Thursday, March 31, 2011

Airports in Bali

by Barrie | March 18th, 2011  

There is only one airport in Bali; Ngurah Rai International. The airport is also known as Denpasar International Airport, is located in southern Bali, 13 km south of Denpasar and a 10 minute drive from the Kuta area. It is Indonesia’s third-busiest international airport. There are suggestions another airport be built in northern Bali to increase the tourism. As yet, these pans have not materialised.

Ngurah Rai International Airport is Indonesia’s second-biggest airport and provides an essential gateway for holidaymakers and services millions of tourists per year. The Domestic Terminal is located in the old building, while the International Terminal is located in an L shaped terminal. The airport is extensive and has 17 gates. The Domestic Terminal has 35 check in counters, and 2 baggage carousels.

Public buses run to the bus station in Denpasar, or alternatively there are taxis, commercial shuttles, courtesy shuttles and luxury limousine services to take you to your destination quickly and comfortably. A good selection of car rental companies are also on hand and include some internationally recognised names.

Visa on Arrival (VOA)

All tourists staying 30 days or less must pay USD$25 for an entry visa into Bali. Once you disembark from the plane and walk the short distance to the immigration hall you will see several counters where you pay for your visa and it is stamped in your passport. You then proceed to the baggage hall to collect your luggage and then to the Customs counter.

Transportation

Taxis: It is advisable to use the pre-paid Airport Taxi Service, which is located to the right of the international terminal exit, as you come out. Prices for this service are fixed and depend on location (passengers can buy a ticket at the desk 10 meters to the right of the International Arrivals exit), whereas other taxi drivers tend to haggle; passengers should insist that a meter is used. Prices for the airport taxis are displayed outside the terminal buildings and give passengers a rough indication of how much to expect to pay for a taxi hailed on the street.

Bus: Buses run frequently between Tegal bus station in Denpasar and the airport (journey time: 50 minutes). Passengers can also travel by bemo (a chartered vehicle with driver which can carry up to 10 people). Bemos have to pay a fee to enter the airport grounds, so it is often cheaper to walk outside the airport gates and wait, however, the taxi drivers there will haggle and try to get a high price. Sometimes its not worth the effort. This is the same with taxis. Bemos wait in an area located to the left of the airport gates. Bemos are the cheapest way to go.

Airport Facilities

Information and Help Desks: There are information desks located in both terminals (0361) 751 011, ext. 1313 and 1314. Tourist information and hotel reservation are available in International Arrivals.

Money and Communications: There are banks and moneychangers in both terminals.

Post Office: is located near the Domestic Departures area. Telephones are situated throughout the airport.

Eating and drinking: Restaurants and cafeterias are generally open 0600 to the last flight last flight in both International and Domestic Departure areas. There is a McDonalds at the International terminal. Probably the best food is the outside place at the International terminal selling Indonesian food, all the flight crews go there.

Shopping: The airport has a variety of shops, including duty-free in the Plaza Bali outlet in International Departures. There is also a book shop, which is very handy if you are looking for a gift. There are many small drink stands, selling Bintang, Coke and other soft drinks.

Luggage: There is a left-luggage counter next to the International Departures Terminal entrance.

Car Hire: Car hire companies at the airport are Koperasi Taxi, Hertz, Toyota Rent a Car and Thrifty. You can find car rental counters in both terminals. Vehicles can be hired on a daily basis. Blue Bird Taxi company offers luxury chauffeur-driven cars.

Selected Information Source: http://www.baliairport.com/

Bali Hit By Japan Troubles

DENPASAR

Bali counted 1,298 lost room nights from cancellations by Japanese tourists the day after the earthquake and tsunami struck the country on March 11, with 38 hotels in Kuta, Nusa Dua, Tuban and Jimbaran reporting lost bookings.

Worst-hit was Kuta, where 1,151 room nights were lost from Japanese travellers cancelling holiday plans. Tuban hotels reported 114 room nights lost from cancelled bookings, Nusa Dua hotels 31 and Jimbaran two.

Figures from Ngurah Rai International Airport show that on March 11 a total of 1,183 Japanese visitors arrived, but by March 13 this had dropped to 588 and on March 15 totalled only 497.

There was no mass exodus of Japanese tourists already here as industry observers had feared, but the sharp fall in arrivals may only be the tip of the iceberg.

The crisis at Japanese nuclear power plants caused by the earthquake and tsunami added to fears that Bali’s tourism sector could pay a high price.

Bali Tourism Board chairman Ngurah Wijaya said the Japanese crisis might have significant flow-on effects on tourism bringing further declines in numbers from what was last year Bali’s second largest source of foreign tourist visitors to Bali.

“There’s a big chance that the number of Japanese tourists will go down following the disaster,” he said.

He also said the widespread destruction in Japan and the massive rebuilding effort required could affect Japanese investment in the Asia-Pacific region.

Bali trade department head Gede Darmaja predicts that exports to Japan – primarily handicrafts and textiles – will decline over the next three months.

Japan is Bali’s second biggest trade partner after the United States.

Last year Bali’s total exports rose 19 percent to US$95.61 million.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Culture and Tourism says it won’t revise its target of 7.7 million international visitors to Indonesia this year, even though many observers fear Japanese arrivals could be depressed for at least six months.

Minister Jero Wacik said: “There is no revision because the tourists will come from other places and will continue to grow.”

But he made the comment only five days after the earthquake and tsunami and before the nuclear emergency erupted.

Wacik said 400,000 Japanese visit Indonesia each year and predicted the crisis would cut that number by only 10 percent.

But Japanese tourism to Bali is still in a long-term decline, falling by nearly 23 percent last year (to 246,465) and down 13.14 percent in January – the latest figures available – on a month-on-month basis.

Japan is still No 3 in Bali’s top 10 tourist markets, after Australia and China.

Filed under: Headlines

World Mask Festival to be Held in Bali

by Barrie | March 28th, 2011  

In Bahasa Indonesia they are known as topeng and indeed there are quite a variety and colour as well as expression to be found in Bali. Over the decades I have collected around sixty masks from across the archipelago and, if you are a collector of cultural items then there are many places to seek these out in Bali. In particular around the areas of Ubud.

Alternatively, you could attend the upcoming World Mask Festival which is to be held later on this year in the Buleleng region during November. The proposed dates are the 23rd-26th of that month. For those of you that have visited the Bali Arts Festival you will know of the cultural significance of topeng in dance drama.

Topeng is an Indonesian form of dance drama in which one or more dancers wear masks and perform ancient stories, often concerning ancient or mythical kings and heroes. It has its origins in the 17th century. Topeng dances are most prevalent in Bali and Java but are also found in other Indonesian islands such as Madura (off the coast of East Java). The dance is accompanied by gamelan music.

It is believed that the use of masks is related to the cult of the ancestors, which considered dancers the interpreters of the gods. Topeng performances open with a series of non-speaking, dancing masked characters that may not be related to the story that will be performed.

The (International Mask Culture and Arts Organization or IMACO regard masks as a cultural part of any culture and therefore support any mask festival occurring in the world.

‘Bomb Vehicle’ and Driver Caught After Police Chase

DENPASAR

Police have found a car suspected to be a bomb vehicle after an island-wide hunt. The vehicle, driven by a man named by police as Edy Yunianto of Kediri, East Java, was spotted in Renon at 8pm last Tuesday and stopped, following a chase, in Jl Diponegoro.

Yunianto and the vehicle, a silver Toyota Avanza, were said to have entered Bali covertly, possibly through a ferry landing in Buleleng. He was thought to be carting materials for bomb-making.

First reports of the suspect vehicle and driver emerged the weekend before last.

Last Tuesday bomb squad police with sniffer dogs searched the vehicle, which had different number plates at the front and back, after it was stopped and the area cordoned off.

They found cardboard material and electrical equipment. Police also found a suspicious cardboard carton outside a house in Jl Tukad Aya Yeh, Panjer, and evacuated that area as well.

