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NEWS

ISSUE 87

 

EASTER ESCAPES 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.

With the Easter holidays starting and beautiful sunny weather here again, now is a perfect time to escape to Lombok. Flight time from Bali is only 25 minutes and there are numerous airlines offering flights throughout the day. See page 2 for flight details.

A visit to the Gili Islands last week showed that hundreds of holiday-makers are already arriving to spend their days on the stunning white sand beaches. If you’re planning a Gili escape, make sure you book accommodation early!

But if your hotel is already full, don’t bypass the main island of Lombok. While the lure of white sand and turquoise waters is irresistible, there are hundreds of beautiful beaches to be discovered on Lombok; not to mention lush green jungles and forests, breath-taking waterfalls, awe-inspiring mountains – including a world-famous volcano – and the fascinating culture of the local Sasak people.

To find out more, pick up a copy of The Lombok Guide from the locations listed on http://www.thelombokguide.com/deadline_publishing.html or visit www.thelombokguide.com and discover the magic of Lombok for yourself… like thousands of others, you’ll be enchanted!

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BAMBOO - LOMBOK’S SUPER GRASS!

© David Clegg 2011

Bamboo, a plant easily recognised by most people, is a sub species of grass of which over 1500 have been identified. This versatile plant is abundantly spread around the world from the Americas through Africa to the Asia Pacific region and can grow up to 60 centimetres (23.6 inches) a day and up to a height of 18 metres or 60 feet.

It is the strongest growing woody plant in the world, and has a tensile strength superior to that of steel, meaning that it can bear longitudinal stress better than steel of a comparable size. Bamboo, called “bambu” locally or bambusa vulgaris botanically, is used in a multitude of ways throughout the island of Lombok.

The bulk of the bamboo used in Lombok is in building and construction, from small huts to large modern structures, where its immense strength is used to support newly poured reinforced concrete horizontal beams (lintels) until they have dried out. It is worth seeing the minarets of new mosques under construction, sheathed with bamboo scaffolding towering upwards.

Small village houses, huts and shelters are built using the strong poles for the framework, while the outside walls and inner partitions are made from split bamboo lengths woven together into panels. The roof is supported by bamboo “beams” and thatched with coconut palm leaves or the long alang alang grass where available, though corrugated metal or “asbestos” roofs are becoming more popular, (and a lot less attractive).

“Bamboo has a tensile strength
superior to that of steel”

In almost any small rural village, bamboo can be seen used for basic furniture, fences, fans, food covers, baskets, trays, chicken cages, dove and small bird cages, conical hats, sieves, ladders, mats, livestock enclosures, clothes drying poles, masts for television antennas, and as water pipes leading from streams.

Furniture production accounts for a large slice of bamboo usage here and is very popular among local residents as well as being exported around the world. One kilometre south of Gunung Sari are many small open-fronted bamboo workshops lining each side of the road, producing all manner of chairs, tables, woven panels, fighting cock cages, bird cages, fence sections, woven panels, room dividers, lamp shades, wall lamps, bamboo twine, wind chimes and baskets and bags of all shapes and sizes. Plain bamboo is generally used, but the rarer and hence more expensive “tortoiseshell” bamboo is used in some furniture.

Outrigger fishing boats and canoes utilize bamboo for masts and for the outrigger floats. Small diameter bamboo starting at around 5 centimetres is used on the small two-man canoes, while the large passenger-carrying boats use massive lengths, up to 12 centimetres in diameter. These floats of compartmentalized bamboo filled with air add an extra safety dimension as the boat – even if swamped and filled with water – will remain buoyant.

Climb aboard one of these large outriggers in Senggigi, take a day trip out to the Gilis and swim at one the beautiful white beaches. It really shouldn’t be missed and will be one of the highpoints of your holiday here!

Another sight worth seeing are the large bamboo fishing platforms, called “bagan” or “tambak” locally. These are built in relatively shallow water within a few hundred metres of the shore and are easily seen from the land. They vary in size, but 5 metres by 7 metres would be the norm, with the top of the platform between 2 and 4 metres above sea level, depending on the tide. A small thatched roof shelter sits on the platform providing cover during stormy nights, and during the hot sunny days when repairs are made and an afternoon siesta is the order of the day.

