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Bali News by Bali Update
BALI UPDATE #1038 - 25 July 2016

IN THIS UPDATE


The Answer's in the Stars
Fasting Month to Begin in Indonesia on June 28th or Thereabouts

The Jakarta Globe confirms that Indonesia’s second-largest Islamic organization – Muhammadiyah has decreed that the holy fasting month of Ramadan 1435H will commence on June 28, 2014.

Using mathematical formulas and astronomical observations, Mhammadiyah calculated the month of Ramadan starts after sunset June 27th.

The Islamic calendar measures the start of a new day from sunset.

Muhammadiyah's leader, Dim Syamsuddin told The Jakarta Globe: “According to astronomical calculations, the Muhammadiyah decided that the fasting period starts on Saturday, June 28; Idul Fitri will fall on Monday, July 28; and Idul Adha or, the Day of Sacrifice, will be on Saturday, October 4.”

Last year Indonesia’s a largest Muslim organization Nadlatul Ulama (NU), using physical observations decreed the start of the month of Ramadan as occurring one day later than the date announced by Muhammadiyah.

The now-disgraced Ministry of Religious Affairs traditionally tries to mediate between Muhammadiyah and Nadlatul Ulama by convening meetings to arrive at a consensus on the official date for Ramadan’s commencement.

Muhammadiyah,
meanwhile,  has made it clear they have no desire to attend a meeting with Nadlatul Utama to discuss the matter further.


Norwegian Would?
Norwegian Government Poised to End Overseas Studies Programs in Exotic Locales including Bali

The Norwegian government is poising to take a decision that may curb the number of Norwegian students studying abroad, including Bali.

Education Minister Torbjørn Roe Isaksen has issued a statement declaring his intent to limit overseas study opportunities for Norwegian students - courses pejoratively known as "bathing studies" in which student travel to exotic locales to do physical education course, learn skiing, do health studies and participate in program the Minister depicts as a waste of taxpayers’ money.

A number of Norwegian colleges engage commercial companies to operate programs providing courses on sports, nutrition and personal training in exotic places, including Brazil and Bali. Isaksen said such "bathing studies" have "little academic and cultural value," adding that the government should limit these courses in the future.

Programs of study winter and summer sports, personal trainer certificates, health, nutrition, nursing, languages, social studies, economics and leadership. The destinations where courses are offered include Chamonix, Florida, Brazil, Bali, Mexico, Cape Town, Sydney, New York and Paris.

Isaksen said the will ask colleges to close course offering Norwegian studies in non-Norwegian locales. “I strongly doubt the academic quality is good enough and I find it very difficult to see the academic relevance of a number of these courses.”

The Minister said that the review of these programs is underway and only those with compelling academic reasons for remaining abroad will be allowed to continue. Students who have signed up for courses to be offered in 2013 will not be affected by any change to be introduced by the Norwegian government.


What Domestic Tourists to Bali Like
Survey Reveals that Indonesian are Attracted to Bali by its Natural Beauty and Unique Culture

The State News Agency Antara quote a tourism observer, Dewa Nyoman Putra, emphasizing that Bali's culture remains the prime attraction for the Island's domestic tourism market. "The government must provide opportunities (for tourism development) via long holiday weekends or 'joint holiday" (in which separate holidays are linked together) to provide more opportunities for holidays.

It is estimated that between 60-65% of all visitors to Bali are comprised of domestic Indonesian visitors.

Putra said Bali's spirituality remains the main draw for tourism, equal with the magnetism of natural beauty and the local culture as tourist draws.

A study conducted by the Bali Provincial Tourism Office in late 2013 determined that 37.5% of domestic visitors to Bali were drawn to the island by the natural beauty of the destination, while 35.2% said the unique culture of Bali was what attracted their visit.

Other reasons cited by domestic visitors for a Bali visit were the friendliness of the local population (9.1%), the range of tourist attractions (7.6%), the quality of tourism facilities (5.4%), the relative low cost of a Bali holiday (4.9%) and various other attractions (0.3%).

Among the natural attractions available in Bali, 54.1% of domestic visitors told surveyors that Bali's beaches were the main attraction, followed by its mountains (18.2%), rice terraces (9.9%), mountain lake distance (9.3%) and agriculture (2.9%).

