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Faced with an Ultimatum Under Election Laws, Jero Wacik Chooses to Resign the Cabinet to Take Seat in National Legislature.
Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik officially resigned his cabinet post on Tuesday, September 8, 2009, clearing the way for his swearing-in as a member of the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) on October 1, 2009. Minister Wacik confirmed to the press that he had formally tendered his letter of resignation to the President via the Minister of the State Secretariat, Hata Rajasa, on Tuesday. Wacik's resignation was prompted by State election rules that set a September 10th deadline for elected members of the house to accept their legislative posting and resign all other government jobs. [See: Minister or Legislator? Thats the Question] When questioned by the press asking if he was prepared to again serve as a Minister and resign his newly-elected legislative seat, Wacik refused comment, saying the composition of the presidential cabinet was 100% the prerogative of President Yudhoyono. Wacik's announcement will fuel a fierce debate on who's best qualified to serve as next Indonesia's Minister of Tourism of Culture. The President will be sworn in for his second term of office on October 20th at which time he will announce his new slate of Ministers.
Malaysia Air Traffic Rights Expansion Put on Hold
'Technical Reasons' Blamed for Delay of Expanded Fifth Freedom Rights Between Indonesia & Malaysia. Is thia the Latest Salvo in 'Tit for Tat' Between Malaysia and Indonesia?
Citing its current inability to fully utilize negotiated fifth freedom traffic rights with Malaysia, Indonesia is temporarily delaying a bi-lateral agreement with Malaysia that would have allowed both countries the reciprocal right to carry revenue traffic (cargo and passengers) to onward destinations as part of services connecting the airline's own country. Fifth freedoms provide particpating countries the right to carry passengers between their respective countries and on to a third country. It remains unclear if the sudden decision to delay the formal signing of the fifth freedom agreement is somehow connected to the worsening diplomatic relations between Malaysia and Indonesia over the perceived arrogation of Indonesian cultural icons by Malaysia. Quoted by Bisnis Indonesia, the Director General of Civil Aviation, Herry S.Bakti S. Gumay said the postponement of the memorandum scheduled for August 2009 was due to "technical reasons" and was awaiting final approval from the Minister of Transportation. Saying the decision to go ahead with the planned agreement is outside his authority and rests entirely with the Minister, Herry was not prepared to commit that the planned agreement would be completed in 2009. Bilateral talks betweeen Indonesia and Malaysia held in Malaysia June 9-10, 2009, worked out the details of a fifth freedom agreement between the two countries that were scheduled to be formalized in Jakarta in August 2009. Malaysian Fifth Freedom Rights The delayed agreement granted Malaysia: Fifth freedom right for Malaysian aircraft to fly 7 times each week to Jakarta, Makassar, Balikpapan and Denpasar (Bali) and for 14 Malaysian flights to continue each week to cities in Australia. Indonesian Fifth Freedom Rights The agreement with Malaysia afforded the following flight freedoms to Indonesia: Fifth freedom rights through Kuala Lumpur, Kinabalu and Kuching to carry passengers beyond those sities to third country destinations in Asia (except Tokyo) to a maximum of 36 flights each week. Fifth freedom rights via Kuala Lumpur, Kinabalu and Kuching to all destinations in Europe 14 times each week. Fifth freedom rights via Kuala Lumpur, Kinabalu and Kuching to all destinations in the Middle East 21 times each week. Fifth freedom rights via Kuala Lumpur, Kinabalu and Kuching to various destinations in the U.S.A. 14 times each week. In addition to the listed fifth freedom flight rights, the delayed agreement also provided for additional seat capacity for Malaysian airlines in their flight services to Jakarta, Surabaya and Denpasar (Bali). Adding another layer on mystery and intqigue to the decision to delay the bi-lateral flight agreement, the Secretary General of the Indonesia National Air Carriers Association (INACA), Tengku Burhanuddin, welcomed the decision to delay the agreement, saying, "the postponement is very wise in the current situation." He also expressed doubts as to whether the proposed agreement would benefit Indonesian carriers given the number of airlines flying from Indonesian to Malaysia. Related Articles [Copyrighting Bali's Culture] [Malaysia, Truly Bali]
Ninety Paragliders Over Bali on September 9, 2009
Southern Skies Fill with Human Kites as 99 Paragliders Hover Over Bali's UNgasan Southern Peninsula.
