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BALI UPDATE #713 - 10 May 2010

Post Modern Ramblings
Painting by Ketut Teja Astawa and Em Sumba at the Four Seasons Resorts Jimbaran Ganesha Gallery, Bali, June 4 – 28, 2010.

Ketut Teja Astawa

In their individual explorations of alienation, angst and the meaning of life in Bali in the 21st century, the artists Ketut Teja Astawa and Em Sumba have chosen differing visual styles with similar underlying themes, resulting in a stimulating contrast of shared emotions. Although born in the south of Bali, Astawa has superficially adopted a traditional style of Balinese painting that originated in the East Balinese village of Kamasan.

While the original Kamasan style is inspired by shadow puppets, the square headed cartoon characters that inhabitants Astawa's calendars and scenes seem more inspired by video figures making guest appearances in Balinese myths. One of his best is "Headed for the Shore" depicting scores of block heads frolicking with fish in stylized waves and swimming towards a brick walled shore. Others, like the "Guardian of Hell", present a large monster figure with a flaming tongue igniting what is now, arguably, Bali's ultimate symbol of wealth, automobiles.

Em Sumba

While Em Sumba worked for five years (1994-1999) in animation in Japan, his current work is free of traditional influence. Born in Lampung, South Sumatra, his canvasses are edgy and enigmatic. In "Art Reflection", a simple chair casts an odd shadow on a bleak gray background. Like most of his paintings, the surfaces are covered with graffiti-like statements that do not always make sense. Other images like "Arguing", portraying a crouching frightened figure, are full of angst and confusion. While most of Em Sumba's works are stylized, others, such as the "Swing" with a large-headed doe-eyed man caught in mid-swing in which Sumba proves his worth as a talented draughtsman.

The rambling nature in both form and content of these two contemporary artists mirror the confused times we live in. Bali, at least, has proven itself a sanctuary for artists of all races, ethnicities and religions further demonstrated by this exhibition that juxtapositions a Sumatran and Balinese.

Undoubtedly the variety of art and artists found in Bali is what makes the island's art scene so dynamic and interesting. Bali has become an artistic melting pot. But, luckily an ancient culture and people remain the foundation of this island in the sun.

Post Modern Ramblings

An Exhibition of Paintings by Ketut Teja Astawa and Em Sumba

Ganesha Gallery at the Fours Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay, Bali

June 4 – 28, 2010 Open Daily

For more information telephone ++62-361-701010


20 Year Sentence for Man who Murdered Japanese Tourist
David Wicaksono to Prison for 20 Years for Murdering Rika Sano in Bali.

David Goltar Wicaksono, the man convicted in the rape and murder of Japanese tourist Rika Sano, has been handed a 20 year prison sentence by the Denpasar District Court.

In the final session of the murder trial on May 3, 2010, a panel of judges headed by Dewa Made Wenten declared their agreement with the conclusions of the public prosecutor, Eddy Arta Wijaya, who earlier told the courts that Wicaksono had been proven to have brutally committed sexual assault and murder against the Japanese tourist.

According to Beritabali.com, the judges based their guilty verdict on the testimony of several witnesses, the confession of the defendant and the forensic reports resulting yielded by the victim's autopsy.

The sentence of 20 years was less than the life sentence requested by the prosecutor. The judges said that the sadistic nature of the murder, the fact that Rika Sano was an only child and the damage done to Bali's reputation all weighed against the defendant. In partial mitigation, the judges pointed to the polite demeanor of the Wicaksono during the trial process; his admission of guilt; and requests for forgiveness made to the family of the victim, the Japanese consul in Bali and Bali's tourism industry.

Both Wicaksono and the public prosecutor said that they would take under advisement whether or not to appeal the judges' verdict and the 20-year sentence that was handed down.

Related Articles

['Domo Arigato' for the Indonesian Police]

[Arrest Made in Murder of Japanese Tourist]


No Comment, No Way
New Indonesian Transparency of Information Law Will Limit Police's Ability to Answer the Press with 'No Comment."

Under new transparency rules that became effective May 1, 2010, Indonesian government officials must meet new, tougher standards of disclosure in public administration.

One of government agencies most affected by the new standards of "openness" will be the police, who are now by and large officially banned from resorting to "no comment" when fielding questions from the public and the press. As reported by Beritabali.com, law no. 14 of 2008 regarding access of public information is being embraced by the police as evidenced by a recent coordinating meeting held in Bali and attended by all the police precincts island-wide. General Edward Aritonang, the man in charge of public relations for the national police also attended the Bali meeting, telling the press that the police are embracing the new rules on openness as an essential element of national reformation.

General Aritonang, who was the second-in–command on the investigative team that handled the first Bali terrorist bombing in 2002, explained that the press can no longer be told "no comment" when asked for information that now, according to the new rules, is in the public domain. Underlining this point, Aritonang said, "the police are forbidden to say 'no comment.'"

In real terms, police officers who take refuge behind a "no comment" barrier are subject to disciplinary sanctions. Exempted from the new rules of openness are several areas treated as confidential by the police including details of investigative procedures; details surrounding ongoing investigations; information that endangers the lives of segments of society; or information that threatens public order, such as issues related to terrorism.


