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The Balancing Act

Minister Ardika Examines the 'Balancing Act' Between Modernity and Traditional Culture Conservation.

(12/9/2001) Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism feels that cultural conservation efforts undertaken to date have focused too much on physical preservation aspects, when the real emphasis should be on "total conservation" - the safekeeping of the values of the local community in conjunction with the protection of its physical heritage.

Speaking at a seminar entitled "Architectural Training and Concern for Conservation" organized by a local heritage preservation group on December 1, 2001, in Bali, the Minister explained that in the face for global openness, Indonesia must struggle to maintain the individual identity of each of the Country's regional areas. Invoking the national motto of "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" or "Unity in Diversity" as a guiding principle, the Minister called on each province of Indonesia to seek out those unique qualities of the local community's character for preservation.

Using his native Bali as an example, Minister Ardika described the difficult "balancing act" between the desire to accept modernity and a no less powerful desire to protect the island's local identity.

A Village Based Model for Development

Minister Ardika explained how a village-based approach - such as that found in many European communities - offers a possible path for Indonesian tourism development.

The Indonesian village development model was first launched in 1990 and provides for the orderly development of villages in line with standards that preserve traditional architectural values. Local community members without the involvement of outside investors, he added, must manage such an approach. "If investors (from outside) become involved, the (local) people will be defeated with nothing to show for themselves," the Minister said. (Kompas)