In a successful effort to set a new "official" Indonesian record of 99 paragliders aloft at one time, pilots began leaping off the cliffs of Bali's southernmost Ungasan peninsula at 9:00 a.m. on September 9, 2009. Drawing participation from paragliders both from Indonesia and abroad, the goal was to have 99 paraglider airborne at once, a feat that the judges determined was achieve at 12:05 p.m., some three hours after the first athlete became airborne. The festivities surrounding the record breaking flight were conducted on a slightly somber note following the death of a 60-year old American, Ray Benson, who perished while paragliding on the peninsula one day before the mass flight. It is unclear if Benson was to be part of the group of international paragliders cooperating to set a new record. Beritabali.com quoted the Manager of the Indonesian Record Museum (MURI), Paulus Pangka, who certified the that 99 paragliders had managed to be simultaneously aloft, saying, "the record for joint flight is hereby recorded in the Museum of Indonesian Records as record number 3907." Not satisfied with breaking only one record in a day, an Indonesian athlete, Dedi Arifianto, set a longest flight record of 9 hours and 9 minutes, surpassing his record flight set on August 8, 2008 of 8 hours and 8 minutes. Dare we ask, how does an hang-glider on an extended flight arrange a rest stop?
A Deadly Shell Game
Police Arrest Two Men Smuggling Turtle Meat to Local Restaurants.
Bali arrested a local sea captain and a driver on Thursday, September 3, 2009, as they drove down a main highway in Bali carrying the butchered remains of eight large sea turtles comprising 140 kilograms of meat. Captain Madok and driver Putu Satriawan had reportedly tried to camouflage their illicit trade in protected turtles by hiding the their contraband under layers of dead fish. Press reports say the two men confessed to smuggling the turtles from Speken on the island of Madura and bringing them by local boat to the port of Kampung Baru in Buleleng, North Bali. The meat had been reportedly ordered by a number of restaurants in Denpasar. The increasingly rare sea turtles can fetch as much as Rp. 4 million (US$400) each for even one small specimen. The Captain and the driver now face prosecution under a 1990 law that provides for a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and fines of Rp. 100 million (US$10,000).
Balinese Woman Dies from H1N1 Virus
Pregnant Woman from Tampak Siring Brings to Six Number Who Have Died from 'Swine Flu' in Indonesia.
A 19 year-old woman, Ni Wayan Siti, died at Denpasar's Sanglah General Hospital on Thursday, September 3, 2009 after becoming infected with the H1N1 'Swine Flu' Virus. According to the Jakarta Post, Siti's death brought to six the total number of deaths attributed to H1N1 in Indonesia. Laboratory test confirmed that the woman, who was also pregnant at the time of her death, had contracted H1N1. Further testing was underway to confirm suspicions that the woman also suffered from the H5N1 "Avian Flu" virus. After the woman's death blamed on multiple organ failure, hospital authorities assumed responsibilities for the ritual cleansing and wrapping of the victim's remains in order to prevent any possible contamination of family members who would normally undertake these tasks. Family members were cautioned by hospital authorities not to open the funereal shroud and to dispose of the remains as soon as possible. Hailing from Tampak Siring in the Gianyar regency, the eight-months pregnant woman was admitted to the hospital on August 29, six days before her death. Hospital officials report that the unborn baby died of oxygen deprivation on the third day of its mother's hospitalization. Meanwhile, Bali health officials are now checking the health of fowl and human populations in areas surrounding the dead woman's residence. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently abandoned efforts to count the number of H1N1 contamination, blaming hundreds of deaths in over 160 countries worldwide. As recently as late August 2009, Indonesian authorities confirmed over 1,000 H1N1 cases nationwide.
