Saturday, June 25, 2011


From the Scribe's desk, for the week ending Saturday, June 25, 2011

Just So Sarky

When you’re not having a sybaritic six-hand massage within sight and sound of the waves at Bingin beach – which is what one of our favourite Jimbaran resort flacks reported on her Facebook one weekend recently that she had been doing – or slaving over a hot computer, and if there’s nothing on television (there never is) then reading is the way to go.
    The Diary has just reacquired several of Saki’s little tales and placed them in the Kindle . It’s great to have him back in the library. We grew up on Saki, whose outré and often macabre satires demolishing the idiocies and faux grandeur of the Edwardian age were (and are) deliciously consumable.  Some unkind souls have remarked in the past that this is probably why we’re so sarky ourselves.
    The other day, in an idyll moment, we delved into his little tale entitled Reginald in Russia. It has always been a favourite for its first paragraph:
    “Reginald sat in a corner of the Princess’s salon and tried to forgive the furniture, which started out with an obvious intention of being Louis Quinze, but relapsed at frequent intervals into Wilhelm II.”
    Another favourite is The Open Window, for its delectable last line: “Romance at short notice was her speciality.” The full horror of another Saki tale, Esmé, makes it perhaps the best of them all.
    In the very late 1950s and early 1960s, when the adolescent Hector found his eponymous muse Hector Hugh Munro, one read him with a delicious sense of rebellion. It was never a misguided quest for the past – a different (and unreachable) country in those days, just as it is these, and will always be – but for the elegance of simple English developing complex themes with an arch wit and eclectic knowledge of many things: of antique furniture; of Greek mythology; of social mores; and so much more.
    Munro,  journalist, author and playwright, was born in Burma on December 18, 1870, the son of a British officer in the Indian imperial police, and died in the impromptu (and as it turned out inadequate) shelter of a shell hole at Beaumont-Hamel on the Western Front on November 16, 1916, the victim of a German sniper.  It is said, according to several sources, that his last words – directed at an incautious defaulter among the squad of men he was leading – had been “Put that damned cigarette out.”
    Munro enlisted as an infantry soldier in the Royal Fusiliers in 1914 on the outbreak of World War I, over age at 43, refusing a commission because, he said, he shouldn’t lead soldiers if he had not experienced their privations. By 1916 he was a lance-serjeant (corporal). He several times returned to his unit on the battlefield when sick or otherwise medically unfit for duty. He was homosexual.

Busy Schedule

This has been quite a week. We’ve been back into Denpasar – an unremitting joy on every occasion – and had a round of significant visitors. Tonight we dine en famille at The Cage with our good friends Nyoman and Made and their children Jordan and Cynthia. Nyoman is the Banjar (local community) chief in his precinct in Nusa Dua and a businessman of local repute. We’ve known them for years and they’re great fun. He also very kindly pays our mobile phone bills whenever we are absent from Bali at paying time, something that must be done at an ATM (see below).
    Tomorrow we go to the Rock Bar at the Ayana Resort and Spa for the after-triathlon party. We can run that course, but not the one that precedes it.
    Never let it be said that life in Bali is in any way dull.

It’s a Buzz

Speaking of life never being dull, and mobile phones, a further trip into Denpasar appears to be in the offing. The ATM of our deficient bank (it’s BCA) that we customarily use to make online payments – you cannot pay your mobile phone bills over the internet, at least not with BCA, which may soon be sacked in favour of a branch of the global banking industry that actually offers functional banking services – has been unable to issue receipts for several days. It must have run out of paper and no one’s thought to put a new roll in the silly thing. And of course without paper it (reasonably) won’t process transactions that require proof of payment receipts. Sod and his Law are alive and well.
    So today, on the day before final payment date and while on a mission elsewhere, we dropped into another ATM point.  The much feared message “your transaction could not be processed” flashed up on the screen. This is Telkomsel code for “you didn’t pay in time and now we’re going to make your life a misery.”
    Unless a new and largish office brightly emblazoned with the Telkomsel corporate logo that we’ve seen somewhere on the by-pass – we can’t remember if it’s towards Nusa Dua or towards Kuta – takes money, and it may or may not, Francesca will be taking us for another three-hour round trip into the very middle of the Pusat Kota (CBD) on Monday. This time for an enervating round of How to Pay Your Phone Account and insisting that they verify that your global roaming facility has not been cancelled because of delinquency.
    This involves taking a number and sitting and waiting – a long time – to see which of the otherwise comely customer service operatives makes a face when she sees her next customer is one of those dreadful Bules who are such a nuisance because you either have to try to speak English to them, or speak v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y in Indonesian.
    Such fun.