New Immigration Rules Revoked at Bali's Airport
Reacting to Long Passenger Delays and Bitter Complaints, Minister of Justice Indefinitely Suspends New Border Control Measures at Bali's Airport.

After angry complaints from arriving tourists compelled to stand in line at Bali's airport for up to four or more hours, the border control management (BCM) procedures requiring fingerprints and photos of arriving passengers have been ditched on instructions from the Minister of Justice and Human Rights.

In operation for only a week, the additional layer of bureaucracy of photographing and fingerprinting arriving tourist was added to the tasks of immigration officers already overwhelmed with administering a multi-step visa-on-arrival process. During peak traffic times at Bali's airports delays exceeding 4 hours were reported after the introduction of the new procedures.

On Monday, May 3, 2010, the fingerprinting and photography requirements were suspended until further notice reducing waiting time more normal parameters, but a still intolerable 2 hour period during peak traffic periods.

The government has promised not to reintroduce the system until an adequate amount of equipment and personnel can be put in place to facilitate the smooth flow-through of arriving passengers.

Immigration Comes Under Criticism

Despite the hasty retreat by immigration authorities, criticism of the poor level of service provided to Bali's inbound visitors persists.

Ida Bagus Ngurah Wijaya, the Chairman of the Bali Tourism Board (BTB), quoted in Radar Bali, said the short-live BCM measures did damage to Bali's tourism industry.

Wijaya said the now-abandoned police had little use and was just the latest in a list of "sloppy" actions performed by the agency in charge of guarding the nation's gateways.

Citing another example, Wijaya pointed to the recent increase from a two-tiered US$10/US$25 visa-on-arrival policy to a flat US$25 fee when it was discovered that some US$300,000 in visa funds had been misappropriated by immigration officials at the Bali airport. Said Wijaya: "According to what I read in the newspaper, immigration increased the fee to reduce corrupt acts. This is their internal problem; this is not the proper policy to resolve the problem."

When the corruption of visa-on-arrival fees was discovered the officials involved were forced to return the stolen money and given administrative sanctions. Then, in order to avoid the future possibility of a 30-day US$25 visa fees being booked at the 7-day US$10 fee with the difference for wayward officials, the government merely increased the fee to US$25 for all visitors.

Wijaya also complained of the lack of prior consultation by Immigration with the Bali Tourism Boars and other tourism stakeholders before major changes in immigration policy are introduced.

Related Articles

[Standing in a Long Line for Paradise]


3-Year Tourist Visas for Japanese
Proposal to Provide 3 year Tourist Visas to Japanese Gets Support from BTB, Bali Tourism Authority and PHRI.

A proposal from a group of Japanese tourist that the visa period beyond the current 2 months maximum to three years has received support from the Bali Chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) and the Bali Tourism Authority (Diparda).

As reported in Radar Bali, the chief of the Bali Tourism Authority, Bagus Subhisku, told the press that he supports the request of longer stays by Japanese tourists. Subhisku said: "We certainly support this issue because it can increase the length of stay. But, visa policy is in the control of the central government. We will (therefore) soon coordinate with the central government. And, whatever their decision we will honor it."

Subhisku elaborated his comments saying how a longer length of stay in Bali will result in for foreign exchange being spent on the island. At the same time he postulated that longer stays may increase the desire of visitors to invest in the island.

Adding his vote of support to the idea of longer stays was the Chairman of the Bali Tourism Board (BTB), Ida Bagus Ngurah Wijaya, who has thrown his support to the idea, saying: "I support this idea because it will surely enhance the peoples' economy. At the same time I wish to underline these extensions should only be available for visitors on holiday and not for those who come to Bali to work."


Super Heroes
10 Balinese Artists in a Combined exhibition at Hanna Artspace in Ubud, Bali May 29 – June 12, 2010.

While Tina Turner plaintively sings "we don't need a another hero." Those who follow Bali's art scene beg to differ. The world has an insatiable hunger for artists: people who can challenge our perception, compel us to view the world from a different perspective and sometimes provide insights on how to improve the human condition.

With this in mind, Hanna Artspace in Ubud, Bali has named its coming exhibition of 10 leading Balinese artists "Superheroes". In so doing, the aim is not solely to invent and idolize the "hero" but to also encourage all of us to emulate the heroism of people of vision. Within each of us resides the seed of true heroism: the potential to perform heroic deeds on behalf of our neighbors, nation and the plant.

The young artists displaying their work in this two-week exhibition endeavor to answer a variety of questions: How to be hero? What are the worth causes surrounding us that merit our valor?

The heroes among us are not always easily recognized. They seldom wear the spandex of Cat Woman, Spider Man, Batman or Superman. Our heroes have lower profiles and, like the artists participating in this exhibition, live simple lives dedicated to personal excellence, creativity and sustainability.

Super Heroes

An Exhibition by Gede Darmawan, Komang Sedana Putra, Komang Agus Dharma Putra, Gusti Made Mahardika, Gusti Made Adi Kurniawan, Wayan Linggih, Made Somadita, Nyoman Suarnata, and Ida Bagus Tilem

Hanna Artspace, Jln Pengosekan, Ubud – Bali

May 29 – June 12, 2010 Open Daily



Alejandro Helbing - Center Stage at The Bulgari Resort, Bali
Experienced Argentinian Hotelier Alejandro Helbing Takes the Reins at The Bulgari Resort, Bali.

