Make a Point
It’s by no means clear that conservationists in search of a headline have any capacity for lateral thinking; or that they care about collateral damage; or that they understand that the term non sequitor (it means: it doesn’t follow) applies to logic as well as grammar.
We raise this thorny issue because, in pursuit of the thoroughly laudable goal of saving the orangutan from extinction, the feisty folk at Nature Alert, a UK-based confabulation of environmental worrywarts, and others, elsewhere in Indonesia, have had a bash at Bali. Well, at its core business sector, the international hotels, at least.
Sean Whyte, who heads Nature Alert, quite reasonably makes the point that having yet another gabfest won’t save the orangutan. You can read his sensible comments in the news pages in this edition. But at the same time, if there have to be gabfests – and we all know that politicians and bureaucrats, not to mention environmentalists and others in the burgeoning non-government sector, all love them to death – why not hold them in Bali?
It’s a great island with plenty of high-rated hotels and a lot of people dependant on people staying in them for their salaries.
Princely feast: Janet de Neefe with her star pupil.
In My News Again
Cereal provider (her restaurants do breakfasts) and serial limelighter Janet de Neefe certainly makes good use of her Facebook. It’s free of course, and unedited. Golly, you can post whatever you like.
As this year’s Ubud Writers and Readers Festival approaches - October 6-10 in the eponymous hill town famous as the last resort of that lost tribe, the Wudbees (the related Wannabees pitch their plush tepees at Seminyak) - it is therefore cheering to see that De Neefe still finds time to help out in the kitchen and post photos to prove it.
Well, that’s not quite the story. A Javanese prince had dropped by her cooking school and some TV people filmed it all. In our photo – acquired from the said Facebook – it appears De Neefe is being blinded by the light. Or perhaps it was all those cameras. Yet another Warhol moment; gosh, a girl can be so lucky.
It was her birthday last Saturday by the way (happy birthday Janet) and she did also tell the world – again via Facebook – that the thought of celebrating with bubbles for a week, out of a bottle, not in the bath, had crossed her mind. Perhaps the squint was for practice.
It’s been years coming. Well, centuries really. Spain’s revenge on the Dutch for being really nasty to them in the sixteenth century and tossing them out of the Netherlands. That really hurt them. It also – eventually – gave us Belgium as a singular demonstration of the deleterious effects of the law of unintended consequences. Historians still ponder whether imperial Spain’s retreat in the face of militant Protestantism in the land of dykes and windmills was a cause or an effect of its decline as a world power.
So we can understand the delirium that occurred when the soccer world cup finally made it to Madrid. It was also fun – in a sort of disconnected way – to see television coverage of the subsequent affrays in the Spanish capital.
One TV news caption we saw from telecasts of the celebrations especially amused, as evidence that the world has definitely dumbed down over the past 400 years. It was two lines. The first said: “King Juan Carlos.” The second informed: “Spanish King.”
There’s one other benefit of the end of the soccer world cup. Those frightful vuvuzelas can all be burnt.
You meet like-minded people in the most surprising places. The Diary, on its welcome relocation back to Bali’s warmth last weekend, dropped by the duty free stores at Perth airport – as you do, unless a squillionaire, if returning to Bule Price Land – for a modest bottle of premium Jack Daniel’s whisky (the 43 percent proof is the one to go for) and ran into Ann, at one of them, who was happy to serve a paying Sunday customer.
On hearing that The Diary was Bali-bound she asked if we could say Hi for her to John Fawcett, a lovely man. Well of course we could. We share Ann’s sentiments.
So, John, hello from Ann at Perth duty free. And Hi from us too; keep up the good work.
Also at Perth airport, we heard a chatty Australian immigration officer telling some departing Bali-bound travellers where to go: in a nice way, with lots of good information for first-time visitors. It was such a pleasant surprise that The Diary even forswore the customary distemper when held up in an unnecessary queue.
The delay was a useful warm-up for the situation at the other end of the plane ride where one harassed (but stoically pleasant) passport-stamper was manning the sole Temp Res desk.
Aunty ABC, the Australian broadcaster, got into a tizzy this week when its new Facebook comment page was consumed by a vacuous “debate” about the fortunes – misfortunes, rather – of celebrity Kerobokan prisoner Schapelle Corby.
This delicious frisson of fracas led - naturally, given the provenance of much of that particular commentariat - to accusations of censorship. The ABC barred one of the fiercest contestants in that particular wrestling match; and a good thing too.
Corby and her voracious family and hangers on have done themselves no service over the past six years, by crying “No Fair” and selling their fictionalised accounts of disaster and derring-do to a credulous Australian media. Corby is in jail, having been convicted of a drug offence. It’s sad – we should all feel some empathy with those incarcerated, even if they don’t deserve it – but it’s a fact that will not be altered until those who can alter it do so. Those people are not the Corby lobby, which collectively doesn’t seem to have woken up to the fact that if they stopped mewling it’s more likely that something might happen.
Corby would have had much better results from this week’s visit to Kerobokan by the Bali International Women’s Association, led by Melly St Ange, on one of its regular essential supply runs. Now there’s a cause that’s actually worth supporting.
Browsing through the Jakarta Globe is a mixed pleasure. It’s great to be informed on a daily basis, in a print product that can be read without getting round-shouldered and squinty-eyed over your computer screen. It’s not quite so great when you come across columnists who are looking forward to getting back to being bored now the soccer’s over.
But what caught The Diary’s eye this week was a front-page promo (it was in Monday’s paper) for someone’s über-today male fashion designs. It proclaimed: “Daring to Bare.”
Oh dear. It was so much better when only the ladies, and not the laddies, went out and about décolleté.
Hector's Blog appears, as The Diary in The Bali Times, in the weekly print edition, out Fridays, and on the newspaper's website at www.thebalitimes.com. The Bali Times, Bali's only English language newspaper, is also available worldwide via NewspaperDirect.