Winter Bites

Yes, yes. We know these things are relative. But today’s minimum (outside) at The Cage, here on the uplands of the Bukit, was probably just below 20C (68F). And when you live most of your year in the complaisant comfort of a temperature range of 24-30C (75-86F) you’re entitled to feel a little chilly, especially if you suspect an unconscionable 1 might have briefly prefixed your double-digit minimum.
    Still, mustn’t complain. We’ve been bleating for 18 months about how it never stops raining, and now it has and – no surprise – the “cool” dry season has arrived. It is the time of year when the doona (or duvet) really earns its keep.
    Our hearts were gladdened, however, later in the morning, when the mercury had climbed to a far more acceptable 25C (77F) and we got a plaintive little Skype message from an old friend marooned by caravan brake failure in Clermont (it’s in wintry inland Queensland). He told us it had been 1C (34F) there that early morning. Choice!

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Friday, June 17, 2011


From the Scribe's Desk, for the week of June 17, 2011

Walk Quickly and Ignore the Triffids

The walking programme – jalan jalan olah raga, “sport walking”, around here – is well on track, so to speak, and aimed at achieving a level of fitness in Diary and Distaff that might make survival of cliff tracks in Scotland and wine bar tours in Budapest – both these excursions are scheduled for August – less of an unlikely outcome than might otherwise have been the case.
    We go twice daily, most days: an early morning trot around the ridges of beautiful Banjar Bakung Sari at Ungasan to see which of the local dogs are awake and a late afternoon reprise to check whether they still are. Most of them are. Mercifully, though, most of them now seem inured to the astonishing fact that two of the local Bules actually walk rather than drive, and no longer set up a furious round of serial barking on our approach.  Our method of movement is certainly novel since the locals, the beneficiaries of price controlled petrol at Rp 4,500 (about 50 Australian cents) a litre, invariably fire up their scooters to travel anything over 50 metres rather than saddling up Shanks’s pony.
    Lately, however, some of the scenery has been moving as well. It’s cut-and-cart time at the moment and we’re fortunate perhaps that, now equipped with Kindles, we haven’t yet acquired electronic copies of John Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids with which to alarm ourselves.
    Cutting and carting hereabouts, where the leafy product of particular trees and shrubs is concerned, is done by the simple process of pruning the selected plant and placing the collected result upon one’s back, and then trotting home with it.
    This means you frequently see what are apparently small trees or big bushes crashing noisily out of the scrub along the track, or heading menacingly up the road towards you.

A Kindler, Gentler World

We mentioned Kindles, those handy little gizmos from Amazon that mean your library can now travel with you rather than being ignored at home and thereby providing a capacious des res for bookworms of another sort.
    The Diary’s new library is building quite rapidly, with the acquisition of a number of volumes previously held in physical form that went out with the rubbish when we shifted from Australia to Bali six years ago and which have been grievously missed ever since (Distaff to note).
    It’s very early days yet of course, but Hector's Kindle already contains Plato’s Republic, Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows, Lewis Carroll’s The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, Thoreau’s Walden, a stout compendium of American short humorous stories, and several other musts in any decent library, electronic or not.
    The Kindles have an additional benefit hereabouts. Ours have leather covers with built-in pop-up reading lamps. So now, if the local monopoly powerless utility unplugs the district, which it does with depressingly frequent irregularity, we can just carry on reading. It’s better for the soul (and the blood pressure) than foul fulminating; although the latter is certainly cathartic, as well as fun.