Bulgari Resort, Balihave welcomed Alejandro Helbing to head their 59-villa luxury villas perched upon a 150-meter high plateau overlooking the Indian Ocean on Bali's southern peninsula.

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Alejandro Helbing began his hotel career in 1989 working as an Assistant Chief Steward at The Lafayette Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts. Promotions and new assignments quickly followed with stints as Director of Catering at the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, Argentina, Assistant Director of Food and Beverage at the Grand Hyatt Jakarta, and Food and Beverage Director at the Hyatt Regency Manila in the Philippines.

He became a hotel manager with the Rita-Carlton Group in 2002 when he took the helm at The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai. Later, he joined The Ritz-Carlton, Montreal in Canada.

Prior to his latest assignment in Bali he worked for four years as the General Manager of the luxury Hotel Villa Padierna in Marbella, Spain, also operated by The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.

Helbing speaks Spanish, French and English.

Mr. Helbing was introduced to the Bali travel industry during a cocktail reception held at the Resort's premier suite on Friday, April 31, 2010.


Andreas Kansil: The Leader of the Pack
Interview: Andreas Kansil, Event Director, MRA Bali International Triathlon.

Balidiscovery.com managed to corner the Event Director of the MRA Bali International Triathlon in the midst of busy preparations for the international sporting event slated to return for the 4th year on Sunday, June 20, 2010 at Jimbaran Bay.

The Interview, Andreas Kansil, Event Director, MRA Bali International Triathlon

Balidiscovery.com : 2007 – 2010, that's four years of hundreds of people swimming, cycling and running through Jimbaran and Nusa Dua. Anything new about this year's race?

Kansil: By popular demand, this year we'll introduce a sprint distance event that will run almost simultaneously with the Olympic Distance Event that covers a 1.5 kilometer swim, 42 kilometer bicycle course and ends with 10 kilomter road race. The Sprint Distance Event will be run over a course that's half the distance of the Olympic Distance Event.

Balidiscovery.com : What was the motivation to offer the shorter course?

Kansil : It's always been our desire to run an event with something for everyone. The Olympic Distance Event will remain the mainstay of the Bali International Triathlon, but the shorter Sprint Distance Event we believe will be attractive to many local and national athletes looking for a stepping stone before graduating to the main event in coming years. Another aspect of our "all inclusiveness" – remember that both the Sprint Distance and Olympic Distance Events can be run by either individuals or teams of three athletes operating the three legs in a relay. Oh, did I mention that teams can also be mixed, with male and female athletes sharing the responsibilities on a common team?

If either the Olympic or sprint events sound too challenging, then join our 5 kilometer Fun Run also being held on race morning.


Balidiscovery.com : O.K. We're convinced. What impact is the addition of a Sprint Distance Event having on registration numbers?

Kansil : From the beginning our goal has been to gradually build the number of participants in order that within 8-10 years we'd have a world class event attracting over 1,000 athletes to Bali. During each of the first three years we've managed to hit our growth targets and we're expecting to have over 500 athletes gathered on Jimbaran beach on Sunday morning, June 20th.

In fact, on line registrations for this year are very strong, showing a 40% increase year on year with 2009.

In addition to a number of ranking international triathletes returning to Bali this year, we'll welcome some Indonesian stars such as Richard Sam Bera, a legendary Indonesian swimming star and currently editor-in-chief of "Men's Fitness" and national athlete Andy Wibowo.


Balidiscovery.com : The MRA Bali International Triathlon claims to be a "Bali Community Event." How so?

Kansil : The MRA Bali International Triathlon would no be possible without the support of the entire island of Bali. Hundreds of police officers provide security and safety at race central and along the entire race course. Villagers and "pecalang" in all the village of Jimbaran and village across South Bali provide another layer of security and traffic coordination. Volunteers from hotels and schools assist in race coordination and man the water stands along the route. The Bali Hotel Association sends teams of participating athletes comprised of staff members, donate valuable prizes and helps house officials and press who travel to Bali for the event. Local Hindu priests bless our course and the bikes of our athletes. I could go on. The point is the Bali International Triathlon has extensive and intensive connections with the people and island of Bali. Without their continuing support the event could not be held.

Balidiscovery.com : You convinced us. MRA Group has been a major supporter of the Bali International Triathlon for the past 3 years. Tell us a little about the people whose generosity makes the event possible.

Kansil : The MRA Group of companies covering printed media, radio and other lifestyle driven brands have provided remarkable support over the past three years. The Four Seasons Resorts Jimbaran and InterContinental Bali Resorts are key supporters on Jimbaran Bay providing both financial backing and allowing us to use their beautiful beaches and resorts as the setting for the race. We are also excited this year to welcome Mandala Airlines as the official domestic airline sponsor of MRA Bali International Triathlon.

Balidiscovery.com : In 2005 Jimbaran suffered a tragic terrorist attack. Did that in any way deter you from holding the triathlon in 2007?

