Monday, August 20, 2007

Foreign investors eyeing Bali Banks

From the Jakarta Post

DENPASAR (Antara): American and Singaporean investors are eyeing two local banks which are in dire need of fresh fund to increase their capital to a minimum of Rp 80 billion (US$8.6 million) respectively, an official has said.

"Some Indonesian and foreign investors have expressed keen interest in buying Bank Sriparta and Bank Sinar which are required to increase their capital to Rp 80 billion each by the end of 2007," Denpasar-chapter of Bank Indonesia (BI) medium-scale bank senior controller Achmad Fauji said Sunday.

Investors from Singapore and the United States had been exploring the possibility of buying Bank Sriparta, he said on the sidelines of a Denpasar-chapter Bank Indonesia meeting.

He, however, did not mention the names of investors that wanted to purchase Bank Sinar.

Previously, the head of BI office in Denpasar, I Ketut Sanjaya, said Bank Sinar was looking for an additional capital of Rp 55 billion and Bank Sriparta Rp 65 billion. (***)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Permit confusion leaves Bali ‘dry’

A de facto government ban on imports of wine and other alcohol has led to a shortage on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali.

It is the latest blow to a tourism industry still struggling to emerge from the shadows of terrorist attacks in recent years.

Bali is due to host a big tourism conference next month and welcome 10,000 people from across the world for a United Nations environment meeting in December.

But a shake-up of Indonesia’s customs agency, aimed at cleaning up one of the country’s most corrupt institutions, has shut down a once-thriving black market and left big hotels running low on alcohol during the peak August season for European visitors.

“It is becoming a serious issue,” said Michael Burchett, the general manager of the five-star Conrad hotel and head of the Bali Hotel Association. “Some hotels are reporting a 40 per cent reduction in the number of items available on their wine lists. If something doesn’t happen soon most of the hotels are going to have very serious problems by the end of September.”

David Wilson, general manager at Bali’s Ritz-Carlton hotel said: “We’re getting to the point where supplies have reached the end of the road.”

The shortage, which is also affecting the capital Jakarta and other big ­cities, has been triggered by the collapse of the complicated quota system that controls alcohol imports.

The system requires distributors to obtain quotas every six months. It began to unravel after the state audit agency last year discovered significant under-invoicing at the state-owned company that acts as a conduit between the trade ministry, which issues quotas, and ­distributors.

Police confirmed they were investigating the Indonesian Trading Company and the customs agency while officials said they were unable to apply for distributor quotas while the investigation was pending.

According to government officials a new system is due to be implemented soon and will ensure that Bali is well-supplied with alcohol.

Customs officials said a crackdown in Bali earlier this year had found more than 58,000 bottles of alcohol with fake import stickers or none at all, all of which were impounded.

But retailers in Bali said they were stunned by the move, as they thought they were importing wine legally, and it had left local residents with limited choice.

“It’s impossible to buy foreign wine and beer now,” said Kathryn Bruce, a Bali resident. “Every shop I know of that used to sell it has run out.”

John Daniels, the head of the Bali-based Discovery Tours, said the shortage would make it much harder to attract visitors. “We’re trying to persuade the world we’re a great holiday destination and for many Europeans having a drink without paying an arm and a leg is a key part of the experience,” he said.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Sanur leads the way in Bali

by Adrian Batten

What is the most expensive piece of real estate in Bali? The answer may surprise. It’s Sanur. Despite all the promotional hoopla for villa developments in Seminyak and Canggu, and even swankier ones on the cliffs of Bukit and Jimbaran, Sanur is and will remain, for the foreseeable future, the bluest of blue-chip Bali.

Known affectionately, or dismissively according to taste, as ‘Snoring-on-Sea’, the sobriquet is understandable if mistaken. A better analogy might be Belgravia-by-the -Sea, or just think of Santa Barbara in California.

