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BALI UPDATE #093 - 16 NOVEMBER 1998
IN THIS UPDATE
- Peter Jennings of ABC News Dramatically Incorrect
- Sunday outing in Paradise
- Bali Updates Highlighted by TIME Magazine
- WSJ Highlights special deals available across the Pacific
PETER JENNINGS OF ABC
NEWS DRAMATICALLY INCORRECT
On last Friday night, Peter Jennings, the well-known
news anchorman for ABC News (USA) led into a story on Indonesia covering
last weekend's unrest in Jakarta by saying "Indonesia is on the verge
of civil war" and concluded his Indonesian coverage with the tag-line
"Indonesia - going from bad to worse."
Well, Mr. Jennings, first allow us to welcome you
to the Bali Updates. We've added your Company to our mailing list. Secondly,
shame on you for falling prey to the tiresome tendency of the electronic
media to place style above substance and truth.
Indonesia is not on the verge of civil war. Indonesia
lacks the fundamental difference of opinion on any key issue that forms
the basis for outright civil war. It is, in fact, hard to find opposing
viewpoints on issues such as the need for free and clean elections next
year; eliminating corruption, collusion and nepotism from society; and
a re-definition of the military's role in national affairs. Where differences
exist they are on matters of tactic as to how to achieve these goals and
due to frustration felt by many at the pace of the promised changes. The
divisive differences of opinion which is the prerequisite for a protracted
civil war in Indonesia just do not exist.
For a journalist of Mr. Jenning's standing to depict
this country as "going from bad to worse" is as trite as it is incorrect.
The Indonesian road to achieving a truly pluralistic and democratic society
is proving bumpy and, at times, hair raising. Without doubt, however,
all the signs along that road indicate that the Indonesian people are
unified in their commitment to democratization.
What happened last weekend in Jakarta was tragic
beyond description. The Nation's leadership, military, police and students
are united in their grief and, it would seem, commitment that those who
have fallen will not have died in vain. The President and the top-military
command of the Country have pledged to investigate the 9 deaths that occurred
at the height of the violence in Jakarta and to prosecute those responsible.
Bali Promo renews its call on ABC and other members
of the international news media to refuse the inclination to characterize
this country of 350 ethnic groups and 17,508 islands in broad generalizations
that fit into 30 second sound bites. Bali Promo also extends an open invitation
to the international media to visit Bali and view the peacefulness that
prevails on this and most of the other islands of Indonesia in order that
those same journalists can present a more balanced representation of Indonesia's
road to democracy.
SUNDAY OUTING IN PARADISE
Amidst the news of unrest that had just occurred in
the Nation' Capital, I spent Sunday exploring the island of Bali with
visiting friends and family.
Departing the tourist area of Sanur at 8 a.m., we
took full advantage of a marvellous sun-filled Sunday and headed up the
highway stopping to visit the stone statue carvers at Batu Bulan before
venturing on to our next stop at Puri Semarapura in the centre of the
city of Klungkung. The remaining two pavilions of a much larger palace
complex that was destroyed in the ritual mass-suicide of 1908 against
the Dutch, are now set amidst beautiful tranquil water gardens of lotus.
The Kerta Gosa - one of the two remaining halls - seemed to carry a special
message for our group who had today skipped church to explore the island:
the roof of the open pavilion is adorned with elaborate traditional paintings
depicting the gruesome punishments that await all in the after-life for
misdeeds committed during our current incarnation.
Conscience of the deeper message the paintings conveyed
and resolving to do good and be better, we followed the east coast highway
for a stop at Goa Lawah, the sacred bat cave of the Klungkung regency.
Believed to be an old heat vent directly connected to Mt. Agung, some
20 kilometres away, we arrived just as truck loads of local worshippers
in brightly coloured sarongs and carrying elaborate offerings were preparing
A young boy, 18-year-old Komang Suardika, took us
in hand and explained the ritual cycles of the temple and tried to help
us spot one of the many hundreds of pythons who share the cave with the
bats but had, it seems, chose to seek cool refuge further back in the
cave during our visit. Every square inch of the cave's roof is covered
by screeching fruit bats. Komang, our self-appointed guide, spoke remarkably
good English and was reluctant to accept our small tip. Like many visitors
to this island we were humbled by the simple goodness of a people who
place friendship and civility above material reward.
Continuing on past the burgeoning beach resort area
of Candi Dasa and the town of Almapura, we pushed on through quiet villages
of the Karangasem district and up the steep winding roads to Pura Lempuyung
set atop the 1058 metre peak of Mt. Lempuyung. Our visit was especially
well-timed as the temple was awash with Hindus praying at the temple and
the music of a traditional gamelan orchestra. Wisely, I always travel
with a sarong and a traditional sash which, when worn at a temple send
the proper signals of religious deference, and make one a welcome guest
even at high religious ceremonies.
The view from Lempuyung is worth the trip, providing
views across the island's terraced rice fields to the distant waters of
the Lombok Straits.
Heading back towards Denpasar we paused for lunch
at a local restaurant set in a rice field and enjoyed a 3 course lunch
for three costing $10 . Our final stop was the Tirtagangga Water Palace,
a retreat of the former ruler of the region, whose cool, clear spring-fed
pools had us all bemoaning our failure to pack a swimming suit.
Good roads and moderate traffic saw us back in Sanur
in time for late afternoon tea after a journey of discovery available
to all in tranquil and exotic Bali.
BALI UPDATES HIGHLIGHTED
BY TIME MAGAZINE
The November 16 edition of TIME MAGAZINE (Asian Edition)
has highlighted this newsletter as a source for the latest travel information
To our many new readers who have subscribed as the
result of the TIME mention, welcome aboard.
To our many Bali-based readers, please remember to
keep sending details of special events, offers and promotions to BALI
UPDATE so we can continue to inform the world about your Bali product.
WSJ HIGHLIGHTS SPECIAL
AVAILABLE ACROSS THE PACIFIC
The Wall Street Journal, November 13, "Weekend Journal"
section carried the following"
"More and more foreign airlines are offering free
companion tickets in first and business class, and the perks, once a rarity
available to a select few, are easier to get than they used to be. Cathay
Pacific Airways, for one, is offering a free companion seat on flights
between Los Angeles, New York or San Francisco and Hong Kong, Bangkok,
Bali, Manila or Singapore. The tickets are available to any American Express
cardholder who pays a full business-class or first-class fare (typically,
these offers apply only to platinum cardholders)."
Another good reason to fly across the Pacific to
Bali at this time.
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