Local arts and culture each approximate a factor of 30% as a major "draw' for the domestic market coming to Bali.

Also list of interest to domestic visitors to Bali were handicraft goods, culinary offerings, architecture, spiritual experiences and historical sites.

Nyoman Putra named 10 local attraction that are most popular with domestic visitors to Bali are: Tanah Lot, Pura Uluwatu, Danau Beratan, Tirta Empul, Penelokan Gunung Batur, Kebun Raya Eka Karya Bedugul, Goa Gajah, Pura Taman Ayun, Bedugul and Bali Safari & Marine Park


Making the Sacred Less Profane
Bali Chairman of Tour Operators Association Explains Why the Island's Most Sacred Temple of Besakih is Absent from Local Tour Activities

The Jakarta Post quotes the chairman of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies (ASITA-Bali) Ketut Ardana who admits that many tour and travel agencies avoid or limit offering Bali's Mother Temple of Besakih due to poor service, inadequate infrastructure and the resulting negative customer experience.

Ardana said that, like many destinations on Bali, Pura Besakih need a revamped focus on visitor satisfaction in order not to be blacklisted from tour itineraries.

Ardana acceded that although Besakih was of keen interest to tourists, aggressive and coercive free-lance guides and parking attendants who charge high fees have taken the shine off the "Besakih experience." He also noted large quantities of trash and debris at Besakih that is left unattended after the frequent ceremonies held at the temple complex.

“We've took Besakih off our list several years ago. We’ve actually filed complaints about these issues, but the management (of the complex) has not done anything significant,” Ardana explained.

Adana said it was always possible for local communities to take the necessary steps to redeem a destination's reputation, citing Kintamani and Sangeh where services have recently improved.

The hilltop location of Kintamani was plagued by boat operators offering trips on lake while charging illegal fees, an abundance of trash and insistent beggars and street vendors that were a vexation to tourist visitors. Over the past three years, however, steps by local and the government to improve services and the designation of the area as a World Geopark has done much to restore Kintamani's reputation of the regency of Bangli's top tourism destination.

Similarly, the Sangeh monkey forest has seen the number of complaints from tourists decline following clean-up efforts and the introduction of steps to control contact between visitors and the site's monkeys.

Said Ardana, "We consider Sangeh a safe and comfortable place for tourists.”

Hoping that improvements could be also introduced at the Besakih Temple complex, Ardana called on the Karanasem regency administration to control local tour guides and their aggressive behavior towards visitors could be addressed.


Jetstar to End Lombok Service
Jetstar to Axe Perth to Lombok Service October 17

The Australian airline Jetstar has announced that poor passenger loads will cause them to suspend the four-time-a-week service between Perth and Lombok, effective October 17, 2014.

The innovative Perth to Lombok flight was launched on September 24, 2013.

The airlines also announced an end to its six-time-a-week flights between Perth and Brisbane starting from July 1, 2014.

An Airline spokesman said, “Like all airlines, we review the performance of our routes regularly and make adjustments when it makes sense to do so.”

Passengers holding tickets on the Perth-Brisbane route after June 30,201 will be offered seats on Qantas flight operating between the two destinations.

Passengers booked on the Perth-Lombok segment after October 16 can opt for a Jetstar replacement ticket between Perth and Bali or a full refund of the cost of a ticket to Lombok. Passengers holding cancelled Perth to Lombok tickets will also be given an AU$50 Jetstar voucher.

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Brought to Justice
Trial of Australian Who Tried to Force his Way into the Cockpit of a Bali-bound Virgin Australia Flight Continues in Brisbane

The Courier Mail of Queensland, Australia reports that Matt Christopher Lockley has made his first appearance before a Brisbane magistrate in connecting with his arrest off a Virgin Australia flight from Brisbane to Bali on April 25, 2014.

Lockley, who attempted to gain entry to the plane's cockpit, triggered a hijacking in progress alert and the deployment of security and anti-terrorist units as the plan landed in Bali.

Sent back to Australia by Indonesia, Lockley is now facing criminal charges in Australia.

Lockley's attorney asked for bail on behalf of his client and a continuance of the case for three weeks to permit the defense to review the case.

