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NEWS

ISSUE 59

LOMBOK FOR NYEPI!

SAVING LOMBOK’S TURTLES

WHAT'S HOT

LOMBOK TO HOST MICE CONFERENCE

BALI RABIES EPIDEMIC WORSENS

LOMBOK AIRPORT OPENING DELAYED

GOVERNOR DISBANDS LOMBOK SUMBAWA PROMO

STAND IN LINE FOR VOA

LOCAL SCENE

MR FIXER

NO ENGLISH, NO DIPLOMACY

WE GET MAIL FOR THE GILIS!

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LOMBOK FOR NYEPI!

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.

Nyepi, the start of the Hindu New Year, will be celebrated in Bali on 16 March this year with the traditional “day of silence”. For 24 hours, from sunset on 15 March until sunset on 16 March, people on the island are required to stay inside, make as little noise as possible and avoid all light. Restaurants and bars are closed, the streets are quiet and there are no flights into or out of Bali airport.

Our Balinese Hindu community in Lombok also celebrates Nyepi but, as we’re a multi-cultural island, we keep the lights on and life goes on as normal. Restaurants and bars are open, there’s music and dancing, and all the usual fun in the sun. That’s why so many people from Bali escape to Lombok during Nyepi every year!

Of course, one of the most interesting events during Nyepi is the Ogoh Ogoh Parade, when huge fantasy monsters are paraded through the main streets of Mataram on the day before Nyepi. Join the crowds in Mataram (along Jl Pejanggik, past Mataram Mall) in the early afternoon on 15 March to witness this amazing and fun procession of scary monsters and otherworldly creatures dancing down the street to the sound of gamelan music, shouts and laughter! In Lombok, we celebrate the best of Nyepi with no down time!

To find out more, pick up a copy of The Lombok Guide from the locations listed on page 32 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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SAVING LOMBOK’S TURTLES

In two large glass tanks next to the beachfront, dozens of little Leatherback turtles swim and stretch their flippers in safety. Overhead, a pitched roof provides shade for the young turtles, while alongside the tanks are nesting beds filled with beach sand for hatching rescued turtle eggs.

The turtle hatchery is the initiative of a dedicated local man, Pak Widodo, and the Holiday Resort in Mangsit, just north of Senggigi. Pak Widodo and “the Green Team” at the Holiday Resort have been rescuing turtles for over ten years now and are responsible for the rehabilitation and release of thousands of turtles back into the ocean.
Three of the world’s endangered turtle species – the Green Turtle, the Hawksbill Turtle and the Leatherback Turtle – make their homes in the waters around Lombok. All are faced with the danger of extinction from a variety of sources, including pollution, natural predators, destruction of coral reefs, and the most dangerous predator of all: man.  Now the humans are giving back, committed to preserving a natural resource and giving these endangered creatures a better chance to not only survive, but hopefully flourish. 

Green Turtles have been at particular risk in the past, being traditionally hunted as a food source. They are the main ingredient in “turtle soup”, as well as being used as an ingredient in cosmetics and Chinese medicines, while the skin has been used for making “turtle leather”. Pak Widodo says that they are seeing less Green Turtle eggs than ever before, suggesting that the numbers are now dangerously low.

Unlike neighbouring Bali, where turtle meat is a traditional food as well as playing an important part in Hindu religious ceremonies; the Muslim people of Lombok do not traditionally eat turtle meat, as the eating of amphibians is forbidden in the Koran. The turtle eggs, however, are considered by many to be another matter and have been collected as a food source here for many generations. They are also considered to be an aphrodisiac, so it is difficult to convince the local villagers not to take the eggs when turtles lay them on local beaches.

However, the turtles are now recognised as an endangered species in Indonesia and it is against the law to take them or their eggs. Most of the turtles raised by the Holiday Resort are hatched from eggs that have either been confiscated from local markets or have been collected by local villagers. Because their turtle protection programme has been operating for many years now, local fisherman and villagers often bring the eggs to the Holiday Resort to sell, rather than taking them to the markets. Pak Widodo and his team are working to educate these people that it is wrong to disturb the turtle nest. With limited success, they report that now only some of the eggs are taken, while the rest are left to hatch… an improvement over past practices, when every egg would be collected by villagers needing either the food or the money the eggs would bring.

