Monday, March 16, 2009
BALI UPDATE #653 - 14 March 2009
Bali to Host Tropical Biology Conference
July Conference to Examine Bio-diversity and Climate Change.
Hundreds of leading tropical biologists will converge on Bali July 19-23, 2010, to attend the annual meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC).
Founded in 1963, the ATBC promotes and coordinates research and the transfer of knowledge among biologists.
300 to 400 top-notch scientists are expected in Bali for the July 2010 gathering where scientists consider will consider a number of topics under the declared theme of “Tropical Diversity: Facing the Food and Energy Crisis and Climate Change.” Slated to be discussed in Bali are biodiversity utilization, maritime resources, climate change, carbon-based forestry and Papuan ecosystem.
The Bali conference will be preceded by the annual meeting of the ATBC in German. The 2008 meeting of the group was held in Suriname.
Clearing the Air
Jakarta Globe Suggests Director General of Civil Aviation Given the Boot for Poor Managements and Verbal ‘Faux Pas.”
A recent article in the Jakarta Globe suggests that the sudden replacement of Budi Muliawan Suyitno as Indonesia’s Director General of Civil Aviation was done to appease visiting European Union safety auditors and help persuade the EU to lift its two-year blacklisting of European over-flights by Indonesian aircraft.
While the ministry of transportation is steadfast in insisting that Suyitno’s replacement was part of a normal job rotation schedule, recent imprudent public pronouncements by Suyitno ([See: Unfortunate Coincidence for Indonesian Aviation] have served to reinforce the view that the regulation and management of the nation’s air safety was beyond the ken of the man icharged with keeping Indonesian aviation safe..
While praising Indonesian airlines for the many improvements in air safety made over the past two years, the EU aviation auditors have continued their blacklisting against all Indonesian flights, repeatedly stating their reservations regarding the ability of civil aviation officials to safely secure and professional manage the nation’s airways.
Replacing Suyitno as Director General of Civil Aviation is Herry Bhakti Singawuda, last posted as Chief Administrator of the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta
Governor Inspects North Bali Airport Site
Governor Visits Buleleng Airport to See Why Expansion Plans are at an Impasse.
Governor Pastika is increasingly serious about establishing an airport in Bali’s northern regency of Buleleng. Radar Bali reports that On March 8, 2009, the Governor paid a visit to the Letkol Wisnu Airport in Buleleng.
While it is unclear if the regional landing strip will eventually be used for commercial aviation, the visit by governor Pastika and members of his senior staff has further fueled speculations that bigger plans are in store for the small strip now used only by private aviation and a recently established flight school.
The Governor’s spokesman, Putu Suardika, confirmed the visit to the airport by his boss who wanted to see first-hand conditions at the aerodrome and obtain an understanding of problems being encountered in obtaining adjoining parcels of land to permit expansion. Efforts to acquires surrounding parcels of land at the airport are at an impasse due to an inability to agree an acceptable price with the current landowners.
The regional government in Buleleng is also concerned that the operational costs of the Letkol Wisnu Airport will represent too great a burden for local government, prompting the Buleleng administration to seek financial support from the provincial government.
The Governor, who originally hails from the Buleleng region, also used his one-day tour of the area to visit the Agricultural Research Center (Balai Pengembangan Teknologi Pertanian) in Saggalangit, Buleleng. The governor was reportedly most impressed by the Center’s goat husbandry project deemed to be very appropriate to conditions in Bali. the Center has found economical applications for not only the goat meat, but also for the animals’ milk and biological waste.
Poor Development Brings Flooding to Jimbaran
Bali’s Main Artery to Nusa Dua Increasingly Disrupted by Flooding.
The roads in the areas surrounding the low-lying areas surrounding Jimbaran, south of Bali’s main airport, are increasingly susceptible to flooding, even in periods of only medium rainfall. According to BeritaBali.com, the tendency towards flooding in Jimbaran is due to the uncontrolled development along the Jalan By Pass leading to Nusa Dua, built with little regard for existing zoning rules and the impact of their projects on the environment. The problem of over-construction, without adequate allocation of open-space for water absorption, is compounded by the prevalence of lime stone in Jimbaran’s soil composition. Limestone laden soils tend to hold rain water, rather than provide an effective medium for absorption.
