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NEWS

ISSUE 65

HELPING HANDS IN LOMBOK!

LAUNCHING ROSELLA… LOMBOK PRIDE!

BALI CUSTOMS DESTROYS ALCOHOL CACHE

WHAT'S HOT!

DARK DAYS FOR THE PLN

LOCAL SCENE

MR FIXER

GIVING LOMBOK CHILDREN BRIGHT SMILES!

DISAPPOINTINGLY SMALL CHANGES IN PROPERTY OWNERSHIP RULES FOR FOREIGNERS

DOMESTIC AIR FARES MAY INCREASE

THREE DIE AS BOAT CAPSIZES

KING FOR A DAY!

Gili Eco Trust… RUBBISH REVOLUTION!

JAL CANCELS, OTHERS BEGIN NEW FLIGHTS TO BALI

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HELPING HANDS IN LOMBOK!

Welcome to The Lombok Guide – Lombok’s complete tourism paper and your guide to the best that the island has to offer. The Lombok Guide is published on Lombok every two weeks and contains valuable information for all visitors to our magical island.

This issue of The Lombok Guide is dedicated to some very special people and the projects they are carrying out in Lombok.

The Gili Eco Trust, under the leadership of coordinator Delphine Robbe, is transforming waste management on the Gili Islands and establishing sustainable practices to protect the Gilis for future generations. Read our report in the Gilis section, on page 59.

Meanwhile, a Netherlands foundation has established a Rosella plantation on Lombok, with a mission to give poor farming communities the means to support themselves with a crop suitable for the dry conditions found in the centre of the island. Read about this delicious and healthy product on page 10.

Another Dutch couple, together with a team of dentists from The Netherlands, continues their project to “treat the teeth of every school child on Lombok”. Read about this amazing couple and their generous work on page 32.
Lombok… a very special island that seems to attract the attention of some very special people! With this issue, we say “Thank you”!

To find out more, pick up a copy of The Lombok Guide from the locations listed on http://www.thelombokguide.com/deadline_publishing.html or visit www.thelombokguide.com and discover the magic of Lombok for yourself… like thousands of others, you’ll be enchanted!

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LAUNCHING ROSELLA… LOMBOK PRIDE!

Over the past few years, an innovative Netherlands organisation has been experimenting with a new cash crop that will benefit Lombok’s poorer farming communities and provide a possible alternative to farming in arid areas on the island.

Stitchting Kebon Sepatu (SKS) is a foundation based in the Netherlands, which operates in Indonesia through the foundation Yayasan Kebon Sepatu (YKS). Funds are generated through private donations and subsidies from organisations in The Netherlands. The foundations are committed to stimulating and coordinating job opportunity projects in Indonesia; and providing training schemes for those segments of society that lack formal education and opportunities.

“Lombok Pride” is their first major project in Lombok and is centred on teaching local communities to grow Rosella as a cash crop, with a range of products that can be manufactured from the plant.

Rosella (also called Roselle and bunga kembang sepatu in Bahasa Indonesia) is an attractive flowering plant from the Hibiscus family that has been used for centuries for making tea, with a unique subtle flavour and an impressive range of healthy properties.

The plant is considered to have antihypertensive properties, useful for lowering high blood pressure, and has been used in folk medicine as a diuretic, mild laxative, and treatment for cardiac and nerve diseases and cancer. Studies have shown that it supports kidney function, reduces high cholesterol, and contains high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants.

In addition, the fruit of the Rosella can be used to make refreshing syrup, jellies and jams; while the seeds produce a uniquely flavoured coffee. The fibre from the stem of the plant was traditionally used in the past for making jute for burlap and ropes for ships. The project supervisors are experimenting with these fibres and hopefully will be able to produce woven baskets and handicrafts as another sideline product. Even the dried husks can be made into briquettes, creating a natural fuel – so every part of the plant is useful.

