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www.liveencounters.net

January 2010

Free bimonthly international online journal by citizens of planet earth

Carmen Roberts fast:track BBC Randhir Khare Walking with Spirits Terry McDonagh Irish Poet Mark Ulyseas Bali Heritage Trust

Robin Lim Legendary midwife, Ubud/Aceh Elaine Farmer Ayaan Hirsi Ali Ratu Bagus Guru of the Art of Shaking Bobby Chinn Hair of the Dog Robin Marchesi Two Worlds Morganics Hip Hop Artist

Rebecca Tyrer Oh Palestine X’Ho Uniquely Singapore contact

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E D I T O R I A L

© Mark Ulyseass

We thank our well wishers in Indonesia, India, South Africa, U.S.A, U.K., Singapore, Australia and the Middle East for supporting our endeavor to bring people together regardless of time zones, cultural divides and religious affiliations. In this inaugural edition we present a slice of ‘real’ life. The special feature is on The Bali Heritage Trust. A must read for those who want to help in the preservation of Balinese culture. Also in this issue is an enlightening encounter with The Guru of the Art of Shaking – Ida Pandita Mpu Parama Daksa Nata Ratu Bagus; and a walk with spirits in South India followed by Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel. Live Encounters is conducting a symphony of peaceful co-existence being performed by citizens of planet earth. Join us and become a citizen of planet earth. Help us create a world that the great Bengali poet and Nobel Laureate spoke about…

“Where the mind is without fear And the head is held high Where knowledge is free Where the world has not been broken up By narrow domestic walls” - Rabindranath Tagore

A peaceful 2010 to all our readers and well wishers. markulyseas@liveencounters.net Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om Special thanks to : (Indonesia) High priests of Pura Tulik Biyu Batur, Tjokorda Raka Kerthyasa, the Catholic community of Palasari, Al & Marina Purwa, Barbara Purwa, Sarita & Kamal Kaul, Shruti Kaul, Marian Hjilem, Ketut Suardana, Ibu Ari Murti, Popo Danes, Made Sukma Swacita, Ibu Robin Lim, Norman and his friends at Mystic Hotel, Roberto & Niken, William Furney, John Pettigrew, Lakota and Robi of Navicula, Cassandra the Bencong. (USA, Australia, UK, Ireland, Vietnam, Palestine, India, Singapore) Randhir Khare, Morganics, Ela & Hari Gori, Lisa Taylor, Bobby Chinn, Robin Marchesi, Terry McDonagh, Elaine Farmer, Carmen Robert of Fast Track BBC, X’Ho, Conran Octopus Limited, Free Press New York.

All articles and photographs are the copyright of www.liveencounters.net and its contributors. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the explicit written permission of www.liveencounters.net. Offenders will be criminally prosecuted to the full extent of the law prevailing in their home country or elsewhere. 2

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CONTENTS 02 Special Report The Bali Heritage Trust

12 Fast Tracking

Carmen Roberts, award winning journalist and producer of BBC flagship travel program fast:track

14 Hip Hop Nomad

Exclusive excerpt from Morganics upcoming book, Memoirs of a Hip Hop Nomad. Terima kasih Morganics.

16 Tribal India

Randhir Khare walks with the spirits in the Nilgiri Mountains of Tamil Nadu in South India.

20 Poetry

Terry McDonagh, Irish poet and dramatist, has contributed two poems to support Live Encounters. Terima kasih Pak Terry.

22 On The Fringe

Agustian Supriatna – Creating beauty from debris.

24 HIV/AIDS

Ari Murti, a Muslim scholar, woman activist, author of Outcast, True Stories, from sex trade to HIV/AIDS, speaks about her book and work with prostitutes and orphans in Bali.

26 Interview

Cassandra, a Bencong (girly boy), her life and work.

28 NGO

Robin Lim, the legendary midwife of Ubud and Aceh, Indonesia.

32 Literary Review

Elaine Farmer reviews the book Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

34 Prespective

A young woman’s narration of a bloody reality witnessed during her stay on the West Bank in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

36 Two Worlds

Robin Marchesi reflects on New Delhi and Bali.

38 City States

X’ Ho, a Singapore musician/author/experimental film maker, reveals the ‘real’ of Singapore.

40 Canine Cuisine

Hair of the Dog – a chapter from the bestselling book - Wild, Wild East, recipes and stories from Vietnam by Bobby Chinn - reprinted exclusively for the readers of Live Encounters. Thank you Bobby!

44 Music Navicula, Bali’s popular ethical grunge band, speaks to Lakota Moira.

46 The Late Writers and Readers Festival

Importance of being Oscar Wilde. The Irish playwright meets Mark Ulyseas in Bali.

50 Live Encounter

With The Guru of the Art of Shaking , Ida Pandita Mpu Parama Daksa Nata Ratu Bagus.

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SPECIAL REPORT

The Bali Heritage Trust A blueprint awaiting implementation

© Mark Ulyseas

Mark Ulyseas

Wisnu, Siwa, Brahma made in Panca Datu made by Kamasanbali. Bali has the distinction of being the ultimate tourist island destination in the world. The mighty tourist dollar has created jobs, businesses and has to an extent raised the overall standard of living. But the flip side tells a different story. It reveals the ‘after effects’ of Hidup Manis (sweet life)…a burgeoning economy reflected in the frantic construction of dream homes for outsiders, a growing disregard for the basic tenets of Tri Hita Karana and the theft of its intellectual and cultural property by persons from other countries. So how do many self respecting Balinese respond to this trend without upsetting the general flow of the economy and peaceful daily life? Live Encounters has asked three eminent persons from the Balinese community and the brains trust of The Bali Heritage Trust (BHT), Tjokorda Raka Kerthyasa, Popo Danes and Made Sukma Swacita, to present their views/suggestions to the readers on the role BHT can play in safeguarding Bali’s heritage. Their message is loud and clear – accountability, education and empowerment of the people, and adhering to the supreme concept of Tri Hita Karana – harmony between human and God, human and the world, human and human – is the only path towards protecting and sustaining the ethos of the Isle.

Background The former Governor of Bali, Bapak Dewa Made Beratha, set up The Bali Heritage Trust (BHT) on February 28, 2003 and appointed Tjokorda Raka Kerthyasa (Pak Tjok) as the Chairman. Pak Tjok was dispatched to do a comparison study in London and Washington. He returned armed with data, systems and a plan for BHT. The two systems that were to be put in place covered two main aspects – (1) Tangible - architecture/ecology (2) Intangible – ‘Puranas’ rituals, customary law (Adat), tradition and the unwritten ancestral code.

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SPECIAL REPORT Tjokorda Raka Kerthyasa “I believe that though progress is vital to sustain the economy it should not be at the cost of diluting or digressing from the fundamentals of religious/socio/ economic systems installed by ancestors. In many areas progress has brought about development. However, there are questions that need to be answered to arrive at a comprehensive and lasting solution for the protection of the island’s religious traditions, social set up, environment and way of life of the Balinese. The Bali Heritage Trust encompasses all aspects – language, buildings/temples, traditions, rites and rituals, religion, Adat and more. Presently, communication needs to be fine tuned between the Desa Adat, Regency, Province and the Central Government in Jakarta. There are many gaps in interpretation and enforcement of laws relating to building, conversion of farm land, the rights and duties of local authorities etc. This gives many unscrupulous investors opportunity/advantage for they side step prevailing laws and do whatever they choose, thereby resulting in projects coming up that do not adhere to Balinese sensibilities nor conform to international environmental standards. © Mark Ulyseas

Take for instance the international hotel that was being built in Padang Bai. The promoters actually cut away huge parts of a cliff and destroyed the ecosystem in that area. To repair the ecological damage would take millions of dollars and many decades. This is truly a sad reflection of our system of controlling and preventing such mindless acts that deface our sacred island. An excellent example where local people and government have acted positively to preserve our old buildings is the Taman Ayun Temple at Mengwi. The Head of this temple is the Mayor of Badung, Anak Agung Gede Agung whose hands on work has helped preserve and maintain this beautiful temple. This could not be done without the local people and authorities joining together harmoniously/ unanimously.

These two must come together to achieve some semblance of control over the frantic building that one is witnessing. Do you know that many buildings/ temples in Bali are owned by groups/villages who have the right to decide the fate of these assets – to continue maintaining them or selling them off for large sums of money? It is imperative that these people are educated through a sensitive process of imparting of knowledge. Knowledge that could help them realize the importance of keeping ownership and maintaining old things/structures because they spiritually belong to the Balinese as a whole, belong to our descendants.

Education of the community is necessary to give them the right information and training in terms of preservation of their heritage. They need to be aware of the intrinsic value of old things/buildings and not just the monetary gain if/when they are sold to be replaced by antiseptic structures that do not have soul or character nor conform to our ethos. There is a gap between the existing laws and reality.

© Mark Ulyseas

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SPECIAL REPORT

The Bali Heritage Trust

But education alone is not enough we have to work on giving a subsidy to these groups and financially assisting them in maintaining the fixed assets. Lip service and thank you notes do not help put food on the table. We need to become proactive and not reactive i.e. reacting only when the deed has been done like the demolition of a very old building and the rise of an alien one in its place. Let us not forget that the Desa Adat is the first line of defense against people knowingly/unknowingly circumnavigating traditions, laws and community aspirations to erect structures that are in contravention to the sensitivities of the prevailing culture. Ensuring the Desa Adat, which is a unifying force for Balinese culture, works effectively with the Regency, the Regency with the Province and so on is the only method of preventing the clandestine dismantling and desecration of Bali’s heritage. In Australia, U.K. and India, government and semigovernment organizations offer support in terms of financial aid, free legal service, community based profitable schemes. For example, in India the Archeological Society of India classifies buildings/ areas etc. as heritage sites and no one can overrule their decision. This society has special powers and without their explicit approval of a proposed project coming up in a designated heritage area no work can commence. We need to arm BHT with some legal status (like the Archeological Society of India) so that it can be more effective in preventing destruction of our heritage. This must be done with the Balinese and by the Balinese for it concerns our cultural heritage and therefore, ourresponsibility to preserve and sustain it.” Mark Ulyseas met Popo Danes at Inna Bali Hotel in Denpasar to discuss the hotel’s past, present and future. The hotel in question was built by the Dutch in 1927. It was the central meeting point for all visiting dignitaries, Indonesian and International. It is proposed that this grand old dame of Denpasar be given a face lift and resurrected by The Bali Heritage Trust.

