Saturday, March 18, 2006

The End

Well, that's it folks until the next trip to Bali. What's here is quite a lot about western artists in Bali, rice, Balinese food, these accommodations: Seraya Shores (near Candidasa), Tjampuhan Hotel (Ubud), Apa Kabar Villas (Amed), Puri Tantra Bungalows (Legian), and the links that I like after way too long cruising the internet (not quite ever gathered into one place: see the links down the right of the page as well as this post).

At the end of the day, I think Murni's Warung has the best site about Bali, the best guidebook is The Natural Guide to Bali, Seraya Shores is really worth staying at, and the cooking class at Casa Luna worth doing.

If you have a link you think should be added, please let me know. Thanks for reading. If you have been one of the hundreds of silent repeat readers, I'd be glad if you left a comment with your thoughts on this little enterprise.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Thinking about sex and exposing navel to be banned in Bali?

Strange reports about a proposed law against exposing one's navel which were beginning to circulate on bulletin boards have escalated into 2 articles in today's Age. Apparently a special unit of the navy is going to police the impending ban au bord de la mer, and kissing in public is going to be infra dig.

The police didn't wait for the bill to be passed, though, as this 7 February Jakarta Post article explains:
A total of 105 books, 37,000 tabloids and 350 magazines were confiscated recently from newsstands in the five municipalities of Jakarta as well as Depok municipality.
This Indonesienne professor of feminism better be careful of Indonesia's few fundamentalists if she is going to continue saying things like this:
INDONESIANS also have sensuality, says leading feminist and university professor Gadis Arriva. "Women here have always dressed sexily and in tight clothes. This law is something very alien to us. We have bare-breasted women in Bali and Papua, this is part of our culture.
Bare breasted women in Bali? I think not, though it is of course the bare breasts which lured intrepid adventurers there in the first place. Mind you Balinese formal wear for women comprises gauzy embroidered tops which are quite diaphanous and show very clearly the underlying brassieres of inevitably non-matching colour, and this attire has already been raised as an issue in the context of this law.

Indcoup, who has been championing the burgeoning career of Tiara Lestari, Indonesia's first Playboy centrefold, whether out of a desire to boost traffic or out of genuine admiration, will not be pleased.

Thanks to a 20 year old Filipina for the magnificent navel photo.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Courier-Mail: Bali judge fought back tears [17feb06]

The Courier-Mail: Bali judge fought back tears

The Indonesian legal system is certainly different from ours. Lawyers admit being involved in the giving of bribes; judges give comments to the media as the case progresses, part heard; judges reveal the deliberations in chambers over sentence in cases their hearing.

49 year old mother of two daughters aged 14 and 18, Judge Suryowati sat with two others on the trial of 20 year old Myuran Sukumaran, one of the Bali 9. She revealed to Brisbane's Courier Mail that she lobbied her two fellow judges against imposing the death penalty. Then she struggled to hold back tears as the word "mati" (death) tripped off the tongue of he presiding judge.

As the article points out, Sukumaran, of Tamil descent, did not make her entreaties easy. As Wikipedia puts it:

"During the separate trial of fellow defendant, Michael Czugaj, Sukumaran refused to give testimony, stating '...I am also on trial' [3]. He has denied knowing fellow accused Michael Czugaj and Scott Rush, or any knowledge of a heroin importation plan [4]. During his trial he frequently blamed amnesia on his inability to remember events leading to his arrest [5].

Sukumaran denied signing police statements, and when asked by judges to sign his name as an example of his signature, signed his name in four different styles."
Perhaps Judge Suryowati had taken the time to find out about the protocol for executions in Bali though it was her Court's first ever death sentence. Only a couple of days' warning will be given of the day (but not the hour) of the execution before in the dead of night a convoy bearing a priest, a doctor, one of the prosecutors, and 12 gunmen (two with live bullets) selected after a trial involving shooting at dolls, will bear down upon a deserted beach or jungle clearing, and shoot the hooded convict, shackled to "a post, tree, or chair", having aimed at the red cross marking the position of his heart on his white apron. I do not approve.