Founding member, Akke Draijer-de Jong and her husband, Bart Draijer, were in Lombok recently to harvest the first successful crop of Rosella and to hold the official launch of the locally produced tea: Rosella Lombok Pride on 22 May 2010. 
Akke has a great love of Indonesia, as well as family ties with the country. She was born in Jakarta and her mother was Sundanese, while her father was from Sukabumi. Her parents returned to The Netherlands when she was still young (her father was half Dutch), although her father always vowed to return to the country and do something for the people. Her grandfather was also a marine officer and a pharmacist, who returned to Indonesia after service to teach and set up pharmacies in Java.

Akke grew up in The Netherlands and now works for Euro-Just, a division of the European Union that fights trans-border crime in the EU. She returned to Indonesia for the first time in 2004, determined to carry out the tradition of her family in bettering the lives of Indonesian people.

Together with another close friend, Christane Arriens, who also shares Indonesian ancestry, Akke set about forming a foundation in The Netherlands which would operate specific programmes to help disadvantaged Indonesians.

The project to introduce Rosella as a viable crop was originally intended to be based at Bogor in Java, close to Akke’s family roots and an area well-known for its botanical gardens. Working with Ir M Djaeni, a botanist from Bogor, the initial Rosella plants were trialled in 2007. However, the climate and soil composition proved to be unsuitable and crops grew with only moderate success.

Disappointed, Akke and Bart decided to take a break from Java and explore other areas in Indonesia. They decided to pay a visit to Lombok, as they preferred the natural environment of Lombok to Bali. Djaeni was delighted with the choice, saying that the climate and conditions in Lombok were perfect for growing Rosella… and so the project found its new home!

Over the past two years, crops have been trialled in different areas in Lombok but by far the best result has come from crops planted at Ketare, in central Lombok, not far from the site of the new international airport.
The location is ideal, as the small village of Ketare is a subsistence level farming community whose people traditionally eke out a living producing small crops in the dry, stony land surrounding the village. The people here are generally poor, with little education and quality of life; thus perfect for both the crop and the mission of the YKS foundation.

The world’s best Rosella comes from the Sudan, and Akke and Bart managed to obtain the seeds for their Lombok project from Chad, in the Sudan. This variety has proved ideal for the harsh environment of Ketare, where the land receives little rainfall and is mostly hard soils and stones.

Without the need for fertiliser, and using only organic pesticides, the harvest of the first crop has exceeded all expectations. The plants are flourishing and the fruit has proved to be of superior quality, with a concentrated flavour and deep red colour. In fact, testing carried out has classified the crop as AA1… very high quality. The foundation will also be applying for “Green Label” certification soon, as their product is totally organic.

The first harvest of Rosella Lombok Pride has exciting potential both locally and as an export crop. Rosella, with its medicinal qualities and enjoyable taste, is popular in the US and Europe, as well as being sought after in Japan and China. A superior quality product grown in Lombok and certified organic has fantastic market potential.
Locally, the farmers hope that Lombok will adopt Rosella Lombok Pride as the island’s “signature drink”. The syrup and the tea both have a light and refreshing fruity flavour and would make the ideal “welcome drink” for local hotels, while the Rosella jam is a delicious and natural alternative to the artificially flavoured jams normally sold in Indonesia.

With the success of this pilot project, the YKS foundation hopes to develop an eco tourism centre at Ketare, where local farmers will be trained in Rosella farming and guests will be able to visit the farms and sample the products. There will also be stalls selling local handicrafts, hopefully with some products made from the fibre of the Rosella plant. This is the first step toward Ketare becoming a self-sufficient community, with plans to spread the project to other areas as demand for the products increase.

For more information, email foundationkebonsepatu@yahoo.com

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BALI CUSTOMS DESTROYS ALCOHOL CACHE

Bali’s Customs Office bulldozed 2 824 bottles of contraband alcohol on Friday, 6 May, 2010, in the parking lot of their Bali Ngurah Rai Airport offices.

The bottles of wine and hard liquor, estimated to have a value of Rp 600 million (around US $65 200), were seized in a number of raids conducted by Bali Customs Officers in 2009 and 2010 on illegal caches of booze not bearing official duty stamps.

Of the total number of bottles crushed by a bulldozer were 1 539 bottles of imported wine and liquor and 1 285 bottles of illegal locally produced beverages. The falsified customs stamps destroyed by Customs totaled Rp 98 million (US $10,600).

