Our regular "clean out" of our mail bag yields comments on a number of articles from Balidiscovery.com and a number of other topics.
Dog fanciers are generally quick to email whenever there's coverage of efforts underway to curb the spread of rabies [Bali Gets US$1.63 Million Help Fight Rabies ].
• Darish in Bali doesn't like the illustration we used on the article:
"I'm not happy that you used a photo of Doberman and a Rottweiler dogs for this article. The information is good but the problem is Balinese dogs. Using this photo promotes fear of two breeds which are not vicious and undoubtedly not the problem in Bali. I've been here more than ten years. There are no Doberman or Rottweiler dogs in my husband's village in the mountains, yet someone just died there from a rabies bite."
• Also from Bali, Suzana van Noort wrote:
"Build animal shelters in Bali to give places to live for stray dogs. They need our love, compassion, shelter, food, drinks and care...They are poor innocent creatures, so please don't euthanize these poor dogs. Not all dogs have rabies, to think so it's a stupid idea..."
[Crying Over Spilt Malt] reporting the destruction of 3,000 bottles of imported spirits has some readers crying in their beer, gin, rum, wine, vodka, etc…
• Local food and drink commentator, Kevin Bell, has another suggestion:
"How 3rd world! How stupid!"
"The bottles of wines and spirits and the cigarettes were destroyed because of non-payment of taxes. Why doesn't Customs auction them off as is done in western countries, the proceeds of such auction would have far exceeded what was due on taxes. As the auction sale price would be 'tax paid' some items would even bring above the normal wholesale price due to the shortage in Bali."
• Isabella from Germany writes:
"Two things strike me about destroying alcohol and cigarettes:"
"Why did customs destroy so much money (alcohol) that could have been donated to some good cause, i.e. fighting booze addiction and above all a big anti-smoking campaign could have been financed with that most successfully - I am nonplussed."
"It becomes nicely obvious from the two figures you provided (street worth vs lost taxation), why alcohol smuggling is worthwhile for smugglers."
I am all for high booze taxation - but ALL revenues, including selling confiscated alcohol, should be used to help Balinese people to become more healthy and fight their addiction to tobacco."
• Brian sounded a similar message:
"How crazy is this? How about the authorities holding an auction and selling the illegal wines, spirits to re-coup the lost revenue."
•Wendy Kay Foldes succinctly said:
"Good Job! Keep it up."
[Gotta Keep Those Lovin' Good Vibrations] reporting the call for Bali's character as a spiritual tourism destination be preserved by halting developments surrounding Tanah Lot struck a chord with one reader.
• Caine ably wrote:
"Thank you for reporting such newsworthy articles of what is important to Bali and our local indigenous population. With tourism & rampant building development it is essential for all to maintain the basic values that have made, and sustain, Bali for what it is."
[Minister Wacik: Indonesian Tourism Boom to Continue] carried a statement from Tourism Minister Jero Wacik in which he failed to mention Australia as a key market.
• This omission irked Nick in Sydney who wrote to say:
"Pak Wacik mentions most of the source markets except the biggest, most resilient and currently record-breaking one. What strategies and how much budget will be directed to Australia?"
[Old King Coal to Soon Power Bali] reporting plans to build an "environmentally friendly" coal-fueled power plan in North Bali has many readers very concerned:
• Marc wrote:
"And we thought that Governor Pastika wanted to promote tourism in North Bali ... is this the end of North Bali as a possible tourist destination?"
• Jim shares these worries:
"How did this get under the radar. Three years ago there was massive public outcry and active email campaign against it. Now that it's happening, not even a whimper. Green future Bali? It's being pushed through as if it is clean and safe. We do not have all of the details for this facility, but I do know that the amount of NOx ,SOx ,CO2 and ash generated by the plants of this size will be substantial. (If) these plants are moving forward, someone should be scrutinizing the equipment they intend to install to reduce emissions. In China, the government is paying lip service to clean air technology, but continuing to install low cost, inefficient equipment, which operates at 50-70% efficiencies versus the more expensive technologies that remove 80-90% of pollutants from the stack gasses. My guess is that the government is also cutting corners on their coal-fired plants regarding both emissions and ash. And they are not telling us that these plants can be re-tooled to burn the 2nd and 3rd grade quality coal. Greenpeace made the following statement referencing the installation of coal fired plants in Bali: 'Bali's unique cultural and ecological identity and clean, green and peaceful environment for sustainable tourism will suffer if the coal plants get the go ahead. The coal plant will destroy local livelihoods, the economy and environment as it has done already in Thailand.'"
"'We will allow the project as long as it uses the latest technology to minimize pollution,' Pastika suggested, (defending) the use of clean coal technology. Where's the Environmental Impact Report?"