© Mark Ulyseas 6

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© Mark Ulyseas

Popo Danes

is an international award winning distinguished Balinese Architect who has been at the forefront of designing and setting up hotels and homes worldwide that are representative of his brand of philosophy –simplicity in design (color and form), usage of natural materials, harmonious synchronization with the environment. He is a source of inspiration for many aspiring young Balinese artists who are on the threshold of the old and new worlds fighting to be heard above the cacophony of the bloated art society. Popo Art Veranda, an art gallery set up by him has become a rendezvous for many a budding gladiator with a paint brush. www.popodanes.com “Why do you ask me about the restoration of this 80+ year old Hotel? Okay let us assume we renovate this heritage building, then what? Doesn’t it have to sustain itself financially? How is this going to be done? I support BHT in its bid to restore Bali hotel to its former glory. But this is not where it should end. Everyone living and working in this area must be made ‘stake holders’ i.e. the businesses and citizens of Denpasar must be convinced of the rewards of its physical restoration and the impact it will have on revitalizing the local economy. For example, the restored hotel can become the business/tourist hub for the whole area. A tourist destination. A place for business conventions. A venue for weddings. A launch pad for tourists who can be taken on walkabouts in the surrounding areas. A photo gallery can be set up in the hotel displaying pictures of world famous Indonesian and International dignitaries who


SPECIAL REPORT visited/stayed at the hotel. Small warungs and other businesses around the area that thrive on tourism can be helped financially to refurbish their outlets. Redevelopment of the Bali Museum is essential. The branding of Denpasar with the help of the tourism department can be done by using the Bali Hotel as the fulcrum for all activities. The hotel will become the catalyst for redevelopment of Denpasar. Involvement of the local businesses and empowerment of the people is a sure way to make this a resounding success. But this is just one of the many examples where our heritage can bring us prosperity without having to sell the family silver. And it can only be done if a good relationship is maintained between economics and politics. All across the Isle we have the green belt. Why not have a cultural belt that prevents all and sundry from demolishing heritage sites and converting them to eye sores. Preservation of our heritage should not be cosmetic e.g. erecting a structure that has a façade which is Balinese in nature. This is just decoration; there is no intrinsic heritage value. One must look into the various aspects like design, building materials, drainage, electricity, safety, impact on the environment and relevance to the Balinese architectural code, Asta Kosala Kosali. Many villas are sprouting up across the island. The owners pay top dollar for a rice field view. Did you know that this development directly interferes with the age old Subak system (irrigation system) that has been successfully planned and implemented centuries ago when the original setting on Bali was homogeneous? Everyone was a farmer then. But with the sudden

introduction to the industrial revolution Bali became heterogeneous, leaving many unprepared for this new age development. The result has been lopsided development which continually impacts our daily life. This is culture in conflict with commerce. We must realize this and deal with it appropriately. The advent of ecotourism in Bali is heartening. This is a positive step. Bali Heritage Trust can be a guiding force by teaming up with business and government and providing guidelines to international investors - like the principles of tropical architecture, how we can include cultural content in architectural design and how much we can put into effect in terms of a green life style, an eco friendly waste disposal system and more. BHT can play and should play a decisive role in deciding the positive outcome of ‘exploitation versus conservation’. But prior to all my suggestions, BHT will need to work closely with community leaders, businesses and government to build a consensus that will morally/ legally empower the organization to spearhead the fight for preservation of our heritage through education, road shows and talks by religious heads to affect a change in the mindset among the Balinese. It will have to set up a proper office to be managed by trained personnel and embark on an aggressive campaign to not only ‘educate’ foreign investors on adhering to Bali’s heritage but also enlighten the Balinese that they are the prime stake holders of Bali and therefore the island’s well being is fundamental to the survival of our (Balinese) culture and all that it stands for – Tri Hita Karana. To achieve this, BHT needs urgent funding, support from Balinese, businesses and the Tourism Department; and more importantly political will to help BHT convert its blueprint to a reasonable/tangible/acceptable reality.”

© Mark Ulyseas www.liveencounters.net

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I Made Sukma Swacita Ibu Ni Nyoman Adnyani I Gede Andika 8

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The Bali Heritage Trust

SPECIAL REPORT

I Made Sukma Swacita is a traditional artisan living a life dedicated to preserving the Balinese way of

life. Made talks about the manufacture of coins and other items used in religious ceremonies in temples at his production centre in Klungkung, where he resides with his wife and son. “The unit Industri Uang Kepeng Kamasanbali was set up under the aegis of The Bali Heritage Trust on April 29, 2004, with the support of the then Governor of Bali, Bapak Dewa Made Beratha. Kamasan village is historically famous for its gold and silver fashion accessories (rings/necklaces/ear rings etc.). A long time ago the erstwhile King of Klungkung wanted to develop/promote the arts and crafts and therefore decided to make Kamasan village a centre for crafts persons to live and work. A short distance away is Kertagosa, a place where a unique style of painting on cloth is done using natural colors made from stone. The images are from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Kamasanbali produces coins and other items made of Panca Datu – 5 metals. The metals and the corresponding colors, elements and Gods are:

Direction North (A) South (Ba) East (Sa) West (Ta) Central(I)

God Dewa Wisnu Dewa Brahma Dewa Iswara Dewa Mahadeva Dewa Siwa

Element Water Fire Air Earth Ether

Metal Iron (Besi) Copper (Tembaga) Silver (Perak) Gold (Emas) Bronze (Kuningan)

Colour Black Red White Yellow 5 colors

These five elements represent our body and the micro cosmos. We also believe in Panca Shrada (5 beliefs), in God, the rule of Karma, Reincarnation, Moksa (liberation of worldly attachment), and Atman (Soul). As you probably know, Chinese coins came to Bali around the 11th Century. The symbols on these coins were that of the Chinese dynasty and the date when they were manufactured. The coins were made of 3 Datu (3 metals) – Timehitem (lead), Kuningan (bronze) and Tembaga (Copper). It was as late as the 1970s that these coins were used as currency as well as in all religious ceremonies, rituals and offerings.

© Mark Ulyseas www.liveencounters.net

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SPECIAL REPORT Balinese Coin made in Panca Datu by Kamasanbali Front NORTH Dewa Wisnu Color: Black Metal: Iron Element: Water (A)

WEST Dewa Mahadeva Color: Yellow Metal: Gold Element: Earth (Ta)

CENTRAL Dew Siwa 5 colors Bronze Ether (I)

EAST Dewa Iswara Color: White Metal: Silver Element: Air (Sa)

SOUTH Dewa Brahma Color: Red Metal: Copper Element: Fire (Ba)

Back ‘Ah’

‘Ang’ Ang and Ah are symbols of Rwa Bhineda, Purusha Predana and Akasa Pretiwi. Ang symbolises woman, Ah symbolises man. In Balinese Hinduism everything is viewed from bottom to top (Sor to Lor). This is why the letter Ang is placed at the bottom and the letter Ah on top. Coin dimension and weight : 2cm diameter and 1.2mm thick. + 5 gms. © Mark Ulyseas 10

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The Bali Heritage Trust

SPECIAL REPORT But as time went on and Bali ran out of these coins it was decided that we should have coins depicting our language and religious symbols and made of the five metals. It was Ida Pedanda Made Gunung, a Siwa High Priest, who guided us on the nature and meaning of inscriptions and symbols to be engraved on coins and how each should be used in rituals and ceremonies. The coin may be used as a fashion accessory or as decoration. But once the coin has been blessed, it then becomes a holy object and should be given due respect. If you see the products on display in our showroom you will notice that a number of objects like the Gedong Arta and Patung Rambut Sedana have been made with coins. All the metal craft including the statues of Wisnu, Siwa and Brahma and the Caket Siap Antik are made with the five metals. My dream is to reproduce in Panca Datu all the sacred metal implements that are used for religious ceremonies at the temples and to make them available at a reasonable price so all the temples can afford to buy them.

Patung Rambut Sedana by Kamasanbali. Pic © Mark Ulyseas

Gedong Arta by Kamasanbali. Pic © Mark Ulyseas

Presently, there is an acute shortage of these sacred objects and therefore temples borrow/lend them from/ to one another. They are also very expensive in the market. Kamasanbali will be helping the temples and at the same time preserving our heritage.”

© Mark Ulyseas www.liveencounters.net

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SPECIAL REPORT

The Bali Heritage Trust

Antiques for sale?

Caket Siap Antik made in Panca Datu by Kamasanbali.

© Mark Ulyseas

It is common knowledge that traditional Balinese designs, music, dance, puppetry etc. are being surreptitiously ‘appropriated’ by unscrupulous people from other countries. These folk make regular forays into the Indonesian diaspora to offer top dollar for a piece of Balinese heritage. Also, it is a known fact that movable antiques are being stolen and ‘exported’ to foreign countries. There are concerns voiced by Indonesians about safeguarding their heritage and suggestions made: international copyright protection and stringent laws enacted and rigorously enforced by the Indonesian Government to protect this heritage from being looted. Prosecution of offenders must be swift to send a message to all who plunder Indonesian Heritage.

When you buy a piece of Indonesian heritage make sure it is a made to order antique!

Wherever you are in the world, if you want to help The Bali Heritage Trust please email markulyseas@liveencounters.net and we will put you in touch with Indonesian officials. 12

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SPECIAL REPORT

Prior to buying, selling, transporting or keeping antiques it is essential to know the laws in Indonesia.

Governor’s Decree 1931 (Dutch) Indonesian Law No.5 (1992) Indonesian Regulation of the Republic of Indonesia No. 10 (1991) concerning items of Cultural Property. (Source : UNESCO Database of National Cultural Heritage Laws http://www.unesco.org/culture/natlaws/ IFAR – International Foundation for Art Research: http://www. ifar.org. And for more information please contact: Director General of Museums, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, J1. Medan Merdeka Barat 17, 10110 Jakarta, Indonesia). A few extracts from the Laws:

Items of Cultural Property are: a. artifacts made by man, movable or immovable, individually or in groups, or parts thereof or remains thereof, which are at least 50 (fifty) years of age, or represent a specific stylistic period of at least 50 (fifty) years of age, and are considered to possess value of importance to history, science and culture; b. natural objects which are considered to possess important value for history, science and culture. 2. A site is a location which contains or is presumed to contain items of cultural property together with the surroundings which require safeguarding. (Law No.5 – Article 1)

The penalties as stated by the Laws are: Whosoever intentionally damages or destroys items of cultural property and sites together with the immediate surroundings in which such property is located or brings, moves, takes away, or changes the shape, form and/or color, restores, or dismantles part of items of cultural property or valuable items without the permission from the Government…shall be sentenced to a maximum of ten years in prison and/or a maximum fine of Rp. 100.000.000 (one hundred million rupiahs). (Law No. 5 – Article 26) Whosoever intentionally searches for items of cultural property or valuable goods of which the owner is unknown by means of excavation, diving, taking away or any other means without the permission of the Government…shall be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison and/or a maximum fine of Rp. 50.000.000 (fifty million rupiahs). (Law No.5 – Article 27) Whosoever intentionally: a) fails to fulfill their obligation to register their ownership, transfer of ownership’s right and removal of location… b) fails to fulfill their obligation to report the loss or damage to items of cultural property… c) fails to fulfill their obligation to report the discovery or knowledge of the discovery of items of cultural property or objects which are presumed as cultural property or valuable objects of which the owner is unknown… d) reuses any items of cultural property of which the original function has been abandoned… e) utilizes any items of cultural property by means of duplication without permission from the Government … for each and every offense shall be sentenced to a maximum of one year in prison and/or a maximum fine of Rp. 10.000.000 (ten million rupiahs). (Law No. 5 Article 28)