Mobile Brigade police were called in to assist with the security operation.

The cordoned-off areas were isolated for two and a half hours.

According to police their suspicions about the car on Tuesday began when he fled a traffic police check for car registration and driver licences. The car had driven away at speed and police went in pursuit.

Bali Police said Yunianto had told them he had lived in Bali for three months and this month joined with three friends he named as Deni, Dadang and Yongki. Police have been unable to find the men.

Yunianto said he and his friends first lived at three hotels and then at a boarding house in Jl Tukad Batanghari in Denpasar.

Bali Police spokesman Gede Sugianyar said Yunianto’s vehicle was carrying wires, a number of electronic tools and carpentry.

Buleleng Police set up tougher security and surveillance operations after the reported arrival there of the suspect car.

Earlier reports said Bali Police and the anti-terrorist unit Densus 88 were looking for a car suspected to contain explosives and believed to have entered Bali at Gilimanuk, the main Java ferry port.

Police were said to be believe the man was from Magelan in Central Java and to have links with a terrorist organisation.

A source who declined to be named said security had again been tightened at Gilimanuk and Padang Bai and bus terminals including Ubung in Denpasar, where buses from Java terminate, placed under increased surveillance.

Filed under: Headlines

Spotlight on World Culture

SANUR

Sanur will host the World Culture Forum 2011 in June, in a bid to explore the unequal distribution of cultural power and the increasing “clash of cultures” around the world.

The forum is being organised by the Bali government. It is seeking “new neutral instruments of intercultural collective bargaining” and a new perspective on cultural identity.

The programme is still being finalised but is expected to include speakers from Indonesia, South Africa, Thailand, India, Denmark, Australia and the US.

The forum will include art exhibitions, dance and music programmes, plus yoga and Balinese cultural presentations.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to open the forum.

Filed under: Headlines

Taxis in Bali

by Barrie | March 22nd, 2011  

Getting around the tourist areas in Bali, and into the country if you wish, is easy. Taxis in Bali abound and are as easy as obtaining simply by stepping into the street and raising your hand when you see one pass by. Since there are a plethora of taxi companies in Bali selecting the right one is, believe it or not, important to a certain degree.

The reason for this is that a lot of taxis will not use the meter and prefer to bargain the price before you get into the cab. Avoid these taxis like the plague! The majoiry of tourists in Bali use the most established company, Bluebird, based in Jakarta. Bluebird has light blue colored cars and a good reputation. It doesn’t mean that you avoid all other taxis. On the contrary, if you are happy with a fixed price then go for it.

Taxis in Bali will often allow more than 4 passengers to ride, one sitting on the other’s lap. This is helpful if you don’t want to get 2 taxis. All metered taxis in Bali charge the same rate. There is a fixed flagfall and amount per kilometre.There are a few things one should know about using taxis in Bali that might be helpful. The first of course is to have plenty of change on you. Some drivers often claim not to have change, hoping you will give them to keep the difference.

Importantly, ensure the taxi driver turns on the meter and make sure the driver understands where you want to go. Also, f you know a fast way of getting somewhere then tell the driver. Some drivers will start out with no idea where you intend to go.

Other things to remember are when you are aligning from a taxi be careful of your footing as often taxis will park too close to kerbs or over holes in the sidewalk. Always get out of the cab on the passengers side and not the drivers side – doors are easily ripped off!

A Few Taxi Companies in Bali:

Bluebird (Bali Praja Transportasi) (0361)701111
Geka PT
Gelora PT
Koperasi Taksi Kowinu Bali
Koperasi Taksi Ngurah Rai
Ngurah Rai Taxi
Pan Wirthi Taxi PT
Rajawali Taxi
Ramayana
Kompi Bandara International Ngurah Rai

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Balinese Names and the Confusion for First Time Travellers

by Barrie | March 30th, 2011  

When you first travel to Bali and meet the friendly Balinese people it can be very confusing in some respects and mainly concerning their names. It will seem that every second person has the same name! There are a tremendous amount of Wayans and Mades in Bali. Unlike in western countries where individual names are commonplace, the people of Bali stick to a protocol for naming their children.

Of course you will not find this protocol in the other islands of Indonesia except in the Hindu parts of Lombok. Actually it’s quite intriguing and a delightful way of naming your children but I couldn’t imagine the confusion if the family comprised of a baker’s dozen.

Basically the naming protocol is as follows:

Wayan, Putu, Gede for 1st born male child

Wayan, Putu, Iluh for 1st born female child

Made, Kadek for 2nd born male child

Made, Kadek, Nengah for 2nd born female child.

Nyoman, Komang for 3rd born male and female children

Ketut for 4th born male or female children.

The 5th born reverts back to the list for 1st born children. Last names are also given names.

Seems quite simple. I guess this makes me a Made or Kadek!

Stand By for More Big Blackouts, Says PLN

DENPASAR

Bali’s monopoly state power provider PLN says it cannot provide sufficient electricity to Bali and has asked people to turn off their lights to conserve usage.

Bali PLN chief Dadan Koerniadipoera said Bali’s many hotels should operate on their own generators at peak times and private homes should turn off as many lights as possible between 6pm and 9pm to relieve peak pressure on the power grid.

The announcement comes as many parts of Bali were plunged into darkness last week in a widespread outage still unexplained by PLN.

PLN, which is heavily in debt and has a questionable maintenance record, promised last year that after months of rolling load-shedding blackouts Bali would experience only a maximum of nine power cuts this year.

Last week’s huge blackout, on March 14, which left most of Denpasar, Badung, Gianyar, Klungkung and Karangasem without power for more than three hours, remains a mystery to PLN.

It said eight of its 11 substations in Bali suddenly lost power but why they did so was unknown.

Dadan said the blackout affected sub-stations throughout the 40-kilometre distance between Padang Sambian and the main generating plant at Pesanggaran near Sanur.

“This event was outside human control. There was a disruption in the 150kVA transmission network,” he said.

He added: “About three years ago in Banyuwangi, East Java, a kite caused an blackout that reached as far as Bali.”

The lengthy series of load-shedding blackouts PLN imposed on Bali in 2009 caused a mass public outcry and led to Governor I Made Mangku Pastika’s “wires in the sky” proposal for a cross-strait, pylon-mounted high-voltage line from Java to Bali and then down a controversial high-voltage line to Denpasar.

Nothing has been heard of that proposal for some time.

A new thermal generator at Celuk in Buleleng that the governor said late last year would soon be on stream was revealed this month to be still at the planning stage.

And the provincial government has consistently ruled out sourcing power from natural geothermal sources near Bedugul because the area’s geology is sacred.

The 2009 blackouts extended into 2010 despite repeated promises by PLN that they would end prior to Christmas that year.

Filed under: Headlines

Jembrana Village in Land-Fee Extortion Probe

NEGARA

New allegations of extortion by village administrations over land certificates have emerged at Pengambengan, Jembrana, but have been denied by village secretary H. Asmuni Truyadi who claimed the Rp600,000 (US$68) charge was to cover administration and contribute funds to village projects.

Asmuni said a small village committee had been formed and had proposed the Rp600,000 charge, which the village in general then agreed to.

Land certificates are supposed to be validated free of charge to certificate holders under a government scheme that pays village administrations Rp300,000 ($34) per certificate. The scheme is designed to provide people with secure land title.

Allegedly unauthorised extra village charges for the service are being widely investigated in Bali and in other provinces.

Asmuni said this week: “We can explain to the government.”

He said some people had not paid the agreed village fee and the village was now owed about Rp60 million ($6,800).

Filed under: Headlines

Highly Radioactive Water Spreads at Japan Plant

The water, found in an underground tunnel linked to the number two reactor at the Fukushima plant, showed a radiation reading of more than 1,000 millisieverts per hour, a Tokyo Electric Power official told reporters.

There is estimated to be several thousand cubic metres of water inside the tunnel.

