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ISSUE 46

A PERFECT TIME TO VISIT LOMBOK!

CELEBRATE THE END OF RAMADAN!

FIRE IN FOREST NEAR MT RINJANI

WHAT'S HOT

“ONE VILLAGE ONE PRODUCT” PROJECT FOR WEST LOMBOK

COMPANIES TO LOSE LICENCES

LOCAL SCENE

GARUDA TO ISSUE PUBLIC SHARES

BALI’S GOVERNOR REJECTS REBUILDING SARI CLUB

GARUDA ENLISTS AIR FORCE

GILI BYTES

GILI ECO TRUST NEWS

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A PERFECT TIME TO VISIT 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.

We are now half way through the month of Ramadan, when local Muslims observe the fasting month by abstaining from food and drink during the hours between sunrise and sunset. Most people say this is the easiest time, as their bodies have already gotten used to fasting all day and the happy celebrations of Idul Fitri are already in sight.
All of Indonesia will celebrate Lebaran or Idul Fitri on 21 and 22 September this year and many businesses will be closed across the nation, as everyone makes the journey to spend this special holiday with family and friends. The island of Lombok will come alive with Lebaran celebrations and, on the last night of Ramadan, visitors will have the chance to witness the magical Takbiran Parade in the city. See our special feature on page 10 for details.

With the high season crowds slowly abating as the European summer holidays draw to an end, now is a great time to visit Lombok! The weather is perfect, the island isn’t too crowded and high season hotel rates are on the decrease. Contrary to some reports, all the usual facilities and services in tourist areas operate as normal during Ramadan. Hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs are all open, taxis and transport is still running and visitors to Lombok will still be welcomed with friendly smiles and true Sasak hospitality.

To find out more, pick up a copy of The Lombok Guide from the locations listed on page 36 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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CELEBRATE THE END OF RAMADAN!

As issue 46 of The Lombok Guide goes to print, the Indonesian nation is in the middle of the holy fasting month known as Ramadan. From 21 August until 21 September most of the country’s Muslim population will be abstaining from food and drink between the hours of sunrise and sunset as part of their commitment to their religious beliefs.

While daytime fasting in the hot and sunny Lombok weather can be a major test of discipline, the breaking of the fast at sunset and social activities during the cool nights is a time of much happiness for Muslims. Because Ramadan is seen as a time of peace and new beginnings, healing old wounds and celebrating friendships is important. At night, many people gather in each other’s homes; eating and drinking together, sometimes praying or reading the Koran, or just spending special time with friends and family.

Idul Fitri (also called Eid El Fitr in other parts of the world) or Lebaran, on 21 and 22 September marks the end of the fasting month and is a time of joyous celebrations across Indonesia. For the week before and after, the nation’s transport systems are stretched to the limit as millions of people living across the archipelago try to get home to spend the special time with family and friends.

Idul Fitri is marked by the special greeting of “Minta Maaf, Lahir dan Batin” which literally translates as “I ask your forgiveness, body and soul”, as a way of making amends for any wrong-doings over the previous year. In this way, problems or disagreements are put in the past and the slate is wiped clean, ready to start a new year with better intentions toward each other.

Similar to Christmas and New Year in the west, this is the time for giving presents, getting dressed up in your best clothes (“baju baru” or new clothes is the catch cry for the week before Idul Fitri and the local stores are packed with shoppers buying new clothes), and visiting family and friends both to ask forgiveness with the traditional greeting and to celebrate the successful completion of the fast.

All across Lombok, friends and families will be gathering in each other’s homes, laughing and sharing the special foods that are customary at Lebaran. Delicious dishes of Opor Ayam (a chicken curry cooked in coconut milk), Nasi Kuning (rice spiced with turmeric), and other savoury foods, together with a wide variety of cakes and special biscuits (Jajan) that the ladies have been busily baking, are all spread before visiting guests. If you are invited to celebrate at local homes during this time, don’t miss the chance to enjoy the delicious traditional treats and the warm hospitality being offered!

Another special event not to be missed is the Takbiran Parade that takes place on the last night of Ramadan.
Pawai Takbiran is celebrated throughout the towns and villages of Lombok in recognition of the successful completion of the fasting month, with the main parade finishing at the Lapangan Mataram, the park opposite the Governor’s office in the city. Local communities gather together in the days beforehand to construct miniature models of their mosques, holy characters and other Islamic symbols. Some of the models are quite elaborate, featuring detailed reconstructions of mosques complete with minarets and carefully painted domes. On the night before Idul Fitri, these models are paraded on floats through the streets and towns, accompanied by music, laughter and light-hearted frivolity.

