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Animal Welfare Art Bali Indonesia

HECTOR’S DIARY Bali Advertiser, Jan. 7, 2015

 

 

His fortnightly diet of worms and other non-religious experiences

 

BAWA with a Bang

BAWA, the pre-eminent animal welfare organization on the island because of focused effort and the seminal role played by founder Janice Girardi in dealing with rabies when it broke out in Bali in 2008 – the disease is now endemic, but that’s Indonesian bureaucracy for you – ended 2014 with a bang, though not one that would frighten the doggies.

It held a Bridge to New Year fundraising dinner on Dec. 29 at Ubud’s Taksu Restaurant, an event at which the organization was able to brief guests on its plans for 2015 and beyond. It came complete with musical entertainment provided by BAWA staff members who, when they’re not doing their day jobs, sing and strum a guitar with enthusiastic aplomb.

Earlier in December BAWA announced a real coup. Ubud prince Cok De Piko (Tjokorda Gde Dharma Putra Sukawati) has become a BAWA ambassador and, because of his enduring love for dogs and particularly the very special Bali Dog, will be seen out and about with BAWA teams as they perform their daily work.

His favourite quote is from Mark Twain: “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.” Cok De studied in Australia, where he did not adopt a dog because he wouldn’t have been able to leave it behind when he returned to Bali. That’s the sort of thinking casual pet owners the world over should get their heads around.

Ubud’s traditional royalty remains very influential in the local community and is extremely well connected where it matters.

On Jan. 3, BAWA hosted the third of its series of events at Kuta Beachwalk, themed around its Adopt-Learn-Chat with a Vet program. That came along with really good music that ran late into the evening; a selection of beautiful puppies; ready-to-chat veterinarians; and some lovely art from Urban Sketchers. The event was sponsored by Beachwalk, Legian Beach Hotel, and others including Scooby-Doo, the dog food-delivery people.

BAWA’s Christmas card was interesting, by the way. You might say it was highly traditional. There was snow everywhere. This did not bring to mind Snowing in Bali, Kathryn Bonella’s book about the drug scene. Instead, it reminded us that snow looks great on Christmas cards and is murder anywhere else. We did wonder what the lovely Bali dogs and the little monkey on the BAWA card were thinking.

Please, Do Amuse

Jade Richardson, the peripatetic scribbler, recommenced her writers’ workshops in Ubud this month. This is good to see. Her approach to the written word is unique and she has a mind that is fun to engage. It’s no surprise that in Bali, where Ozymandias still lives in self-nominated splendour and where so many have built glittering local reputations upon the geographically distant rubble of pasts imperfect, she’s not on everyone’s most-favoured list.

Her mission with The Write Path is to get intending authors of books, biographies, short stories, poetry and those with ideas for articles or scripts fictional or factual, to take that first bold step and release their inner muse. Richardson, who is not one with whom to trifle, says that her process with writers “releases a genie from the bottle – meaning that I can assist those who have the call to write to discover a genius for storytelling that they never knew they had.”

She started her workshops in Bali and they’ve since been to Ecuador, the Galapagos and Thailand and online. It’s good to see her home again. It’s worth looking at www.heartbookwriting.com too.

Play-tonic

Plato always gets a good rap at The Cage. He’s well up Hector’s Top Ten Thinkers list. So it’s a bit sad, as he is so anciently a posthumous source, that his engaging aphorisms, real or otherwise, get co-opted by the ignorant for all sorts of nefarious purposes.

A case in point: On Dec. 28 there was an event at Dragonfly Village in Denpasar billed as Sensual/Sexual PlayDay – Conscious pleasure with consent, organized by someone called Matthias Schwenteck. This gentleman purloined for his own purposes the Platonic observation (one of the many Plato didn’t actually utter) that “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”.

The event seemed more suited to Ubud, where lots of people like to spend their time examining their navels while harbouring the intent to get a close-up glimpse of someone else’s.

Perhaps the fixation with things better organized privately, or which are undertaken singularly in darkened rooms with the doors locked, really is spreading beyond the confines of Loopville.

Alpha Mail

An item a fortnight ago noted that the new British envoy to Indonesia, Moazzam Malik, was still ambassador-designate because he had not yet presented his letters of credence to President Joko Widodo.

Well, he hadn’t engaged in this ancient formality when we sent the previous diary in by its deadline. He did shortly thereafter, it seems, though this was not without a little last-minute hitch. He tweeted on Dec. 18, the big day: “Almost forgot my letter from the Queen – had to run back to get it.”

Banzai!

