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Komplek Pertokoan
Sanur Raya No. 27
Jl. By Pass Ngurah Rai,
Sanur, Bali, Indonesia

Tel:
++62 361 286 283

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Bali News by Bali Update
BALI UPDATE #937 - 18 August 2014

IN THIS UPDATE


A Balinese Vestige for Virgin
Richard Branson Acquires the Former Linda Garland Estate in Nyuh Kuning, Ubud, Bali

The Financial Times and RCTI report that international businessmen and world adventurer Richard Branson has acquired The Pancoran Retreat in Nyuh Kuning, Bali.

Also known as The Linda Garland Estate, the 25-acre rolling parcel of land on the southern border of Ubud, is comprised of seven accommodation villas, a yoga pavilion and 26-meter spring-fed swimming pool.

Branson, who founded Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Records, apparently has a liking for island settings, owning the 74-acre Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, which he lists as his official residence.

Branson also owns the 25-acre Makepeace Island located in Noosa River in Queensland, Australia where he has established a Balinese-style personal retreat.

He also is reported to own property on islands in Antigua and Barbados.

Affirming his love of island life, Branson told the Financial Times: “The most delightful thing about living on an island is that you’re completely in touch with nature. If you need space to think, there’s only the sound of the sea and local wildlife all around and if you want to party, there are no neighbors nearby to complain.”

Bali holidaymakers operate The Panchoran Estate commercially, with villas available for rent.

It is not clear if Branson will continue to operate the Estate on a commercial basis or convert it to his personal use.

Branson has long expressed his personal admiration for the island of Bali.



Garuda Spreads its Wings
Indonesian National Flag Carrier Garuda Undergoing Substantial Fleet and Route Expansion

Garuda Indonesia is adding 11 new aircraft this year as they expand their air network. At the same time, Garuda is adding 10 airplanes to the armada of their low-cost subsidiary Citilink serving domestic routes.

Garuda list of new airplanes for 2012 include five Bombardier CRJ1000 Next Generation that will enter service in October-December 2012. The National Carrier will also take delivery this year of four Boeing737-800NG aircraft and two Airbus A330-200.

Citilink new aircraft will all be Airbus 320.

Quoted in Kompas.com, Emirsyah Satar, the CEO of PT Garuda Indonesia told the press on March 21, 2012, “When the aircraft arrive, the total armada of Garuda Indonesia will total 105 airplanes with an average age of 5.8 years.”

New Routes


Emirsyah projects that by the year 2015 Garuda will be operating 154 planes.

The Bombardier CRJ1000 Next Generation aircraft will be deployed on domestic routes from bases in Makassar, Medan and Balikpapan commencing late this year.

For international service, starting on April 27, 2012, Garuda Indonesia will fly between Denpasar and Haneda, Japan (Tokyo).

On May 24, 2012, Garuda will fly Jakarta-Taipei (Taiwan).

From Denpasar, new Garuda services to Balikpapan (Kalimantan) will commence in late 2012.


Nothing But Blue Skies From Now On?
Australian Forecasters Crossing Fingers That Weather Systems in Australia Wreaking Havoc on Bali May be at a Seasonal End

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) quotes a senior weather forecaster, Mark Kessermarcus, predicting the streak of bad weather affecting Australia’s Northern Territory may be coming to an end, bringing with it also a welcomed break in the spate of bad weather experienced by nearby Bali and eastern Indonesia in March.

Said Kessermarcus: "We're almost in a monsoon break type period.
"There's a bit of doubt as to whether the monsoon would come back.
"If it is forming it might remain to our north. I'm not going to say it's the end of the wet season now... there's still a chance."

The change of season in Northern Australia could also mark the transition from Bali’s wet to dry season that normally occurs each year around April.

Related articles

[Calculating the Losses]

[Bad Weather Claims Lives in Kintamani]

[When the Tap Runs Dry]

[Follow On Effect of Australian Storm Felt in Bali]


Nyepi Lives Up to it Name
The Start To The Bali-Hindu New Year Caka 1934 Passes Without Major Incident Under Intense Security Umbrella

Bali’s celebration of New Year and Nyepi passed without major incident, despite fear of terrorist reprisals following the shooting of five-suspected terrorist on Sunday, March 18, 2012.
he island, traditional ogoh-ogoh parades were conducted by young Balinese men in traditional dress parading large floats, made from styrofoam and papier-mâché, through the island's streets. Frenzied in its pacing, these arak-fueled displays end as the mammoth statues are abandoned and set afire on the road sides as dizzied participants retire to their homes to start the day of absolute silence.

