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.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Bali Starling Extinct in the Wild? Drat those bird markets.

Asia, Far East, news and analysis Times Online, The Times, Sunday Times

So the Bali starling is extinct in the wild, but there are, or were at one stage, three in the Curraghs Wildlife Park in the Isle of Mann (thanks for the picture). So, a Manx Bali Starling. Globalisation eh? It's a great article. Here are some tastes:

Birds are a national obsession in Indonesia and no home is complete without a caged song bird, the more exotic-looking the better. Fears over bird flu have spurred many families to open their cage doors in recent months to give their pets an unexpected taste of freedom.

Small armies of bird catchers using nets or birdlime trawl the islands of the archipelago snaring finches, larks and warblers to be sold in huge sprawling bird markets such as Jalan Pramuka, in Jakarta.

Migrating waterbirds from Siberia and China are trapped in their thousands in the marshes of Java to be fried and sold as roadside snacks.

Conservationists say that trapping wild birds for sale is a bigger threat than habitat loss to Indonesia’s 1,539 species, 17 per cent of all the birds recorded on the planet.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Times Asia's Review of the new Covarrubias book

Here is a review of the new book about Covarrubias I heralded earlier in my blog. An extract:
Covarrubias' newly revealed work in Bali stands among the finest of his career: his deceptively polished, Art Deco-inspired compositions and intensely colorful palette were a flexible medium for the artist to explore every aspect of life on the island. His portraits of Balinese women capture their frank sensuality without the overlay of leering orientalism frequently found in the work of other foreign artists in the tropics—perhaps because of the similarities between village life in Mexico and Bali. The paintings of the island's legendary dance performances are carefully observed yet imbued with a full measure of mystical atmosphere.
I must point out that no Balinese women I know look anything much at all like the one in the painting.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Perfect gifts for Bali tragics

I'm a sucker for geckos. This photo is from a series of notecards on Bali being sold online by one Dirk Yuricich and his wife, of Nevada. Ten blank notecards cost US$20, and you can see the images here, here, here, and here.