The drinks destroyed were accumulated from cases that have reached final determinations in the judicial process. Other caches from recent raids can only be destroyed after the completion of the legal cases in which the alcohol serves as evidence.

The Bali Customs Office currently has nine separate cases involving illegal alcoholic beverages before the Denpasar Courts.

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Sekolah Nusa Alam, Lombok’s premier International School, is celebrating its first decade of educating the young people on the island over the coming month. The celebrations include a Parents and Friends Benefit Dinner Party to be held at Café Alberto, on the beach in Batu Bolong, on Thursday, 10 June.

Apart from celebrating its 10th Anniversary, the school hopes to raise funds to purchase resources for the newly developed library / information center (opening in July), in particular the purchase of Interactive Whiteboard technology (IWB – the latest in classroom technology that supports learning and teaching in the classroom).

Nusa Alam is hoping to attract 400 guests to the party, so join in the fun and support our local international school at the dinner. Tickets are Rp 200 000 per person and price includes a delicious meal, live entertainment and performances. Tickets can be purchased from Nusa Alam and each ticket is numbered – giving you a chance to win some substantial door prizes on the night! Tickets purchased before 1 June also go in a draw for the chance to have one ticket price refunded. Contact Nusa Alam on 647514 or 647510.

The best Happy Hour in town is at De Quake Restaurant in the Art Markets (Pasar Seni) every Friday night! Enjoy two for one cocktails and spirits from 5 – 8 pm, with the best Strawberry Margaritas in Lombok, Cosmopolitans, Mojitos and more – all at two for the price of one. Unbeatable value in the casual but stylish setting of De Quake, overlooking the magnificent sunsets from the shores of Senggigi Bay. www.dequake.com

After enjoying the TGIF Happy Hour at De Quake, it’s time for good food – either upstairs at De Quake or head diagonally across the road a bit to Asmara Restaurant. Friday night is Stammtisch night with a big table set up outside welcoming all to sit down and join the group. It’s a great way to meet new people in a friendly setting and to enjoy the great food and live music offered by Asmara every Friday night. The sumptuous menu boasts fabulous entrées (try the Rinjani Smoked Salmon or the Tuna Carpaccio), tender steaks, and creative cuisine including German and local specialties. There are also weekly specials, with innovative new recipes cooked up by the talented kitchen team, using fresh seasonal produce. www.asmara-group.com

Gili Trawangan – the island that seems to enjoy a perpetual “high season” these days -- is gearing up for another fabulous season this year, with steady crowds all through the month of May. During a visit last week, I couldn’t resist stopping in at the ultra-stylish ko ko mo Resort to try the fresh oysters on the menu at their fine dining restaurant on the beachfront. At the moment, the restaurant is serving local oysters, which are full of flavour and fabulously fresh. Priced at Rp 35 000 each, these delicious morsels are available natural, super fresh and on the shell, or topped with smoked salmon and hollandaise sauce, or creamy Mornay sauce. If you’re a traditionalist like me, you’ll love the Oysters Kilpatrick, topped with Worcestershire sauce and crispy bacon. Ko ko mo takes the prize for best oysters in Lombok! www.kokomogilit.com

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DARK DAYS FOR THE PLN

The electricity situation on Lombok has worsened considerably over the past few weeks, with all areas of the island experiencing frequent blackouts not only at night, but also during the day.

While scheduled black outs have been occurring on the island for some time now, these were previously limited to around twice a week.

The increased frequency of the black outs and the length of time that communities are left without electricity, combined with the unpredictability of the power cuts, has brought local society to the boiling point, with many blaming the PLN (the state electricity utility) for providing poor service.

On 18 March, students demonstrated at the branch office of the PLN in Praya, Central Lombok. They protested that the electricity crisis in Central Lombok had been going on for too long. They also protested against the price for new electrical installations, claiming it was costing tens of millions of rupiah.

The demonstrations turned violent when students tried to enter the PLN building, with pushing and shoving taking place between demonstrators and the police. The crowd eventually dispersed after the PLN branch manager explained that they were doing all they could to find a solution to the problem.