Oh Not Again...

Generally speaking, it’s best to avoid driving into Denpasar, Bali’s Ibu Kota (Mother, or capital, City). Or if you must, to do so only rarely. This week, however, we’ve had to do it twice, and on consecutive days. The reason doesn’t matter: suffice to say it was essential.
    The streets of Denpasar are not very good at coping with traffic, especially when it’s at extra high volume and police are “controlling” several key intersections because there’s a big arts and cultural festival on and the fringe programme apparently includes continuous performances of Let’s Create Total Chaos.
    We mention this only as an aide memoire to any who might have to venture therein, with or without a driver whose despicably low stipend is apparently supposed to fund his chronic ulcer problems as well as feed the family. Hector prefers to self-drive for this and other reasons.
    There are no road rules in Indonesia. You’re bigger than anything around you? Push through. Your plutocratic derriere is smugly sunk in the comfy velour of your black-windowed and über-smooth limousine?  Apply divine right.  You’re in a hurry? Gum up the works by burning the rubber off your tyres in a nifty series of jump starts and screeching halts. You’re on a motorbike (most people are)? That 20cm space between the truck in front and the car behind whose driver is still inching forward is just made for you. You want to get ahead of the crowd? Get in the trickle left lane and then at the last moment barge into the traffic that’s trying to go straight ahead but can’t because of selfish idiots like you. You’re a traffic cop? Blow your whistle and gesticulate like an Italian TV newsreader. It doesn’t help, but it’s fun.

Non-Absent Friends

This weekend, if all goes to plan, we shall enjoy a pleasant reunion in Sanur with a former colleague not sighted for far too many years. She’s in Bali on holiday (so is most of the world it seems) and we have several beers worth of catch-up yakking to do, on many matters of mutual interest, including the state of the Australian media.
    One of the great benefits of living in Bali is that, eventually, everyone you want to see comes here. At The Cage we’re heading into prime VFR (visiting friends and relatives) season with a full book, basically, right up until August when we trip off to return the favour in very distant parts indeed.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

HECTOR'S DIARY (Bali Advertiser, June 15, 2011)

A New Bloom
in Ubud’s
Art Garden

Australian QC and long-term Bali resident Colin McDonald had a big day at the end of May when his Made Budhiana and Donald Friend galleries opened in the grounds of Villa Pandan Harum, his hideaway pad at Abiansel just south of Ubud.
    McDonald, who is a member of both the Victorian and Northern Territory bars, maintains a house in Darwin – guess if you can’t be permanently in Bali Darwin’s a reasonable climatic substitute and it is only just over two hours away by air – as well as his Ubud residence,
    His opening, on May 28, brought together an eclectic gathering for a grand opening of his novel galleries that torrential rain the previous night did nothing to spoil. Veteran Australian diplomat and friend of Indonesia Dick Woolcott did the honours as opener-in-chief. McDonald said a few words, welcoming those “whose generosity of spirit and love of art and Indonesia has brought them to this opening” and noting – with justified pride – that the event realised a long-held dream.
    As well as the two galleries, housed in a building on the villa block but separate from the main residence, McDonald has provided an apartment for artists in residence. Bali inspires much art and the Ubud area, where the ancient traditions of the island and the imported collective consciousness of the world’s artistic community combine to greatest effect, is certainly an environment that is conducive to reflection and the exercise of great skill.
    The Donald Friend gallery includes Friend’s last painting: truly a collector’s item. The work of Made Budhiana that is on display reflects the power the artist brings to depiction of Bali in the artistic form that has long captured the attention of art lovers around the globe.
    McDonald’s connection with Bali goes back many years and mirrors the increasingly close interest of the Northern Territory and its capital city Darwin in events and issues here, pointed up most recently by the proposal – now being worked through and also involving McDonald’s strong advocacy – to twin Sanglah General Hospital in Denpasar with Royal Darwin.
    McDonald was also involved in the defence case for Bali Nine member Scott Rush, now finally (and thankfully) spared the death penalty.
   The Diary on its visit to Villa Pandan Harum on gallery opening weekend also had the pleasure of chatting with Australian artist Geoff Todd, some of whose works are in McDonald’s private collection. These are striking and occasionally confronting paintings that one would wish were in one’s own collection.

