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Bali's Plan to Recover Mangrove Lands Now Covered by Rubbish Tip Awaiting Jakarta's Approval.
Bali's governor Made Mangku Pastika wants to rehabilitate the mangrove forests located on Denpasar's southern border of Suwung, now intruded upon by the municipal rubbish dump (TPA). The 30 hectare dump – TPA Suwung resides in an environmentally sensitive mangrove areas. Governor Pastika, quoted in beritabali.com, said he has requested permission from the central government in Jakarta to restore and rehabilitate the entire mangrove area at TPA Suwung. The governor told the press that how mangrove areas are used is a matter totally under the control of the national government in Jakarta. Pastika said that he wants to limit and scale back the rubbish dump to only 10 hectares, rehabilitating the remaining 20 hectares to remain as protected mangrove forests. Pastika said he hopes his proposal gets Jakarta's nod, bearing in mind the proposed rehabilitation will add to Bali's diminishing forested areas which now stands at only 22.5% of the total area of the island. The governor also pointed to the critical role played by mangrove forests in halting the abrasive action of Bali's beaches and as a spawning areas for ocean fisheries.
Minister Wacik: Don't Only Holiday in Bali
Indonesian Culture and Tourism Minister Urges Public to See Indonesia First, Instill a Love of Country and Avoid Taking Your Holiday in Singapore.
Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik has called on the Indonesian public to not only spend their year end holidays in Bali, but to also consider other destinations within the country, many of which are hosting cultural festivals to attract foreign and domestic tourists. Quoted in Bisnis.com., Wacik said his department was recommending that Indonesian holidaymakers avoid Bali and Bandung (West Java) which are "already overcrowded with tourists visits during the Christmas and New Year's holidays." "We are recommending people chose destinations such as Palembang which has just launched "Visit Musi," or travel to Belitung to see where the film "Lasakar Pelangi" was made. In South Sulawesi there is the "Tanah Toraja Festival," while in East Nusa Tenggara they can attend the “Sasondo Music Festival" in Kupang," explained the Minister. Wacik said that market forces would prevail with transportation, flights, hotels and services costing more during the busy holiday period, but this does not detract from the travel industry's concomitant desire to provide good service at all times. The Minister said that in order to face heavy demand over the Christmas and New Year's Holiday period all airlines, both foreign and domestic, and ground transportation operators need to increase capacity in order to efficiently handle the upswing in holidaymakers. Don't Go to Singapore Wacik warned: "All our tourist destinations - from Aceh to Papua - are safe and excellent. What's important to me that nobody goes to Singapore and cause us to lose valuable foreign exchange. Remember we need to instill ‘Know Your Country, Love Your Country' as a motto in the hearts of our children."
Dead Sardines Putrefy Bali's Kuta Beach
Bali Fishing Authorities Blame Natural Plankton Cycle for Accumulation of Dead Fish on Kuta Beach.
Bali's famous Kuta Beach front is being despoiled, once again, by a hundreds of dead fish or Ikan lemuru (Sardinella longiceps). According to Nusa Bali, the dead fish carcasses are washing up in several areas along Kuta beach creating a stench of decaying fish that stretches for meters along the beach. Official from Bali's Parks and Public Hygiene (DKP) service were on stand by with local residents, hauling away the dead fish as they accumulated on the shoreline. Officials from the fisheries department link the dead fish to a seasonal cycle of plankton growth that poisons the fish. Fisheries expert say the natural phenomenon will play itself out by February. In meantime, local community groups and government officials are going their best to remove or bury accumulations of decaying fish. The public is reminded that consumpton of the dead fish may be a health hazard.
Garuda to Open 10 New Routes in 2010
New Garuda Aircraft will Make New Flights Possible from Bali Air Hub.