These bamboo structures have a large net hanging in the sea directly below the platform, into which fish are lured at night by the bright lights of a paraffin pressure lamp sitting on the platform. When sufficient fish are milling around under the platform, often fed a bait of small dried prawns to keep them attracted, the sides of the net are slowly winched up to just above sea level and tied off to the horizontal rails running around the platform.

The fish, often small species, are then scooped out of the net and put into baskets for the short trip to the beach, where most of them will be laid out to dry in the sun and then sold in the local market. The villagers will cook and eat a small amount of these fish, along with a few larger fish or prawns that will occasionally be attracted to the platform. These bagan are easily seen in Telok Waru and Teluk Buwur, a 15 minute drive from the turnoff at Lembar Harbour, along the coastal road that follows the bay round to Sekotong in South West Lombok. 

The ‘coolie hat’, a conical woven bamboo hat used by men and women alike as protection against rain and sun, is made all over Indonesia. Here it is a cottage industry centred in various small villages, dotted around Central and East Lombok, where the whole family is involved, in one way or another, in their production.

ourists often buy, wear, and then take them home as souvenirs. Fortunately modern technology has not yet been able to produce anything in plastic to replace this icon of South East Asia.

Sadly however, bright yellow plastic banding tape is increasingly being used instead of bamboo or rattan (a jungle vine), to bind the rim to the hat which spoils its aesthetic look. The reason for this, I am told, is that it is cheaper, both in time and money, to produce hats, trays and baskets using this tape, because rattan has to be imported from other parts of Indonesia such as Kalimantan (Borneo). Binding the hats rims, or baskets and trays with bamboo is harder on the hands and takes longer to complete than using the plastic banding tape.

However traditionally made bamboo hats and baskets, using bamboo or rattan bindings can be seen and purchased in many weekly markets in East & Central Lombok; notably Labuan Haji and nearby Tanjung Teros (both on Sundays), Poak Montong near Masbagik (Fridays), Masbagik (Mondays) and Sakra (Thursdays).

Don’t forget bargaining is part of the culture here and vendors, despite maybe making a killing, will be genuinely disappointed if you have accept the first price offered without a murmur.

Apart from hats, numerous other bamboo and interesting items are sold at these markets. Remember these weekly markets start early morning and finish around midday to one o’clock, leaving only a few skinny dogs wandering around looking for scraps of food after closing. Best to get there early!

Swinging bamboo baskets of fruit and vegetables hanging from a slightly curved slice of bamboo pole carried over the shoulders of street vendors are a becoming a less common sight in Lombok, but are still popular with the older vendors. There are a couple of these older men selling fruit, peanuts and so on along the main strip in Senggigi.

The culms or shoots of the bamboo, so well known in Chinese cuisine, are normally boiled by villagers as a vegetable, with a rather bland taste, but tasty shoots are to be found in some restaurants in East Lombok and can be bought in the local markets.

Also food-related are the thin bamboo sticks cut and pointed at one end, onto which small pieces of meat are skewered, cooked over glowing charcoal, and served with a rich peanut and chilli sauce. That’s satay (sate) – one of the most popular dishes with locals and tourists alike throughout Indonesia, and well worth trying.

A sweet and tasty glutinous type of rice, known as “plemeng” is cooked in freshly cut bamboo tubes that have been thinned down on the outside to make the wood thinner, thus enabling the rice to cook more quickly.
The sweetened, flavoured rice, mixed with water, is poured into the tube and the top sealed with leaves. The tubes are then placed over a wood fire and cooked for a few hours. The thinned down tubes also make it easier to split open the bamboo to get the cylindrical block of cooked rice out. Try a slice or two, but wait a while if you plan to go swimming, it is rather heavy and filling!

One product of woven bamboo that is very attractive is the fish trap (called “kodong” in the local Sasak language). The finer ones are occasionally bought by tourists as a stand alone artwork, or sometimes used to create a lampshade by adding a light bulb and wiring. These finely made traps are barrel shaped or tubular frameworks of bamboo with a funnel structure in one end, (through which the fish or prawns enter), and a large hole with a stopper at the other end.