Old Chinese Coin. Pic © Mark Ulyseas www.liveencounters.net

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FAST TRACKING WITH CARMEN ROBERTS

Carmen Roberts is an awarding winning producer/ journalist on fast:track, BBC World News’ flagship travel programme. She has written this column exclusively for the readers of Live Encounters. So what’s it like being a woman in this business? Funny, a lot of people think I’m a Robert anyway. Invariably it’s in Asia. I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve walked out into a brightly lit circus of an arrivals hall filled with families reunited, business travellers and back packers with no fixed agenda, to find my host brandishing a name board that has ROBERT CARMEN. Surprised looks usually follow, which results in the pantomime of me pulling out my passport proving that I’m in fact Carmen Roberts, not Robert Carmen. Still, sometimes being the unexpected guest has its plus points. Some people assume that because I’m a fashionable, young woman I might not be very knowledgeable. Well this can work to your advantage. I always say it’s best to convey what you don’t know, than what you do know. So it’s often in these cases that you get the best answers or soundbites, when someone assumes you aren’t so well informed. It’s an old reporter’s trick, but it certainly works.

© Carmen Roberts

Most people think I have one of the best jobs in the world (until they see my pay cheque!) Actually, I wish I had a dollar for every time someone asked me “so, you work on a travel program, do you get to travel?” Yes! And I’m one of those lucky few people who get to truly say “I love my job”. I don’t say that to be smug or presumptuous, but in my opinion there is certainly no better “office” than the refreshingly unpredictable world around us. Sure there are the long flights, layovers and delays in uncomfortable airport lounges, the constant threat of DVT but the places we go, the people we meet and the stories that come thick and fast - from camping out in the Australian outback, whale watching in Canada to African film festivals and even the odd beach destination. 14

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Sometimes it’s when things don’t go quite to plan that we get the best stories and the best memories. A few years ago I was filming in the whale watching town of Tofino on Vancouver Island in Canada and had a rather rude awakening on my first night. I had flown from London to Vancouver, via Toronto and then had a long layover at Vancouver airport to catch a tiny shuttle over to Vancouver Island. Needless to say I was totally exhausted after travelling for the better part of 15 hours. My cameraman and I checked into our hotel and I had a quick peep out the balcony door onto the most amazing view overlooking a lake and woodlands. This was seriously the most sumptuous ‘Best Western’ I’d ever stayed at. We dropped our bags, headed out to film a few shots on the beach and then get some dinner, after which, I pretty much fell into bed. Fortunately, I put the chain on my door, not something I usually do (don’t tell my mum) I was woken up a few hours later to voices outside and then someone trying to open the door. The chain prevented it from fully opening and through my sleepy haze I was


BBC

In fact, I seem to run into hiccups over sleeping arrangements. A few months ago I was filming a story about star gazing in Australia and the New South Wales tourist board had suggested I go camping in the Blue Mountains and experience sleeping under the stars. This was all part of events to mark the international year of astronomy this year. I was told there wasn’t space for a cameraman at the ‘posh camp’ - so I agreed to film the experience myself. Our meeting point was a vineyard, about an hour outside of Sydney. My guide was a rugged outdoorsy chap, no more than 40 years old. We drove for almost two hours before we reached the camp site and as we neared I mentioned the need to send a few emails after dinner – it was one of those moments where you wished you could swallow the words back in as they are coming out of your mouth. The look of disbelief on my guide’s face said it all. So I rather sheepishly sank down in my seat and waited for the camp to appear into view. Again, another classic faux pas, thankfully not spoken out aloud this time – but I honestly expected to be greeted by a bevy of women preparing my dinner and fluffing up my quilted swag. In fact, we were met by an open tent, some chairs and tables and not much else. It then dawned on me that I was to spend a night with a man I’d just met, in a secluded spot in the Blue Mountains with no mobile phone reception or internet. Surely Tourism New South Wales weren’t going to send me into the bush alone with an axe murderer? This, of course, was the crazy rambling thought process of a paranoid woman who’s read far too many Patricia Cornwall novels. Fears aside, the roast lamb dinner cooked over an open fire was seriously one of the best I’ve ever had. After dinner I bid a hasty retreat to the comfort of my swag – pitched a few hundred meters away from where my guide was sleeping. But hang on, who will protect me if a dingo were to come calling in the middle of the night? My trusty guide assured me he’d hear me if I screamed. So I hunkered down, fully clothed, inside the swag and pulled it up tight around my neck. The only time I think there was a real gender issue was

when I was filming in Zanzibar. Some of the Muslim Tanzanian residents found that the scantily clad tourists offensive an insult made worse by the place being marketed in the west as a honeymoon and beach destination, complete with brochures filled with bikiniclad models. It’s an issue I’ve seen crop up time and time again and is something that even affects some parts of Indonesia. We had secured an interview with the secretary to the Zanzibar Mufti, a senior Muslim scholar. I arrived at the interview in long trousers and a long sleeved shirt, with the best intentions. To my horror I managed to upset the cleric and after the interview he shooed me away gesturing in disgust at my collar area. I was appalled at my mistake and I found out later I should have worn a longer shirt and covered my neck. At least he’d realised it hadn’t been done deliberately and went through with the interview. But I couldn’t help but think that if I really were a ‘Robert’, this wouldn’t have been an issue. Irrespective of whether you’re a man or a woman, all my experiences point to a several reliable truths – even the best laid plans never work out quite how you’d expect them to and often it’s the journeys you take to get there, rather than the destinations themselves, that hold the most memories. But, above all, that this is an amazing world we live in and I, for one, don’t think I’ll ever stop exploring.

© Carmen Roberts

able to mumble “what are you doing?” There was more chatter and then silence. So I naturally assumed they’d gone away. But a few minutes later the sliding door of my balcony burst open and there was a groom carrying his bride over the threshold! It appears I had mistakenly checked into the honeymoon suite.

Carmen Roberts has been a journalist for Fast Track, BBC World’s flagship travel programme since 2003 and has reported from over 60 countries. After the Asian Tsunami on Boxing Day 2004, Carmen cut short her holiday in Langkawi, Malaysia to report from the devastated resort town of Phuket. Carmen’s most recent reports about liquor licensing and buying property in Bali was telecast on Fast Track. http://www.bbc.co.uk www.liveencounters.net

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HIP HOP NOMAD

Red Sands – Morganics Exclusively for readers of Live Encounters, an excerpt from Morganics upcoming book, Memoirs of a Hip Hop Nomad.

© Morganics

The cold, yellow paint is brushed onto my chest first, then the black. It represents the goanna - parenti dreaming. Wire and I get the same colours. Then Manu starts getting painted up black and white, I ask our teacher, Tjapaya,

anxious that we don’t make a mistake in the dance. Mrs Wilson looks us up and down, laughs from her large belly

“What do the colours represent?” He looks at me, as if to say, don’t you know anything? and says “The magpies” the Aussie rules football team, and walks off.

We laugh a little and smile ourselves into a slightly less awkward posture. In ten years of intermittent work with different Aboriginal communities, I’ve never been painted up and done a traditional dance before - I’m trying to look relaxed.

Once us men have been painted up then we return to the group where the women too have been painted. There are six women and four men and we all assemble in front of Mantitjarra (Mrs Wilson) like a bunch of schoolkids on our first day of school, proud to have been painted,

We’re standing on red sand hills beneath the most magnificent blue sky, looking out onto a prehistoric vista of dark green desert oaks that disappear into valleys of Grand Canyon proportions. Most of the teenage women we have travelled here with have opted to slink away.

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“Ooh look, you lot looking good now eh?”


HIP HOP NOMAD They are talking by the fire, doing milputjanyanni (drawing stories in the sand with sticks) or digging for water just 3 feet beneath the sand to make tea. I get the feeling they are all watching us though. We are a motley group from Sydney and Adelaide along with some local Amata mob, all brought together by an ongoing community outreach project by Carclew Youth Arts who are based in Adelaide. Lee-Anne, my boss, is the woman who initiated this project, a Nunga woman, barefoot in a black negligee painted up and looking proud as punch. Finton, our video artist in charge of making video clips and short films looks like the six foot three half Fijian Tex Perkins that he is , or as Sammy Butcher from the legendary Aboriginal rock band, The Warumpi Band, refers to him as “This is my friend Nick Cave!”. Wire is a short, nuggetty, Ghumbingaree Koori from the East Coast – a long way from his homeland – and I, a Brissy born, Sydney dwelling, slim, lanky white fella, am about as far away from the glamours of Bondi Beach as you can get.

“Step, step, arms up, run in now” Mantijara starts knocking the plastic cups together and her singing seems to wind up from the soft, cool, red sand hills we stand on. I’m nervous. Put me in a Bboy circle and I can bust a move no problem, but this a whole other level. As we run through the sand, jamming our heels into the earth, kicking up the dust with these ancient voices singing to us I feel a bit like an empty vessel, floating, being guided, no room for ego, it’s not really about the choreography.

As the sun sets in the valley and we dance I realise it’s not really my body that has to learn to dance here, it’s my spirit.

Manu is selected as the goanna and as he stands there, the rest of us fan our hands over and around him while Mantijarra sings away with the help of two other women. No clapsticks here, they are banging two plastic cups together to keep the rhythm. Tourists like myself buy the clapsticks from the community art store but living culture like this can use anything. It reminds me of a corroboree I was invited to in Numbulwar community in Arnhem Land. Car headlight illuminated the scene in the dirt driveway of the backyard, aunties, uncles and dogs gathered around as the women danced in the dirt. Five women with two of them being albino sisters gave the scene a slightly heightened sense of the surreal. But the highlight of the night was when a five year old boy leapt out to do his dance in front of his grandfather, mother, father and family….in a Spiderman suit. No problem, they sung their song, he did his dance with the same sharp intensity as his aunties and uncles, hit his final freeze in a cloud of dust to howls of applause and laughter from everyone around the fire. One woman turned to me and said with a smile, “That was a good one eh? Spiderman corroboree.” Back in central desert Pitjantjarra lands it’s time for the men’s dance. We have been given a quick five minute lesson by Tjapaya, only twenty one years old but already a keeper of knowledge, strong traditional dancer and occasional university lecturer. With cups of tea being passed around, the aunties and women dancers sit and prepare to watch Manu, Wire and myself. Like a footy coach Tjapaya is running alongside us telling us what to do.

