Balinese temple are enlivened by a variety of stone sculpture and relief which to the Western eye have an almost baroque or rococo quality. The original inspiration for many of the statues and motifs may have come from India, but everywhere they have been subjected to strong local influences which over centuries have given rise to a uniquely Balinese artistic tradition.
The basic material used for stone carving is a soft volcanic sandstone, or tuff, which has a very plastic quality and lends itself well to being shaped by the stone mason`s chisel. Equally, it deteriorates fairly rapidly when exposed to the elements and Balinese temples are in a constant process of renovation and renewal.
A Balinese Iconography
One of the most striking images in Balinese temples is the face of a leering monster, which lolling tongue, bulging eyes and ferociously large canines, which is typically found over the monumental gateway (kori agung) leading to the innermost courtyard. This demonic visage is the face of the bhoma, whose fearful countenance is intended to drive away malevolent influences the temple precincts.
Less important locations are augmented with karang bintulu-a monstrous single eye which stares unblinkingly over a dental arcade of upper teeth with extended canines. This motif is typically surmounted by an image of a mountain-a representation of the legendary Mount Meru which stands at the centre of the Hindu-Buddhist universe and is identified in Indian mythology as the abode of the gods.
Corner motifs include karang curing, which are composed by the upper part of a bird`s beak with a single eye and jagged teeth, or as an alternative, karang asti, the jawless head of an elephant. When the Mexican artist and author Miguel Covarrubias, who lived in Bali during the 1930s, asked why these images lacked a lower mandible, he was told that this was because they did not have t o eat solid food. Covarrubias comments:”This is, in my opinion, a typically Balinese wisecrack and not an indication of any such symbolic meaning”
Other decorative motif include border designs (patra) of which there are several kinds. The type known as patra olanda might have been inspired by Dutch sources, while the pattern known as patra cina, indicates Chinese origins.
Padmasana shrines and meru are typically decorated with geometric or foliate motifs, while the carvings or pavilions may include representations of animals and mythological beasts, or even the gods themselves.
The most important images are reserved for the walls and gateways for they divide the sacred precincts of the temple from the profane, secular world outside. Especially significant in this last respect are the reliefs which adorn the free-standing wall, or aling-aling, which is placed just behind the kori agung gateway as one enters the innermoust courtyard in the temple complex. The latter typically sports a rogues` gallery of demons and ogres who are intended to deter malevolent influences from penetrating the inner sanctum.
Sabtu, 23 Agustus 2008
Balinese temple are enlivened by a variety of stone sculpture and relief which to the Western eye have an almost baroque or rococo quality. The original inspiration for many of the statues and motifs may have come from India, but everywhere they have been subjected to strong local influences which over centuries have given rise to a uniquely Balinese artistic tradition.
Selasa, 19 Agustus 2008
After living here for almost ten years, my time had eventually come to venture into the beautiful surrounding waters and 'dance' with the fish – diving as it is more correctly termed. It's not that I had never fancied it beforehand, it's just that life somehow got it the way; being pregnant, raising a baby and so it went. Therefore, to be invited to Waka Shorea in the stunning North West point of Bali was an opportunity to attempt to dive that I would definitely not be missing this time around.
Being picked up early morning by comfortable car with a personal driver is a luxury that everyone can appreciate; even more as the journey from Canggu to West Bali's National Park takes up to 3 hours, through breathtaking scenery as roads corkscrew mountains. This is an exciting part to a journey where photo opportunities abound as one gazes down onto paddy fields and unspoilt lakes – postcard perfect. Just to breath the pure, fresh air is a treat in itself. Eventually you will arrive at Waka Shorea, where the next step of the adventure takes you onto a boat to knife through the waves onto an exclusive private resort, in fact, the only resort in the National Park.
Waka Shorea is a haven of unspoilt natural beauty. As you arrive to the private jetty, you notice that the resort blends harmoniously into its surroundings, it is very obvious that the environment has been considered above all else, although Waka's inimitable style is evident. The beach is scattered with shells and coral, and the clear turquoise water teams with fish and various marine life. Although I didn't see him, there is an eel that lives to the left of the jetty and the staff have developed an affection for him, and talk of him with fondness. This is an enthusiasm I couldn't quite share.
The resort is stunning, in a simple back to nature style. When I arrived, I was greeted by the sight of two silverback, black monkeys drinking from a source who then scampered off into the bush. I certainly had the feeling that this would be a memorable weekend. The villa blended perfectly into the surroundings and was more than comfortable, in natural linens and a mosquito net covered bed, and a gorgeous bathroom with colourful hand baked tiling.
After a hearty lunch, spent in the company of charismatic Bill Quinlan who is a wonderful raconteur, and has been with Waka Experience since 1991, the afternoon was spent getting to know the surroundings; walks along the shore, a massage at the spa and a lazy dinner to the sounds of nature. The best forms of relaxation in preparation for my first ever dive next morning.