One of the largest displays of ogoh-ogoh was centered around the Catur Murka Monument in central Denpasar. Some 20 youth groups (sekka teruna) from four separate districts were invited to haul their ogoh-ogoh to the city-center to join in a massive parade that commenced at 4:00 p.m.

Traffic leading into the areas surrounding the Denpasar Museum and Governor’s official residence was diverted to make way for the ogoh-ogoh parade.

Kuta Falls Quiet

Meanwhile, in nearby Kuta renowned for its lively nightlife and entertainment outlets, streets fell strangely silent shortly after midnight as nightspots closed to allow staff time to return to their homes before the dawn curfew and the coming 24-hour period of absolute quite.

According to the State News Agency Antara, as midnight approached, entertainment spots surrounding the “Ground Zero” monument on Jalan Legian and the rest of Kuta fell empty; absent of the holiday revelry that is their wont.

Antara also reports that some tourists who arrived on Thursday evening flights at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport were compelled to heave their luggage down streets, closed to vehicular traffic for ogoh-ogoh parades, in order to arrive at their hotels.

A guard at the Grand Istana Rama Kuta Hotel on the popular Kuta beachside boulevard said that starting from 10:00 pm on Thursday evening many of the hotel guests had already retreated to their rooms, much unlike a typical night when guests stay out untill the early morning hours.

Entertainment venues on Jalan Legian and on roads leading to Kuta beach saw the sound of loud music emanating replaced with the crash of breaking waves. The profound silence only punctuated by the intermittent landing and taking off of aircraft from Bali's airport that continued until 4:00 am.

The silence on what are often the busiest and noisiest part of Bali, became even more eerily pronounced as street lights, commercial signs and stoplights were turned off one-by-one, remaining without illumination until dawn on Saturday.

A Bomb Hoax

A separate report from Antara reports rumors of a bomb causing the dispersion of an ogoh-ogoh parade in Kedonganan, Jimbaran – just south of Bali’s airport.

The bomb threat, eventually branded a hoax, was sourced to a 45-year-old man, I Wayan Suarda,also known as "Pak Polar," who lives in Banjar Menega, Jimbaran. Suarda was reportedly intoxicated when he created the mischievous rumor of a bomb to be targeted against his neighbors.

Police have taken “Polar” into custody for further questioning and to face the possible legal consequences of his fraudulent report.

The District Chief (Camat) of South Kuta, Made Puja, confirmed the news of a bomb was a hoax, saying: “There is no bomb in this area, only the rumor of one. We regret how easy it has become for someone to create gossip.”

Fireworks and Firecracker

Antara also reports, that despite a police order outlawing the use of fireworks and firecrackers [See: And the Rockets Red Glare], the sound of fireworks were heard over wide areas on the eve before Nyepi.

As public lighting was extinguished at midnight, many neighborhood groups ignored police rules and exploded firecrackers

Lock Down

Laurensius Wisnu Aditya, front office manager of the Aerowisata Sanur Beach Hotel told Antara that the hotel continued to receive guest until 4:30 am, after which their doors were closed.

Devout Balinese marked the coming sunrise as the start of a 24-hour period in which no work can be performed, no fire lit, no light illuminated, no travel undertaken and for the abstinence from life’s normal pleasures.

Local vigilante groups (pacalang) comprised of banjar members patrolled the streets to ensure all followed the rules of Nyepi.

Because Nyepi fell this year on Friday, special accommodations were made for Muslim members of the community to walk to their nearest mosque for Friday prayers that were held without the aid of the customary sound amplification.

Impact of Terror Raid on Nyepi

Antara also reports that Nyepi celebrations in the Sanur section of Bali were partially curtailed as a result of the raids four days earlier that left five suspected terrorists dead.

The Densus 88 elite-police raid on a brothel in Sanur occurred in area bordering Banjang Blanjon and Banjang Semawang.