Overwhelmed when frequent flooding occurs, police officials working in the area can do little more than direct passing vehicles to form a single file and keep to the high side of the road as they navigate bumper-high flood waters.
The increasing severity of flooding along the Jimbaran By Pass is complicating traffic flows, isolating the many thousands of tourists and tourism workers who must pass this road every day.
The secretary of Commission B of the Badung Regional House of Representatives, Wayan Sudiana, confirms the frequent flooding occurring regularly in his home district of Jimbaran. In Sudiana’s view, much of the flooding can be sourced to drains and ditches that do not operate in an optimal manner. The use of drains for garbage disposal and silt deposits which have reduced the depth of drainage ditches all contribute to flooding.
The main culprit, however, for Jimbaran’s flooding is seen as tourism-related construction. Warned Sudiana: “Permits must be properly controlled; permits must not be issued solely for issuing sake. And the appropriate government agencies must be prepared to take action (against violators).”
The Root of Bali’s Wood Shortage
Minister Wacik and Gianyar Bupati Bombarded by Local Wood Carvers Complaining of Lack Wood and Poor Government Support.
During a recent visit to Bali, the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, was bombarded with complaints from Bali’s wood carvers who cited growing difficulties of obtaining the wood supplies that forms the core element of their craft.
Minister Wacik was greeted with a barrage of criticism from local carvers during a visit on Tuesday, March 10, 2009, to inaugurate the Association of Artisans from the Village of Mas Grhaya Krya Kencana at Mas, a wood-carving center near Ubud. Also on the receiving end of the protests was the Regent of Gianyar, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati, who accompanied the Minister at the ceremony.
I Wayan Muka, a village leader from Mas, quoted in Bali Post, said, “on behalf of the people of Mas, who are 100% dependent on statue carving for our livelihoods, we hope the central government will help us resolve the shortage of wood.”
Craftsmen used the visit of the Minister and Bupati to also deliver their complaints regarding a desperate need for capital to develop their handicraft industry. The Mas carvers cited the need for money to expand their carving enterprise and undertake professional promotional activities together with training in business management. Muka added, “we hope the government can provide training in professional management skills.”
The Gianyar Bupati, Tjokorda, calmly greeted the demands from the Mas residents, indicating that his office would try to coordinate a solution with the central government based on information that roots of trees harvested in Kalimantan forestry industry were being abandoned. Tjokorda told the people of Mas, “hopefully, we can quickly resolve this problem and the wood being thrown away in Kalimantan can be recycled with the help of the national government.”
When Tjokorda called for a part of Bali’s tourism promotion budget be used to promote handicraft production in Mas his statement received enthusiastic applause from the many carvers in attendance.
Minister Wacik, who is also a candidate for legislative office, pledged his readiness to work on helping to the people of Mas find more wood resources. He called on local artisans and the Bupati to seek more information on the location of tree root systems being thrown away so he can contact the Minister of Forestry and coordinate their diversion to Bali.
Security Forces to Guarantee Peace During Bali’s Election Period
Police and Military will be on Stand By at Polling Places and Places Deemed Political ‘Hot Spots”in Weeks Leading Up to April 9 Polls.
BeritaBali.com and Kompas.com report that 7,477 police and hundreds of military personnel will be deployed across Bali to safeguard the legislative election process leading up to polling on April 9, 2009.
The heavy deployment of uniformed forces was confirmed by the Vice-Chief of the Bali Police, Brigadier General Ketut Adria. Adria said that security forces would be deployed at polling stations across Bali and at key locations during the 14 day campaign period immediately prior to election day.
The original 21 day campaign period in Bali was shortened to just 14 days to avoid date conflicts with traditional religious celebrations on the Bali Hindu religious calendar.
