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.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks in Lombok with thousands of visitors arriving on our white sand shores over the Nyepi break. As Bali shut down and turned off the lights for its “day of silence” on 5 March, Lombok lit up with a big welcome for all.
The Gili Islands, always a popular escape for Bali expatriates, were buzzing with holiday-makers enjoying the sunshine, the crystal clear ocean and the lively restaurants and bars on the beachfronts. Senggigi hotels and restaurants were also enjoying brisk trade, playing host to many tourists discovering Lombok for the first time.
Whether it’s climbing the second highest volcano in Indonesia, surfing world-class waves on the south coast, diving some of the best reefs in SE Asia, or just relaxing in a true tropical paradise, more and more people are realising that Lombok is the perfect holiday destination for so many reasons.
Wayang Kulit in Lombok is a variation of the shadow puppet tradition seen in Java and Bali, which is based on the Hindu Mahabharata epic.
This puppet tradition originally came from the Indian-based Majapahit Empire, which ruled Bali and Java before the introduction of Islam into Indonesia. In Lombok it is called Wayang Kulit Sasak after the indigenous Muslim Sasak people and the stories are loosely based on the victories of Islam in Arabic countries.
Having said that, it must be added that some bits of Hindu and Sasak culture creep in, and it is now a bit of a mixture of both cultures, with lots of topical humour added.
Wayang Kulit literally means “leather puppet”, the puppets being made of the cured hide of local cattle about a millimetre and a half in thickness. The main shape of the puppet, the body, head and legs is cut from one piece of leather, about a millimetre and a half in thickness, and attached to a thin wooden handle.
The puppet is brightly painted on both sides with the faces, expressions and characteristics of the puppets clearly visible and is an aid to the puppeteer to give the correct voice and behaviour to each character.
The various physical features, eyes, mouths, ears, hair and so on, as well as dress are picked out by hundreds and hundreds of small perforations that will show in the shadow when projected onto the white screen. The movable arms, added later, have riveted joints at the shoulder and the elbow, and the puppeteer or “dalang” manipulates them with a thin bamboo stick attached to each hand.
The comedy characters have a mouth which opens and closes by pulling on a loop at the end of a thin string at the base of the puppet, which is out of sight of the audience. At each performance the dalang will use around 40 to 50 different puppets, from a full set of around 60.
A noted puppeteer in Lombok is Pak Lalu Nasip, living in Gerung in south west Lombok, not far from the local market. At the age of 12 he gave his first performance, and since then has performed throughout Indonesia with weekly broadcasts for many years on Indonesian radio in Lombok. He has received numerous awards from the Indonesian Government, and was invited to perform in the Netherlands in the 70’s. Now aged 64, he is quite happy just to perform in Lombok.
Such is his skill and reputation, his performances are the highlight of the year for many of the older villagers and are eagerly awaited. The children are equally excited but not quite sure what to expect, as these performances, though numerous throughout the island, are seldom seen twice in the same village.
At the venue, a small village near Rensing in East Lombok, a roofed stage around five metres square has been erected and stands a metre and a half above the ground. The front of the stage facing the audience is blocked off, except for the 80 centimetre high white screen, running the full width of the stage, onto which the shadows of the puppets will be projected.
Behind the screen, on the stage, a large bright electric lamp on a wooden board suspended from the roof faces the centre of the white screen, with a microphone attached to the back. There is just enough room, about half a metre, between the lamp and the screen to operate the puppets.
The puppeteer sits directly behind the lamp narrating the story into the microphone, making it very hard for him to see exactly what the puppets are doing. However after 50 years experience of puppeteering, he knows by touch alone what is happening.
Lying along the front of the stage, between the screen and the lamp, is a large trunk of a banana plant. This is the stand for the puppets into which the pointed wooden handles of the puppets are stabbed, leaving them standing upright to one side of the screen, “in a crowd” as it were, while the puppeteer brings on new characters to join in the action. Two more short pieces along the sides serve as stands for the puppets “waiting in the wings”.