While Bali police officials are trying to now depict the men killed in the raids as common criminals rather than terrorists, the involvement of the national anti-terror squad and numerous press reports listing Bali businesses as the “terrorists’ targets” has created an impression that Bali has just narrowly escaped another terror attack.

Clearly, security forces were on a state of high alert during Nyepi celebrations that fell this year on a Friday, the day on which Bali’s Moslems attend a mosque to pray. Traditional neighborhood security forces (Pacalang) were especially vigilant in strictly maintaining public order and enforcing the rules of absolute silence came into effect for 24-hours at dawn on March 23, 2012. Moslem members of the community, however, were allowed to briefly leave their home to walk to Friday prayers.

Reflecting the lingering tension following the police shooting of the five men, an Ogoh-Ogoh Festival set to be held in Sanur’s Banjar Semawang on Nyepi Eve was cancelled.

Gusti Gede Suparta, the chairman of the organizing committee for the Ogoh-Ogoh Festival told Antara on Thursday, March 23, 2012: “It should have taken place tonight (Thursday). But because there was no guarantee of security from the police, the Festival Ogoh-Ogoh was canceled.”

Substantial funds had already been expended in preparation for the canceled festival, including the printing of one thousand tickets. Hundred of foreign tourists staying at starred hotels in Sanur had already purchased tickers costing between Rp. 90,000 – Rp. 125,000 (US$10 –US$14).

Suparta, who is also the head of the Semawang Banjar in the traditional village of Intaran, continued: “The Hotel Sanur Bali Beach and the Hyatt, had each ordered 200 tickets. But, because the event was canceled, the purchase price of the tickers will be returned to the guests via their hotels.”

The festival was originally scheduled to take place in front of the Semawang Banjar Hall, at an intersection only 800 from Bungalow 88, the location where police shot three men four nights before.

Despite the festival’s cancellation, hotel guests in Sanur were still able to enjoy the pre-Nyepi merrymaking, with no less than 33 ogoh-ogoh paraded through the streets of Sanur and, in some cases, the parking lots of area hotels.

Related Articles

[And the Rockets Red Glare]

[We Interrupt this Broadcast]

[Prayers Offered in Silence]

[Silent Days and Silent Nights]


Advance Booking Required
Bali Airport Being Selective in Serving New Flight Requests During Airport Renovation Program

The Jakarta Post reports that during the current expansion of Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport those in charge of the airport will be more selective in granting landing and traffic rights due to limited handling capacity.

Purwanto, general manager for the airport authority, PT Angkasa Pura I, said:
 “Although the airport is still undergoing a massive expansion project, some new airlines have filed official requests to open new routes to Bali. Moreover, there are other airlines that want to add more flights to this airport.”

According to Purwanto, the need for greater selectivity in granting airline access to the airport is based on the need to consider limited capacity, existing markets and the performance of the respective airlines. Adding, “We don’t want these conditions to disrupt the airlines’ operations or to cause financial losses to those airlines that operate additional flights.”

The current expansion to Bali’s airport is costing Rp. 2.1 trillion (US$233 million) and is targeted to be completed by September 2013 in time for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit to be held later that year.

Improvements include a 129,000 square meter international terminal, and upgrades to the apron and parking facilities.

Underlining the heavy strains placed on Bali’s sole airport, Purwanto explained: “Last year, the number of passengers reached 12,771,874, comprising 6,594,830 domestic passengers and 6,177,044 international passengers.”

Passenger totals at Bali’s airport have more than doubled over the past four years with an average 284 flights handled each day.

Passenger numbers declined slightly, however, in 2011 due to the cancellation of Japan Airline and Qantas flights to Bali.


Defending Bali’s Doorstep
Steps to Tighten Security at Bali’s Sea Gateways of Gilimanuk and Padang Bai

Following the fatal shooting of five suspected terrorists by the elite Densus 88 police squad on Sunday, March 18, 2013 [See: The Terror Stops Here], members of Bali’s Provincial House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali) are calling for an urgent upgrade in security arrangements at Giimanuk, the seaport gateway to Bali from Java.

According to the Bali Post, the chief of the Demokrat faction in the DPRD-Bali, Nengah Tamba said on March 23, 2011, that he hoped a security gate would be installed at the Gilimanuk port equipped with sophisticated x-ray and screening devices through which everyone entering Bali from Java would have to pass.