Takbiran itself is traditionally a “lantern festival”, or a festival of light, and lights feature highly in the parades. Mosques are lit from within, giant reconstructions of the Kabbah in Mecca glow with fairy lights, a shining Noah’s Ark sails through the crowd, and smiling people dressed in traditional Islamic clothing carry huge glowing letters spelling out words from the Qur’an. Carts carrying portable generators follow the floats, linked by a mind-boggling trail of looping electrical cords to keep everything lit brightly.

The parade culminates in the park with thousands of the Takbiran floats lighting up the night as fireworks explode overhead. It’s an awesome sight and the festival atmosphere makes Takbiran a fun event to witness if you happen to be in Lombok on the last night of Ramadan. Like most of the Ramadan celebrations, non-Muslim tourists and visitors are welcome!

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FIRE IN FOREST NEAR MT RINJANI

Rinjani National Park officers, government teams and local communities have succeeded in extinguishing a major fire that swept through hundreds of hectares of forest near Mt Rinjani over three days, between 19 and 21 August.
The fire, which is believed to have been caused by a cooking fire lit by hunters or trekkers on the mountain, started on the northern slope of Mt Rinjani, around 500 metres from the crater lake at the centre of Lombok’s famous volcano. Local residents often visit the volcano to sightsee or pay homage to the mountain, and to fish in the lake or soak in the hot springs.

Fanned by strong winds, fires spread as far as the Lendang Kepundung area in Pringgasela district, East Lombok, and the Cemara Rompes - Gunung Bendera districts near Sembalun, on the eastern slope of Mt Rinjani. The remoteness of the area and the harsh mountain terrain made fire-fighting efforts difficult, with some areas located 8 -- 10 hours walking distance away from access roads.

Rescue workers, equipped with jet propulsion equipment, fire beaters and even wet banana leaves fought the fires, which sprung up in several different areas on the mountain and in adjoining forests, around the clock for three days.

The affected areas, which include parts of the Rinjani National Park, has rich savannah plains, forests of spruce and fir trees, rare Edelweiss flowers, and is home to many native fauna such as monkeys, deer and tropical bird species. Park rangers and the forestry department are currently assessing the damage.

It is estimated that more than 300 hectares have been burnt in the blaze. No tourists or local people were caught in the fires.

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We had the pleasure of watching the latest traffic-stopping event in Senggigi as we went to press, with the first launch and start of sea trials for the new fast boat, Redline. The Lombok-based vessel will bring a new level of safety and comfort to fast boat services between Lombok and Bali, featuring a spacious air conditioned interior with comfortable passenger seating. Large deck areas both fore and aft provide more than ample room for passengers to move around and enjoy the views, and there is a spacious sun deck above for sun lovers.

Redline 1 was custom built by Arafura, the renowned Lombok boat builders in Batu Bolong, who launched the boat with professional ease on Monday, 31 August. Two huge earthmovers and a long 8 wheeled trailer moved Redline from the Arafura factory across the road to the beach with a minimum of fuss, stopping traffic on the main road for a short time. Excited spectators then gathered to witness the big red boat take to the waves for the first time… like a duck to water, Redline made a graceful entrance into the ocean and, with a happy toot to the crowd, zoomed off to start her sea trials. It’s wonderful to see another fast boat option for travellers between Bali and Lombok… especially one as classy as Redline! www.redlineXpress.com

Make sure you take advantage of the special offer on at Achi Acha Boutique in Senggigi Plaza at the moment. For a limited time, you can purchase limited edition genuine Guess watches and get a second one free! The boutique also has a fantastic collection of genuine Guess handbags, purses and totes, together with beautiful watches for both ladies and gents. This is the only boutique in Lombok selling genuine Guess products… but at much lower prices than in the west! Pop into the Senggigi Plaza shop soon to pick up a stylish bargain!