Lockley's trial is set to continue on June 27th in Brisbane

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Altitude Limitations
Growth in Indonesian Domestic Air Traffic Slowing

The Jakarta Globe reports that the number of domestic air travelers in Indonesia is expected to decline in 2014, slowing to 10% this year.

This is taking place when many Indonesian Air Carriers are struggling to survive.

Arif Wibowo, the chairman of the Indonesia National Air Carriers Association (Inaca) predicts growth in sir passenger numbers will stand at 10%, down from the 11% growth recorded in 2013.

Total domestic air trips taken in 2013 hit 90 million journeys.

Explaining further, Wibowo, who is also the CEO of the Garuda Subsidiary Citilink, said: “The slow economic growth impacts all sectors, including the aviation sector. Currency fluctuations, high jet fuel prices and stiff competition has made things worse."

Meanwhile, Tigerair Mandala continues to suffer economic difficulties as shareholders Tiger Airways and Saratoga Capital prepare to disinvest, with sources in the aviation community saying the two companies have no plans to own a share in the airline after July 1st in order to stem continuing losses.

Sky Aviation, who operates as a charter airline, has suspended flight operations since February.

It is estimated that 80 million of the 90 million domestic air trips in Indonesia last year were undertaken on low cost airlines.

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Deportasi Gisondi, Please
Calls Mount for Channel Sevenís Sexually-Addicted Todd Gisondi to be Deported from Indonesia

Bali-based surfing instructor Todd Gisondi, who has earned his 15-minutes of fame - and then some, via his cameo appearance on the Channel Seven series "What Really Happens in Bali" where he boasts he has bedded as many as 100 women tourist during his short stay on the island.

Intended or not, he has also earned a great deal of animosity from many fellow Australian who have labeled him a “bogan” - a pejorative term that in other locales might be “hick, hillbilly” or “country bumpkin.”

A Facebook page “Todd Gisondi is a dickhead” – where an international audience launches vitriolic attacks on the dreadlocked surfer has surpassed 7,000 “likes” only a few days after its launch.

Locally, back in Bali, Gisondi is earning a fast-growing list of detractors.

According to Tribun-Bali.com, the rector of the Mahendradata University in Bali, Dr. Shri I Gusti Ngurah Wedakarna, is calling on the government to express its strong displeasure both the Channel Seven and to Todd Gisondi. Wedekarna, who is also running for the legislature, grants the Australian that sexual practices is largely a private concern but, at the same time, finds Gisondi’s public utterances and Channel Seven’s desire to broadcast them  both vulgar and detrimental to Bali’s reputation.

“As a Balinese I criticize the actions of the ‘tourist’ because his actions can damage the image of Bali and Indonesian as a whole,” said Wedekarna. He went on the say that given Bali’s record of promoting itself as a cultural and spiritual destination, Gisondi and Channel Seven must be asked their underlying motives for their actions. The educator went on to suggest that Gisondi may have been paid by Channel Seven to make his shocking pronouncements. Adding: “The government must take steps and protest to the television station that broadcasted Todd’s statement or complain directly to Todd in Bali.”

Continuing, Wedekarna said: “What he did with 100 women is a basically a private matter and within his rights. The fact that he has made these statement publicly via the mass media has made his actions a matter of public  record and public concern.”

ASITA Calls for Gisondi’s Deportation

The chairman of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Association of Tour and Travel Agents, I Ketut Ardana, warned: “Don’t let the actions of a single individual about his experiences in Bali influence the world. I believe he (Gisondi) is mentally ill and this is a case we (in Bali) need to handle it.”

Ardana said the fact that the Australian market remains the top source of foreign visitors and the strange behavior of the sex-addicted Todd Gisondi suggest it would be best to deport the young Australian back to his home country.

Ardana said Bali is not a sex-destination and foreigners seeking to make it once would do better to holiday elsewhere.

I Made Sukadana, the chairman of the Bali Guide Association (HPI-Bali), is concerned that Gisondi may also be spreading disease and seeking sexual liaisons with local women.



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Developing Problems and Solutions
Hotel Investors Gather in Bali to Explore the Future

The 2nd Annual Indonesian Hotel Investment Conference (IHIC 2014) was held at The Grand Nikko Bali Resort on Friday, June 6, 2014.