Citing as an example the security gate in place at Nusa Dua at the Bali Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC), he revealed that there is already Rp. 64 billion (US$7.1 million) in the 2012 provincial budget for the installation of the much-needed security gate.

Plans are for another similar security gateway to be installed on Bali’s eastern sea gateway of Padang Bai.

Said Tamba, “We hope the equipment will be installed as soon as possible.” To that end, he urged that the security gate projects be put out to bid and that training be commenced for the officials who will be assigned at the gates.

Another legislator, Ketut Suastika of the Jembrana House of Representatives (DPRD-Jembrana), had earlier called for x-ray equipment to be installed at Gilimanuk, necessary, in his view, to back up the strong commitment to keep Bali safe exhibited among those in charge of the port.

The legislator sees the proposed x-ray equipment as needed to x-ray vehicles entering Bali to ensure contraband, weapons and explosives are not being brought onto the island.

Suastika said the need for better security equipment at Gilimanuk outweighed the need to develop the Sarbagita transportation systems, reasoning that all development efforts in Bali are for naught unless they are supported by a safe and secure situation island-wide.


Making Indonesia Shipshape
Indonesia Tourism Minister Calls for Full Attention on Developing Cruise Tourism and Making Bali into a Turnaround Port

Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and the Creative Economy, Mari Elka Pagestu, wants to prioritize the development of cruise tourism - a segment of the tourism industry that she contends continues to show positive growth from year to year.

“In 2009 the number of foreign tourists coming to Indonesia on cruise ships totaled 68,598, a number that increases to 112,882 people last year (2011),” said Pangestu.

Quoted by Bisnis.com while addressing stakeholders in the Indonesian cruise industry attending a the Cruise Shipping Miami Conference, the tourism minister outlined promotional steps to garner the cruise seegment, saying: “In addition to intensifying promotional activities by attending international cruise shows and undertaking sales missions, it is very important to coordinate the preparation of ports and destinations to meet the needs and demands of cruise operators.”

Pangestu said that Indonesia would target cruise operators with itineraries in the Asian and Australian regions, bearing in mind that both the size and number of vessels continues to grow. Because of this, the minister said Indonesian cruise development would focus on port facilities, specifically the size of ports and water depth.

Mari Pangestu said that in order to achieve 500,000 cruise passengers in 2016, the government will undertake upgrading of ports such as Benoa, creating a Bali port suitable for ship turnarounds. Other ports receiving attention as cruise shipping centers are Tanjung Priok in Surabaya, Tanjung Mas in Semarang and Tanjung Perak in Jakarta.

Secondary destinations being prepared for international cruise ship visits include Sabang (Aceh), Bangka, Belitung and Probolinggo (Mount Bromo).
While in 2011 the number of cruise ships visiting Indonesia increases the number of calls declined from 189 in 2010 to 177.

Data from the Ministry of Tourism said that in ranking the popularity of Indonesian port of calls saw Bali ranked first (40%), followed by Komodo (13%), Semarang (11%) and other destinations (16%).

Related Link

[Cruise Ship Services by Bali Discovery]
 


Waste Not, Want Not
Bali Hotels and Restaurants Called Upon to Do a Better Job in Waste Management

The Bali Chapter of Association of Indonesian Tourism (GIPI) – the organization of tourism stakeholder formally acknowledged to represent the island’s tourism, is urging hotels and restaurants in Bali to adopt a thorough and efficient standard for waste management.

The chairman of GIPI-Bali, Ngurah Wijaya, told Bisnis.com that hotels and restaurants produce large quantities of waste. At the same time, however, he claims these same industries fail to handle the waste they produce in accordance with the law.

Proof of this fact, he claims, is reflected in the low rates charged by hotels and restaurants. Wijaya asked, “With rates as low as Rp. 300,000 (US$33) per day, how can they manage waste properly?”

Wijaya, who is also a hotel owner in Bali, claims many of his colleagues in the hotel industry have no concept of waste management. He cited how many build hotels, maximizing the use of their land without any land set aside for the handling and management of waste. He said the fact that landowners make no allowance on their land for the final disposal of waste underlines the need for more waste management planning and recycling.