The BKSDA (Badan Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam), or Conservation of Natural Resources Board in Lombok is responsible for enforcing the law protecting the turtles and often visits local markets, confiscating turtle eggs and sometimes prosecuting the sellers. They occasionally catch fishing boats with live turtles, which can fetch high sums in Bali and on the Chinese market, and confiscate the catch; returning the turtles to the sea. Confiscated eggs are often brought to the Holiday Resort for rescue.

The rescued eggs are buried in the sand-filled nests at the Resort for around two months, when the turtles hatch naturally. It is important that the eggs are kept in dry beach sand and are protected from dampness and excess heat. If the Resort receives them quickly enough and the eggs are still fresh, they have a success rate of over 90%. Some of the young turtles are released into the sea soon after hatching, as is normal in nature. The others are placed in the shady tanks to grow and develop strength before being released.

The care and maintenance of the turtle hatchery is funded mainly by donations from guests staying at the Resort. Many tourists, especially children, love to visit the hatchery and will donate money to help pay for food and equipment. Sometimes guests make donations to release a certain number of turtles back into the ocean during their stay. This generosity has allowed the Holiday Resort to build better tanks for the turtles, with pumps and underground pipes running out to the sea, so that fresh sea water can be pumped into the tanks… providing optimum conditions for the young hatchlings.

Turtle hatcheries allow guests to participate in a very special conservation project, and also teach the local community the value of these endangered animals. Lombok businesses, by setting the example, teach local people to understand that these sea creatures are an important part of their heritage and of their future. Already community attitudes are changing, particularly through education at school level and by allowing children to participate in the care and release of the turtles.

If you see turtles or eggs being illegally collected or sold, the BKSDA recommends that you contact the local police station in your area. Alternatively, phone BKSDA direct on (0370) 627 851.

Turtle hatcheries exist at the Holiday Resort and also at the Sheraton Senggigi Resort in Lombok, as well as on Gili Nanggu in the southwest, and on all three of the Gili Islands (Trawangan, Meno and Air). Check with the local dive companies to find out where they are and when there is a turtle release due. Outside guests can visit the hatchery at the Holiday Resort by phoning 693 444. Remember to make a donation -- you’ll be helping to support education of the community, as well as future generations of these beautiful graceful creatures in our oceans.

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Good news for golfers, with SHAGS (Senggigi Hackers Amateur Golf Society) holding major golfing events this month. The first round of the Club Championships starts on Saturday, 20 March. A week later, the second round of the Championships as well as the Sundancer Monthly Cup will take place on 27 March. Games will be played at scenic Kosaido Golf Course, at Pantai Sire in northwest Lombok. On Sunday, 28 March join in for a big day out at the magnificent Sundancer Resort in Sekotong, southwest Lombok. Trophies and prizes will be presented, as well as door prizes, raffles and events for the children. Tickets include lunch, and boat and bus transfers to Sundancer. Non members and tourists are welcome to join in any of the events. For more details or to purchase tickets, contact Barry Lyon on 081339868939 or Mike Doran on 081339904033.

A great new service is opening in Lombok this week! Newspaper Direct has been successfully operating in Bali and Jakarta for some time now and are about to open an office in Senggigi. Now you can order your favourite newspaper from home and have it delivered to your door free -- of charge and on the same day as it is published overseas! Newspaper Direct are the biggest foreign newspaper distributor in Indonesia and distribute over 1200 different titles from over 84 countries in 37 different languages! Miss being able to sit down with a coffee in the morning and read your favourite paper? Contact Newspaper Direct on 693 882 or 659 8882 to change all that!