Sponsored by the Bali Hotels Association (BHA) and Horwath HTL, more than 130 key players in the regional hotel and accommodation property sector attend the one-day program of keynote speeches, break out session and a networking “power lunch” and closing cocktail reception sponsored by Bir Bintang and Artisan Estate Wines.

An opening address by the former Minister of Tourism and Culture, I Gede Ardika provided an opening counterpoint to an otherwise very pro-development agenda of speakers.

Ardika opened the conference with a call for developers and local leaders to carefully consider both the cultural and environmental carrying capacity of Bali. The well-respected former minister challenged his audience to avoid steps and decisions that marginalize the Balinese. Quoted in Bali Daily (The Jakarta Post), Ardika said: “This is our challenge. Tourism practitioners in Bali should rethink whether the current model of development will continue to be tolerated. And local people should be aware [of whether] they wish to let their island be ‘destroyed’ like this.”

Ardika, who was born in Bali, warned that overdevelopment of Bali is surpassing the island’s land, water, food and resource sustainability. Adding: “Investors have to be integrated with the community [members], partnering with them, respecting each other and strengthening local identity. You are the ones on the front line of preserving the attractiveness of Bali.”

As the island has seen an unprecedented growth in new rooms, Ardika described how this has brought room rates under pressure, bringing Indonesia to the unenviable place of being the Southeast Asian country with the lowest hotel rates.

Also opening the conference was Wiryanti Sukamdani, chairwoman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) and the Indonesian Tourism Promotion Board, who presented an overview of 288 hotels expected to be opened in Indonesia by 2016. Sukamdani said: “Of the total number, 67 hotels will be built in Bali. I have no idea where these 67 hotels will be built. We don’t have rice fields anymore. We have to preserve the natural landscape and the environment. When we build hotels, we need water, electricity, and food. . . This is a challenge for the tourism industry.”

Sharing PHRI data with the conference delegates, Sukamdani calculated in 2011 that there were 22,000 rooms for sale in Bali. She said that total increased to 25,400 in 2012 and in 2013 stood at 50,100 rooms. The PHRI chairwoman predicted the total would increase to 55,200 before the end of 2014.

These totals do not include the phenomenal increase in commercial villas that pay an increasingly role in Bali’s accommodation sector.

A total of 36 speakers and panelists presented their insights and views on a the investment outlook for Bali; a statistical review of the Indonesian Hotel Industry; the suitability of current development models; how to grow tourism while preserving the indigenous culture and the natural environment; challenges to building a hotel brand in Indonesia; recent innovations in smart design for hotels; the financing of accommodation projects; the challenges presented by social media, OTAs and new travel distribution networks; and the ins and outs of branded residences in Bali.


Keeping Democracy Safe
4,000 Police Personnel to Safeguard the Presidential Elections in Bali

The State News Agency Antara reports that that the Bali Police Command will deploy 4,000 personnel to safeguard the coming presidential and vice-presidential elections

The spokesman for the Bali police confirmed on Wednesday, June 4, 2014, the extra security steps being put in place, saying the additional personnel would be drawn from all levels of local law enforcement.

Strategies to ensure a smooth presidential election have been made by the police after evaluating security during the just completed legislative elections and identifying a number of sensitive areas

Police have determined the key security areas will be less than during the legislative round of voting when 12 different parties competed. The presidential campaign is being contested by only two multi-party coalitions led by Prabowo Subianto and Hatta Rajasa competing against Jakarta governor Joko Widodo and former vice president Jusuf Kalla.

The police will also provide coverage and protection of areas designated for campaign activities and the paraphernalia use in the campaign process in Bali.

The nation-wide presidential campaign period commences on June 4, 2014 and will formally end on July 5, 2014.

The presidential election will take place on July 9, 2014.


Far from Full
Bali Starred Hotel Occupancies Up in April 2014

The Jakarta Post quoting data from the Bali Statistics Center (BPS-Bali) chief, Panusunan Siregar, says Bali starred-hotels achieved an average occupancy of 61.28% in April 2014, increasing from the average occupancy of 59.87 recorded in March.

Siregar contends that average occupancies of this level are sufficient to cover operating costs, including the wages of staff.

Siregar said there were 280,096 foreign visitors in April – a total at variance with the numbers provided by the Bali tourism office (274,838).

In any case, arrivals for the first four months of the year are ahead an approximate 15% from the same period in 2013.