Stammtisch continues at Asmara Restaurant in Senggigi through the month of Ramadan. The friendly “open table” evening is on every Friday night, where visitors are welcome to join in at the big table in the front, which is often full of Lombok residents. Choose a delicious meal or snack from the popular Asmara menu, or sit back with a cold beer or cocktail and enjoy the live acoustic music and friendly atmosphere. Guest artists and local bands play laid-back music and talented people are encouraged to bring along their instrument and join in! If you haven’t already been to one or have been away for a while, Stammtisch is a great way to meet new friends or catch up with old friends in Lombok! www.asmara-group.com

Sail Indonesia is on at the moment and we are already seeing some magnificent yachts in the waters off mainland Lombok and the Gilis. Much excitement last week when the largest private sailing Yacht in the world, Eos, was seen moored between Teluk Nara and the Gilis. Owned by American billionaire movie mogul, Barry Diller, the glorious yacht features three soaring masts and measures 304.86 ft or 93 metres in length. Named after the ancient Greek Goddess of the dawn, the Eos boasts ultra luxurious fittings, a library, a glass staircase and panoramic views across the stern. This is her inaugural voyage to Southeast Asia, after cruising the Caribbean in spring 2008 and France and Italy during the summer. We’re looking forward to more glorious yacht sightings when the Sail Indonesian fleet visits Lombok between 24 and 28 September.

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“ONE VILLAGE ONE PRODUCT” PROJECT FOR WEST LOMBOK

In line with the government-sanctioned One Village One Product (OVOP) programme, a number of villages in West Lombok are focusing on community empowerment according to the capability of each village.

The West Lombok regency administration has set aside a Village Allocation Fund of Rp 250 million (US $25,000) for each of the 88 villages throughout West Lombok to bring the programme to fruition by 2010.

West Lombok Regent, Zaini Arony, told The Jakarta Post recently that his office had provided counselling to a number of villages for the OVOP programme, known West Lombok as the “One Kampung One Product” (OKOP) programme. The provincial administration is currently making an inventory of the potential of each village.

“The OKOP programme aims to enable villages here to be self-sufficient. People’s empowerment programs should be rooted in the villages,” he said. Zaini said each provincial working unit (SKPD) involved in evaluating a village’s potential in accordance to its ability had been given the task of village counsellor.

He said a village which had potential in the marine and fishery sector would be trained by the Maritime and Fisheries Office; a village with potential in handicrafts would be trained by the Trade and Industry Office; and a village with tourism potential be trained by the Culture and Tourism Office.

He said, for example, Babakan village in Gerung district would be encouraged to become a salted egg producer. “Farmers, who currently make salted eggs as a sideline, could develop it into an industry in the village.” Salted eggs – made from duck eggs from Babakan village – have been sold for years in local markets in Mataram and East Lombok. Farmers often could not meet market demand because of their low production.

“We have deployed officers from the Industry and Trade Agency to supervise the farmers to increase quality and production,” Zaini said, adding that the regency would only supervise the farmers, while the finance would be handled by the village institutions.

As well as Babakan, there are currently 44 villages – half of all villages in West Lombok – applying the OVOP program. Zaini said his administration was also revitalizing the Village Community Learning Centre (PKBM) as a centre for community empowerment.

“West Lombok has 300 PKBMs, one in almost every hamlet. We would like to revitalize them.”

His administration had organized technical officers to be deployed to the villages and help village heads manage their finances, explaining that financial supervision was important as the villages had received huge funds from regional and state budgets. Zaini disclosed that the 88 villages in the regency had received the Village Allocation Fund, worth Rp 80 million to Rp 125 million (US $8,000 - $12,500) each this year.

“In fact, it is not enough. We should increase it to Rp 250 million each next year because there are so many programs in the villages,” he said.

Zaini, officially installed in April this year along with Deputy Regent H Mahrib, hoped that the central government could help more with real projects for villages, such as building roads, bridges, and community health centres.
“Instead of conducting seminars and meetings, the government should build roads, schools and health centres in the villages. Real regional autonomy is actually in the villages,” he said. “If we allocated more funds for real development in the villages, we would see more a progressive Indonesia,” Zaini added.

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COMPANIES TO LOSE LICENCES

Up to thirty companies are to lose their licences for failure to commence their proposed business activities in Lombok for more than five years.

Thirty businesses, from a total of 218 companies which have owned permits over more than 12,000 hectares of land for the past five years or more and that hold Pemanam Modal (Capital Investment Companies) in NTB (West Nusa Tenggara or Lombok and Sumbawa islands), will lose their licences immediately, the local government has said.

The companies have already been warned twice in the past that their investment licences will be revoked if they fail to commence investment within the five year time limit agreed to in the licensing rules. Many of the businesses hold permits ranging from agri-business, agriculture, plantations and ranch development.

