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NEWS

ISSUE 24

STARS SHINE IN LOMBOK!

STARS SHINE AT QUNCI POOL VILLAS

WHAT'S HOT

LOMBOK TRIATHLON 9 NOVEMBER

STARS SHINE AT QUNCI POOL VILLAS (Continued)

DROWN NOW, BROWN COW

LAKE TOBA, KOMODO, KRAKATAU NAMED FOR NEW 7 WONDERS

LOCAL SCENE

INCREASED SECURITY PRIOR TO BOMBERS’ EXECUTION

WEIRD WORLD

CRASH PILOT WAS SPEEDING

BIKINIS ARE OKAY

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STARS SHINE 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. Use the Guide to explore Lombok and check out the best hotels, restaurants and sight-seeing options, to make your Lombok holiday special.

The biggest event of the month – perhaps the whole year – was the “Walk in the Stars” party at Qunci Pool Villas on 18 October. Themed like an Oscar's Night party, guests walked the red carpet amidst flashing cameras and paparazzi, sipping champagne while watching stunning models parade the latest collection of designs by popular Indonesian designer and personality, Ivan Gunawan.

The star-studded event attracted celebrities and style icons from around Indonesia, all dressed for a night at the Oscar's… and they were not disappointed!

So famous was the event, magazine reps from DestinAsian, Cosmopolitan, Harpers Bazaar and Femina flew in to Lombok to cover the night, with Femina planning to feature a five page fashion spread and DestinAsian devoting its entire November issue to Lombok! We've also devoted a few pages to this ultra-stylish party – see our special feature on pages 10 and 22, plus more photos in “Local Scene”.

From A-list parties to international sporting events, Lombok has it all! The Emaar Lombok International Triathlon is just over a week away, with around 200 competitors from around the world flying into Lombok to take part in the weekend events on 8 and 9 November. Exercise your legs in the 6km Senggigi Run on Saturday, or get a team together for the “Island Cup”, or just join in the crowds on Saturday and Sunday to cheer the athletes to the finish line!

To find out all the latest news and happenings, pick up a copy of The Guide from the locations listed on page 32 or visit us on the web at www.thelombokguide.com and discover the magic of Lombok for yourself… like thousands of others, you'll be enchanted!

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STARS SHINE AT QUNCI POOL VILLAS

Qunci Villas, flag carrier of the stylish resorts located in Mangsit, has become renowned for hosting some of the most memorable parties in Lombok over the past few years. The resort proved its reputation yet again when it hosted the “Walk in the Stars” party on Saturday, 18 October.

The lead up to the party had all the hype of a Hollywood production when “50 of Lombok's most elegant ladies” received gift-boxed invitations announcing that they were on the Qunci Villas A-list.

Official invitations were sent out in late September inviting the ladies to dress up for the night and to invite the partner of their choice to accompany them, sparking a flurry of competition for the sought-after invites.

Four top African male models were flown in to host a “catwalk training session” on the morning of the event, and the participating ladies were shown how to “shake their booties” amidst much nerves, giggling and excitement.
One of the models, Max, featured in a Cosmopolitan photo spread in Bali last year, while Andile is a television star in South Africa and Scelo has just been signed to represent Samsung in their commercials. The big handsome men won hearts at the morning and evening events for both their gallantry and their good looks.

The venue looked resplendent with millions of rupiah worth of flowers and decorations transforming the new Qunci Pool Villas grounds into a magical wonderland reminiscent of a night at the Oscars.

Red carpet flowed from the reception entrance to the poolside, where a special Perspex catwalk had been set up over the beachfront infinity pool and stage lighting lit up the pool and ocean beyond.

Guests were greeted on arrival with glasses of champagne, before being guided through the phalanx of “paparazzi and autograph hunters” to be “interviewed” and photographed by Blitz Studio for official event souvenirs, sent out to the lucky ladies the week after the party.

Fashionistas and style icons from across Indonesia were present at the party, which was covered by prestigious magazines such as DestinAsian, Cosmopolitan, Harpers Bazaar, Femina and The Yak. DestinAsian are so impressed with the Lombok social scene, they plan to dedicate their entire November issue to a feature on Lombok!

 

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While still on the subject of the Walk in the Stars party at Qunci Villas, rumour has it that Bali style-icon, Ku De Ta were recently in the process of planning their annual Christmas bash… with an “Oscars” theme, complete with red carpet and celebrities. After Qunci Villas beat them to it (with no foreknowledge of Ku De Ta's plans), it looks like they'll have to come up with a new theme. Now that's a coup for Lombok!