Youth Speaks

It’s really cheering to hear from 2011 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival program director Melissa Delaney that the inaugural Bali Emerging Writers Festival (BEWF) in Denpasar was a great success. This is sort of extension service for which friends of UWRF have been waiting anxiously to see eventuate.
    BEWF was held from 27-29 May and was designed to promote and support the essential literary voices of tomorrow. Over the three days the festival presented a range of workshops for young people, panel discussions, performances, slam poetry and a celebration night on Saturday, 28 May featuring performances by local bands including Morelia, Nymphea, Day After the Rain and Ripper Clown. We hear there was much dancing.
    It featured more than 30 writers from around Indonesia and also West Australian performance poet David Vincent Smith (sponsored by the government of Western Australia) in the poetry slam. Guest writers included poet Iyut Fitra from Payakumbah; writer, journalist and documentary maker Ayu Diah Dempaka; Ni Made Purnamasri; and the award winning poet Rosa Herliany.
    Young writers had access to the words and experience of the guest writers through the panels, workshops and performances  which covered topics from blogging and social media, teen lit, short story writing, the ins and outs of publishing through to poetry writing.
    Delaney tells us the success of the inaugural emerging writers’ event means there will be another next year.
    UWRF this year, themed Cultivate the Land Within, is from October 5-9.

Rock On

When you have a facility such as the Rock Bar at Ayana Resort & Spa, all sorts of people want to go there. The Diary drops in occasionally for a spectacular sunset. But no one takes our photo when we do.
    If you are the reigning Miss World, however, and are accompanied by the new Miss Indonesia, snappers appear from everywhere (not counting the ones on your dinner plate later) and take pictures that add considerable human decoration to the natural beauty of the cliff-side and beach environment.
    So it was on June 5. Our photo, courtesy of Ayana’s Facebook page, shows Miss World Alexandria Mills, a fine Kentucky filly, with Miss Indonesia Astrid Ellena, on Kisik Beach below the Rock Bar. The tide was out, which was a good thing for the girls and for members of the Leg Appreciation Society.
   Miss World was in Indonesia to crown Miss Indonesia following the 2011 Indonesia final, held in Jakarta on June 3. Astrid Ellena, 19, beat 32 other finalists to win the event and will represent Indonesia at the 2011 Miss World Final in London on November 6.

A Bit Crass

Profiling gets a bad press. It negatively impacts on the human rights of people, or so it is said, and in any case is not effective in deterring criminal activity or catching people at it. Well, that’s one story. The other story is that profiling works. For example, 100 percent of fanatic Muslim suicide bombers are fanatical Muslims. More prosaically, but actually more importantly, profiling helps in detecting drug smugglers.
    Hence the recent unfortunate interlude at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport where two Filipinas were detained (for far too long) and subjected to intense questioning and intrusive body searches. From reports of the affair, it was badly handled and crassly dealt with by at least some of the officials involved. That’s bad.
    But the policy is not necessarily bad. Filipinas are not the leading mode of entry of illegal drugs into Bali, but they appear in the profile of cases. If these things are handled correctly – and they always should be – no one sensible would cavil at being checked. It’s in everyone’s interest to curb the inflow of illegal drugs carried by people who are quite prepared to flout the law and who should pay the price for doing so.
    Perhaps the Philippines authorities, who have indicated some level of irritation over the incident, would like to fully inform themselves about the pervasive presence of the global drug-smuggling market.

