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NEWS

ISSUE 4

LOMBOK CELEBRATES 2008!

CHINESE NEW YEAR 2008

LOMBOK TOURISM UP FOR 2007

RUNWAY CONSTRUCTION COMMENCED

LOCAL SCENE

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LOMBOK CELEBRATES 2008!

Welcome to the fourth issue of The Lombok Guide – Lombok's new tourism paper and your guide to the best that the island has to offer. The Lombok Guide is published on Lombok every fortnight and contains valuable information for all visitors to our magical island. Use the Guide to explore Lombok and check out the best hotels, restaurants and sight-seeing options, to make your Lombok holiday special. Inside you'll find useful maps to make touring easier, important information about Lombok, plus great discount vouchers for restaurants, hotels and other businesses.

The past month or so has been a parade of New Year celebrations in Lombok that span almost every culture in the world. The first of January was the start of a new year in the west, and was celebrated here with enthusiasm by both westerners and the local community.  Then, on 10 January, we celebrated the New Year Hijriah 1429 – ushering in the New Year for Muslims around the world.

Finally, on 7 February, we will celebrate Chinese New Year – the start of the lunar New Year for the Chinese community worldwide. With Nyepi falling on 7 March this year, the roll-call of New Years will be complete.

These festivities are typical of an island that is a melting pot of cultures and religions – from local Sasak to Balinese, to Chinese, Arab, Javanese and almost every other island in the archipelago; and religions from Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Taoist, Protestant and the island's unique religion of Wektu Telu. The merging of all these different cultures, religions and beliefs make up a year of festivals and celebrations in Lombok that is both colourful and fascinating in its diversity.

At almost any time of the year you can find a holiday, cultural or religious event being celebrated, with a festival of music, dance and colour.

Come and discover for yourself the magic of Lombok… like thousands of others, you'll be enchanted!
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CHINESE NEW YEAR 2008

Chinese New Year's celebrations in Indonesia, known locally as Imlek, incorporate customs, beliefs and practices brought to Indonesia by Chinese immigrants who still follow the practices handed down from their parents.

Although Chinese New Year was not recognised as a holiday on the Indonesian calendar for many years, in 2002 Chinese New Year became a national holiday, to the pleasure of millions of Chinese Indonesians.

In the past, government policies often discriminated against the Chinese community, (which makes up approximately 3 to 4% of the Indonesian population) and, since 1967, no public Chinese New Year celebrations had been permitted. It is only recently, after 1997 and the end of the Suharto regime, that some of these discriminative policies were revoked or changed.

Chinese New Year is the most important of the Chinese holidays. The festival traditionally begins on the first New Moon in the Chinese calendar (7 February, 2008) and ends on the 15th day (called the Lantern Festival).

According to the Chinese calendar, the current year is Year 4705, and is called the year of Wu Zhi. In Chinese astrology, 2008 is the Year of the Rat

The Chinese New Year celebrations are based around the legend of the Nian. According to the legend, in ancient China, the Nián was a man-eating beast which came out every 12 months sometime close to winter to prey on humans. The people believed that the Nian was sensitive to loud noises and the colour red, so they scared it away with explosions, fireworks and liberal use of the colour red. These customs led to the first New Year celebrations. “Guò nián”, meaning “to celebrate the New Year”, literally means the “pass-over of the Nian”.

Chinese New Year celebrations are marked by visits to family, relatives and friends. New clothing is usually worn to signify a new year. The colour red is liberally used in all decorations, and red packets containing money are given to juniors and children. These traditions may vary from region to region, and from family to family.

On the days before the New Year celebration Chinese families give their home a thorough cleaning. It is believed the cleaning sweeps away the bad luck of the preceding year and makes their homes ready for good luck. Brooms and dust pans are put away on the first day, so that luck cannot be swept away.

The biggest event of any Chinese New Year's Eve is the dinner every family will have, when family members from near and far get together to celebrate. This is similar to Christmas dinner in the West, except with much more food. The New Year's Eve dinner is very sumptuous and traditionally includes chicken and fish.

Red packets, called Ang Pau, are often distributed at Chinese New Year. These packets usually contain money in certain numbers that reflect good luck. The amount of money in the red packets should be of even numbers, as odd numbers are associated with cash given during funerals. Since the number 4 is considered bad luck, money in the red envelopes never adds up to 4; however, the number 8 is considered lucky. Sometimes chocolate coins are found in the red packets.

Dragon or Lion Dances, locally called Barongsai, are common during Chinese New Year. The people of China have a long held belief that they are descendants of the dragon, a tradition that is firmly embedded in their culture. Whereas in western cultures dragons are usually regarded as a symbol of malevolence, in China the dragon is held in high esteem for its dignity and power for good.

 It is believed that the loud beats of the drums and the deafening sounds of the cymbals, together with the dragon dancing aggressively, can drive away bad or evil spirits. Some families and businesses may invite a Dragon Dance troupe to perform, as a symbolic ritual to usher in the Lunar New Year, as well as to rid the premises of bad spirits.