Sitting on wooden carrying cases on the ground at the rear of the stage is a battery of electronic equipment which blasts out music to amuse the crowds while the stage is being set up. On this crowded stage are about a dozen people each with his own particular task, two of which sit either side of the puppeteer handing him, or taking from him, the puppets as required.
From time to time they help the puppeteer by moving the puppets and operating their mouths. When the need arises they will fan the puppeteer, no breeze being able to penetrate the blocked-off stage; the only opening being at the rear.
At the rear of the stage sit the musicians who burst into tune at opportune moments with a range of instruments, mainly of the percussion type. The only non-percussion instruments are bamboo flutes, one being a metre long flute with a Balinese barong style mask at one end, which covers part of the face of the player. Other instruments played during the performance are two small drums, small brass cymbals, a large black hanging gong, and a couple of gamelans, which are small brass gongs that sit on the stage, or in this particular performance, upon the rubber sandal of the player!
The performance supposedly starts at nine in the evening, although it is often later, and runs for up to four hours, with a coffee and smoke break in the middle.
After an opening fanfare the puppeteer says a few words to the crowd and launches into the narrative, taking on the voices of all the characters involved. The audience, most seated on the grass, others standing at the back, see large dark silhouettes of the puppets flying, diving or twirling around the screen, depending on the particular story being told. It seems a pity that they cannot see it in full colour as those working on the stage do.
Though the basic premise of the Wayang Kulit Sasak is the epic sagas set in Arab lands, most of the performance is comedy using everyday village characters and any subject may be included.
Although the performance is planned, Bapak Lalu Nasip is known to “ad lib” now and again, as witnessed by the laughter of his team, who have been working with him for years.
Depending on the venue and the occasion, he will start the show with short comedy sketches, introducing topical and often bawdy humour mirroring everyday life in Lombok, to the delight of the villagers. To this end he has puppets of a man, a motorcycle, a pretty girl, a handcart selling noodles, and a couple of dogs. In one particular sketch, the motorcycle driver chats up the girl, and after she has tried to peep up his sarong, they ride off together. Dogs get in the way of the motorcycle causing it to crash into the noodle cart, which flies dramatically off the screen. The motorcycle lays upside down along with the driver and his girlfriend, with the dogs nowhere to be seen; an event that must have happened from time to time in Lombok!
The size of bananas, as discussed by the puppets via the puppeteer, seems to be another topic which brings roars of laughter from the crowd of villagers, children included.
Other subject matter has a mild educational content, and includes identity cards, drinking, morality and vanity and educational courses to learn a trade. There is even a short piece on tourism, discussing the need to speak English and other foreign tongues for the expected increase in foreign tourists this year. During this discussion a western tourist puppet comes onto screen, and a comical exchange between him and the “local” puppets ensues in a confused mixture of languages.
The comedy performances are interspaced with short pieces from epic sagas which include a lot of talk and not a great deal of action, and during which, some of the audience wander off for a while.
With the conclusion of the performance at about two in the morning, all the equipment is packed onto the truck which then returns to Gerung. After a few hours sleep the group are often on their way to the next venue. The stage will be dismantled, packed up, and moved during daytime to its new location, ready for the next evening’s performance.
When asked how long the stories can go on, one member of the group told me that there was no end to the stories; they just go on and on, as life does everyday. One can only hope that they do, with the competition that they have today from electronic games, television, DVD players, the Internet and so on.
• Now that the football season is starting again – that’s the AFL, of course! – fans of Aussie rules will be pulling up a bar stool and a tinnie or two and tuning in to the nation’s favourite sport. Popular beach-side bar, The Beach Club in Batu Bolong, is a great place to watch the games on the big screen TV with other enthusiastic footy fans. Ice cold beers and the traditional Aussie meat pie are also on the menu!