Good Sports

The Diary has a lovely young friend – her name is Ayu, though for us it’s Berliana, and she’s nearly five and is the daughter of a young woman who once worked for us – who is a cheery little soul. She was at our house one Sunday recently and left with a present, a little bag of personal care items, the gift of the Distaff who keeps a stock of such items against the statistical likelihood of random visits.
    But what she really wants, it seems, is a dog and a brother; possibly in that order, maybe not. Her mum tells us Ayu has been pressing her parents to produce both and, in relation to the brother, has apparently learned from an older friend that to make babies parents much engage in sport at bedtime.
    We gather that, thus informed, Ayu has banned mum Komang and dad Agus from retiring for the night before they have completed a vigorous session of sit-ups and push-ups, of the sort you see on television when a sporting match is about to begin.

Good to Be Here

Hector is pleased as punch to be in the Bali Advertiser and hopes readers enjoy his musings as much as he enjoys jotting them down. Drop him a line if you’ve got something you think will interest him.

Hector's Diary is (c) Bali Advertiser.

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Friday, June 10, 2011


A Sick Joke
That’s Being
on Us All

The shameful and shambolic state of Bali’s – and Indonesia’s – political administration is nowhere more pointedly and distressingly demonstrated than in the continuing and extremely tedious row over planning approvals, where the grandiloquently titled regents of various regencies (think of them rather as chairman of local councils for true perspective, relativity and appropriate power) are thumbing their collective nose at provincial and national environmental laws.
   One focus of this disgraceful situation that is much in the news at present is at Nusa Dua, where the local community vehemently opposes a “Beach World” project that will effectively close off the last remaining area of public beach in the area, a spot where thousands of locals who are neither bloated Javanese plutocrats or their acquisitive local political pals have historically gone on Sundays for a bit of family R&R.
    It’s shocking too that the regent of Badung has been able to call in the assistance of the minister for the interior who scribbled a little note that says Badung can do what it likes within the 1995 regulations because those are ones in force. Even if they are – and presumably this would be because Indonesia’s political apparatus brooks no argument over whether anything is actually ever finalised or inscribed into unarguable law, since apparently nothing ever is – the appropriate advice would be to work with the rules applied by the province of which Badung is but one part. In short, that Badung’s argument (if it has one) is with the Bali provincial government.
    We know, from bitter experience, that regents and developers (domestic and foreign) have absolutely no interest in preserving the environment and will despoil it for profit wherever they can. It is this phenomenon – it’s not confined to Indonesia: it’s a global thing – which environmental and planning laws are supposed to limit.
    At Nusa Dua there has been no consultation of any meaningful extent with the local community, which is having yet another “tourist” excrescence foisted on it because another lot of money-grubbing profiteers have been given a rails run in gouging even more pay dirt out of someone else’s backyard.
    Sadly, this sort of thing is a commonplace in Bali. It is perpetrated as much by opportunistic foreign developers as the native variety, and with as little conscience or care. What needs to be fixed is the regulatory and administrative environment, so that rules are both clear (and sensible, another must) and enforceable.


We heard this week that PLN, Indonesia’s notional power utility, will start work in 2013 on the much vaunted “Bali Crossing” – a plan to string high-tension power lines across the 11 kilometres of the Bali Strait from Java at its narrowest point, so that 300MW of electricity can be fed into Bali’s deficient and defective grid.
    According to local news reports of this impending beneficence, PLN’s planning calls for the wires – and the 70m high towers that will support them – to withstand wind speeds of up to 70 metres a second. That would be a truly magnificent; a world first and an absolute triumph of engineering.
   It’s probably a bit over the top, though. We can safely assume – pun intended – that if we ever get a breeze of 2,520 km/h it will be a tad academic whether the high wires survive.
   Hey chaps, try 7m/s (252km/h or 126 knots). Or have a little chat with the reporters you spoke to if it’s their maths that are wonky.
   Whatever, if the project ever actually gets off the ground, so the speak, and 300MW of electricity are swung into action in Bali, PLN will have to find a whole range of new excuses for blackouts, shocking service delivery and maintenance, and woefully deficient infrastructure.
    In the interim, enjoy the continuing random darkness of the power cuts PLN promised in 2010 were a thing of the past for Indonesia’s premier international holiday resort island.