Kansil : Bali in general and Jimbaran in particular needed to "rebrand" following the second Bali bombings of 2005. The founders of the event had the idea that the best way to demonstrate to the world that Bali and Jimbaran were safe was to invite athletes from around the world to swim in our waters, and cycle and rum on Bali's roadways. Now that were back for a fourth year and expecting record numbers vindicates that decision. Further affirmation has been provided by being named "Best Destination Triathlon" in our inaugural year and just last month the Bali Event won a place on the top 10 list of "Best Vacation Triathlons" by Triathlete Magazine.

Balidiscovery.com : We've covered the race. What have we missed?

Kansil : Let me think. Don't forget the beach party that starts at 6:30 a.m. and runs until 2:00 p.m. on race day, Sunday, June 20th. The Coconut Grove in front of the Four Seasons is the start and finish line while the large garden on the north side the Bali Intercontinental will serve as the transition area. All morning long at Coconut Grove will be filled with live music, radio broadcasts, food, drinks, free massages, and award ceremonies for divisional winners. As I said earlier, we have something for everyone.

Related Websites

[MRA Bali International Triathlon Website]

[MRA Bali International Triathlon Facebook Page]

[MRA Bali International Triathlon Twitter Site]


Happy Trails to You, Until We Meet Again.
Kuta Officials Hold a Cowboy Round Up to Curb Gigolos Practicing Their Trade in Bali.

Local security forces along Kuta Beach in Bali are keeping a close eye for young men engaged in the world's oldest profession along the popular Bali beachfront.

The uniformed community enforcement officers (Satgas Pantai Kuta) are patrolling the 7-kilometer stretch of beach with instructions from village chiefs to do whatever they can to stop gigolo's practicing their trade in the wake of the widespread publicity given to a pseudo-documentary "Kuta Cowboys" feared to tarnish Bali's tourism image.

According to the national news agency Antara, some young men suspected to be selling their "charms" to visiting lady tourists have been rounded up by law enforcement officers.

The documentary made by a Singaporean filmmaker Amit Virmani has local authorities upset for the negative light in which it portrays Bali. As a result, people interviewed in the film have been called by police, uniformly insisting they had been told they were being interviewed for a film on HIV/AIDS and were victimized by the misrepresentations of the Singapore filmmaker. In the course of official investigations surrounding the film police have discovered that the Singaporean made the film without obtaining the required permits and licenses from the Bali Film office. Police, who wish to call the Virmani to Bali for questioning and possible prosecution, are apparently vexed by the lack of an extradition treaty between Indonesia and Singapore.

Despite admission by Kuta's village chief that "Kuta Cowboys" have practice their trade for more than two decade, Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik has pledged his office will take steps to try to prevent the premiere and distribution of "Kuta Cowboys." Wacik has also called on Indonesia's Minister of Communications and Information, Tifatul Sembiring, requesting assistance to prevent the films distribution via theatres, DVD and the Internet.

Related Article

[I Got Spurs that Jingle Jangle Jingle]


Lombok Volcano Springs to Life
Barujari Volcano on Slopes of Lombok's Rinjani Volcano Spews Giants Cloud of Smoke 1,200 meters high.

Lombok's Gunung Barujari part of the Gunung Rinjani volcano complex on the island of Lombok has been placed on a "caution" (waspada) list by Indonesian officials following a rash of continuing explosions, sometimes throwing molten ash 1,200 meters skyward.

Lombok is the nearest major island 54 nautical miles east of Bali.

On Tuesday, May 4, 2010, the mountain spewed thick chocolate-colored smoke. Gunung Barujari is 2,376 meters high and is conjoined with Gunung Rinjani which stand 3,726 meters tall.

According to Kun Dwi Santoso, the chief of the Mitigation of Disasters Section of the Geological and Mineral Resource service from the Mining and Energy Department for West Nusa Tenggara, a large explosion on Monday, May 3rd created 1,500 meter high ash cloud. Smaller explosions followed in short duration. On Tuesday the seismic station at Gunung Rinjani recorded a series of strong explosion.

Officials have responded to the mountains volcanic activity by declaring the area under a general caution for those living near the mountain and tourists climbing the Rinjani's peak. Ash falling on the north slope of the mountain has also interferred with farmers' crops.

Scientist are concerned that the volcano may increase in intensity, emitting more smoke and hot lava.

Kun also warned people climbing to the volcanic lake of Segara Anak of the possible accumulation of poisonous gas on or near the lake.


A Free Man by the End of May
Australian Trade Unionist Paul McJannet Gets Five Month Sentence from Bali Court for Smuggling Marijuana.

Australian trade unionist Paul McJannet had had his day in court on the island of Bali.

The 48-year-old crane operator and union activist from Perth, Western Australia received a sentence of only five months, much less than the fifteen year maximum punishment he could have received for trying to smuggle 1.7 grams of marijuana into Bali or the seven month sentence sought by prosecutors.

Arrested at Bali's airport on December 28, 2010, McJannet tried a number of ruses to escape punishment including pleading no knowledge of the illegal substance hidden in his luggage, pleading ignorance of the illegality of marijuana under Indonesian law and blaming union rivals for setting him up. His final ploy of pleading ill health and a psychological addiction to marijuana manage to hold sway with the Bali courts who render a sentence that will see McJannet set free on May 28, 2010.

