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Is Bali Losing its Cultural Compass?

Former Tourism Minister Gede Ardika Warns That Bali is Losing its Hold on Traditional Community Values.

(12/10/2007) Speaking at a seminar held in Bali on December 2, 2007, Indonesia's former Minister of Culture and Tourism. I Gede Ardika warned that Bali was increasingly disassociating itself from its traditional values.

Quoted by the National News Agency Antara, Ardika delivered an address entitled - "Bali's Tourism: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Challenges for Nature and the Balinese People" in which he said that the people of Bali were increasingly upset by the new attitude that considers all things are permissible in pursuit of private goals.

Stating that the traditional Balinese character seeks peace in combination with mental and physical well being, Ardika finds such values badly out of step with the results of recent developments in Bali.

To preserve the future of Bali, its people and its culture the popular former Minister called for a renewal of the primacy of the community as a means for Bali to make a lasting contribution to the Nation and the World. Cautioning that the road ahead was full of challenges, Ardika called on the Balinese to study the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities offered by tourism in Bali and the specific threats posed by some forms of the tourism industry to Balinese culture and its natural environment.

As regards Bali's cultural and artistic traditions, Ardika called for special attention to be paid to the preservation, utilization and development of the Island's rich art forms. In doing so, the Balinese arts will provide practical benefits to the people of the Island, ensuring a sustainable culture and tourism product in the years to come.