Sanur Harum Chinese Restaurant Reopens
Bali's Sanur Paradise Plaza Hotels Relaunches its Popular Chinese Restaurant in New Location and More Elegant Setting.
After closing for two months, the popular Sanur Harum Chinese Restaurant at the Sanur Paradise Plaza Hotel has reopened not only with a new look but in a new location within the 329-room hotel. Relocated from its off-lobby location to more spacious surroundings on the hotel's ground floor, the re-launched Sanur Harum's has created a more sophisticated atmosphere to welcome back its established clientele of local residents and hotel guests. Little changed, however, will be the excellent selection of reasonably priced specialties ranging from Peking Duck to Hot and Sour Seafood Soup "Sichuan Style" and trademark "All you cam eat Din Sum Luncheon." In its new location, diner will have the option of dining in air conditioned comfort or al fresco in the restaurant's tropical garden. Private dining rooms are also available. The Sanur Harun Restaurant at the Sanur Paradise Plaza Hotel is open daily for breakfast and lunch. Book a Stay at the [Sanur Paradise Plaza Hotel]
Hook, Line and Sinker at InterContinental Bali Resort
Bali InterContinental Launches Traditional Fish Market Tours and Balinese Seafood Cooking Class.
InterContinental Bali Resort recently introduced a "A Taste of Bali" - an interactive cooking program for their in-house guests. Building on the Resort's location in one of Bali's traditional fishing communities, the main focus of the classes is the rich mixture of succulent spices and cooking methods employed in preparing local seafood. Each class starts with an early morning visit to the nearby Jimbaran traditional fish market to select the very freshest catch of the day. At the market guests will meet members of the local community as they barter for seafood just moments after the night's catch is landed ashore. A short trip down the beach to the Resort for a demonstration on how to clean and prepare the items just purchased. Participants are then introduced to the indigenous herbs and spices that are used to create the authentic flavours and base sauces of traditional Balinese cuisine. A short investment of time in the Resort's modern kitchen yields a delicious lunch served at the Bella Singaraja Restaurant. 'A Taste of Bali' can be tailored to the individual culinary preferences of each participant. Honeymooners, couples, "foodies" and culinary aficionados of every stripe are sure to enjoy this unique "hands on" approach to learning more about Balinese cuisine. Priced at just US$ 50 ++ / per person the program includes transportation to and from the fish market, tuition and all cooking ingredients. Classes are held every Friday and advance reservations through the Resort's Concierge are highly recommended. Book a Stay at the [InterContinental Resort Bali]
Bali Declared a Rabies Infected Area
Confirmed Cases of Rabies Limited to Badung, Denpasar and Tabanan while Other Regions of Bali Deemed Susceptible to Rabies Infection.
Beritabali.com reports that Bali has been declared as a rabies contaminated region (Daerah Tertular). This declaration follows the growing number of outbreak of the disease in Badung, Denpasar and Tabanan. The remaining 6 regencies of the island have been designated potential areas (Daerah Rawan) for the spread of rabies. The Head of the Livestock Department for Bali, Ida Bagus Alit, told the press of Wednesday, September 9, 2009, that the decision to declare Tabanan as rabies contaminated took place after confirming rabies cases among dogs in that region. Previously confirmed cases of rabies were limited to the Badung regency and the City of Denpasar. In those two regions of the island the government responded with systematic culling of stray dogs and the vaccination of pet populations. Alit told the press: "We have already dropped 5,000 dosages for 5,000 dogs. Using a scale of priorities focusing on contaminated areas first, we can now work on other regions of the island." Alit said he had submitted another request to the Central Government for an additional 400,000 dosages, the number of dogs estimated to populate the entire island. Government Allocates Money for Rabies Vaccines Meanwhile, the provincial government of Bali has allocated around Rp. 1 billion (US$100,000) to purchases rabies vaccine for the people of Bali who are bitten or scratched by a potentially infected animal. The Head of the Bali Health Service, Dr. Nyoman Sutedja, told Beritabali.com that he hope the Rp. 1 billion remained sufficient to meet the needs of people seeking anti-rabies treatment. Since the recent outbreak of the disease in Bali there have been 5 deaths confirmed as resulting from rabies and a number of deaths in which laboratory confirmation was not performed, but in which rabies is suspected to have been the cause of death.