On Election Day a total of 8.170 polling places will be in operation across the island of Bali. In anticipation of possible claims of voter fraud, physical conflict among competing parties and damaged ballots - the Bali Election Commission is seeking government support and funding support to guarantee a peaceful election and volunteers to work at polling places. To date, 8,000 volunteers have been recruited to help supervise an impartial election process and assist the 907 election officials who will be on duty at the official polling places.
According to Kompas.com, the areas of Tabanan, Karangasem and Bangli have been identified as “hot spots” of potential conflict and voter intimidation.
Over the past 6 months a total of 1,890 violations of election protocol violations have been reported to Bali’s Election Commission resulting in 18 criminal cases handled before the courts.
Lion Air Grounds its MD-90 Aircraft
New Boss at Civil Aviation Orders Lion Air MD-90 Fleet to Stay Parked During Safety Audit Process.
The Indonesian Department of Air Communication has ordered the temporary grounding of all MD-90 aircraft operated by Lion Air. The grounding order issued on March 11 will have at least an initial effect of a minimum 3 or 4 days to permit a complete safety audit following two landing mishap involving Lion Air’s MD-90s.
The first incident took place in Batam on February 23rd when a Lion Air MD-90 landed nose down after being unable to deploy its nose gear. The second and latest incident saw another MD90 owned by Lion Air skid off the runway after landing at Soekarno-Hatta Airport Jakarta on March 9th.
The newly appointed Director General of Civil Aviation, Herry Bhakti Sigayuda told the press that the grounding time was needed to determine if the MD-90s operated by Lion Air were still air worthy.
Sigayuda explained that every air crash is due to one of three factors, namely: human error, weather or a technical failure of the aircraft. “Its our responsibility and the duty of the National Air Safety Committee to find out what happened, ” he added.
According to data kept by the Department of Civil Aviation, Lion Air is the only Indonesian carrier operating MD 90s with 5 airplanes of that type registered on the airline’s books.
The Chief Operating Officer of Lion Air Edward Sirait, told the Bali Post that his airline faces potential losses of Rp. 1 billion (US$89.250) due to the grounding. Sirait said the Lion Air is scheduled to receive two new Boeing 737-900ER in Jakarta on March 17 and March 25, 2009.
Hands-On Training from Jari Menari
12-Days of Advance Massage Training April 13-25 from Bali’s Internationally Renowned Jari Menari Massage.
By popular demand, Bali’s world renowned Jari Menari Massage is once again offering its 12-day massage course April 13-25, 2008 at its training center in Seminyak.
Suitable for those wishing to learn the art of massage or for certified therapists, the classes will be led by Jari Menari’s founder Susan Stein, assisted by Senior trainers Syaiful Hadi and Ari Pramana who have recently conducted Jari Menari training programs in locations as far away as South Africa and Morocco.
An intensive 12-day training program, The Jari Menari Sequence Training Class integrates firm, consistent pressure, integrating Breema Shiatsu, Esalen, Thai, Indonesian and Swedish Massage for relaxing 90-min sessions.
Class tuition includes accommodations, breakfast and lunch daily plus 3 massages for comparison. Advanced reservations required and further information can be found on the web site [www.jarimenari.com]
Quiet! Hospital Zone.
BIMC Hospital Offers Healthful Hints Should You Need Medical Help Over Nyepi Holiday Period.
As reported on balidiscovery.com, both local tradition and law dictate that Bali will come to an absolute standstill on Nyepi Day, March 26, 2009. From Sunrise on March 26th until sunrise 24 hours later, the island will resemble a ghost town with all roads devoid of traffic, the sole airport closed and with residents confined to their homes or hotels. [See: There’s a Kind of Hush, All Over the Isle]
An Announcement from the BIMC Hospital
Should an emergency medical situation arise during the Nyepi period the BIMC Hospital will remain open and fully staffed throughout the period.
The public are asked to note the following:
• As is the case through all other days of the year, you are welcome to call the BIMC Hospital at 0361 – 761263 to discuss any health concerns.
• Should a medical emergency arise, guests staying at Bali hotels and villas should first check with their accommodation provider for the availability of transport to the BIMC Hospital.