Then, on 18 May, crowds gathered at Suralaga in East Lombok, protesting the frequency of blackouts in the area. They demanded that the PLN keep to the regular scheduled blackouts as agreed to previously, claiming the electricity company had broken their promises within two days of making the agreement with the community.

The demonstration turned ugly when protestors set fire to a PLN patrol vehicle, which burnt to the ground.

The emotions have since died down due to negotiations between the local Regent, local government and the PLN.
Recently, the Executive Chairman of the Joint National Construction Forces (Gapensi) West Lombok, H Muzihir rejected the notion put forward by the House of Representatives that the poor service by the PLN resulted from the performance of an unprofessional contractor hired by the PLN to supply another generator.

“The PLN has already hired a contractor to rent a generator for Lombok from outside the area. If the contractor is not professional, the responsibility for service to consumers still lies with the PLN”, Muzihir said, “You can’t blame the contractor if the PLN has chosen them to supply the machine.”

Some members of the House of Representatives agreed, saying that if the PLN was not satisfied with the performance of the contractor, they were able to break the contract at any time and find another supplier. They said the process should not have taken so long.

Drs H.L Moh SH, Vice Chairman of the House of Representatives, asked the PLN not to make promises to the public if they are not sure they can keep those promises. He also called on local society not to react with anarchy and to avoid worrying actions.

He said that the problem of the electricity deficit in NTB has already drawn the attention of the community and many people had lost because of this situation. He said that the problem of the contractor had already been brought to the surface and asked all sides not to make statements that would stir up the emotions of the community. He also suggested that the contractor be blacklisted so that the problem isn’t made worse.

Syamsir went on to say that he hoped the PLN was committed to solving the electricity deficit in NTB, which has already reached 40MW. He also told the PLN not to play around with finding a solution, because the whole of the society was already fed up with the problem.

He said the people need detailed information about the condition of PLN NTB, starting with information about the number of machines that are active or inactive, as well as information about the schedule of rotating blackouts in every region.

The PLN has pledged to have the new generator installed and operational by July and Syamsir warned the PLN not to break their promises again, to avoid a greater reaction from the community.

When The Lombok Guide contacted the Mataram branch of the PLN on 23 May, 2010, an employee of the company said that the greater frequency of blackouts in West Lombok over the past few weeks was a result of more problems with the generators in Ampenan, which are overloaded and frequently break down.

He confirmed that a second hand generator had already been purchased from Bengkulu, in Sumatra, but said that it was stuck in transit somewhere on the way to Lombok. The PLN expected that the generator would arrive by mid-June and, after installation and testing, should be operational by the end of June or early July.

However, he warned that the generator wouldn’t cover all the electrical demands of the region and that scheduled blackouts once per week were likely.

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LOCAL SCENE

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY ACHI ACHA!

Lombok’s only genuine Guess Boutique, Achi Acha
celebrated its first succesfull year with a fabulous
“Animal Print” party & fashion in Senggigi Plaza on 16 May

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Mr Fixer is taking a well-deserved break while he helps his friend, George, with his seized big end. In the meantime, he sends us this humorous look at different forms of motorbike transport in Lombok.

CIRCUS ACTS

Today I’d like to talk to you about circus acts. Not the kind you see in the big top, you understand. No, I mean the circus acts you see every day on the roads in Lombok. Some of the stuff I see is unbelievable! You would pay good money to see such daring feats of danger in the circus, but here in Lombok it’s a free show. Fantastic – my favourite price!

Four people on a bike is not unusual here; nobody looks twice. The motorbike is the local equivalent of the family car. How about a hundred live chickens hanging upside down by the legs, looking totally bemused and all chirping like mad? I saw that the other day! 

Or, how about a full 8m x 4m sheet of plywood (it might have been 2 sheets) held horizontally by the pillion passenger above his and the rider’s head, looking like a micro-light aircraft about to take off? Just for the record, a Cessna single engine plane leaves the ground at 70 kilometres per hour. Just ask Herman or any other pilot.
Luckily, our daredevil rider and passenger were only doing 65kmph. All this without the aid of a safety net or harness!

