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Against All Odds

"Against All Odds - The Strange Destiny of a Balinese Prince." The Illustrated Biography of of Dr. A.A. Madé Djelantik Launched by Saritaksu Editions, Bali.


Dr. A.A. Made Djelantik, together with Idanna Pucci The life story of Dr. A.A. Madé Djelantik spans most of the year of the last century; touches a professional career lived in Europe, Africa and Indonesia; and spans a time that bridges the transition from when Kings still ruled Bali to the more pluralistic traditions of modern day.

One of Bali's most-loved personalities, Dr. A.A. Madé Djelantik was born the son of the Raja of Karangasem – a feudal lord who nurtured his Son's active intellect and insatiable desire for education. Schooled in Java as a child before leaving for Holland as a young man to pursue a course in medical studies, he left an Indonesia "occupied" by Colonial overlords from whom he sought a medical education in Amsterdam. Ironically, he quickly found himself struggling to survive and continue his studies in a Holland occupied itself by invading German troops.

Graduating as a Doctor in 1946 and specializing in tropical medicine, Dr. Djelantik eventually returned to an independent Indonesia where he served as Bali's Chief Medical Officer from 1957-1969, before again traveling abroad to work for ten years with the World Health Organization. Dr. Djelantik is credited with pioneering the Faculty of Medicine at Bali's Udayana University. He served as the director of the Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar from 1959-1969.

Deeply interested in Bali's culture, he served as chairman of Bali's Council for Cultural Affairs from 1960-1969 and founded ASTI - the internationally famous Dance Academy of Bali. He also served as Chairman of the Walter Spies Foundation from 1981-1999.

A prolific author on a wide range of subjects, he is the author of "Balinese Painting"(Oxford University Press: 1968); "The Birthmark: Memoirs of a Balinese Prince" (Periplus Press: 1997).

Against All Odds – The Strange Destiny of a Balinese Prince

Dr. Djelantik's latest book was started in 2001 while he was recuperating from a debilitating illness that saw him begin painting again after a break of nearly 50 years. Drawing from memories, he created a remarkable sequence of watercolors depicting scenes for his rich life's story.

Italian-born author, Idanna Pucci, provides a written narrative to accompany Dr. Djelantik's pictures, relating his stories with gentle respect and inspiration. In retelling his life she has managed to catch Dr. Djealntik's innate sensitivity, innocence, wide-eyed wonder and fearless curiosity in exploring new worlds - both on a personal and external basis.

Idanna Pucci, a graduate of Columbia University's School of Comparative Literature, has traveled extensively throughout Asia while writing several books and producing documentary films.

In reviewing the book, Indonesia's highly respected essayist, poet and journalist - Goenawan Mohamad had the following to say about "Against all Odds":

"The temptation of this epic is irresistible. In the case of Madé Djelantik's life and works, as told by Idanna Pucci, the learning begins and ends with a note that it may be a good idea, even in our violent time, to recreate the possibility of joy."

Shown at are the illustrator and subject of the biography, Dr. A.A. Madé Djelantik, together with Idanna Pucci.

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