A Change in Four Seasons
Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Welcome Iklin Ilyaszade as Resort Manager

The Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay has announced the appointment of Ilkin Ilyaszade as resort manager.

With 17 years experience in hotel and business management in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Singapore, Ilkin was selected to bring his experience in luxury hotel operations to the Bali resort.

A Canadian-Azerbaijani bi-national, Ilkin has held positions as revenue manager, front office manager, director of rooms, hotel manager and group human resources manager before his most recent role as the assistant vice president and corporate director for a luxury hotel chain in Asia.

37-year-old Ilkin speaks fluent English, Russian, Turkish and Azeri. He posseses an MBA degree from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, as well as a degree in Economics from Azerbaijan State Oil Academy. He is also a graduate of Cornell University’s General Managers Program in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management .

His academic projects in the area of investments and financial entrepreneurship have been published by Harvard Business School. He has also been actively involved in various Corporate Social Responsibility-related initiatives and community projects across Asia, Peru and Kenya.

As Resort Manager at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay, Ilkin is primarily responsible for overseeing the property’s day-to-day operations.


Nyepi Celebrations in Bali
Reuter Pictorial Coverage of Nyepi Celebrations from the Island of Bali

If a picture is worth a thousand words – here’s a delightful 15,000 word essay presented in 15 magnificient photographs taken Reuter's News Service during the just completed Nyepi celebrations in Bali.

[Reuters Pictorial Coverage of Nyepi – Bali New Year] 

Enjoy!


Bullish on Garuda
Garuda Indonesia CEO Optimistic Airline Will Continue to Grow Even in Difficult Times for Global Aviation

Garuda Indonesia is targeting a 20% increase in income in 2012 over 2011, hoping to achieve sales of Rp. 32.6 trillion (US$3.55 billion).

The increase in income will be bolstered by an expanded fleet of aircraft despite projections from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicting a decline in worldwide income for airlines due to the ongoing economic crisis in Europe.

Garuda’s CEO, Emirsyah Satar, told Bisnis.com, “I am optimistic that income will still grow above 20% when compared to last year which totaled Rp. 27.16 trillion, even though IATA is reducing growth in passenger income due to the crisis in Europe.”

The Garuda boss defended his airline’s ambitious growth targets by pointing to the high growth rate of the Indonesian economy and the tendency for airline growth to outpace by a factor of 1.5 to 2 the growth rate of the host nationsl economy. Emirsyah also points to the global economic crisis of 2008, when domestic and international passengers for Indonesia continued to expand.

Emirsyah is bullish on Garuda’s competitive edge over its foreign competitors. Garuda’s income grew 39% in 2011 and profits by 60%. Meanwhile, during the same period foreign airlines only managed to increase their incomes by 2% while profits declined 59%.

Related Article

[Garuda Indonesia Soars High
 


Swiss-Belhotel Rain Forest, Kuta to Open Late 2012
Swiss-Belhotel Tops Off its Latest Bali Property in Kuta

A topping off ceremony of Swiss-Belhotel Rain Forest in Kuta Bali, Indonesia took place on March 3, 2012. The ceremony led by Eddy Sutrisno, President Director, PT Edsuko Cipta Prima, the owning company of the hotel was witnessed by James Tam, Executive Vice President of Swiss-Belhotel International and Senior Vice President, Operations and Projects, Swiss-Belhotel International Regional Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, Mr. Emmanuel Guillard.

elhotel Rain Forest is a four-star international resort strategically located in Kuta. The 150-room hotel due to be completed in the second-half of 2012 is the latest addition to Swiss-Belhotel International’s portfolio in Bali. The hotel will offer guestrooms equipped with LCD TT, IDD telephone, individually controlled air-conditioning, mini-bar, personal safety deposit boxes, in-room broadband Internet access, and coffee and tea making facilities.

Swiss-Belhotel International now has 88 properties in Indonesia, including those under development.

Guillard told the press, “We are proud of being chosen to manage this upper-market condotel in Bali which, along with the current 27 operating properties all over Indonesia and 35 projects which will be open soon, will enhance our strong position in this part of Asia.”


Man on the Run
National Anti-Corruption Squad Arrests Fugitive Bekasi, West Java Mayor Mochtar Muhammad at a Bali Villa

What is it about Bali that holds a special allure for criminals and fugitives from the law?