The National News Agency, Antara, reports that Garuda Indonesia plans to open at least ten new domestic, regional and international routes in 2010, once 23 new airplanes join the national carrier's armada. Pujobroto, the official spokesman for Garuda, told press in Bima on the island of Sumbawa, "following the realization of 18 new domestic routes this year, next year we will open 10 more routes." Pujobroto said the introduction of the new routes would be in accordance with the phased arrival of 23 new plane comprised of 22 Boeing737-800 and one AirbusA330-200. Adding, "especially for the Bali hub, in 2010 there is a possibility that we will open a number of routes beyond Bali, such as Denpasar-Brisbane." When asked about plans to develop Lombok (Mataram) as a flight destination, Garuda confirmed that their present focus is on Mataram-Denpasar, Mataram-Jakarta and Mataram-Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur. Explained Pujobroto, "our new route is Mataram-Denpasar operating once a day that started on November 1, 2009 and is enjoying average seat occupancy of between 70-75%." When asked by the press if Garuda had plans to fly beyond Mataram (Lombok) to Bima (Sumbawa), Pujobroto confirmed that the airline had no immediate plans to serve that sector. The Airline's spokesman said the runway length at Bima's in Sumbawa was inadequate for regular jet service.
UNESCO Eyeing Bali for 3 New Cultural Heritage Sites
Indonesian Government Lobbying for the Inclusion of Three Bali Sites for Inclusion on UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites.
Beritabali.com says three areas in Bali are targeted for designation as "Cultural Heritage Areas" by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2010. The three areas singled out for the recognition on the island are: the rice terraces of Jatiluwih near Tabanan; the Pakerisan river valley in Gianyar; and the "subak" or traditional water irrigation system at Taman Ayung in Badung. The Director General for History and Ancient Sites at the Department of Culture and Tourism, Hari Untoro Drajat, told the press on Wednesday, December 16, 2009, that he expected that by June of 2010 the three areas will receive notification of their selection by UNESCO. Drajat's expectations are fed by a request from UNESCO to the government of Indonesia asking for more supporting documents be submitted before February 2010. Further fueling Drajat's optimism is the fact that the three areas in Bali are embraced and preserved as cultural treasures by their surrounding communities. Said Drajat, "Bali is ready with social organization, such as the 'desa perkrama,' to sustain these site." The government has recommended to UNESCO eight places in Indonesia to be considered as cultural heritage sites. These sites are located in Bali, Tanah Toraja, Nias, Muara Jambi and Trowulan. To date, only three areas in Indonesia have qualified as for cultural heritage site status: the Borobudor Buddhist monument in Magelang, the Prambanan Hindu Temple complex in Sleman/Klaten and the prehistoric man site at Srangiran.
Agricultural Crisis on Nusa Penida
Bali's Near Neighbor of Nusa Penida Facing Threat of Famine Due to Drought and Pestilence.
Five villages on Nusa Penida, just a few miles off Bali's shores, are facing famine-like conditions due to a pestilence attack and the resulting failed crops. According to Bali Post, the five villages are Bunga Mekar, Batikandik, Batu Madeg, Klumpu and Sekartaji. The Head of the Klungkung Office for Crop Welfare (KKPP), Ida Kade Arga, has asked the government to extend emergency aid of Rp. 5 million (US$500) per affected village to help prevent food shortages for local populations whose staple corn crops have been decimated by pestilence. Agricultural data from the government indicate that Nusa Penida has some 459 hectares of land under corn cultivation, 292 hectares planted for red beans and 161 hectares for peanuts. All these crops have been negatively impacted by a prolonged drought and pestilence, creating additional suffering for the island dwellers where 47.83% of the total population already live below the official poverty line. Arga told the press that his office is doing all within its powers to prevent food shortages on Nusa Penida. The requested Rp. 5 million per village will be carefully monitored by his office to help alleviate the people's suffering. Admitting that the amount of food aid was quite small, Agra responded by defending agricultural production for the entire Klungkung regency which produced a carbohydrate surplus in 2009 of 6,939 tons of crops comprised of corn, tapioca, peanuts and other crops. Because of good distribution procedures, prices have remained relatively stable for agricultural produce. As a result, through September 2009 only 19 cases of malnutrition were reported for the entire regency. Arga is worried, however, that a worsening agricultural outlook will see the cases of poor nutrition increase in the regency of Klungkung in 2010.