"The Balinese Hindu believe in the ground water and land. How about the air we breathe? These coal plants pose a huge health threat to Bali."
[Protesting to Save Bali's Cultural Heritage] – our coverage of protests by a group of Balinese youth demanding new zoning laws be observed earned the following response:
• Wendy Foldes wrote:
"Congratulations to these young people who peacefully speak their Truth and work to save their culture. I support them 110% and hope that they succeed."
[Time to Abolish Indonesia's Visa-on-Arrival Policy?] containing a call from a Balinese tourism figure to get rid of visa-on-arrival fees earned support from many readers:
• Wayne Ruttan from Canada said:
"Good idea. Getting rid of this tax on us who come to Bali again and again. Don't we spend enough? We come from Canada and it is allot longer than 8 hours flight; try over 20 hrs. And, then a line-up for nothing more than a money-grab!"
• Deborah Matruoka wrote:
"I agree that the financial gain (from visa fees) Indonesia has experienced is nothing in comparison to their loss. I feel that Indonesia can't see the forest through the trees. In other words, they aren't looking at the big picture. I believe that tourist arrivals from destinations referred to as from the "Western world" will/have declined, as well as the amount time and money spent in Bali. I believe the biggest group of tourists to Bali, Indonesia is locals, spending fewer days and dollars. It is becoming too much of a hassle getting to Indonesia and of course for those wanting to stay longer than 30 days have to deal with even more hassle and then STILL be subject to the long lines...it's horrible! I am so over it! I've been spending a minimum of 2 months in Bali a year for 10 yrs. I love Bali and have made many very good friends over the years so for me it is hard not to go, but I'm beginning to think the inconveniences, not just upon entry into this country but also the horrible traffic jams, it took me 2.5 hour to get from Ubud to Kuta in July this year. I'm glad I wasn't in a taxi, however I was paying transport and the majority of my expense was a result of "sitting in traffic". Also for those of us that have been coming to Indonesia for many years are very saddened to see all the growth that is not in harmony with the culture or architecture of Bali. It's beginning to look like any other little town in the 'Western' world, something those of us from the west come to Bali to escape. I really hope that someone with some power will do something before it's too late. There are many places competing for our business that are so much simpler. One last thing also that should be mentioned is the VOA has also turned what may have been honest workers at customs into thieves...and then all they got was a slap on that hand...what's wrong with this picture."
• Helen added:
"Hooray! the sooner the better, tourists certainly are turned off at present by the VOA when we can travel elsewhere with no complications including valuable time wasted , also added costs to us, we can travel to other destinations free of all this hassle!}
• Sue Robson enthused:
"YES..YES..YES.. what a wonderful idea. I travel to Bali often not for business but because I love your country & its people & culture. I was thinking of trying Thailand as the queues are just too much after long flights. This would be a definite advantage to your tourism. Please stop them now as the money you collect at the airport would most certainly be used buying products on the island instead. A win=win situation."
• Marilyn Catanzaro from Australia sent:
"We love Bali and come twice a year and also my family. Phuket doesn't have it (visa fees and lines) and a lot of other places. YES, time to abolish it now."
• Bruce Wyder, who spends a great deal of time in Bali, notes improvements at Bali's airport:
"I have sent many strong negative comments along with many others about the snail pace of immigration and customs at Bali International Airport over the past three years. Well it seems someone has taken notice! On Saturday 23rd October I arrived at my usual time from Hong Kong. From plane to immigration it took about five minutes. The immigration lanes were fully staffed and easily identifiable. "
"It took two minutes to clear and then off to pick up my bags which took probably ten minutes, during which time I got myself a nice new shiny trolley and proceeded to the customs X-ray machine. This process took about five minutes and I was at curbside! So the total time was less than 25 minutes, what a difference from the 2-3 hour waits!"
"I will be coming through Bali International Airport again in November and I hope to have the same positive experience."
"If the powers that be can do this with a very significant problem, maybe they can do something with the garbage and overbuilding and return Bali to it's former self? I hope so."
[The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!] reporting plans by Aeroflot to commence direct flights between Moscow and Bali, earned a warning:
• John said:
"The biggest mistake ever when they aloud Russians to come on a regular basis. Where Russians are coming all will change, but not for the good. They are very noisy, they drink a lot, they fight and they bring criminality to your island and a lot of problems for sure. Remember my words within two years."
[Garuda: Something New in the Air] praising the Indonesian national carrier's awards for best in-flight service in Asia by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation:
• Gary Taylor in Australia had this to say:
"I live in Sydney and have been travelling to Bali with Garuda for the past 30 years and this year's flight was the best ever ! Nothing rattled, nothing broken, excellent seats and legroom, fantastic in flight entertainment on the individual screens ... and that was economy. I felt spoilt."
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