The highest occupancy rate in April was recorded in Denpasar (65.42%), Badung regency (62.82%), Tabanan (59.54%), Gianyar (54%) and Buleleng (43.62%).

There are no starred hotels located in the regencies of Jembrana, Bangli and Klungkung.

BPS-Bali data counts 2,260 starred hotels in Bali with 56,971 rooms.

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Conventional Corruption
Vice President Candidate Jusuf Kalla Testifies at Trial of Foreign Affairs Official Accused of Corrupting Conference Funds

Former vice president and current candidate for the same office Jusuf Kalla was grilled at the Anti-corruption Court in Jakarta on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 on how money was spent in the hosting of international conferences held in Bali in 2004 and 2005.

Claiming the situation at the time was considered “an emergency,” Kalla told the Court that President Megawati Soekarnoputri had ordered him to garner as many international conferences as possible for Bali to restore the Island’s tourism industry after two terrorist bombing.

The anti-corruption court is questioning if proper protocols and procedures for appointing an event organizer were followed by the Department of Foreign Affairs for the many events diverted to Bali as part of the recovery plan.

Kalla, testifying at the corruption trial of the Foreign Ministry’s former secretary general Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat, told the Court: “In my opinion, the conferences as stated under Presidential Instruction No.80/2003 [which stipulate matters related to the procurement of goods and services] can be done by direct appointment and that there is no need for a tender.”

According to The Jakarta Globe, Kalla did not answer when asked if the direct appointment of event organizers was done on presidential instructions. He merely explained that the president had ordered that as many conferences as possible be held in Bali.

Following the Bali bombing of 2002 daily arrivals of foreign tourists dropped from 5,500 per day to just 1,000.

In response the Indonesian government undertook a program to encourage domestic tourism and international conferences in Bali. The program started in 2002 continued after the Aceh tsunami disaster of December 2004 and the second Bali bombing of 2005.

Kalla told the judge that the appointment of event organizers was a technical matter and “he did not deal with technical matters.”

At the time, Kalla was Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for the People’s Welfare prior to his election as vice-president from 2004-2009 under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Sudjadnan could be sent to prison for 20 years if found guilty of corruption in the administration of 12 international conferences held in Bali that caused losses to the state of an estimated US$924,000.


Bali's Anti-Smoking Governor
Made Mangku Pastika Wins Awards for Standing Up to Tobacco Giants

The Bali Daily (The Jakarta Post) reports that the strong anti-smoking stance taken by governor Made Mangku Pastika has earned the Island’s governor a number of awards.

Governor Pastika received the accolades at a ceremony marking World No Tobacco Day at the Weddhi Budaya Art Center in East Denpasar

The governor also received the following awards:
  • The Indonesian Health Ministry recognized the Governor for drafting and implementing no-smoking law bylaws first introduced in 2011.
  • The Leadership Tuberculosis Control Award from the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.
  • The Child Protection Warrior through Tobacco Control Award from the National Commission of Child Protection.
  • Honorary appointment as a member of the Public Health Scholars Association (IAKMI).
Indonesia’s Deputy Minister for Health Ali Gufron presented the awards to the Pastika, saying: “The Bali governor has shown a determined commitment to implement this crucial bylaw, including by taking stern measures against those who smoke in hospitals or health institutions."

In accepting the awards Pastika pledged to work harder to make Bali into a smoking-free zone. Adding: “I think there has been enough socialization. Now, the most important thing is law enforcement because in the bylaw the sanctions are very clear.”

Laws introduced by the Governor ban smoking in hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, places of worship, healthcare facilities, schools, playgrounds, traditional and modern markets, transportation terminals, airports, government offices and public transportation.

Advertising of tobacco products is now limited in Bali and those caught smoking in prohibited areas can be fined Rp. 50,0000 (US$4.40).

Pastika was also praised for the courageous stance he took in forcing the Inter-Tabac Conference to cancel their planned convention in Bali February 27-28, 2014 because it violated rules on smoking in public places and the promotion of tobacco products in Bali.

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The Sky has Fallen
Sky Aviation Air Routes Up on Grabs to Other Airlines

Bisnis.com reports that no less than 18 air routes once flown by Sky Aviation are now being offered to other Indonesian domestic carrier due to the failure of Sky Aviation to operate schedules it abandoned in March of 2014.