Blue Marlin Dive is one of the most popular and professional dive operators in Lombok. The company has been teaching people to dive safely and taking visitors to explore the gorgeous reefs and dive sites around Lombok for over 10 years. Now the Senggigi office is offering everyone a chance to discover the magical underwater world. Those wanting to learn to dive can get 10% discount on PADI Dive Courses, while qualified divers can join the daily Fun Dive Trips with a 5% discount. For those who prefer to stay on the top of the water, get 10% discount on snorkelling trips, which include all equipment and a professional guide to show you all the best areas to view colourful tropical fish and beautiful corals. The service includes private car and boat transport to and from the Gili Islands, so you can stay at your mainland hotel and still discover the best of the Gilis! See the Blue Marlin discount voucher on page 52 for details!

On Gili Trawangan, The Beach House, Blue Marlin Dive and Tir Na Nog Irish Bar are joining forces for a major fundraising event in honour of past Blue Marlin Dive instructor, Donna Newton, who died during a diving trip to the Galapagos Islands last October. Donna had planned to run in the London Marathon in the UK in April this year, to support her favourite charity, “Sense”, a charity for the deaf and blind. Instead, Simon Liddiard and Clive Riddington from Blue Marlin Dive will run the marathon in her memory, with proceeds going to “Sense”.

To help fund the marathon fee, a fundraiser will be held on Wednesday, 10 March and will feature an around-the-island race by Clive and Simon, a special dinner at The Beach House Resort, and a party at Tir Na Nog. There will also be wagers on the runners, a raffle and other prizes, including dinners at various restaurants and free nights at ko ko mo Resort, Kelapa Villas and more. Tickets are only Rp 150 000 pp and it’s bound to be great fun for a good cause! For more information, or to book tickets, phone Jane on 0812 375 6003 or email info@kelapavillas.com; or Diane on 0813 3777 3900 or email digilit@ozemail.com.au

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LOMBOK TO HOST MICE CONFERENCE

The island of Lombok has been chosen to host the 2010 Indonesia Meetings, Incentives, Conventions & Exhibition (MICE) and Corporate Travel Mart (IMCTM) to be held between 6 - 9 May, 2010.

The event plans to host 200 buyers from the meeting, incentive, conference and exhibition (MICE) sectors. The majority of the 200 buyers expected at the event will come from Australia, China, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea. It is estimated that around 150 sellers will exhibit resorts, meetings and convention centres, and other MICE facilities at the IMCTM.

Nia Niscaya, MICE Director from the Department of Culture and Tourism, said that Lombok was a potential MICE destination in Indonesia for international markets. The ten main MICE destinations are Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Bali, Medan, Bukit Tinggi-Padang, Makassar, Solo, Batam, and Manado.

IMCTM 2010 Chief Organiser, Panca Rudolf Sarungu, said that MICE business has a target of seven million foreign tourists in 2010. From the economic side, MICE tourism produces six times more business than ordinary tourism, he said.

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BALI RABIES EPIDEMIC WORSENS

New cases of rabies infections continue to mount in Bali, as the island suffers numerous setbacks in its battle against rabies. Radar Bali reports that deaths attributed to the disease are also mounting in the face of the depletion of emergency government funds allocated to fight rabies.

In light of the worsening situation, Governor Made Mangku Pastika convened those delegated with fighting rabies in Bali for a meeting on 23 February, 2010. In attendance were representatives from the Bali Department of Health dealing with communicable disease, environmental health officials and representatives from Rumah Sakit Sanglah, Bali’s main general hospital.

Following that meeting, the officials told the press that Bali was still in an “extraordinary situation” in its confrontation with rabies, made worse by the high rates of dog bites being reported to health authorities every day.
Bali’s main general hospital, Sanglah, is reporting a daily rate of 60 dog bites, with other satellite general hospitals across the island treating an average of between 25-30 cases a day. Authorities estimate around 85 dog bites are taking place island-wide on a daily basis.

Since November 2008, a total of 31,000 dog bite injuries have occurred in Bali, with 28,000 people being given anti-rabies serum. The current count estimates that there have been 59 confirmed deaths from rabies, of which 28 have been clinically confirmed as resulting from the disease.

Fearful of a further spread of the disease, disease control authorities have renewed their calls for the elimination of stray dogs in Bali.