“Not many people are aware of it, but every year 40 to 50 expat families from Kalimantan and elsewhere in Indonesia buy or build villas in Sanur,” says Roger Kalhoefer, a principal of “They come because Sanur is a pleasant place to live and because it has three of Bali’s top schools, including Bali International School (BIS), the only institution in Bali offering the International Baccalaureate.”

“Sanur is known as a bit sleepy, and we hope it remains so,” adds British businessman Ian Spence , who has had a house for over 30 years in the renowned Batujimbar Estate gated community and who was heavily involved in the establishment and growth of BIS.

Evidence that Sanur is quietly absorbing the influx and reinventing itself is seen everywhere you look. Several major clearings of large beach properties from six to 20 hectares have been made toward the western end of Sanur’s beach, all but one scheduled for villa development. Informed sources say the Bali Hyatt in Sanur, the island’s first truly luxury resort, will be completely re-developed, with the long-empty property across the road to become an exclusive, upmarket estate.

Today, new fashion shops in Jalan Tamblingan add a more stylish look to the main shopping street, while pleasant high-quality, low-key restaurants and cafés have sprung up. Everywhere you look, whole neighbourhoods have taken on a solid and prosperous look as new villas are completed by independent owners.

Community appeal
The appeal isn’t just to foreigners. Wealthy Jakartans have long wanted a piece of Sanur, too, yet other than schooling, what’s the appeal? Unlike so much of southern central Bali today, Sanur is quiet, traditionally accepting of foreigners, has a sense of community, is well run and plans to stay that way.

The restored beach, a broad swathe of white sand, is safely protected from the surf by a reef and is readily accessible. Sanur has proper infrastructure. Getting around is easy, walking a pleasure and cycling’s not the life-threatening exercise it can be elsewhere. It has proper pavements, so you won’t break a leg falling into a nullah or electrocute yourself on a tangle of naked cables.

Above all, Sanur is a known quantity. What you see is what you get. In Kerobokan, Canggu and other ‘hot’ areas, traffic is already a problem and in two years current views of the rice fields could change to those of a modern concrete village, or at best another villa development. Observes Kalhoefer: “In Canggu typically, you have no easy beach access, no direct highway from the airport, no good restaurants within a 10-minute drive and your only view is the construction of other villas.”

Price ranges
Land prices in Sanur range from about US$10,000 per are (100sqm) across the bypass to double that as you near the beach. A property in Batujimbar, when they come on to the market, is expected to set you back about US$1.1 million for a four-bedroom villa, set in half an acre of mature garden several properties in from the beach. Beachfront properties in Batujimbar almost never come onto the open market.

“The proximity to specific views, like ocean surf, or the sacred River Ayung, adds a multiple of two or three times to the typical price of land that doesn’t have views, but the biggest multiple in Sanur, roughly four times, comes from being inside the security perimeter of the Batujimbar Estate,” says Kalhoefer.

Sanur’s attractions are summed up by 39-year-old Denise Baron, a business owner and author from Philadelphia, who has been coming to Bali regularly since 1991 and recently bought a property.

“I’ve fallen in love with Sanur and the surrounding area,” she says. “It provides me with the lifestyle I have back home, with a sense of community and great places to dine, socialise and shop. I feel safe swimming in the ocean with my family and I enjoy beachside strolls. The combination of cultural events, customs and friendly people make it a wonderful place to live.”

In time the new residential estates being built on Bukit may come to be the investment of choice, eclipsing Batujimbar. As for the social or ‘happening’ scene, Sanur’s already done that far more stylishly decades ago. Sanur is a benign and mature seaside village, redolent of wealth and serenity, with a history and a culture to match. It doesn’t take much imagination to see Jalan Tamblingan becoming the Bali version of Rodeo Drive. In the view of some of Southeast Asia’s most wealthy men who have homes there, if you can afford the ante, Sanur will long be one of Bali’s safest and surest investments.

Friday, June 22, 2007

New tourism brand invokes Bali of peace

(The Jakarta Post)

Following six months of intensive research, which included direct interviews with hundreds of Balinese residents and foreign visitors, the local government has finally unveiled its new tourism brand for the resort island.