The lighting of firecrackers also signifies a joyous occasion and has become an integral aspect of Chinese New Year celebrations. Traditionally, in ancient China, bamboo stems filled with gunpowder were burnt to create small explosions to drive away evil spirits. In modern times, this method has evolved into the use of firecrackers during the festive season. The firecrackers are usually strung on a long fused string so it can be hung, and each firecracker is rolled up in red papers with gun powders in its core. Once ignited, the firecracker lets out a loud popping noise and, as they are usually strung together by the hundreds, the firecrackers are known for the deafening explosions thought to scare away evil spirits.

The first day of Chinese New Year is for the welcoming of the Deities of the heavens and earth. Many people, especially Buddhists, abstain from eating meat on the first day because it is believed that this will ensure longevity for them. Most importantly, the first day of Chinese New Year is a time when families visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended family, usually their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents.

New Year Greetings:

Cantonese: Sun nin fai lok. A more contemporary greeting reflective of western influences, it literally translates from the greeting "Happy New Year" more common in the west.

Cantonese: Gung hei faat choi; or Hakka: Kung hei fat choi, which loosely translates to "Congratulations and be prosperous".  The saying is now commonly heard in English speaking communities for greetings during Chinese New Year.

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LOMBOK TOURISM UP FOR 2007

The first stage construction of the runway at the Lombok International Airport (BIL) was formally opened by the Governor of West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), Pak Lalu Serinata, on Saturday, 19 January 2008. Governor Serinata laid the first stone in an official ceremony attended by around one thousand local citizens at the site in Tanak Awu, Central Lombok.

It was initially thought that the local community would not attend the ceremony because of previous protests against the government's purchase of the land and disputes about payment, which local landowners say is too low.

The first phase of the runway construction is 2 500 metres long and 45 metres wide, with the runway totalling 4.400 metres when completed. The runway and supporting facilities, being constructed by PT Hutama Karya at a price of Rp 165 339 billion, is scheduled for completion within 900 days.

The airport development between PT Angkasa Pura I (AP) is being carried out in cooperation with the provincial Government of NTB (Pemprov) and the Central Lombok Government (Pemkab Loteng), at an estimated cost of Rp 665 billion. PT Angkasa Pura I is providing Rp 515 billion to develop all the airport facilities, except for the construction of the taxiway, apron and supporting facilities by the Government of NTB, equal to Rp110 billion. The Central Lombok Government will provide a further Rp 40 billion for developing the park car, access roads and supporting facilities.

Governor Serinata said that the BIL airport development was “a dream becoming reality”. Construction is targeted to finish in 2009 and the airport to commence operations in 2010. “The airport will benefit all of our community,” he said at the ceremony. Although he admitted that some people are cynical, because the airport is being constructed on 550 hectares of rice paddy, he pointed out that rice production from the land had only resulted in about four tonne per hectare in the past.

“This isn't much, even weighed against the proceeds from car parking at the airport. This international airport is the key to progress,” he said.

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RUNWAY CONSTRUCTION COMMENCED

The first stage construction of the runway at the Lombok International Airport (BIL) was formally opened by the Governor of West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), Pak Lalu Serinata, on Saturday, 19 January 2008. Governor Serinata laid the first stone in an official ceremony attended by around one thousand local citizens at the site in Tanak Awu, Central Lombok.

It was initially thought that the local community would not attend the ceremony because of previous protests against the government's purchase of the land and disputes about payment, which local landowners say is too low.

The first phase of the runway construction is 2 500 metres long and 45 metres wide, with the runway totalling 4.400 metres when completed. The runway and supporting facilities, being constructed by PT Hutama Karya at a price of Rp 165 339 billion, is scheduled for completion within 900 days.

The airport development between PT Angkasa Pura I (AP) is being carried out in cooperation with the provincial Government of NTB (Pemprov) and the Central Lombok Government (Pemkab Loteng), at an estimated cost of Rp 665 billion. PT Angkasa Pura I is providing Rp 515 billion to develop all the airport facilities, except for the construction of the taxiway, apron and supporting facilities by the Government of NTB, equal to Rp110 billion. The Central Lombok Government will provide a further Rp 40 billion for developing the park car, access roads and supporting facilities.

Governor Serinata said that the BIL airport development was “a dream becoming reality”. Construction is targeted to finish in 2009 and the airport to commence operations in 2010. “The airport will benefit all of our community,” he said at the ceremony. Although he admitted that some people are cynical, because the airport is being constructed on 550 hectares of rice paddy, he pointed out that rice production from the land had only resulted in about four tonne per hectare in the past.

“This isn't much, even weighed against the proceeds from car parking at the airport. This international airport is the key to progress,” he said.

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LOCAL SCENE

HAPPY CAFE

BASILICO RESTAURANT

GOSIP DISCO

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