit is incompatible with Balinese
society, insisting a well-planned and affordable
public transport system would earn the patronage
of the people of Bali.
At the same conference in Kuta, Indonesia's Minister
of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik echoed Susantono's
sentiments saying that better roads are needed
in Bali while discounting the appropriateness
of suspended highways and monorail systems for
the Island of Bali.
No One Knows What
Goes on Behind Closed Walls
Bali's Governor Says Kintamani's
Panoramic Views are Being Lost to Unregulated
Bali’s Governor Drs. Dewa Made Beratha
has called for a stop to illegal and unplanned
development in the areas surrounding Kintamani's
volcanic lake district.
Dismayed at the rapid growth of restaurants,
shops and accommodation providers around the crater-lake's
edge, the Governor warned, "if this (unplanned
and illegal building) is not stopped, don’t
hope for tourists to continue visiting Kintamani."
Beratha also warned that if businesses are allowed
to continue to build structures and concrete walls
the scenic views of nature and Lake Batur will
be lost. "if visitors can no longer see nature's
beauty, what's left for them to do at Kintamani?""
the Governor asked.
Governor Beratha told BisnisBali that many of
the building dotting the roadside at Kintamani
were illegally constructed. Calling for a halt
on future illegal construction which is destroying
Kintamani's natural beauty, Beratha said that
Bali was in danger of losing one of the world's
truly unique tourism objects.
When asked by reporters if his office had plans
to introduce enforcement measures against the
owners of unlicensed buildings at Kintamani, the
Governor said it was the right and responsibility
of the Regional government of Bangli to take knock
down the illegal structures.
When contacted by BisnisBali, regional government
official in Bangli said enforcement measures were
difficult to coordinate with the Provincial Government
with no one able to even agree on an acceptable
deadline for the removal of the unlicensed buildings.
Because of economic considerations, many of the
illegal buildings at Kintamani have been given
10-15 year deadlines to operate before facing
a final removal deadline.
Back' Awaits Bali's Migrant Population
Authorities Tighten Control
at Ferry Crossings and Conduct Identity Checks
in Bali Neighborhoods to Control Domestic Migrants.
An estimated 100,000 common laborers have begun
traveling to Bali following Lebaran celebrations
in Java and other areas of Indonesia.
Among those traveling by bus, motorcycle and
on foot crossing on the ferry from Ketapang
(Java) to Gilimanuk (Bali) will be many first-time
travelers to Bali, accompanying friends and
relatives back to Bali in search of employment
and better fortunes.
To help stem the human swell, Bali officials
staffing the entry point to Bali are requiring
all arriving passengers to show an ID card issued
in Bali and demonstrate that they are gainfully
employed on Bali.
According to the man in charge of population
and civil registration in North Bali, I Gusti
Ngurah Sudirama, travelers unable to present
the required identification and prove an economic
link to Bali will be placed back on the ferry
bound for Java.
Inspections are being conducted at Bali's gateways
as well as on a neighborhood level in communities
across the Island. Inspections carried out in
Kuta on Thursday, October 18, 2007, netted 260
undocumented residents who were hit with administrative
sanctions and required to present a guarantor
or face possible expulsion from the island.
Between the Sacred and the Profane in Bali
Demolishment of Two Balinese
Temples in Sanur Makes Front Page News in Bali
and Local Villagers Very Angry.
Local villagers and community leaders in Sanur's
Mertasari beach area are reportedly offended and
angered by the actions of property developer who
demolished two religious temples, supposedly to
make way for a new resort project.
The land, registered to PT Restu Maharani was
occupied by the investor on August 16, 2006 as
part of a court-ordered seizure following a lengthy
civil court action.
Local community and religious leaders complained
that the demolishment of Pura Ketapang and Pura
Sembyangan took place on October 1, 2007 while
people of the surrounding village were busy attending
a local cremation ceremony.
The temples destroyed by the developer form an
important part of the religious life of the surrounding
community, serving as the location for specific
ceremonies on the local religious calendar.
While community leaders admit an approach from
the developer asking permission to demolish the
temples had been made, they insist that no permission
to carry out the "knock-down" was ever
granted because of fears that such an act would
be unacceptable to local residents.
In order to preserve cosmic balance and avoid
natural and personal disasters that might befall
those who ignore their religious obligations,
Balinese temples are the site of numerous ceremonies
with strict rules in place for their care and
Whenever necessity dictates that a temple or
pura must be built, demolished or moved - a number
of carefully scripted ceremonies are mandated.
Developers claim that ceremonies were performed
prior to demolishing the two temples, an argument
rejected by the local community who question the
completeness and adherence to ritual stricture
of the ceremonies conducted by the owners.
The development site measuring 60,000 square
meters was the object of a legal battle between
the Denpasar Mayor's office who granted the permit
to PT Restu Maharani and a man claiming to be
the true owner of the land. In August 2006 the
local courts ruled in favor of the Mayor and the
developer allowing the company to take charge
of the property and proceed with the resort project.