We had a pleasant drive (we jest) one Saturday evening recently when the Distaff decided she’d like sukiyaki for dinner and suggested we journey to Seminyak to enjoy the table-top cooking at Kaizan. We hadn’t been there for a while, so a plausible excuse to avoid the trip did not spring to mind.

But Kaizan wasn’t there – perhaps the extortionate rents now demanded in the area had driven it away – so we dined instead at another favourite nearby, Kuni’s, on seaweed salad, Gyu asupara maki, Gohan, Sukiyaki Nabe, and a delightful green tea mousse. This was accompanied in order by “one large Bintang two glass”, some rather pleasant sake and a nice plum wine.

The Distaff has a thing for Japan. This dates from many years ago. And for sukiyaki, ditto, though it is more a home-cooking dish than a fine-dining experience. Her view on sukiyaki, as on many things, is “Doko ga warui no desuka?” It’s a colloquial Japanese transliteration of an interrogative “What’s wrong with that?” And we agree.

The drive from Ungasan was another matter. Large numbers of idiots were dangerously riding their motorbikes and the drivers of all the tourist buses were clearly on speed. Half the street lights were out on the by-pass. There were Hindu ceremonies everywhere that required fierce-looking village guards armed with Star Wars-style magic wands to stop the traffic so that scattered little groups of celebrants could wander at will across the thoroughfare.

The airport traffic circle was mayhem as a result. Northbound traffic had formed eight (we counted) “lanes” to force a way into the circus. The Distaff closed her eyes and thought of sukiyaki while her driver, whom we know as Perpendicular Pronoun, edged and all but nudged his way through. It helps, we think, to have been a lemming in a former life.

He’s Cooking

Vyt Karazija, the inveterate blogger, was thinking virtually out loud on Facebook on Boxing Day evening as to whether he should go out to eat or stay home and cook. Neither prospect amused him. We (and others) tendered advice. Ours was simple and direct: “Easy. Starve.” In the end he decided to cook and explained why:

“The prospect was get dressed, release security cobras, then quickly lock up premises, don wet weather gear, get bike outside, lock gates, ride to restaurant while trying not to skid, fall off, get hit by some moron, park bike somewhere where it won’t fall over/get stolen/get flattened by some blind idiot with a Hummer, order food, get accosted by friendly drunk, argue about the ++ charges on the bill and then do everything in reverse just to get home.

“Then having to round up the security cobras and put them back in their boxes and pacify them because I forgot to pick up their mice for dinner.

“Or alternatively, cook dinner and eat it.”

It’s a piece of cake, really.

Dance Class

A chance remark the other day, offered by an acquaintance who may have been concerned that some might have missed the module on delicious irony when they were majoring in epithet, prompts us to say that we know the iconic Bali dance that tourists have been going ga-ga about since it was invented in the antiquity of the 1930s is called Kecak.

Readers may have noticed a reference or two to Kecap dances in the diary in recent times.

It is often called Kecap by tourists and in many less than scholarly references on that global kindergarten primer, the world-wide web. Kecap is sauce. Though it must not be confused with ketchup, which is to piquant what semolina is to Bubur Injin.

Hector tweets @scratchings on Twitter. His diary appears in the print edition of the Bali Advertiser and at http://www.baliadvertiser.biz

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Bali Indonesia

HECTOR’S DIARY Bali Advertiser, Jun. 25, 2014

His fortnightly diet of worms and other non-religious experiences

 

Browned Off

PLN is up to its old tricks again. No, we’re not talking about the sharp round of rises in its tariffs. It’s the lingering brown-out after its triumph in the 2010 globally unplugged championships that’s focusing our mind. PLN said then that there would be no more power cuts in Bali. No one believed them of course, but that’s entirely to be expected and anyway it’s hardly the point. PLN delivers on its promises with the same level of commitment it shows to providing service.

It’s so obviously a problem – lack of capacity about which the monopoly state-owned power provider effectively does nothing except buy cheap high-polluting Chinese diesel generators instead of more expensive but cleaner German ones – that we think its actual business plan, which of course no one has ever seen, has “Dysfunction” where normally you’d see “Function” above that happy little paragraph promising the world.

So here at The Cage we’re giving serious consideration to proposing to PLN that we pay them 80 percent of their tariff, based on the average voltage actually delivered, and further reduce that, pro rata, for time over the billed month during which nothing was delivered at all.

We’ll let you know how we go with those negotiations.

 

Think of a Number, Run With It

It can work for effect, if you’re in PR. But sometimes you despair of the bureaucracy and its political bosses here. Actuarial process always seems to take second place to inventive accounting, whether that’s of money, some promotional boosting, or a handy story to sell to the punters.