Also back by popular demand at The Beach Club are the tasty BBQ chickens we all loved last year. Now that the Australian hosts are back in town and a new supplier has been found, the whole BBQ chickens are back on the menu and available for takeaway at Rp 70 000 each. Or dine in on whole roast chicken with chips and gravy for Rp 90 000. Footy and roast chook… you beauty! Ph: 693 637 | www.thebeachclublombok.com
• Manna Kebun, the upmarket hotel, villa and residential complex that opened last year in central Senggigi, is undergoing a major re-branding, starting with the changing of their name from Manna Kebun to Kebun Villas and Resort. The resort’s street-side bar and café, Garden Café, is also undergoing changes and live music is temporarily not available for the next few weeks, much to the disappointment of guests who have been enjoying the relaxed music venue since it opened late last year. Never fear – the music will play on shortly…
• For those of us who drive along Sunset Road in Bali, swivelling our heads at the great outdoor furniture on display, there is now a fantastic outlet right here in Lombok. Elements, with their showroom in Duduk Garden (just south of Senggigi), have a complete range of designer indoor and outdoor furniture, including stylish designs in popular plantation Teak and reclaimed Teak woods. There are also modern stainless steel and aluminium designs on display and a complete range of furnishings available from their catalogues, sourcing the best from around Indonesia. For those seeking the latest in synthetic rattan and woven furniture, Elements have a fantastic selection available. No need to travel to Bali now for home and villa furniture! www.lombokelements.com
Thank you for your beautiful magazine and my ad looks wonderful, thank you for that once again.
Since I started to advertise with The Lombok Guide I get very good feed back from that basis, with many guests from Lombok and Bali already staying with us. We even have enquiries from Australia, so your website must be working well also.
For a new business starting in South Lombok, it is very important for us to choose the right advertising at an economical price to fit our budget. The proof that advertising with you works is already seen with the number of guests and booking we have received, and with a much better result than any other advertising we have done.
Thanks again for all your good work for us and for Lombok, helping to promote our island.
Nunung (owner), Bumbangku Beach Cottages & Restaurant, South Lombok
Kepada Lombok Guide
Terima kasih untuk majalah anda yang cantik dan iklan saya terlihat bagus sekali, terima kasih sekali lagi.
Sejak saya mulai beriklan di The Lombok Guide saya mendapatkan respon yang sangat bagus dari iklan tersebut, dengan banyak tamu dari Lombok dan Bali yang telah menginap di Cottages kami. Kami bahkan mendapat telepon dari Australia, dengan begitu website anda pasti juga memberi pengaruh besar dalam membantu promosi kami.
Untuk sebuah usaha yang baru mulai di Lombok Selatan, adalah sangat penting bagi kami untuk memilih media promosi yang tepat dengan harga terjangkau yang sesuai dengan dana promosi kami. Beriklan dalam koran anda sudah terbukti mendatangkan hasil melihat dari jumlah tamu yang datang dan memesan kamar yang kami terima, dan ini terbukti efektif lebih mendatangkan hasil daripada media publikasi lainnya yang pernah kami gunakan sebagai media promosi.
Terima kasih sekali lagi atas kinerja anda yang sangat bagus untuk kami dan untuk Lombok, membantu mempromosikan pulau kami.
Nunung (pemilik), Bumbangku Beach Cottages & Restaurant, Lombok Selatan
(Tongue-in-cheek answers to your personal building problems)
QUESTION: I am the owner of a nice 2 bedroom villa in a popular residential area of Senggigi. I bought the property as a holiday investment and I must say I am pleased with the result. My villa has doubled in value over the last 3 years and, when I am not living there, I have been getting quite good rental returns.
I met a nice local lady who became my housekeeper and girlfriend, and she moved in with me. It was all very platonic to begin with and then gradually our relationship developed into full blown affection for each other. My girlfriend, Robina, suggested that we use her name as the “nominee” so I transferred the villa into her name, not only to show my affection for her but to affirm my commitment and make her feel more secure in our relationship.
Unfortunately, I had to return to Europe for treatment for a medical condition, so I left my lady friend in charge of the villa until my return. She phoned me some weeks later to ask if I would mind if her brother, called Sakhim, could stay with her in my villa as she felt lonely, so I readily agreed. My medical condition worsened and I was forced to stay in hospital for longer than I had hoped, but 3 months later I was able to return to Lombok.