“We need to check if the water could flow directly into the sea,” he said.

Each reactor turbine building is connected to a maintenance tunnel large enough for workers to walk through.

In the case of the reactor two tunnel, the water has risen to within one metre of the top of a 15.9-metre access shaft which is located 55 metres from the sea, raising concerns it could overflow.

Levels of radioactive iodine some 1,850 times the legal limit were reported on Sunday several hundred metres offshore, but officials ruled out an immediate threat to marine life and seafood safety.

Radiation of more than 1,000 millisieverts per hour was earlier found in water in the turbine building of the number two reactor, delaying urgent work to restore the cooling systems and bring the facility back under control.

The exposure limit set by the government for workers at the tsunami-stricken plant is 250 millisieverts per year. A single dose of 1,000 millisieverts can cause temporary radiation sickness, including nausea and vomiting.

Workers are trying to pinpoint the exact source of the radioactive water leak, but there are concerns that fuel rod vessels or their valves and pipes are damaged.

A March 11 magnitude 9.0 earthquake and towering tsunami knocked out cooling systems for the six reactors at the Fukushima plant, leading to suspected partial meltdowns in three of them.

Huge amounts of seawater has been hosed onto the plant in a bid to keep the fuel rods from being exposed to the air, and prevent a full meltdown.

The tunnels for reactors one and three are also close to overflowing, but so far workers have not detected such high radiation levels in the water in those, the official said.

Nuclear safety agency spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama said the operator would focus on trying to pump water out of the turbine buildings, which it hopes will ease the problem with the water in the tunnels.

Balinese Food: Babi Guling

by Barrie | March 23rd, 2011  

Any traveller or tourist visiting Bali should endeavour to try a local delicacy called Babi Guling or roasted suckling pig. It is one of the most famous dishes on the island and is a mouth-watering feast not to be missed. A young suckling pig is used because of its tenderness and spit-roasted to perfection.

There are a few warungs and restaurants in the tourist areas that advertise on their menu this delicious food fare. Considering it takes a while to prepare it is not really a dish most foreigners will ask for. However, head up country away from the tourist areas to places like Mengwi and Ubud and you will soon notice in the larger villages babi guling stands virtually everywhere.

A babi guling stand will have the whole pig in the front window and a lady busily cutting bits into chunks. When you ask for a plate of babi guling you get a couple of slices of meat, some fat, skin, intestines, virtually everything that can be eaten. You’ll get a small portion of rice to accompany your pork, which is not especially spicy.

According to an article I was reading in the Bali Discovery, the production of babi guling is on the increase and prices are reasonable considering the delicacy you will be eating: The least expensive and smaller babi guling can sell for as little as Rp. 300,000 (US$34) with most people purchasing a roasted pig selling for Rp. 400,000 (US$44) to Rp. 500,000 (US$55). Meanwhile, a large suckling pig sold during peak periods can go for Rp. 900,000 (US$100) to Rp. 1.2 million (US$133).

The best babi guling I have ever tasted was at Ibu Oka’s in Ubud. If you head up to Ubud then don’t miss out on the opportunity to stop in there for lunch, in fact, anytime.

If you are interested in trying your hand at cooking babi guling then here is an excellent recipe complete with ingredients:

Ingredients:
1 suckling pig, weighing about 6-8 kg (13-17 lb)
1 1/2 tablespoon salt
10 shallots, peeled and sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
5 cm (2 in) ginger, peeled and chopped
15 candlenuts, chopped
10 cm (4 in) fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons coriander seeds, crushed
5 cm (2 in) laosfinely chopped
25-30 bird’s-eye chillies
10 stalks lemon grass, sliced
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, crushed
1 teaspoon dried shrimp paste, roasted
5 fragrant lime leaves, finely shredded
2 salamleaves
2 1/2 tablespoons oil
4 tablespoons turmeric water

Instructions:

Ensure the inside of the suckling pig is completely cleaned out. Season inside and outside with salt. Combine all other ingredients, except turmeric water, and mix thoroughly. Fill the inside of the suckling pig with this mixture, close the belly with string or thin satay skewers. Rub the outside of the pig with turmeric water until the skin is shiny yellow.

Bake on a spit over a charcoal fire or in a moderately hot oven for 2.1/2 hours. Test if the meat is done by inserting a skewer into the thickest part. If the liquid runs clear the piglet is cooked. Baste with oil during cooking. Serve slices of pork with white rice and a hot tomato and chili sambal.

If preparing a larger pig, increase the amounts of ingredients accordingly and allow extra cooking time. Alternatively place the suckling pig on a roasting rack and roast in hot oven (220°C/425°F) for approximately one hour. Rest for 10 minutes in warm place before serving.
Serving babi guling:

When serving, first remove the crisp skin with a strong carving knife, then loosen meat from the bones and cut into even dice or slices. Place a heaped tablespoon of stuffing on each serving plate, then top with meat and skin. Traditionally this dish is eaten with Jukut Nangka Mekuah and steamed rice.

Photo Courtesy: travel.webshots.com

Off-Island Vehicles Face Police Clamp

DENPASAR

Bali’s provincial government is clamping down on vehicles registered in other provinces in a bid to increase income from annual renewals, according to revenue chief Ketut Sudira.

He said: “We have held an internal meeting. One of the main items on the agenda was the plan of the Bali provincial government to bring into line vehicles operating in Bali with non-Bali police registration plates.”

Sudira said some vehicles operated in Bali for months, sometimes for years, without making any contribution to Bali’s road taxes.

But now police will target out-of-province vehicles that have been in Bali for more than three months and tell their owners they must get Bali registration plates.

The authorities are trying to work out how many “non-Bali” vehicles are permanently based here. They believe the new on-line vehicle registration system will help to identify cars, trucks and motorcycles that operate in Bali without paying local road taxes.

Under existing rules vehicles here for more than three months must be re-registered locally.

But Bali also bans new registration of vehicles that are more than 10 years old, even ones originally Bali-registered whose owners want to change back to Bali plates.

People trying to reregister vehicles in Jembrana say poor administration at the local SAMSAT office is causing them delays and extra expense.

The problem relates chiefly to the five-year registration plate renewal system, which has a two-month waiting list, but normal annual renewals are also being hampered by lack of sufficient forms.

Filed under: Headlines

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Candidasa Hotels Urge Development Halt

CANDIDASA

Following recent calls from Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika for a halt in hotel developments in the crowded south of the island, tourism leaders in the eastern resort of Candidasa have called for urgent restrictions to be placed on development there too, saying the supply of accommodation far outstrips demand.

Candidasa hotelier Komang Gunita said that without immediate action the existing local tourism industry would be adversely affected.

“Permits for hotels and restaurants need to be limited. If there’s already a surfeit of rooms, then it would be better just to stop development altogether,” he said, adding that further building projects in the area would cause environmental problems.

Gunita said that current building regulations, especially those relating to seafront development, were not effective in managing the environment of Candidasa. Government-funded efforts to reclaim Candidasa’s badly eroded beach had been marred by unsightly and unregulated hawker stands, and local dwellings he said.

Responding to Gunita’s complaints, Karangasem licensing chief Ketut Sedana Mertha agreed that the views of existing tourism practitioners in Candidasa needed to be taken into account, especially in regards of the recent increase of foreign investment for villa developments in the region.

Filed under: Headlines

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gianyar Regent’s Statuesque Plan Draws Fire

GIANYAR

A plan by Gianyar regent Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati to erect a Rp300 million (US$33,880) statue of a mythical giant baby at a road junction in the regency capital has run into controversy, with critics slamming the cost of the project and claiming that it will contravene Hindu customs.

The proposed statue of Kebo Iwa, a heroic giant changeling who according legend defended Bali against attacks from the Majapahit Empire in the 15th Century, will be 10 metres tall and will tower over a road junction on Jalan Dharmagiri in the Buruan area of Gianyar.