The new brand is expected to unite the tourism industry under a single flag and battle cry in an effort to elevate the vital economic sector, which had been paralyzed by two terrorist attacks, environmental degradation and the locals' increasing resentment toward tourism development.

"We hope this brand will give us new energy in our struggle to recover the industry, which for decades has been the backbone of the island's economy," Bali Tourism Agency head Nurdjaya said.

The new brand -- comprising a logo, a tagline and a series of strategic recommendations -- centers around the vision of making Bali known as "The World's Place of Harmonious Peace".

Teguh Mahasari, the engine behind the so-called Bali Reborn team responsible for preparing the new tourism brand, said the vision was the key, recurring message conveyed by a large majority of the research participants.

"It genuinely reflects the true aspiration of the Balinese people as well as the visitors'. Harmony, balance, peace and spirituality are several major themes that kept appearing in our interviews with people from a wide spectrum of society," she said.

In the course of their research, the Bali Reborn team interviewed 900 Balinese individuals, from Hindu high priests to academic scholars, and from farmers to housewives in every regency of the island.

The results showed that over 50 percent believed "paradise" or "heaven" was the image that most correctly described Bali. This was followed by "balance" at 26.5 percent of respondents then by "harmony" at 21.9 percent. Curiously, "vacation" was only selected as the most suitable image by 16.5 percent of respondents.

Moreover, they also listed temple, culture, traditional customs and arts as the island's most precious heritage. A staggering 73.5 percent majority viewed the temple as the perfect icon to represent Bali.

Meanwhile, 37.3 percent of 327 foreign visitors to Bali recalled "Island of the Gods" as the island's most popular tagline. Only a minuscule 5.8 percent considered it to be Bali is My Life", the most recent tagline, as popular.

"The team analyzed and interpreted the findings and then came up with this new brand," Teguh said.

The brand concept was based on the ancient Balinese Hindu principle of Tri Hita Karana, the harmonious and balanced relationship between three primary elements: mankind, nature and God.

"That's the philosophy behind our triangular-shaped logo. The triangle perfectly captures the stable relationship between the three elements," Teguh said.

The spiritual nature of the brand is further reflected in the colors of the logo -- red, black and white, the colors respectively associated with the Balinese Hindu trinity of Brahma, Wisnu (Vishnu) and Siwa (Shiva).

The final touch was the tagline "Shanti, Shanti, Shanti", obviously taken from the daily Balinese Hindu prayer of Tri Sandhya. Literally meaning peace, shanti and its repetitive chant is a sacred invocation for a reign of peace in the three worlds -- the under, middle and upper.

"Frankly, we want this brand to inspire the Balinese as much as the foreign visitors. With the increasing internal conflicts among Balinese, the people of this island needs peace as much as any other in this world," Teguh stressed.

-- I Wayan Juniartha

Monday, June 11, 2007

Balinese Y-chromosome perspective on the peopling of Indonesia

Balinese Y-chromosome perspective on the peopling of Indonesia: genetic contributions from pre-Neolithic hunter-gatherers, Austronesian farmers, and Indian traders.

(Tatiana M. Karafet, J.S. Lansing, Alan J. Redd, Svetlana Reznikova , Joseph C. Watkins, S.P.K. Surata, W.A. Arthawiguna, Laura Mayer, Michael Bamshad, Lynn B. Jorde and Michael F. Hammer. )

