National Calendar of Official Events to Help Bolster National Tourism Arrivals.
In the midst of the launch of Visit Indonesia Year 2008, the Indonesian Department of Culture and Tourism is targeting 7 million foreign visitors for 2008. This represent a substantial increase from the 6 million visitor targeted for 2007, a number that was not attained and is expected to fall closer to 5.5 million when the current year closes on December 31, 2007.
In order to help achieve the ambitious target, the Ministry has established an official calendar of more than 100 official events to be hosted across Indonesia throughout 2008.
If Indonesia manages to hit its proclaimed target, it will represent something on the order of a 27% increase in arrivals for a single year.
An Exhibition of Underwater Photography by Adam Powell December 15, 2007 Through January 18, 2008
An exhibition of captivating underwater images by Adam Powel of Adamaqua will be on display at The Harris Hotel in Kuta from December 15, 2007 through January 18, 2008.
Go Blue Too is being held in support of the Indonesia Reef Check Foundation with proceeds an educational program in reef awareness among schoolchildren.
The exhibition will kick-off with a "blue" reception on Saturday, December 15th at The Harris Hotel Pantai Kuta between 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.. Blue drinks donated by Bali Moon and blue snack from Bali Bakery will be served. Exciting raffle prizes including air tickets, cruises to Komodo and Spa Treatments will be given away.
For more information call Ms. Pariama Hutasoit of Reef Check Indonesia at ++62-(0)81 735 034.
Pelangi Learning Center to Hold a Fundraiser in Ubud on December 23, 2007 in Ubud.
The Pelangi Learning Center will hold a major fund-raising event on Sunday, December 23, 2007 featuring the multi-talented author, poet, composer and musician Michael Franti between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m..
The man behind the musical fusion group Michael Franti & Spearhead, Franti met parents of the Pelangi Learning Center during a Bali holiday earlier this year. A social activist and the father of 2 children, Franti agreed to appear at the Bali event where he will perform and autograph copies of the CD What I Be featuring the voice of Michael Franti, his Son, Ade Franti-Rye and Singalese musician Youssoupha Sidibe.
More on Pelangi Learning Center
Pelangi Learning Center is a private, non-profit bilingual school located just outside Ubud in Bali. A parent-initiated project, the Center opened in July 2006 to serve a mixed population of children, from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds.
Working from a two-room schoolhouse, Pelangi provides provide holistic, multicultural, child-centered education for over 50 children in playgroup, kindergarten, and primary school grades 1-4. There are plans to add grade 5 in 2008, and grade 6 in 2009.
Join the Fun on December 23
Current fund-raising activities are seeking to raise funds to contract land and the construction of new school buildings.
An afternoon of fun and entertainment is planned including face painting, jumping castle, arts table, live music, juggling, raffles, garage sale, and food and drink.
Suggested donation for this event is IDR 100,000 per person (US$10.75) and IDR 300,000 (US$32.25) for the entire family.
Pelangi Holiday Fundraiser
Sunday, December 23, 2007 - 3 p.m. until 6 p.m.
Pelangi Learning Center - Banjar Kumbuh (Off Jl. Pengokekan)
For more information call Afi Nafisah at ++62-(0)817 147 30 222
Ubud Writers & Readers Festival Sets Dates and Theme for 2008 Gathering.
Tri Hita Karana is the theme adopted for the Fifth International Ubud Writers & Readers Festival.
Tri Hita Karana is the Balinese-Hindu precept that safeguards the balance between Man and God, Man and Nature and Man and Man. Invited guests at the 200 event include award-winning UK author Caryl Phillips, Mexican writer Alberto Ruy-Sanchez, Helen Garner of Monkey Grip fame, Hari Kunzru and Man Booker prize short-listed writers: Indra Sinha, Mohsin Hamid and Lloyd Jones.
The collision of cultures will be one of the underlying themes at the 2008 Festival with established writers and emerging writers confronting the issues of 'Us and Them.' Discussions on the environment, world religions, languages and lifestyles will be delved into together with the subject of migration and its impact on communities. Hot debates addressing crime and punishment in Asia, and more specifically drugs, civil rights and moral dilemmas, will also take centre-stage. With women's rights and education in mind, Asia's rural communities who are on the periphery of social development and will be brought to the fore by leading literary lights.