Among the 18 routes now up from grabs are: Denpasar-Labuan Bajo, Denpasar-Maumere, Kupang-Maumere, Alor-Kupang, Ende-Kupang, Batam-Pangkal Pinang, Batam-Tanjung Karang, Batam-Pontianak, Batam-Natuna, Batam-Matak, Pangkal Pinang-Tanjung Pandan, Palembang-Tanjung Pandan, Dumai-Pekanbaru, Pekan Baru-Tanjung Pinang, Natuna-Pontianak, Matak-Tanjung Pinang, Surabaya-Tanjung Pinang and Yogyakarta-Tanjung Pinang.

18 routes and 95 flight frequencies belonging to Sky Aviation have been without the airline’s services since March.

Aviation sources report that Sky Aviation has twice asked for extensions from the government to be allowed to develop a strategy to resume flight operations. The last deadline, however, expired on May 31, 2014.


Five Years in the Brig?
Prosecutors Seek 5 Years in Prison for Bali Dive Boat Captain

The trial continues of Agustinus Brata Kusuma, the Captain of the MV Ocean Express, charged with negligent homicide in the death of two female Japanese divers who went missing while on a diving excursion at Nusa Penida continues in Denpasar.

On Tuesday, June 3, 2014 State Prosecutors asked for five years in prison the Captain who is without legal representation due to his lack of funds.

Furukawa Saori, the Japanese dive master leading a group of seven divers, told the Court that she could not see the boat when her group resurfaced after their dive.

The divers were left floating in the ocean for more than 24 hours. 2 of the group drowned while five eventually made it back to shore. One woman’s body was found near Sanur Beach while the other were discovered weeks later floating off the shore of East Java.

The Captain has told the court that he did not abandon the divers, but did leave them briefly to purchase fuel. When he returned to the dive location he was unable to relocate the dive group.

Captain Kusuma’s trial continues in Denpasar

Desertion at Sea


Making Education Affordable in Bali
Bali Provincial Government Allocates US$11.48 Million for Scholarships to Islandís Economically Deprived Students

In order to address the problem of school drop out, the provincial government of Bali has prepared a scholarship allocation of Rp. 132 billion (US$11.48 million) in the Island’s 2014 budget.

The head of the Education, Youth Affairs and Sport Service for the Province, Tia Kusuma Wardhani, told Beritabali.com that the funds allocated for scholarships for the poor have increased Rp. 4 billion when compared to last year's budget in order that children will not drop out of school due to financial need.

The Rp. 132 billion will provide scholarships for 106,067 students.

Tia Kusuma explained that in 2014 scholarship support would be given to 56,245 grade school students in the amount of Rp. 620,000 per student per year.

20,857 junior high students in Bali will receive Rp. 890,000 per student per year.

Meanwhile, 11.085 high school students will each receive Rp. 2 million per student.

A total 17,880 student attending technical high school will also receive Rp. 2 million this year.

The money is disbursed to the heads of the schools providing educations to impoverished students who must, in turn, account for the use of the funds.

The funds provided by the province can be used by school principals to pay tuition, practicums, clothing, books or transportation.


Baliís Presidential Palace
A Brief History of Baliís Presidential Palace at Tampaksiring

The Tampaksiring Palace located in the regency of Gianyar, on one of the roads leading to Kintamani, is one of Bali’s most picturesque and historical locales, but remains hidden to most island visitors.

Click Image to Enlarge
One of six presidential palaces maintained by the national government, Tampaksiring was built on the initiative of Indonesia’s first president Sukarno – who traced his family roots to Bali and sought on the Island a cool hillside retreat for his family and visiting heads of state.

Phased construction began in 1957 according to plans drawn up by architect R.M. Soedarsono. The Tampaksiring Palace is comprised of four buildings: the Wisma Merdeka (1,200 square meters), Wisma Yudhistira (2,000 square meters), Wisma Negara and a multi-purpose structure.

Final construction was completed in 1963.

According to Beritabali.com, the name “Tampaksiring” derives from two Balinese words: “tampak” and “siring," respectively meaning “footprint” and “slanted.”

Local legends recorded on ancient lontar leave writings tell of the footprints of King Mayadenawa – a powerful and brilliant ruler who was also said to be highly egotistical. The ruler is said to have also considered himself to be a deity and ordered his subjects to adore him.