We heard recently that some official had stated there were now 500,000 dogs in Bali, which is the same, more or less, as the pre-rabies 2008 figure. More likely someone’s barking mad (a clue: it’s not the dogs). The figure can only be an estimate. Such is the way of things. It sits oddly with the 294,000 (est.) said to have been here in 2010, after two years of widespread canine rabies deaths and panicked culling following the tardy realization in late 2008 that the disease was on Bali. Unless, that is, the authorities really have being doing two-fifths of five-eighths of you know what about it, which they deny.

The 2008 outbreak naturally came as a complete surprise to the authorities. Well it would. If you were in charge of Bali’s animal or human health you’d obviously fail to see any reason for anxiety in the fact that we’re in regular commerce with Flores, the third rock along in archipelagic terms, where the disease has been present for 17 years.

Given the ravages of the disease among dogs (not to forget the 150 human deaths) plus the ill-planned, uncoordinated, often informal, thoroughly counter-productive and completely shameful killing sprees that have occurred in the six shambolic years since, half a million seems rather on the high side. But we’ll go with it, just for fun. The government is now going to vaccinate 80 percent of these dogs. Well, that’s the plan.

It tends to support the conclusion that no one officially has much of a clue about anything at all. What’s worse (since ignorance and short-funding will always be with us) is that the real official position appears to be similar to that expressed by Rhett Butler as he left Scarlett O’Hara in the movie Gone With The Wind.

The latest figures from the government on rabies distribution in Bali are, however, both interesting and of some statistical value.

According to the Bali livestock and animal health service 36 confirmed cases of rabies in dogs were recorded in the January-May period. Buleleng (11 cases) and Jembrana (10) were the worst districts. No confirmed rabies cases were recorded in Badung – where most tourists are – or in Denpasar.

Gianyar (which includes Ubud) had five confirmed cases of rabies in dogs, neighbouring Klungkung four – as well as a small mainland area, Klungkung includes the islands of Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida – and Bangli one. Tabanan district recorded three cases and Karangasem two.

April was the worst month for confirmed cases of rabies in dogs, with 14. There were six cases in May. January-March therefore produced 16 cases. The cautious optimist therefore would assume an annualized average of four to five reported and confirmed cases in dogs per month. That’s between 48 and 60 a year.

Under World Organization for Animal Health rules, two clear years (24 months) must elapse between the last reported animal and human case of rabies for an infected area to be declared free of the disease. So if a miracle occurs and May’s six cases were the last, May 2016 could be looking good.

Short of that miracle, the emergency is not over. There have been two confirmed human deaths from rabies this year on which details were released (they were in Buleleng in the north) and others in which all the indicators point that way.

 

Happier Tales

Still with the doggies, here are two happy tales. Iconic British animal rights and environmental warrior Jane Goodall and Bali Animal Welfare Association’s leading light Janice Girardi got together at the Green School’s weekend dedicated to conservation and sustainability on June 14-15.

Girardi was there to talk about BAWA’s vision for the future. Goodall, whose research work begun five decades ago led to her becoming the chimpanzee champion in Tanzania, was the weekend’s special guest. Both women know that it’s never easy being an advocate, let alone an activist.  Perseverance pays off. It’s a fundamental rule of human and individual progress.

On June 20 in Vancouver, Canada, BAWA benefited from a Wishbone charity night organized by supporters of its educational and animal welfare work here. All donations went to BAWA to help heal, feed and protect neglected and abused street animals.

Among things wags at the show could do was be pampered and learn insider tips from make-up artists, hairdressers, manicurists and eyelash technicians. Or they could try a henna tattoo.

We think their efforts rate a very big woof.

 

All Aboard

The man in the white mess kit, expatriate Glaswegian Neil Carl Hempsey, of Indo Yacht Support at Benoa, is gearing up for the seventh annual Ray White/YSG Super Yacht charity do on Aug. 1. We’ll keep you up to cruising speed on that.

Glasgow is in the spotlight at present as the venue for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, from July 23 to August 3, at which Indonesia could be competing if the British had been our filthy colonialists of the age instead of the Dutch. It’s a fine city, Glasgow, as well as Scotland’s biggest. It has a character all of its own and a bracingly damp climate to go with it.

Some Glaswegian humour, which is generally best kept at home if only because the accent with which it is delivered is impenetrable, has been given an outing in honour of the occasion. We saw a lovely photo of a bus whose lighted destination sign advised “Ah’m Nae in Service”.