It will be a dialogue like no other at Ubud, which lies on the fertile crossroads of two rivers, two oceans and two continents - Asia and Australia. In the 1930s, it was the exotic retreat of the rich and famous and has now re-invented itself as an international meeting place for writers, poets and artists from all parts of the world. It has become the stage where voices from China, India, South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia and more are heard. In 2008, the Festival will strengthen this partnership and engage writers from beyond the region into the heart of Africa and South America.
Satisfy your hedonist passions by lavishing in the lush surroundings of some of Ubud's most elegant hotels and gracious homes with literary lunches, dinners and other culinary surprises. Enjoy workshops that teach the craft of writing, in between book launches, performances, exhibitions, cocktail parties and celebrations into the early hours of the morning. And if that is not enough, the 2008 Festival will take to the streets, literally, with International street performers matching their wits against Ubud's youth in a carnival of skill and artistry.
Moderate Earthquake Strikes Off Bali's Southwest Coast. No Injuries or Major Damage Reported.
The more than 10,000 delegates attending the UN Climate Change Conference received something of a wake up call from Mother Nature Friday, December 7, 2007, when a moderately strong earthquake struck only 150 miles southwest of the island.
According to data provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, the tremor measuring 5.4 magnitude struck 10 kilometers below the ocean's floor and was felt in Bali, including at the Nusa Dua Complex which is playing host to the important UN conference. Too weak to generate a tsunami warning, no injuries or property damage have been linked to the earthquake which struck at 6:45 p.m..
While earthquakes are common in Indonesia, this is the closest a quake has been recorded to Bali for many months.
While there is no scientific link between earthquakes and global warming, some local environmentalists and friends of the earth are depicting the earthquake as a gentle reminder to climate change delegates that the "lady in charge" remains Mother Nature.
Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child
Bali's Orphans Face A Life of Bureaucratic Uncertainty Due to Rules on the Issuance of Official Birth Certificates.
A recent investigation carried out by the weekly Tokoh has underlined the severe plight of Bali's orphans, made worse by the widespread inability to obtain a formal birth certificate. According to the report, children raised by foster caregivers are rendered outcasts due to their inability to present the official birth document needed to attend school, obtain an identity card or a passport.
Drs. H. Muhsan Effendi, the Secretary of the Orphan Foundation of Bali, told Tokoh that the inability to obtain formal birth certificates is a problem affecting every orphanage in Bali. Effendi, who is also the operator of the Tunas Bangsa Orphanage in the Monang-Maning area of Denpasar, reports that only 30% of the 52 children under his care hold valid birth certificates. Based on discussions held among the directors of the 64 orphanages found in Bali, at least 70% of all orphans in Bali do not possess a birth certificate.
Many of these children originate from village settings in Bali with little or no record in existence regarding their parentage. Unable to present the names of two parents and their marriage certificate needed to obtain a birth certificate, these children and their futures remain in legal limbo.
Troubles start early for children without an akta Kelahiran or birth certificate. Enrolment in local primary schools is often impossible without an akta, a scenario of denial that will be repeated time and again throughout their lives as they fail to obtain an official identity card, a passport or employment in formal sectors of the economy.
The resourceful Mr. Effendi is sometimes able to secure a temporary solution to the schooling quandary through the assistance of understanding school principals prepared to accept children presenting a simple birth statement - a less formal document issued by the officials of the child's home village.
A local lawyer and activist on behalf of children's rights, Luh Putu Anggreni, is calling on the Government to urgently address the problem of undocumented children.
Is Bali Losing its Cultural Compass?
Former Tourism Minister Gede Ardika Warns That Bali is Losing its Hold on Traditional Community Values.
Speaking at a seminar held in Bali on December 2, 2007, Indonesia's former Minister of Culture and Tourism. I Gede Ardika warned that Bali was increasingly disassociating itself from its traditional values.
Quoted by the National News Agency Antara, Ardika delivered an address entitled - "Bali's Tourism: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Challenges for Nature and the Balinese People" - in which he said that the people of Bali were increasingly upset by the new attitude that considers all things are permissible in pursuit of private goals.