Following a scandal in November 2010 when tax-swindler Gayus Tambunan was spotted wearing a disguise at an international tennis tournament in Bali while missing from his cell at National Police Headquarters in Jakarta, Bali has again earned fame as the resort-of-choice for wanted felons with the arrest on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 of the former mayor of Bekasi (West Java), Mochtar Muhammad.

With a sentence of six-years behind bar recently affirmed by the Indonesian Supreme Court, Mochtar had failed to respond to two formal summons to report to prison when members of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) descended on the Villa Lalu on Jalan Pura Dalam in Seminyak, Bali and arrested the former mayor.

Mochtar was initially found guilty of causing a Rp. 5.5 billion (US$600,00) loss to the State via monies stolen from official funds to support a rich lifestyle that included cars, shopping sprees and bribes paid to win environmental awards. That conviction was initially overturned on the appellate level, but finally reinstated by the Supreme Court when the KPK challenged the appellate court's ruling to the highest court.

Claiming through his attorney that he had yet to receive a certified copy of the Supreme Court’s ruling, Mochtar steadfastly refused to report to jail to begin serving his sentence.

When he received his second summons to jail, Mochtar fled to Bali where the KPK pursued him to the Seminyak villa, arrested him and placed him on a commercial flight to Badung where he was taken directly to Sukamiskin Prison in West Java.

Related Article

[Bali: The Great Escape]


Refusing to be Terrorized
Denpasar, Bali Tourism Officials Insist No Booking Fallout Following Shooting of Five Terror Suspects

The Sunday, March 18, 2012, shooting of five suspected terrorist by Indonesia’s crack Densus 88 Anti-Terror Squad has had no discernable effect on tourist visitors to south Bali, according to the head of the Denpasar Tourism Service, Putu Budiasa, speaking to the press on Wednesday, March 21st.

Speaking on the third day after the police raids that left five men dead to Bisnis Bali, Budiasa said there had been no cancellations of tourist bookings over the coming Nyepi holiday that could be linked to the incident.

Budiasa confirmed that following the police raid his office issued a circular announcement to tourism stakeholders asking all to increase their vigilance over the coming Nyepi holidays.

The Denpasar tourism service estimates average occupancy over the Nyepi holiday period at starred hotels at between 70-80% and at 67% at non-starred inns. 


Superman is Dead! Long Live Superman!
Bali Rock Band ‘Superman is Dead’ Qualifies for Hard Rock’s Global Battle of the Bands Competition

In a competition that began with more than 12,000 bands applying and 841 bands participating for 275,000 votes – Bali’s own Superman is Dead has won the local band round of Hard Rock Rising - billed as a global battle of the bands.

r battling it out with several of the area’s top bands at Hard Rock Cafe Bali, Superman Is Dead is now one step closer to winning the chance for a spot on the bill at the 2012 Hard Rock Calling Music Festival to be held in London’s Hyde Park with headlining performances by Bruce Springsteen, The E Street Band and Paul Simon.

Superman Is Dead – a legendary Bali band that has recently returned from a U.S. tour, will be pitted against 85 other Hard Rock Cafe local winners from across the globe in a process that will see the competitors narrowed down to the top ten bands worldwide via voting on Hard Rock Facebook Pages.

Voting Begins April 9, 2012 at 10:00 am EST in the U.S.A. (11:00 pm Bali time on April 8th). Fans are able to vote and download free tracks performed by the bands of their choice via Hard Rock Bali’s Facebook page.

Once the global voting is completed and the top 10 are chosen, a panel of celebrity judges and music industry professionals, including Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Band, John Gourley, The Man, Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit, Fyfe Dangerfield of Guillemots, Live Nation Vice President of Promotions Toby Leighton-Pope and Hard Rock International Chief Marketing Officer John Galloway will face the tough job of selecting the top three winners.

The first-place winner will be flown to London for the ultimate rock star treatment that includes a spot on the bill at Hard Rock Calling 2012. Second and third prizewinners will receive US$5,000 and US$2,500, respectively. Winners will also receive IT tools to help boost each band’s Facebook promotional campaign.