Just opened in the new section of the Mataram Mall is a cute little boutique called Khanza. There's a great range of tops and blouses, both casual and dressy, in both western and Indonesian sizes at very low prices. Take the elevator to the 3rd floor and Khanza is just to the right as you step out.

Also worth noting is, now that Tiara Department Store has extended their 2nd floor premises through to the new section of the Mall, the range of clothing available is huge. Post Lebaran sales are on now, with big discounts on many clothing items. Stop in to snap up bargains on jeans and designer label copies and, while you're there, check out the interesting range of evening wear for ladies.

Don't forget the Cellar Party is on again at Square Restaurant on Friday, 7 November. Unlimited imported wines and top class nibblies for Rp 250 000 (Rp 200 000 for the ladies), plus tax and service charge… good value and good fun!

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LOMBOK TRIATHLON 9 NOVEMBER

Don't forget the Emaar Lombok International Triathlon will be held in Lombok over the weekend of 8 and 9 November. It's not too late to register or to get a team together to take part in some of the events over the weekend.
This second annual sporting challenge promises to be even bigger than the first, with an estimated 200 triathletes from around the world coming to our island to compete for the winner's title at what is billed as “the toughest course in Asia”.

On Saturday, 8 November everyone is welcome to participate in the “6km Senggigi Run”. The run starts at 4.30pm (1630) in Senggigi and some 300 competitive and recreational runners are expected at the start line. The course takes runners through a lush palm grove along the coast, over hill tops with beautiful sea views and finishes with a loop through Senggigi. The crowds will be out in force to cheer on all the participants.

Tribob, the triathlon organisers, have donated Rp 3 million to reward the first 10 Indonesians who finish the run. Join in by yourself, or get a team of friends or workmates together to take part in the fun. The entry fee is only Rp 15 000.

On Sunday, the main event starts at 7am on the beachfront between The Santosa and Sheraton Resorts with the 1.8km swim in Senggigi Bay. Participants will complete the swim in the Bay, and then regroup at the Sheraton Senggigi Resort, a major sponsor of the triathlon.

From there, the triathletes will commence the gruelling 55km bike ride up the coast road north of Senggigi. Anyone who has driven the steep hills and hair-pin corners of this road will understand the level of fitness required to conquer this track!

At Pemenang, the cyclists will turn onto the road through the Pusuk Pass to tackle the challenging twists and turns through the Monkey Forest Road and the tropical forest. The course then continues through Gunungsari and Meninting, before returning to Senggigi.

Finally, the fittest survivors will finish up with a 12 km run which travels north from the Sheraton and circumnavigates the beachfront at Kerandangan. It's a compact 6 km course that allows for maximum spectator viewing, but has to be completed twice to make up the distance. The shaded coconut grove lining the beach should give some respite to participants, but there are a couple of steep hills to be negotiated before and after!

“The Island Team Cup” is an opportunity for people to team up and share the excitement and sense of achievement gained from completing an endurance challenge together. Each team consists of three people with each person completing one discipline of the race consisting of a 1.8km swim, 55km bike and 12 km Run. The winning team will take home the Island Team Cup trophy and all participants will receive a special race souvenir.

The second annual Emaar Lombok International Triathlon promises to be an action-packed weekend, for both participants and spectators. Even if you don't compete, come along and cheer the competitors on. Senggigi will obviously be the main focus for starting and finishing the events, but encouragement anywhere along the route will be welcomed by the triathletes!

For more information on the Lombok Triathlon, or to register in the event, visit www.lomboktriathlon.com. Indonesians residing in Indonesia may contact lomboktriathlon@tribob.com for discounted race entry rates.

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STARS SHINE AT QUNCI POOL VILLAS (Continued)

Well known fashion designer and television personality, Ivan Gunawan, hosted a fantastic fashion parade featuring his latest collection of designs, worn by stunning models from Jakarta, including Karenina and Dominique, as well as models representing the participating magazines, many of which plan to publish fashion spreads from the event.

But the real stars of the show were the Lombok ladies themselves, who had spent months preparing for the event. Wearing designer gowns, with gorgeous hairstyles and accessories, they paraded down the catwalk with elegance and style… proving they really are A-listers!

Guests were then treated to a delicious three-course dinner, seated at tables set around the poolside and beachfront.

