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Bali Artistic Leader Calls for a Stop to Condotels

Nyoman Gunarsa Says Condotels Threaten Balinese Culture.

(6/29/2009) One of Bali's most famous artists and art curators, Nyoman Gunarsa, views the recent surge of "Condominium Hotels (Condotels)" as a detriment that does more harm than good for Bali.

According to Gunarsa quoted in Denpost, tourist staying in fully equipped apartments will adopt a lifestyle of a local, providing minimum economic benefit to Bali. Moreover, Gunarsa sees Condotels as reflecting a highly individualist western lifestyle that distances residents from the local environment, local culture and the community-based culture of the Balinese.

Gunarsa also expressed fears that an element of positive social control will be lost on the large number of Condotels, creating an environment conducive to the excesses of modern life, such as free-sex and the use of narcotics.

Because of these concerns, Gunarsa is calling on the government to limit the use of Condotels in Bali and to stop the construction of new Condotel projects.

Gunarsa told the press of a basic conflict between Bali's artistic community dedicated to preserving and protecting Balinese culture and other parties in Bali only seeking to profits from the exploitation of the island.

Underling the depth of his concerns, Gunarsa cynically said that if the government has no desire to stop the construction of Condotels in Bali it would be better if all restrictions were simply lifted and Bali quit any claims of being the "islands of the Gods." Continuing angrily, Gunarsa said that if everything is allowed to develop without control, Bali will eventually be destroyed by condominiums, apartments and similar developments.

The well-known artists bemoaned the fact that Bali's farmers are selling rice fields, agricultural lands and river fronts that are supplanted with modern buildings. Adding: "If everything happens in this way, we will no longer need to host the Bali Arts Festival every year to present our stage performances and other arts. All our idealism becomes pointless."