Some of the traps have a second funnel in the centre which makes it doubly difficult for the fish to find a way out. The trap is placed in a lake, pond, river, or shallow estuary with a little bait inside to attract fish or prawns. The fish enter the trap by squeezing themselves through the funnels, lured by the bait, and then find it impossible to get back out of through the reversed funnel structures. The catch is easily removed by taking out the stopper and tipping the trap upside down. In the small village of Ketapang, near Kekeri (only a few kilometres from the present airport), fish traps have been a traditional village industry for many, many years.
Along with the traditionally-shaped traps the villagers now produce smaller finer pieces which are aimed at the tourist trade for use as ornamental pieces and as lamp shades. Though bamboo is still the main material used, rattan and part of the aren palm are also used.

Bamboo cannons, “meriam” (the Malay word for cannon) are a favourite among small Muslim children, who delight in the noise it makes when “fired” during festive occasions such as Hari Raya Idul Fitri, the celebration at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

These cannons, over a metre in length with a diameter of 7 to 10 centimetres, are basically just a tube with one end closed off, and with all the other inner nodes or knuckles removed. A small hole is made in the tube or barrel near the closed end and a smoking paraffin soaked rag pushed well down the tube, but not blocking it. The build up of fumes in the tube is ignited by holding a burning match, or more often a gas lighter, to the small hole, producing a loud boom and a puff of smoke.

An alternative is to use a piece of wetted calcium carbide (purchased from the welding shop) and ignite the fumes. Meriams were banned for a while but now, I am glad to see (and hear!), they are slowly creeping back into village life.

Children can occasionally be seen in the countryside staggering around on crudely made bamboo stilts. Just two small diameter bamboo poles are constructed, with wooden pegs hammered through small holes cut in the sides, and they are ready to go. They wouldn’t meet any of our safety standards, but the kids don’t care… they are having fun!

The day before the Balinese New Year, or Nyepi, is the day all Hindu households are purified to clear away any evil spirits. The embodiment of these evil spirits are the large grotesque effigies of demons called Ogoh Ogoh, which are paraded down the main road in Cakranegara, shoulder high, on large bamboo platforms, before supposedly being burned on the eave of the New Year.

“In the village of Gunung Sari, just 15 minutes
 from Senggigi, you can buy furniture and a
huge variety of items made from bamboo,
directly from the villagers.”

Holding these monster statues together is bamboo, which is loosely woven and tied together, forming the basic framework of the monster. Around this framework, newspapers are glued layer after layer, “papier mache” style, until the requisite thickness has been reached. This, after drying out, is then brightly painted, giving the often menacing statue its identity and characteristics.

Various tourist knick-knacks are produced from bamboo – hanging wind chimes being the most popular. The angklung, an import from Bali, is made of shaped and tuned bamboo tubes set in a frame, each set producing only one note. They are played in unison with other sets, similar to European bell-ringers. They are made basically for the tourist market. Bamboo flutes used in many traditional ceremonies here have been produced in Lombok for centuries.

Wonderful, versatile, bamboo… doubtless Lombok would survive without this “super grass “, but it wouldn’t be quite the same place!

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WHAT'S HOT!

A few days spent out on Gili Trawangan last week only served to confirm our opinion that this is an island in a constant state of evolution. Every time we visit, there are more new places opening and more building going on. Love it or loathe it, Gili T is an island on the move!

• Judging by the crowds already on the beaches, most people love it. If you are planning a Gili T escape over Easter, you’d better make a booking fast!

Blue Water Cruises have already kicked off their party programme with their “The Boat that Rocked 3” cruise onboard the beautiful traditional schooner “Aliikai” from Bali to the Gilis. (See out photo story in “Local Scene” on page 26).

The main party on 3 April 2011 had lucky guests rocking to international artists Jim Larkin and Neil Stallings from San Francisco. Jim and Neil are well known as San Francisco Bay area singers, with careers in the music business spanning five decades. The pair first recorded in their teens and toured throughout the southern states of America opening for Johnny Otis, Sugar Pie Desonto and Etta James. They have also performed at the San Franciso Fillmore Auditorium with Albert King, Joe Texs and others; and have toured with blues and jazz musicians in Canada, Brazil, Japan, Korea and, since last December, in Indonesia at Bali Blass with Michael Franti.