The next morning did not disappoint; a sun filled sky greeted the day and the sea was perfect. I was taken by boat to Menjangan Island (Deer island) just across the water, and got all the gear on. My kind dive instructor patiently explained all the necessary hand signals to use below the surface although I was more distracted by the weight of the equipment. Sitting on the edge of the boat, and knowing I was to drop myself in with a backwards roll was the most difficult part of the day – as silly as I realise that sounds. Once in and mask on we went under the waves – bye-bye surface, hello complete new world. I always imagined the breathing through the mouthpiece to be a different sensation, but it was as if breathing normally, easier than snorkelling. We went down meter by meter until I reached 6 meters, and the only thing that you must remember is to equalise your ears, in exactly the same manner as being on a plane, or high in the mountains. My dive instructor did all the other necessary 'fiddlings' with dials and knobs so I could just take in all the scenery. Fish are very busy! There is constant movement down there under the waves, and it was teaming with a colour and variety that I did not imagine I'd see at such little depth. The corals were just as stunning and the sound of my breathing made it a meditative experience – I was completely enthralled by it all.
A half hour zoomed by, and once again it was time to board and head over to Menjangun Island for a walk in the nature to where there are some amazing Hindu temples. I hungrily took snap after snap, and felt that I was exploring and discovering a whole different part of Bali, which was indeed true. The scenery is very arid, a complete contrast to the green fertile fields of southern Bali.
Unfortunately, the morning flew by and it was time to pack up and head back to the north west of Bali, once again by boat. There we made our way back by the stunning roads that took us at one point to a breathtaking vista on both Danau Tamblingan and Danau Buyan (renown lakes in the mountains) as well as Bedugal Sunday market, filled to the brim with people, plants and fresh vegetables where I did some 'quick' purchases. I now have a cinnamon tree in my garden in Canggu that marks the memory of a fabulous first dive and another outstanding Waka experience.
Body & Soul
Searching for quality fashion? Craving the latest trends at an affordable price? Desperate for the perfect outfit to get you through the festive season? Then Body and Soul is your shopping haven.
With outlets strategically located throughout the island (Seminyak – Jln. Legian – Kuta Square– Discovery Mall – Nusa Dua Bali Collection) Body and Soul satisfies a worldly and demanding clientele. New Collections are released fort-nightly and you will find all stores lavishly merchandised with cutting edge fashion that fulfills all tastes, shapes and sizes. With the Spring-Summer 2006 Collection already in store, Body & Soul is always one step ahead.
In October this year, Body and Soul opened its spectacular Flagship store in the heart of Seminyak. The Flagship store showcases both the women's and bambini collections in a captivating shopping environment. This December, the dynamic company will celebrate the opening of its 21st outlet worldwide at the much anticipated Bali Collection Mall – Nusa Dua. An impressive portfolio for a company that emerged only a decade ago.
With over 200 styles in store and a new Bambini line, Body and Soul will undoubtedly quench your thirst for fashion!
Uluwatu A Stitch In Time
Uluwatu's lacewear offers its clients individual pieces that may take up to a week and several hands to produce, before being lovingly gift wrapped and bagged. From bed linen, to lingerie, to shorts and baggy shirts, to little halter tops and sexy laced back spaghetti strapped dresses, Uluwatu has a vast array of collections to please nearly all of the female adult populace. Uluwatu can dress all shapes and sizes in its stylish but distinctive natural linens, whites and blacks with an impressive flair.
The stores can be found in Kuta, Nusa Dua-with two recently opened stores at The Conrad and The Grand Hyatt, Ubud and Sanur and make the shopping experience pleasant. Decked out in wood and air conditioned, with thoroughly charming local staff who can give you detailed information on each piece and a cooling beverage, you will feel like taking your time to find the perfect gift or outfit. The home wear range is simply beautiful with lacework tablecloths to a full range of bed linens and even kimonos, suitable for all ages.
Blush Deluxe For the Goddess in Us
Blush Deluxe has been open for 10 months and already has a loyal following. The Blush Deluxe store is divided into two sections; on the right hand side is Blush, that are clothes for younger goddesses found in a variety of colours and fabrics from S – L, and ranging in price from Rp. 70,000 – Rp. 240,000. On the left hand side of the store is Deluxe, that is a line of clothing for the fuller figure goddesses ranging in size from S – XL. The strap pants are the signature piece and come in varied colours for that comfy but chic look. At the back of the store is a 50% off rack that has some great bargains.Blush deluxe also offers Indian silver jewellery, as well as bags, gorgeous sarongs, and an assortment of other gift ideas.
Inti–a-Boutique Clothes you can wear
The dynamic team of Barbara and Peter Tollit has now opened in Seminyak and Kuta at two new stores, continuing the success of their boutique in the not-so-accessible Le Meridien Hotel, out in Tabanan.
Inti-a-boutique offers tropical styles and fabrics in floaty, cover-up comfort for those requiring larger sizes. Barbara explains that the ubiquitous S-M-L sizes found in Bali are on the smaller size, leaving taller, and larger ladies with a select choice. Inti's use of linens, voiles and rayon in beautiful colours provide the perfect, well-needed selection for all hours of the day. Match up the many outfits –especially the draw string, linen pants that are a must – with the sandals, bags, swimwear and sarongs on offer for a chic Bali look.At Inti – a Boutique you will find gifts for all the female members of the family at very reasonable prices, whether it be a piece of gorgeous jewellery, a perfect accessory or a combination to make the perfect outfit.
Wholesale is also an option, as are export orders and with Barbara and Peter's combined retail success and experience throughout Australia and Bali, you can be assured of being in excellent hands.