The cost of the project has been criticised by members of the Gianyar regional assembly.

“Building this statue is going to drain Rp300 million from the regency budget,” said Nyoman Nuadi, head of the Gianyar Public Works Department, adding that the total cost of the project would exceed this figure, but that additional funds were being provided from other as yet unidentified sources.

Elsewhere the project has been criticised by local artists and cultural leaders on the grounds that the statue is inappropriate for its proposed location on cultural grounds.

Sculptor Made Cangker from Medahan, Blahbatuh, said that the regent ought to be more aware of cultural precedents, pointing out that the location for the statue is a three-way junction, and that in Balinese Hinduism strict rules and taboos decide what kind of religious structures are built at such places. Cangker said that religious statues were often erected in public spaces without sufficient consultation of customary rules.

“As far as I’m concerned, that’s not a good policy,” Cangker said, adding that spending Rp300 million alone was not enough to ensure the spiritual validity of a project.

Speaking to the media last week, regent Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati said the planning process for the Kebo Iwa statue had been lengthy, adding that the statue – intended to be constructed as part of Gianyar’s city anniversary in April – was supposed to a symbol of various aspects of human philosophy. However, he stressed his desire to avoid controversy and offence.

“If the plan to build a statue of Kebo Iwa is causing controversy, then we will look into the matter in more detail,” he said.

Filed under: Headlines

‘Immoral’ Cafés Under Official Spotlight

KLUNGKUNG

Klungkung lawmakers are attempting to tackle the recent proliferation of cafés serving alcohol and featuring loud music and scantily clad waitresses.

They say they are responsible for various social ills, including domestic violence, while in neighbouring Karangasem regency Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika has called on officials to take measures to reduce the number of cafés.

Klungkung regional assembly member Wayan Mastra called on all officials to think carefully before issuing new permits to would-be café owners. He said the promise of increased revenue was generally the only criteria assessed when processing permit applications, but stressed that social and cultural impacts needed to be considered too.

Mastra noted that cafés – popular with local men for late-night drinking and socialising – can now be found throughout Klungkung regency, including in rural areas and on remote Nusa Penida.

Mastra said that the problem was not the cafés themselves, but the behaviour of the clientele, pointing out that cafés were often the scene of violent incidents, and that they were frequently fronts for prostitution and drug dealing.

Most cafés employed at least six waitresses, who were often also prostitutes, Mastra said, adding that while in the past these women were usually economic migrants from other parts of Indonesia, they now included many local Balinese. “This is what’s called ‘cultural change,’” he said.

“All parties really need to think hard about how to counter the negative effects of these mushrooming cafés in Klungkung,” Mastra added.

Echoing Mastra’s concerns, village chief Ketut Rupia from Pakraman, Klungkung, said he had serious concerns about the social impact of the cafés.

“All I know is that cafés are popping up everywhere these days,” he said.

According to Rupia, married men who were regular visitors to cafés were often responsible for domestic violence when they came home late after drinking.

“If that kind of thing is allowed to go on it will be very bad indeed for the young generation,” he said, adding that the café owners themselves needed to take responsibility for the problems associated with their business.

Klungkung Police spokesman Komang Darma Suyasa said the authorities were aware of the issues associated with cafés serving alcohol, and added that officers regularly checked many of the businesses in their efforts to counter drug dealing, human trafficking and prostitution.

“We do routine checks and we admit there are still some cafés that aren’t licensed. At the moment we’re in the process of making a list of them,” he said.

Suyasa said that café clientele, while exclusively male, came from all sectors of society, and that café-goers included the unemployed, manual labourers and civil servants. Fights most commonly broke out over girls or due to drunkenness, he said.

Meanwhile, during a visit to Karangasem, governor Pastika called on local Regent Wayan Geredeg to take firm steps to curb the increasing number of cafés.

“I ask the Karangasem regent not to give any licenses to cafés, and if there are cafés in existence, he should take a firm hand and make sure that they don’t spread to rural areas,” Pastika said.

The governor said the proliferation of cafés in other areas of Bali had been associated with a rise in crime, prostitution, violence and drug-dealing.

Responding to the governor’s calls, Geredeg said he was unaware of any cafés in Karangasem, but said he was determined that no licenses would be issued should applications be made.

Filed under: Headlines

For Country Club Chrysalis, a Dazzling Metamorphosis

The ambitious property established by a Bali expatriate who was soon after claimed by brain cancer has overcome near bankruptcy to emerge as a solid business, as one of its directors tells The Bali Times

It is not yet five years old — still an infant in the world of long-established businesses — but two years ago it looked all-but certain that the fledgling private-members’ club would come crashing down upon its Grecian pillars.

Reported by The Bali Times in March 2009, the administration of the Canggu Club was in wild disarray: multiple managers had come and gone; members — not enough to sustain the expensive investment — were in revolt at bad service and atrocious food; and cash reserves were dwindling to an unsustainable level.

It had been the vision of Steve Kenny, a Briton living in Bali who had achieved some fortune in the furniture-export business. But if anything, setting up a sizeable country club in the untamed environs of the North Kuta rice-farming area proved an endless vexation, according to people who were involved in the initial process. Kenny died aged 45 in late 2008 in Singapore, where he had been receiving treatment for a brain tumour, causing immense grief to those running the club. Today its library is named for the establishment’s founder.

Months before Kenny’s untimely death, the club had been undergoing a dramatic revitalisation, with a new management company taking over in March 2008, Strategic Hospitality Oceania, known as Shogroup. Its president director, James Wynne, a 29-year-old from Sydney, recollects those early days: “For the first six months we were basically treading water. There were some things to clean up and a lot of back of house to organise.”

Wynne ordered his sales and marketing operations to target new areas of revenue growth – the burgeoning villa sector, for example, whose guests could enjoy the sport, fitness and leisure facilities at his club, and his plan started to take off. “We have a fantastic team and they demonstrate a level of commitment to the business that simply wasn’t there before. I have learned that this is incredibly important if you are to have a shot at turning anything around,” said Wynne, who had labelled the property a “distressed asset” and had been planning to do a masters in Britain before he plunged into the Bali rescue venture, said.

With early success now in the form of drastically increased memberships, Wynne is relishing his hard-won accomplishment. “Unlike other people who demonstrate a lot more humility, I’ve enjoyed saying ‘I told you so’ to one or two of them. My key guys have been with me for more than two years and we are proud of the club. Without them it would be a different story. Back then I thought that it would take six months to get it back in the black. It was longer. But there were a couple of people, one in particular who was actually one of the original investors, that just never seemed to doubt the new course   and believed in me. I will always be incredibly grateful for his unconditional support.”

Still, all has not gone according to the blueprint. A venture with the expat-owned Trattoria chain for an in-club pizzeria flopped, but it did attract new patrons and today, says Wynne, “with daily operations and events our kitchen and bars are humming and turnover has increased six-fold.”

The club shares its grounds in rapidly developing Canggu with the Canggu Community School, one of Bali’s biggest and fastest growing international schools whose students use its sporting facilities, providing revenue for the club that Wynne describes as “not significant.”

“We are two totally separate entities but what is not insignificant, however, is our working relationship. The club and the school have a fantastic relationship and many of the parents have joined the club. The notable contributions that the school have made are indirect ones. Having a school in the area has naturally impacted upon density in Canggu and encouraged residential development. It is only natural that to a certain extent we have fed off one another’s growth and success.”

The club — where membership costs US$1,500 with $65 in monthly dues (transferable and saleable for private members only) while daily and weekly runs to $50 and $250 — links some of its accomplishments to the local and national property sector. Wynne said that after his firm took over it was vital to recover the conviction of these big-spending realtors, who had turned their back on the club following the initial tumult.

