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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.

As we go to print the morning after the Lombok International Dance Festival, we’re still buzzing from the spectacular performances by world class dance champions from over 18 countries visiting our island. We bring you news and photos hot off the press on pages 10 and 20. Congratulations to Marcel and Puri Mas Boutique Resorts and Santosa Villas and Resorts for hosting such a prestigious international event in Lombok!

High season is on the way and, judging from all indications, it’s going to be a fantastic season in Lombok! This year’s tourist arrival numbers are looking very strong and many hotels are reporting heavy bookings over July and August. The Gilis are sure to be very popular this season, particularly Gili Trawangan. If you don’t have accommodation booked yet – better hurry!

Bali is already bustling so, if you want to escape to a less frenetic and more impressively beautiful tropical holiday destination, now is the time to visit Lombok!

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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The 2010 Lombok International Dance Sport and Cultural Festival held in Lombok from Friday, 2 until Sunday, 4 July, 2010 was a glittering event of world class standards and an international coup for the island of Lombok.

The Lombok International Dance Championships, which are sanctioned by the World Dance Council, the Indonesian Ballroom Dance Council and the Indonesian Sports Ministry, have been held in Lombok for the past five years. This year, however, the Championships were expanded to encompass traditional and modern dance in Indonesia, together with the newly created Asian Amateur League.

Held in the Ballroom at Santosa Villas and Resort in Senggigi, the Dance Festival attracted 120 performers from 18 different countries. 

Competitors included World Champions Eldar and Anna Dzhafarov from Azerbaijan, who are rated in the top 12 in the world; top professional couple, Evgeny Ryupin and Yana Prokovskaya from Russia, who won the Professional Latin Championships in Lombok last year; together with champions from Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Poland, and more.

This world-class event is the inspiration of Marcel De Rijk, owner of Puri Mas Boutique Resorts in Lombok and himself a past world dance champion. Marcel is also Vice President of the World Dance Council and spends part of the year travelling the world attending dance competitions.

The World Dance Council (WDC) is one of the biggest dance sport organisations in the world. As Vice President for the past 16 years, Marcel is the organisation’s longest serving member. His popularity is such that he is able to attract top international dance couples from around the world and an international panel of judges and adjudicators made up of 14 members from 11 different countries.

In October 2009, the WDC established the Asian Amateur League (WDC-AAL) and elected Marcel as its President. This year, the WDC awarded the 2010 Open Asian Championship Series to Lombok, with competitors from seven Asian countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and China.

On Friday, 2 July, the Festival kicked off with a new category: Modern Dance, which included modern styles such as Hip-Hop, Street Dance and Break Dance. Spectators were amazed at performances by local Lombok dancers… young students and performers who have obviously broken with traditional dance to embrace the Hip Hop culture. Costumes and techniques had the international panel of judges spell-bound!

Likewise, on Saturday, local dancers kept everyone fascinated as they performed in a variety of traditional dance styles ranging from authentic Sasak (Lombok) and Balinese dance, to fusions of the two, and styles that incorporated traditional and modern and show the evolving nature of dance as an expression of culture.
Semi finals of the Asian Championship Series continued on Sunday, 4 July, with top dancers from around the world competing for a place in the Asian Championships finals.

On Sunday evening, a large crowd gathered in the Ballroom to witness the spectacular finals events in Ballroom and Latin. As always, the costumes and gowns worn were breath-taking and the performances spectacular. Especially fine were performances by the world class dancers from the UK, Warren Boyce and Kristy Boyce, who were also the winners of the WDC Asia Cup Latin and Ballroom Professional division this year.

Guests were also treated to special performances by the winners of the previous days’ Modern Dance and Traditional Dance competitions, as well as by visiting guest artists, Robert Brown and Nyoman Sura from Bali. Robert Brown, who is an international concert violinist, accompanied famed Balinese dancer and choreographer, Nyoman, with music by Bach in an entrancing combination of east meets west performance art.