Morganics is an award winning Hip Hop Artist, spoken word performer and director as well as a passionate community worker. He has performed from New York to the UK, the Sydney Opera House to Prague. His extensive work with indigenous communities throughout Australia includes The Wilcannia Mob’s “Down River” which he remixed for MIA’s latest. He produced an album for ex street kids Wayahudi Family in Tanzania and has recently released his CD/DVD “Hip Hop is My Passport”. Morganics is currently working on his forthcoming book “Memoirs of a Hip Hop Nomad” and Australia’s first Hip Hop musical feature film “Survival Tactics”. www.morganics.info www.liveencounters.net

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TRIBAL INDIA

Walking With Spirits Randhir Khare

Start of the spirit journey Š Randhir Khare

The traditional communities living in the Nilgiri Mountains of Tamil Nadu in South India hold the natural environment in which they live in great reverence. The Kotas, Kurumbas, Irulas, Moolukurumbas, Paniyas and other indigenous communities, in their own way, relate intimately to the land on which they live. If you have had the opportunity of travelling in that region, you will probably appreciate the reason why such relationships could have evolved. Nature in those mountains displays a stunning variety and resplendence. There is, even today after all the pillaging of its naturalness, an allencompassing robustness and mystical power that stimulates the senses when you wander the more undisturbed reaches of the region. You will not be overcome by feelings of aloneness or isolation but instead by the presence of natural forces that defy the senses. In lonely glades, under ancient trees, on desolate mountain slopes, besides gurgling streams flowing between flowering rhododendrons and wherever the hidden forces seem most pronounced, you will come across sacred stones of all shapes and sizes, singularly and in groups, known as cairn, barrow, kist-vaen and cromlech and locally called Phin, Hok-kallu (navel stone), Pongui (gold pit), Sela Kallu and Gattige Kallu (throne or seat stones) Bira Kallu (or hero stones), Pandavaru Mane, Savumane, Azaram and Moriaru Mane. These stones have been placed by people from the early prehistoric times down to possible a few hundred years ago. In places it’s also evident that people from indigenous communities today still add such stones to the landscape. The past and present fusing into a composite sacred whole which pervades the very air you breathe.

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TRIBAL INDIA The Todas, a pastoral community living on the high grasslands of the blue mountains believe that the entire region represents their sacred land. Haenn was the first Toda. He came from Heaven with his wife Thoovi Thirke. At that time no one lived here on earth. So they came down to earth right there and they started a family – and produced three sons and two daughters. Haen ruled for three hundred years and went on to rule Amunore, the land of the dead with one of his sons. Porshaey, one of the daughters, was responsible for the creation of all the other munds (settlements); she divided the clans, buffaloes, human beings, shastras…everything. She was the maker of these things. The conical temple, called Moonbow Porshey, made from grass and reeds and wood in Muthanad Mund marks the place of their creation. Not far from there is a stone circle which marks the place where Porshaey created the Toda buffalo which occupies a significant place in Toda life, both religiously as well as non-religiously. There is a separate cattle kraal near a temple for the sacred buffaloes and the officiating priest does the milking and churning, distributing the milk to the people of the mund. The butter, some say, is made available to outsiders too. Non-religiously, the animal has across time, proved to be a boon as an ideal dairy animal. Rites, rituals and ceremonies related to the animal dominate the life of the community.

In fact, when a Toda dies a buffalo is sacrificed so that the spirit of the animal may accompany the person on the long journey to Amunore and live there, providing milk and butter. So specific is every sacred space that even the path that a spirit takes to Amunore is physically evident. I journeyed with a group of Todas, following the Spirit Path to the land of the dead. We began the trek from Mulli Mund and headed off towards the hills. The climb became steep and the path almost covered over by brambly thickets. And the deeper we went, the cooler it became. Forests gave way to grasslands and grasslands to mossy glades where strangely beautiful butterflies flashed and wild flowers exuded gentle fragrances. Everywhere around us there was the music of the wind and streams. We reached Mettine Karsh (Steps of Stone), which was an enormous forehead of granite jutting out of a grassy hill…said to be the place where the spirits of women climb with an oarskh, or grinding stick, in one hand. And up above Mettine Karsh was Koche Arre (Bangle Rock) where the spirits crawl, dragging their bangles along the rock surface. Later, where the path climbed up along the side of a hill face, we encountered Ovvunni Karsh…the place where

An Irula sacred space © Randhir Khare www.liveencounters.net

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TRIBAL INDIA

Hills roll towards Amunore © Randhir Khare

the spirit throws three stones and calls out “Ovvunnikku Karsh Vodhu” (beware the stones are coming) - symbolic of the penetration of darkness by light. I don’t know what seized me at that moment, I picked up three stones and intoning the words threw them off the side of the hill into the thicket below. And then we walked on, entering the thickets once again till we surfaced much later out on to a grassy knoll jutting out desolately…overlooking an expanse of undulating hills far below. “This place is called Maenbaem. If a baby dies before the Pishaarothithu ceremony or even before it is born, “said Polkaer, one of the Todas. “The body is buried and not cremated, and the spirit comes here. Here, right here, it sits and waits for the spirit of its mother. But even if the mother passes this way, she cannot take the baby with her. It is lost. Lost forever, here on this grassy place.” Resting back among the grass and stones of Maebaem an uneasiness swept through me and prevented me from relaxing. I looked up at the grey sky overhead, almost expecting the blue curtains to part and visions of another time and another space reveal themselves. But of course they didn’t, and some time later I found myself stalking the thicket ridden path again, moving on – tracing the spirit journey to the Land of the Dead. We stopped a while at Kojji Kochith Koer - the stream where the spirits from Amunore come to meet the new arrivals, Tharsfole Karsh - where the spirits soften their finger nails in a stream and file them down on a rock, and Oarskh Konsse where cereal is pounded and prepared for the journey onwards. The land closed in on either side of us, thickets peering down curiously as we trekked along the grassy ravines. There was no wind, only a terrible stillness that pervaded everything… It was almost with a feeling of relief that we broke journey and travelled back to urbanity for a brief respite…. only 20

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to return again, as the seasons changed, to continue the trek to the land of the dead. And one afternoon we reached…after all the rambling and roving and tracking and sweating and staggering, after stopping in reverence at Nijjemutti Karsh (the Chest Touching Stone which cleanses the spirit of all family attachments), Ponniuppu Karsh (the disease cleansing stone) we reached a mountain top among the clouds, looking out into the beyond and the abyss of Amunore. I stood stood there with my feet planted among sunburnt clumps of grass, surrounded by wind-worn slabs of stone and remnants of tree-limbs carved by the elements into fantastic forms, skeletons of life that had gone before. Behind me the undulating land rolled away to a horizon wrapped in a haze. Ochre, brown and shades of deep green merged into one another until they melted into a shimmering blue. Arching from my left to my right, before me, magnificent ranges of highlands spread themselves out, rocky shoulders resting craggily against one another, row upon row of seated hills, patch-worked with dense green foliage of ancient sholas, unfolded until they fell into the arms of advancing clouds, grey, white, gauze-like. The wind that bore the clouds onwards towards us buffeted my body as I stood there gazing into

Ovvunni karsh © Randhir Khare


TRIBAL INDIA

A Kurumba sacred space © Randhir Khare

the nothingness beyond. Polkaer walked up beside me, and pointed out towards a distant range almost lost among clouds. “There beyond that last range is Amunore. The Toda Land of the Dead,” he said quietly. “And down there, there, can you see that band of sholas down below in the valley?” He asked. “Yes,” I replied. “There’s a stream down there, hidden among the trees.

The chest touching stone © Randhir Khare

Behind us, down on his haunches, Thaethli Kuttan worked away with the back of his sickle, chipping away a large flat stone into the required shape, preparing it for its journey back to be installed near his temple in Mulli Mund. He was unconsciously linking the extremities of life and death. Building a mystical bridge of foreverness. The trek back was surreal. Low clouds followed us all the way along the valley and narrower ravines. And when we reached the uplands, a blanket of clouds shrouded the land. The experience was over. We had returned from the Beyond. http://www.khare-bullough.com

That’s where Poodhiavre is. The dead person’s spirit washes itself at the stream, cleaning away all traces of the ashes of the funeral. When that is done, the spirit moves on until it reaches that forest there. That’s the last stop before Amunore. It’s called Pooverikaene, the Bubbling Stream. There’s a rope strung across the stream. The spirit has to cross, walking along this rope. If it has not lived a just life, it will fall into the stream and a sacred buffalo will offer its horn to rescue the drowning person. But if the spirit fails to climb out, it will have to wait one year. There are only three chances. If it fails all three, the corridors to Amunore close forever for that person. But if the spirit succeeds, it is truly liberated from all the rites and practices and shastras of Toda life on earth and it travels on to Amunore. The Land of the Dead.” When he finished speaking, the advancing clouds swarmed around us and the land vanished. I stood there among the clouds, overwhelmingly aware of the earth on which my feet rested, of the land I had traversed the many hours and days and weeks and months before that, of the rivers and streams I had forded, of the sacred stones I had seen and touched, of the trees whose fruit I had plucked and eaten…whose flowers I had admired…. whose shade I had slept in… whose trunks I had leaned against for solace. It was indeed sacred earth.

The Journey’s end © Randhir Khare

Randhir Khare is an award winning author of twenty one volumes of non-fiction, fiction, translation and poetry. He is the Executive Editor of Heritage India, the International Culture Journal and Visiting Professor of Literature at Poona College. Recently he was given The Residency Award by The Sahitya Akademi (India’s National Academy of Letters) for his contribution to Indian Literature and has been given the Human Rights Award for his efforts to preserve and celebrate marginal and minority cultures. www.liveencounters.net

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POETRY

A Gypsy Woman in Ireland - Terry McDonagh These days in Ireland, people talk about the price of sites, the cost of tribunals, property abroad, or foreigners…refugees: lazy people come for our riches, who won’t work. They steal, eat raw from our fields, blacken our reputation and colour the skin of our children. I am Sonia, a Gypsy woman who dreamed colours and grew up gathering berries in a village in Romania. I earned my way to university to become a doctor and the pride of my mother’s heart.

- for the sighs and secrets in our troubled death-songs …like Irish songs. - for my childhood in fields, - for our hawks, falcons and silver, - for the poetry in our people.

My father never had a nation and died in Auschwitz.

I should be able to talk in the shops, but they listen away from my accent.