Related Article

[Australian Trade Unionist on Drug Charge Before Bali Court]


Bali Loses a Loyal Supporter
Peter Rieger, Bali E-Commerce Pioneer, Dead at 65.

The death has been confirmed of the CEO of Bali.com and Bali Villas Peter Rieger. The German-born Rieger had been resident in Asia since 1971 working in a number of travel-related jobs, including publishing travel guides and working with a leading European travel company. In the 1990s he established his highly successful real estate, villa management and travel portal run in conjunction with a popular local travel forum dedicated to Bali.

Responding to Bali's economic crisis precipitated by terrorist bombings in 2002, Rieger established a charitable fund that raised money to help keep Balinese children in school.

Rieger, together with his Taiwanese-born wife, Isabella Lin, were high profile figures in Bali, particularly at culinary and wine events. Peter Kurt Karl Rieger was a member of the Chaine De Rotisseurs in Bali.

Local press reports state that the 65-year-old Rieger was admitted to Bali's Sanglah General Hospital on Tuesday, May 4, 2010, where he was tentatively diagnosed as suffering from Dengue fever. He died on Thursday afternoon at 5:25 pm..

Rieger's wife, Isabella Lin, is returning from the U.S.A. to Bali to handle final arrangements.

The staff and management of balidiscovery.com are saddened by the death of a friend and respected competitor and extend their prayers and condolences to Isabella and everyone at Bali.com and Bali Villas in this time of bereavement.


Gigolos in Bali
A Balinese Perspective on Sex Tourism and Kuta Beach Cowboys.

The Saturday, May 8, 2010 edition of BisnisBali carried an op-ed piece on gigolos in Bali written by Dr, I Wayan Windia of Bali's Udayana University's Agriculture Faculty. As part of balidiscovery.com's continuing effort to share the Balinese viewpoint on tourism issues we present our free translation of Dr. Windia's article.

Gigolos in Bali – by Wayan Windia

The mass media has exposed news about a short film about the lives of gigolos on Kuta Beach in Bali. The title of that film: "Cowboys in Paradise". The governor was said to be very angry. Julia Roberts had just finished making a film in Bali with the title "Eat, Pray, Love". It should also be noted that the people of Kuta are angry. The elite are insulted. But why are we cutting off our nose to spite our face? Isn't this situation merely a reflection of our society?

We in Bali are always reactive; giving non-proportional reactions to "bad" news about Bali. But, maybe the gigolo film is also a promotional film for Bali.

We need to remember that when Australian television showed a "60 Minute" segment showing Bali to be dirty and unsanitary, we Balinese and our officials became very angry. Later, we tried to cover up news about AIDS, narcotics, and even diarrhea in Bali. In this most recent example, Bali's governor, the island's elite and the general public have been angered by a short film about gigolos on Kuta Beach.

It is fitting to remember that when Bali open its doors wide to world tourism, it had to be prepared to receive the reality that our local society would be altered. A process of acculturation took place. The Balinese gradually become aware that they must confront the existence of multiculturalism and, in turn, derive meaning and purpose from that new reality.

It is therefore fitting that now the Island of Bali is not an "island paradise." Paradise, or heaven, cannot stand alone. Where there is a heaven there is also always a hell. The existence of prostitution, gigolos, pollution, salt water intrusion into the water table, slums, rabies, AIDS, narcotics dengue fever, robberies, rape, free-sex and other negative social phenomena are all part of this "hell." If you can't abide by the character of "hell," then don't try to create a heaven. This is a basic part of the dialectic rules embraced by the Bali Hindu concept of Rwa Bineda.

We really need don't need to be bothered. Whenever news surfaces depicting Bali as a "hell" we pass from concern, to anger, to infuriation followed by raids, arrests and punishments. Its has become public knowledge that the existence of prostitution and gigolos are a facts of life. The mass media has often and extensively exposed this facet of our social life. What's important now is that we undertake introspection regarding tourism development in Bali. We have been battered and bruised by the process of Bali's tourism sector over the past 40 years. Experts note that 50% of the profits derived from Bali's tourism sector are repatriated to other places outside Bali and abroad. The people of Bali are left to swallow the high social costs imposed by tourism as many Balinese are not prepared to participate and compete in the highly competitive tourism sector.

In this context, many experts recommend that Bali impose a moratorium on the development of tourism in Bali. Such a moratorium would be followed by a period of introspection and internalization. At the end of the process new rules and regulations could be implemented addressing tourism development in Bali. New guidelines would be formulated addressing Bali's relationship with its natural environment (Palemahan). A strengthening and actualization of social agencies would be undertaken to buttress and safeguard human and social relationships (Pawongan). Rules and guidelines would also be socialized to protect and preserve agriculture in Bali. All these things form part of a sacred offering encompassing our relationship with the Alnighty (Parhyangan).

The revitalization of the concepts of Palemahan, Pawongan and Parhyangan are part and parcel of the implementation of the concept of Tri Hita Karana.