[Vote on Facebook for Superman is Dead starting April 8, 2012
 


Silence is Golden
Expatriate American in North Bali Pays the Price of Violating Nyepi – the Day of Silence

A report in The Bali Post outlines the risks foreign residents in Bali run when they choose to ignore local customs and traditions.

A villa in the village of Kaliaget, Seririt in Buleleng regency has been sealed and blockaded by angry villagers after its 62-year-old American owner chose to ignore the rules of absolute silence and leave the confines of his property of Nyepi, March 23, 2012.

Members of Banjar Alas Arum blockaded the man’s villa at 10:00 am on Saturday, March 24 - the day after Nyepi, using wood and bamboo to bar access road to the property.

The villagers closed the road when the villa’s owner and the villa manager where inside the property, effectively blocking their ability to leave the property. The irate villagers were demanding an apology and a sizeable compensation be paid by the villa owner who violated the peace of Nyepi by leaving  the villa to purchase milk.

At 2:30 pm on Nyepi day the villa owner, identified only as Claude, drove his car onto the empty street of the village in a direction towards Lovina.

Members of the banjar and the local neighborhood watch (pacalang) came to the American's house on Friday afternoon where, according to the village chief, Claude refused to politely receive them. This was seen by the villagers as an insult to the entire village. The irate villagers then decided to close the villa’s entrance.

Village leaders demanded that Claude follow the tradition of the village that stipulates anyone breaking the silence of Nyepi must pay the cost of a pacaruan ceremony. Pacaruan ceremonies are held in Bali to pay homage to Tri Hita Karana – a central theme of Bali-Hinduism that maintains balance between God, man and nature.

The manager of the villa eventually came to the local community center (banjar) where he pledged local customs would be honored and the Rp. 5 million (US$555) cost of the pacaruan ceremony paid. Villagers, however, refused to open the barricades blocking access to the house before the cost of the ceremony was actually paid in advance and a formal statement of apology issued.


When Bali Powers Down
Nyepi – Bali’s Day of Silence Dramatically Reduces Fuel and Electrical Consumption

The 24-hour closure of Bali for Nyepi that included the cessation of all motor vehicle traffic and air traffic, was a literal “breath of fresh air” for the island and a genuine carbon-saving step in terms of fuel consumption.
/> Kompas.com reports that 3,000 kiloliters of subsidized fuel was conserved during the Nyepi period, comprised of the average 2,300 kiloliters of premium gasoline and 700 kiloliters of diesel fuel sold on an average day.

The closure of Bali’s airport for Nyepi also curbed the consumption of aviation fuel by 80 kiloliters.

Estimates from the State Power Board (PLN) state that power consumption in Bali declined by as much as 50% during Bali’s day of absolute silence.
 


Race You Round the Island
Sports Cycling Association Lobbying for 700-Kilometer Tour de Bali for May 16-20, 2012

Radar Bali reports that efforts are now underway to hold a 700-kilometer Tour de Bali cycling race in May 2012.

The Bali chapter of the Indonesian Sports Cycling Association (ISSI) is aiming for the Tour de Bali to be held May 16-20, 2012, but are still waiting for final confirmation of the event from the national headquarter office of the ISSI in Jakarta.

“We made a preliminary proposal for May 16-20. But what happens is up to headquarters. We are only the organizers in the province. The final decision is in the hands of the headquarters of ISSI,” explained Nyoman Kertiyasa of the technical commission of ISSI-Bali.

The plan put forward by ISSI-Bali called for a five-stage race covering a distance of more than 700 kilometers. The racers will circle the island of Bali, passing major tourist attractions along the way.

The proposed race would start in Denpasar and then head to Singaraja via Karangasem and Tejekula. The second stage would travel from Singaraja to Tabanan via Jembrana. The third stage covers Tabanan to Bedugul after doing a circuit of Bali’s capital of Denpasar. The fourth stage starts in Bedugul and travels to Kintamani. The last stage covers the distance from Kintamani to Pecatu.

“All of this is in the early planning stages with final verification to be done by the technical team from the headquarters of ISSI and the ICI (Union Cycliste Internationale) who will decide the final route,” said Kertiyasa.