Rude Salesmen Call More than Twice
Practical Tips for Dealing with Aggressive Timeshare Salespeople in Bali.
In the developing story of unethical behavior by the timeshare industry threatening Bali's tourism sector, Bisnis Bali quotes the Chairman of Privet Bali - a marketing association of Bali tour operators focused on the Russian market, describing one method in which time-share operators collect names for use in making contact with his clients. According to Nuku Kamka, time-share spotters at Bali's airport look for sign boards from travel agencies and hotels bearing the guest's name and their hotel's identity. This information is later used by the timeshare operators to telephone the subject hotels and establish contact with guests. Many timeshare operators employ native speakers, pose as employees of bona fide travel companies and offer prizes and other enticements. Rudeness and aggressive persistence are hallmarks of disreputable timeshare operators' sales pitch, resulting in complaints from harassed visitors. Kamka told Bisnis Bali that Russian visitors to Bali served by the 13 member companies of his organization have become embittered by the repeated telephone calls and dogged sales pitches that detract from their holidays in Bali. Many hotels and travel agents have introduced security measures, including steps to keep secret the hotel names or client names. If your visiting Bali, here's some practical measures to thwart Timeshare Operators hell bent on interfering with your holiday: • Most leading hotels and tour operators have taken measures to keep your hotel name a matter of private information. If in doubt, ask your hotel or agent to be discreet in the way they handle this information. • If you begin to receive unwanted phone calls during your stay in Bali, contact the hotel's management, asking them to screen your incoming calls. • No one has the right to be rude or aggressive in dealing with a Bali visitor; both traits are inimical to Indonesian culture which places a premium on politeness and hospitality. Remeber: you are entitled to break off and walk away or hang up the phone in any discussion or transaction not to your liking. • Guides employed by licensed travel agents in Bali almost invariably are uniformed and carry a company identity card. If you find any aspect of the service provided by a travel or service organization objectionable, note the identity of the representative or ask him/her for a copy of their identity card (KTP), making note of this information for subsequent reports to your hotel and tour operator. • If you doubt the company affiliation claimed by the sales person, ask the hotel management to contact the company so you can verify identity of the sales person. If their representative is bothersome, ask the company to cease and desist in their bothersome behavior. • Many timeshare operators employ foreign nationals, many without the proper immigration and manpower permits. If you are confronted by a foreign national timeshare salesperson who just won't go away, snap a picture with your camera or your hand phone, advising the salesperson of your intent to make a formal complaint. This may assist in bring the "sales call" to a rapid end. Related Article [The Buying and Selling of Names of Tourists in Bali]
75% of Older, Large Motorcycles in Bali Illegal
No Easy Way Out Seen for Illegal Big Bikes Operating in Bali.
As reported on balidiscovery.com, police and licensing authorities in Bali are promising to crack down on unregistered large motorcycles. In a follow-up article, BisnisBali examined the ownership patterns of large motorcycles with engine capacities or 400 CC or more and "published" price tags of hundreds of millions of rupiahs. Once thought to be the exclusive "toys" of wealthy businessmen and officials, an increasing number of bikes are owned by middle-class workers who manage to purchase a large bike for as little as Rp. 20 million (US$2,000). The answer to this seeming anomaly is revealed, at least in part, via an interview with Anom Bestari, the Manager of Diablo Bike, a company trading in used large motorbikes. Bestari estimates that 75% of the 500 used motorbikes traveling Bali's roadways lack proper tax and vehicle registration. Used bikes that do not have complete registration sell for a fraction of a the same bike with proper certification. Said Bestari: "75% of the used large bikes in Bali are illegal and lack the required registration. But, as a large bike enthusiast, this is not a situation to our liking and we have ask the authorities to provide a solution." Efforts by members of Bali's large bike associations to discuss this matter with police authorities have come to naught, because most of the illegal bikes were smuggled into the country and cannot present an import tax receipt needed to process a title and vehicle registration. "Until now, our requests have failed to discover a solution. Owners of big bikes are becoming nervous, concerned that their bikes may be confiscated by the authorities," Bestari added. The motorbike dealer admitted that police have issued instructions in recent months declaring a crackdown on illegal big bikes. This move and publicity in the local press have caused the price of used illegal bikes at his dealership to drop dramatically. An unregistered 1992 Suzuki Bandit 400CC can be purchased for as little as Rp. 20 – 28 million (US$2,000-2,800). Related Articles [Bali's Big Bike Saga Continues] [Bali Police Pressured to Bring Big Bikes Under Control]
Will New Zoning Laws Hurt Karangasem Tourism?