Increasing Indonesia's Tourism Targets
Interview with Sapta Nirwandar, Director General of Marketing, Department of Culture and Tourism.
The September 10, 2009 edition of the Bali Post interviewed Sapta Nirwandar seeking information on the Indonesian government's intention to increase its target to 7 million foreign visits in 2010. The following is our free translation of that interview. The Interview: Sapta Nirwandar, Director General of Marketing, Department of Culture and Tourism Bali Post:What's the target for 2009? Nirwandar: For this year we have set a goal of 6.4 million foreign tourists, while for next year our plans are to increase this to 7 million. Bali Post:What's the basis for increasing the target? Nirwandar: This is based on the positive development of Indonesia's tourism sector. What's more, Indonesia appears to be one of the few countries in the Asia Pacific which are developing positively, such as Malaysia and South Korea. These three countries' tourism industries continue to grow while most other countries report declining numbers. Bali Post:What does this look like? Nirwandar: For the first semester of 2009 Malaysia recorded 3.5% growth, while Indonesia achieved 2.5% growth in the same period. These figures prove that factors which have the potential of stunting growth, such a the global financial crisis, bombings and earthquakes - are having insignificant impact on Indonesia's tourism sector. Bali Post:What about this year's tourism target? Nirwandar: For this year's target, I remain confident that we achieve or surpass the 6.5 or 6.6 million mark for foreign visitors. Bali Post:What steps are being taken to support the achievement of these targets? Nirwandar: Offensively we are undertaking promotion and marketing in a number of key markets recording positive growth in international tourism. We are performing offensive marketing in growing markets such as Australia, China, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, East Europe and the Middle East. Bali Post: What's the adopted theme for tourism? Nirwandar: As regards the theme for tourism, we intend to continue this year's theme of "Marine" and "MICE" (meetings, incentive, conferences and exhibitions), with the additional theme of "culture."
Police Chief: Recheck Identity of All Airport Staff
Bali Police Chief: Use of 'Insiders' by Terrorist Cells Necessitates a New 'Inside-Out' Approach to Airport and Hotel Security.
Bali's Chief of Police, General Sutisna, has instructed Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport to re-survey and review their staff as a preventative step against terrorism. As reported in BisnisBali, when General Sutisna recently toured the airport as part of precautions for the expected crush of travelers over the Idul Fitri 1430 H period he took the opportunity to underline the importance of checking the veracity of all personal and biographical for everyone working at the airport. Insisting such a data review must be done without exception and include all those working at the facility, General Sutisna said: "Beginning from gardeners, cleaning service staff up to and including 'bosses' everyone must be re-checked and their personal data verified. This is important in order to anticipate and prevent an 'insider' from playing a role in potential terrorist acts." Sutisna also told the airport to not only review the identity of all those working at the airport but to also pay attention to the manner in which they perform their duties. He went on to add: "The management (of the airport) must work to create a compact team, avoiding situations where a supervisor doesn't know the name or face of one of his workers." The Bali police chief's warnings come in the aftermath of two bombings at Jakarta Hotels on July 17th in which one hotel workers was determined to have taken a role and the recent discovery of a former Garuda maintenance worker's membership in a terrorism cell. Because of this, Sutisna hopes that all the security staff working at the airport, both from the private sector and form the police, will remain eternally vigilant against criminal and terrorist acts. In order to keep Indonesia's airways safe Sutisna reminded, "officers must not become slack, but remain vigilant in increasing security measures already in place and coordinating their activities with other departments."