The island of Bali lies near the center of the southern chain of islands in the Indonesian archipelago, which served as a stepping-stone for early migrations of hunter-gatherers to Melanesia and Australia and for more recent migrations of Austronesian farmers from mainland Southeast Asia to the Pacific. Bali is the only Indonesian island with a population that currently practices the Hindu religion and preserves various other Indian cultural, linguistic, and artistic traditions (Lansing 1983). Here, we examine genetic variation on the Y chromosomes of 551 Balinese men to investigate the relative contributions of Austronesian farmers and pre-Neolithic hunter-gatherers to the contemporary Balinese paternal gene pool and to test the hypothesis of recent paternal gene flow from the Indian subcontinent. Seventy-one Y-chromosome binary polymorphisms (single nucleotide polymorphisms, SNPs) and 10 Y-chromosome-linked short tandem repeats (STRs) were genotyped on a sample of 1,989 Y chromosomes from 20 populations representing Indonesia (including Bali), southern China, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Near East, and Oceania. SNP genotyping revealed 22 Balinese lineages, 3 of which (O-M95, O-M119, and O-M122) account for nearly 83.7% of Balinese Y chromosomes. Phylogeographic analyses suggest that all three major Y-chromosome haplogroups migrated to Bali with the arrival of Austronesian speakers; however, STR diversity patterns associated with these haplogroups are complex and may be explained by multiple waves of Austronesian expansion to Indonesia by different routes. Approximately 2.2% of contemporary Balinese Y chromosomes (i.e., K-M9*, K-M230, and M lineages) may represent the pre-Neolithic component of the Indonesian paternal gene pool. In contrast, eight other haplogroups (e.g., within H, J, L, and R), making up approximately 12% of the Balinese paternal gene pool, appear to have migrated to Bali from India. These results indicate that the Austronesian expansion had a profound effect on the composition of the Balinese paternal gene pool and that cultural transmission from India to Bali was accompanied by substantial levels of gene flow.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Jero Balian Digoda, Warga Protes ke Bupati
Puluhan pemuka Desa Batur, Kintamani yang dipimpin Kepala Desa Batur Tengah dan Jero Gede Batur Makalihan, Rabu (25/4) kemarin, mendatangi kantor bupati untuk mengadu.

Inti masalahnya, mereka khawatir kesucian Jero Balian KM Siti Susanti Prima M. yang masih duduk di bangku kelas II Jurusan IPS SMA Negeri 1 Bangli ternoda karena digoda oknum pegawai perpustakaan sekolah setempat. Jero Balian Kelodan itu terpilih melalui upaya niskala dan telah disucikan sejak masih menginjak bangku SLTP.

'Dia harus menjalani hidup nyukla brahmacari tak kenal lelaki selama hidupnya. Bila kesuciannya sampai terjamah lelaki maka dipercaya akan berakibat buruk. Mereka mendapat informasi bahwa Jero Balian digoda pria, Selasa (24/4) malam. Setelah itu, prajuru dan pemuka adat Batur langsung menggelar pertemuan. Hasilnya, warga berkeinginan untuk menjaga kesucian Jero Balian agar tak terjamah pria. Salah satu caranya, dia harus berhenti sekolah. Mereka pun bertekad mengawal Jero Balian secara bergiliran setiap hari.

Jero Gede Batur Alitan mengatakan sesuai sastra Agama Hindu seorang wanita dari wangsa brahmana yang tidak mengenal pria selama hidupnya dinamakan kania. Di Batur sendiri juga berlaku hal seperti itu. Proses menentukan seorang kania yang lebih dikenal Jero Balian dilalui lewat proses ritual niskala. Setelah terpilih langsung disucikan dan harus nyukla brahmacari selama hidupnya.

Warga juga berkeinginan agar Jero Balian ini makemit di pura selama satu tahun ditemani istri Jero Mangku dan dijaga dehe truna Desa Batur. Bila tidak begitu warga semakin khawatir dengan kecenderungan penggunaan ilmu hitam.

Terhadap pengaduan itu, Bupati Arnawa menawarkan tiga solusi bagi warga. Apakah Jero Balian dipindahkan sekolahnya ke SMA Bayung agar pengawasan lebih dekat, begitu juga dengan pegawai yang menggoda. Berhenti sekolah atau berhenti lalu melanjutkan kembali dalam kejar paket C. Atau tetap sekolah dengan pengawasan warga hingga yang bersangkutan tamat sekolah.