3 Kilometer No-Build Zone Around Balinese Temples Will Effectively Block Many Prime Areas of Karangasem from Future Development and Place Some Existing Hotels In Jeopardy.
The recent approval of Bali's provincial zoning law (RTRWP) by Indonesia's Department of the Interior may bring special challenges to efforts to develop tourism in Karangasem regency. The presence of 177 Pura Dang Kahyangan and several Sad Kahyangan - Hindu religious temples spread across the entire regency of Krangasem mean developers will face special challenges in developing resorts that do not violate the 3 kilometer "no-build" radius surrounding every Pura Dang Kahyangan as stipulated in the new RTRWP. The Secretary of Bali's House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali) Commission I, Made Sukerana, who is from the village of Kubu in Karangasem, predicts that because of the new zoning law tourism development in his regency will remain stagnant for at least five years to come. The local lawmaker, however, was quick to concede to Denpost that Bali's religious monuments must be protected and that the new zoning law must be obeyed. Describing the problems the RTRWP brings to Karangasem, Sukerana described how the area from Goa Lawah (Bat Cave) to the village Manggis will be virtually closed to development, as will the area of Rendang and Candi Dasa due to their close proximity to religious temples. Sukerana hopes that his home regency of Karangasem will be able to develop "alternative tourism" that is spiritually based and not dependent on the development of large accommodation facilities. He also urged the development of ports in Karangasem as a means of providing income for the people of that area. Trouble Ahead? Looking ahead, Sukerana insisted that the enforcement of the RTRWP must include both the prohibition of future projects and those businesses already in operation but in violation of the zoning law. In the past, illegal business were not prosecuted, but the new law calls for criminal prosecution of violators of zoning laws. Sukerana said he was convinced that the new RTRWP would not become a "toothless tiger" because of the criminal penalties contained within the regulation awaiting both the owners of illegal businesses and officials who grant them permits and licenses. Adding: "The Bupati or mayor will be nervous to break the law because of the threat of jail. But this must start from strong enforcement against past violators of the RTRWP."
What's This? What's That?
'Apa Ini, Apa Itu '- 27 Artists to Participate in Art Happening in Klungkung, Bali December 29-31, 2009.