The uncertainty of the status of these companies was discussed in an evaluation meeting conducted by the Provincial Government (Pemprov) NTB led by Area Secretary, Abdul Malik, on Tuesday, 25 August 2009. According to the Head of the Capital Investment Board, Jakoub Abidin, Pemprov NTB will bring action against the companies.
“Passive investment, or speculation, is not allowed. These companies will be treated strictly,” Pak Jaqoub said at the meeting. “Some of the investors have given reasons such as legal, management and sector problems for their delays in investment but, although the grace period for commencement of investment should only be two years, in many cases we have given them more than five years to solve their problems and commence their planned investment.”

The evaluation meeting was conducted to ascertain a clear regional map of both current and potential investment in NTB. This is also related to planned investment promotion activities, so that serious investors are not blocked by speculators who are holding onto the land. Pemprov NTB has said it will only give investment permits to progressive entrepreneurs who contribute to the economic growth of NTB.

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LOCAL SCENE

Julia Perez & Aura Kasih @ Marina Cafe

Senggigi’s hottest nightspot, Marina Café rocked August with top guest stars!

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GARUDA TO ISSUE PUBLIC SHARES

The public is soon to be offered the chance to own part of Indonesia’s national airline.
Bisnis.com reports that state-owned airline, Garuda Indonesia, is hoping to reap between US $100 and US $400 million in their initial public offering (IPO) of shares to the public.

The CEO of Garuda Indonesia, Emirsyah Satar, said he is optimistic that as much as US $400 million could be netted from the sale of shares now in its final stages of preparation. Emirsyah made his comments to the press after attending a fast-breaking reception with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The Garuda CEO remained non-committal on the exact date for the proposed IPO. Buoyed by recent positive financial results and bright future prospects, Emirsyah predicted that by the year 2015, Garuda Indonesia would enjoy a financial standing equal to, or greater than, that of its competitor, Singapore Airlines.

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BALI’S GOVERNOR REJECTS REBUILDING SARI CLUB

Bali’s Governor, Made Mangku Pastika, has asked the Regent (Bupati) not to grant permission for the building of a night club on the location of the former Sari Club, destroyed by a terrorist bomb on 12 October, 2002.

Governor Pastika’s recommendation comes following an announcement by a local businessman of his plans to build another nightclub on the lot.

Located immediately across the street from the formal monument which lists the names of the 202 people who died in the attack, the location has been eyed by an Australian organisation wishing to erect a “peace park” on the site. The backers for the peace park, however, remain unable to raise the necessary funds to purchase the site.
In issuing his recommendation, Governor Pastika said the now vacant lot must be developed to complement the “Ground Zero” monument standing directly across the street.

Governor Pastika was quoted by beritabali.com as saying, “If we can, this position should be non-negotiable. I have asked the Bupati (Regent) not to issue permits unless the development is for something that complements ‘Ground Zero,’ for instance a museum or an information center.”

Pastika also said he would look into the background of the building of another club already in operation at the location of the former Paddy’s Pub, also destroyed in the October 2002 bombing.

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GARUDA ENLISTS AIR FORCE

Garuda Indonesia is creating new frameworks for cooperation with the Indonesian Air Force in the area of human resources.

The agreements being put in place between the national flag carrier and the Air Force address aircraft maintenance, training, human resources and flight services.

Garuda’s CEO, Emirsyah Satar, told Bisnis.com “The new agreements for cooperation being put in place are renewals of pre-existing agreements.” The memorandum of understandings were signed by Emirsyah and the Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Air Force, Subandri, at the Air Force Headquarters in Cilangkap, West Java.
Emirsyah told the press that the agreements focused on human resources encompassing the development, training and utilisation of pilots, cabin crew, instructors and technicians.

Within the framework of cooperation in the area of aircraft maintenance, Garuda and the Air Force will share maintenance facilities as a step towards greater efficiency.

The memorandum of understanding covers a period of 5 years and is a renewal of a similar agreement already in operation.

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GILI BYTES

As high season draws to an end, the Gilis continue to enjoy good crowds and Gili T, in particular, is still busy with holidaymakers enjoying the perfect sunny weather. While there won’t be any wild parties during Ramadan, visitors can still enjoy the music and low-key party scene at all the best places on the island, with a 1am closing time out of respect to the local residents during this month.