When I arrived at my front door, I was greeted by Sakhim who explained that my lady friend had gone back to her village to care for her sick mother and that he had been taking care of my villa in her place. The next day there was a power cut so I went to turn on the generator. It was missing. Sakhim explained that it was faulty and he had sent it away for repair. I then went to the laundry room and found the washing machine was not there. Again, Sakhim said it too had broken and it was being repaired. My TV and computer had also gone faulty (according to Sakhim) and he had sent those away for repair as well.
I tried to call Robina but the phone I had bought her was switched off or out of coverage area. The next day, some people came round and asked what I was doing in their villa. I told them it was my villa and they had better get the hell off my property. It was explained to me that they had bought the villa last week and had documents to prove it. I can’t find the original certificate to contest their assertion that they are the legal owners. What should I do?
MR FIXER: First of all, find Sakhim and sack him. Then find Robina and sack her. Then find a lawyer and if he can’t help you, sack him as well. As the law stands in Indonesia, foreigners cannot own property in their name. The way round this is to use a “nominee”. You are effectively giving your property to someone else, unless you get other documents which give all rights back to you.
These documents are: Power of Attorney. This document gives you the right to act on behalf of the “nominee” in all matters pertaining to the property, legal or otherwise. It is a standard document which costs surprisingly little. Next you need a “Loan Agreement.” This is another standard document signed by the “nominee” and witnessed by a Notaris (a public notary), which agrees that you have loaned the money to purchase the property and until this money is repaid, the rights to the property are given back to you. It is often part of the agreement in the “Right to Use” a nominee’s name and, unless you ask the Notaris to supply it, it will not be offered.
A Notaris is not a legal advocate. They are only required by law to register land transactions but the anomaly is they are able to draw up, issue and witness other documents if they are requested.
Lawyers can be expensive and can make a meal of it, so they can charge large sums for this simple advice. Use a proper real estate agent who can help you through the legal minefield of land or property ownership and give you the advice you need. If you think using a real estate agent is expensive, try doing it without one.
The agent’s commission is paid by the seller, so their advice to you is free. The bad news is that Robina had the right to sell your property if you failed to get these extra documents. Even if you find the original certificate, (which she has probably got), Robina has the legal right to request a new certificate from the government on the basis that the original has been lost. A change in land ownership law to allow at least limited foreign ownership is long overdue to stop the abuse of this glaring loophole. The good news is that you will probably never see Robina again.
The roar of powerful big bikes was heard around our island when visiting Harley Davidson owners held their DHD Joy Ride to Lombok on 25 February 2011.
The DHD Joy Ride is an initiative of Dewata Harley Davidson, the major Harley Davidson dealership in Bali, who organise motorbike tours to different areas in Indonesia every month for their customers.
The group, with 30 people travelling on 21 Harley Davidsons, arrived in Lombok on 25 February and stayed in Senggigi, where they congregated at popular Asmara Restaurant for dinner in the evening.
The next day, the Bali group joined with another 30 riders from the Lombok Harley Davidson club and the big bikes roared up to Sembalun on the north east coast, to visit the scenic mountain hamlet on the side of Mt Rinjani, before travelling down to see the beautiful beaches on the south coast near Kuta.
On the way to the north coast, the group stopped at Tanjung for a tree planting charity event, presenting the village with tree seeds and helping to plant the seedlings.
Pak Kadek Adi Wirawan, Operations Manager for DHD, said that he had been visiting Lombok for the past two years and he loves the island.
“This is a beautiful island and I love it! The beautiful scenery, the beaches, good roads, and the people are all fantastic,” he said. “One of the best things is the local food, especially Ayam Taliwang. It’s a bit spicy, but we all love to eat it!”
The Lombok Guide Annual Full Colour Magazine 2010 surely must have been the hardest working publication for promoting Lombok over the past year.
Since we published our international magazine in May last year, 5000 copies have been distributed to travel agents and travel industry partners throughout Europe, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, China, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan; as well as all major cities throughout Indonesia.
The magazine has been used to promote Lombok at travel fairs and expos in London, Australia, Berlin, Singapore, China, Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur, as well as at TIME 2009 and 2010, at the recent visit of the ASEAN ministers to Lombok, and at travel marts nationally.