Spice Divers Respond
North Bali Dive Operator Says Press Reports That They Lacked Licenses and Permits is Incorrect.
Spice Dive has responded to reports carried in the Bali Post alleging that the North Bali dive operatior was caught without any operating licenses in a recent sweep by officials of the Buleleng Regency. The original report in the Bali Post formed the basis of a report on Balidiscovery.com [See: Bali Dive Operators Asked to Show Their Licenses]. In a letter published on the editorial page of Bali Post, Immanuel Jarakana, on behalf of PT Spice Divers, rebutted the press report listing in detail operating licenses issued in 1994 and 2000 and local site permits issued by local tourism authorities. In response, Bali Post said their earlier report was based on explanations given by the Chief of Control Division of Bali Tourism Businesses (PUSP), Drs. IGN Darma Arnawa, who reported to the press on the results of a recent sweep of water tourism operator in Buleleng.
A Midsummer Night's Dream in Bali
William Shakespeare's Classic Adapted in a Balinese Version at Ubud Writers and Readers Festival October 7, 10 and 11.
This year's Ubud Writers and Readers Festival theme is 'Suka Duka', which roughly translated become 'Solidarity and Compassion' or "through thick and thin." On one level, "Suka Duka" defines the shared support that communities in Bali offer to each other in times of joy and sorrow.
To explore this theme and the diverse talents of the communities in Bali, theatre firefly will present a contemporary Balinese version of the Shakespearean classic, A Midsummer Night's Dream in October. This magical Balinese adaptation of Shakespeare's classic explores our relationship with ourselves, our environment and each other - dissolving the boundaries between audience and actor, East and West, seen and unseen. Featuring some of Bali's most talented performers along with professionals from England and America, the production will also showcase our talented youngsters, giving the opportunity for performers with a variety of backgrounds and experience to work together. Directed by South African theatre maker Rehane Abrahams, with digital gamelan and video installation designed by Noe saKAna, this feast for the senses promises to delight audiences of all ages and backgrounds. About the Production The show will be presented outdoors as a site-specific work at the ARMA Museum and Resort. This is a unique venue for the performing arts where actors and audience can blend into one unique world. The production is not limited to the physical boundaries of the stage and the actors no longer have to be separated from the audience, allowing them to be more immersed and interactive in their theatre experience. The resulting performance is a rich one. Actors, audience and the space in which they inhabit are all intertwined in a unique relationship. The nature of the site means the audience, performers and environment will all interact in a rich performance, dissolving boundaries and offering new experiences for both performer and audience alike. One of the most important themes to be explored by this production is our relationship with our environment. Many of the costumes will be constructed from recycled waste both organic and man made, mixing rice straw with plastic bags or discarded offering cloths. The costumes will be designed to express natural life mingling with petrochemical by-products to create a new mutation in form. The current production poses the question what happens to a water spirit when the stream he or she lives in is full of chemicals from a factory, and how can we express this visually? In keeping with the creative uses of recycled materials theme, instruments for the younger performers are created from found and recycled materials. These will be used to punctuate the fairies choral speaking of Oberon and Titania's lines. The rest of the soundscape will be made from sampled environmental sounds and sampled gamelan to create an electronic score that will enhance the atmosphere and provide accompaniment for dance sequences without overwhelming the performance. Projecting across water and other natural features uniquely available on the ARMA grounds, the performance will rely heavily on the use of video in which the audience become immersed and forms part of the environment. Using layers of transparent cloth in between the audience and throughout the performance space, the projections bring the audience and the performers into one space. The combination of the diverse cast, unique costumes, outdoor venue, soundscapes and video installations will create a rich and contemporary atmosphere in which to experience Shakespeare classic work and a multimedia feast for the senses for audiences of all ages. The Director Rehane Abrahams has a BA and performers Diploma from the University of Cape Town, South Africa and has worked as a professional actor and theatremaker for the past 20 years. She founded numerous theatre companies including Mothertongue www.mothertongue.co.za, of which she is co-founder and co-director. A published playwright, her work with Mothertongue is studied in the contemporary South African theatre module at universities in South Africa. She is also an educator and has worked with at risk and differently-abled students in South Africa, in Somerset, England and the Bay Area. This is her second larger scale work in Indonesia, her play 'Spice Root' featured composer Aloysius Suwardi with a cast of 6 dancers and musicians from Solo and traveled to theatres in South Africa. This play formed part of a seven year cycle ('Body of Work/Water') of four performance works spanning South Africa, England, Indonesia and Malaysia to address personal and social issues of colonialism, race and identity with particular reference to the Indian Ocean. The current production of A Midsummer Night's Dream marks a new cycle in her theatremaking which she calls 'A New Geography of the Heart' that focuses on environmental performance and our immersion in landscapes of being.