27 artists from 6 countries will participate in an "Art happening" entitled "Apa Ini, Apa Itu (What’s This? What’s That?)" to be held at the Suklu Studio and Lepang Beach in Klungkung from December 29-31, 2009. Teams of artists have descended on Klungkung to set up displays covering a wide range of artistic mediums, including installation art, that will be the focus of the three-day event. The Head of the organizing committee for "Apa Ini, Apa Itu" - Wayan Sujana Suklu, said the purpose of the event is to invite direct public response to the contemporary works of art which will be produced on a 3 x 24 hour basis throughout the "happening." "The highlight will happen as we approach midnight on December 31st when 100 'gende jembe' drums will be available for guests to take turns beating as they welcome in the new year," explained Suklu. Suklu told beritabali.com that 27 artists have confirmed their participation; presenting their creations in dance, music, installation art and photography. Art Director Daniel LeClaire from the U.S.A. has given space to artists to exercise their creative energies. The event will be recorded in film, a planned book and still photography to be used in a coming exhibition. Among the international artists expected in Klungkung for the exhibition are Agung Gunawan, Cedil, Charlie Crooijmans (video Belanda), Daniel Kho, Daniel Zacharias, Danuta Franzen (Poland), Deasylinada da Ary, Eko Prawoto, Gusti Sudibia, I Gede Made Surya Darma, IG Nengah Hari Mahardika, Joko Dwi Avianto, Made Djirna Mireki Jasmiene Okubo (Japan), Ni Kadek Diah Kristin Natalia, Shoosie Sulaiman (Malaysia), Tisna Sanjaya, Wawan Setiawan Husin, Wayan Pacet, Wayan Sudiarta, Wayan Sujana Suklu, dan Welldo Wnophringgo. Balinese artist Nyoman Erawan has promised to present an original work at the event. Meanwhile, Nyoman Sujana Kenye who is known for his compositions based on bamboo and leaves will create a special display on Klungkung's beach. There will also be dances performed by NyomanSura and Putu Satria Kusuma. Klungkung was chosen for this event because of its rich historic and cultural legacy which include the remains of the royal palace at Kertagosa and the community of shadow puppeteers ay Kamasan. Artist Daniel Kho, who helped designed the exhibition, said many artists are hoping for this to become an annual event held in a different country each year. Accordingly, Shooshie, an artists from Malaysia, is hoping that the event will move to that country in 2010.
Where Beauty is Skin Deep
"Magic Ink" a Magazine Celebrating Tattoo Art Launch in Bali
For cultural and religious reasons, tattoos generally remain a very exotic form of natural adornment within Moslem dominated Indonesia. However, on the Hindu enclave of Bali the permanent pigmentation of skin by both men and women is a thriving industry indulged in by locals and foreigners alike. To celebrate the art of Tattooing in Bali and reflecting the thousands of local artists working in this field, a new magazine has just been launched in Kuta. Quoted in Beritabali.com the publisher claims the new magazine's mission is to celebrate the love of tattoo among the Balinese and help correct some misconceptions surrounding the art. The first edition of "Magic Ink" was launched in December 2008 with plans to publish a monthly edition in 2010 and beyond. The inaugural edition is being distributed free-of-charge and has a picture on its first cover of two shirtless young men from the village of Teganan, Karangasam engaged in a bloody "Perang Pandan" battle. This form of traditional warfare involves two men flailing away at each other's bare torso with barbed pandan leaves. The battle ends when one of the men retreats in pained surrender. One of the fighters featured on the cover of the magazine has a full body tattoo depicting the Balinese Barong and Ragdna. Inside the 27-page magazine are articles on tattooing and a directory of tattoo artists working in Bali. Peping, the Editor of "”Magic Ink", said: "By publishing this magazine we wish to eliminate the bad image tattooing has among the public. We want tattooing to be viewed as an art form and not as some form of criminal expression."