Speaking to Robert and Nyoman after the show, both expressed their surprise that a small island such as Lombok could host such an internationally prestigious dance event. They were also very impressed with the quality of Lombok’s dancers, both modern and traditional, saying, “We had no idea such talent existed in Lombok. We hope to visit again soon and perhaps collaborate with Marcel and Puri Mas in hosting more cultural dance events here.”

This unlikely combination of international quality dance being performed on a small tropical island in Indonesia is unique throughout the world and is attracting international attention to Lombok. Held every year in July, the Lombok International Dance Sport and Cultural Festival is an event not to be missed!

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Laboratory tests conducted by the Bali Animal Husbandry Service and the island’s Veterinary Service on blood drawn from two domestic cats suspected of rabies have proven negative. According to beritabali.com, the results verify that no evidence of rabies infection among Bali’s cat population have been found to date.

The latest blood tests were conducted following the death of a child in Buleleng, North Bali, after being bitten by a household cat. Post-mortem examinations of the child’s body also confirmed that she died of a non-rabies-related infection.

The head of Bali’s animal husbandry department, Putu Sumantra, told the press on June 30, 2010, that tests carried out on domestic cats in nine regencies and metropolitan areas of Bali all tested negative for rabies.
Sumatra also confirmed that plans are in hand to test Bali’s monkey population for rabies.

“For monkeys we will work with the Bali Veterinary Association and local villages, where many captive monkeys are kept as pets,” he explained.

Since the outbreak of rabies in Bali in late 2009, an estimated 29,000 dogs have been exterminated and some 300,000 have been vaccinated.

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• Kids are going to love the new Kura Kura Water Park that opened recently on Jalan Sriwijaya in Mataram, just east of the Grand Legi Hotel. The well laid out park has swimming pools of ranging depths, from paddle pools for toddlers to deeper pools for bigger kids. There’s fountains and waterspouts, a miniature train running along raised tracks above the park, a specially built bird cage with viewing steps, and a bungee jump trampoline to keep children active all day. For older children and adults, there’s also a fishing pond, Spa and food court. An open arena with a main stage has been created and there are plans for live entertainment in the future. The Water Park had its soft opening two weeks ago and not all sections are complete as yet. The all day entrance fee is currently Rp 30 000 on weekdays and Rp 40 000 on weekends.

• We’re happy to see one of our favourite Mataram restaurants, Seafood Nikmat, has opened a stall in the food court at Kura Kura Water Park. Kedai Nikmat is a small version of the bigger restaurant, but still sells some delicious meals at fabulous prices! The menu lists a variety of Nasi Sapo (Clay pot) and features special Hong Kong style rice dishes, Mongolian Lamb and Japanese style Tamagodon (with chicken and egg), as well as Fried Rice or Noodles in Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese styles.

On the day we visited, we tried the Nasi Sapo Tamagodon, with egg and chicken cooked in a mild sauce with a teriyaki flavour. Very suitable for those who don’t like spicy dishes! On the other end of the scale is the Nasi Sapo Seafood Pedas, filled with prawns, squid, fish and local cockles and cooked in a spicy Padang sauce. The Creamy Chicken and Mushroom has an almost Italian flavour, with the creamy oregano spiced sauce making the rice taste like risotto. The shiitake mushrooms are a nice surprise! Meat lovers are sure to enjoy the Sapi Lada Hitam, with thin slices of beef cooked in a peppery Chinese style sauce. All dishes are cooked and served in the clay pot… make sure you try the sticky rice on the bottom! Prices range from a modest Rp 15 000 to 40 000 and the serving sizes are very generous for sharing.

• Still in the city, while shopping at MGM Supermarket recently, we decided to pop into the adjacent food court there for lunch. The food court looks a bit sparse, but De Penyetz caught our eye and lucky for us! Penyet is a style of eating that originated in East Java and has been adopted throughout Indonesia. It is based around a sambal, or spicy mixture of tomato, chilli and prawn paste (and more), that has been ground with a mortar and pestle to make a smooth sauce. In traditional penyet, fried chicken, tempe, tahu, fish or other fillings are then added to the bowl (mortar) and lightly crushed before being served as is… still in the bowl. Most of the menu at De Penyetz is based on this style of food.