The “Trawangan Tournament” tennis championships held by the Trawangan Club at Kelapa Luxury Villages have finished, with a series of hot and sweaty competitions between local business owners and managers. Congratulations to Ivan from Blue Marlin Dive who won the singles competition, and to Wayne (Tir na Nog) and Antony (Manta Dive) won the final doubles against the mean machine of Simon (Blue Marlin) and Clive (Trawangan Dive). A new tournament is planned to start in around 5 weeks… start practicing that backhand swing! www.kelapavillas.com

We visited the new turtle hatchery at ko-ko-mo Resort recently and were impressed by the great conditions the stylish Resort has provided for the rescued baby turtles. The hatchery came about due to the number of baby turtles that kept appearing on the beach at the front of ko-ko-mo. The kind-hearted owners consulted with Pak Zainnudin (aka Dino), the Village Head, who gave helpful advice and cooperation in constructing the hatchery and caring for the turtles. The result: a lovely custom-built turtle tank under the shady trees on the beach in front of ko-ko-mo, filled with healthy young turtles delighting guests and their children. The Resort hopes to have their first turtle release at the end of September, when the pampered shelled-ones will be returned to their ocean home! www.kokomogilit.com

Gili Trawangan’s business and local community leaders recently got together to carry out the first mosquito fogging operation on the island. Large areas on the island were professionally treated to kill mosquitoes and larvae and it is planned that regular fogging will be carried out in the future, as part of a long-term project to minimise mosquito risks on the island. Well done Gili T!

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GILI ECO TRUST NEWS

The Gili Eco Trust has been busy over the past month with a number of projects, particularly with recycling and rubbish collection and the replacement of a Biorock structure off The Beach House Resort on Gili Trawangan.
In some disappointing news, it was discovered that three Biorock structures, funded by The Beach House and Tir Na Nog and located off shore from these businesses, appeared to have been stolen. The structures contain titanium mesh and therefore could be attractive to people wanting to sell the metal or possibly someone wanted to steal the technology. If you see any suspicious activity near a Biorock structure, please report it to the Eco Trust or SATGAS as soon as possible.

Happily, a new structure was built with the help of Celia Gregory (an artist who participated in the last Biorock workshop and built the turtles and manta shaped Biorock structures). A new Biorock was built in the shape of a dolphin and, with help from a few volunteers, was sunk off the shore in front of The Beach House again. It is now connected and reportedly growing corals already!

Gili Eco Trust Manager, Delphine, is currently visiting Komodo Island to learn about their conservation projects and how they work with local communities there. On her return she will be visiting each of the three Gilis to distribute Eco Trust news and to collect data about how many rooms, toilets and septic tanks exist on each island. These details are important in order to put long-term eco projects in place (particularly rubbish and sewage projects).

Help out on Clean Up Day - Friday 9th of October

At the beginning of October, SATGAS-Gili Eco Trust will conduct a big clean up day on Gili T.

The International Clean Up Day will take place on Friday, 9 October and everyone is asked to participate in helping to clean either on the beaches or around their location on Gili T.

Children from the local school on Gili T will be participating and volunteers are needed to make up teams to cover all areas. Teams will be accompanied by a horse cart, so that rubbish can be easily transported to the rubbish dump. Children who clean well will receive special prizes on the day!

Tourists and divers can register at any dive shop on the island and get a bag and gloves to clean the beach or a part of the island. After coming back to the dive shop with a bag full of rubbish, they will go for a free dive to keep on collecting debris underwater. At the end of the day everyone will meet up at Sama Sama Bar and Restaurant for a big Indonesian buffet to say thank you to everyone for their contribution!

Rubbish collected will be used to build a pathway for the company (FMPL) collecting the rubbish. Some rubbish will be shredded (thanks to a shredding machine donated by the Lombok Government) and mixed with rubble to make a high pathway to the rubbish dump. Hopefully this will stop local people dumping rubbish everywhere during rainy season when they can't reach the rubbish dump, as it is all flooded and the horses can't cross the flooded area with a cart full of rubbish.

Get together with friends, work mates, tourists and families to form a team and help make Clean Up Day a success! If you can’t participate on the day, please help with donations to fund Eco Trust projects. Contact: Delphine Robbe, Gili Eco Trust Manager, on +62 (0) 813 3960 0553 or the local SATGAS Organisation: Rais on 0812 376 3491 or Usman on 0856 4696 4612.

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