Spinning tunes for the event were well-known Dj Malik and Dj Stevie G (Chocolate City, USA). The next event, “The Boat that Rocked 4” is scheduled for around the full moon in May… stay tuned! www.bluewatercruises.com

• Still on the Gilis, but this time Gili Air, much excitement and new developments as this beautiful laid-back island takes off! New places are opening so fast, it’s hard to keep up with them all and many of the new accommodations are much more luxe than the older style Gili Air bungalows.

Scallywags, the little rascals that get everything right at both their Gili Trawangan and Gili Air restaurants, are getting ready to open new accommodation on Gili Air on 1 May. As an adjunct to the popular Scallywags Organic Beach Club on Gili Air, Scallywags Mango Retreat is located just inland from the harbour in the south of Gili Air.

The boutique retreat has one beach view bungalow and 6 garden bungalows, plus a freshwater swimming pool so guests can escape from the heat. Similar to Scallywags Resort on Gili T, Scallywags Mango Retreat offers stylish designer features, private garden, terrace, large flat screen TVs with Indovision cable, solar-heated water, air-conditioning, original artworks and high quality bedding. Indoor/outdoor bathrooms all with freshwater showers, fully stocked mini bars, in-room safes, and more. Like all Scallywags resorts, the latest in Green Technology has been incorporated into the design, to minimise our carbon footprints on the islands. Always innovative, Scallywags Mango Retreat is sure to be a popular option for stylish stays on Gili Air! www.scallywagsresort.com

• Also on Gili Air, chilled-out Zipp Bar has just opened their new accommodation on the island too. Unzipped Bungalows are located further north than the bar, on the beach just near Bulan Madu. The bungalows are actually six beautifully restored wooden Joglo (traditional Javanese wooden houses), with balconies. Made from teak wood and painstakingly renovated, these Joglo offer a stylish alternative for a stay on Gili Air.

• Lastly, don’t forget the free Peresean competitions being held in Senggigi every weekend! The traditional stick fighting competitions take place in the arena at the Pasar Seni (Art Markets) on the main street, just south of the Sheraton every Saturday and Sunday afternoon from 4.30pm. Organised by Sanggar Budaya Sesela, the competitions are being held to encourage young people to participate in traditional arts and to share Sasak culture with visitors. Competitions are fast and furious, and great fun for spectators! Tourists and visitors are encouraged to join the crowd and witness this authentic cultural sport. Please support this local group with donations if you attend – it’s their only source of funding and the only way they can keep the competitions going!

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BRAVE GOVERNOR FACES BALI HELL

A very damning appraisal of Bali’s environment and development published in TIME Magazine was met with outrage by many in Bali and Indonesia.

The article, written by Andrew Marshall and titled “Holiday in Hell: Bali’s Ongoing Woes”, examined the various problems faced by the resort island, from garbage to beach pollution and traffic congestion.

However, Bali Governor, Made Pastika, chose to take a more sage approach, admitting the article that found Bali’s beaches dirty and its crime rate rising as “in keeping with the facts in Bali.”
“We cannot deny it. It is a fact,” Pastika said “If Bali is allowed to continue (like this), it will become hell for tourists.”

The magazine article covered similar issues to those uncovered in a Bali Tourism Office survey that found one of the first complaints tourists made after arriving in Bali was that litter was out of control, Pastika said.
“It is true that we are dirty; much more than other countries,” he said.

Pastika also said he had received numerous complaints about the island’s increasingly congested traffic, including from participants at the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank in May 2009.
He asked Balinese people not to become offended by the article or send letters of protest or rebuttal to the magazine.

“The facts are there and Time only wrote what it saw,” Pastika said. “It is a magazine with a high level of credibility. We should look at this as a chance for introspection.”

He said he hoped the report would open Balinese people’s eyes to the problems that urgently needed to be addressed.

On Thursday, 7 April, Bali’s famous Kuta Beach saw a massive cleaning operation, with 26 garbage trucks and two loaders dispatched to undertake an urgent clean up of the large piles of flotsam, jetsam and other waste that had washed ashore in recent weeks.

 “Almost every day, Kuta receives the equivalent of 20 to 100 trucks of garbage,” said Anak Agung Ngurah Tresna, who heads the Kuta Beach Task Force.