There’s also a map which bears a certain very rudely short word that nowadays, unfortunately, is in common currency among the lexicographically challenged. It suggests that Glasgow is the epicentre of Scotland, a city of “Guid [that word]”. Guid is good, by the way. It also suggests that Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital awa’ a wee bit on the east coast, is a city of “English [that word again]”.

The Diary demurs. We’re sure that Edinburgh native and occasional correspondent Alistair Speirs, who publishes Now Bali and ensures we still get to read The Stranger, would agree with us that Auld Reekie is nae such thing. Sassenach, yes; but English? Never!

 

A Useful Muse

Susi Johnston, the Muse of Mengwi, has crafted a masterly compendium of things you can do to reduce crime and the risk that you’ll be a victim, either of street crime or of a break-in. It’s on her blog (ubudnowandthen.com) and should be a must-read for everyone.

We should not of course get into tizzy over crime. The incidence is rising here, but objectively it’s highly noticeable chiefly in comparison with received wisdom as to the carefree, crime-free days of yore that nearly everyone says they can remember.

That said, clearly the risk of becoming a victim of theft or worse is increasing. Avoid risk (as Susi says and we’ve noted ourselves in the past) by not being a visible target. Don’t walk or ride alone at night in places you don’t know and in which people are scarce. Lock up. Keep your valuables secure and out of sight. Common sense really.

She mentions the reporting facility at POLDA in Denpasar which many may not know of, and the presence in Bali of a special police unit, OBVIT, that is tasked with protecting vital assets – of which Bali is one – and of which almost no one has heard.

Don’t forget, either, that the Tourist Police now have a special reporting system and a Facebook page.

Hector tweets @scratchings on Twitter

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Uncategorized

HECTOR’S DIARY Bali Advertiser, Oct. 30, 2013

 

His fortnightly diet of worms and other non-religious experiences 

 

Somebody Loves Them

Bali Dogs, that is. And the anti-rabies fighter BAWA too, the Bali Animal Welfare Association, which as no one should have missed or failed to remark upon, has come to grief on the treacherous shoals of Bali’s perversely acquisitive and uniquely dysfunctional bureaucracy.

Jaymi Muzzicato, who is 11 and comes from Cranbourne in Victoria, Australia, has used her big heart and energy to raise funds in Australia for BAWA programs to support the welfare of animals in Bali.

After visiting BAWA in September, she says she just can’t wait to come back to Bali and BAWA as a volunteer. Meanwhile, back home, she’s busy ramping up more support for BAWA among her friends, family and fellow students and staff at her school, Courtenay Gardens Primary, where earlier she won the backing of her school principal and teacher to run a colouring contest for the benefit of BAWA.

To promote the contest, she researched BAWA and shared lots of stories about rescued animals and BAWA’s many other animal support programs. When Jaymi visited BAWA in Ubud in September she presented $150 (Australian) raised from the contest, her personal money and donations. And she made a new friend of Monkey, a street dog that has adopted BAWA’s Jl Monkey Forest shop as her daytime home but likes the street life at night.

Jaymi says her visit to BAWA was the highlight of her two weeks in Bali and that it has motivated her to plan further fundraising for Bali animals in need.

Saying thanks to Jaymi for her efforts, BAWA founder Janice Girardi noted the capacity of young people around the world to make a difference to animal welfare. “We are really heartened when people like Jaymi take the initiative to give their time and energy to promoting BAWA and supporting our work to protect and create a better future for Bali’s animals,”  said Girardi.

Some people around here might profit spiritually by noting all that.

 

Kindling a Fire

Inveterate Legian blogger Vyt Karazija has had enough, it seems. But it’s not the terrible traffic, brutish baristas, ‘orrible ‘olidaymakers, importunate Rp600K quick-time girls, predatory premans or any of the other dangerous denizens of Grossville that have him on the outer edge of his temper envelope.

He popped up on Facebook, where like the Diary he spends a lot of time that probably gets him into trouble, with a swipe at Amazon/Kindle for complicating the life of authors from outside the USA. 

It was no wonder, he wrote, that authors from elsewhere other than the Land of the Free hate using that Yankee conglomerate for their works. We quote:

“First, they put you through a tax grilling, making you pay ridiculous rates of tax to the IRS unless you execute some complex document relating to ‘treaty benefits’ with your home country. Then you have to physically ring the IRS and confirm. Then, a year later, they make you go through the whole charade again…

“Here is a typical bureaucratic question on their latest incomprehensible tax form: ‘Do you derive the income for which you can claim treaty benefits?’