A Midsummer Night's Dream A Balinese Adaptation of a Play by William Shakespeare ARMA Museum - Ubud October 7, 10 and 11, 2009 7:00 p.m. General Admission Rp. 250,000 (US$25), KITAS Rp. 150,000 (US$15), Students Rp. 75,000, Indonesians Rp. 50,000 For Information Telephone ++62(0)813 5300 5985 [Link: A Midsummer Night's Dream]
Have Trunk, Will Travel
Third Baby Elephant Born at Bali's Elephant Safari Park.
On Tuesday, September 8, 2009, the Bali's Elephant Safari Park welcomed another baby elephant, the third to be born at the zoo in the past 6 months.
Following a gestation period spanning 21 months, eighteen-year-old "Nicky" gave birth to her bouncing 118 kilogram daughter "Riski." The namesake of a baby elephant that was featured in the documentary "Operation Jumbo" which was the heart-rending story of how the Elephant Safari Parks rescued ten elephants from Sumatra. "Riski" was the baby elephants that couldn't come along and subsequently died. In a story that came full circle, "Riski's" Mother was among the group of elephants rescued during "Operation Jumbo." "This is the culmination of a very successful start to our breeding program that we implemented two years ago" says Park Owner Nigel Mason. "We hope it is also the start of many more years of fruitful breeding that will assure that the endangered Sumatran Elephant will be on this planet for long into the future." Shown on balidiscovery.com is the Park's Co-owner, Made Yanie Mason with the one-day-old "Riski" and its Mother "Nicky."
BIWA Charity Christmas Bazaar 2009
150 Vendor Stalls at November 1, 2009, Event to Help Bali's Christmas Shopping Season Kick into High Gear.
The much-awaited Bali International Women's Association (BIWA) Charity Christmas Bazaar returns on Sunday, November 1, 2009. 50 stalls of merchandise run by local businesses, organizations and individual members of the community will be in operation from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. at the Istana Kuta Galeria, Blok Valet 2 No. 3 3A, Jalan Patih Jelantik in Kuta. As in years past, there will be plenty of delicious food and beverage on offer to sustain busy shippers. There will also be live entertainment, games, raffles and silent auctions. All proceeds from the bazaar will go to support BIWA Social Welfare projects in support of women and children's heal and education in Bali. Vendor tables are available for only Rp. 250,000 each (US$25). Bali International Women's Association BIWA is a non-religious, non-political and non-profit organization devoted primarily to the welfare of women and children in Bali. Members include Indonesians as well as expatriates representing 28 countries. Founded in 1974 in response to a famine crisis in Bali that saw the founder organize their first successful charity fundraiser. Now, 35 years later, BIWA social welfare efforts encompass women's and children's health and education, financial and medical assistance to the underprivileged, education and assistance for HIV/AIDS prevention and rehabilitation programs as well as environmental projects and environmental education. Sponsorship enables BIWA to address and to provide basic dental health service and educational programs to many of the underprivileged who suffer economic hardship in Bali. To Learn More [BIWA Website] Telephone ++62-(0)361-286564 or ++62-(0)361-7469608
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