According to NusaBali, the massive clean-up removed 100 cubic meters of trash from the beach. The clean up quickly transformed the beach that had begun to resemble a rubbish tip into the once-again pristine white sandy beach favoured by Bali visitors.

Tresna said the beach will now be cleaned five times daily, instead of the usual two to three.
Speaking to the media, Governor Pastika said the Time article had prompted him to seek the assistance of all elements of the island to create an island more in keeping the reputation of Bali being a heaven on earth.

“Our job is to make Bali like a heaven. A Bali that is clean, not congested with traffic; neat and with good people. Later, it's for others to judge us, not for us to do. So, what TIME has written is factually correct. Whether we’re a heaven or a hell, it is just an opinion. What people want to see: is there action or not?”

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LOCAL SCENE

THE BOAT THAT ROCKED 3!

Blue water cruises rocked the gilis on 3 April, partying onboard Aliikai with guest DJ's, drummers and live music by US artists Jim Larkin and Neil Stallings

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MR FIXER

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

QUESTION: My partner and I came to sunny Lombok to enjoy some tropical surroundings and a few beers on the beach at sunset. We like it so much that we have decided to stay and make it our home. My previous occupation in Europe was a boring 9 to 5 office job with the occasional posting abroad. I stuck it for the sake of the wife and kids, but the kids have left the nest and can take care of themselves. My passionate hobby is breeding parrots, so my wife and I bought a piece of land near the rainforest not far from the popular tourist area of Senggigi and built a small villa and a few aviaries. I used to bring my wife a parrot for a present every time I would have to go away, so just for a change, I brought home a cockatoo. My wife said she had a cockatoo while I was away.  What did she mean? 

The parrots seem quite happy and some of them have started breeding. One of them, however, has a mite disease which has resulted in him ripping all his feathers out from the irritation. The only ones he can’t reach are the ones on his head, so he looks quite hilarious sitting on his perch. I have another parrot I rescued from an expat who passed away just recently.  It is a scarlet Macaw with red, blue and gold markings, which are famous for talking. His name is Polly and his previous owner was a smoker and had a heavy cough, so the parrot coughs and swears all day. If we have visitors, they eventually end up talking to Polly, who just coughs and tells them to f#ck off. What can I do? 

MR FIXER: It sounds like a normal day in our office! Why not combine your hobby with a business, so everyone can enjoy the birds? Open a bar and restaurant with a small bird park as the attraction. Invite a load of Aussies. No one will notice Polly coughing and swearing -- the Aussies will be doing plenty of it themselves. Great! Beer and birds! You can’t beat it! 

QUESTION: I love shopping! That’s why I came to Lombok. The shops in Bali are great but I heard the shops in Mataram are just as varied and interesting, so I brought some girlfriends along. Bags, shoes, dresses, accessories and more shopping, shopping, shopping.. till I’m dropping!

Lombok is famous for pearls, so I went with a friend to a new pearl superstore. It was fantastic! Beautiful pearls of every shape and colour imaginable, in settings to die for; all presented in brightly lit cabinets with prices for every pocket. Needless to say, I spent a fortune!

When we got back to the hotel, my friend said she had to go and would see me later. We met up at the Happy Café, where I had my sinuses cleared for free, and during the conversation I overheard my friend saying how much commission she had collected from the pearl shop from my purchases. I felt betrayed! She was my friend. How dare she make money from my friendship? If she needed money, all she had to do was ask. I am distraught. What shall I do?

MR FIXER: It is not unusual for up to 20% commissions to be offered to people who bring customers to stores. In order to qualify for the commission, your “friend” would be required to notify the store that she had introduced you in advance of any purchases. In future, I suggest you register yourself as qualifying upon entering the store and say your friend is “The Invisible Man.” For extra proof of this, have imaginary conversations with this person in front of the salesperson. Having a split personality helps but it is not essential. Tell the salesperson that “The Invisible Man” is your boyfriend and if he doesn’t believe you, have a rip roaring argument with your “boyfriend” and threaten to leave him if he doesn’t buy you those pearl earrings and matching necklace. Claim your 20% discount before leaving. Simple!