Mayadenawa’s behavior so angered one of the Gods – Batara Indra that he sent an army to met out a proper punishment. Terrified, Mayadenawa fled into the jungles of Bali where he sought to evade being tracked by walking on the sides of his feet.

Despite these efforts, Mayadenawa was eventually captured by the soldiers of Batara Indra. Shortly before capture, the King used his remaining powers to create a water source that was poisoned in an effort to kill his pursuers. In response, Batara Indra created another water source of sweet, clean water called “Tirta Empul” (“sacred water”).

To this day the Tampaksiring Presidential Palace sits high on the banks of the Pakerisan River, overlooking the sacred bathing pools of Tirtal Empul.


Mechanized Culture?
Surabaya University Student Create Robots that Perform Balinese Dance

Three students from the University of Surabaya in East Java might be suspected of having ambitions to putting hundreds of traditional dancers in Bali out of work.

The three young men, all students in the electrical technical faculty, have designed small robots able to be programmed to perform traditional Balinese dances.

The State News Agency Antara reports that the dancing robots have already mastered the Anoman and Legong Keraton dance.

One of the students, Okky Andriansyah, said: “The two dancing robots have been given the name of ‘Niniteus’ - inspired by ‘nini’ a word used to summon an adult female in Bali; ‘teus’ from the ‘Teknik Electro’ faculty at the University of Surabaya." 

Together with fellow designers, Hamdi Fawazal and Bagus Olifianto, Okky claims Niniteus can be programmed to do any dance.

After programming the robots to do the Anoman and Legong Keraton dances, the student outfitted their inventions in traditional Balinese costumes and implanted voice activation that reacts to the accompanying music.

Niniteus can perform a number of movements. It can look to the right or left; move forward or in reverse; and crouch down – all done in response to specific sounds.

The robots perform a maximum dance routine of four minutes before pausing for a battery recharge.

The dancing Niniteus robots recently won honors at a national robotics contest.


Rabies Bites
36 Rabies Cases Identified in First Four Months of 2014

The Bali provincial Livestock and Animal Health Service have recorded 36 confirmed cases of rabies among dogs in Bali

Quoted by the State News Agency Antara, Dr. Nata Kesumadrh Nata Kesuma said on Tuesday, June 3, 2014, “The data on dogs testing positive for rabies between January – May 2014 is 36 animals.”

The 36 infected animals can be broken down further as to geographic location: Buleleng (11), Jembrana (10), Gianyar 5, Klungkung (4), Tabanan (3), Karangasem (2) and Bangli (1).

There were no confirmed cases of rabies during the same period recorded for Denpasar and Badung in the south of the Island where most tourist resorts are located.

The greatest number of cases were reported in April with 14 cases. The month of May saw 6 new cases of rabies reported to provincial animal health authorities.

Kesuma said the symptoms to look for in dogs suspected of suffering from rabies are hyper-salvation or drooling. Community members were also warned to watch for quiet dogs that suddenly become aggressive, or frightened of water or light.

Bali recorded its firs case of rabies in November 2008 in the village of Pecatu, Badung, South Bali.


Superfragilistically
Australian Stage and Recording Star ďGyanĒ Ė One Night Only in Ubud, Bali on Friday, June 13, 2014

“Gyan” – the stage name for talented and charismatic performer Gyan Evans - is coming to Bali for a single night performance on Friday, June 13, 2014 at the Betelnut Restaurant on Jalan Raya Ubud.

The Australian singer-songwriter will be performing in Bali with her partner and producer Simon Greaves.

Winning a local talent search contest in the mid-1980s, Gyan signed with Warner Records where she debuted her self-titled album in 1989 that made it to the top 30 on the ARIA Albums Chart and contained the single “Wait” – a song that climbed to the top 20 on the ARIA Singles Chart. In 1990, Gyan won the “Best New Talent Category” at the ARIA annual music awards.

Gyan music style is highly individualistic with hints of Appalachian folk, cabaret bravado and occasional musical forays into symphonic sketches. She is unsatisfactorily compared to Joni Mitchell and Sufjan Stevens. Her music is acoustic and minimalistic, a superb voice lovingly shadowed by pianos, guitars and strings.