We tried the Ayam Penyetz and were surprised to be presented with a mortar filled with a good sized piece of fried chicken breast (which hadn’t been crushed), together with Lalapan (a salad of cabbage, snake beans and cucumber), a sprinkling of spiced fried coconut and, of course, a good dollop of fiery sambal. What was so amazing about this meal? It was absolutely delicious and cost Rp 12 000 per person! De Penyetz is now on our list of favourite Mataram places to eat!

• Again for something different and uniquely Indonesian, Café Lombi Swiss Bakery and Cafeteria in the Senggigi Square has just added Kopi Luwak to its selection of fine coffees and teas. Kopi Luwak caused quite a stir (excuse the pun!) when it hit the world coffee scene and was featured in the movie “The Bucket List”, when Jack Nicholson drank a cup of the rare and exotic brew.

Kopi Luwak (which translates as “Civet Coffee”) is coffee made from the beans of coffee berries which have been eaten by civets (a small mammal that lives in trees). A civet eats the berries for their fleshy pulp. In its stomach, enzymes seep into the beans, making shorter peptides and more free amino acids. Passing through a civet's intestines the beans are then defecated, having kept their shape. After gathering, thorough washing, sun drying, light roasting and brewing, these beans yield an aromatic coffee with much less bitterness. Produced mainly in Indonesia and now exported internationally, Kopi Luwak is widely noted as the most expensive coffee in the world. Those wishing to join the world’s coffee elite can sample Kopi Luwak at Café Lombi. Ph: 692085 / 0818 365790.

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On 15 June, 2010 the House of Representatives’ Commission VII overseeing energy and minerals agreed to the government’s plan to raise the base electricity rates by an average of 15 percent for all customers starting 1 July, excluding those using between 450 and 900 volt-amperes.

The government said the electricity rate adjustments would save Rp 7.3 trillion in government subsidies until the end of the year. Electricity subsidies in the 2010 state budget revision reached Rp 55.1 trillion (US $6.06 billion), higher than the previous estimate of Rp 37.8 trillion.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said last week the adjustment was needed to safeguard the economy, while protecting low-income people.

Hundreds of workers took to the streets in West Java, to reject the central government’s plan to raise electricity tariffs. Before the workers’ protest, about 1,000 members of the Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) in West Java staged similar demonstrations. The group’s spokesman, Luthfi Afandi, said there were many things the government could do to reduce the subsidy without burdening the people.

“One measure is to ensure efficiency within PLN (state electricity company) and prevent leaks and corruption,” he said.

In Lombok, students from Mataram University and other groups blockaded the entrance to the Governor’s office in Mataram also protesting the price rises. Protestors stated that Governor Zainul Madjdi was no different than the national regimes of President SBY-Boediono, i.e. impartial to the plight of the people.

However, the PLN says that 311 394 customers who have electricity connections of between 450 and 900 watts in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) will not be affected by the increase in the basic electricity tariff (TDL), which came into effect on 1 July, as they continue to receive government subsidies. They represent 83 percent of total subscribers in the region.

PLN NTB Area Manager Commerce and Customer Service, Anggoro Tjiptoharto, said that the revenue received from electricity customers in the area currently just covers operational expenses.

Separately, in Lombok, the PLN promised that rotating blackouts in Lombok would end by early July at the latest. The company’s general manager in the province, Purwanto Penabang, said the rotating blackouts would end due to the operation of 22 units of rented generators with the capacity of 22 megawatts starting on Friday, 2 July.

The 22 generators have been installed at PLTD Ampenan and PLTD Taman Mataram diesel power stations.
“We can end the rotating blackouts early July,” said Purwanto. He said that with the rented units, PLN could supply 95 megawatts of electricity, while during peak hours regional demand totals 110 megawatts.

“We can cover up the 15 megawatt deficit with a supply from PLTD Paokmotong diesel power station in East Lombok, which is currently under repair,” he said.