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PURI MAS GALLERY OPENS

Puri Mas Boutique Resort in Mangsit has just opened a delightful new gallery filled with fine arts and collectibles from around Indonesia.

Puri Mas Gallery, located in a purpose-built building within the grounds of the resort, showcases wonderful Indonesian antiques and traditional arts, including shadow puppets, life-sized hand-painted statues and figurines.

The gallery sells not only traditional artwork, but also selected home decorator items, blown glass works, fine artwork and paintings, as well as objet d’art, up-market leather goods and jewellery.

We particularly like the unique blown glass pieces, with huge free-form vases in stunning coloured glass, draped and moulded over interesting pieces of wood – definitely eye-catching pieces to be showcased in any home.

For the ladies, there is a small selection of fine quality ladies bags in modern styles and colours, all fully lined and made from the softest leather. The gallery also plans to sell a unique selection of gold, silver and crystal jewellery, created by Australian and Italian designers, in the near future. These are one-of-a-kind pieces and feature healing crystals and fine gemstones.

Selected paintings are also available, featuring artwork from some of the most famous artists in Lombok, including Pengsong, B Setya, Kadek and Mantra. These artists are known throughout the art world and their work is considered highly collectible in Europe.

Smaller pieces abound, including lovely vases and bowls, silverwork, and a tasteful selection of cushions, throws and decorative fabrics. None of the items sold are available anywhere else on Lombok.

We expect the gallery to have an evolving selection of desirable pieces, as Puri Mas is well known for its beautiful art and antique collection. Whether you are shopping for souvenirs, gifts or something special for your home or villa, a visit to Puri Mas Gallery is a must!

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NEW INDONESIAN IMMIGRATION LAW TO HAVE MAJOR IMPACT!

A new immigration bill recently passed by Indonesian parliament is being hailed as the biggest change in immigration law for years and will have a major impact on expatriate investors in the country, as well as those married to Indonesian citizens, and their children.

Under the new bill, foreigners who legally marry an Indonesian citizen can now obtain a permanent residency permit after two years of marriage, children of mixed marriages can obtain the same residency status, and expatriates working in the country can obtain permanent residency permits after just three years.

Most importantly, spouses of Indonesian citizens holding permanent residency status can seek employment and work openly to support their families.

The House of Representatives passed the immigration bill on Thursday, 7 April 2011, after six years of deliberation and lobbying by human rights groups, expatriates and their spouses.

Law and Human Rights Minister, Patrialis Akbar, praised the bill’s far-reaching impact on the lives of expatriates and its impact on global mobility.

“Foreign investors, missionaries and social workers who have worked and stayed for three consecutive years are allowed to apply for permanent stay permits, while expatriates who have married Indonesians need only two years to get a permanent stay permit. Moreover, their foreign spouses are allowed to seek jobs and make money,” he said.

The new law will also do away with the current requirement that those holding a KITAS (temporary stay permit) renew their permit ever year, attracting sometimes expensive fees. All permanent stay permit holders, however, must report to the immigration office every five years, although they will no longer be charged fees.
Fahri Hamzah, Deputy Chairman of House Commission III, which hammered out the law together with the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, described the passage as a “breakthrough.”

House Deputy Speaker, Priyo Budi Santoso, described the law as “monumental” and one of the most important pieces of legislation passed by the current batch of legislators.

The bill, which revises the 1992 Immigration Law, says expatriates with two-month social-cultural visas can apply for limited stay permit after marrying Indonesians. The permit will be revoked if the expatriates divorce within 10 years of their marriage.

Limited stay permits will also be granted to children born in Indonesia who have one parent who has a limited stay permit. This includes former holders of Indonesian citizenship and children of divorced parents, where one parent is an Indonesian citizen

Deliberation on the bill was not without drama. Two key provisions on mixed marriages that had been unexpectedly dropped from the bill were reinstated in time for Thursday’s deliberations, with article 54 and article 62 being stated clearly in the version passed into law. They guarantee that foreign spouses who have been married to Indonesian citizens for at least 10 years could stay in the country even after they get a divorce. Children from mixed marriages will also be granted permanent residence permits.

The law also warned that the government would not have mercy on those who abuse the regulations, such as the practice of fake marriages to acquire a residency permit.