Heading towards me last week, I saw a man on a bike with one hand held upright as high as he could in the air. For the life of me, I couldn’t work out why. It all became clear, no pun intended, as he got closer. Split seconds later, I could see the sun glinting on the edges of a full pane of glass, 1 metre high and 1 metre wide.
It was resting on his knee and he was looking straight through it like he hadn’t a care in the world; as if he does this all the time. For all I know, he probably does! One bump in the road; one miscalculation – one garrotted bike rider, or anyone else who gets in the way. It doesn’t bear thinking about!

Try riding a motorbike with over 100 full size footballs tied in nets in a giant cocoon as wide as a car and just as high. You won’t see that one in the circus! If you did, at the very least, they would be wearing a clown outfit and a silly hat with a flower that squirted water at the crowd!

For all that though, you hardly ever see an accident in Lombok. Let’s hope we never do!

Got a question for Mr Fixer? He’s always got a quirky answer your personal building problems! Just email your problem to “Mr Fixer” at kitadesign@hotmail.com

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GIVING LOMBOK CHILDREN BRIGHT SMILES!

Every year, an amazing Dutch couple named Huub and Willy van’t Veld spend their vacation time in Lombok, educating local children in dental hygiene and providing free dental treatments to school children in the small villages throughout the island.

Dental Development Foundation Indonesia was founded in 2004 by two caring and dedicated dentists from The Netherlands: Dr Leo Sluimers and Dr Huub van’t Veld.

Since 2004, these dentists, together with Huub’s wife, Willy, who is an experienced dental assistant, have given up their vacation time in Europe to come to Lombok and treat dental patients and train local dentists. Together they entice other dentists in Holland to give up their annual vacations each year and spend their time giving free dental treatments to Lombok’s children.

The dental treatments are offered to local school children free of charge and are funded by the dentists themselves and through monies raised by the Foundation in The Netherlands. Volunteers pay their airfares, accommodation and other travelling costs out of their own pockets, in addition to donating their time and expertise.

The Foundation also funds the purchase of anaesthetics, equipment and filling materials locally.
Since they started their work in 2004, the dedicated team has educated and treated thousands of school children in Lombok. Last year, alone, they educated over 1100 children in correct dental care and carried out 390 extractions and 420 fillings free of charge.

Education is an important part of their programme, as many local children do not even own a toothbrush and many more have never visited a dentist! Low standards of education and poor understanding of dental hygiene, together with bad experiences at the hands of local dentists, and a lack of money for better care, have all led to problems with local children’s teeth and their perception of dentists.

Each year a particular area in Lombok is selected for the attention of this dedicated team. Dr Huub and Willy spend up to two weeks at the local schools, explaining in fun ways the importance of good dental hygiene and showing the children how to take care of their teeth. The education culminates in whole classes of children squatting in the schoolyard brushing their teeth, with the gentle guidance of Huub and Willy teaching them to do it properly!
They also supply the children with gift packs containing a toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste, a rinsing glass, information pamphlets and a special T-shirt from The Netherlands foundation. The toothpaste and toothbrushes are generously donated by the Rotary Club of Mataram, Lombok.

This month, Dr Huub and Willy are back in Lombok and carrying out education at four local schools in Penimbung and Lingsar, West Lombok. The education phase of their project will be carried out between 24 and 28 May.
In October this year, they will return to Lombok with this year’s team of volunteer dentists to carry out free dental work on around 850 children in these two regions.

They will also carry out follow-up treatments and assessments on patients treated at schools in central Lombok last year.

Working alongside the Dutch dentists will be local dentists and personnel from local Puskesmas (local medical centres) who will receive free training and experience while helping to carry out the treatments.

It’s exhausting work, as the classrooms are generally basic and poorly ventilated for Lombok’s hot weather. Because of the difficulty of transporting heavy equipment, the dentists are forced to use the facilities at hand, although they all bring their own dental equipment from Holland. Desks, chairs and tables are utilized as needed, but as most are Indonesian height, this means aching backs and shoulders at the end of the day for the dentists.

It’s hoped that this year, they will have enough funds to purchase specially made portable dental chairs from Europe and bring them to Lombok to make the treatments easier on their backs. However, specialist equipment is always expensive, so the Foundation would appreciate any support from the Lombok community.