The concept of Tri Hita Karana stresses harmonization. Thus, if we accept the concept of harmony as part of life in conjunction with the black/white good/bad juxtaposition mandated by Rwi Bhineda, we can abandon the cause of our concern and consternation. Say good-bye to complaints about damaging Bali's natural environment, the social transformation that is rendering Bali into some sort of "hell," or the gigolos of Bali – all recent topics in Indonesia's press. Accept all these things as a natural consequence of human actions.

Gigolos appear because of the way Bali tourism is being promoted. Bali has been a magnet for job seekers since the early 1970s. Although these job-seekers have no discernible skills, many spend their time relaxing on Kuta Beach practicing their limited English. In time they become adept at water sports. Then they teach Japanese and other foreign women how to perform water sports activities. It is in this atmosphere that the gigolos emerge. The European women and Japanese women delight in the loud and audacious gigolos, able to enjoy their company without emotional commitment. If the women grow bored, they can leave the current gigolo in search of another.

These are the origins of gigolos in Bali. So why should we be bothered?


Building Tourism Bridges with Australia
Indonesian Tourism Sales Mission to Australia to Include Large Bali Delegation Promoting Sports and Well Being.

The Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Tourism is targeting 620,000 Australian visitors to Indonesia for 2010. To achieve this, the government is coordinating a sales mission to Australia scheduled for mid-May 2010.

The sales mission, to include 28 hotel and tour operators from Bali, will visit four Australian cities: Perth, Darwin, Melbourne and Sydney.

With the government acting as the marketing partner with the private sector, the promotional tour has adopted the theme of "sports and well being." In keeping with this theme, one of the activities slated during the Australian sales mission is a golf tournament.

In 2009, the Australian market moved into the top position as the leading source of foreign tourists to Bali, displacing the Japanese who had traditionally dominated Bali tourist arrivals. Australian arrivals to Bali in 2009 totaled 446,042, improving 45.43% over 2008. Through the end of Q1 2010 Australian arrivals continued to grow marking an increase of 68.93% year-on-year over 2009.


We Get Mail
The Now Rescinded Fingerprinting and Photo Session at Bali's Airport, Steps to Improve Traffic Flows in Ubud and Kuta's Cowboy Were the Current Topics that Filled Balidiscovery.com's mailbox

[Standing in a Long Line for Paradise] our coverage of new, time-consuming fingerprinting and photography requirements imposed at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport brought emails in record numbers. Fortunately, the 4-hour plus delays were partially remedied on the orders of the Minister of Justice and Human Rights who on Monday, May 3, 2010 rescinded the requirements for fingerprinting and photos. Here's what people had to say before government retreated and removed the unpopular new policy.

• Bob. K. from South Australia wrote :

"Hi, with all of the hassle of arrivals now with the finger printing and photos it's now a complete blunder/night mare . Nowhere on this planet, and I've traveled all over the place, does this (kind of) incompetence happen. Before most of the booths were open to process the passports, and that took long enough, now what they have decided to do is close off some of the booths and us them to take photos, so now we have fewer booths to process passports while the others take photos and fingerprints. Now it takes 3-5 hrs from arrivals to outside instead of 30 min. So what is being done to speed up the process or don't they care? What first impressions does this make to arrivals, just read the Bali Travel Forum."

• Fred contributed:

"May 1st 17:30 hours. I was at the front of the plane and dashed for the passport immigration line - I am a resident of Indonesia - while on the hand phone telling those persons that would meet me I would be at least 30 minutes more due to immigration "macet" - a man five persons in front of me said they had already been in line for 2 1/2 hours. It was also quite hot with all the people trying to fan themselves with their passports. My final time was 1 hour."

"As I left the immigration desk I looked back and saw a new group of people 20 meters long. I really felt sorry for them. Bali and Indonesia survived for decades without this ridiculous facial photography and fingerprinting. In a time when Thailand is in turmoil and Bali can benefit, who would want to come here? If I was on Holiday - I would never come back. First being ripped off for $25 because there is no other efficient manner of taxing and then to wait for hours to escape a 1960's style building. How much can people stand who have a choice of where to Holiday."


• Noel from Australia:

"I have been to Bali every year since 1995. I have traveled the world's airports. I won't return to Bali until this mess is fixed. Given the VOA and number of tourists the airport, staffing levels and technology should get a priority upgrade."

• Bruce Wyder wrote to say:

"On my last visit, March 2010, I waited 70 minutes to get through immigration and I have a visa. Inadequate staffing was the problem. The officers are very polite and do their best, but they need a lot more on duty. Then we had to put our luggage on the x-ray conveyor, this after a journey of almost 24 hours. I was tired and fatigued; an elderly Chinese gentleman almost fell into the conveyor. They need strong young men to put the luggage on and off the conveyor. I hope the Government is able to do something about this situation as I come three to four times a year for four to six weeks."

• Bhagawati Morriss, a resident in Bali, wrote the following:

"I was lucky to fly into Bali before this undeveloped scheme of DNA(sic) and fingerprint checking was launched. However, we still had to wait in line a long time (with a KITAS) - with only very few immigration counters staffed. However, after customs we tiredly walked out and counted 16 (!) money changer booths, ALL staffed, waving people on to change money. No traveler that I could see stopped, everybody too tired and eager to get out of the airport. Accounts of long lines and frustrated visitors have made the rounds for years now. How is it possible that all this is being ignored, that no officials take action? One quick look at Singapore can show how professional and painless entries there are conducted."