“It was extremely difficult to regain the trust and support of the property industry in Bali after we took over. Many had been let down by the Canggu Club in the past and for some firms the club was somewhat of a dirty word. But Mal Ryan, our membership director, and I knew that without their initial support a successful turnaround, both in terms of perception and bottom-line, would be almost impossible. The club would be a very different place entirely if it were not for groups like Xclusive Property, Elite Havens and others. Their support facilitated that initial change in trend. They helped change perceptions, which in turn changed the reality, which lead to our success today.”

And as for all that development in Canggu, where ricefields are being sold off and carved up at a rapid clip, Wynne is exuberant.

“I am a businessman and I do believe that the club has contributed to positive growth in the area. From an economic standpoint it has obviously had a dramatic impact on land prices, as well as driven the growth of small business, in addition to residential development. Do I believe that the growth has been adequately planned for? Probably not. Would I like to see more regulation and control in regards to development? Absolutely.”

Filed under: LIFE

Danish Woman, French Man Held on Hashish Charges

DENPASAR

Police are holding a Danish woman, 37, identified only as TR and a French man, 38, identified as CL, following an airport car park arrest by drug squad police on March 3.

The woman, who had just arrived on an international flight but escaped detection, was ambushed in the car park by police at the airport who believed she was behaving strangely.

Police said a search found no drugs on her person or in her luggage but acting on suspicions she was taken to hospital where a scan revealed she had 23 capsules of hashish in her stomach.

The drugs were later retrieved and weighed 218 grams.

The woman allegedly led police to the French national, who had 2.01 grams of hashing on him.

The woman could face the death sentence under Indonesia’s tough anti-drug laws.

Filed under: News Alerts

Village Chief Probed Over Land Charges

SINGARAJA

A Buleleng village head who charged local residents Rp700,000 (US$79) for land certification supposed to be issued free has claimed that he did not understand the system, and that the charges were for administration costs.

Gede Rahayudi, head of Sudaji village in the Sawan district, is under investigation for corruption in the administration of the land certificates as part of government-funded programme to regularise land title in local communities. Under the programme organised by the National Land Agency (BPN), applicants are expected to pay only the cost of validation stamps for the certificates.

Speaking to reporters Rahayudi said that he – along with other members of the village administration — had levelled the charges on Sudaji residents with the mutual consent of the applicants, and that the money had been used to pay for duty stamps. A duty stamp costs Rp6,000.

“I personally was given Rp5 million from the takings but this wasn’t money that I actually asked for; it was given to me by the village council,” Rahayudi said, adding that other councillors had received between Rp1 million and Rp2 million each from the money collected by applicants, with receipts provided.

According to Rahayudi a total of around Rp40 million was collected in apparently illegal charges from villagers, and the money not divided amongst the councillors was used to fund a village competition.

“At the time the land registration was being done we were very focussed indeed on organising the village competition,” he said.

The Buleleng State Attorney is currently investigating Rahayudi under 1999 anti-corruption laws intended to protect citizens from extortion by local officials.

A similar case has come to light in Jembrana, where village officials in the Pendem area were found to have been charging between Rp600,000 and Rp900,000 for the supposedly free land title certificates.

Deputy chairman of the Pendem village council Nengah Catra claimed on Saturday that as in the Buleleng case the decision to charge for the certificates had been taken by the council, with the fee set according to the area of land to be registered. He claimed the money was to cover administration and the cost of the Rp6,000 duty stamp.

Local resident Wayan Malih said he had been charged Rp600,000 to obtain certification for a 2,750-square-metre plot, and a further Rp800,000 for a larger 5553-metre plot. The certificate was issued after payment to village treasurer Ni Wayan Purnami, he said.

Nengah Catra said there had been insufficient clarification from the central authorities over the charging policy for the land certificates.

Filed under: Headlines

Forecasts for week beginning March 6, 2011.

By Jonathan Cainer

The recent big changes in the greater Middle East have largely been triggered by an historic alignment of Uranus, Neptune and Jupiter. The same celestial forces, elsewhere in the world, have been responsible for a different mood of rebellion. People who have, for years or decades, been stoically accepting untenable situations have begun to turn around and say, “I have had enough of this and I don’t much care what I have to do to get it changed… I’m doing it.” As those three planets move apart now, that atmosphere may decrease!

PISCES (February 20 – March 20)
If you didn’t want what you want, you’d have far less of what you don’t want! Your aspiration is not your enemy but nor is it the easygoing friend you’d like it to be. You’re keen to pursue an ambition. Is it a want or a need? That’s a hard question, not least because you can see such a tempting chance to get something you have long hankered after. Maybe one day, you’ll look back and say, “That was just a passing fancy.” But right now it seems like an essential objective. To attain it, though, you must make a great effort and a great compromise too. Is it worth it? Yes.

ARIES (March 21 – April 20)
“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.” So sang Mary Poppins. It would be nice to think you had a guardian nanny hovering somewhere above your head. You may think this can’t be true or you would be getting to bed earlier and eating better. But maybe you would be sleeping even less and devouring a lot more junk were it not for the influence of your etheric nursemaid. The sky is sure she exists. Listen carefully this week and you will hear her saying, “Come along now, behave yourself!” as she steers you away from an unwise idea, towards a magical opportunity.

TAURUS (April 21 – May 21)
Your inner radar is working well. You may not have eyes in the back of your head but you certainly have omnidirectional ears. Use them this week to listen for hints and suggestions that may not be immediately obvious. Someone, somewhere, is whispering. This person is not necessarily trying to be secretive; it’s just that they don’t see much point in shouting. They figure that you will not listen, no matter what they do. Yet their comments are worth hearing. You hate it when your words of wisdom are brushed aside, so be sensitive now and you’ll learn something of enormous value.

GEMINI (May 22 – June 22)
If only there were just two sides to every story. There are so many different angles from which you can now consider a sensitive situation. Various people in your world have strong ideas and opinions. They disagree with each other but they would all like you to agree with their own particular point of view. Normally, you are quite clear about your own thoughts and feelings – but because of an emotional concern, you are finding it hard to think clearly now. Remember, it is better to remain in a state of honest, if difficult, doubt than to slip sleepily into a decision that you later regret.

CANCER (June 23 – July 23)
Breathe. In. Then out again. Very good. OK. Keep going. It doesn’t matter what else you do as long as you keep that up. A sense of priority is always a good thing to have. This week you need it, not because things are not going your way, but because they ARE. You are about to gain power in an area where, prior to now, you have felt powerless. It will feel strange. You may not be sure that you like it. You may even feel that you want to turn back the clock. There is something unnervingly unfamiliar about the success that you are now starting to attain. But you’ll get used to it.

LEO (July 24 – August 23)
Every time you ask a question, you get an unsatisfactory answer. It may not be an outright “no”; but nor is it an enthusiastic “yes.” You are being fobbed off with excuses and vague promises. This week, if you really want to, you can get a much better result. Begin by deciding that you are entitled to see progress. Then develop a new expectation. Act on the assumption that others will agree to your request. Don’t say, “Can we…?” Say, “We are going to, aren’t we?” Be pushy and persistent. You will still encounter obstacles but you will be surprised by how many melt away.

VIRGO (August 24 – September 23)
How long has it been since you were last touched by an angel? It would seem some deeply benevolent force is now watching over you. This week’s outlook suggests there’s kindness and compassion in the cosmic picture. Somehow, soon, you will be taken further away from a source of stress – and closer to a new reason to feel hopeful. You may be led in a number of ways from force of circumstance, to sudden coincidence to the direct intervention of a helpful, positive person who is clearly determined to ensure that you now finally leave a painful part of your past behind.

LIBRA (September 24 – October 23)
Some things just don’t work. Others work only if you know how to use them. It’s not always easy to tell which fall into which category. A process of trial and error, no matter how diligent, may fail if you don’t talk to someone who has been in a similar situation and ask them what’s appropriate. This week, you’re dealing with a situation that doesn’t seem to be producing a desirable result. It’s not broken. It’s not pointless. It just needs respect, patience and enough humility on your part to seek advice and assistance. Try it and your life will yet change forever, for the better.