As is usual at a Qunci Villas event, the wines and foods were superb and the service impeccable.
Fantastic prizes, including Autore Pearls and accommodation packages at Qunci Pool Villas, were awarded at the end of the fashion show.

Winner of “The Most Unique” went to Alina, wearing an outrageous orange wig and dressed by Bali-based designer, Yari; “The Best Gown” award went to Ibu Lucy, in a slinky Grecian style gown, and “The Best Catwalk” to Ibu Yeyen, who looked stunning in a shimmering coral gown.

Congratulations to Qunci Villas for hosting another award-winning party, to the fashion show winners and to all the ladies who walked the catwalk… you are stars!

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DROWN NOW, BROWN COW

The Balinese prize balance in the cosmos above all else. Often referred to as Tri Hita Karana, the Island's inhabitants fear calamity will result if balance in the relationships between man with God, man with nature, and man with his fellow man are allowed to get badly out of synch.

While the Balinese adopt a markedly less stringent view on sexual matters than, say, the Javanese, there are norms that, if violated, place the entire community at risk. To cite one instance, strict rules against incest are in place in Bali, with controversial historical reports suggesting that in the recent past brother-sister twins would be sacrificed at birth deemed to have committed incest in the womb. Similarly, there are strong prohibitions in Bali against bestiality, an act seen to defame the very order of the universe.

Against this background, a number of local newspapers gave front-page coverage to a rare ngelarung ceremony held on Monday, October 23, in the village of Julah, near Tejakula in Buleleng. The ceremony, which saw a female cow led into the ocean to drown, was mandated by local custom when a 70-year old grandfather, Pekak Sutarya, was discovered in flagrante delicto with the bovine.

In mitigation, the old man, who is well known in his village for his skills as a Baris Persesi sacred dancer and maker of cremation towers, said he was in a trance when he committed the dastardly act, seeing not a cow but a beautiful long-haired woman.

Horrified, not only at the act itself but for its possible cosmic consequences for the community, village meetings were urgently convened and religious authorities consulted. During this time Sutarya was banned from dancing in the temple, he and his family were compelled to perform a range of community services and, for a period, were treated as social outcasts for bringing dishonor and possible “karmic calamity” on their community.

While Sutarya's “crime” occurred on 17 August, 2008, a suitable date in December was set for the mandatory ritual cleaning that would finally end the matter and allow Sutarya and his family to reconcile with their neighbours. However, when it was discovered that the cow subjected to the old man's affections was five months pregnant, the general consensus quickly became that the cow bore Sutarya's offspring, necessitating that the date of the ceremony be hurriedly advanced to 23 October in order to avoid the cow giving birth to some sort of demonic monster.

Before sunrise on the appointed day, both the pregnant cow and Pekak Sutarya were led to the seaside where the old man, seated in the water had his hair ritually cut and thrown into the ocean. As the sun rose on the horizon, a boat carrying Sutarya and towing the cow led on a line behind the boat set sail.

Some 3 kilometers from shore the line attached to the now-drowned-brown-cow was released and clothing belonging to her human lover was thrown into the sea, symbolising Sutarya's ritual drowning together with his hapless paramour.
While Western view may brand the sacrifice of the cow as barbaric and cruel, the local village chief was quick to explain that the cow was treated with great respect and awe prior to the ceremony, seen as a very special animal capable of casting a spell to affect the mental perceptions of men. As such, and like all animals sacrificed in Balinese rituals, the cow is seen to have played an honored role in ancient ritual, certain to attain a higher incarnation in a future life.

Reinforcing this Balinese view of the universe, the cow offered no resistance, readily following the boat through the surf into increasingly deeper waters and the certain death that awaited it in the oceans beyond.

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LAKE TOBA, KOMODO, KRAKATAU NAMED FOR NEW 7 WONDERS

The “New 7 Wonders Foundation” has nominated three locations in Indonesia, namely Komodo National Park (East Nusa Tenggara), Lake Toba (North Sumatra), and Krakatau (off southern Sumatra) for world recognition, as part of New 7 Wonders of Nature selection campaign.

The New 7 Wonders Foundation is currently conducting a world-wide campaign to select “The New 7 Wonders of Nature” for world recognition, similar to the 7 Wonders of the World.

Nominations for the New 7 Wonders of Nature must be for a clearly defined natural site or natural monument that was not created or significantly altered by humans. Physical or natural phenomena like the northern lights or the Gulf Stream are not eligible. The nominees must be a natural site, a natural monument or a landscape.