Inti-a-Boutique can be found at:Jl. Raya Seminyak 11, Br. Basangkasa, Seminyak. T: 62-361-733 664
All Seasons Resort, Jl. Padma Utara, Bali. T: 62-361-756 203
Le Meridien, Tabanan, Bali. T: 62-361-815 900http://www.inti-a-boutique.com/
Tarita Furniture Chic Classic Craftmanship
Parhaps a piece of Tarita furniture will not fit into your suitcase, but once you see the fabulous craftsmanship of their pieces you will most likely be tempted to take advantage of their delivery or shipment services to surprise loved ones back home.
Tarita Furniture was one of the first companies to reproduce Indonesian colonial style furniture back in 1991. These days Tarita is responsible for several hundred classic to chic models that can be found under the roves of homes and resorts throughout the world.
The Bypass is where you can shop at Tarita's main gallery for nearly all your home furnishing needs. Nearby are the two new Tarita Deco stores where the high-end fun and quirky pieces are found. If a bargain is what you are after, then shop at Tarita's Sunset Gallery, which is located on the namesake Sunset road.
Purnama or full moon is an auspicious day to Balinese people. Many important Hindu rituals fall upon or are held at this time. The day is believed to bring happiness both socially and spiritually. The significance of purnama, however has changed over recent times.
In the past, say four or five decades ago, purnama had more meaning for romantic things, while its ritual dimension was rather insignificant. Between the1950s and 1970s, purnama was the day that teenagers were always very much looking forward to. On the purnama day, they enjoyed the brightness of the night by going to the beach. Teenagers in Denpasar, for example, went to Sanur beach to enjoy the beauty of the full moon. Many people also swam at the beach that night. They believed that by swimming at the beach on purnama day, they were not just cleaning their bodies but also their minds.
Because the transport facilities before the 1970s was not as modern as nowadays, Denpasar inhabitants went to Sanur by bicycle. Limited street lighting on the road was not an obstacle to their travelling by bicycle because the moon poured its shining light on the road. One after another bicycle usually went to Sanur on the night of purnama. The light of the moon not only eased the ride but also accentuated the romance of their journey.
On the purnama night, Sanur beach was packed with people, usually until midnight, when most of the visitors went home. People avoided hanging around at the beach until late at night because of the magical images of the area. Besides going to Sanur at purnama, teenagers also liked to go to the cinema. New releases of films were often shown for the first time at purnama so as to be able to attract a bigger audience. Sanur beach and the cinema were among the few places available for recreation at that time.
Going to Sanur for teenagers also let them see the 'splendour' of the first and only ten storeyed building in Bali; The Grand Bali Beach Hotel located on Sanur beach. This hotel was the most attractive object for local people to see during holidays such as Galungan and Kuningan or New Year.
Nowadays, purnama in Sanur is still beautiful, but people do not need to wait to come to the beach on that day. People can come to Sanur every day if they like. Purnama and Sanur no longer have a strong connection. The tall building on Sanur beach, which used to be considered so splendid, has now lost its attractiveness. Also, the number of places for recreation has increased; now it is mainly malls and cafes where teenagers like to hang around at the week end.
The romantic dimension of the full moon has become less celebrated by teenagers nowadays. Changes have taken place, marked by more spiritual activities, held on purnama day. On the night of purnama, young people around the town of Denpasar prefer to put on their Balinese attire and go to pray at the temple Jagatnatha, located in the front of Puputan Badung Park. The praying itself does not take long. Some people like to stay up late in the temple or doing what they called makemit, praying and establishing peace of mind but others like to hang around the temple and the Puputan Badung Park until late night. During the purnama night, the park is packed with people, a scene that did not exist three decades or so ago. Those who come to Jagatnatha temple are mostly young people, including school students. On purnama day, students of high schools in Denpasar go to school after hours to pray at their school temple. Some stay there until late at night, while others go to Jagatnatha temple to pray again. The spiritual dimension of purnama has been very strong recently. Every purnama, many primary and secondary school students in Denpasar, and in other regions throughout Bali, come to school without uniform but wearing traditional Balinese attire. They pray at school together before the classes start. Non-Balinese kids may wear Balinese attire if they wish, although they do not have to.
Visitors who happen to have purnama during their holiday in Bali may be lucky enough to see how the Balinese carry on their traditions in the modern era.
On the day of the full moon, Balinese people usually do tirta yatra or pilgrimage to their family or main Hindu temples such as Besakih, Tanah Lot, and Uluwatu. Some often go to pray to Alas Purwo Temple and Mandara Giri near Semeru Mountain in East Java. They come in groups, travelling by bus, like groups of civil servants, hotel or garment factory workers, and the cost paid or subsidized by the company. Tirta yatra has become a fashion and is usually done on purnama day.
Although we are focusing upon the full moon in this article, it should be mentioned that 'Tilem', the dark moon, is also an auspicious day in the Balinese calendar.
Selasa, 05 Agustus 2008
Owing to a long-term interaction with the west, as well as a long and flourishing cultural tradition of its own, Ubud has developed a unique style that can be seen throughout the town and its surrounds. The nyentrik (eccentric) attachment of Ubud's more mobile population to old motor vehicles is well documented. Tjokorde Lingsir of Puri Kantor hid a magnificent old 1930s Morris Minor from the Japanese occupation forces, and continued to display it in his garage until his death. Another long-term resident, the Javanese artist Abdul Aziz, kept an old Fiat in his studio. The tradition continues with the younger generation of Tjokorde from Puri Saren regularly buying and restoring vintage cars. A number of gracefully aging Mercedes Benz sedans are often seen on the streets of Ubud. Not content with mere motorcars, Ubud also has the highest per capita ownership of Harley Davidson motorcycles in all of Indonesia.