Bubbles and Squeaks

A loud, though we’re sure thoroughly decorous, affray will shortly be held to commence what organiser Christina Iskandar says is the Diva and Dude dinner series. It’s on June 24 at Vivai with a menu prepared by chef Dean Fisher. Apparently there are free-flow bubbles for the birds included in the Rp250K per head tariff. Sadly the birds in question are from the distaff side and are not superannuated cockatoos.
    It is also the irrepressible Diana Shearin’s birthday (she’s 21 or 18 again or something). According to the event’s Facebook page bubbly Diana would like a dude for her big day. It's such a shame that here at The Cage dude is spelled dud.
    Never mind, it’s sure to be a great night for those attending the affray.

Discordant Echo

The reprehensible Don Storen, whose career as a provider of allegedly adult entertainment in a series of Australian low-lit (and low-life) premises then mutated to a sojourn in our neighbouring island of Lombok, where he was engaged in a number of little enterprises, has lately had another bout with unfortunate publicity.
    We do not refer to his release and immediate deportation some little time ago after serving a four-year sentence in Mataram for playing with little boys. It’s his latest venture into publishing that has caused a flurry. He and some realtors apparently got into business with a free newspaper in Fremantle – the port city of Perth in Western Australia – in circumstances that are (or possibly were: the journal’s fate is unknown at this time) rather less than salubrious.
    By what means we don’t know, but he and his cohorts – including a fictional principal who turned out on investigation to be none than Storen himself wearing another hat, or a tickler perhaps – were outed by the deliciously watchable Australian TV programme Media Watch. It’s an ABC product, naturally. Commercial tabloid TV doesn’t do cerebral at all well.
    It is a sad fact that people like Storen will never understand that membership of the sentient grade of the human race imposes some requirement on them to behave, if not in a completely honourable and open way, at least within the broadest interpretations of decency.
   While he was interfering with Lombok’s way of life and the moral safety of its people, by the way, Storen was an originator of the now defunct monthly English language paper Lombok Times. He had long gone from there when your diarist took up a spell of editing and managing the paper some years ago. But the smell remained, unfortunately.

Change of Tune

Hector is appearing fortnightly in the Bali Advertiser from next Wednesday, with a Diary to suit that widely read and popular publication – which among other things benefits from being both relevant and managed in Bali itself – that the old bird hopes will interest and amuse readers.
    The move prompts a change to this blog. He’ll post the Bali Advertiser diary here but from this week there’ll be a weekly Bali Scratchings column – this is the first – for those who want to read between the lines.

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Friday, June 03, 2011

HECTOR'S BALI times DIARY, June 3, 2011

It’s Tough
When You’re
In Training
For a

Here at The Cage, Diary and Distaff are in full training mode for an expedition in August to Scotland – where the terrain in the ancestral locality includes goat track cliff trails it will be necessary to negotiate on foot – and a week subsequently in Budapest, said to be a “walking city.” So are several others of our acquaintance, including Paris – better now they’ve outlawed poodle-droppings – and Buenos Aires, where there are empanada stands on every corner that are impossible to ignore. There will be a similar problem in Budapest relating to the oversupply of wine and cheese tasting establishments therein.
    Our training around the ridges of Banjar Bakung Sari at Ungasan on the Bukit involves two daily walks of three kilometres each. These start with a gentle stroll up a steep little lane (which does not seem to get any easier by the way) to a local rise now known to your Diarist as Anthem Hill. It got this name because from it you can see from sea to shining sea, albeit only across the narrow isthmus of Jimbaran that divides the Bukit from the main portion of the island. The other day it occurred to the tramping party that it could also represent Australia’s anthem, which refers to a land that abounds in nature’s gifts. Since the local cows use the spot as a gathering place, plenteous gifts of nature lie underfoot.
    The training track then encompasses a wide area of our locality, and we seem now to be sufficiently well known to the local canines as to be mostly unremarked as we pass by. A few remain a problem. Smallish stones, for throwing as warnings only if required, are carried on our morning and late afternoon ambles.
    They are rarely needed, but if they are, the message for any outraged owners is that the missiles are “hadiah untuk anjin galak,” “prizes for fierce dogs.”