Dr Ken Wirasandi of the Sanglah General Hospital, who serves as the Secretary of the hospital’s Rabies Control Center confirms that rabies has now spread to almost every regency and metropolitan center in Bali.

“Klungkung, which was formerly said to be safe, has now seen a patient from that area die at Sanglah Hospital. The only area still free of rabies is the regency of Jembrana,” explained Dr Wirasandi.

Of concern to Dr Wirasandi is that fact that at least five of those who have died of rabies received two of three treatments with anti-rabies serum, with one having received the complete regime of 3 shots. Post-mortem studies revealed that two of the patients receiving two sets of serum did, in fact, die of rabies.

Rabies treatment must be commenced as quickly as possible after suffering a possibly contagious bite. Unfortunately, once clinical symptoms of rabies appear in a patient there is little that can be done medically to save the victim’s life.

There is also a growing problem in securing a sufficient supply anti-rabies serum. A 5 year old boy died of rabies in Bali on Sunday, 21 February, 2010. The child, who came to the hospital for treatment after being bitten in the face by a dog, did not receive the needed serum, apparently because officials had no supply of the serum to give the child.

There have also been reports in the Bali press of drugs stores in Bali selling anti-rabies vaccine that should, according to law, be available from hospitals without charge to the public.

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LOMBOK AIRPORT OPENING DELAYED

Plans to conduct a “soft opening” of the new Lombok International Airport (BIL) in March 2010 are going to be delayed, according to Ahmad Baharudin, the Chief of Transportation, Communication and Information (Dishubkominfo) for West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) province.

Quoted by the national news agency, Antara, Baharudin said, “I am personally hesitant about the soft opening planned for March, if I see the preparations at the project.”

He continued, saying the final preparations of the new air field should have been apparent since late February, particularly from PT Angkasa Pura I, the company managing the new facility located in Central Lombok.

The preparations of the infrastructure for BIL are nearly complete, and it was expected that a “soft opening” could take place by the end of March 2010; commencing a three-month trial period before formal operation of flights can start.

“Two or three months more for PT Angkasa Pura I to get everything in order before the operation of the international airport, this coming June,” explained Baharudin.

In issue 56 of The Lombok Guide we reported that, based on our own observations at the airport site and interviews with one of the project managers – and despite repeated announcements by the Lombok government and false reports in other media of a January completion date – a mid-2010 soft opening date for the airport is realistic, barring any further problems.

The new Lombok International Airport has a main runway of 2,750 meters length and a width of 40 meters. Apron parking areas measure 62,074 square meters with a terminal measuring 12,000 square meters and parking lots covering 17,500 square meters.

The airport project was allocated Rp110 billion (US $11.7 million) from the 2008 and 2009 provincial budget of NTB (comprising Lombok and Sumbawa Islands).

In issue 57 of The Lombok Guide, we reported that PT Angkasa Pura I (API), the company responsible for airport constructions throughout Indonesia and in charge of technical building at Lombok airport, had offered to return the development capital contributed by local government as their share in building the airport.

API said they would refund investment capital of Rp 110 billion to the Government of West Nusa Tenggara and Rp 40 billion to Central Lombok Regency, to be used instead by the governments to build the supporting infrastructure for BIL.

Supporting infrastructure elements for the BIL, such as the new by-pass connecting the airport to the capital city of Mataram, are still delayed by continuing problems with securing right-of-ways to allow road construction. To hasten the process, the Governor of NTB has formed a technical team to help negotiate the needed land in West and Central Lombok.

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GOVERNOR DISBANDS LOMBOK SUMBAWA PROMO

The Governor of West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), Muhammad Zainul Madjdi, issued a surprise decree to members involved in regional tourism in Lombok on Monday, 15 February, 2010.

Decree No 122, 2010 cancelled Governor Decree No 362, 2008, which allowed the establishment of the Tourism Promotion Board Lombok Sumbawa, better known as Lombok Sumbawa Promo (LSP).

The Governor’s decision means that membership of the LSP committee, which has long held control of tourism promotion in Lombok and Sumbawa, would be dissolved ex officio.

LSP was led by the Vice Governor of NTB, Badrul Munir, as general chairman.