Up until recently, Lombok was suffering blackouts almost daily as a result of a 40 MW deficit in electrical supply to the island.

However, PLN Lombok Sector Manager, Anang Wijayanta, warned that the electricity problems are not positively over, saying that a deficit still exists. “God willing, the rented generators will be able to cope with demand, without burnout,” he said, “But they still just barely cover our needs.”

Separately, PLN Engineering Manager NTB, Akbar Ali, said, “To be safe, additional contracts will be done, namely add another 15 MW to Lombok, and another 10 MW for Sumbawa and Bima - Dompu respectively.”

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In this issue we bring you highlights of the 2010 Lombok International Dance Sport & Cultural Festival

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DE QUAKE… Style, taste and value!

I’ve often talked about what a great place De Quake is for lunch with friends or a cocktail at sunset, but this year the restaurant has made an impact on the Lombok dining scene for quality food and as a place where you can expect something a little different.

Set on the beachfront amongst other small restaurants and bars in the Pasar Seni (Art Markets), De Quake stands out from the rest with its stylish but laid back ambience. You can dine downstairs on the large comfortable couches (and this is the ideal place for lunch) but upstairs is a wonderful setting for dinner. The elevated position is perfect for catching the evening breezes and has lovely views across the ocean, with the lights of local fishing boats floating in the distance.

Although the menu relies heavily on Thai dishes, there is also a good selection of non-Asian foods to please most tastes. My favourite entrée is the Scallop and Cucumber Salad -- a light and delicious dish of gently poached scallops for Rp 36 000. The delicate flavour of the scallops is set off with a creamy dill dressing and the crunch of finely sliced cucumber.

What I like about the cooking style at De Quake is that the cooks are careful to preserve the textures and flavours of the seafood and fish used in their dishes; never overcooking it, and using dressings and seasonings that enhance the flavours, rather than overpowering them.

Main courses offer a very wide choice of fish and seafood in a variety of styles, as well as tenderloin steaks, pastas and pizza, and a good selection of Indonesian dishes. Steamed Swordfish is served with Mousseline sauce and rice, Tenderloin Steaks come with French fries, vegetables and a choice of sauces, and the pastas include Spaghetti, Penne, Fusilli, Fettuccine and shells, with Marinara, Carbonara, Bolognese, Pesto and Napolitano sauces. The Angel Hair Pasta with scallops in white wine, lime and garlic sauce is a delight for only Rp 46 000!

A specialty of the restaurant is the Seafood Basket, which is a huge serve of grilled baby lobster, king prawns, squid, fish, crab and cockles served with steamed rice, sautéed water spinach and garlic butter, lemon butter and chilli sauce, finished off with fresh sliced fruits for Rp 605 000. Obviously, this is a dish to be shared by two (or possibly three) people!

Simply put, virtually anything from the extensive De Quake menu is going to please, but it is in the arena of Thai and Asian-fusion dishes that the kitchen here really shines.

Under the leadership of Pak Edy (the Head Chef at the renowned Qunci Villas), Thai cuisine is transformed into an art. Edy already has an impressive history with creative Asian cuisine, which was further developed when he and members of his kitchen team attended a cookery school in Chiang Mai earlier this year. Inspired by the flavours and styles of the Thai master chefs, the food at De Quake (and at both Qunci Villas restaurants) has taken a quantum leap forward.

Tangy and refreshing appetisers include the Thai Beef Salad with brown sugar dressing; Vietnamese Chicken Salad; Prawn Salad with lime and shallot dressing; and the divine Green Papaya and Beef Salad, which combines shredded green papaya, sliced beef and snake beans with a tangy shrimp paste and peanut dressing. Naturally, the popular spicy prawn and lemongrass Tom Yum Goong Soup is on the menu, as is the more delicately flavoured Tom Kha Gai, with chicken and mushrooms cooked in coconut milk and mild Thai spices.