Power to the
State Power Board Says
Bali Power Grid is Under Severe Strain.
Bali is facing a growing threat of severe power
shortages following the loss of 130 megawatts
from the Bali power grid.
Wayan Redika, a spokesman for the Bali State
Power Board (PLN-Bali) said the power shortage
dates from September 2, 2007, when repairs were
carried out the East Java Gilimanuk Power Station.
The spokesman estimates that the current Bali
power grid can only supply 430 megawatts of electricity
against an estimated peak consumption requirement
of 439 megawatts.
The bulk of Bali's power supply is provided via
submarine cables connecting the island to various
power production plants on Java.
Delicate Balance of Power
Electrical Power Supply Under Threat
Coming Power Crisis
Java Electrical Power Crisis
An Ersatz Paradise – Hawaiian Villas for
Sale in Bali
Editorial: Is Anyone Keeping a Watchful Eye on
Sustaining Bali's Cultural Heritage?
Two press reports in local papers recently caught
our attention; fueling latent fears that something
is seriously wrong with the management of Bali's
The first article related how, while opening
a cultural festival in Nusa Dua, Indonesia's Minister
of Culture and Tourism ordered Bali's Governor
to urgently copyright all traditional forms of
Balinese art to prevent the Island's cultural
identity from being "stolen" by neighboring
countries. Possibly prompted by a recent dispute
between Indonesia and Malaysia over who truly
owns a popular children's song warbled by the
children of both countries, Minister Jero Wacik
wishes reflects his desire to preserve Indonesia's
rich heritage by bringing cultural pretenders
to answer before the Courts.
The second, and at least to us - related, article
announced the launch of five "Hawaiian luxury
villas" by Kamuela Villas in the Seminyak
area of Bali.
Book Em, Dano
Intrigued and more than a little confused, we
resolved to find out what actually constitutes
Hawaiian style branding in Bali. The Company's
press release revealed that the new Hawaiian villas
will offer an Ohana spirit or Hawaiian family-style
atmosphere because, in the words of the Company's
Executive Commissioner, "Hawaiian people
are known for their friendliness and genuine warmth
similar to the Indonesian people."
What a wonderful comfort this will be to Bali
visitors to know that they can come to Bali confident
in the knowledge that they will encounter friendly
Indonesian villa staff trained to act just like
friendly Hawaiian villa staff.
Bringing Coals to Newcastle?
While we have no desire to rain on anyone's luau,
we feel can't help but ask what possesses investors
to recreate a "Hawaiian atmosphere"
on Bali – an island voted time and again
by Travel + Leisure Magazine as the world's best
holiday destination? Or, perhaps more to the point,
what motivates Bali's leaders to so readily ransom
to investors the very reputation which has made
the Island one of the world's most popular tourist
Pray, tell us, has Hawaii run so low on land
or local charms that it must re-invent itself
in far away places like Bali? Or, alternatively,
has Bali's branding become so diluted that it
needs to bolster its tourism fortunes with ukuleles,
grass skirts and Don Ho style dinner shows?
Pardon the poor confused tourist sitting on a
Bali beach, feeling he has somehow been cast in
the wrong motion picture . . . "Please,
Nyoman, pass some more poi."
Bapak Mantra, We Miss
Gone forever, it seems, are the days when the
late and very popular Governor Ida Bagus Mantra
stood jealous guard over Bali's culture, requiring
tourism investors to only erect Balinese-style
buildings, reverently maintain Balinese temples
on their premises and dress their staffs in traditional
There will be those who discount our concerns,
insisting Bali is unfolding exactly as it should
and, in any case, it's not the concern of non-Balinese
"outsiders" to try to arbitrate the
nature of Bali's future cultural complexion.
And, to be sure, such arguments are not wrong.
Only the Balinese own the local beachhead; and,
only the Balinese can decide when to draw a line
in the sand, declaring "enough is enough"
in the slippery slide to cultural marginalization.
You Don't Know What You've
Lost 'Till it's Gone
In a week that heralded the arrival of "Hawaiian-style"
villas in Bali and saw a developer knock down
two Balinese temples to make way for a resort
development, any talk about the need to preserve
and protect Bali's endemic culture may be purely
academic; a matter of "too little, too late."
With due respect to Minister Wacik, who is himself
a son of Bali, the battle to sustain Bali's culture
is not located in some Patent Attorney's office;
but much closer at hand, raging right now on the
island of his birth.
Bali's future path is increasingly uncertain,
especially in light of the laisez faire pay-as-you-go
attitude that governs tourism development on the
By the way, can we ask a final small favor before
Would the last person to leave the island of
Bali please remember to turn off the lights?
You'll find the switch located under the sign
at the airport that reads:
"Aloha 'oe – You're
Ms. Downer from
Down Under Visits Ubud School Project
Nicky Downer AO, Wife
of Australia's Foreign Minister, Pays a Visit
to Bali Hati School in Ubud, Bali.
Nicky Downer, the wife of the Australian Foreign
Minister Alexander Downer, recently visited the
Yayasan Bali Hati Primary School in Mas, Ubud.