Celebrating 5 Years of Saving Bali's Turtles
Education and Conservation Are Top Priorities for Bali Turtle Conservation and Education Center
Bali's negative reputation as a center for the slaughter and sale of turtles is slowly changing, due to a number of heroic efforts such as the establishment of the Bali Turtle Education and Conservation Center established on Serangan Island five years ago. As reported by Radar Bali, the Bali Turtle Conservation and Education Center (BTCEC) has become a popular spot on many tourism itineraries in Bali. For US$5 tourists get a tour of the facility, obtain information on efforts to preserve and protect Indonesia's turtle populations and receive a keepsake souvenir. Since its inauguration the BTCEC now has a wantilan for lectures and meetings, tanks for breeding and raising turtles, and separate tanks for the care of confiscated larger turtles destined for rehabilitation and return to the oceans. Visitors to the BTCEC are allowed to view at least three different species of turtles. One of the most important functions of the facility is the care and hatching of turtle eggs recovered from beaches around Bali that would have otherwise been ravaged by local villagers and animals. Visitors to the BTCEC, both domestic and foreign, are invited to pay Rp. 50,000 (US$5) to adopt a turtle. In return contributors are taken to the nearby beach to release a baby turtle and given a small statute to commemorate the day. In the past 4 years more than 5,000 turtles have been released into the oceans from the BTCEC. A classroom at the center is also used for lectures and films presented for visiting student groups wishing to learn more about the life cycle of turtles and the precarious nature of their future existence in the world's oceans. The center also is involved in a strictly controlled program in which a small number of turtles are provided for ritual sacrifice at Balinese religious ceremonies each year. The turtles, all under 20 centimeters in diameter, are provided to local temples at a cost of Rp. 500,000 per turtle (US$50) and only provided after written authorization is first received from local environmental and religious watchdog agencies. The BTEC is supported by admission charges and public donations and is located on Serangan Island.
A Discordant Tune
Tune Hotel in Kuta, Bali Blamed for Contamination of Local Well Water with Fuel Oil.
Both NusaBali and Bali Post carry report of complaints from local residents near Jalan Ciung Wanara in Kuta regarding the pollution of the local water supply by the newly opened Tune Hotel. Residents say that their well water is no longer useable and causes skin irritation due to contamination with oil and diesel fuel, blaming the diesel fuel storage system of the hotel which is located only a short distance from the villages well source. Visits by village official in Kuta have confirmed the strong smell of petroleum products in the local water supply who have taken the emergency remedial step of sinking a new well. Officials are also seeking clarification from the management of Tune Hotels as to whether or not they are the source of the well's contamination. The Chief of Kuta village, Gede Suparta, told Bali Post: "We tried to ask an explanation from the 'T' Hotel. But we have been unable to meet with the hotel's management." Suparta's residence is located just 20 meters from the hotel. The Hotel's Management is reportedly steadfast in its refusal to discuss the matter with Kuta Village officials or the press. Several weeks ago similar complaints to the hotel only yielded a written response that the hotel held all the necessary environmental impact permits and licenses. If the hotel continues to refuse to meet local leaders, officials say another formal summons will be issued. The Head of the Kuta Community Association (LPM), Nyoman Graha Wicaksono, told the press he was very disappointed with the attitude of the management of the hotel, warning that the hotel's continuing refusal to address the pollution problem could result in the public closing the access roads to the hotel and even forcing its eventual closure. Local citizens are also suggesting that if the source of contamination can be definitely linked to the hotel they will seek compensation from the hotel for the destruction of their local water source.
Reclaiming Bali’s Green Areas
18 Buildings Demolished by Bali Officials in Green Zone in Canggu.
Badung Zoning officials in Bali, led directly by the Head of the local Enforcement Authority (Polisi Pamong Praja), have leveled 18 buildings standing in restricted "green zones" along Jalan Raya Canggu, North Kuta. The demolishment took place on Thursday, December 10, 2009. The Bandung regency officials were supported in the field by officers from the North Kuta Police office, the Chief of the Canggu Village and Zoning officials. Among the buildings knocked down were two permanent structures – the Restoran Toba and a shop owned by AA Wiadnyana. The remaining 16 buildings were comprised of semi-permanent structures used to sell construction supplies, motorcycle repair shops, garden supply stores and bakso stands. All 18 buildings were standing in zones declared "green zones" in which no building of any kind is allowed under local zoning laws. The owners of the building were given repeated written warnings to close their businesses and remove the illegal structures prior to the police action. Adi Arnawa, the Chief of the Polisi Pamong Praja said his team would continue to reclaim "green zones" by removing illegal buildings, regardless of who the violator may be. He said the next area targeted for action are buildings on the "left" side of Jalan Raya Kerobokan who have received repeated warnings from his office to demolish their illegal buildings.
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