"I very much enjoy your weekly newsletter. In fact, I had read your announcement of the Cudamani tour in America and was able to schedule a small lecture/demonstration at Ohio University. It was a fantastic lecture. Again, thank you for both bits of information!"
Following 20 Year Prison Sentence Given to Shapelle Corby by Denpasar Court, Local Tourism Leaders Urge Calmer Voices to Prevail.
Following the 20-year sentence handed down to 27 year-old Shapelle Corby for drug smuggling on Friday, May 27, the Bali tourism industry has expressed its dismay at reports in the Australian press of calls to boycott tourism in Bali.
"Any threat by travel agents or individuals to boycott Bali will only hurt the Balinese people, who have suffered so much in recent years," commented Bagus Sudibya of the Association of Indonesian Travel Agents (ASITA). "The Balinese tourism industry has only just turned the corner in recent times. We urge calm in this situation. Bali is a beautiful destination. We continue to welcome Australians warmly and hope that the Corby case will have no impact on Australian's desire to visit our beautiful island and continue to preserve the livelihood of our Balinese people."
"Although receiving widespread publicity in the Australian Press, the proposed boycott seems to have done little so far to affect Bali's position as Australia's favorite overseas holiday destination," commented Michael Burchett, the Australian General Manager of the Conrad Bali and spokesperson for Bali Hotels Association, "however, we need to communicate this message to the Australian people in order to avoid talk of boycotts for something unrelated to tourism."
Latest statistics compiled from Bali's international airport show Australians visiting the island in record numbers and strong future bookings in hotels in the areas of the island most favored by Australian visitors.
A poll conducted by the Bali Tourism Board (BTB) amongst airlines and major travel wholesalers in Australia operating to Bali indicate that booking levels remain brisk, with very few cancellations that can be tied to the boycott call.
Airlines are reporting good loads and strong future bookings on all their flights between Bali and Australia with Air Paradise adding services between Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Denpasar and Garuda Indonesia adding 40% more seats from Perth starting June 1, 2005 in response to heavy demand.
Putu Agus Antara, Chairman of the BTB discounted the possibility of widespread support for a travel boycott saying, "The ties between Bali and Australia are both intensive and extensive. The bond between the people of Bali and their near neighbors in Australia is a deeply emotional one, profoundly demonstrated in the shared grief of the terrible losses of both the Balinese and Australian lives suffered in the tragic bombing in October 2002 and the generous outpouring of assistance and support from the Australian people of Australia ever since."
2004 was a record year for Australia direct arrivals to Bali totaling 267,520. Figures compiled during the first quarter of 2005 indicate another strong year for Australian visitor arrivals to Bali with numbers running nearly 7% ahead of 2004's.
Six Degrees of Separation
A Letter from a Michigan Third Grader to an Acehnese Tsunami Victim Gets Worldwide Attention.
Maggie Hamilton is a third grader of the Charlevoix Elementary School in Northwest Michigan, U.S.A..
Lately, everybody's been reading Maggie's personal correspondence. Everybody, in this case, includes children in tsunami-torn North Sumatra, millions of readers of the Indonesian newspapers, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and U.S. President George W. Bush.
On January 26, 2005, Maggie wrote a letter addressed to the children of Aceh saying, :
"I am sorry for what happened to your country. I have heard something about that. I hope your family and friends are OK. In church, I pray for you and your family. In class we are raising money for your country. ... I will continue to pray for you and your country at church."
Somehow, the letter arrived in the hands of Kuntoro Mangkusuboto, the Chief of the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency of Aceh and Nias (BRR) who was so moved by Maggie's sentiments, that he decided to personally deliver it to the children of the Keudeubing Grade School, Lhokngan, Aceh Besar located some 12 kilometers outside of Aceh's capital city.
"I was so touched by the letter that I wanted to directly hand it to victims of the tsunami in Aceh and chose the Keudeubing Grade School," explained Kuntoro.
Maggie's letter was given to Nada Luthfiyyah and Mulia Safrinah, two girls of Maggie's age who were victims of the December 26, 2005, tsunami. Nada lost her Mother, Father, and two siblings while Mulia's Father disappeared on that tragic day.
Eager to make new friends and fill a loneliness created by the loss of so many friends and family in the recent disaster, Nada immediately sat down and penned a response to her new-found friend in far-away Michigan, at the same time asking about a home-made friendship bracelet promised to anyone who responded to her letter:
"Hello friend, my name is Nada Luthfiyyah, I enjoyed very much receiving your letter which touched my heart. My family - Father, Mother, brothers and sisters are all gone and I now live with a relation. I hope all of you there are always healthy and happy.