Thai and Asian inspired main courses run such a delicious and varied gambit, it’s difficult to list them all. Try the Stir-Fried Lamb with mint leaves and red chilli, the Fish Ginger Caramel which has boneless snapper fillets in a caramelised ginger sauce, or the Cashew Beef, with tender beef slices and vegetables cooked in an oriental sauce and finished with cashew nuts. One of my very favourite dishes is the Prawn Lemongrass --
a good serving of prawns sautéed with vegetables in a creamy lemongrass and red curry sauce; priced at a very reasonable Rp 48 000.

To showcase the wonderful Thai cuisine available here, De Quake holds a “Thai Night” every Saturday night and features special Thai dishes not normally on the menu. The Red and Green Curries are a must!

The standard of service is generally better than many restaurants around town and the friendly staff at De Quake go out of their way to make sure diners are happy. Finish your meal with a liqueur coffee and perhaps a slice of the tangy Lemon Tart with Chantilly cream or the more decadent Death By Chocolate cake.

Delicious food, great cocktails, stylish ambience and prices to suit any budget… put De Quake on your “must do” list!

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(Tongue-in-cheek answers to your personal building problems)

QUESTION: My name is Marilyn from Malaga. I would like very much to come to your lovely island to end my days in the peace and tranquility of the lush tropical setting of beautiful Lombok. I am a writer and need a suitable setting in which to relax and write my books. I love animals and have 3 dogs, two cats, sixteen rabbits, 4 goats and 7 parrots. I intend to bring my beloved pets with me to keep me company. Ideally, I would like to rent a suitable villa with a sea view and swimming pool. It is also important that the villa has a high surrounding wall so that my pets do not go astray. I would prefer to buy but due to an unfortunate circumstance, I will be forced to rent. 

Some months ago, I was obliged to spend time in hospital so I gave power of attorney to a friend who promised to sell my house in Cost Rica for me. When I returned, the villa had been sold and my friend had disappeared with the money. My budget is therefore quite modest and I am hoping to find a suitable villa for me and my pets for less than 100 Euro per month, including room service and security. Can you recommend anything? 

MR FIXER: There are quite a few nice villas available for rent in Lombok. Most of them have surrounding walls. Some of them even have swimming pools. However, your budget seems rather limited. My friend George suggests you find a rich sugar daddy who likes dogs and open a zoo together.  

QUESTION: My husband and I have recently rented a lovely secluded villa with pool and sea view near Senggigi in Lombok.  It has 3 bedrooms, all with en-suite bathrooms. Although our housekeeper is most diligent at cleaning the toilets, sometimes a light brown ring is left behind in the toilet bowl, which looks as though the toilet hasn’t been cleaned at all.

My housekeeper is such a nice lady and does her best, I’m sure, and I don’t wish to offend her by pointing out that the toilets still look dirty even after she has cleaned them.  She lives close by and, like my husband, she is a cat lover. I can’t stand the things!  Always meowing and scratching the furniture! She brought one of her cats round the other day and it spent all morning climbing up the curtains. Just before it left, it left “a little present” in a corner, which was not discovered for days! Do you have any suggestions for removing the toilet stains?

MR FIXER: Usually, regular flushing avoids scale build up in toilet bowl rims. The occasional squirt of household bleach (called “Bayclin” here) also helps to remove light staining. If left too long, however, the stain can become calcified but it can still be removed using very fine “wet and dry” sandpaper. Make sure you don’t rub to hard and damage the enamel! 

Failing that, try this method of toilet cleaning recommended to me by my friend George.   Add 1/8 of a cup of pet shampoo to the water in the toilet bowl. Pick up the cat and soothe it while you carry it to the bathroom. In one smooth movement, put the cat in the toilet and close the lid…you may need to stand on the lid at this point! 

The cat will self agitate and make ample suds. Never mind the noises that come from the toilet, the cat is actually enjoying this! Flush the toilet 3 or 4 times. This provides a power wash and rinse. Have someone open the front door of your villa (make sure there are no people between the bathroom and the front door). Stand behind the toilet, as far back as you can, and quickly lift the lid. The cat will rocket out of the toilet, streak through the bathroom and run outside where it will dry itself off in the sun. Your toilet (and the cat) should now be sparkling clean. What a time saver!