I was arrested with a bundle of leaflets and when I had to flee to Ireland, I was sad: not to be a doctor, not to visit my mother’s grave, to marry an Irishman. I have never stolen. I am spring clean, stalk strong, proud and honest as the memory of snails and owls in our desolate garden.

I cannot tell them of our winters, of our trees whistling like the shades of accordion music. I have learned to hide behind candles in churches; to disappear into the woodwork and to listen to the distant patience in the singing of my ancestors:

I still see my uncle blazing with his shining sickle in shirt sleeves.

homeless in Romania homeless in Serbia homeless inland homeless in Germany homeless in the east homeless in France homeless in Italy homeless in the west homeless in England homeless in Russia homeless on the coast homeless in Bulgaria homeless in Albania homeless in the north homeless in Europe homeless in the south homeless in Ireland.

My husband in Ireland you gave me my first passport and beat me daily:

The flowers have gone out on another summer. I’m a year closer to my mother.

I fled when a sneering bullet ended my mother’s life. She died at the mean will of our state; in our house; in my place. Now, I can only shelter behind my husband’s curtains in a childless fourth-floor flat before closing time in Dublin.

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POETRY

A Writer’s Festival on Bali - Terry McDonagh for Rosa Herliany

In a few hours the Writer’s Festival in Ubud is to begin. The town is on the verge of dawn – sun and rooster-rhyme climb in my bloodstream. I try to visualise what I see but only see what I sense in the percolating dark. I cannot wait for your message gods; rebirth has already begun building in my bones – I can hear it. There are no windowpanes to filter heady scents sauntering in and out of my bedroom and the shower’s open to the sky. Life and I seem to be pulling away from each other, and there are other elements that just won’t be still, - like flowers on the brain - like colours on the tongue - like so many shades whispering. My feet have grown cold on the marble but feel as silky fresh growth after rain. Something small flits up the wall – there will be workshops and readings, later. It’s special to be trapped in a morning ritual with a little rice field across the street. An electric drill and parrot-like whistle have joined in. I feel undressed and clumsy, yet sheltered in clusters of thicker wind. Roosters have grown still, but a cement mixer takes over as Rosa Herliany walks up the road with my new book in her language. This moment feels like a stairs warming step by step as it leads down

No other words will do.

and

down.

© Terry McDonagh

Terry McDonagh, www.terry-mcdonagh.com, poet and dramatist, has published four collections of poetry; a play; a book of letters and a novel and poetry for children. His work has been translated into Indonesian and German, funded by Ireland Literature Exchange. With piper Diarmaid Moynihan, he completes poet/piper duo, Raithneach. Twelve of his poems have been put to music by German composer, Eberhard Reichel. His latest collection, Cill Aodain & Nowhere Else, www.killedan-and-nowhereelse.com, illustrated by artist Sally McKenna, was published in 2008. His next collection is due in autumn 2009. www.liveencounters.net

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ON THE FRINGE

Agustian Supriatna

Artist, Musician, Fire Dancer (Tari Api) - Mark Ulyseas On the outskirts of glittering art galleries, congregating culture chameleons, ‘production line’ art and self appointed guardians of an incestuous art world exists a small band of men and women who work with whatever materials they can collect from the refuse of mankind; metal scrap, bottles, spoons, wood et al to create avant-garde installations that appear to look like beautiful works of rearranged garbage. Sometimes they even sell these creations. Their lives are simple and their wants limited to a packet of cigs and a hot cup of Bali coffee. Meals are often Nasi Campur interspersed with a chilled glass of beer offered to them by eager visitors who want desperately to be a part of their world. To assist lesser mortals in understanding their philosophy of life we present a member of this community of fringe artists… Agustian or Agus as he is called by his friends was born in Lampung, Sumatra, in 1981. His grandfather, Datuk Raja Jaksa, was a well known Shaman. From the age of 15 he wanted to become an artist because he thought it was cool. However, unlike many contemporary artists he has no formal training in fine arts. In 1999 he set up ‘shop’ in Ubud hobnobbing with kindred souls. His studio looks like a scrap yard; nuts, bolts, chains, blow torches, gas cylinders for welding and large oil drums sliced into pieces. The paintings on canvass reflect a soul searching for paradise within and the used tyres lying around gives it the feel of a motor mechanic’s workshop. But lurking somewhere in the metal scrap is an installation waiting to be born, exhibited and (hopefully) sold. Agus’s guru is the universe that teaches him a lesson or two every day. His inspiration for his paintings comes from images of daily life that he encounters. The metal installations mirror Agus’s endeavor to constantly recycle and recreate beauty from the debris of social excess. In his words, “Fire dance or Tari Api burns the dirt from my mind, my heart, my body and my soul. It cleanses me time and again. When I play the guitar or percussion, sing or make things with my hands it is a kind of prayer, a prayer to the God which resides in me. It reminds me of my place in the Universe, that I am just a small creature. That I should be happy and content with whatever I possess. “ Last year Agus married Rachel a lass from Melbourne. His daughter Indah (which means beautiful Indonesian) was born eight months ago. “When I hold my daughter in my arms it is like magic…I cannot describe the feeling, it’s too intense. My wife and Indah live in Melbourne. I will be travelling frequently to meet them. However, I also need to create to make money so that I can buy nice things for my family,” he says while lighting the blow torch to cut away parts of an oil drum to make a ‘art’ door, “Rachel has a beautiful heart and I am blessed for she understands what I am trying to do. I dream for the time we can travel the world together, to see and meet other people and to learn their language, their culture. I want to learn. But for now I have to create this door because it’s in my head.” His advice to contemporaries, “Don’t surrender to the stomach”; translated it means not to compromise their creative work by commercializing artwork to boost sales. As one was leaving the ‘studio’, Agus shouted above the rushing sound of the blow torch, “Brother, Bali has a two way door, one must learn how to open it, when to go in and when to go out for many use it like a revolving door and therefore are often caught in it…going around in circles…never entering never departing”. Khuda Hafeez Agus

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Š Mark Ulyseas www.liveencounters.net

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HIV/AIDS

An Indonesian Woman of Substance Mark Ulyseas

Ari Murti is author of OUTCAST- from Sex-trade to HIV/AIDS – a book of true stories. She is an outstanding Indonesian living in Bali and spearheading the fight against HIV/AIDS/Drugs through her charitable work as a community leader, as well as, a woman and mother. She is the face of modern Indonesia – a country that has in the last few years emerged from the shadows of the past, shedding its perceived image of a backward nation to its rightful place in a world fast becoming a global village; Education, empowerment of its citizens, burgeoning economy and more have become the anthem of this Republic.

© Mark Ulyseas As we know transmission of this disease does not happen through a close encounter like talking and shaking hands. Instead it happens through indiscriminate free sexual behaviour, mulitple changes in sexual partners, be that homosexually or heterosexually, and from using non-sterilized syringes, or sharing them, or from tainted blood transfusion. And it could also be transmitted from pregnant mothers with HIV/AIDS to the baby in the womb. I hope this book will succeed in bringing clarity and in reviving the readers’ feeling of concern as well as their awareness of the danger of HIV/AIDS.

Jakarta, 28 Februari 2009 Mrs. Hj. Ani Bambang Yudhoyono The Indonesian National Ambassador for HIV/AIDS

In the electronic media news’ releases we see very young girls in school uniform being caught in sexual activities without ‘protection’. A case in point was that of a junior high school student in her puberty who without remorse told of her experience in ‘selling’ her body to be able to buy a trendy watch. Nowadays there is an increase in sexual activities in young female adolescents being swept by the trend of ‘modern’ life style. The raw understanding of ‘cross culture’ in the globalization era of information, very often persuades young women especially city dwellers from middle class families with high educational background, to willingly join in the world of prostitution in order to fulfill and support a life style. The empathy presented by the author in the book is very meangingful for the protagonists; it could even be used as the turning point in making good of incorrect choices.

Jakarta, Februari 2009 Professor Dr. Zubairi Djoerban, SpPD, KHOM Chairman of The Society of AIDS care in Indonesia

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Ari, as she prefers to be called, is the Third Chairperson of the Supreme Mosque Ibnu Batutah Foundation in Nusa Dua, Bali; a Member of MUI (Advisory Councils of Indonesian Muslim Scholars), Bali Province; Deputy Chairperson of the Haj Brotherhood Union (IPHI) of Bali; Founder and Chairperson of Association of Orphans Institution in the Archipelago (APAN); She is well known for championing women’s rights. In an informal chat with Mark Ulyseas, Ari briefly outlines her life and work. When did you first come to Bali? In 1980. And then? I stayed on and in 1984 helped Haj pilgrims from Bali by hosting them in my home (board/lodging), assisting in the ‘comunitas’ (documents) for travel to Mecca as there was no one or no facility to help these poor and usually uneducated people. If I recall correctly there were 40 persons in the first batch. How did you become the first woman member of the MUI? The ULAMA - Council of Muslims in Bali - had heard about the work I was doing for the Haj Pilgrims and invited me on many occasions to attend meetings of the Council. I was the first woman invited to do so. And as time went on more and more pilgrims were coming to me for help. It was while I was on holiday in Australia that I received the news that I had been appointed unanimously to the Council. It is an honor and more importantly it is a milestone for women in the community.


HIV/AIDS Could you tell the readers about your work in the HIV/AIDS/Drugs program in Bali? In 1998, I heard about a 12 year old boy who had died of drug overdose. His parents were completely in the dark about their son’s addiction until it was too late. I, as a mother, felt extremely distressed and wanted to do something to educate youngsters on the isle about the dangers of drugs. So I wrote and designed a comic entitled ‘Wati & Adi’, Children of the Millennium. It became part of a package for Primary and Junior High school children. Ten thousand copies were distributed free across Bali. My first introduction to AIDS was through a report in a newspaper about the body of a young Javanese woman lying unclaimed at a local hospital as there was no one who wanted to either touch the body (for fear of contracting the disease) or bury it as it would cost them US$ 150/-. I suppose there was no profit to be gained from the remains of this pitiful soul. People had distanced themselves from humanity. I went ahead and buried this woman. The experience took me down the road to where I am today fighting alongside likeminded people against the dangers of HIV/AIDS and the misnomers of the disease itself i.e. how it can be contracted. And what about your work with orphans? Through the HIV/AIDS/Drugs programs I came across many instances where orphaned children were the direct result of these social afflictions. Often they would be walking the streets or working as menials when they should have been going to school, eating three meals a day and living a ‘family’ life. In 1992 I started my first orphanage. Today there is an Association of Orphanages in Bali (34 orphanages). The children are taught life skills that would stand them in good stead like making honey, animal husbandry (goat), running a small warung. These children are empowered as part of the educational process. So alongside education they learn various skills.