I am very happy to know you are thinking of us there, but I have not yet received the bracelet you've sent. I want to use your bracelet as a symbol of our friendship.
Maybe in a couple of day I will receive your bracelet."
The Plot Thickens
Kuntoro said that when he read the young girl's response he was overcome with emotion and decised to shared copies of both letters with the English-language Jakarta Post, which soon ran a story on the Charlevoix-Aceh connection. This article, in turn, was read by Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono who decided to personally bring Nada and Mulia's letters with him on his working visit to the U.S.A. to share with the American public and ask Indonesia's Ambassador Soemadi in Washington to personally deliver the letter and a photo of Nada to Maggie.
Let the Children Lead the Way
On Wednesday, May 25, 2005, President Susilo read Maggie's letter and Nada's response at a Press Conference Held in the East Room of The White House, where he shared with President Bush and the Press a photograph of little Nada.
In commenting on the correspondence, President Susilo said: "These two letters are extraordinary, both in the words they conveyed, and in the fact that two youngsters from entirely different background made a connection: An American girl who prays at church, collects loose change and makes bracelet for tsunami kids two oceans away; an Indonesian Muslim girl who lost all her family, and wants to kill the pain and is eager just to be a kid again, just like Maggie. I think the world will be a better place if all of us start to have connections and conversation the way Maggie and Nada did.
Maggie, who together with her classmates in Charlevoix, sold bracelets to raise relief funds for the Red Cross has reportedly received phone calls from the world press and The White House - asking if she knew of the international notoriety her correspondence had ignited?
Exhibiting great aplomb for a 9 year-old, Maggie responded: "that's cool."
Those who say the press only reports negative events - take note. At least one major Newspaper daily in Indonesia has carried the story of the girl's correspondence together with a picture of Presidents Bush and Susilo holding up Nada's picture as a page one headline story.
Founder & Chairman of East Bali Poverty Project Invested as Member of the Order of the British Empire.
David Booth, the energetic founder of the East Bali Poverty Project (EBPP), has recently returned to Bali after a trip back home to the United Kingdom that included a stop at Buckingham Palace where he was invested with a MBE Award (Member of the Order of the British Empire).
David's name was announced as an MBE recipient in The Queens 2004 Birthday Honors List for "Services to sustain development in rural East Bali, Indonesia." There are an estimated 100,000 living recipients of Order of the British Empire - the order of chivalry from the British democracy bestowed on both U.K. nationals and foreigners for valuable service to the Community.
The East Bali Poverty Project
A long time resident in Indonesia, David has founded and spearheaded a community-based project on the remote, steep slopes of Bali's Mt. Agung. Arguably, one of Bali's most economically deprived regions, this area suffers from endemic iodine deficiencies a problem exacerbated by lack of education, clean water, balanced diet and hygiene.
Working together with a talented team supported by generous donations from around the world, the EBPP assists the local community on projects that build a self-sustaining systematic solution to that community's problems. The EBPP, by prioritizing goals such as children's education, public health deficiencies and food security has managed to effect real changes that have touched the lives of every member of that community.
Off to the Palace
David's MBE investiture occurred on April 28, 2005, thanks largely to generous sponsorship from Cathay Pacific Airways who flew him Bali-London-Bali.
Arriving at the appointed hour and looking the very picture of sartorial elegance in his rented "morning suit," David was ushered together with 60 other MBE recipients through the gates of Buckingham Palace, up the Grand Staircase, through the Royal Picture Gallery, and pass the Household Cavalry - with swords drawn, into the Main Ballroom.
Along the way an elderly equerry provided a briefing on traditional protocol and procedure. Lined up in order of presentation, the anxious awardees were led to the entrance of the Ballroom where, one by one, they were called forward, and presented to TRH The Prince of Wales who chatted briefly with each person before bestowing the medal.
After a few day's visits with friends and family in England, David J. Booth MBE was back in Bali, working with his team in East Bali in his more preferred attire of shorts, t-shirt and sandals.
Obviously humbled and honored at the recognition bestowed on him by the British Government, David publicly dedicates his award to his co-worker and Team Leader, Komang Kurniawan, who has worked tirelessly with him since the Project's founding in 1998.