Nestled between the large Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra is the Krakatau Volcano National Park. In the fourth century, a single marine volcano stood at this site but, in 416 AD, the caldera of the volcano collapsed with catastrophic consequences.

It has erupted repeatedly, massively, and with disastrous consequences throughout recorded history. The best known eruption culminated in a series of massive explosions between 26 and 27 August, 1883, which was among the most violent volcanic events in modern times with a Volcanic Explosivity equivalent to 200 megatons of TNT – about 13,000 times the yield of the bomb that devastated Hiroshima, Japan.

Lake Toba is both a lake and a supervolcano, 100 km long and 30 km wide, and 505 m at its deepest point, located in the middle of the northern part of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It is the largest volcanic lake in the world. In addition, it is the site of the 75,000-year-old supervolcanic eruption, the largest in the last 25 million years; where it staged a massive climate-changing event that scientists believe might have wiped out much of humanity.
Indonesia's Komodo National Park includes the three larger islands Komodo, Rinca and Padar, as well as numerous smaller ones, with a total area of 1,817 square kilometers (603 square kilometers of it land). The national park was founded in 1980 to protect the Komodo dragon, a large crocodile-like reptile that is indigenous to the area.

There are three stages in the New 7 Wonders of Nature campaign: the National Qualification, the Nomination stage and the Finalist stage. Qualifications are taking place now. On 1 January 2009, only one nominated site per country will be allowed to proceed: the highest ranked in the voting on 31 December 2008. Therefore until the end of 2008, countries with more than one nominee will be racing to choose the national representative that will continue into 2009.

Voting for the nominees is taking place online at the Foundation's website: www.new7wonders.com. Indonesians and foreign nationals living in Indonesia are encouraged to log on to the site and register their votes to ensure that an Indonesian site reaches the next stage.

In the Nomination stage, voting for nominees will continue through to July 7, 2009. Then the New 7 Wonders of Nature Panel of Experts, under the leadership of Prof. Federico Mayor, former Director-General of UNESCO, will review the top 77 nominees and choose the 21 finalists, to be announced on 21 July, 2009.

For the Final stage, the 21 New 7 Wonders of Nature Finalists will be put to popular vote. Voting will continue throughout 2009 and into 2010. During this time, the New 7 Wonders World Tour will visit each of the finalists to allow them to be presented to voters across the globe.

The final declaration of the New 7 Wonders of Nature will be in 2010.

The commonly known Seven Ancient Wonders of the World were all man-made monuments, selected by Philon of Byzantium in 200 BC. Today, only the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt remain.

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LOCAL SCENE

WALK IN THE STARS @ QUNCI POOL VILLAS

So many beautiful people at the Qunci Villas “Walk in the Stars”
party on 18 October... We continue our photo spread here!

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INCREASED SECURITY PRIOR TO BOMBERS’ EXECUTION

Indonesia will execute the three Islamists convicted for the 2002 Bali bombings in early November. “The decision is final,” Attorney General's office spokesman, Jasman Panjaitan, said without providing an exact date.

Extremists Amrozi, Mukhlas and Imam Samudra face a firing squad over the attacks on packed nightspots on the resort island of Bali which killed 202 people. They were sentenced to death in 2003 but their execution has been repeatedly delayed by a string of failed appeals and religious considerations.

The bombers' last petition, against the use of the firing squad, was thrown out of the constitutional court last week. “All legal avenues for death-row convicts Amrozi, Mukhlas and Imam Samudra have ended and all legal requirements have been fulfilled,” Panjaitan said.

However the announcement has sparked concerns that supporters of the militants may react with violence to the bombers' imminent execution.

Australia, which lost 88 citizens in the bombings, responded to the announcement by warning against “demonstrations and acts of violence” by extremists in an online update to its travel advisory for Indonesia. It advises Australians to avoid all unnecessary travel to Indonesia and warns against the “very high threat” of a terrorist attack.

The bombers have expressed no regret for killing “infidels” and claim they are eager to die as “martyrs” for their radical view of Islam. Paraded before the media at the island prison in southern Java earlier this month, they vowed their deaths would be avenged.

“If I'm executed there'll be retribution. It's not necessary for me to tell you what the retribution will be,” said Amrozi, known as the “smiling assassin” for his jovial court appearances.