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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The National Anti-Narcotics Agency (BNN) has cited Jakarta and Bali as the country’s major gateways for illicit drugs.

As reported by beritabali.com, arrests in recent years of drug syndicate couriers at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport and Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport underline these two cities’ as major attractions to drug cartels.

The head of BNN, Gories Mere, told those in attendance at a South Korean-Indonesian conference on controlling narcotics held in Nusa Dua that the airports of both Bali and Jakarta serve as major conduits for illegal narcotics.
According to Gories, Iran is dominating as a source for the growing supply of illegal narcotics in Indonesia.

“There (in Iran) the narcotics cost only Rp 100 million for one kilogram and can be sold here (in Indonesia) for Rp 2 billion -- an increase in price of 2000%,” explained the nation’s top anti-drug policeman.

In related news, on 29 June, 2010 eight Iranians were given life sentences by the Denpasar Court for smuggling methamphetamine into Bali.

Prosecutors had sought 18-year sentences for the men, but the panel of presiding judges opted to give life sentences to the men who had tried to smuggle large amounts of methamphetamine concealed within their alimentary tracts.

Masoud Soltani Nabizadeh, Seid Soltani Nabizadeh, Mehdi Ale Nejab Golestani, Alireza Safar Khanloo, Bahman Mirzadi, Daryous Omid Ali, Mosen Muhamed, and Saeid Shahbazi were caught as they attempted to smuggle 4.7 kilograms of methamphetamine with a potential street value of over US $1 million.

The men immediately declared that they would appeal the sentence of the court, opening the way for a revised sentence of less severity or a possible death sentence at the end of the appeal process.

In handing down the tough penalties, the presiding judge said he saw no mitigating circumstances that would have prompted him to impose a lighter sentence.

Arrests over the past few years show that drug use in Indonesia is on the increase. Gories estimates that the use of shabu (methamphetamine, commonly called “shabu shabu” here) in Indonesia has increased by 33% over the past year. Meanwhile, the use of heroin and cocaine is on the decline.

However, on the aggregate, BNN estimates that illicit drug use has increased 300% in the period from 2003 until 2009.

Visitors to Lombok are reminded that smuggling any type of illegal drugs in Indonesia carries heavy penalties, including the death sentence. Be aware that the penalties for drug possession and use in Indonesia are very strict… if caught, you will do jail time at the very least.

While beach boys and street sellers may seem laid back about drug use, Indonesian police are not and sellers sometimes work in collaboration with the local police.

Also note that Indonesian law does not differentiate for recreational drugs, and marijuana is classified as a Class 1 drug; with the same penalties as heroin. As recently as last month, a western tourist in Bali was charged with drug smuggling after he was arrested with 2 grams of marijuana.

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Over a hundred yachts from Australia, the US, New Zealand, the UK and Japan are expected to participate in Maluku”s “Sail Banda” event later this month.

The yachts are scheduled to depart from Darwin, Australia, on 24 July and set sail for Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, and the Banda Islands.

“After the yachts reach Kupang and Banda they will travel to 17 other islands in Indonesia,” Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry representative, Heru Satrio Wibowo said on 2 July.

“Among the destinations to be visited are Bali and Lombok,” added Heru, who is head of the Ministry’s maritime services and non-biological resources section.

The yachts will finish their journey in Belitung, South Sumatra, and Batam, Riau

Heru said that local economic development was an important reason behind the invitation to overseas yachts to join Sail Banda.

“Representatives of local governments will welcome the yachts at every port of call,” he said. “The yachts will dock for 3 or 4 days at each port and we hope they will buy local products.”

The Sail Banda event, to be held at the end of July until mid-August in the Maluku province, will include healthcare and medical services provided by participants, including foreigners, as well as the establishment of a national fishery storage facility which is expected to improve the local people’s welfare.

”What makes Sail Banda different from Sail Bunaken, is the abundance of social [charity] events,” Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Minister, Fadel Muhammad, said in Jakarta after a meeting for the event.