Principled Agreement Reached Between Singapore and Indonesian Air Authorities to Expand SIA Access to Bali and Jakarta.
Following bi-lateral air talks held in Jakarta on Tuesday, May 25, 2005, Indonesia's Minister of Transportation, M. Hatta Radjasa, and his Singaporean counterpart, Yeo Cheow Tong, have agreed in principle to expand air access between the two countries.
While complete details of the agreement remain to be hammered out in implementation talks between the staffs of the two ministries, it is understood that when implemented Singapore-flagged air carriers will be allowed to increase flight frequencies and seat capacities between the city-state and Jakarta and Denpasar (Bali). Currently, Singapore Airlines and Valuair operate 126 flights each week between Singapore and Jakarta, with 42 weekly flights between Singapore and Denpasar flown by Singapore Airlines.
Meanwhile, the new agreement will also expand "fifth freedom" rights to Indonesian flag-carriers operating to Singapore. "Fifth Freedom" rights will allow Indonesian carriers to embark and disembark passengers in Singapore before flying on to a third country destination.
Garuda Indonesia - the Indonesian flag-carrier currently operates 234 flights each week to Singapore and is expected to use the expanded "fifth freedom" rights for onward flights to regional destinations, such as Hanoi, Shanghai, Beijing and Bangkok.
'No' to Low Cost Carriers
The latest bi-lateral agreement on air access reportedly contains a prohibition on expanding access by "low-cost air carriers (LCC)." As reported on balidiscovery.com, [Indonesia Says "No' To Open Skies with Singapore,] Minister Hatta has stated his opposition to increasing access by low cost airlines, seeing their operations as a threat to Indonesia's fledgling airline industry.
New Agreement Vitally Important to Bali
The promised liberalization of air access to Bali for Singapore Airlines (SIA) is seen as crucial to the local tourism industry. SIA operates one of the world's largest international fleet of aircraft with global marketing and passenger-uplift capabilities. Operating at consistently high traffic volumes to Bali and frustrated in past efforts to obtain more seat capacity to Bali, the new agreement is seen as enhancing air access to Bali from Asia, Africa, Europe and the United States all markets served by the Singapore carrier.
Bali- Java Electrical Power Crisis
PLN - State Power Company Warns of Possible Severe Power Shortages Lasting Until Late June 2005.
The Java-Bali electrical power grid is suffering a sudden and severe shortfall in power generating capabilities estimated at between 77 328 megawatts (mg) that officials say will persist until late June 2005.
The power crisis has been brought on by repairs currently being carried out on gas supply pipes feeding the Muara Karang and Tanjung Priok Steam Generating Plants in Java. These repairs have put added strain on a power supply system already operating at near maximum levels.
Officials of the State Power Company (PLN) are asking the public to be prepared for rotational "brown outs" needed to reduce power demands during peak hours and conserve power consumption wherever possible in businesses and homes.
"Brown outs," should they occur, are most likely to happen during peak consumption periods starting from late afternoon through the evening hours.
As part of a public education program during the current crisis, PLN is asking consumers to reduce by least 50 watts electrical consumption in every home by turning off at least two lamps and avoiding the excessive use of electrical appliances.
PLN have promised to do all possible to maintain power to critical services, such as hopsitals and other vital government services.
Most major hotels in Bali and Java and many places of business already have back-up emergency power generation systems in place to ensure uninterrupted power supplies to their customers.
Lion Air Orders 60 Boeing Aircraft
Indonesian Carrier Places Order Worth US$3.9 Billion.
At a signing ceremony held in Washington on Thursday, May 26, 2005, PT Lion Mentari Airlines, the owners of Indonesia's low-cost carrier Lion Air, signed a deal for 60 new aircraft from Boeing Corporation, worth an estimated US$3.9 billion.
The signing, witnessed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono who was on a working-visit to the U.S.A., is for Boeing 737-800 and Boeing 737-900 aircraft that will bring the size of the Lion Air fleet to an estimated 94 planes.
The purchase of the new equipment by Lion Air will allow the Company to expand its regional routes, adding new flights to Bangkok, India and Australia. Currently, Lion Air serves 50 domestic destinations as well as operating internationally to Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia.
The new planes will start arriving in Indonesia in July of 2007 with the last of the 60 new planes slated for handover in 2012.
The successful bid by Boeing for the Lion Air order is seen as decisive in the American-based aircraft manufacturer's Boeing bid to dominate new orders for medium-sized against its main rival Airbus SAS.