The most exhuberant expressions of Ubud Style are to be seen at traditional Balinese ceremonies. When choosing clothes, for example, Ubud is always quick to take up the latest fashion in kebayas, sarongs and myriad ways of tying udengs and saputs. Even Ubud funerary accoutrements have been renowned since the time of the great Ubud artist I Gusti Nyoman Lempad (whose designs for bade, cremation towers, made Ubud funerals famous island-wide). Phantasmagoric and giant paper-mache ogoh-ogoh effigies paraded around the village by each banjar the night before the Balinese New Year (Nyepi) also reflect the vivid and fanciful imagination of Ubud's people, as do the numerous bamboo penjor masterpieces that festoon the village's streets during Galungan.
Ubud, to this day, remains a beautiful town despite occasional struggles with tourist development. Our earliest memories of Ubud are much coloured by light – the fingers of weak sun through rising wisps of early morning mist in bamboo groves and river valleys, the dappled midday of the main street, late afternoon sunlight bouncing off mirror-like rice terraces, and, because we had no electricity in our early days here, the flickering of kerosene lamps, the warm glow of bamboo coconut-oil torches, the incandescence of "storm king" pressure lamps, and the magic of fireflies in the rice terraces
Picking our way home by torchlight, late at night after temple festivals, along narrow paths in the rice fields, was always a dramatic end to an evening. Apart from the ubiquitous warung life, these festivals were our main form of entertainment. We would watch mesmerized, as dance troupes of pre-adolescent bidadari -- angels -- performed impossible feats of finger, hand, head, eye and body coordination. We "Westerners" who found Ubud felt that it was our paradise on earth.
We needed to continue to believe in this idea of paradise in order to overcome discomforts occasioned by a lack of modern conveniences. No matter that there was no electricity, nor running water, telephones, street lamps, televisions, nor even restaurants as we had known them. We were young and prepared to endure any discomfort to live in paradise. (Electricity came to Ubud in 1977 and we all carefully apportioned our allotted four hundred watts between light bulbs, and, if we were really well off, small refrigerators.) We were forerunners of mass tourism and the sheer weight of our numbers would change forever the town we had "discovered". Already we were seeking better communications -- the old East German hand-cranked telephone (with its unintelligible crackle that had to be interpreted by its operator) and garbled telex messages made it impossible to run any sort of business by western standards. Telephones, however, finally came to Ubud in 1989, bringing with them not only direct contact with the rest of the world (without "interpreter"), but also nearly miraculous fax machines which brought, to our minds, a quantum leap in communications. Ah, modern technology had come to Ubud at last! The beautiful old cast iron ice grinders that produced wildly-coloured ice confections that cooled the hottest of days, were soon superseded by electric blenders, and the kacang hijau (green peanut) sellers were replaced by jingle-blaring ice cream peddlers on motorbikes. Weekly movies on a precariously hung white sheet in the Ubud Wantilan, advertisement-free public television in the bale banjar -- all went by the wayside in the name of progress.
The person who personifies the "Old Bali" for us is Gung Niang, the mother of our landlord who is one of Ubud's Tjokorde. Gung Niang was our source for all information concerning puri life when we first arrived. It was a mutual education. Gung Njiang would point our what was expected of us and then she would grill us about things she had heard about in "Java" (her word for any place that wasn't Bali). She would cackle with laughter when we ingenuously tried to explain such mysteries as how cows were milked in large-scale dairies. We attempted at different times to ascertain her age but the closest we ever got to a figure was a wonderful, but frightening, story about how, during the Batur earthquake of 1907, she was buried under a wooden and thatch bale in her parents' compound in Peliatan. She was old enough to remember vividly how she kept calling out until her older brother came and pulled her out of rubble. She grew up to marry the father of the present Tjokorde and become the "Queen Mother" of our compound. Her special claim to fame rests with the fact that she continues her husband's legacy of maintaining a large glass jar in which she keeps a special obat, or medicine, that is used to treat any sort of bite or sting. People come from far away for this medicine, and in return they bring bring arak liquor to top up her jar. We have all been responsible for adding to the jar's contents and the more rare the find, the more pleased she would be with our donation, for into her huge jar, to turn into sludge at the bottom, went any reptile or insect whose bite was poisonous. The resultant obat, a clear and foul-smelling liquor, worked on a homeopathic principle and bore amazing results, as we, our daughter, and many neighbours, can verify. It relieved the stings of wasp, bee, scorpion and centipede bites, and a myriad of other misadventures with the animal kingdom. Today she still reigns in her puri, the last of her generation of Ubud aristocrats.
We long ago settled into "our" corner of paradise and began learning from the people around us what was really important in life here. From these interactions come our oldest and most abiding memories -- the myriad and colourful stories that explained and illustrated the everyday beliefs and customs around us, and the establishment of relationships that have now spanned generations. We remember things like the nights before Nyepi with their ogoh-ogoh, the many variations of temple processions and temple ceremonies, cockfights, Hari Saraswati, Independence Day with its town gathering around the greased pole holding dozens of prizes for those who dare to climb to the top, the penjor-decorated holidays of Galungan and Kuningan, the pulsative time when weeks seem to go by without anything happening, and then days that fly by without a break, in a flurry of offering-making, temple visits, community services and cremations. These things have not changed -- and in them the old Ubud remains very much a large part of the "new". It is a wonderfully vibrant place that always evolves, but, at the same time, always maintains its own special character -- one that comprises strong cultural traditions with a more measured approach to life.