SCORPIO (October 24 – November 22)
Stop. You can’t do this. You can’t do that, either. One path is barred. Another is blocked. Everywhere you turn, you seem to be up against a restriction or impediment of some kind. A physical difficulty or a psychological one. A legal restraint or a threat of emotional retribution. All this may be frustrating but something has to end so that something else can begin. Before you can conquer your demons, you must first face them. The process you are going through now may be intense but it is immensely positive. Try to see beyond the obvious and hold on to your deepest faith this week.

SAGITTARIUS (November 23 – December 21)
When people take a risk and then fail, we waste no time in criticising them. We rip them to shreds. The silly fools. Couldn’t they see the danger? When people take a risk and then succeed, we shower them with praise and adulation. How brave. How daring. How impressive! Did those “winners” take less of a risk than the “losers”? Probably not. Possibly, they were being even more cavalier. Our attitude to such matters entirely depends upon the way they turn out. Remember that this week please. There is a courageous step that you simply have to take – for better or worse. Be brave.

CAPRICORN (December 22 – January 20)
Familiarity does not always breed contempt. Sometimes, it creates a sense of comfort. That’s why, often, we prefer the devil we know to the one we don’t, even when the one that we don’t is merely a minor imp while the one we do is the head of Hades. Familiarity can, of course, breed content just as easily as contempt but what it always creates is a lack of objectivity. You can’t see past what you know too well – or are too close to. This week, absolutely all you need is a fresh perspective. Reconsider a situation you think you know inside out and you’ll make a wonderful discovery.

AQUARIUS (January 21 – February 19)
Did you put the stars in the sky? Do you keep the Earth spinning on its axis? Do you create the driving force that causes each plant to grow and each creature to breathe? Well then, what right do you have to dictate the progress of any event or situation? Now, hang on. Before we start getting too humble, we must remember that this is no more (or less) your world than it is anyone else’s. In which case, what gives a certain other person the right to call so many shots and assert so much apparent authority? You are as entitled as anyone else to your freedom and choice this week.

To purchase a full personal chart reading based on your exact date, place and time of birth – or to hear Jonathan’s weekly spoken forecast for your sign – visit www.cainer.com

Filed under: Week Ahead

Guns Seized in Nusa Penida Sting

NUSA PENIDA

Two Nusa Penida residents have been arrested for trying to sell illegal firearms in a police sting, raising concerns that the remote, underdeveloped island off Bali’s southeast coast could become a centre for criminal activities.

Officers from Nusa Penida Police received reports that a local man had returned to the island after a visit to Lampung in southern Sumatra, and was offering handguns for sale on the black market.

Posing as private security guards from one of the hotels on neighbouring Nusa Lembongan, a team of officers approached the man, who was working with another local resident, and offered to buy a gun for Rp20 million (US$2,259). The suspects were arrested when the transaction was under way.

The detainees — identified as Nyoman Kartawan, 40, and Nengah Sudarma, 30 — were transferred to the regency police headquarters in Klungkung on Saturday, according to Nusa Penida Police chief Made Sudartawan. The gun was sent to Klungkung for forensic testing.

“The initial data seems to show that the gun is of the Taurus model, and was made in Taiwan,” Sudartawan told reporters on Saturday, adding that ammunition was also seized during the sting.

Local reports suggest the suspects had sold at least one other gun before being arrested.

“We’re investigating whether there were any other guns sold in some other place, because according to local sources there was at least one other weapon sold somewhere on Nusa Penida for Rp15 million,” he said.

Sudartawan said that initial enquiries suggested that Kartawan had bought the weapons in Lampung before returning home earlier this year.

“If the suspects can be proved to have violated clauses 1 and 2 of Emergency Law No. 12 of 1951, they could end up in jail for 20 years,” Sudartawan said.

Filed under: Headlines

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Jane Russell, Legendary Hollywood Actress, Dies

Jane Russell, a stunning beauty whose eye-popping curves made her the screen siren of choice for a generation of American troops at war, died on Monday at the age of 89.

The Gentlemen Prefer Blondes star was discovered by chance when producer Howard Hughes spotted her working as a receptionist at his dentist’s office, just as he was seeking a heroine for his new film, The Outlaw.

The 1943 movie launched Russell’s career and her reputation as a sex symbol, as its sensuous poster depicted significantly more of her ample assets than was considered seemly at the time.

Her seemingly never-ending legs and large bosom dominated the screen, and propelled Russell into stardom with an aura of scandal.

Censors expressed concern about the cleavage on display in the movie, forcing Hughes to cut feet of film. The film didn’t get a full release until 1946, when it was a box office smash.

“There was absolutely nothing wrong with the picture,” Russell later told Christianity Today in an interview that emphasised her religious faith. “It was an amazing time. But all it was about was some cleavage!”

Russell soon became an iconic sex symbol for young American soldiers deployed abroad during World War II, who pinned up sultry pictures of the actress in their barracks.

Among the most famous was the near-scandalous poster for Outlaw, which featured Russell reclining on a haystack with her skirt hitched up near her hips, her shirt open past her breastbone and a revolver in her hand.

Cementing her Hollywood status was the 1953 hit Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, in which she shared the screen with Marilyn Monroe.

Russell played the idealistic but responsible brunette to Monroe’s flighty and naïve blonde, and the movie created a lasting friendship between the two actresses, even though Russell earned 10 times as much as Monroe.

After an impressive roster of movie appearances, including the 1955 sequel Gentlemen Marry Brunettes, Russell’s film career fizzled in the 1960s.

In the decade that followed, she abandoned the movies for the small screen, appearing in television commercials for bras and in music hall shows in Las Vegas and New York.

Film critic Leonard Maltin wrote on his website that Russell had tried hard to lose the sex-symbol image.

Russell “was much more interesting than she was ever allowed to be onscreen. She embraced religion years ago but never tried to force it on people she met… She was genial and good-humoured,” he wrote.

Kim Davis, the executive director of a California child advocacy group with which the star had been associated, said Russell had died “peacefully at home” in the presence of her children, according to her daughter-in-law.

Born Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell on June 21, 1921, in Minnesota, she was the eldest of her parents’ five children, and their only daughter.

The family later moved to Burbank, California, and her father, a former soldier, died at 46, before Russell’s career took off.

She was no stranger to acting when Hughes discovered her. Her mother belonged to a travelling actors’ troupe, and Russell studied piano and theatre, including with famous Russian actress Maria Ouspenskaia. She had also modelled.

Married three times, Russell went through one divorce and was widowed twice. In famously liberal Hollywood, and despite her sex symbol image, she was a rare defender of Christian and Republican values.

Russell described herself as vigorously pro-life, after having undergone a botched abortion at 18 that left her unable to have children. She and her first husband, American footballer Bob Waterfield, adopted three children.

In the 1950s, she founded the World Adoption International Fund to help match families with children at a time when adopting foreign children was uncommon in the United States.

“I was born to be married. A family life helps everything, and also my belief in Jesus,” she told Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper in a 2007 interview.

She jokingly told Christianity Today in 2009 that she could be described as “a mean-spirited right-wing conservative Christian bigot.”

“I’m not bigoted about race at all. I am bigoted about those idiots that are trying to take the Ten Commandments off the wall (in courtrooms), the Bible out of school and prayer even out of football games.”

Filed under: Arts & Entertainment

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ogoh-Ogoh Parades in Bali

by Barrie | February 22nd, 2011  

Nyepi will soon be upon us (5th March) and already you will notice, if you have been walking around the backstreets, the Balinese busy making their effigies for the parade. A lot of tourists plan their holiday so that they avoid the ‘day of silence’; Nyepi. It’s understandable because it is the day when they are not allowed out of their hotel or the place they are staying at and must avoid using rowdy noise or even lighting. So in effect, tourists see this a day out of their holidays.