Courting Clean Air and Water
The Bali Tennis Classic June 6-12, 2005 at The Westin Resort, Nusa Dua, Bali to Help Keep Clean Our Air and Water.
An tennis tournament open to both men and women players including a juniors' division, will be held at The Westin Resort, Nusa Dua, Bali June 6-12, 2005.
Organized by the Resort in collaboration with Joe Russell Tennis International, the event is intended to raise funds for the Gelombang Udara Segar (GUS) Foundation - an organization dedicated to improving the quality of Bali's air and water.
Open to single and double players, for both men and women,, the format of the tournament is best two out of three sets. Two separate juniors' divisions, divided between 7-12 year-olds and 13-18 year-olds, will be operated on a proset tournament basis.
"The aim is to entice the tennis lover to have fun, meet fellow tennis players, and get competition experience while helping Bali's environment through the GUS Foundation," commented Scott Jeffreys, The Westin Resort's Tennis Director.
By contributing Rp. 50,000 for the entry fee per person, participants will be competing for prizes in the junior and amateur events and US$600.00 in total prize money for the open events. A portion of the revenues from sponsors and entry fees will be donated to the GUS Foundation, a fully registered, non-profit foundation, located in Bali, Indonesia.
The GUS Foundation
Gelombang Udara Segar or GUS translates literally into a "wave of fresh air." GUS is dedicated to improving air and water quality in Bali. GUS has developed a range of cost-effective, easily installed, low-maintenance natural systems to improve the quality of water. These systems are suitable for domestic and commercial applications. GUS projects improve air and water quality by improved treatment of liquid and solid wastes. The system has already been installed on public lavatories in selected locations around the island.
For more information contact Ms. Prhativi Dyah at The Westin Resort, Nusa Dua, Bali via the E-mail link below.
3rd Conference on Growing Marine Ecosystems to Be Held in North Bali November 21-28, 2005.
The Third Biorock Workshop will be held in Pemuteran, North Bali, from November 21-28, 2005.
The Biorock Process is a revolutionary technology used to grow structures and marine ecosystems in seawater. It provides a cost-effective and sustainable method to accelerate coral growth and increase coral survival particularly in areas where environmental stress has affected existing reefs. Biorock methods can help restore damaged coral reefs and provide building materials from sustainable energy resources for marine culture of corals, oysters, clams, lobsters, fish, and erosion control structures.
Participants from across Indonesia, Asia and around the world are expected to attend the North Bali workshop designed to provide hands on experience on Biorock processes.
The workshop will be led by Dr. Thomas Goreau and Prof. Wolf Hilbertz, two of the world's leading experts in Biorock Technology, and is designed especially for dive shop operators, hotel and resort managers, conservation groups, coastal zone managers, fishing communities, marine scientists, mariculturists, tourism agencies, seascape and landscape architects, engineers, artists, government fisheries, environmental and tourism policy makers, and others seeking the training necessary to design, construct and operate their own Biorock structures for reef restoration, erosion control, tourism, mariculture, remediation or marine science.
The workshop will be headquartered at Pemuteran's beautiful Bali Taman Sari Resort.
The Legian Hosts a Wine Dinner with Stephen and Helen Palmer of Western Australia's Palmer Vineyard on June 4, 2005.
Among Australia's collection of die-hard wine producers, Stephen and Helen Palmer are arguably Western Australia most indefatigable growers. Since establishing Palmer's Vineyard in the Willyabrup Valley of Margaret River in 1977, they've managed to prevail - overcoming and surviving cyclones, grasshopper plagues and an interregnum in which they raised thoroughbred horses before their current status as successful cultivators of 15 hectares of classic wine varietals.
In order to share the rich bounty of their harvest with Bali's many wine enthusiasts while simultaneously taking a well-deserved rest break on the paradise island, Stephen and Helen are acting as co-hosts of a special wine evening at The Legian on Bali's Kerobokan Beach on Saturday, June 4, 2005. A special vintners' dinner, prepared by the Resort's celebrity chef , Nam Nguyen, will complement four memorable Palmer Wines - Chardonnay, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc and an outstanding Merlot many receiving awards and accolades at major wine shows held across Australia.