Even if you can only spare a small amount to help this worthwhile cause, please do so now, so equipment can be purchased before October.

Dr Huub can be phoned locally for the next couple of weeks on 0852 3801 3666 or call into The Lombok Guide office (inside the Lombok Property and Villas office, between Happy Café and the PLN office). We have set up a collection box to support these amazing people and their important work!

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DISAPPOINTINGLY SMALL CHANGES IN PROPERTY OWNERSHIP RULES FOR FOREIGNERS

Expectations that the promised changes in property ownership rules in Indonesia would open the doors for expatriates wishing to purchase property in Indonesia appear to have been overly optimistic for those predicting a 1000% increase in property sales to foreigners.

The Jakarta Post reports that the new regulations will only slightly loosen Indonesia’s current policy of absolute prohibition against foreign land ownership. The new rules appear to limiting purchases of houses only to foreign retirees.

Indonesia’s Minister of Public Housing, Suharso Monoarfa, confirmed that the new regulations now being prepared would allow retirees to finance up to 50% of a property purchase for a maximum repayment period of 3 years.

The Minister said that those purchasing an apartment for investment purposes would not be allowed to use bank credits to conclude a purchase, required instead to pay cash.

Foreshadowing more confusion ahead for foreigners wishing to purchase land in Indonesia, a property consultant from Cushman and Wakefield, Arief Rahardjo, warned that it will prove difficult to distinguish between those purchasing land for investment purposes and those seeking a personal residence.

Teguh Satria, Chairman of Real Estate Indonesia (REI), is apparently unhappy with the lack of opportunities the new rules will provide to foreign property purchasers.

Saying the new rules are “unclear”, Satria said, “The criteria of elderly or retiree and the considerations behind the plan are not clear yet.”

He felt the low cost of property in Indonesia made cash purchases by foreigners easy, but questioned if those wishing to purchase an apartment for personal occupancy would be allowed three years credit.

The new regulations were rumored to allow for 70 years ownership for those foreigners allowed under the new regulations to purchase property in Indonesia. This now appears in question, with Satria saying the lease period tenure will not be for 70 years, as was originally hoped.

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DOMESTIC AIR FARES MAY INCREASE

The Indonesian Minister of Transportation has announced a new regulation that establishes maximum tariff guidelines for economy class tickets sold by domestic air carriers. The new regulation (No 26/2010) takes effect from the end of May 2010.

Quoted in NusaBali, the Commercial Director of Sriwijaya Air, Toto Nursatyo said the new fare rules provide for increases of between 10 and 20% over current fares.

The new fare levels include a basic fare, fuel surcharges and value-added-taxes.
It is still unclear if all domestic airlines will increase their fares by 20%, bearing in mind that the new government guidelines specify these as maximum fare levels.

When contacted by NusaBali, officials of both Lion Mentari Airlines and Batavia Air refused comment on new fare levels for their airlines.

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THREE DIE AS BOAT CAPSIZES

Three people drowned off the coast of Lombok on Sunday, 16 May when strong winds and high waves overturned the boat they were travelling on.

Passengers on the boat were visiting Lombok as part of the Hash House Harriers Pan Indo 2010 event, which commenced on 14 May 2010.

“The victims were one man and two women,” the National Police deputy spokesman, Comr Zulkarnain said.
The casualties were visitors from Riau who were on holiday in Lombok for the HHH event and were travelling on “The Tropical”, a local prahu (outrigger boat), for a day trip to the Gili islands.

M Junaedi, chief of the transportation office, said the boat had been hit by a sudden strong wind and high waves.
“As the boat was capsizing, several passengers jumped into the sea and others clung onto the boat until the rescue team came over. Three of them were entrapped inside the boat, which we only realized once we had righted the boat,” he said.

The police and the local transportation office in Mataram are investigating the sinking of the boat, which was rumoured to be heavily overloaded for the weather and ocean conditions.

The West Lombok Police have arrested the boat captain, Rumawan, 40, who they said failed to control the boat during the strong wind, and charged him with negligence in the incident.

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KING FOR A DAY!