However, the night before Nyepi (and the day after) are great times to be in Bali and especially tonight because it is a night of wild revelry on the streets of Kuta/Legian and in fact, all over Bali. Over the past month or so the Balinese from the local banjars have been constructing large ogoh-ogoh floats or huge Papier Mâchè effigies.

On the night before Nyepi these Ogoh Ogoh are proudly paraded through the streets and is quite a spectacle and one not to be missed. The ogoh ogoh’s are carried on bamboo platforms by young guys, who often are a little tipsy after drinking arak. At streetside a panel of banjar judges, give points to the best ogoh ogoh.

Seeing the Ogoh-Ogoh parades is quite a spectacle. At one time they used to parade down Jalan Legian in Kuta. Last year they decided against this and turned down Jalan Benesari. However, this year Jalan Uluwatu I in Jimbaran will be closed to all traffic on Friday, March 4, 2011, to allow a massive Ogoh Ogoh and baleganjur orchestra parade and competition on the day before the Bali-Hindu New Year celebration of Nyepi according to an article in the Bali Discovery.

So, if you are in Bali for Nyepi then treat this day as one of your lay-days when you chill-out and relax around the pool or have a few drinks with friends.

Robber Shot as Security Guard Thwarts Burglary

NEGARA

A carefully planned robbery attempt on a computer store in Negara in the early hours of February 11 was thwarted by a watchful security guard, with one of the three would-be robbers shot in the thigh by police during the subsequent pursuit.

Ketut Tulis, owner of the shop on Jl Danau Buyan, told reporters that he had first spotted a metallic blue Kijang car outside the store the previous day.

“One of the passengers came into the shop to ask if we could fix his laptop. I said we could, but because he hadn’t brought the laptop with him, I told him I would need to see it first to be sure. I was suspicious because of his behaviour,” Tulis said.

At 10.30pm that evening a security guard, Fatahila, spotted the same car parked outside the shop and noted its number plate. At around 3am Fatahila, who was inside his security post at the time, heard the car move close to the front of the computer store.
“I heard a sound like someone opening a gate, and when I peered out I saw that they’d got the gate open and had backed the car right up to the front of the shop,” Fatahila said, adding that there appeared to be three robbers.

“One of them had climbed up on top of the car to try and get into the shop, one of them was trying to force open the rolling door and the other was waiting inside the car,” he said.

Fatahila told reporters that he had been too scared to confront the men alone, but he was determined to raise the alarm.
“When they were off guard I came out and ran off screaming ‘thief, thief, thief!’” he said.

Fatahila’s cries roused owner Ketut Tulis, who lives above the shop.

“My wife was feeding our baby at the time, and I came straight downstairs while she called the police,” Tulis said.

Realising they had been spotted, the robbers fled the scene.

Police organised roadblocks around Negara. “I immediately asked all the ranks to look out for a Kijang with the number plate B875ZF and told them to close all the roads into and out of the city,” said Ketut Suparta of Jembrana Police, who received the initial report of the robbery attempt.

The three suspects attempted to flee towards the ferry port at Gilimanuk, but turned back towards Negara after running into a police checkpoint at Cekik. Their car was eventually stopped by officers on Jl Udayana. One of the suspects, 42-year-old Ngajono from Pati, Central Java, attempted to flee the scene on foot and was shot in the left thigh by police. The other two men, Asral, 46, and Suhadi, 37, did not resist arrest. All three were originally from towns on the north coast of Central Java, police said.

“At the time of the attempted action Asral was acting as the driver; it was Suhadi who had climbed up on top of the car, and Ngajono, was trying to prise open the rolling door,” said Ketut Suparta, adding that police had confiscated the car, several mobile phones and various tools from the men as evidence.

“We have a strong suspicion that they may also be car thieves,” he said. All three men face a possible seven years in jail under Articles 363 and 53 of the Criminal Code.

Elsewhere the same night, another group of thieves made a more successful attempt on another electronics store.

Staff of the shop in the busy Pasar Mumbul district of Singaraja arrived on Friday morning to find that the security doors had been forced open. A total of 25 laptop computers, eight BlackBerry phones and Rp20 million (US$2,240) in cash had been taken during the robbery.

Nyoman Sukasena of Buleleng Police said that the robbery had probably been carried out by more than one person, and that, as with the Negara incident, a car was probably used for the getaway. He appealed for witnesses from among local traders.

Filed under: Headlines

Mass Food Poisoning Sparks Panic at Camp

GIANYAR

A weekend scout camp in Gianyar descended into chaos as dozens of attending teenagers fell ill after eating packed rice meals.

The two-day gathering at Bukit Jati near Samplangan was attended by students from senior high schools and technical colleges across Gianyar regency.

Gianyar Regent Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati was due to open the event — which featured outdoor activities and teambuilding exercises — at midday on February 13, but panic broke out before he arrived at the camp as waiting scouts began to succumb to suspected food poisoning.

Most of the affected students were from SMKN 1 (State Technical College) in Tampaksiring. They reported nausea and dizziness shortly after eating the packed breakfast provided by their college.

“After eating it my body suddenly broke out in a sweat, and even worse, after I ate the second rice packet at lunchtime my head started spinning and I felt sick,” said I Made Palguna Wijaya, a student from the Tampaksiring college.

The first students fell ill at 9am and were taken by ambulance to Gianyar’s Sanjiwani Hospital. Others succumbed later in the day.  According to doctors at Sanjiwani a total of 30 students were hospitalised suffering from food poisoning. A further two students brought to the hospital are thought to have suffered panic attacks.

“Most of them were suffering from nausea and dizziness,” said Dr Nyoman Sudiadnyana from the Sanjiwani intensive care unit.

Speaking to the media, head of SMKN1 Tampaksiring said that 40 students from the college had attended the camp. He said that they had been provided with packed rice meals prepared at home by a member of the college staff.

Filed under: Headlines

Protection Only for Legal Workers, Says Jobs Boss

DENPASAR

The head of the Denpasar Manpower, Transmigration and Social Department has warned jobseekers in Bali that those employed by illegal and unregistered companies can receive no protection from the authorities.

Speaking to the media in the Bali capital, Made Erwin Suryadarma said that the government could only enforce employment regulations on properly licensed companies, and urged labourers and casual workers to take care when seeking employment.

“With illegal companies the status of the employees is not clear.  Before you submit a job application you should ask first at the Manpower Department about the status of the company involved,” Suryadarma said, adding that legally registered companies were obliged to meet obligations to their employees.

“Companies that follow the employment regulations have to comply with the local minimum wage regulations,” he said.

Suryadarma said that the Denpasar authorities were trying to assist jobseekers in the city in finding work.

“We’re setting up an SMS service that will allow jobseekers to access a database of vacancies by mobile phone,” he said. Suryadarma added that there were currently 5,354 people seeking work in Denpasar, but that many had no way of finding out what positions were available.

“Through the SMSes we send out, they’ll know what kind of jobs exist and which companies are seeking employees,” he said, adding that 437 companies had already registered vacancies with the authorities.

Filed under: Headlines

Suspected Service-Station Bandit Arrested

DENPASAR

Bali police working with their counterparts in neighbouring East Java province have arrested a man suspected of involvement in a recent spate of service-station robberies.

The man, identified by his initials, YS, was seized by a team of officers from Bali at his home in East Java. A police spokesman said that the suspect – who did not resist arrest – had been tracked down using information provided by East Java Police, but added that they were still hunting four other men.

“He was working with four friends,” the spokesman said.

The arrested man is believed to have taken part in three armed robberies at service stations in Bali in recent months. A gang of thieves struck stations in Ubud and on the Udayana University campus near Jimbaran in October, netting an estimated total of Rp178 million (US$19,933). A third robbery took place in Abiansemal on January 15, when the gang used a crowbar to remove a safe containing Rp34.8 million ($3,897).

A police spokesman told reporters that he believed the same gang was connected to a recent string of violent break-ins at villas and residential properties in southern Bali.