This reflects the Balinese spirit of community which I hold dear in my heart. Therefore, I wish to carry my work further into areas that will help this very same community. The development programs are – 01. To encourage/educate/empower women to keep abreast of development in all spheres of society. 02. To set up a Koperasi for micro-financing (interest free) to assist women in the development of micro/small businesses. 03. To build a centre for conducting regular classes for prostitutes/their offspring/HIV/AIDS persons and children of poverty to teach them languages/maths and basic accountancy/health and hygiene/work skills. 04. To help institute and enforce a Charter for the Rights of Children – the right to education, the right to eat three meals a day, the right to protection by society and the State, the right to live like children. Do you have any message for the readers of Live Encounters? Yes, please buy and read my latest book, Outcast - True Stories of women afflicted by HIV/AIDS. All proceeds from the sale of this publication are reserved entirely for the improvement of women and children with HIV/ AIDS through programs conducted by WIN (Women International United) Foundation, Bali, Indonesia. And to visitors who holiday in Bali, please give something back to this beautiful island that gives you so much joy and love. http://www.icaap9.org

Every year at the end of Ramadan we host a ‘Buka Puasa Bersama’ for 2000 orphans together with their donors in Bali. It helps foster an understanding between donor and child about living a fruitful life within a community. It also gives the donor an opportunity to view firsthand the progress of the child and how his/her money is being spent. What are your future plans? There are many people in Bali who do the ‘work’ I do and who continue to be of great help to my projects.

© Ari Murti www.liveencounters.net

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INTERVIEW

Cassandra, lady in waiting

Bencong (girly boy)…freak of nature or God’s gift to mankind? Interview with Mark Ulyseas Cassandra, the Bencong who I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing, is a female in all respects except for the appendage of masculinity, preferred to be called a she and took umbrage every time I mistakenly addressed her as him. Is Cassandra your real name? No. But is it important what my name is? You ask me my name because you probably want to place me and know where I come from? Yes? Yes. Ok. I was born into a family of 3 girls and two boys in a village in Makassar. At the age of six I knew I was a girl. My parents reluctantly accepted my condition and often referred to me as their fourth daughter. They love me very much. Where did you do your schooling? In Makassar. In school I was taunted, beaten and my food stolen from me. Sometimes even the teachers treated me with disdain. I didn’t want to study. I wanted to be an actress; to be beautiful and famous and loved by all men. Did you complete your schooling? © Mark Ulyseas

Contemporary society is unrelenting. It is like a juggernaut that often crushes individuality and smothers the voices of the meek, usually sidelining Nature’s genetic goof-ups, like the Bencongs (girly boys) in Bali: Boys who at a young age suddenly find themselves confronted with the reality that they are in effect ‘female trapped in male anatomy’. The memories of the growing up years imprison the hideous humiliation of being beaten by the boys in the school yard and shunned by the girls who viewed them as freaks of nature. They stumble through the labyrinth of social stigmas, ostracized by a society hell bent on maintaining a semblance of ‘normality’ (whatever this means).

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Yes I did. And then? After that I worked in a beauty salon not far from home. I learned how to do pedicure, manicure and body massage. Many men and women customers would ask specially for me when they came to the shop. The customers were never rude and began tipping me generously. Once a customer gave me a tip of one dollar! I would give the extra money to my mother who would buy pretty things for me. It was at this time that a boy friend told me about the hormone tablets that were available to help me transit from male to female. I took them and still do take them. After sometime my body began changing and I grew breasts like a woman. Looking at myself in the mirror one day I realized I had become a woman. A few months later I got a job in Jakarta in a well known chain of beauty salons. It was the break I was looking for. My parents were sad to see me go but they were also happy, happy I was making my life as a woman.


INTERVIEW How was life in Jakarta? At first it was very difficult. My salary was not enough for board and lodging. I had to find a boyfriend to support me. Many men came and went in my life. Some helped me others abused me mentally and physically. At one time I went through a phase where I hated all men. But after a year, I think, things got better. I was being paid a higher salary and I had made many friends with people like me (Bencongs). We would dress up and go out in groups to the malls and restaurants and enjoy life spending money and making love. This was the first time I felt truly liberated, truly free, a free woman. Have you thought about a sex change operation?

healthy lives. From my earnings I send money to my family and also to this Yayasan that is doing good work for my area. Why do you like men? Because I am a woman! What is your favorite color? Black and white – the color of my life. If God gave you one wish, what would you ask for? To be born a woman and to have children.

Yes I thought about this but I don’t feel it’s necessary. An operation for my breasts would be okay. I believe in God and believe he made me like this for a reason. So why make the change? What do you miss about Makassar? Food! My favourite is Coto Makassar. It is a soup made of beef broth, ketupat (sticky rice) and vegetables. What about clothes? Where do you buy them? What are you asking? I go to shops that sell women’s clothes, where else? You still don’t understand, ya? Tell us about your job in Bali? Have you found love? I came to Bali a year or so ago to work in a beauty salon. Often customers would fall in love with me, spend private time with me and then return home to their country leaving me with gifts and sad feelings. Sometimes regular men mistake me for a woman and when we finally reach the point of intimacy and they realize I am not a complete woman, run away or just chase me out of their room. I don’t mind. That’s life. I am still waiting for a good decent man to settle down with.

Yes, I want to get married and adopt children. But the laws in my country do not allow it. Maybe if you help me travel to India I can get married there?

Do you want to get married? And do you know India has become the 127th country to legalize same sex marriage? Yes I want to get married and adopt children. But the laws in my country do not allow it. Maybe if you help me travel to India I can get married there! Have you had any illness related to your sex life? I always use protection so I have never had any problem. I am thankful to the Yayasan in Makassar that helps HIV/ AIDS patients and also teaches everyone on how to live

© Mark Ulyseas www.liveencounters.net

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NGO “There is one problem with breast milk no one can make money from it.”

Maternal Nutrition And Infant Feeding

Excerpts from this writing were shared by Lim at the opening of the IFOAM 16th Organic World Congress, Modena, Italy.

Robin Lim I live and work in Indonesia, where it has been found that one of the leading causes of death is hemorrhage after childbirth. These deaths are caused by maternal malnutrition. I believe they are preventable. If one speaks with the Dukun Baby, the Traditional Midwives who attended women at birth, they will tell you that the problem of women dying at such an alarming rate is a modern one. In Bali they will tell you that in the late 1960s to early 70s, after the introduction of Green Revolution Rice (also called “High Yield” or “Miracle Rice” IR-8 and its successor IR-36), within one season, the women began to bleed to death. It is time for the midwives, who are kneeling beside the women in the villages as they bring their children into this world, and the scientists, who determine food composition (i.e. hybrid, GMO, chemically dependent or organic) and policy, to work together to find out why the women ingesting Green Revolution rice as their staple food are hemorrhaging in the third stage of labor (postpartum). There are questions of nutrition and the effects of human beings ingesting pesticides and fertilizers here, which must be addressed. We would be wise to question the economic, social, cultural, and nutritional impact of all food inventions as does our colleague, Vandana Shiva in recent articles. I ask the scientists not to refute what the midwives both traditional and medically trained have discovered about mass changes in diet, simply because the research has not been done to prove what we are finding empirically in the field. For the scientist to say to a midwife; “You can’t tell these stories of maternal hemorrhage related to diet unless you do the research.” seems the same as if I as a midwife say to the scientist; “You must deliver the babies day and night as I do, to be acknowledged and respected.” Someone must tell the stories of the casualties of modernization of food and childbirth, since the dead don’t speak, I as a midwife endeavor to ask these questions.

© Mark Ulyseas www.liveencounters.net

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NGO We know that high-yield rice was invented to end hunger, and indeed it has increased rice yield. However what has been the price of changing the staple food of already impoverished people with a grain that is chemically dependent. In Central Luzon, Philippine Islands, where my mother is from, the rice yield increased by 13% during the 1980s but this came at the cost of a 21% increase in fertilizer use. In West Java, Indonesia a 23 % increase in rice yield came at the cost of a 65% increase in fertilizer use and 69% increase in pesticide use. *Within a few years of the Green Revolution IR-36 / high yield rice varieties were legally mandated by

I have visited the women in the Philippines whose hands receive the babies. They will tell you that where there is pesticide, fertilizer, and mono-cropping, women hemorrhage after childbirth, they die. If you hike up beyond the reach of the Hanselma Highway in Mountain Province, where the people still grow their indigenous red rice, and sweet potatoes, where they have no money for chemical farming, and no means to transport pesticides and artificial fertilizers to their fields, postpartum hemorrhage is rare, nearly unheard of. There you will find the trees still so full of fireflies that they look lit up for Christmas. And there you find no hospitals. In a 1986 study of world hunger The World Bank questioned the effectiveness of a rapid increase in food production as it does not necessarily result in food security, or, less hunger. The study concluded that hunger may be alleviated by “redistributing purchasing power and resources toward those who are undernourished,” in other words, …if the poor don’t have the money to buy food, increased production is not going to help them. If the poor have sold their rice fields, as I have seen them do, to pay for expensive ‘technologized’ hospital births, driven by fear of maternal death and an all too high (though under reported) infant mortality rate, to preserve the lives of their malnourished women and high-risk infants - how will they eat? How will the future generations of Balinese, who will not inherit rice fields or any land for the cultivation of food, ever eat?

the Indonesian government, in Bali the farmers were forbidden to plant native rice varieties which take much longer to mature, are less responsive to fertilizers, and produce less grain. IR-36 (or other high yield varieties) became legally mandated. Furthermore the BIP Bali Irrigation project took power away from the “Subak” the ancient Balinese Water Temple system of sharing water from mountainous source waters all the way to the seashore farms. The traditional ritual agrarian Bali Hindu Dharma Calendar of growing became obsolete as it was based on the growing cycle of native Balinese rice. Thus, the continuous cropping of rice in Bali undermined the Balinese system of ecological balance and management of water sharing and natural pest control achieved via hydraulic solidarity. 32

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Even if they eat, as is the case for the Tsunami survivors, who must subsist on a donated diet of high yield rice, polished white, and white rice noodles with Mono sodium glutamate for flavoring, white sugar, and oil in Childbirth they tear and bleed. Under this kind of nutritional stress pregnant women all too often suffer from hypertension. With these hands, kneeling beside women who survived the December 2004 tsunami only to suffer high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia in pregnancy due to malnutrition, I have delivered babies who died while still inside their mothers’ uterus, just hours before their births. I call the is “full belly poverty” as many of the tsunami survivors in the early months after the disaster had access to World Food Plan donated white rice. They ate heaps of it, often plain, as they had no boats for fishing and, no vegetable gardens were spared by the tsunami. When a woman and baby in my part of the world survive pregnancy and birth - the question of Infant Feeding becomes most important. Asian mothers, indeed all mothers of the world are bombarded with corrupt advertising promoting Infant formula.