The last of the 2010 editions of our magazine have just travelled to Perth in Western Australia, where they were used to promote Lombok at the Perth Holiday and Travel Expo by Gerit Polli, Sales and Marketing Manager of the Holiday Resort.
The Perth Holiday & Travel Expo is the largest travel expo in Perth and the only independent travel expo in Western Australia. The annual event is a one-stop travel expo showcasing thousands of travel destinations under one roof.
The event took place on 19 and 20 February 2011 and was held in the Grand Ballroom at Burswood Entertainment Complex., with just over 10 000 visitors attending over the two days.
Also attending the travel show were representatives from Garuda Indonesia, Santosa Villas and Resort, Puri Mas Boutique Resort, Hotel Vila Ombak and Gili Cat.
Perth is located on the west coast of Australia and flight time from Perth to Bali is only 3.5 hours. Official figures just released last week show that Australia continues to be the number one market for Bali tourism, displacing Japan as the top source of tourism arrivals in 2009 and firmly cementing its position in 2010 with a total of 647 872 Australians visiting Bali in the past year.
This figure represents 25.99% of the total market share of tourism arrivals in Bali for 2010 and a huge potential market for Lombok, if correctly marketed to Australians as an alternative holiday destination.
It is not yet 8.00am, the day is still fresh and the classroom is filling with students. Classes don’t commence until 8.30am but groups of young people are already gathering; bags are emptied, books laid out on tables, laptop computers come to life and conversations are struck up. In one corner a teacher explains the meaning of the term “market segments” to a small group who are preparing a presentation for their Business Studies course. In another, two boys swap stories about last night’s football match as they get out their math books. The sound of laughter lightens the mood as another group share a joke. The atmosphere is full of purpose; charged with the energy of adolescence and learning.
This could be any high school in Britain, Australia or Singapore – except that it is not. It is here in Lombok at Sekolah Nusa Alam. The discussion is in a mix of English and Indonesian. The students are a mixed bunch; some are Indonesians, some are the children of foreigners living in Lombok. The teachers are also a mix; some from Australia, some from the UK and some from here in Lombok. All the Indonesians speak fluent English and most of the international teachers also speak Indonesian. The text books and computer-based assignments are in English. The curriculum is from the UK.
This year, Sekolah Nusa Alam became Lombok’s first and only accredited testing centre for the prestigious Cambridge University International Examinations. Students in junior and senior secondary school can now study for the Cambridge Examinations and sit them here in Lombok. But what does it mean? What is special about the Cambridge curriculum? To find out we talked to teachers and students at the school.
The Cambridge curriculum is now taught in over 100 countries worldwide and is widely recognised by universities and employers around the world as evidence of academic ability and English language proficiency. It is the world’s most popular international curriculum for 14-16 year olds and, here in Indonesia, a growing number of independent, international schools are offering this curriculum.
The International General Certificate for Secondary Education (IGCSE) is equivalent to the GCSE in the United Kingdom and is now offered at Sekolah Nusa Alam in Year 9-10 (SMP3 and SMA1). After following this two-year program, most students sit the University of Cambridge International IGCSE examinations, leading to the A levels program offered at Year 11-12 (SMA2 and SMA3).
The curriculum has been designed especially for an international context and is sensitive to the needs of different countries. The qualifications are designed for learners whose first language may not be English and this is acknowledged throughout the examination process. The curriculum also enables teaching to be placed in a localised context, making it relevant in various regions, including here in Lombok.
Gregg Renneberg, the Director of Sekolah Nusa Alam explained that the Cambridge curriculum encourages a blend of teacher- and student-centred approaches to learning. “It develops the students’ skills in critical and creative thinking, enquiry and problem solving, giving them an excellent preparation for the next stage in their education, and for life in a workplace,” said Gregg.
At Sekolah Nusa Alam, students choose from a range of options including Geography, History, Business Studies, Economics and Travel-Tourism. All students also take Mathematics, English, Bahasa Indonesia, and Science. But they do not only learn fact-based subject material as in more traditional systems. As Gregg explained, students gain knowledge, understanding and skills in applying knowledge and understanding to familiar and new situations; intellectual enquiry; flexibility and responsiveness to change; working and communicating in English; influencing outcomes; and cultural awareness.