Filed under: Headlines

Police Nab Jewellery-Thieving Babysitter

DENPASAR

Denpasar Police have arrested a 32-year-old babysitter suspected of stealing jewellery to fund administrative costs for a failed attempt to seek work overseas.

Laili Apriliana, originally from Lombok, was detained following a complaint from Nyoman Master of Jl Gunung Andakasa, Denpasar. Master had employed Apriliana to look after her children on January26. Master later found that jewellery worth an estimated Rp20 million (US$2,240) was missing from the house.

“After receiving the report of the loss from the victim we immediately suspected Laili,” said Wayan Wesnawa of West Denpasar Police, adding that Apriliana, who has two sons, admitted the theft after her arrest.

“She had opened a drawer in the house looking for a nappy for the baby, and she saw a lot of jewellery inside,” Wesnawa said. Apriliana told police that she had sold the jewellery for Rp4.1 million in Jl Hasanudin in Denpasar.

The money had been used to pay off a Rp4-million ($448) loan Apriliana had taken out to pay an employment agency in an unsuccessful bid to find a job as a domestic worker in Brunei.

The money was not returned by the agency after the application failed, and Apriliana was unable to repay the debt.

During the arrest police also seized two gold rings, a silver coin and Rp950,000 in cash, Wesnawa said.

Filed under: Headlines

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Photo of the Day: Mountainous Bali

by Barrie | February 27th, 2011  

I have always been a great lover of the mountains wherever I have travelled in the world. Besides being great vantage points to view the surrounding areas, they also offer up some beautiful examples of flora and fauna. Bali as an island, albeit small in comparison with the rest of the islands in the archipelago, has some stunning mountainous areas.

Whether you are driving, cycling or just hiking in these areas it is always amazing what you come across. I would venture to say that the greatest attraction Bali has to offer is its environment. The incredible panoramas are amazing and breathtaking. But, it’s the things you come across on your travels in the mountains that I take so much delight in.

Lucky Escape in Bus Cliff-Hanger

SINGARAJA

A group of senior high school students from Singaraja had a lucky escape after a tire blow-out left their bus teetering on the brink of a deep ravine in Candikuning.

The bus was one of 12 carrying teenagers from Senior High School 1 in Singaraja back from an organised outing to Denpasar. The bus was about to cross a bridge at Bukit Catu in Candikuning when the left front tire burst, causing the vehicle to skew across the road, coming to a halt on the edge of a 40-metre-deep gorge.

Onlookers reported panic among the teenage passengers as they struggled to evacuate the bus. The incident caused lengthy traffic delays on the approach road to Singaraja, but no injuries were reported.

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2,000 Trucks Stuck in Java Traffic Jam

MERAK

Truck drivers stuck in a massive traffic jam for more than a week said on Tuesday they had been forced to sell their belongings such as mobile phones to buy food.

In a graphic example of infrastructure bottlenecks in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, the jam stretches for 11 kilometres and has ensnared some 2,000 lorries.

It has choked the flow of goods by road and ferry from Merak port in West Java to Bakauheni port in southeast Sumatra, a crossing that should take less than three hours but has stranded some drivers since February 21.

Hungry and tired drivers said they just wanted to go home and expressed fury at the government’s failure to ease traffic snarls that hamper trade and business across the sweeping archipelago, including the capital Jakarta.

“I’ve been stuck here for three days and I’m getting impatient. I’ve run out of money so I sold my mobile phone to buy food,” 35-year-old driver Surono said.

“This is the third time I’ve been stuck in a traffic jam here this month and I really don’t know what’s the cause.”

Another driver, 45-year-old Endin, said thieves had looted his vehicle while he was taking a nap.

“I was so tired of waiting I fell asleep. When I woke up, my wallet was gone. I’m hungry and tired. Please, I just want to go home,” he said.

Indonesia is a member of the Group of 20 rich and developing countries and has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with output expected to top six percent this year.

Yet it is befuddled by red tape, mired in corruption and its ports, roads and airports are hopelessly inadequate for the pace of growth it hopes to sustain in coming years, according to investors and analysts.

The government last year announced plans to spend US$140 billion on infrastructure until 2014, more than half of which would have to come from the private sector.

As for truck drivers at Merak, officials said three extra ferries had been dispatched to clear the jam.

“Four more are on their way. The jam is slowly starting to ease and we’re continuing to monitor the situation,” Transport Ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan said.

“It was something we didn’t expect. There was a 10- to 17-percent jump in the number of trucks in January and February compared to the same period in previous years, due to more construction projects in Sumatra,” he added.

Eight of 30 ferries plying the route were docked for repairs, the spokesman explained.

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Nyepi Brings Boom to Monster Makers

DENPASAR

With this year’s Nyepi celebrations still two weeks away professional ogoh-ogoh makers have been reporting a flood of orders for the demonic wood and papier-mâché statues traditionally paraded through the streets of Bali the night before the Hindu Day of Silence.

While some communities prepare their own ogoh-ogoh, many turn to professionals like Mangku Wayan Candra, who owns an ogoh-ogoh workshop on Jl Sesetan in Denpasar.

According to Candra — who employs several dozen craftsmen — he has received hundreds of orders from across Bali, and from Hindu communities further afield in Java.

A single order can take between one day and one week to complete, and costs between Rp500,000 (US$56) and Rp15 million (US$1,680) depending on the size, Candra said, adding that he had been forced to turn down many late orders this year.

“Most of them are made in a sinister form as a reflection of the negative aspects of humanity,” said Candra, adding that the purpose of the Nyepi celebrations was to cleanse the world of evil.

Nyepi will fall on 5 March this year, with all activities suspended for 24 hours and locals and visitors confined to their homes and accommodation.

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Blaze Razes Buleleng Villa

SINGARAJA

A fire in a villa belonging to a Dutch citizen in Ambengan in the Banjar district of Buleleng was probably caused by an electrical fault, according to officials.

The villa in the Villa Banjar Beach development — which was vacant at the time — went up in flames at around 8am on February 13. Witnesses reported that the fire started in the neighbouring guardhouse, but fanned by strong winds it soon spread to the thatched roof of the main building.

When fire-fighters arrived at the scene they found that the property was locked, and were unable to enter to tackle the blaze. The villa was destroyed in the fire, with a television, lawnmower, generator, two gas stoves and three air-conditioning units among the items reported ruined.

The cost of the damage was estimated at Rp1 billion (US$112,000).

Banjar Police spokesman Burhanudin said the fire was probably caused by an electrical fault in the guardhouse beside the villa.

“The fire seems to have started in the guard post, and then spread to the main building, which was about five metres to the north,” he said.

Burhanudin said police were awaiting a full forensic report on the blaze, but added that burned cables found in the guardhouse suggested an electrical fault.

“Regarding the cause, we can’t be certain yet, but it looks likely that it was caused by a short circuit,” he said.

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Jembrana Community Battered by Sand Theft

NEGARA

Illegal sand mining from a Jembrana beach is threatening to destroy a coastal road, and is causing tensions amongst local residents.

Villagers in Pasar Yehembang near Negara have complained to regency authorities that repeated gathering of sand from local beaches for use in construction work has caused increased erosion along the banks of the nearby Yehembang River.

A local villager who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity said that those responsible were also Yehembang residents.

He said that a group of around eight men regularly loaded the beach sand into sacks and delivered it to the nearby metalled road to be collected by trucks.

“They even do it in broad daylight, if they get an order [for sand]. It makes me wonder what the local security officers are actually doing,” he said, adding that village officials who had attempted to take a stand against the sand stealing had received threats from the culprits.

Responding to questions from reporters about efforts to stamp out sand theft, Jembrana Police spokesman I Ketut Wiratma said that a joint effort was needed.

“We can’t be there every day, and guarding beach sand is not the only thing we have to do,” he said, adding that local village authorities needed to play a greater part in protecting the environment.

“Villages also have to take a role in making people who currently enjoy taking sand from beaches aware and encouraging them to protect the environment,” he said.

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