• If required, BIMC Hospital’s fully equipped ambulances and drivers are on stand by for rapid dispatch to patient locations.
• While travel on Bali’s roads is not allowed during the Nyepi period, local banjars and their Klian Dinas will normally facilitate transportation during medical emergencies. As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that the telephone number of your local Klian be kept at hand.
While the BIMC Hospital team hope you have no need for their services and enjoy a healthful and peaceful start to the Balinese New Year, we suggest you keep their number handy should the need arise.
[BIMC Hospital Website]
Failing to Really Try?
Indonesia Ranks Badly on Latest Survey of Travel and Tourism Competitiveness.
The 3rd Annual Travel & Tourism Competitive Report, published by the World Economic Forum, has provided a ranking of 133 nations around the world in terms of their attractiveness for developing travel and tourism.
Based on a Travel & Tourism Index (TCCI), each country is compared based on regulatory and business-related issues identified as key levers for improving travel and tourism competitiveness around the world. The focus of the research is based on the quality of human resources able to comprehend the demands of the international tourism industry, courtesy and friendliness, transportation infrastructure, tourism objects, cultural preservation and government policies in support of tourism.
Adopting the theme of “Managing in a Time of Turbulence” the current rankings were dominated by Switzerland, Austria and Germany who came in first, second and third – repeating their performance in the 2008 report.
How Did Indonesia Fare?
Indonesia ranked #81 out of 133 countries, slipping one place from the #80 ranking earned the year before.
Worthy of note, Indonesia’s #81 ranking provides evidence that the national tourism industry may continue to lose market share against competing destinations in the region – all of which earned higher competitive rankings: Australia (9), Singapore (10), Hong Kong (12), Japan (25), Malaysia (32), Thailand (39), Taiwan (43), PRC (47), India (62),
The Index was developed in close collaboration with the Forum's Strategic Design Partner Booz & Company and its Data Partners Deloitte, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
[Tourism Competitiveness Rankings for 2009]
Sanur Village Festival August 25 – 29, 2009
Popular Seaside Village Festival Adopts Nautical and Marine Theme for 2009.
The Balinese village among the first to welcome tourist visitors in the 1930s continues its proud tradition of gentle hospitality by hosting the 4th Sanur Village Festival August 25-29, 2009.
Pledged by its organizers to be “bigger and better” than last year’s successful festival, a ‘Marine” theme for 2009 will celebrate the beaches and ocean that form nature’s boundary for Sanur and a central element in the life of the people of the beachside community.
Conceived and driven by the indigenous residents of Bali, the Sanur Village Festival will once again provide five action-packed days of traditional performance, parades, music, food exhibits and water sports activities.
Stay informed on the evolving program for the 4th Sanur Village Festival by visiting the festival’s website [Sanur Village FestivalTourism Competitiveness Rankings for 2009]
The Bitter Harvest of Over Development
Salt Water Intrusions into South Bali’s Ground Water Threatens Soil Quality and Public Health.
Tempo Interactive has sounded a now familiar warning that the continued uncontrolled use of ground water in Bali will lead not only to salt water intrusion into precious sub terrain water reservoirs but could also precipitate dangerous landslides. This is the dire prediction made by the chief of the Environmental Laboratory Technical Services at Bali’s Environmental Agency, I Gede Suarjana.
In the area of Sanur, for instance, evidence of sea water intrusion is now found in wells located 500 meters from the shoreline. The situation is even more acute in the Sanur Kauh area where sub terrain salt water is present a full 1.136 kilometers from the sea. Gede said that salty-tasting water is encountered at a depth of only 10-12 meters adding, “land subsidence occurred because the lands’ pores have been blocked due to ground water excavation.”
Citing further evidence of the problem of salt in water supplies, Gede points to the electrical connectivity of Sanur’s water supply which measures 1,800 microhos, well above a standard reading of 1,300 microhos.
The Need to Reduce Ground Water Usage
The total annual ground water capacity of Bali is estimated at 399 cubic meters with experts with consumption averaging 12.67 cubic meters every second. In 2008 Bali consumed 111 cubic meters of ground water, an increase of nearly 10% over the previous year.