• David Quibell had the following points:

"I have made nearly 30 visits to Bali over the last few years but NEVER NEVER NEVER again with this completely disorganized non-system at the airport!!! "Welome to Paradise""!!! No way and never again. I suggest that everyone tries "Malaysia truly Asia" and see what they have to offer!! It puts Bali's arrival experience in the stone age!!"

• Oliver Chervet wrote from Dublin, Ireland:

"A frequent Bali visitor from Europe, I landed at Ngurah Rai last Saturday May 1, at around 9:40 PM. I was amongst the first to exit the plane and it was useless as the arrival hall for immigration was already packed."

"It took me 2 1/2 hours to get to the counter and only photos were taken not fingerprints . . .It was very hot in the building, 30 degrees according to my watch. I saw families with very young children, even toddlers having to wait in these conditions."

"At one point people started to cheer every-time an arrival was announced. Overall spirits were not too bad, but around me first-time visitors coming from Europe also were surprised and very annoyed. Some felt they were not welcomed.

I'm aware it's a teething problem, but Bali's image is at stake and this program should be suspended until the airport is able to deal with the flow of passengers."


• From Australia, Carol Fleming-Phillips said:

"What about the elderly and young children??? 4-6 hours waiting is totally unacceptable. I intend coming to Bali with my daughter and 7month old granddaughter, I hope the problem will be rectified by then."

• To which Rob van Wely added:

"When I arrived at Bali, 30 January, there were 2 counters open for foreigners, and at one counter for locals & crew. Five people were sitting doing nothing. Could they not open another counter ?"

• From Holland Jack Warnars has the following thoughts:

"Our family will probably visit Bali in August with about 20 people, adults and children. Is this human traffic jam is true, we will certainly not come to Bali and we will inform all travel agencies that it is ridiculous. Tourism is growing and good for the economy. We spend the money! Buy more equipment. The return on investment will be a couple of months. Think of the people who spending their money in Bali."

• Bill said:

"Why the sudden need to finger print and photograph visitors? It will not work. There are NEVER even enough Immigration stations open now to handle even visitors for VOA alone, and to add these other activities? NO WAY! The visitor flow into Bali will be seriously hurt when these 'queued up' people go back home and tell their friends about the arrival hassles. Oh wait, then there will be fewer visitors to photo and print, so the lines should move faster!"

• Pamela Burt from Australia wrote to say:

"Last December I had to cancel our holiday just two days before leaving when I was admitted to hospital with a stroke. I have a very weak right side and cannot stand for long. I was thinking of coming next month, but if I am forced to stand for hour or more, then no more Bali for me."

• Sandie, angrily wrote:

"Thank you for this information. I have forwarded this to all the major travel agents in Hong Kong. That way they can inform prospective tourist to Bali, especially people traveling with young children to anticipate long delays. This I do feel will lead tourist, to perhaps changing destinations. Vietnam is a truly growing tourist area, not only the cities, but the beach areas as well. May be a better choice for tourists. I shall certainly be considering a trip there instead of Bali."

[Will Tourists Abandon Ubud?] – our report on traffic jams in Bali's hillside community of Ubud and threats by travel agents to boycott that destination brought some thoughtful comments:

• Gerald in Indonesia:

"This is something going on for years already. Simple solution; NO tourist buses or vans allowed in the small streets of Ubud. Give residence a permit card to drive in Ubud, create a huge parking place before the center where shuttle buses apply the route to Jl. Monkey forest and Jl. Hanoman."

• Ian Wedding had these suggestions:

"Having lived in Ubud, on and off, for many years, I believe there is only one real answer to Ubud's increasing traffic problems. The area comprising Jl. Hanoman and Monkey Forest Road, which includes the popular market area, should be made a no traffic zone. That includes motor bikes. The whole area could be made very beautiful and easy for tourists to walk around, and the locals would still be able to do their business easily. Of course, this would require adequate parking areas just outside the main city area (there is plenty of land available for this), and would also need the support of the local people. Everyone can benefit from this. Ubud can be wonderful again!"

• Kevin Bell who lives and works in Bali wrote:

"The single biggest problem with traffic in Ubud, apart from a total disregard to traffic rules by locals both Balinese and expats, is the market. A possible solution would be for the Gianyar government (they own it) to rent some space outside of Ubud for 2 years, set up a temporary market there and demolish the current market, rebuild it with underground parking including entries and exits for buses. Then there would also be available evening parking for those who attend the evening Bali dances at The Palace and the surrounding restaurants."

• Marie said:

"I fervently hope that the large tour buses DO abandon Ubud. Not only do they cause huge traffic jams but they bring package tourists who spend very little time actually enjoying the culture of Ubud and mostly spend time at the commission shops and restaurants that pay large commissions. On another note, why can't Ubud have a continuous shuttle service loop that goes around town that would help relieve congestion and relieve tourists from tripping and hurting themselves on the broken sidewalks! Sorry, my comments are disjointed but this space seems too small for what I want to say!"