During the event, in which a number of ships will set sail from Darwin, Australia to gather in the Banda Sea in South Maluku, the navies from the United States, Singapore, New Zealand and Indonesia, will give aid to people in the province, Fadel said.

The Indonesian Navy is working with the Heath Ministry, Indonesian youth groups and foreign parties as part of Sail Banda.

The event’s social work goal aims to provide health and social assistance to many islands, such as Maluku.
Navy Rear Admiral, Surya Wiranto, said several countries would participate in social work and welfare activities during the event, such as the US, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

“They will bring health and medical officials who will provide checkups for local residents,” he said.
The province’s economy has been improving since sectarian conflicts there were put to an end in 2000. However, poverty and unemployment rates remain high.

Maluku Governor, Karel Albert Ralahalu, said the province was bracing for event, especially the declaration of the province as the country’s fishery buffer stock region by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on 3 August.
“This declaration marks the revival of maritime and fishery development in Maluku... as well as its prosperous future,” he said.

Fadel said that his Ministry, in cooperation with the governor, would revive 12 fish ports, by, among other methods, luring investors from China, Japan and Australia.

A variety of national and international symposiums and conferences will be held during Sail Banda, such as the International Symposium on Small Islands and Coral Reefs, and the Indonesia-Australia Cooperation Conference on Ocean and Fisheries.

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An island that continues to grow and evolve at an amazing rate, Gili Trawangan has a new Association that aims to further enhance sustainable development for the future of the island. 

The new Association on Gili T is represented by a committee made up of western businesses, who aim to work closely with local residents and island officials to address important issues requiring change and/or implementation on the island.

At the first formal meeting of participating businesses and involved parties on 2 July, participants met to discuss the Association’s objectives and initial projects. The committee has already received the commendations of the heads of the island and the support of the local Youth Union.

One of the concerns on the agenda was mosquito and pest control, to protect the health of local residents and tourists. As a result of the meeting, monthly fogging of the whole island commenced on Sunday, 4 July and will be an ongoing commitment for the Association.

Other projects include supporting the Eco Trust, improving island health services, Island Security, Cidomo (local horse cart) services and horse care, fire protection, PLN (electricity issues), septic waste management and beach front maintenance.

Also, as part of western business’ commitment to giving back to their island, members pledged to support development of SD-SMP Gili Trawangan (the local school) by providing much needed equipment and upgrading facilities at the local school.

Fundraising for the school kicks off with a “Fun Day”, which will be held on Sunday, 18 August on the beachfront, from the Turtle Hatchery to the front of Kelapa Kecil.

Fun Day events will include children’s races and games, sand castle building competitions, a Tacro tournament, Tug-o-War competitions, adult’s competitions and games, and more. There will be a wide selection of food stalls including burgers, BBQ, Coffee & Cake, Indonesian specialties, fish and chips, ice cream, popcorn and sweets. 
A Super Raffle will also be held with prizes including complimentary dives from local dive operators, a 7-day Dive Boat trip to Komodo Island, top Gili T villa accommodation, fast boat tickets, complimentary dinners at some of Gili T’s best restaurants, and more.

Everyone is welcome to come along, bring their children and join in the fun! Don’t forget to buy a raffle ticket… there are some fantastic prizes to be won!

All proceeds from food sales, raffles and competition entry fees will benefit the local school children and help to purchase equipment for the school.

Donations can be made directly at The Beach House Resort and donations of children’s gifts for prizes can be dropped off at The Beach House, Trawangan Dive, Blue Marlin, Gili Divers and Villa Almarik.

The Committee meets on the first Thursday of every month and all Gili T businesses are encouraged to join. Financial support has been pledged by all Committee members at the first meeting but future support will be essential to the success of the Gili Trawangan Development Association.

For further information, or to find out how you can be a part of the future of Gili T, please contact Di Somerton at The Beach House Resort on (0370) 642352 or email beachhouse@elombok.net

Our thanks to Di Somerton at The Beach House who contributed the information for this article - Ed

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