Silly Old Fool

Few things nowadays enrage your Diarist. Even absent editors. Such derelictions are easily dealt with. You just tell them to piss off. That said, some things irritate, or perhaps annoy. But too much useless angst has flowed along with all that water beneath too many bridges to elevate much to enragement. There is the occasional exception, though, such as Nobel Prize-winning Trinidadian male novelists of Sub-Continental ethnicity who parlay literary success into vain excuses for misogyny. These people can still threaten to burst a blood vessel.
    It passes belief that we should hear this week from VS Naipul, who has lived an educated, mannered and privileged life with all the physical and intellectual comforts of western liberalism to hand, that no female writer is or could ever be his equal.
   What a planker. At least female writers cannot, by very definition, be insufferable pricks.


Having acquired a Kindle each, Diary and Distaff are now working through the technicalities of acquiring a superabundance of reading material handily contained in one little slim paperback-size gizmo that can go everywhere with you and be topped up with new material at will.
    Naturally, as with all technological marvels, there is much to be learned. But the Diary has managed to obtain Plato’s Republic, with which he has been without since 2005, when an earlier print copy of this handy reference to Utopia and beyond was placed in the remainders at the local second-hand bookshop as excess baggage.
    More gems are to be loaded.

Go Get ’em, Susi

Prominent position-taker Susi Johnston, ever one to seize an issue by the throat and worry it to death, is on a winner with her campaign to get Bali going really clean and green. This is the policy of the Governor, of course, but we all know that policy and outcome are mutual exclusives in Bali, for all sorts of reasons, including the fact that none of the little panjandrums in lower administrative jurisdictions will consider the thought that superior jurisdictions have precedence and must prevail, subject to the democratic process. Hence Governor Made Mangku Pastika’s significant problem with the regents over planning and zoning laws.
    The matter of rubbish – the real stuff, not the regents’ arguments that on planning matters the Guv can go and take a jump because they want the dosh – has lately been in the news. It’s part and parcel of the serious problems that Bali faces with the inevitable trash of consumerism, the island’s woefully inadequate infrastructure, and the fact that the Balinese themselves are still culturally attuned – we’re being polite – to producing only biodegradable natural rubbish and thus throw it away wherever they please.
    Susi has started a Facebook group to natter weightily about such matters. It’s a febrile little collective – which is good – that clearly isn’t going to go away. It includes not only foreign residents (whether anaesthetised or otherwise by their “guest status” here) but also Balinese and other Indonesians.
    More power to them. We need to make a noise.

Pedal Power

We hear that Marian Hinchliffe, chief flack at the Ayana Resort and Spa at Jimbaran and well-known fitness freak, has acquired wheels with which to take part in the Bali triathlon later this month.  The dehydrating process of running (and swimming and biking) around in circles has always struck us as a strange way to behave, but so many people seem to like it so it must be good.
     Fortunately we are able to get such pleasures vicariously, by reading about them. There are the drinks afterwards, of course. Now that might work.

How Bazaar

Sunday, June 12 is worth a diary date. It’s the annual Bali International Women’s Association charity bazaar, this year being held at the Lotte Mart wholesale premises on Jl Bypass Ngurah Rai. There are 200 stalls, according to the organisers, and it promises to be a fun day out. Proceeds go the deserving charities that BIWA supports.
     We wish Marianne Vertegaal and her troops all the best for the day. Visit for details.

Lit Glit, Etc

Some interesting things are happening on the art and literary fronts this year, about which we’ll have more later. They centre on Ubud as Bali’s crucible of imported culture (as well as its role as a lodestone of Balinese culture itself) and are certainly worthy of note.

Hector tweets @Scratchings and is on Facebook: Hector McSquawky