[I Got Spurs that Jingle Jangle Jingle] that covered the controversial film "Kuta Cowboys" depicting Kuta Beach's gigolo industry got one letter:

• Anne Delane asked:

"Are you kidding? This will increase tourism 10 fold! The Kuta Cowboy story is as old as tourism itself here. The main thing is: Don't believe a word these guys say, because as soon as one girl is gone, they are on to the next one."


Bali Customs Destroys Alcohol Cache
2,824 Bottle of Booze Goes Under a Bulldozer at the Airport Office of Bali Customs.

Bali's Customs Office bulldozed 2,824 bottles of contraband alcohol on Friday, May 6, 2010, in the parking lot of their Bali Ngurah Rai Airport offices.

The bottles of wine and hard liquor were estimated to have a value of Rp. 600 million (US$ 65,200) were seized in a number of raids conducted by Bali Customs Officers in 2009 and 2010 on illegal caches of booze not bearing official duty stamps Of the total number of bottles crushed by a bulldozer were 1,539 bottles of imported wine and liquor and 1,285 bottles of illegal locally produced beverages. The falsified customs stamps destroyed by Customs totaled Rp. 98 million (US$10,600).

The drinks destroyed were accumulated from cases that have reached final determinations in the judicial process. Other caches from recent raids can only be destroyed after the completion of the legal cases in which the alcohol serves as evidence.

The Bali Customs Office currently has 9 separate cases involving illegal alcoholic beverages before the Denpasar Courts.


Rallying for Rails in Bali
Nyoman Gunarsa, Influential Balinese Artists, Voices His Support for a Round Bali Rail System.

As reported on balidiscovery.com [Pardon Me, Sir, is this the Bali Island Choo Choo?], Bali's Governor Made Mangku Pastika has expressed interest in a proposal from the central government in Jakarta to establish a round-island slow railway as a means of providing better access to all areas of Bali.

The development of a round island train service received a "thumbs up" from renowned Balinese artist and museum curator Nyoman Gunarsa. Gunarsa's view, reported in Bali Post, suggests such a system would required the conversion and acquisition of minimal amounts of land and would be environmentally friendly.

Explaining his support for the project, Gunarsa said, "the rails for a slow train would be at the most 3 meters in width, while the space needed to build a by-pass highway is 15 meters." The well respected Balinese artist also suggested that the government should end the long-standing polemic on productive lands as such discussions only add to Bali's already crowded situation.

Gunarsa envisions a slow rail system that can encircle the island with stops at major tourism objects. Additionally, the proposed rail system would represent an affordable and efficient means of transportation for the local population of Bali.

Anticipating logistical problems ahead, Gunarsa said that railway tunnels could be built in mountainous areas of Bali, such as between Tabanan and Buleleng.

"Rather than trouble ourselves with airports or toll ways, it would be better to build the slow railway. Such a project would clearly profit the island of Bali," maintained Gunarsa.

Underlining his concern for the way in which green areas have been diverted to other uses in Bali, Gunarsa cited the example of the I.B. Mantra By Pass where the side of the roads are crowded with workshops, stores and cafes with little or no Balinese architectural elements. Such negative and careless development is due to the inability of the government to control zoning and building rules and threatens the image of Bali tourism before the world.

"I am saddened to see Bali lose its identity due to the governments failure to assume its proper role in controlling development. If we allow the current situation to continue I am afraid that Bali will be abandoned by its tourist visitors," said Gunarsa.

Earlier, at a meeting between Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, cabinet ministers, national governors, and lawmakers held at the Tampaksiring Presidential Retreat, Bali's governor Made Mangku Pastika enthusiastically endorsed the proposal put forth by the central government to establish the round-Bali railway system. The governor viewed the system as a way to spread the benefits of Bali's tourism industry to the less visited areas of the island and, because of that, urged the proposal for the railway be studied carefully.


Bali Conference to Focus on Sexuality Through the Life Span
3rd National Congress of the Indonesian Association of Sexology in Conjunction with the 11th Asia-Oceania Conference for Sexology in Bali August 4-7, 2101.

Academics, researchers and health practitioners concerned with human sexuality from across Asia will convene in Bali August 4-7, 2010 for a joint meeting the 3rd National Congress of the Indonesian Association of Sexology in conjunction with the 11th Asia-Oceania Conference for Sexology in Bali.

Adopting the theme "Sexuality through the Life Span" the Bali conference seeks to strengthen academic exchanges and cooperation among professional sexologists to improve the quality of research in the areas of human sexuality.

Conference sessions led by top international experts will touch on a wide range of subjects including treatment of sexual dysfunction; Asian perspectives on sexuality; holistic sexuality management for those suffering from major disease; sexual orientation and homosexuality; sex education; sexuality and aging; sexuality and parenthood; and safe sex and STDs.

The 3-day conference to be held at the Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel in Bali is open to interested professionals, researchers, experts, officials and members of the business sector.

Registration and conference details at [3rd National Congress of the Indonesian Association of Sexology and 11th Asia-Oceania Conference for Sexology Website]


 
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