The new bill is scheduled to be signed by Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, within the next thirty days and the new regulations are expected to be implemented within the next year.

Julie Mace, a representative of the International Rainbow Alliance and the Indonesian Mixed Marriage Society, said she would wait for the implementation phase of the law before passing judgment. She expressed hope that related institutions such as the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration would strictly abide by the law, especially when it came to the rights of foreign spouses to work.

Mace also said the groups she represented would in the short term monitor the government’s steps in implementing the law.

“We will keep focusing on the government motions in producing the ministerial decrees and government regulations because the new law will not work effectively without those,” Mace said, adding that the relevant decrees and regulations should be issued within a year.

“In the long term, we want to increase awareness of this law across the country, so that all state officials know and understand there is a new immigration law,” she said. It will be very important to have these stakeholders involved, she added, because only then will the new policies be implemented smoothly.

Key Points of the New Immigration Law

• Foreign spouses of Indonesian citizens can get a permanent residence permit (KITAP) after two years of marriage. They will only be required to report to the immigration office once every five years, instead of the annual renewal currently required. 5 yearly reporting will be a free service.

• If they have been married to an Indonesian citizen for at least 10 years, foreigners can stay in the country even after a divorce.

• Foreign spouses will be allowed to work in the country. Until now, spouses of Indonesian citizens were forbidden to work unless they held, and paid for, a work permit (IKTA).

• Children from mixed marriages will automatically get a KITAP, regardless of their nationality. Under the current rules, children of mixed marriages are allowed to hold dual citizenship until the age of 18, after which they have to choose citizenship of only one country. If they choose to adopt foreign citizenship, they have to apply for a residence permit to stay in Indonesia, even if they were born here.

• Foreign investors who have worked in Indonesia for three years can get a KITAP, rather than the current system of having to apply for a KITAS every year.

• Former holders of Indonesian citizenship can get a KITAP.

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FREMANTLE TO BALI YACHT RACE STARTS 26 APRIL!

The Fremantle to Bali Yacht Race will be held this year, after a gap of 14 years. The Race will commence from Fremantle (Western Australia) on 23 April 2011 with an ocean rally, followed by the official start of the yacht race on 26 April 2011.

Depending on weather conditions, the first boats completing the journey are expected across the finish line at the Royal Bali Yacht Club on 29 April 2011.

The race is hosted by the Fremantle Sailing Club in partnership with the Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

“After months of planning, Fremantle Sailing Club is thrilled to be officially announcing the return of international ocean racing to Western Australia – after a gap of 14 years,” Kaye Riseley, Club Vice-Commodore, said. “In partnership with the Indonesian Government Ministry of Culture and Tourism, we look forward to the Race becoming the premier offshore sailing event on the Western Australian sailing calendar and possibly even being known as the Sydney to Hobart of the West.”

“At 1440 nautical miles, the event is more than two-and-a-half times the distance of the Sydney to Hobart, so it will be a real challenge for competitors.”

Speaking on behalf of the Indonesian government, Syarief Syamsuri, Consul General of the Western Australia Consulate of the Republic of Indonesia, said, “We are pleased to be partnering with the Fremantle Yacht Club for the Fremantle to Bali 2011 Race and look forward to the opportunity of promoting our beautiful country to sailing enthusiasts and welcoming competitors to Bali.”

“We believe the event will assist in promoting positive relationships between Australia and Indonesia through sporting links, and also through an event that truly symbolizes a connection between our two nations.”

The Visit Indonesia Fremantle-Bali Yacht Race is a “Category 1”event in terms of International Sailing Federations (ISAF) Rules of Racing, requiring that the level of safety and risk management to be the same standard as that applied to the management of the iconic Sydney-Hobart race.

Organisers hope to attract up to fifty yachts in the event, supported by more than 500 crew and support personnel.

2011 marks the 30th anniversary of the Fremantle to Bali race, which was first held in 1981 but was halted in 1997.

Prior to its 13-year hiatus, the race from Australia to Bali ranked alongside other international long-distance races, such as the Sydney to Hobart and the Auckland to Noumea races, and the Fremantle Sailing Club looks forward to bringing highly competitive international ‘big boat’ racing back to Perth.