Sepulang warga, Bupati bersama Wabup I Made Gianyar, S.H., M.Hum., Kadisdik Ir. A.A. Ngurah Samba ditemani Kabag Humas dan protokoler Pemkab Bangli langsung mendatangi SMA 1 Bangli untuk menggelar pertemuan empat mata dengan pegawai dan guru sekolah setempat. (kmb17)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

About a Boy (Who Wants to be a Tour Guide)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

A new husband

By Wayan Sadia

"Ti, it's surprising how we loved each other and married to form a union as husband and wife, and this year our first baby will be born, Dedy Susilo said to his wife, Gusti Ayu Aryawati in a humorous way. "What a mystery!"

Aryawati smiled and said: "Mas Dedy, there is nothing to be surprised at, neither is it a mystery! Did you say that because I am a Balinese hailing from a higher caste, and you're a Javanese who has no concern about the caste system whatsoever. Our affairs are purely human and natural."

"No, no, Ti! I'm just kidding; But, I'm glad you have such noble wisdom", Susilo said, putting his wife at ease. "My dear, not only that, you know! This one may surprise you."

"What is it?" Aryawati reacted curiously. "Another mystery?"

"Well, it depends on how you think of me, and about this I am dead serious. I will name our first child Gde Suryadarma if it is a boy; and Luh Putu Suryatini if it is a girl."

"Kok?" Aryawati seemed indifferent, as if it were only wishful thinking.


A young man, Made Sucita, who owns a Photo Studio in Bali, was having dinner at a nearby food stall. He had been frequenting this shop for quite some time, as the food almost always satisfied his appetite.

No sooner had he started to eat his meal when an old woman in her early 60s entered, taking no interest in his presence.

Jero Nyoman Rai, the owner of the shop, greeted her and asked, "Napi kayunang, Tu?"

"Oh, nothing, Man. I've just dropped in to tell you how sad I am," the woman answered, gesturing a feeling of strong discontent and unhappiness.

"What's the matter, Tu?" asked Nyoman Rai curiously.

The lady began pouring out her emotions. "Huh,... how I am terribly upset by the unbecoming conduct of Aryawati, my grand-daughter. Her parents spent a fortune to sent her to Java to study; and it took her three years to finish schooling.

"Just imagine, Man, she married a Javanese. I don't know what sort of man this Javanese guy is. But, isn't it an act of betrayal?

"Man, we, a family of noble caste, should maintain our nobility, and respect from society. I wish I could stop her from marrying a foreigner, and marry only a man from a noble family. But, Man, after all, I'm glad she married a Javanese. It's better than marrying a Balinese from the low "sudra caste," the grand-mother said at last.


With that last remark, and the fact that Made Sucita himself belonged to the sudra caste, Made couldn't help react by saying politely: "Nas lugra, wait a minute! I happen to belong to the sudra caste. What do you think is wrong with a sudra?

"Certainly I'm proud of who and what I am. I strongly believe that it is one's right to marry whomever ones loves, regardless of caste or whatever. A sudra is a human being, and should be treated and respected as such."

"If your daughter marries a Javanese, and not a sudra Balinese, it's her right to do so. Love knows no barriers, you know! I'm sorry to say this, but a sudra should not be looked upon as inferior to anybody." Made Sucita paid for his meal and left the shop, leaving the two ladies looking at each other in bewilderment.


Dedy Susilo did not have to wait for a year when his wife gave birth to their first child -- a boy. To Aryawati's great surprise, Susilo named their son Putu Suryadarma. They lovedtheir beautiful son, feeling as if he was a gift from God.

"So, my dear wife, I meant what I said," Dedy Susilo confirmed. "Do you really like that name?"

"Why shouldn't I? I really thank you for that. After all, what's in a name?" Aryawati said, unreservedly giving her approval.

"But don't you feel irritated that our son does not give any indication that he has noble blood hailing from his mother, however faint it might be?" Susilo teased.

"Mas Dedy, I'm not the type of woman you may have thought to be. My heart and conscience have overruled all doubts and prejudices that might originate from a superiority complex and think only of human values above all other worldly values and considerations," Aryawati philosophized.