“Simple, right? But then they helpfully ‘explain’ how to answer, and melt your brain in the process: ‘Income may be derived by either the entity receiving the item of income or by the interest holders in the entity or, in certain circumstances, both. An item of income paid to an entity is considered to be derived by the entity only if the entity is not fiscally transparent under the laws of the entity’s jurisdiction with respect to the item of income. Answer yes or no’.

“Why don’t they just ask: ‘Are you the one getting the money?’ I guess that would be too simple.”

We engaged Karazija on this, pointing out that millions of legislative drafters worldwide would be unemployed were the KISS principle to be invoked. He came back with a lovely line: “Bafflegab rules.”

We can’t beat that.

 

In the Running

Alicia Budihardja, late of Conrad Bali and most recently late of Mantra (the newish Aussie player on the comfy beds circuit) has popped up at the plush St Regis, as assistant director of marketing communications reporting to Stephanie Carrier, director of same. It’s a move “just down the road” but a big career step.

We wish her well. It’s so nice to know cheery people who enjoy their work and are good at their jobs.

The new gig encompasses fellow Starwood property Laguna Resort and Spa. It’s a cluster in the new-speak of the resort world. Perhaps we shall soon be seeing Budihardja winning beach races with all the practice she’s bound to get sprinting up and down Geger Beach to the Laguna and vice-versa.

 

Exit Report

We love seeing old friends who make it back to Bali from far-flung places – even though in this particular instance we were so busy in paradise we could only see them once (for a lovely lunch at a favourite spot, Café des Artistes in Ubud) – and it’s fun getting their post-trip exit reports too.

Thus we hear from Larry Sprecher, of Portland, Oregon, who truly is a senior citizen, as is his wife Maggie, the self-driver on their trips:

“Maggie had no trouble with the missing International Driver’s Permit. We were stopped at only one roadblock. The officer took a look at Maggie, did a double take, saluted and waved her on through.

“The new [Ngurah Rai] International Departure Building is impressive. It will be even more impressive when they get the new restaurants, shops, and provide places for 1000 people to sit.”

Ah Bali! Don’t you just love it?

 

It Ain’t Half Hot Mum

Well it would be, dopey. And very humid: It’s Bali and the rainy season is coming. (Disclaimer: Print deadlines being what they are, this item was sent off 10 days ago; if everything’s changed by the time you read this, and you’re wearing galoshes because it’s sodden underfoot or ugg boots to ward off the rainy season chill, don’t blame your poor diarist.)

Back in mid-October BMKG (the Department of Meteorology) felt obliged to tell people it hadn’t been any hotter than it always was at that time of the year. Then it said it had been, which came as no surprise, since in Indonesia yes is so often no and black so often white. Living within earshot of public discourse here is reminiscent of  listening to Jim Trott (admirably played by Trevor Peacock) in that fine Brit sit-com The Vicar of Dibley, whose seminal contribution to any discussion consists of “no-no-no-no – yes”.

But we digress. BMKG felt obliged, in its public disclosure of the state of Bali’s weather, to advise that the sun was moving south at the time – both astronomers and astrologers will be glad to hear that, no doubt, though boffin-like quibblers could point out it’s actually the earth’s pedantic insistence on oscillating that does the trick – bringing with it the weather we normally expect in October.

We quote Bali BMKG chief of data Nyoman Gede Wirajaya as our expert source: “The position of the sun is directly over the island in October, resulting in quite hot weather,” he said, further explaining that Bali’s position south of the equator affects the weather cycles. Thanks, Pak Nyoman. Glad you could clear that up.

Daily highs average 33C in October but had been 35C. Perhaps at the BMKG 35C is not hotter than 33. We are assured that things will be cooler in November and December, when the sun has moved to the south and is fully-frying our neighbours in Australia.

 

That Sinking Feeling

Tanjung Benoa is sinking, so it is said. Hundreds of residents of the mudflat and sandbar promontory at the northern end of Nusa Dua think so, at least, and as members of a group known as Harmony Bali they recently attempted to apprise the Governor of this unsettling information. Harmony doesn’t get a mention in police standard operating procedures, however. A handily present platoon of plods was resolute in denying them entry to the gubernatorial offices in Denpasar.

An appeal to the shades of successive Venetian doges might possibly bear fruit. The Serenissima was built on much the same sort of shifting and watery ground. It was only stabilized – as an infrastructural entity we mean, not as a political community, which might be another similarity – when Medieval and later Venetians got among the aquatic stuff with megatons of reinforcing material and backed that action with rigid building controls that saved the islands of the lagoon from disappearing into the briny.

In much of the world, you don’t build on mudflats and sandbars anyway, for very good reason.

 

Hector tweets @scratchings