The casual evening of great food and outstanding wines commences at 7 p.m. on the seaside terrace of the Resort with an initial tasting of Palmer's Wine accompanied by a selection of amuse bouche prepared by Chef Nam. Literally, "mouth amusement" - amuse bouche are a range of innovative small bites that set the stage for the delicacies that awaits later at the table d'hote.
The Margaret River's unique geography plays host to several micro-climates traditionally conducive to the cultivation of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and, increasingly, Merlot and Verdelho - four of which will be showcased at this special dinner.
Yellow Fin Tuna - Fennel-Crusted Tuna Salad Nicoise My Style
2004 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc
Spiny Lobster - Steamed Lobster with a Rhubarb-Ginger Chardonnay Sauce
Wagyu Beef Truffle-Braised Beef Cheek with Truffled Taro Root
Cheese - Selection of Australian Cheeses
The Legian Blend Coffee or Selection of Tea
The Cost and Reservations
The cost for the four-course dinner and pre-dinner reception on Saturday, June 4, , including Palmer Wines, tax and service is Rp. 550,000 per person (approximately US$56.00)
During the dinner, Stephen and Helen Palmer will speak about their wines and present a leather wine bag containing two bottle of Palmer's 2003 Shiraz to a winner selected from among the evening's guests.
Seating is limited and reservations and additional information can be obtained by calling The Legian's F&B Coordinator, Mr. Dinno Lkollo, at telephone ++62-(0)361-730662 (extension #768) or via the e-mail link provided.
Solo Painting Exhibition by 'Suklu' (I Wayan Sujana) at Conrad Bali Resort & Spa June 1 30, 2005.
The Recipient of the Indofood Art Award 2003, 38 year-old I Wayan Sujana more commonly known as Suklu, will hold a solo exhibition in the East Lobby Lounge of the Conrad Bali Resort & Spa from June 1 June 30, 2005.
Suklu is undeniably a work in progress. He draws his inspiration from his unfolding life with each successive exhibition adopting new themes and inspiration from the world - ranging from sunrises in Nepal, to the female form, to his latest source of artistic inspiration flowers.
In Suklu's current artisitic point of departure flowers possess sense and sensitivity. They move, pose, converse, flirt and speak to the world in their own "flower language."
When seen from the Balinese perspective where flowers form part of the daily offerings presented to God, Suklu's personification of flowers reflects the spiritual rhythm and communication enjoyed on the island between man and man, man and nature, and man and God.
"Smiling Flowers" - an exhibition by Suklu is open daily from 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. in the Conrad Bali Resort & Spa's East Lobby from June 1 through June 30, 2005.
Despite New Confirmed Cases, Disease Not Seen as Threat to Tourist Visitors to Bali.
Increasing from an initial 4 confirmed cases of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) reported on May 5, 2005, the government has now confirmed additional cases, bringing the total to 14 children now infected by the wild polio virus isolate.
Indonesia has remained free of Polio since 1995, prior to the most recent outbreak of the disease traced by epidemiologist to Middle East and West Africa sources.
All of the new cases confirmed have been geographically limited to areas of West Java.
A massive polio immunization program costing US$4 million will be undertaken between May 31 and June 2, 2005, to protect children in West Java, Banten and Jakarta and halt any further spread of the disease.
Leading German Travel Company Brings its Top 200 Agents to Bali's Intercontinental Resort.
Meier's Weltreisen a division of LTU Touristik brought 200 of its top producing agents to Bali to participate in a seminar on the company's Asia-based products and a tour of the Worlds most popular island destination.
An annual event that rotates to various locations in the region each year, this is the first time Meier's has held such an event in Bali where they chose the Bali InterContinental Resort Bali as the key venue.
An Evening to Remember
Meier's "Far East Live Seminar 2005" was held at the Resort May 16-20, 2005 with the highlight a gala closing dinner held at a special beach-side venue constructed especially for the evening. Nearly 300 participants and guests were delivered in traditional horse carriages from the Resort's Main Entrance to the beach where cocktails and a lavish dinner party were held. Dancers, bands, singers, interactive multi-media presentations and a fireworks presentation rounded out an evening of fine food and wine.
Kevin Keogh, Director of Sales and Marketing for Meier's Welstreisen/DER TOUR/ADAC Reisen in congratulating the InterContinental Resort Bali for creating an unforgettable evening said, "I have been attending sixty events worldwide per annum for a number of years now and this is the best that I have ever experienced in my life."
In recent months arrival numbers from Germany to Bali have shown strong improvement, up 16.4% for the first four months of 2005.
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