NGO Where I live it is nearly impossible to find a medical birth facility where breastfeeding is supported. Pediatricians habitually promote infant formula, even though a baby in Indonesia is 300 times more likely to die in the first year of life, if s/he is bottlefed.

one can make money from it.

We must look at the ecology of infant feeding, imagine the impact of 550 million discarded baby milk tins plus paper labels and glossy non-recyclable paper for advertising, add to that plastic bottles and rubber teats. And that represents only the waste produced if the babies in the United States bottle-feed in 1978, today the impact would be worse.

I am radically opposed to artificial infant feeding. Technologized birth has many social, psychological, spiritual and physical side effects, including the sabotage of breastfeeding. We have a responsibility to protect birthing women and their babies. Every breastfeeding baby and woman is a pioneer in saving our environment and living simply in the world. In a profound way they are creating peace between humans and nature. If we want to heal our planet’s food, environmental and social problems - we can make a huge impact just by promoting sound maternal nutrition, gentle birth and breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding has a positive effect on our environment whilst bottle-feeding has a negative effect. Breast milk is a natural, renewable resource, the perfect food for our babies; artificial baby milks are processed, nonrenewable poor substitutes for this resource.

Gentle birth and breastfeeding lay the foundation for the next generation of humans to live with an intact ability to love. This love will manifest in their relationships with all sentient beings, and with the Earth Mother herself. It is time to stop impairing our babies’ ability to love.

Breast milk causes no waste as it is produced in quantities according to the baby’s needs. The baby’s suckling determines the amount of milk produced, I can tell you first hand that even malnourished mothers can produce enough quality breast milk to feed their babies well. Nearly all babies need no other food for 6 months. According to World Health Organization optimal infant feeding is exclusive mother’s milk for the first six months of life. At Bumi Sehat’s birth clinics in Bali and in Aceh we have achieved a 100% breastfeeding rate by implementing nutrition education with intensive support for the breastfeeding woman from the midwives and employing the families support as well.

It is time to heal the planet.

Breast milk production is environmentally safe as it does not pollute, it fact it saves resources. Breast milk is free, requires no extra packaging, does not have to be shipped, it protects babies against infection, passes on natural immunization to the little consumer, while benefiting the health of the lactating mother. It lowers the individual’s medical care costs over a life-time; research has shown it to increase the child’s health and intelligence. Breast milk is the only wise choice of infant food. . The idea that breast milk, the world’s most valuable renewable food resource, should be replaced by an artificial substitute is absurd, but it is business as usual in our world today. Infant formula producers team with medical professionals in one of the most corrupt lies in history; promoting Bottle-feeding as a viable alternative to mother’s milk, even in countries like mine, where the average wage of a woman and of most men, is not sufficient to buy the infant formula needed to bottle feed one baby. Why are we not protecting our smallest citizens of Earth from this corporate lie? Because there is one problem with breast milk --no

www.bumisehatbali.org

R to L Margo Berdeshevsky, Lawrence Ferlingetti, Reine Marie Melvin, Wil Hemmerle, Robin Lim at Shakespeare & Co.

Ibu Robin Lim(CPM) can be found in Bali and Aceh, Indonesia, with her big wonderful family supported by an amazing staff at Bumi Sehat, where between 40 and 80 babies are born gently every month. At Bumi Sehat we wait a minimum of three hours before severing the babies’ umbilical cords. WE really have implemented our beliefs, which are based in research, and respect for Nature and culture. The ancient Lontar Palm Books of Bali advise a long delay before separating baby from placenta. Look for her books, “After a baby’s birth” and “Eating for two… recipes for pregnant and breastfeeding women”. Her next book, “Placenta the forgotten Chakra”” is nearly finished. Robin Lim is a mother and grandmother. In 2009 Ibu Robin’s daughter, Déjà Bernhardt released her film “Guerrilla Midwife” which is about the work of Bumi Sehat and the essential importance of gentle birth for a more peaceful planet. www.skwattacamp.com www.liveencounters.net

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LITERARY REVIEW

Hirsi Ali, Ayaan, author of Infidel

Published by Free Press, New York, 2008 Book review by Elaine Farmer

A group of friends and I discussed this book recently and our discussion was long and vigorous but, interestingly, revolved more about the issues raised by the book than the book itself. Hirsi Ali might well be pleased by that. By her own admission she is a passionate advocate of a single issue: the need to free women from the oppression of cultural customs that are violent, intimidating and destructive. That her autobiography could generate interest, passion and, most especially, debate, about the kinds of difficult issues many people and cultural groups find easier to ignore than address might well justify the dangerous over-exposure the book has brought her. She now lives hedged in by close police protection. From a literary point of view, the book is well written. The narrative moves quickly; the author doesn’t allow extraneous political or religious detail to slow the pace of her story. There is nothing plodding about it; on the contrary, she manages to instil a degree of suspense and breathless uncertainty into a story where we already know the relatively happy ending. The language is simple without being unsophisticated. Her sentences are not cluttered with cumbersome language or convoluted constructions. One has the feeling that she writes more or less as she speaks—and all this from a non-native English speaker. Infidel actually pursues three narratives: the first autobiographical, beginning with her childhood in Somalia; the second political, addressing the question of freedom and human rights for women; the third religious, focusing on Islam and especially the role of violence within some Muslim cultures. It’s easy to get caught up in the autobiographical narrative, especially in the description of her excision when she was five. That’s the point when one has to stop reading and spend time recovering from the horror of the description, let alone of the practice itself.

Neutrality is not possible which is exactly what South African Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu said a long time before Hirsi Ali: ‘Whenever people say to you, “in this situation, we are neutral”, you can always know they have taken a decision to side with the powerful.’

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It’s also the point when attention broadens from the autobiographical narrative to include the complex cultural, political and religious issues of the other two narratives. The shift occurs via pictures of two prominent women in the story—blurred pictures of her grandmother and mother, both marked by ambivalence. Clearly, these women’s lives were governed by frequently unforgiving and cruel cultural attitudes. The grandmother at least is perhaps best understood as a simple uneducated woman whose world had never broadened beyond family and village and who would be unlikely to question values giving her value and significance even if embodying harshness and cruelty. But the mother’s case is not so simple. She had not had such a confined life. She had education, and had lived and worked independently before marrying. Her relationship with her husband seems to have started well but deteriorated over time with more downs than ups and she appears to have lived in a state of simmering anger over his absences and her isolation and enforced dependence on the charity of others. Hirsi Ali’s picture is


LITERARY REVIEW of a woman who is a victim of culture and circumstances she was unable to change. Perhaps she acted as best she could within the confines of her cultural group and, powerless, retreated into anger and bitterness. Her outlet for her frustration was beating the children, particularly her older daughter, Ayaan.

decision to side with the powerful.’ And when they do, adds one scholar, ‘History is littered with the bodies of those broken as the world watched.’

It seems hard to understand how she could beat and abuse her daughter so mercilessly. How could she fail to protect her from harsh cultural mores? Certainly, she was outraged by the grandmother’s organising the two girls’ excision and the boy’s circumcision without permission and in defiance of the parents’ ban on the practice but her anger—at least as reported by Hirsi Ali—seems to have been trumped by the grandmother’s passionate defence of culture. We hear little more about it after the first flush of rage. Perhaps there is some kind of self-protection in resigned acceptance of something she couldn’t change but she could have focused her anger against the cultural practice rather than collapsing into resigned acceptance.

In her work on suffering, Dorothee Soelle makes two statements pertinent to Hirsi Ali’s life, the women who shaped it and the battle she has made her life’s work.

Hirsi Ali has certainly rejected her mother’s example and stayed with anger as a response to cultural (and religious) confines. She contends that silence, along with well-meant but short-sighted and sugar-coated liberalism, contributes to the perpetuation of cruelty and injustice. Passion and advocacy do not always produce the best results though the latter certainly needs the former if change and progress in any field is to be achieved. In Hirsi Ali’s case, there is considerable doubt as to whether her methods best suit her cause. She declared herself apostate which was inevitably going to bring her into conflict with conservative Islam. One could argue that she ought to have realised that, in publicly abandoning Islam, she would weaken her capacity to champion Muslim women and their rights. We cannot know whether the outcome would have been different had she kept silent about losing faith (and lived with personal hypocrisy) and simply continued with the political battle. Maybe all we can say is that taking an anti-faith position probably gave ammunition to those threatened by her criticism. Infidel is a challenging book. Many of us reject hardline positions that pit religion against religion; indeed, some might have thought this a thing of the past, a past in which compassion and mercy had little strength against the power of state and religious institutions. Maybe we thought we lived in more forgiving, tolerant and gentler times. What Hirsi Ali is saying is, in effect: yes, this is tough; yes, we’d all prefer to think about something else. Yes, we’d all like to believe that tolerance and mercy rule. But they don’t and we can’t allow ourselves to be suborned by fine words and lofty principles. If we believe in the cause of liberating women from oppression and violence then we must take a stand and say ‘no’. Neutrality is not possible which is exactly what South African Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu said a long time before Hirsi Ali: ‘Whenever people say to you, “in this situation, we are neutral”, you can always know they have taken a

So this is the challenge of Hirsi Ali’s book: which of us is giving the nod to injustice?

First, Soelle says that when we speak out on their behalf, the marginalised and forgotten are encouraged to stand up for their rights. There are, she continues, three things necessary to their renewal—new language, new life, and new communities—but these are only effected by reordering all those cultural habits, traditions and moral values that have created victims and crushed life and possibility out of them. Second, of those who would perpetuate those crushing traditions, Soelle writes: Anyone who lives with a static world view … that is, one that is intent on imitation and repetition of the past, cannot see learning and change as the most important things that one can achieve in life. [Their] attitude toward suffering cannot get beyond acceptance and resignation. Only where change itself is comprehended as an essential human value and acknowledged by society … can the passive attitude toward suffering change.1 Think of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s grandmother perpetuating practices that might have been harsh but which were her only source of self-worth. Think of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s mother beating her daughter in rage and wild frustration. Both of these women were victims without the language to express pain and rebellion. Think of Ayaan Hirsi Ali herself trying to break the pattern of the past in her own life for the sake of countless other women’s lives and we come to the raison d’être of her book. From this perspective, perhaps the point is not where the truth lies in the autobiographical narrative she presents (some of her family disputes her tale) so much as the controversy and debate she provokes. The outcome of that might just be more important than the book itself. Only time and the rescue of women from oppression will tell.