Balinese people have a great sense of humour. This can be seen through their visual arts such as painting, sculpture and the performing arts; including the sacred puppet-shadow and mask dance. Clown characters that make jokes and help audiences understand stories are pre-eminent in all of the Balinese performing arts.
One of the most popular forms of performing arts that is dominated by or often focuses upon only humorous elements, is bondres, also known as topeng bondres. Topeng in Balinese means mask, while bondres refers to comic characters. Topeng bondres means an amusing form of mask used by dancers to make a comical appearance.
Bondres became known in the mid 1970s through the birth of a mask dance group called Topeng Carangsari, named after the village of Carangsari, North of Sangeh Monkey forest. Before this decade, the word 'bondres' was not known and still doesn't appear in today's dictionary of the Balinese language.
The Topeng Carangsari was the first group of mask-dancers to create the typical clown and they made the whole performance entertaining through their fresh, original, and smart jokes. Mask-dance used to be a sacred or serious dance, usually performed to accompany a ritual such as a temple festival or a particular stage in a cremation ritual. When the mask-dance transformed into a performing genre, like prembon, by performing particular stories such as the genealogy of a king or clan, they were hardly entertaining and quite boring. Suddenly, Topeng Carangsari lead by a talented dancer, I Gusti Ngurah Windia, came up with great format of mask-dance which is called topeng tugèk Carangsari. Tugèk means 'chubby beautiful lady'.
Topeng Tugèk Carangsari created three distinctive characters who are a chubby-cheeked lady, the hare lipped arrogant man, and a deaf old man. These three characters have similar important roles, which are to articulate the story and to make audiences laugh. Interestingly, these characters were all played by one dancer, Ngurah Windia, who also played other characters such as a priest and king's adviser or enemy. He played each role just by changing masks and voices accordingly. The total number of topeng dancers is six. Other characters are the princess and her follower, the king (played by a female dancer) and two of his male adjutants. They were quite a solid group.
The prelude scene, marked by a couple of mask dances, was followed by several scenes that led into a plan for a big ritual in the palace such as a wedding. Since the king was respected by his people, he then received a lot of support to make the party run smoothly. The three funny characters enthusiastically come to the palace as representatives of the people.
Using a mixture of languages - Balinese, Indonesian, and a bit of English, the arrogant man comes first, and says how he will dedicate his skill to the wedding ritual. Identifying himself as a civil servant who works at an upper level he appears so confident yet hilarious. He uses a lot of word games, mixing language, and mocking references to modernity and current issues in tourism, thereby giving fresh and authentic jokes for the audience.
As for the other two characters, the chubby-cheeked lady and the deaf old man, although looking very old, the woman introduces herself as a virgin and still a university student. When the king's adjutant welcomes and mocks her as an old and unattractive woman, she then gives the man a lesson by showing her high knowledge of moral and religious values. The funny elements from the character of the deaf old man come from the dialogue between the two, which is full of misunderstandings. Although almost all bondres characters are depicted as stupid, they also sometimes appear as smart and literate people who know a lot about history, tradition, and religious values; reflecting the high literacy level of the dancer, Ngurah Windia.
The Topeng Tugèk Carangsari was very popular throughout the 1980s and 1990s. They were invited not only for ritual or ordinary performances but also used by government institutions and NGOs to promote ideas including 'awareness of tourism', 'awareness of law', on family planning, and on road traffic. Now their dancers are getting old and are unable to perform with the original team. Moreover, their jokes are losing some of their humour since they have been continually recycled by other bondres groups.
The Topeng Tugèk Carangsari group has been very influential. Almost all bondres groups have copied its format with very little adjustment. Mask-dance groups from Denpasar, Badung, and even from North Bali nowadays, often recycle the format and content of Topeng Tugèk Carangsari's humour. Now such mask dances often also appear on TV and are used to make trade promotions. A bondres group from North Bali, which has been very popular recently, has a western dancer that makes it possible for the group to offer more jokes in language games between Balinese, Indonesian and English, either when the Balinese express thing in English or the western dancer says something in Balinese or Indonesian.
Recently, many bondres have left out the stories from their performances and transformed it into pure comedy. After the Bali bombings, several bondres groups were invited by government or NGOs to entertain the public in order to help society eliminate their fears. Bondres also often appear in hotels or even at police station anniversary celebrations. Most of the groups are still able to make people laugh although they are not as funny as the original Topeng Tugèk Carangsari; the pioneers of what is an essentially typical Balinese form of comedy.
Even sleepy Singaraja is getting crowded these days, so leave the town behind and head off to the east, taking the coast road towards Tulamben, and take a day or two to discover some of the unexpected highlights of the region! East Buleleng has peaceful temples with incredible carvings, gamelan makers, Neolithic remains, the only natural dye weavers and some of the oldest Bali Asli villages on the island.
A few kilometres after Singaraja, it is easy to miss the small road towards the coast to the Pura Beji temple in Sangsit, dedicated to Dewi Sri, the rice goddess. Dating back to the 15th century, this unusual pink sandstone temple is rococo in style, with intricate carvings on both sides of the numerous high walls and gates. Rest in one of the courtyards full of venerable frangipani trees and soak up the atmosphere of this magical place before wandering through the rice fields to the Pura Dalem. This temple is dedicated to Siwa and the souls of the dead with interesting erotic carvings reflecting the artist's vision of a Balinese heaven and hell.