The school is part of the non-profit Bali Hati
Foundation which provides a variety of health,
educational and social welfare assistance to disadvantaged
people in Bali.
The Yayasan Bali Hati Primary School was established
in 1999 and is located in the village of Mas,
close to the Township of Ubud. The school is open
to children from playgroup to 6th grade, with
scholarships provided to financially disadvantaged
students. Since the school's inception, more than
1,100 scholarships have been granted and the school
has recently been recognized as the best primary
school in Bali by the Government.
Downer, who visited the school in early October
while attending the Ubud's Readers and Writer
Festival said: "During my visit to the Yayasan
Bali Hati School in Ubud, I was immediately impressed
by such a well run operation, with bright airy
classrooms and excellent teachers. The children,
from around the Ubud area, were extremely well-behaved
and I observed were being taught to at an extraordinarily
high level for their age. One of the most lovely
things I noted, was a collection of brightly colored
models of different places of worship made by
the children, who are taught something of the
many religions of the world. Upon leaving Yayasan
Bali Haiti School, I was inspired and filled with
admiration of the positive work that the Bali
Hati Foundation and it's generous supporters are
gifting to the children of Bali."
The Yayasan Bali Hati School has plans to expand
to a new property which will incorporate a high
school. Fund raising activities are currently
in place to secure the capital costs of the program.
Related Sites and Article
Spring Fair Celebrates Bali
Attorney General Moves
to Hasten the Final Execution of the 3 Bali Bombers.
Officials legal steps are underway to close
a legal loophole and hasten the final execution
of the three Bali bombers – Amrozi, Iman
Samudra and Ali Gufron now sitting on death row.
Having exhausted all legal appeals, the three's
final hope of escaping death before a firing squad
is a grant of commutation from President Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono. With the three terrorists indicating
they will not file a request for mercy with Indonesia's
President, jurists are admitting some confusion
on how to proceed, saying execution cannot take
place without clemency being formally requested
To overcome this impasse Indonesia's Attorney
General Hendarman Supandji has announced that
he will give the three convicts 30 days to file
a request with the President's office. In the
absence of a formal request, the long-awaited
execution will go ahead.
The three are currently being held on death row
at Indonesia's penal island of Nusa Kumbangan
where it is widely expected the final execution
will be carried out.
Got to Walk that Lonesome Valley
Chitty Bang Bang – You're Dead!
Conundrum of Double Standards
Work – Bike to Bali
President to Dispatch
Group of Bicyclists in Jakarta November 11th to
Travel to Bali to attend the U.N. Conference on
Global Climate Change.
Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
will send off a group of 15 cyclists on a 20-day
cross-nation trip from Jakarta to Bali on November
Designed to underline Indonesia's support for
the coming United Nations Forum on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) to be held in Bali December 3-14, 2007,
the bicyclists will travel 1,433 kilometers covering
an average 72 kilometers each day as the group
visits 40 cities along the route.
In support of the cyclists the government will
provide accommodation and other assistance along
the entire route, including organizing tree plantings
and activities to promote the popularity of cycling
as an alternative to fossil-fueled vehicles as
a means of transportation.
The Bike to Work (B2W) movement in Indonesia
has 7,000 registered members, with 4,000 members
in Jakarta alone.
The cross-country cyclists are expected to arrive
in Bali on November 30 at which time they will
hoist the U.N. flag to welcome the more than 10,000
participants expected to come to the island to
participate in the UNFCCC.
Change Conference to cost US$12 Million
Over the Bali Climate Change Conference
to Host U.N. Climate Change Conference
Climate Change Conference – Book Your Hotel
Tourism for Bali
Minister Wacik Sees
Strong Future for Spiritual Tourism in Bali.
Republika On-Line reports that the Minister of
Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik has identified
spiritual tourism as a key product for Bali's
According to the Minister, "a source for
tourism in Bali for the future is spiritual tourism
because of the potentials and possibilities offered
in the cities and regions in Bali."
Speaking before a conference on "Major Trends
– Opportunities and Investments in Tourism,"
Wacik said the main market sources for spiritual
tourism are from Japan, Europe and the United
States. "Tourist coming from these countries
have become bored with crowded tourist attractions
and are now seeking 'quieter' tourism, such as
places for mediation and reflections upon their
Creator," he explained.
The Minister said that all locations in Bali
have potential for spiritual tourism together
with other destinations in Indonesia, such as
Tanah Toraja in Sulawesi and Central Java. Wacik
emphasized that in addition to the physical location
for this form of tourism, it is also essential
to have staff trained in meditative practice and
Commenting separately, Bali's Chief of Tourism,
Drs. I Gede Nurjaya, said that the Balinese have
a close connection with nature and an all pervading
sense of spirituality. The leading government
official in charge of Bali's tourism said that
the Balinese see nature in a religious context
and have a wide range of ritual practice honoring
nature. Because of this, said Nurjaya, Bali is
the proper choice of location for the development
of spiritual tourism.