Stating that the traditional Balinese character seeks peace in combination with mental and physical well being, Ardika finds such values badly out of step with the results of recent developments in Bali.
To preserve the future of Bali, its people and its culture the popular former Minister called for a renewal of the primacy of the community as a means for Bali to make a lasting contribution to the Nation and the World. Cautioning that the road ahead was full of challenges, Ardika called on the Balinese to study the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities offered by tourism in Bali and the specific threats possed by some forms of the tourism industry to Balinese culture and its natural environment.
As regards Bali's cultural and artistic traditions, Ardika called for special attention to be paid to the preservation, utilization and development of the Island's rich art forms. In doing so, the Balinese arts will provide practical benefits to the people of the Island, ensuring a sustainable culture and tourism product in the years to come.
Indonesian Airlines to Pay Compensation for Late Departures?
Ministry Seeks to Protect Consumer Rights by Making Airlines Pay When Passengers Encounter Flight Delays.
The Indonesian Ministry of Transportation is planning to soon require Indonesian air operators to pay compensation to their passengers when they fail to keep their published schedule.
The Director of Certification and Airworthiness for the Directorate General of Air Communications, Yulris Hasibuan, said such a requirement would improve customer service for Indonesian airline passengers. While the amount of compensation to be extended to passengers suffering delays and cancellations remain undecided, Hasibuan said the basis for such payments can be found in Law No. 8 of 1999 on Consumer Protection.
Citing an example of the sort of compensation Indonesian air passengers might come to expect, Hasibuan suggested that airlines running 2 hours behind schedule would be asked to provide money or food for their passengers. Planes running more than 3 hours late would be expected to pay a yet to be determined level of financial compensation.
In a sampling of flights operating from Jakarta's Soekarno Hatta International Airport, 2,539 or 61.2% of 4,147 flights suffered delays. Of the late operating flights 1,162 encountered delays of between 11 and 30 minutes while 937 more flights departed an hour or more behind schedule.
Representatives of commercial air operators offered a less than enthusiastic reaction to the compensation proposal, reminding all that such a program remains "only an idea" and must first be discussed between the airlines and the government.
A representative of Garuda Indonesia suggested that exceptions for compensation should be granted when planes were operating late due to weather conditions, airport problems and other factor outside the airline's control.
HIV/AIDS Cases Among Foreign Residents in Bali
HIV/AIDS Virus Continues to Claim More Sufferers Among Both Local and Foreign Residents of Bali.
Republika On-Line reports that 25 or 1.5% of the 1,641 Bali residents suffering from HIV/AIDS is comprised of foreign nationals.
The Chief of the Communicable Disease Section of the Bali Health Office, Dr. I Gusti Lanang, told the press that the foreign victims of HIV/AIDS were led by Dutch citizens accounting for 6 patients; 5 from America; 3 from Australia and 2 each from Canada and Switzerland. The remaining sufferers were individuals from Italy, Spain, Japan, Ireland, East Timor and other countries.
Of the 1,641 cases of HIV/AIDS in Bali, 658 41%) suffer from AIDS and 983 (59%) from HIV. In the first eight months of 2007, 388 new cases of HIV/AIDS were recorded in Bali. In the same period 130 deaths were attribruted to the disease.
A separate report in Bali Post estimates that there are 823 HIV/AIDS cases in Bali's capital city of Denpasar. City health officials fear that the actual number of infection may be substantially higher due to social stigma attached to the illness and the resulting reluctance of sufferers to seek professional treatment.
Are Green House Gasses Caused by Men's Neckties?
Climate Change Conference Fueling a Batik Fashion War in Nusa Dua.
Does the Bali UN Conference signal a changing dress code for a warmer world?
Delegates at that conference from 140 countries in Bali from December 3-14, 2007, have apparently been told there's no need to don their suits and ties as they discuss hoe to create a cooler world. "The dress code is to be relaxed, not to wear tie or jacket," said John Hay, spokesman for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.Top UN officials, including Yvo De Boer, the UNFCC Executive Secteraty wasted no time in embracing the new dress standard, assuming the main podium wearing a traditional and stylish Indonesian batik shirt.