Back on the main road, look for the turning south towards Jagaraga, the site of the last tragic battle fought by 16,000 Balinese soldiers led by Gusti Jelantik against 3,000 well-armed Dutch troops in 1849. The carvings covering the walls of the famous Pura Dalem temple outside the village show how peaceful village life was abruptly changed for ever by Dutch colonialists in cars, planes and riding bicycles. Stop for a glass of local coffee in one of the warungs in the main square with ancient trees in Sudaji village, where the best rice in Bali is grown.
Back on the main coast road; try not to miss one of the oldest palace gates in Bali, dating back to 1868, on the right hand side, just before the Pura Maduwe Karang temple in Kubutambahan. This is one of the largest temples in north Bali and is dedicated to the protection of crops that grow on land without irrigation. The reliefs show scenes from the Ramayana epic and Balinese life, together with the most photographed temple carving in Bali - a foreigner on a bicycle wearing shorts!Carry on through Air Sanih and stop at one more temple, Pura Pondok Batu, recently renovated in north Bali style. Built entirely out of the dark, austere lava stone so readily available in the north on a promontory overlooking the Bali Sea, this is one of the important temples founded by Danghyang Niratha, a seer who came from Java in the 16th century and who is said to have performed miracles on the site.
After Pondok Batu, the main road leads through the 'fruit basket of Bali' with seemingly endless plantations of mango, rambutan and durian trees covering the slopes of the mountains to the south. Follow the sign to Sembiran, climbing the steep road, with breathtaking views of the coast, up to one of the oldest villages in Bali. These ancient villages, Sembiran and Julah have their own special style of building, their own dialect and very different customs from the rest of the island.
Carry on east through Bondalem, then visit the unusual pillared horse baths in the centre of Tejakula; famous throughout Bali for hundreds of years for its silversmiths, dance performances and wayang wong mask dances. Stay at one of the following small resorts in the area and take the time to explore the many tiny back roads, villages and unspoiled beaches in the area.
Balinese dance usually identifies sacred characters because most dances are performed in connection with religious rituals. However, there are also many secular types of dance that are done purely for entertainment and fun and there are others that are performed with the tourists in mind.
One of the most irreverent of Balinese dances is joged, which is also known as joged bumbung; referring to the instruments made of bamboo used to accompany it. In the Indonesian and Balinese languages, joged means to shake the hips. A joged dancer wears relatively unelaborate attire, comprising a kebaya and sarung. Her head, either with or without gelungan, is decorated with fresh and gold-plated flowers and she will be holding one or more fans while dancing. The fans are used to touch spectators in order to invite them to join the dance.
Unlike many other forms of dance, joged doesn't have any particular pattern of movement or special steps. It can start and finish at any time but 10 minutes is about the average time for each dancer. Great ability to improvise is a must for a joged dancer and although every dancer can do joged, the audience always expects to see an attractive and charming girl. She has to throw a lot of smiles to make her appearance attractive to the spectators, who are generally predominantly male!
Shaking the hips is one of the important characteristics of joged. The dancer does this in a seductive way in order to attract people to dance with her. An onlooker invited to dance is called pengibing and his dance is called ngibing. In one joged performance, there can be between 6 and 12 dancers and the show can take from 1 to 2 hours. Each girl appears once and invites from 4-8 spectators to dance but there is no set number for this.
A joged dancer usually comes to pick one of the bystanders after making a brief attractive dance movement. She selects one among many of usually rowdy watchers who raise their hands; this invited spectator won't necessarily know how to dance. Before dancing, the girl gives him a sash to be tied round his hips as a symbol of tying up his desires. While he tries to dance, his appearance will almost certainly look odd and this is a great source of amusement for the rest of the crowd. If you find yourself at a performance of joged bumbung and you don't fancy being dragged in to the centre, try to keep a good distance away because it is considered impolite to refuse the dancer's invitation.
Pengibing are attracted to dance, not just because they like it, but also because they are attracted by the charms of the joged. It is not unusual for one or two of the more adventurous young men to try to move his hips so he can touch the joged's hips, or even to steal a quick kiss. The more beautiful a joged dancer is, the greater the number of men volunteering!
Joged has a long history. In the kingdom era, early 19th century in Bali, the image of joged dancers was not very good. A performance was often arranged by kings to entertain their guests and the dancers were often low status women who could do little to object when asked by the king to please guests, whether romantically, sexually or in any other way.
Unfortunately, the negative image of joged dancers continues until the present time. After the reformation era, joged became a wild performance in terms of its hip shaking and erotic movements.
In the days when asphalt roads was as rare as Range Rovers in the beachside resort of Kuta, the road to Canggu was…well…sand. In other words, you just pointed your trusty old motorbike towards the beach and when you hit the sand you turned right, then drove along for 15 or 20 minutes, crossing a few small rivers on the way, until you came to a small hill with a temple on it. Walking up this hill and then looking out at the bright blue water, you’d wait for a few seconds before spotting what you were looking for; a spiralling lefthander winding its way onto the beach. And yes, I did say lefthander.