Leyla Rose, Ibraham and Yohanna are three of the school’s Year 10 students. What do they think of the Cambridge curriculum?
“It requires a lot of work!” commented Leyla Rose. “But it’s worth it so we can get a certificate to go to any university in the world.” Leyla plans to go to the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. Meanwhile Ibrahim and Yohanna both have their sights set on Australia. “I hope to become a doctor,” added Yohanna.
“It is not just looking at the book,” explained Leyla, “we have to extend our knowledge, using our own ideas. For example, in Geography you don’t just read and take notes from the text book. You have to think: Why would it be like that?”
“It’s different to regular school; to SMA,” added Ibrahim. “It’s a lot more work, a lot more writing, and a lot more thinking. In SMA, if you know the answer you pass!”
“In Business Studies, it’s like you’re an entrepreneur,” commented Yohanna. “You have to take a test and whoever gets the highest score gets the job.”
“I like Science,” smiled Ibrahim. “We got to dissect a goat! We even cut up an eyeball to see how it’s made up.” Sekolah Nusa Alam isLombok’s only genuine international standard school. It was established in January 2000. Licensed with the Indonesian government, the school provides quality education to the children of Indonesian, international and mixed families.
As the school’s Director, Gregg Renneberg, explained, students enjoy coming to the school. They work in small classes where they can be guaranteed individual attention. And the results speak for themselves. Children at this school perform well in both national examinations and international tests. But, more importantly, students learn to think; to be independent learners, creative, self-motivated and develop the interpersonal and academic skills needed for success. And they all learn to speak fluent English.
This year Sekolah Nusa Alam celebrated its tenth anniversary. As Lombok’s only genuine international standard school, Sekolah Nusa Alam has earned a well-deserved reputation for excellence. In 2009 the government confirmed this by ranking the school as number one in the province of NTB.
Now that the school, which caters for 148 Indonesian and expatriate children from kindergarten (TK) to senior secondary (SMA) levels, has adopted the highly regarded Cambridge International Examinations curriculum; IGCSE and A levels, for the first time in Lombok, young people have an educational pathway to the wider world. Graduates of the Cambridge international program from Sekolah Nusa Alam will be well-prepared for universities, for business or for employment anywhere in the world.
Mark Heyward is an international education consultant and co-founder of Sekolah Nusa Alam in Lombok: +62 (0) 370 647514, firstname.lastname@example.org
International surf giant, Rip Curl, started its annual Rip Curl GromSearch on 20 February 2011.
The eagerly awaited surf competition is in its eighth year and attracts Indonesia’s hottest surfers in the “Grommets” category (under 16 years of age), in the search for the top surfers in the country.
The winner and the runner up in the under 16 division of the 2011 Rip Curl GromSearch will receive an all-expenses paid trip to compete in the GromSearch National Finals held at Kuta Beach in Bali in October.
The prize includes a week-long Grom Training Camp and the chance to compete against other top national surfers, to become Indonesia’s 2011 Rip Curl GromSearch Champion.
The winner of the championship at Kuta Beach will receive a free trip in 2012 to compete in the Rip Curl GromSearch World Finals held every year at Bells Beach in Australia.
The first stage of the competition took place on 20 February at the Batu Keras break in West Java, a few hours west of Bandung.
The world-class waves at Kuta, in South Lombok, will host the second stage of the competition on 20 March.
Surfers will then move on to Lakey Peak in Sumbawa on 10 April, before returning to Bali to surf the long left-hand break of Medewi on 11 September. All winners will gather for the final competition at Kuta Beach in Bali on 8 and 9 October.
“Rip Curl is always on a search for the best and most talented surfers around the globe,” Rip Curl’s SEA marketing manager, James Hendy, said in a press release.
There is no entrance fee to participate in the events, and all contestants will receive a Rip Curl T-shirt and other items.
Competitors will also be taught environmental awareness and given the chance to participate in non-surfing activities during the day.