Thanks to Nick O'Neill's Bali Blog for bringing the story about the Judge to my attention.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Two books about the media and Indonesia

CJR November/December 2005: Ideas and Reviews — Books

Here is a review of two new books, one the memoirs of a foreign correspondent during the overthrow of Suharto, Richard Parry's In the Time of Madness, and Janet Steele's Wars Within: The Story of Tempo. Tempo is the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Le Monde of Indonesia, a weekly magazine since 1971, twice banned by Suharto. According to Steele's book, during those days they published an internet version, but it was a cover for the real magazine which was circulated clandestinely by cells of guerrilla journalists.

Tempo's English language website is here.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Kill bottled water

Message in a bottle: The Age

If ever you need an indicium of the ascendancy of consumerism, just pause to think about the ridiculous ubiquity of the plastic bottle of mineral water. Not Perrier: that I get, but still "mineral water" the principal aim of which seems to be ultimate tastelessness and complete absence of minerals.

Now living in Melbourne as I do, with some of the best drinking water in the world, the concept of paying more for water than for petrol makes the modern world look a tiny bit like Joseph K. perceived it in Kafka's The Trial (though the weirdness of that trial is more easily explicable than all the folks prepared to pay $2.50 for a bottle of water these days, since scholarship has demonstrated that the fellow who put the chapters of the novel together which Kafka's death left unfinished had to make up their order, since they were all stored separately and no instructions were left as to their order).

This article confirms my fears, though I was supposed to learn that the bottles which get thrown away take only 1,000 years to decompose.

I just drink beer in the third world. But why not have reuseable glass bottles? If we can have an economy where beer comes in glass, why not water? Gee I like those bottles, all crazed on their outside from years of joggling against the sides of crates transported over bad roads. I can't quite remember where I travelled amongst them, but it was probably India. I used to carry around a Sigg water bottle and use iodine pills. The taste wasn't too good, but it was potable.

Update: More in February 2006 article in The Age:
A recent report by the Washington-based Earth Policy Institute said global consumption of bottled water rose 57 per cent from 1999 to 2004 to 154 billion litres. Much of the growth came from countries such as Australia, where most tap water is just as high a quality as anything that can be bought.

Packaging worldwide required 2.7 million tonnes of plastic each year, the report's author, Emily Arnold, said.

The manufacture of bottles used up 1.5 million barrels of crude oil in the US because the plastic is made from the fossil fuel, Ms Arnold said.

"In contrast to tap water, which is distributed through an energy-efficient infrastructure, transporting bottled water long distances involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels," she said.

In Australia, the energy cost of buying water instead of drawing it from a tap was comparable to driving a car, said Mr Grant, who is the assistant director of design at RMIT University.

While driving a car for one kilometre used four megajoules of energy, drinking a 600-millilitre bottle of water used 1.5 megajoules, when the transport costs were included.

By contrast, drinking water out of a tap used only 0.2 megajoules, Mr Grant said. And when they are no longer wanted, water bottles were taking up space in landfill sites."
Thanks to a Connecticutian masquerading as Complexify for the photo.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Jakarta Post - The Journal of Indonesia Today

The Jakarta Post - Bali Blues Review

Here's a review of a new book which is either a novel or non-fiction or a mixture, by an expatriate, about life in Bali.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Bali's farmers bid goodbye to life on the land

The Jakarta Post - Bali's farmers bid goodbye to life on the land

Here's a little article about Balinese rice. It says that though more than 60% of Bali's population rely on farming to make a living, only 3% of the island government's budget is allocated to the agricultural sector. The farmers sell their unhusked rice at 1,700 Rp per kg (A$0.25), and after it is processed the industrialists sell it for 4,500 Rp per kg ($0.65). It costs more than that at my local supermarket, and it's not Balinese rice. I seem to recall Janet de Neefe telling us at the Casa Luna Cooking Class that it's impossible to bring Balinese rice into Australia. More rice posts here and in nearby posts.