The Bali Public Works Service Chief, I Gusti Nyoman Sura Adnyana, says that ground water usage is most intense in South Denpasar where ground water exploitation exceeds the recommended 10% of available reserves fostering the salt water intrusion now being experienced in that area.
The mixing of salt water with fresh water supplies makes ground water unfit for human consumption and can turn formerly productive soils into arid dessert-like terrain.
The chief of the Bali and Nusa Tenggara Regional Environmental Management Center has labeled the problem of salt water intrusion in Sanur as the worst on the island, followed by Kuta and Candidasa
Shape Up Now for the MRA Bali International Triathlon
An Invitation to Join a ‘Warm-Up’ Swim and 40 Km Bike Tours on March 21, 2009.
With just four months remaining before the 3rd MRA Bali International Triathlon, now is the time to start training for an event that includes 1.5 kilometers of swimming, 40 kilometers of cycling and ending with a brisk 10 kilometer run through the Jimbaran and Nusa Dua areas of South Bali.
While the MRA Bali International Triathlon will take place on Sunday, June 28 2009, those interested in joining a pre-event training event can gather at the Coconut Grove Beach at the Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay on Saturday morning, March 21, 2009. Open to the public without charge, participants will gather at 8:30 a.m. to take a short practice swim followed by an escorted tour by bike covering the same 40 km route through Nusa Dua and the Ungasan peninsula that will be used in June.
Leading the swim and the bike tour will be Indonesian swimming legend Richard Sam Bera. Sam Bera is a senior Indonesian athlete with Southeast Asian swimming records that still stand. He now works the Managing editor of the MRA Group’s “Men’s Fitness” and “FHM.”
The “warm-up” swim and cycling tour is open to serious bikers – both male and female - who are at least 16 years of age. All participants must register in advance and are required to wear cycling helmets. While this is no charge to participate, prior registration is a must!
To register contact Mr. Andreas Kansil at Bali Discovery Tours at +62-(0)361-286283 or email at andreas(at)balidiscovery.com.
Warm-up Swim and Cycling Tour for MRA Bali International Triathlon
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Sign in at 8:30 a.m. – Event starts at 9:00 a.m.
Coconut Beach, Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay
[MRA Bali International Triathlon]
Emaar Group Withdraws >From US$600 Million Lombok Project.
Bureaucracy and Venal Officials Blamed for Demise of Transformational Tourism Project for Lombok Island.
The Jakarta Globe reports that a massive US$600 Million mega-resort planned for South Lombok is now in jeopardy.
The project of shopping, recreation areas, golf courses and luxurious hotels on a 1,200 hectare site is a “pet project” of Indonesia’s Vice President, Jusuf Kalla, who personally invited Dubai’s state-owned Emaar Properties to spearhead the investment.
Citing bureaucratic delays and an inability by the government to fulfill its obligations, Emaar announced that thy have closed their Jakarta office and are abandoning it plans for investing in Indonesia. Elly Savitri, a representative of Emaar said. “there have been too many delays on the realization of the project and the company just could not wait any more.”
Jakarta Globe coverage suggests that greed on the part of government officials seeking hand-outs may have also played a role in a decision to cancel the project. Meanwhile, others suggest that the worsening global financial crisis may have adversely affected the liquidity of Emaar and their keenness to pursue new investment.
Lombok is almost certain to be sent reeling by Emaar’s decision to quit the project, seen as the catalysts for planned new roads and a new international airport in Lombok. The final project was targeted to host 10,000 luxury villas, eight hotels and two 18-hole golf courses.
Emaar told the press that they have already expended US$4.2 million in consultancy fees.
Jusuf Kalla’s plans to woo Middle Eastern investors appears to be in serious strife. In addition to the withdrawal of the Emaar in the US$600 million Lombok Project follows the pull out of the Saudi Arabian Bin Laden Group from a US$4.3 billion agricultural project planned for Papua.
Vice President Kalla has reportedly convened a special meeting of cabinet ministers in a last ditch effort to salvage the prestigious Lombok project.