Text and photos by David Clegg

On the island of Lombok the majority of the population is Muslim, composed mainly of the Sasak people. Many of the ceremonies held in the villages are a mixture of local cultural traditions and Islamic traditions. One such is the circumcision ceremony, which is seen as an important “rite of passage” or coming of age, and involves most of the local community in the celebration.

Young Muslim boys around the ages of three to five are required to go through “Sunatan” (the circumcision rite) before being fully accepted into the religion. Each small village generally has its own procession and ceremony organised by the village elders and the head of the village mosque.

For most of the children it is something to be looked forward to, although in some cases with a certain amount of trepidation. As encouragement the children are treated like royalty for the day and given special foods, money and gifts.

The colourful ceremony normally starts around mid-morning when the children, dressed in traditional costumes, are paraded around the village seated on carved and brightly painted wooden horses carried aloft by the men and youths of the village.

Although there may be five or six children mounted on the colourful horses in the procession, normally only one or two will undergo circumcision. The accompanying children, normally a few years older, are there to give support, and hopefully, to prevent the smaller children from falling off the wooden horses.

A loud local band also in traditional dress and playing drums, flutes and gamelan music often leads the procession and all the villagers turn out to watch and give encouragement.

The parade over, the boys are then circumcised, often in public, with a crowd of children and adults looking on, some taking photographs, and the noisy band going at full blast, sometimes accompanied by young female dancers. Amid all this uproar the boys have their foreskin removed by a doctor (or by a “tukang sunat'”- a local “circumcision expert”). They are then congratulated by the head of the local village mosque and welcomed into the family of Islam.

The wooden horses (locally called “Praja”) are often works of art, with elaborate carvings and intricately painted details. Some are antiques and are quite sought after by collectors. In the past, only wealthy families carried out the parades, but these days most traditional villages can afford to host a parade, either borrowing or hiring the horses for the day.

The origin of the use of wooden horses is not known, but it may well have come from the use of decorated horses used by the royalty of the Majapahit (Hindu) kingdom in Java, who fled to Bali when Islam took hold in most of Indonesia about 600 years ago. Hence the expression often used to describe how the boys are treated on their circumcision day – “King for a day”!

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Gili Eco Trust… RUBBISH REVOLUTION!

The Gili Eco Trust is revolutionising waste management on the Gili Islands, in a programme that would be enviable even on “mainland” Lombok.

Since the beginning of the year, the Eco Trust has stepped up former campaigns on Gili Trawangan, such as general island clean up days and ocean clean ups, and now encompasses educational programmes for the island’s children, targeted training for Gili T businesses and employees, organisation and maintenance of the island’s rubbish dump, and a concise recycling programme aimed at minimising the impact of waste on the island’s precious resources.

The island-wide recycling and waste programme includes the purchase of 1050 specially made rubbish bins, which will enable FMPL (the rubbish collection company) to sort and recycle rubbish efficiently.

The purchase of the bins was made possible through the generosity of local businesses, particularly PADI (the diving organisation) who sponsored 250 bins, Trawangan Dreams who purchased another 250 bins; Scallywags and Villa & Hut paid for 125 bins, while Blue Marlin, Gili Eco Villas, Trawangan Dive, Sama Sama, The Trawangan, Karma Kayak, Good Heart, Dream Divers and Tir Na Nog all sponsored bins.

Many others supported the programme by purchasing their own bins to take care of rubbish disposal at their own businesses.

900 of these bins were distributed on Gili T between 10 and 13 May, while 100 of the bins purchased by Scallywags were donated to Gili Air to kick start their waste management programme, and the remaining 50 bins were given to Gili Meno businesses. Gili Air and Meno do not yet have recycling programmes, however the bins are needed to provide a place for residents and tourists to throw their rubbish and keep the islands clean.

Working with Paola and Diah, volunteers from Eco Bali, the Gili Eco Trust, SATGAS and FMPL organised a distribution and education event between Monday, 10 and Thursday, 13 May. Held at the local school, students, business representatives and employees participated in the training programme which included identifying different types of waste and whether it could be recycled, how to sort the rubbish into different bins, and why responsible waste management is important for the future of the island.