Do the Monster Mash
Nyepi in Pictures: Ogoh-Ogoh Pictures by Joe Kennedy Photography

Bali-based Photographer Joe Kennedy [Joe Kennedy Photography] was out and about near his home in Sanur on Thursday evening, March 22, 2012, taking photographs of the ogoh-ogoh distributed around the McDonalds intersection.

Joe has kindly shared his shots.

Enjoy!


Fears of Unrest
Indonesia Prepares for Demonstrations and Possible Unrest as April Fuel Prices Increase Approaches

Indonesia is preparing for the possibility of widespread public protest in connection with plans to increase gasoline prices by 33% on April 1, 2012.

Large public protests are already taking place in major cities across Indonesia in the period leading up to the incease as opposition grows to the hike in fuel costs.

The central government has issued instructions, effective from March 8 until April 30, 2012, discouraging foreign travel during that period by governors, regents and mayors.

The instructions issued by the Ministry of the Interior are seen as linked to concerns over public unrest and the need to have key government posts fully manned to handle and developing situations during the price transition.

In a similar vein, the State oil and gas company Pertamina has declared its intention to empty some of their filling stations across the country on April 1st in anticipation of possible attacks by protestors opposing the fuel price hike.

The gas stations to be shut down are in major city centers, located along routes to be used by protestors. Plans are also afoot to place security detachments around selected gas stations to prevent possible damage to the facilities by protestors.


Tomcat on the Prowl
Signs of ‘TomCat’ Rove Beetle Infestations Reach Bali

A plague of rove beetles – nasty enough to be historically linked to ancient plagues of Biblical proportions – is sweeping slowly across Indonesia with a limited number of infestations now reported in Bali and Lombok.

The rove beetle - Paederus littoralis - carry a potent toxin containing pederin – an irritant said to be more potent than cobra venom. Discharged by the beetles automatically when they come in contact with human skin, victims develop painful itching and puss-filled wounds that are sometime misdiagnosed as herpes.

The beetles, known locally as “tomcats,” have a positive role to play devouring insects harmful to farm crops. While they do not prey on humans, their toxic blood makes contact with human skin extremely painful. The threat to humans is made even more insidious when people make the common mistake of crushing the beetles, resulting in the spread of toxins via the insects’ blood.

The rove beetles can be mistaken for an ant, measuring less than 1 centimeter in length with a black body and red or orange thorax. During nighttime hours the beetles are attracted to light.

Those unfortunate enough to be afflicted from contact with the rove beetle should seek medical attention, making caregivers aware of past contact with the insect. Normal remedies of powder, oils, salve and lotions are less-than-effective. Treatments using hydrocortisone (1%), betamethasone and neomycin sulfate antibiotic, or acyclovir 5% have proven efficacy in treating irritations caused by the rove beetle.

Common offf-the-shelf insecticides are efective in eliminating swarms of rove bettles found in residential areas.

The rise in the rove beetle population is tied to climate change, the shrinking amount of  agricultural land and raised levels of humidity. The coming dry season is expected to bring an end to the current surge in tomcat infestations that are seeping across Java, with isolated encounters now reported in some areas of Bali and Lombok.

In the mantime, keep an eye out for these bugs and keep a distance.
 


President Obama Slept Here!
U.S. President’s Extended Visit to Ubud, Bali Commemorated with a Plaque

"Dreams from My Father" – the autobiographical memoir of U.S. President Barack Obama was published in 1995, but written by Obama during an extended Bali holiday in 1993 spent in Ubud.

With many citing the books as providing the catalyst for the meteoritic political career that saw Obama rise from community organizer to U.S. Senator to his eventual election to the Whitehouse in 2008.

To commemorate both the author and the book he wrote, a plaque was dedicated during the 2011 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival at a simple ceremony attended by the (then) Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik, the governor of Bali Made Mangku Pastika and the raja of Ubud Gde Tjokra Putra Sukawati .

Jakarta businessman Ron Mullers and Metro TV broadcaster Dalton Tanonaka helped finance the plaque.

The plaque has recently found a permanent place of pride at the entrance to the Kopi Bali Restaurant where many tourists are stopping to pose for a photo, recording a proud past moment in Ubud’s history.

Shown on balidiscovery.com is a picture of Dalton Tanonaka posing with the Obama Commemorative Plaque at Kopi Bali Restaurant in Ubud.


 
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