"I'm glad you have such noble wisdom." Susilo said. "By the way, what about the statue of the man playing the bamboo flute. It's a typical Balinese flute, big and long, to accompany a certain ancient gamelan ensemble?"

"I'm too young to know about ancient Balinese art and culture, but the man looks funny with such a big flute. The player must be breathless, simply to produce any sound at all, let alone a melody," Aryawati said, acknowledging her naivety and ignorance of anything ancient.

"Mas Dedy, how come you have a good collection of Balinese artifacts and some beautiful paintings ?" Wati asked lightly.

"The answer is very simple; because I love you, Balinese girl, Gusti Ayu Aryawati!" Susilo laughed.

"I was told that my ancestors were very good at making statues and painting. But at home in Bali most works of art are not well cared for. Dirt covers them all and they look unattractive."

"That's not the point, dear. Something that looks ancient -- usually covered with dirt -- sells well," Susilo tried to give a good explanation. "The thing is, your forefathers did not work for money."


Putu Suryadarma was barely one year old when Susilo's family made its first trip to Bali. For Gusti Ayu Aryawati, it was a homeward visit. But she had been outcast from her family for marrying a Javanese immediately after she had finished her undergraduate studies.

In the 50s Bali was very calm and peaceful. Kuta Beach was the favorite site for foreign as well as domestic tourists. Susilo talked a lot about tourist destinations and old traditions of the Balinese people. Every Thursday night there was a dance show at Bali Hotel, featuring young and famous dancers.

"Mas, you know more about Bali than I do. I'm really ashamed of myself", said Aryawati, honestly admitting her ignorance.

"You have nothing to be ashamed of; if you knew my past personal history everything would become as clear as water."

"What are you talking about?" Aryawati felt confused.

"What secrets are you keeping from me. Up until now I thought you were honest and had a gentlemanly attitude. But why have you kept me in the dark?"

"Wati, please don't go too far! But it is a long, long story and no part of it will harm our existence. On the other hand, it should enliven our marriage with the blessed Putu in our family."

Susilo had to sip his coffee before he could say anything further. "Wati", he said solemnly, "Wati ... your husband, with the present name of Dedy Susilo is really and naturally, a Balinese.

"I went to Java before I finished senior high school following a family feud. And during my wild adventure in Java I found a good man who adopted me under my present name instead of my real Balinese name, Gde Susila.

Indeed, I belong to the sudra caste, a caste that will be inherited by our children, generation after generation."

"Oh, Beli Gde, I feel like I'm dreaming ...," Aryawati said, instantly embracing her new husband as tightly as possible. "What a great mystery, Beli Susila!"

Notes: Mas : Javanese for "brother" Kok : short interjection showing curiosity Jero: title of caste, higher than sudra sudra: the lowest caste Napi kayunang, Tu? : What do you want, madam? Tu: short for Ratu when addressing a person of higher caste Man: short for Nyoman Nas lugra: excuse me

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sekitar 20 Ribu Orang Warga Bali Bekerja di Kapal Pesiar

Jumlah orang Bali yang bekerja di kapal pesiar, baik melalui jalur resmi maupun tidak resmi, ternyata cukup besar yakni mencapai kisaran 15.000 - 20.000 orang. Otomatis devisa yang dihasilkan dari para pekerja ini pun cukup besar.

Hanya saja karena tidak ada peraturan pemerintah mengenai keharusan menyimpan dan mengirimkan sebagian uang hasil kerja mereka ke Bali lewat lembaga keuangan pemerintah, devisa tersebut tidak bisa dinikmati. Demikian disampaikan Presiden Kesatuan Pelaut Indonesia (KPI) Hanafi Rustandi, Selasa (20/2) kemarin.

Besarnya devisa yang mestinya bisa dinikmati bagi kemajuan Bali, kata Hanafi, tidak terealisasi karena peraturan untuk itu belum ada. Dia menyebutkan di Philipina sudah ada UU mengenai keharusan para pekerja yang bekerja di luar negeri untuk menyimpan dan mengirimkan gaji mereka lewat bank pemerintah. Hal ini sangat berhasil dilaksanakan karena saat ini devisa terbesar Philipina berasal dari para pekerja yang bekerja di luar negeri tersebut. Dia menyebutkan pemerintah Bali pun sedianya bisa melakukan hal tersebut sehingga devisa yang cukup besar bisa masuk ke kas daerah.