Governor Zainul Madjdi was also included in the LSP, as acting chairman of the Board of Trustees.

It was judged that because of their presence on the board, plus the presence of other DPRD (NTB legislators) members including Johan Rosihan and Misbach Mulyadi, the LSP opposed Law No 10, 2009 on tourism and Law No 32, 2004.

Vice Governor Badrul Munir confirmed the decision, saying that, according to law, NTB tourism promotion should be handled by the Department of Culture and Tourism, according to NTB main tasks and functions. “It was also expected that the tourism business associations that exist would be included,” he said.

In fact, LSP was established to join the three pillars of tourism in NTB, which are the Travel Companies Association (ASITA), the Association of Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants (PHRI), and the Association of Indonesian Guides (HPI).

Chairman of PHRI NTB, Lanang Patra, said each pillar of NTB tourism can not stand alone. The existence of LSP was considered necessary in order to really focus promotion and systematic work. Similarly, Chairman of ASITA NTB, Awanadhi Aswinabawa, confirmed that LSP was still needed as government partners.

NTB Regional Secretary, Abdul Malik, NTB announced that a new Regional Tourism Promotion Board will be established in accordance with the Tourism Act. LSP Administrator, Misbach Mulyadi, said that the existence of vacancies means that they would immediately negotiate with ASITA LSP, PHRI and HPI for new members to avoid gaps in promotional activity.

Malik explained that the original inclusion of the Governor and Vice Governor in LSP was based on the consideration for the smooth implementation of tasks and that they did not receive a fixed salary from the LSP, except honorarium remuneration.

LSP has long been dogged by allegations of corruption and cronyism, and many tourism industry stakeholders in Lombok are critical of the way tourism promotion for the island has been managed and how promotional funds have been spent in the past.

LSP also triggered controversy over the implementation of funds for the 2009 TIME (Tourism Indonesia Mart and Expo) held in Lombok last year. The NTB provincial government granted LSP Rp 5 billion in funding to organise and promote TIME 2009. LSP’s financial accounting for how funds were spent was reported in two stages; Rp 3 billion in October 2009 and Rp 2 billion in January 2010.

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STAND IN LINE FOR VOA

Bisnis Bali reports that, despite a total of 26 VOA (visa on arrival) counters at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport, long delays of as much as two hours are being encountered by those landing during peak traffic hours.

Between the hours of 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm, when as many as 1,200 passengers land on overseas flights, appears to be the time slot worst affected. Assuming an average of 2.5 minutes to process each visa on arrival and the full operation of 26 visa counters, this translates into lines that can take almost two hours to clear just to complete the visa purchase process.

This calculation of possible delays was put forth by a member of Commission B of the Badung House of Representatives (DPRD-Badung), Wayan Puspanegara.

“With this condition, the tourists will certainly be bored. This is like a bad dream, not in keeping with the happiness the tourists seek,” he said

The legislator from the Golkar party also pointed to the small area at the airport allocated to issuing visa-on-arrival and the impossibility of adding any more service counters. This may require the widening of visa-on-board to more flights, beyond the current limitation of incoming flights by Garuda from Japan.

Puspanegara also said that other services at Bali’s airport were below standard, pointing to the lack of even handedness by Customs officials in dealing with imported goods carried by tourists. He said that the process of passing through customs need not be prolonged for tourist visitors not bringing contraband items into the country.
The over abundance of money changers and the proliferation of travel brochures are also areas of concern.

Concerned that the long lines at Bali’s airport may deter visitors from coming to Bali, the Chairman of the Association of Indonesia Travel Agents (ASITA) for Bali, Al Purwa, called on the government to allow tourists to purchase their visa on line. Pointing to other destinations which have extended such a service to visitors, such as Cambodia, Purwa has written to Bali’s governor, the chief of Bali Tourism Service and the General Manager of Bali’s Airport Authority requesting that his visa-on-line proposal receive serious consideration.