In support of the more relaxed dress protocols, the UNFCCC website said it hoped the Bali dress code "will allow participants to conduct discussions in a more comfortable environment, as well as limit the use of air conditioning and thereby reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
Local press reports suggest that the special dress code for the Bali UN Climate Conference has fueled somethig of a fashion competition among delegates who are keeping local tailors busy creating batik designs. With high ranking delegations including heads of states and ministers from 140 nations expected to arrive in the second week of the Conference, the batik fashion "contest" can only be expected to itensify.
Rumors remain unconfirmed that Conference Chairman de Boer has snuck a pair of scissors past security and into the meeting venue, vowing to snip off any neck ties worn by national ministers appearing at the main podium.
Talk about a "cool" idea.
Caught in the Act
YouTube Tape of Bali Police Officer Accepting a Bribe Adds Fuel to Local Efforts to Improve the Island's Law Enforcement.
An undetected photographic and sound recording of a recent traffic stop by Bali Police has become front page news in Bali. The film, made by two young Canadian travelers from Nova Scotia, apparently shows a direct pay off to a uniformed police officer folling the pair's inability to produce a valid driver's license, was eventually posted on YouTube.com and included a close-up of the young Canadian sardonically closing the clip by proclaiming "and that was Indonesian justice."
The YouTube.com segments which has been downbloaded mnore than 47,000 times since its initial posting, opens with an inverted image as the two young tourists are invited into a street-side police substantion where a traffic violation was settled with a cash payment. With the face of the officer and the license plate of the rented motorbike clearly visible, it's expected that police will have little trouble tracing down the officer for questioning.
In reviewing the video, NusaBali concluded the "pay-off" recorded on tape and broadcast to the world recorded a set of curcumstance that were unfortunately all too familiar to the Indonesia public.
The officer shown on the tape using broken English offered the two young Canadians the option of paying a fine "on the spot" or facing the daunting prospects of a prolonged appearance before a local magistrate. The fine offered and accepted by the police officer without any apparent paperwork was Rp. 50,000 (US$5.40).
Police continues to investigate the incident.
To Serve and Protect in Bali
175 Community Leaders Named Honorary Police Officers in Bali
On Friday, November 30, 2007, 175 community and ethnic leaders in Bali were named "honorary law enforcement officers" by Bali's Chief of Police, Inspector General Paulus Purwoko.
As reported by NusaBali, among the 175 receiving their "honorary police badges" were Wirawan Hadi, a Bali resident of Chinese extraction; Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati (a/k/a "Tjok Ace") from the Ubud Royal Palace; and John Obaja Wakune a Papuan native who now lives in Bali.
In bestowing the honors, Chief Purwoko told the press that the honorary officers represent individuals who are now partners of the entire Bali constabulatory, helping to guarantee the long-term safety of the Island. One of the duties assigned to the citizen police force is to provide input and advice to the leadership of the Bali police force on how best to evaluate and plan for security requirements in Bali.
Purwoko explained: "The duty of the honorary police force is not to join street patrols with regular officers or with local 'pacalang.' These people are our partners in formulating security policies."
The Chief cited that the three pillars that must be embraced by the Honorary Police in being peace officers are a commitment to keep Bali free from disturbances; a sense of internal order and security; and a personal sense of peace. Describing street patrols and document inspections now underway as only short-term solutions for community law and order; the real challenge remains to foster a change in the mind set of the public in cherishing the rule of law and in detecting crimal activity.
In clarifying his comments, Chief Purwoko cited the example of the difficulties faced by police in changing the mind set of hard line Islamists who are opposed to America, Australia and their allies. Their dissatisfaction with the policies of those nations have created an atmosphere where those groups are sometimes viewed as enemies. Because of this, Genereal Purwoko has called for a plurality conference to be held in Bali after the conclusion of the UN Conference on Climate Change. Such a conference could include all of Bali's diverse ethnic and cultural groupings to discuss any existing tensions between these groups, with the newly appointed honorary police officers assuming a lead role in finding common ground foe agreement.
The Police Chief also said that a separate leadership structure must soon be established for administration of the honorary police corps.
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