Elite anti-terror police have stepped up security near Amrozi and Mukhlas' village in East Java province in anticipation of the execution, according to the Detikcom news website.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla said the executions had to be “done at the right moment” after careful consideration, Detikcom reported.

Meanwhile police are pursuing other extremists from the Jemaah Islamiyah regional terror network which allegedly carried out the Bali bombings of 2002 and 2005, and attacks against the Australian embassy and Marriott hotel in Jakarta.

Investigations into five terrorists arrested in Jakarta on Tuesday, 21 October have led investigators to believe extremist networks are now more determined to destabilise the local economy than kill Westerners, police said.
The cell rounded up on Tuesday was planning to blow up Jakarta's main fuel depot and was connected to Abdullah Sunata, who was jailed in 2006 for protecting alleged Bali bomb mastermind Noordin Mohammad Top, they said.

Malaysian extremist Noordin, who wants to create an Islamic caliphate across much of Southeast Asia, is still on the run with a one-billion-rupiah (US $102,000) price tag on his head. Police and counter-terrorist experts are now postulating that terrorist cells may be targeting infrastructure sites in a bid to destabilize the Indonesian economy and hasten the achievement of Noordin’s goal.

“Their target has always been non-believers,” police Brigadier General, Bambang Hendarto Danuri, told reporters. “But we have seen now that they are also targeting anti-terror agencies and those with links to the economy, not only the interests of the US and its allies.”

These recent events have prompted Bali's security officials to go on high alert. The tight security protocols already in place to protect the Asian Beach Games underway in Bali have been heightened and security measures have been beefed up at Bali's two major sea ports and its sole airport.

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Seen in Labuhan Lombok

Waiting for the rains...

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CRASH PILOT WAS SPEEDING

The Garuda Indonesia passenger jet which crashed in Yogyakarta in 2007, killing 21 people, was going too fast as it prepared to land, a co-pilot said on Monday, 27 October.

Gagam Saman Rohmana, the key witness to the trial of the flag carrier's pilot charged with deliberately crashing the aircraft, told the Indonesian court the Boeing 737 was gliding at 240 knots, above the acceptable limit of under 160 knots.

“The plane shook before landing. After that, I felt nothing as I had lost consciousness and could not utter a word,” Rohmana said.

Former captain Marwoto Komar was sacked by Garuda and had his pilot's licence suspended after he was named as a suspect in February. Prosecutors charged Komar with three counts of negligence and one count of “deliberately” destroying or damaging an aircraft causing death, charges that carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

A government probe found he had ignored 15 automated cockpit warnings not to land as he brought the plane carrying 140 passengers in at roughly twice the safe speed.

Komar claimed in court Rohmana had told the air traffic controller the runway was within view without consulting him first.

“But as the pilot flying, if he could not see the runway, he could have complained. But he didn't,” Rohmana said.
Four of the victims were Australian government officials and a journalist following a visit by then Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, who was on another plane.

Komar had denied the charges, saying that with 22 years' experience as a pilot he would not have deliberately crashed the plane.

Komar's lawyer Muhammad Assegaf maintained that his client had not crashed the plane on purpose. “The co-pilot should also be held responsible for the safety when the pilot was not able to do so. He should take over, but instead he went blank,” he said.

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BIKINIS ARE OKAY

After months of in-depth consultations, Indonesian lawmakers have decided that bikinis are acceptable attire for beaches in the mainly Muslim country. The move will bring a sigh of relief from Indonesia's lucrative tourism industry, which has expressed concern over a new anti-pornography bill being pushed by conservative Muslim parties.

“Tourists will be able to wear bikinis in special tourist areas, such as in Bali, so Indonesia's tourism industry won't be hurt by this legislation,” Democrat Party lawmaker Husein Abdul Azis told AFP.

“We are listening to the protests of stakeholders and people at large,” he added, referring to fears the tourism industry would suffer if bikinis were criminalised.

Indonesia has declared 2008 “Visit Indonesia Year” and hopes to attract seven million visitors, earning 6.7 billion dollars in foreign exchange revenues. However, tourist arrival figures indicate the target is unlikely to be reached. Politicians, artists, rights activists and tourism entrepreneurs on the mainly Hindu island of Bali, Indonesia's premier tourist destination, have vowed to launch a campaign of non-compliance if the pornography bill is passed.

But Azis, a member of the committee drafting the bill, said dramatic changes had been made to earlier versions in a bid to iron out problems. Lawmakers said the controversial bill could be passed by the end of the month.

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