Event Patron and Australian yachting legend Rolly Tasker competed in the first Fremantle to Bali race in 1981 and still holds the record time of six days, 15 hours and 39 minutes in his yacht “Siska”.

Fremantle Mayor, Brad Pettit, said the event would be a great boost for the local economy.

“The Fremantle to Bali race represents great opportunity for Fremantle businesses and residents. We look forward to welcoming competitors and showing them the delights of our great port city,” said Mayor Pettit.
The Visit Indonesia Fremantle to Bali 2011 comprises the ocean rally commencing 23 April, the official start of the yacht race on 26 April, and a two-day “Visit Indonesia Festival” celebrating Indonesian culture, with traditional food, entertainment and cultural performances, to be held in Fremantle on 25 and 26 April 2011.
The event heralds the beginning of a new Cruising Rally from Fremantle in Western Australia to Bali in Indonesia, and an opportunity for long range cruising boats to join a rare rally in the Indian Ocean.

The organisers said there were a variety of high-profile competitors confirmed for the event, including many top WA-based ocean racers.

The rally boats are anticipated to take between 14 and 18 days to reach Bali, and hopefully, some will visit Medana Bay Marina in North Lombok along the way. The final presentation will take place on 10 May 2011.

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INDONESIA MUST REVISE ITS PLANS FOR NUCLEAR ENERGY

Contributed by Baba Senggigi

The demand for electric power increases every year, due to population increases, reliance on electric-powered technology, and our wish for more comfort. Electricity may also be the main source for car “fuel” and other engines in the near future; not oil and gas, as is the case today.

Clean energy resources such as solar cell panels, windmills, ocean wave (tidal) energy, etc are alternatives for homes and offices; however, these alternatives are expensive. Indonesia already has an economic system to keep the gasoline prices down, with subsidised fuel prices. Why not do the same with clean energy sources for residents?

The Indonesian government has been planning for nuclear energy, fuelled by traditional Uranium methods, as a solution to the increasing for demand for power throughout Indonesia. The first two nuclear power plants have been proposed for West Java and Bali.

Indonesian citizens, like most of the worldwide population, are sceptical of this alternative. The accident at the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl 25 years ago (1986), and the Japanese incidents a couple of weeks ago, only serve to reinforce this negative attitude.

Recently I read in The Jakarta Post that an industry expert group suggested that Bali (and also Lombok) should diversify for not being so vulnerable when accidents similar to the one in Japan happen. A large number of bookings from Japan for the coming months have been cancelled. Japanese tourists represent approx. 20% of the total numbers of tourists. Imagine the impact on tourism in Bali and Lombok from all countries if such a disaster were to happen in Bali’s planned nuclear power plant if using Uranium. 
However, there is an option to nuclear energy production based on Uranium, and that is Thorium.

Thorium is a mineral found in rocks, stones and sand. Australia and Malaysia both have good deposits of Thorium. Recently 1,200 tons of monazite-sand containing Thorium was produced in Malaysia in one year alone. It is estimated that there is enough Thorium worldwide for several hundred years of use.
I do not know if there has been any search for Thorium in Indonesia. However, if we draw a line on the map between Australia and Malaysia we will find – yes: Indonesia. So there is a good possibility that we will find Thorium when searching with special cameras from planes and helicopters.

Why Thorium? The main reasons for using Thorium to generate energy, compared to Uranium are:

  • The production of energy is a safe process that easily can be switched off quickly if needed. Processes based on Uranium are difficult to switch off.
  • Thorium has no long term waste issue after production; Uranium waste is dangerous for decades.
  • The thorium-based process is relatively cheap.
  • Thorium has a minor effect on CO2
  • It is impossible to develop nuclear weapons based on Thorium

I have to admit that currently there is no Thorium nuclear power plant in the world for energy production.

However, USA and Norway are doing research into Thorium as an alternative energy. The initial conclusions from a task force with international experts in 2008 are positive.

I believe that world society is willing to invest money and skill to support the development of the world’s first large scale nuclear power plant to solve Indonesia’s demand for electricity and at the same time reduce Indonesia’s bad influence on CO2 emissions.

Think strategic! Go for Thorium nuclear power plants as the solution to future energy demands.

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