Dia mengumpamakan paling tidak gaji yang diterima para pelaut ini minimal 1.000 dolar AS. Jika saat ini terdapat 15.000 pelaut Bali dan 80 persen penghasilannya mesti disimpan di lembaga keuangan pemerintah, maka tiap bulannya paling tidak terdapat 12 juta dolar bisa masuk ke Bali. ''Melihat potensi naker yang bekerja di luar negeri, sebenarnya Bali punya peluang untuk memanfaatkannya, itu merupakan pemasukan devisa yang sangat besar,'' kata Hanafi.

Disamping menguntungkan bagi daerahnya, para pekerja pun diuntungkan karena uang hasil kerja kerasnya tidak terhambur-hambur percuma. Selama ini ada kecenderungan, para naker yang bekerja di luar negeri tersebut membelanjakan gajinya dengan asal-asalan. Akibatnya keluarga mereka yang ada di Bali maupun dirinya sendiri akan tetap kesulitan keuangan ketika sudah tidak bekerja lagi di kapal pesiar.

Melalui adanya peraturan yang mengharuskan uang mereka disimpan di lembaga keuangan pemerintah, Hanafi mengatakan akan ada multiflier effect yang lebih besar bagi daerah. ''Para pekerja ini juga akan diuntungkan karena mereka memperoleh bunga dari simpanannya. Selain itu kehidupannya juga akan lebih terjamin karena gajinya tidak terbuang percuma,'' paparnya.

Ditambahkannya saat ini terdapat trend peningkatan jumlah tenaga kerja Bali yang bekerja di kapal pesiar. Dari data Holland American Line, hampir 30 persen awak kapal pesiar berasal dari Bali. Keberadaan para naker ini relatif terjamin karena bekerja berdasarkan collective labour agreement. Sejauh ini tidak ada jenis pekerjaan lain yang mempunyai jaminan semacam itu. Selain itu, para pekerja kapal pesiar ini pun umumnya tergabung dalam serikat pekerja, seperti KPI maupun Norwegian Seafarers Union, yang memperjuangkan hak-hak para pekerja tersebut.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bali’s Villa market: A history

Ian Macaulay

Bali, a tourist destination since the 1920s, continues to remain a chic, sought after destination, and its vibrant culture constantly draws people in from around the world.

One of the things that make the island special is the broad spectrum of foreigners from many walks of life who choose to live in Bali on an extended basis, and the level of which integration is achieved into the Bali local and expatriate communities.

Bali’s a modern and a traditional place at the same time. It’s difficult to describe but easy to understand once you’ve experienced it. One of its most striking characteristics of what makes up Bali is its diversity; it’s a cultural intersection of so many people from different backgrounds.

Firstly, it’s the Balinese themselves. Gregarious, good-natured, friendly and disarming. At ease in their own land and culture and who enjoy having the outside world to learn from and participate in their fascinating adaptation to modernity. They’ve been watching foreigners come to their shores for many years and realized there’s a middle space where both sides benefit and that is what sums up the best of the Bali experience.

The Island’s always been an artistic Mecca that attracts artists from around the world. The island also plays host to a varied set of people in different industries, such as fashion, furniture, jewelry production, and the creative arts, etc.

It was people like this who first started building private villas in Bali about 20 years ago.

During the same time as the luxury hotel chains: the Aman resorts, the Oberoi, the Four Seasons, and independent brands started harnessing the natural beauty, fascinating scenery and low labor costs, consequentially creating a reputation for luxury service environments for which the island has deservedly became so famous. At this same time beautiful private homes began being constructed specifically in the whims and tastes of their individual owners.

These were beautiful homes on the expansive properties in various different types of setting; surrounded by rice-fields, perched on the edges of river gorges, and on the shores in various areas of the island.