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LOCAL SCENE

MASK PARTY @ CAFÉ ALBERTO

Masks, music and madness as family and friends gather to celebrate Rahmi’s birthday
at Café Alberto

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

QUESTION: A friend of mine told me that during the rainy season, the lovely holiday island of Lombok is among the most lightning prone areas in the world. It was in all the papers so it must be true. Would you recommend the installation of a lightning conductor on my villa? I was shocked!

MR FIXER: Dear Shocked, Lightening conductors are simple to install. In principal, all you need is a non ferrous metal rod (copper, brass etc), about 1 meter long protruding upwards from your roof. This is then connected to another non ferrous metal rod of about the same length by copper wire. Bury the second rod in the ground so you have good earth contact. The chances of you being struck by lightning are very slim indeed. My friend George claims to have been struck by lightning twice, but it turned out he’d only had his photo taken.

QUESTION: Due to all the rain we’ve been having lately, my roof has started to leak, so I thought I’d get a ladder to investigate. The ladder only just reached the edge of the roof so I had to climb up the tiles to the ridge where I suspected the cause of the problem was.   As I peered over the ridge, I noticed my next door neighbour sunbathing by the pool. The only thing she had on was the radio. She was utterly naked! The bare flesh on her smooth loins glistened in the sun and I could see the curvature of her voluptuous mounds as she lay there unaware of my presence. As I turned round to reach for my binoculars, a ridge tile broke loose and I slid down the roof at great speed, missing the upright ladder completely. My leg and collar bone are healing nicely now and I was wondering if you could suggest a safer way onto the roof with all my camera equipment.

MR FIXER: By far the safest way to access a roof is with the use of scaffolding and a proper roof ladder. Interlocking steel scaffolding is available in Lombok. This metal framework is interlocked together to create a stable tower and forms a platform on which to stand. Lean a normal ladder against the platform making sure it is completely fastened. Then, introduce a second ladder with a downward “L” shape at the top, which hooks over the ridge. You should now have a ladder resting along the roof which gives good climbing access and reduces the risk of damaging the tiles as the load is spread lengthwise. When you have secured all this in place, let me know. I have several mates interested in photography of all kinds. Roof maintenance is dangerous work. My friend George tied a rope around his neck as a safety precaution. It’s a good job he did or he might have killed himself!

QUESTION: I am Eva Vestoff,  4th best stripper in all Moscow 1986 and special companion to Boris Noneck, ex KGB big boss who intends to build 12 bedroom datcha in beautiful Lombok with swimming pool, Jacuzzi, gym and tennis court for wife and family, my mother and a few bodyguards. Big boss is suffering from filthy western decadent heart condition and doctor say he has only 12 months to live. Do you think is possible to build datcha before he “pops his clogs”, as you westerners like to say? 

MR FIXER: Building anything here in Lombok takes twice as long as it should.  My guess is that a 12 bedroom villa as you describe, with all the additions, would take at least two years. Perhaps you should seek another medical opinion. My friend George had a similar heart condition and the Indonesian doctor gave him 12 months to live. When he couldn’t pay the bill, he gave him another 12 months.

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NO ENGLISH, NO DIPLOMACY

The Jakarta Post reports that the Foreign Ministry and other ministries have been urged to boost English-language skills of attachés and diplomats abroad to avoid humiliating the country and help take home more foreign investments.

Experts here have expressed concerns over a confession from a Foreign Ministry top official that a number of Indonesian attachés stationed at embassies overseas had trouble speaking English, impacting on their ability to effectively negotiate with foreign officials.

“Speaking English is a basic requirement of diplomats,” University of Indonesia political communication expert, Effendi Ghazali, said in Jakarta. “You cannot develop strategies to attract foreigners to Indonesia if you can’t communicate,” Effendi said.

During a meeting with legislators, Foreign Ministry secretary-general, Imron Cotan, revealed that a number of attachés were not fluent in English, saying that each time their counterparts from the home government wanted to meet, they sought ways to avoid meetings. The most popular excuse is that they need to take sick leave as recommended by their doctors, Imran said.

An Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) legislator, Tri Tamtomo said that the current configuration of attachés’ was not effective and wasted state funds.