When someone today mentions Canggu as a surf destination, it’s because it’s one of the few righthand waves on the west coast of Bali, which gives the natural footers a chance to surf on their frontside as a change from the plethora of lefts that start from Uluwatu in the south and continue up to Medewi in the north. But according to one of Bali’s legend surfers, Bali Barrel owner Ketut Menda, the left in front of the temple was the original “Canggu”. It was only after it began to become popular that the right started to get some attention, and now most just say Canggu to mean the destination, not the wave itself.
Menda credits Australian ex-pat David Wyllie as being the first to surf Canggu. It was in 1979 that the fourteen-year-old Menda hopped on the back of Wyllie’s motorbike with a surfboard tucked under each arm and together they headed up the beach from Wyllie’s place in what’s now Seminyak to the black lava breaks of Canggu. None of the Balinese had ever surfed there before, and Menda recalls, “when we got there the surf was pretty big, and I was just used to surfing the beach in Kuta, but here was a real reef break so I was a bit scared to go out. But I paddled out on my single fin and got a couple of waves before coming in.” After that initial surf, he would take every chance he got to go there again, sometimes staying at Wyllie’s house at night to get an early start in the morning, much preferring the more powerful reef waves to the sandy bottom beachbeaks of Kuta. Soon Menda was guiding others up to enjoy this newfound wave, and in 1981 a local by the name of Ketut Sudarma built a small warung, seeing the opportunity to give the boys somewhere to get a drink and some food so they wouldn’t have to pack it in each time by themselves.
Over the next few years the likes of Tom Carroll, Mark Richards, Shane Horan, and Brad Gerlach all surfed at Canggu, likening it to Velzlyland on the North Shore of Hawaii. Then in 1985 Canggu played host to its first surf contest, Rivoli was the name, sponsored by Pak Kadek and some Japanese friends. And who do you suppose was the winner? Ketut Menda of course. Local knowledge, you understand.
And that was the beginning that led to the now. First a couple of warungs, then road access, a homestay or two pops up, then ex-pat villas being built, more surf contests, and before you know it Canggu has been well and truly exposed to the worldwide surfing audience. Photos and videos of Andy Irons and his brother Bruce, Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning, Bobby Martinez and really most of the top professional surfers in the world sampling Canggu’s tasty treats can be found at will.
But it’s not just for the pros now is it? Of course not. Depending upon the season, swell direction and tide, you may have the choice of four waves; the original left in front of the temple, the sand bar just to the north which gives up rights and lefts, the righthander in front of the rivermouth, and then the peaky wave in front of the Pererenan road that can go right and left. Unlike the reefs at the Bukit like Uluwatu and Bingin for example, Canggu is quite user friendly for the average surfer, who would have a hard time getting him or herself raked across razor sharp coral and coming back to the beach with a cheese grated back.
Canggu does hold waves for most of the year, but is best in the morning hours and in all but the dead of rainy season, when at times the wind howls down from the north and blows it into a frothy cauldron a la “victory at sea”. But there is nothing like rocking up to Canggu in the morning as the sun is just peeking up over the rice fields to the east and lighting up the lip of a nice barrel or the long steep wall of a perfectly peeling wave to get you frothing, and keep you making the now (much easier) trek up from Kuta by road…even though you gotta wish it was like when Menda and Wyllie cruised up the beach on their motorbike back in those days when surfing in Bali was still young.
Sabtu, 02 Agustus 2008
Golden-headed Cisticola is the name usually applied to me by English writers on the subject. On hearing my song, you will trace the source and find me perched atop a stick, in the thick of the growing crop. In fact you will not find me elsewhere. My entire life revolves around the padi (though, unlike the munias, weavers and sparrows, I feed not upon the grain, but upon small insects which may be harmful to the crop); even my nest is secreted within the rice-stock. And thereby hangs a sorry tale. Are you prepared for the telling of it?
Thus have I and my kind been miserably persecuted. Practically extirpated, on the one hand, for being a crop pest; trapped and kept in a cage, on the other, for being so pretty.My only view of Ubud, these days, is through bars. Most of the time, my gaze falls upon bare walls: every now and then my owner suspends me in my prison from a beam on the balcony. For mercy's sake, what is to become of me? Which is the more desirable – to languish in solitary confinement, or to see all my friends at liberty? Better that I were dead. Snared by the farmer's lad and eaten.
Of All The Birds Of The Field, none can be more familiar, or have a finer overview, than we Egrets; long-necked, long-legged and elegant, resplendent in our gorgeous, snow-white plumes. You may profess not to be a bird observer, but when you see a crowd of our kind, strolling through the fallow and flooded, or newly-planted, rice-fields, you will feast your eyes on the spectacle for certain. And when a flying phalanx fills the sky, your gaze will as surely be drawn heavenward, until the last vestige of shimmering ribbon is lost behind the trees.
We are very free, and not only are we free, but we are also protected. Far more than that; we are considered sacred by the villagers with whom we share our home. You are most welcome to come and visit us. The name of the village is Petulu Gunung, situated but a short distance north of Ubud. Thousands upon thousands of our tribe roost and nest in this hallowed enclave. In tourist brochures and guidebooks, we are touted as a Major Tourist Attraction.
Kamandalu Resort (Jl. Tegallalang Bj. Nagi, T: 0361 975 825) is hosting Catus Pata Pengosekan, a collaborative painting exhibition showcasing various authentic Balinese paintings from 60 Balinese artists of Komunitas Seni Pengosekan (the community of Ubud artists) at the resort's exhibition venue - Bale Seni, from today through10 August 2008. Visitors will discover traditional works of flora and fauna as well as modern paintings.