These owners started having overseas guests come to visit them, and stay in their magnificent homes. These villas had features such as open-air living rooms, landscaped terraced rice fields, massive swimming pools, exotic hard wood floors, carved murals of ancient Hindu legends, and service staff sometimes numbering over 10 just for an individual villa.

Those guests started asking the owners if they could bring friends or family and rent the house when the owner was not there. The owner consented, and an industry was born.

It was very much a cottage industry; there was no real commercial bent. Staffing, while extensive, was sometimes best described as ‘well-meaning incompetence’. At times plumbing worked, sometimes it didn’t; that was part of the whole experience. Celebrities and media descended. Mick Jagger got married in Bali. Word about the villa as an alternative to a hotel for vacation accommodation started to quietly spread.

The building of villas, some for private homes, some to rent occasionally, some to rent all the time - started to intensify. During the early 90s land costs were almost insignificant and construction was expensive with many building parts and necessities being imported from outside the country.

laws and regulations were never the easiest to interpret or see implemented properly. Its laws regarding property where partially inspired by memories of colonial times, the countries legal structure deliberately intended to privilege the individual Indonesian land owner.

In the 80’s and 90’s was experimenting with foreign investment laws. These were mostly designed for foreign groups looking to get involved in exploiting ’s vast natural resources, such as mining companies. Often the conceptual framework was that a foreign group would commence the investment and then it was legally mandated that foreign interests would have to start divesting themselves, facilitating growing Indonesian ownership of the company.

These laws made sense considering the time and the types of industry involved, however, later on, as service related industries, and hotel groups and others started wanting to invest there became changes in the foreign investment regulations, but it was a long and complicated path. For most of the 90’s setting up a foreign investment company was incredibly complicated and very expensive.

For people investing into Bali during those times, when land had a very low cost, the simplest form of ownership structure was a lease. And the majority of villas were built on leasehold land.

Time passed, and as we moved into past the year 2000 some of the most significant things that had occurred was that Bali’s reputation as a modern luxury travel destination was solidified, the Asia crisis of 97, which had impacts throughout the region. President Suharto had stepped down, and started a true form of democracy. Meanwhile Land prices started to accelerate significantly – growing in value by 20% or more a year. In Bali, the first villa resorts, multiple villas sharing some of the same infrastructure and services, started to appear.

The other significant aspect was the growth and beginning of a professional villa industry. Many villa companies came into being; some offering property management services, some offering rental services and others offering sales agencies.

As more clients tried villas as vacation accommodation, and more villas started being offered for commercial rentals, it gave the market impetuous to start improving the product. Client’s expectations, especially at the higher end of the market, continued to increase.

In today’s day and age, 24 hour security has become a must. High quality of food preparation and serving, both local and overseas cuisine has become crucial. Large private swimming pools and other facilities such as gyms are increasingly popular. Practicalities such as broadband internet access and WIFI have also become almost mandatory.

For villa properties that deliver on these expectations, they can command a high price per night and enjoy a higher yearly occupancy.

The value of land has risen dramatically on the island over the last 6 years an average growth rate of approximately 20% per year. Foreign investors have increasingly turned away from leasehold interests and while it’s still only possible for citizens to own land outright, there are different techniques with which foreigners can control the freehold title and thus benefit from the capital appreciation of the land.

Villa resorts are becoming increasingly more popular and prevalent on the island. When one places multiple units of luxury villas together, one gets to enjoy the economies of scale from a staffing and marketing point of view, and has the ability to provide excellent common facilities at a reasonable cost. Well designed and constructed resorts look to preserve the authenticity of the stand alone villa experiencea private villa with its own swimming pool, multiple bedrooms, and living and dining areas. It then takes services and facilities which a standalone villa is unable to provide – round the clock food and beverage service, concierge services and shared common facilities.

All of this is starting to lead into a merging of the best of a luxury hotel with the best of a private villa and the result is something to be enjoyed.

Ian Macaulay is director of development at real estate firm Elite Havens.