Tetra Pak Indonesia also sponsored the training programme, and students and participants were shown how to correctly recycle Tetra Paks, which are used extensively in Indonesia for packaging drinks. Local Fast Boat operator, Blue Water Express, is generously transporting the collected Tetra Paks to Bali every Wednesday for recycling.

Blue Water Express and Gili Cat also supported the event by providing free transport between Bali and Gili T for Eco Bali and Tetra Pak volunteers. The Beach House, Trawangan Dive and Big Bubble Dive provided free accommodation for volunteers.

During the 4 day event, the bins were distributed after education and training, with a minimum of three different coloured bins going to each participant. The bins are clearly labelled in both English and Bahasa Indonesia with the types of waste permitted to be placed in each coloured bin.

Blue bins are for paper products, such as general paper, paper bags, envelopes, tissue, newspaper, cardboard boxes and pizza boxes. Yellow bins are to be used for glass, cans and plastic, such as plastic bottles, straws, flip flops, chip bags, magazines, glass bottles, candy wrappers and juice bottles. Green coloured bins are for organic waste that can be used to make compost, including chicken, meat and fish products, bones, noodles, fruit, tea bags, coffee grounds, plant trimmings and flowers.

Once the rubbish is separated, it is sent to different regions in Indonesia, such as collection centres on Lombok, Bali and Java, to be recycled. Organic waste is used to make compost and fertilisers to enrich the island’s sandy soil.

The initiative of Gili Eco Trust Coordinator, Delphine Robbe, and the Eco Trust team is an inspiring example of how a handful of dedicated people can work with local communities and businesses to effect lasting changes that can make a huge impact on the future of the islands.

Tourists and visitors to the island are asked to support the recycling initiative by using the bins and by encouraging local businesses who are participating in the programme. Donations to fund purchases of more bins, so that the programme can be expanded further, are always welcome. Phone Delphine Robbe, Gili Eco Trust Coordinator, on +62 (0) 813 39 600 553 or visit the website at: www.giliecotrust.com

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JAL CANCELS, OTHERS BEGIN NEW FLIGHTS TO BALI

As reported by balidiscovery.com, Japan Airlines (JAL) will end a decades long relationship with the island of Bali when they cease flights between Japan and Bali on 1 October, 2010.

Despite loads on their Bali routes generally considered to be commercially viable, JAL’s overall precarious financial position has prompted its executives to take dramatic cost-savings steps that include eliminating service on around 50 domestic and international air routes, including Bali.

Measured in real terms, JAL’s departure from Bali will eliminate an estimated 400 passengers a day from the airline’s network, which stretches well beyond Japan to important markets in Europe and both North and South America. In the course of a month the passenger deficit resulting from JAL’s absence could reach 12,000 passengers.

While Garuda Airlines is pledging to pick up any shortfall in passenger capacity occasioned by JAL’s route closure, practical concerns are that fares may raise and passenger numbers from Japan will drop.

Also of equal concern are questions regarding Garuda’s capacity to secure additional aircraft for Japanese flights from their reduced armada, already fully committed to other planned route expansions.

Many Balinese small businesses are worried that any drop in Japanese tourists will translate into lower sales for hotels, art shops, handicraft producers and tour operators. In the view of many shop owners in Bali, Japanese rank among the most active shoppers.

Japanese tourists visiting Bali during the first quarter of 2010 totalled 66 338 - a decrease of 20.48% on the first quarter of 2009 arrivals.

On the heels of the announcement of JAL’s departure from Bali, there are numerous reports promising additional air services will soon be flying to the island. Some of the new flights rumoured to be in the offing include:

• AirAsia and Strategic Airlines are expected to add one flight and three flights per week, respectively, between Perth and Bali in June 2010.

• Pacific Blue has plans to commence daily flights between Darwin and Bali in September 2010, increasing from four flights a week.

• Cebu Airlines plan to start flying three times a week between Manila and Bali in December 2010.
• Vietnam Airlines is said to have plans to fly three times a week between Ho Chi Minh City and Bali early in 2011.

All flights are subject to final decisions by the airlines involved and approval from the relevant aviation authorities.

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