To mark 50 years of accomplishments, the Museum Puri Lukisan (Jl. Raya Ubud, T: 0361 971 159) is hosting three important exhibitions from July through 12 September. The 'Pitamaha Exhibition' presents an overview of the development of Balinese painting and woodcarvings over the past 100 years. The Leiden exhibition features masterpieces of Balinese art on loan from the Leiden University Museum, collected between 1929 and 1958 by Dutch artist Rudolf Bonnet and Ida Bagus Made plus an exhibition-featuring collections of Ida Bagus Made's personal paintings.
Bali Golf Course (Sanur, T: 0361 287 733) is staging a mosaic exhibition by Australian Bali-based artist Cherrington Wayne today through September 2nd at the Lobby Clubhouse. The exhibition will display his two years of hard work designing mosaic installations.
'Between Industry and the Earth' is the title of the current solo painting exhibition of Aris Prabawa being held at Sika Gallery (Jl. Raya Campuhan, T: 0361 975 084) starting today until Sunday the 10th. 'Between Industry and the Earth' displays a collection of artwork exploring ecological and environmental issues in Australia and Indonesia.
Gaya Fusion present a current exhibition 'Reading Objects', display artwork collection of I Wayan Sujana, a Balinese painter who is dominant in painting farm objects such as scarecrows, tongs out of bamboo, or landscaped rice terraces etc. (Jl. Raya Sayan Ubud, T: 0361 979 252).
The Third Sanur Village Festival begins today and concludes August 10th. This event will maintain its focus on the area surrounding the Inna Grand Bali Beach Hotel on Jalan Pantai Segara. Several events such as coral reef preservation, fun bikes, and other highlights will feature in this year's event schedule with green being the theme to draw attention to the plight of the global environment . (Sanur, T: 0361 286 987, 288 511)
Nikko Bali (Nusa Dua, T: 0361 773 377) presents the living legend Mrs. Ni Ketut Arini, one of the most famous dancers, teachers and an active participant in the evolution of Balinese arts. The event is part of The Nikko Bali Culture Appreciation Night – a social evening of exclusive dining and entertainment not to be missed. Mrs. Ni Ketut Arini will perform also on 15, 22, and 29 August.
Care for tee? Register now at the 4th annual Sanur Amateur Open Golf Tournament in conjunction with Sanur Village Festival at Bali Beach Golf Course (Sanur, T: 0361 287 733), starting today and continuing until August 9th. Open to everyone.
10 August Celebrating their golden anniversary the Government of Bali Province proudly presents a special event entitled 'Sun Fun Run for Unity' on Sunday 10 August 2008. It will take place at Bajra Sandhi Monument (Niti Mandala Renon, T: 0361 235 200).
In collaboration with Tiempo Gallery and The House of Masks, Jenggala (Jl. Uluwatu, Jimbaran, T: 0361 703 311) has gathered an exhibition of antique masks from all over Indonesia in hopes of reviving appreciation for the country's extraordinary heritage. The exhibition is running from today to Sept 19.
Jemme Jewellery open their exciting new boutique on Jalan Raya Seminyak this month, in time for the party season. Like the flagship store on Jalan Raya Petitenget, Jemme Seminyak will offer an eclectic selection of exquisite jewels. (Seminyak, T: 0361 733 508)
Today 'Indonesia Raya' the national totem for Indonesia will be widely heard on the island as Bali and the Republic of Indonesia celebrates the 73rd year of Independence.
Ganesha Gallery (Four Season Jimbaran Resort, T: 0361 701 010) presents 'Footrpints in Two Worlds' by Suratmin Bagus Priyo, the Central Javanese artist who startles and delights his audience with three distinctly different groups of 33 drawings and paintings comparing many facets of post modern Indonesian culture . From today through 18 September.
Galungan holiday celebrates the commemoration of the victory of Dharma (virtue) upon Adharma (evil) derived from the mythology 'Mayadewa' the demon king. Expect to see hundreds of tall bamboo-poles decorated with coconut leaves, flowers, fruit, cakes and other offerings at every house entrance symbolizing prosperity.
Today marks the Bali Governor's Cup, a golf charity event held today until tomorrow at Bali Beach Golf Course and New Kuta Golf (Sanur, T: 0361 287 733). The organizer believes this event will help strengthen Bali 's tourism image as a world class golfing destination. Open event for all abilities.
Bali Fashion Week is an annual trade event held by Moda Bali Foundation that combines fashion, art and culture. The event is held annually in Bali to support the growth of the tourism industry while providing a convenient stage for the participants (domestic & international) to become inspired by the ever flowing creations seen in Bali. This event will be held until 28 August. (Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel, T: 751 067)
Heart Gallery (Jl. Karang Mas Sejahtera, T: 0361 708 897) is launching their latest exhibition 'The Shoes of Salvation' by eleven Bali and Yogyakarta based artists held from today through September 9th. These artists try to see other functions of shoes, not only as being a capitalistic fashion icon but also as a post modern symbol of our times.
Biasa Art Gallery (Jl. Raya Seminyak, T: 0361 744 2902) is staging a collaborative painting exhibition of Farhan Siki, Samuel Indratman, and Arja Pandjalu. 'Open Daily' commences today through September 20th. and celebrates the reunion of three of Yogyakarta's artists once known as 'Apotik Komik' (literally translating to 'comic drugstore').