After a worldwide musical sojourn that included the U.S.A. – including singing with Ricky Martin – Gyan is back home in Australia and a most active recording and performance schedule.

A musician who is in constant metamorphose, arguably Gyan’s most notable album to date is Superfragilistically …a collection of beautiful neo-gothic tales and off beat chamber folk magicallly conjured with her husband Simon Greaves.

Admission tickets to Betelnut  for the concert is only Rp. 100,000 (US$8.70) with the doors opening at 7:00 pm and music commencing at 8:00 pm.

Advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended and those who arrive early are destined to get the best seats.

Partial proceeds from the performance will go to Rotary Club Bali Ubud Sunset to assist Bali Peduli’s HIV/AIDS Testing and Treatment Center in Sayan, Ubud.

For more information [Email] or text to ++62-(0)82146521859.


An Underground Movement
Badung Regency Plans to Build Pedestrian Underpass Near Entrance to Baliís Airport

DenPost reports that the Badung regency plans to soon construct a pedestrian underpass connecting two public garden areas near Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport.

The underpass will connect the popular chariot garden near the Tuban Mosque and the garden at the Ngurah Rai Statue roundabout at the entrance to the Mandara toll road.

The estimated open garden areas of 1.2 hectares surround both monuments currently remains inaccessible to many pedestrians who find it too dangerous to navigate the multiple lanes of traffic separating the public from their parks.

According to the Regent of Badung, Anak Agung Gde Agung, the underpass will be equipped with an historical diorama depicting Ngurah Rai’s role in the Indonesian struggle for independence.

The cost of the underpass is still under study as detailed engineering plans for the project are still being prepared.

The regency hopes to include the project in the revised regional budget for 2014. 


In the Navy
Indonesian Navy Tall Ship KRI Dewa Ruci Pays Four Day Visit to Bali

The Indonesian Navy’s tall ship KRI Dewa Ruci paid an official visit to Bali, berthed at Benoa harbor from June 2-6, 2014.

Click Image to Enlarge
The public was invited to view the historic three-masted ship that carries a total of 16 separate sails and has made two circumnavigations of the planet.

During its stay in Bali the ship was open daily from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm in order to allow the public to view the ship.

Click Image to Enlarge
/> Built in Hamburg, Germany in 1952, the Naval training ship was returning to its home base of Surabaya after visiting China, South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, North Sulawesi and Makassar when it called on Bali.

Click Image to Enlarge
Click Image to Enlarge
The ship sails with a complement of 70 cadets, including its own marching band that performed to the delight of crowds during its Bali stop.

Click Image to Enlarge
Click Image to Enlarge


Cheaper by the Dozen
Indonesian Women Sentenced to 12 Years Prison for Trying to Smuggle Drugs into Bali

Radar Bali reports that an Indonesian female expatriate worker, Ihah Solihah Uju (39), has been sentenced to 12 year in prison for attempting to smuggle 3.2 kilograms of methamphetamines through Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport on December 8, 2013.

The sentence, less than the 17 years sought by state prosecutors, was accepted without further appeal by the woman.

In addition to 12 years imprisonment, Ihah Solihah Uju must pay a fine of Rp. 1.3 billion (US$114,000) or spend another 2 months in prison.

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October 9, 2006

Bali Update #525
October 2, 2006

Bali Update #524
September 04, 2006

Bali Update #523
September 04, 2006

Bali Update #522
September 04, 2006

Bali Update #521
September 04, 2006

Bali Update #520
August 28, 2006

Bali Update #519
August 21, 2006

Bali Update #518
August 14, 2006

Bali Update #517
August 07, 2006

Bali Update #516
July 31, 2006

Bali Update #515
July 24, 2006

Bali Update #514
July 17, 2006

Bali Update #513
July 10, 2006

Bali Update #512
July 03, 2006

Bali Update #511
June 26, 2006

Bali Update #510
June 19, 2006

Bali Update #509
June 12, 2006

Bali Update #508
June 05, 2006

Bali Update #507
May 29, 2006

Bali Update #506
May 22, 2006

Bali Update #505
May 15, 2006

Bali Update #504
May 08, 2006

Bali Update #503
May 01, 2006

Bali Update #502
April 24, 2006

Bali Update #501
April 17, 2006
 

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