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa also acknowledged the problem, but reminded the media not to over generalise the lack of language capability of the attachés and diplomats. He said that from the beginning, younger diplomats had been encouraged to spend time with their foreign counterparts by actively participating at a gathering or function, for instance.

Although the Foreign Ministry has been noted for having a solid selection process in recent years, many have said that older diplomats, political appointee ambassadors and attachés who were proposed by other ministries had been weak points in Indonesian diplomacy because of language problems, lack of confidence and laziness.
In an interview with the Post, a former ambassador said that ambassadors who were appointed from outside the foreign ministry saw the ambassadorial posting as a time to enjoy their pension.

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WE GET MAIL FOR THE GILIS!

Care and humane treatment of animals is something that is rare throughout Indonesia and the problem is only just beginning to be addressed in major centres such as Jakarta, Bali and Lombok.

The Gili Eco Trust is actively working to make conditions better for horses on the Gilis. As we reported in issue 57 of The Lombok Guide, the Eco Trust, together with Umalas Stables in Bali, hold free clinics and workshops for horses and their owners on the 1st and 15th of every month. Umalas Stables manager, Sabine, and staff, together with Eco Trust manager Delphine, and staff from The Stud on Gili T, work to teach the local people how to maintain their equipment, how to treat their horses for wounds and injuries, prevent worms, tooth care and filing, and other general health concerns for horses.

These workshops are open to all and are free of charge… please urge the horse owners on the Gilis to get involved in this generous service.

The Eco Trust is also asking all Gili Islands businesses to contribute to the welfare of the horses on the islands by placing a big bucket of water in front of their businesses. The Eco Trust has large fibreglass buckets available in blue or green for just Rp 400 000 each, which look nice and won’t detract from your business frontage.

The Beach House, Big Bubble Dive, Manta Dive and Trawangan Dive are already supporting this initiative with free water for the horses outside their business. However, this is only four out of the hundreds of businesses on the islands… we’re looking forward to seeing many more people get involved!

For more information about Gili Eco Trust activities and how you can help, please contact Delphine Robbe, Gili Eco Trust Manager, on +62 (0) 813 3960 0553 or visit the website at www.giliecotrust.com

We received the following letter this week from a concerned visitor to the Gilis and think this issue is worth supporting:

Please do a story in your newspaper on this topic!

I recently visited the Gilis with a group of friends and business associates. We loved Gili and felt it was a truly beautiful and unique place. 

The only thing, which was troubling to myself and the others in the group, was seeing the treatment of some of the horses pulling the carts (Cidomo). Tourists want to visit a place and feel happy. Seeing animals being abused only dampens holiday enjoyment. 

I urge you, if you are a tourist and plan to use the horse carts for transportation, please consider the following:

1.  If the driver whips the horse and makes the horse run in the extreme, afternoon sun, please tell him not to! Tell him you do not want to see the horse run. You can say the following: “panas” (hot) and “kuda tidak perlu lari” (the horse doesn’t need to run). The more customers who complain, the sooner it will stop being a normal practice.

2.  If you see horses waiting for customers in the hot sun, ask the driver if he can move the horse to a shady area. The sun on the Gilis is extremely hot. I urge businesses in Gili to make the same request if they see this happening in front of their place of business.

3.  Ask the drivers to give the horses water or ask if you can give water or food.

4.  Please do not overload the carts. 4 normal-sized people, including the driver, are considered to be the acceptable limit. Please do not exceed 250kg, including baggage.

5.  If you see a horse with all kinds of silly brandings (such as dollar signs) express to the driver that you feel this is “kejam” (cruel) or “kasihan kuda” (you feel sorry for the horse). These horses are being branded with these symbols because the owner thinks this makes their horses more attractive towards tourists. If the owners of these horses know tourists do not like to see such cruel practices, it can be stopped. 

Anything you can do to help in improving the lives of these horses is much appreciated. Everyone benefits in the humane treatment of these animals. 

I also commend the work done by the Gili Eco Trust. I did not know of their work until I read about it on The Lombok Guide website just recently and I thank them for all their wonderful programs. 

Thank you kindly

Callista Beauchemin”

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