In the meantime, we are left with the challenge of her book: Which of us is giving the nod to injustice? © Elaine Farmer 2009

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PERSPECTIVE

Oh Palestine! Rebecca Tyrer

The name ‘Palestine’ conjures up images of suicide bombers, fundamentalists, refugees, occupation, religion and stone throwers. Hold this thought and read on about a young woman’s stay five years ago in Palestine. Then, ask yourself this question –‘Has the killing stopped and the hatred washed away by the blood of innocent Palestinians and Israelis?’- Editor. In 2004 I joined a group of eighteen strangers – teenagers to pensioners, Muslims, Jews, Christians and Humanists on a cycling mission from U.K. to Palestine. As we peddled on our two month journey from London to Jerusalem, we learned each other’s stories and sang the stories of those we thought we already knew. We crossed the Alps (twice), cycled along sea cliffs, through freak thunder storms in the middle of summer, and hid in one another’s moving shadow as we burned our way through the Jordanian dust. At times I didn’t even know which country we were in – had we left France already? Was this Switzerland or now Italy? We cycled our way through borders, seeing the change in architecture, road signs or even topography, as political demarcations of previous battles were dictated by mountains, rivers or sea. That was until we arrived on the border of Israel and then our weeks of free movement was interrogated, stripped and placed through an x-ray machine. Our band of merry cyclists was disbanded and separated into color and creed; brown on one side, white on the other, and coming from the UK, where all colors mix and ‘race’ is something you do at sports-day, we all felt a little violated… defensive of our ‘oneness’. But our message of ‘Peace’ was allowed to cross another border - another ‘frontier of civilization’ - and we continued on cycling from Nazareth to Jenin from ‘civilization’ to destruction. We were followed by a police escort along the bitumen road until it literally turned into rubble and a pile of concrete blocks which would have stopped even the most mighty elephantine remover of obstacles. This was our first experience of a check-point and according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, one of the 541 permanent road blocks in the Occupied Palestinian Territories , which prevent unrestricted travel; Choking the life-lines of a people trying to continue their businesses, social engagements and education. In many places human like animals are filtered through turn stiles, spun out into the farm ‘paper control’ as refugee status is checked for a people 36

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© Martin Searle & Courtesy Rebecca Tyrer

still living in the country they have been made a refugee from…it was this restriction on movement that was most shocking to us. As an occupied ‘territory’ the Palestinian Authority it is not in a legal position of independence to protect the civil liberties of its demi-citizens. And as I had suspected before my journey, despite the apparent freedom of information and globalised communication systems, distorted accounts of lived realities only manage to percolate through a maze of physical and metaphysical barriers. A philosophical definition of ‘freedom’ is to be able to exercise choice and make decisions without constraint – to be autonomous. And yet for those living in Israel and Palestine, even freedom of thought seems to be regulated from birth. Children live isolated from their neighbors of whom they share sacred religious spaces and essential natural resources. Meanwhile their parents and grandparents often speak Arabic and Hebrew, but the only contact Palestinian children will have with Israeli citizens are its soldiers. Concrete walls, electric fences and sonar systems separate communities living within a stone’s throw of the other. Alternatively, children are growing up in an environment where it is too easy demonize the ‘other’ side; unable to interact with children their own age, of whom they absolutely need to grow up understanding in order to live without the fear of persecution for being of a different religion or race. Just as Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson stated, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” But as a political scientist I searched for logical explanations and in doing so I was drawn towards asking how people remain so disconnected from their political responsibilities. My search took me to join the


PERSPECTIVE team of the Alternative Information Centre (AIC), which has its foundations firmly in rooted in socialist ethics; where the common theme of humanity could be joined together in the interests of all. The mission statement of the AIC - http://www.alternativenews.org “[T] to promote full individual and collective social, economic, political and gender equality, freedom and democracy and a rejection of the philosophy (ideology and praxis) (weltanschauung) of separation.” What this means in practice is that it is a truly joint Palestinian and Israeli venture, which was working for the ‘same’ side – for peace and for justice, and was doing so by remaining committed to providing free and fair information, without the colored lens of government or religious bodies. However, it was not simply to work together: my Israeli colleagues would have to sneak over the border every week to hold a staff meeting in our Bethlehem office, as it was far less of a risk for them to do so than for my Palestinian colleagues to risk imprisonment. In fact, it was this mutually beneficial dialogue which is often covered over by images of hatred and persecution. The reality is that the courage and bravery of those who have achieved enlightenment of truth and justice, despite the incredible pressures of society was astounding and far harder to achieve than those who remain on the fringes of internal propaganda. Incidentally, there is a growing voice of discontent among young and courageous Israelis who are uniting to fight their own powers, parents and precedents. By doing so they are juggling their reputation as a lawabiding citizen with a criminal record.

and he replied because he spent the morning with one side of his face on the ground and the other underneath an army boot. And I think about when I sat face to shrapnel scared face with a Palestinian fighter; I feel about how I felt as I heard him recall his occupied youth and exploded dreams, about the beautiful peaceful future he envisioned for his baby daughter: baby in one arm, AK 47 in the other. I think about the clarity of the vicious circle of redemption which became so painfully obvious, as lives are destroyed taking with them the value of humanity and allowing the destructive cycle to continue. But most of all I feel a deep uneasiness, for having the freedom to leave when my friends have only the tentative freedom to stay and only the dreams to travel. As Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

When I stood in demonstrations against illegal walls and demolitions, I stood side by side by Palestinian farmers, grandmothers, Imams and Israeli youths. I remember standing next to a Rabbi for Human Rights, who stood in defiance in Occupied Palestinian Territories fighting the illegal construction of the Separation Wall. Underneath his faded baseball cap was his kippah. Although his religious identity was superficially covered, it was his belief in the sanctity of the Torah that provided him with the passion to fight for the Rights and Freedoms of his Palestinian neighbors. Now when I think about ‘Palestine’, probably the most vivid images which flicker across my mind are the faces of the friends I made and which I left behind there. I think of those in my office; the secretary who was Christian and Palestinian, who would dream about what ‘peace’ would mean to her and her family and about how it would mean being able to take her little girl to the zoo for the first time. I think about when I asked my friend why he was late for work one summer’s day

© Mark Ulyseas

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TWO WORLDS

Delhi 20.03.07 A huge storm hangs overhead in dark clouds. In the little park opposite they are practising for a wedding in the half-light, with thunder rumbling and the heavens waiting to open. They made, in 24 hours, this construction for the wedding, but now the clouds gather and I wonder how auspicious a downpour would be? I await, watch, my face still swollen by dentistry, but only one cigarette all day. It is now 3.15 and I shall try and wait till 7 before having one more. At 5 I have acupressure. Where lies God in this land? Guru ‘G’, Patrick, Acupressure, the dentist Giroti, or could only a Man, who leads one to the inner self, be any real help, in this world of Magic? The singer’s voice mingles with thunder, the Hindi words unknown to me, as The Tempest begins and despite torrential rain, the tents being ripped, the marriage ceremony continues, unabated. The singer and band play on. All is accepted here even the interruption of nature is not to be run from, as we in the west would, no: they carry on awaiting lightening strikes and the eventual cessation of the huge drops of rain. The orator continues, the Sitar still plays, the blessing takes place despite, or in harmony, with nature’s offering. Perhaps this is why Tarun Giroti, (the dentist), would think it fine for me to get on a plane to Bombay with a face swollen like a football and yet indirectly, has he not forced me, to finally look at my nicotine addiction? Does this give him Guru status? For sure not possible with just a wish and a wish is such a nebulous term it can cover a multitude of sins… My whole mouth vibrates to a mending self that demands clean water more than anything. This chance of purity put upon me. A cleansing offered and yet all that has suffered and wishes, (like it or not, it is within us all), to continue suffering as a habit, rebels, against the opportunity. A chance, in advance… Can I be A real man; exert choice, take purity in a bottle of Himalayan, water? Why have two? When one is more than enough? Carrion birds, vultures, preventive medicines and Gurus, my own life, no more than a glimmer of a shadow in a hot, still, baking, Delhi sun. Another culture, ‘Kulcher’, as Ginsberg called it. A night full of strange dreams. Surreal situations populated by the dead doing odd things, with the present. Where does it all go? -Time that is, nothing changing yet everything changing even, perhaps, each pulse rate? I am as unaware of the internal mechanism of life as I am the external. Disparities wage war in the stomach and the Middle East, neither fathomable. And I am no different, in being the same, as all molecules of man, making mankind that appears so cruel…but I do not know: A salvation of sorts for everyone and so, to those who purport to know about either world, in which we participate, you live in a dream, dangerously infecting the species with your certainties… Oh Rock & Mr Roll…

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Two Worlds Robin Marchesi


TWO WORLDS

Bali 01.04.07 Bali after long exhaustive journey, my first trip to the Southern Hemisphere and it is hot, humid, as if the air itself has been boiled. Lots of little temple like structures but we sleep, jet lagged beyond belief, stomach erupting like the volcano, which is a tourist trap situated in the middle of the island. Sarah has a friend here who’s over effusive, wide-eyed look, although genuine and kind lurks on the precipice of sheer desperation. He dresses well, although his shock of premature white hair speaks volumes. One can tell there is a suicidal trait to his devil may care attitude. He sees himself as some kind of Lothario, asking all the girls if, “they are married”. He speaks non-stop, gushing out his fears, in a volley of verbalism, that one can react too, only by smiling and nodding, in agreement. He obviously has island troubles like Richard, in Ibiza, dodging people with well honed skills and ‘ligging’ a life through his charm, his poetry, his photos, his perpetual promise, that one day, his deserved fame and fortune, will drop, like manna from the heavens. I like him. He is more real than the Guru/Healer, although his eyes definitely remind me of Guru G’s, in that they look at you, but at the same time, don’t! His life he informs me, has been reduced to a suitcase plus some digital equipment. He says it with a huge disillusionment but there is, Buddhist style, so much to be admired, in a man whose materialism has been stripped bare, especially an older one. Hopelessness is very close to real hope if one is not counting the cost, going backward over the annals of one’s life, continually berating the self, for one’s present situation. One needs to let go, get back to the present…I go on… too much Ranting and Raving with the pen, in this closeness of air, humid above the huge palms, listening for an inner voice in this quiet. And although, I have slept, fitfully for 16 hours, I note the gentle calm of this place. Its tranquillity and peace…Dark vibrations and too many, or more motorbikes, than I imagined possible. The flash of a camera. Huge undulating clouds massing on the borders of night. The light flickers to an insectual dance. Self-obsession written in every spoken word. These elements of communication lost in non-listening, where all want to only hear themselves. In the darkness, this murmur of magic set in small offerings before Gods at Temples, unable to eat through their non-physicality – Wish – For whatever, especially material success – Let me grant it Believe in Macumba. Superstition is a rather splendid thing as long as you don’t believe it.

© Mark Ulyseass

Robin Marchesi was born in 1951. He was educated at Oxford and London Universities. He has lived ‘on his wits’ throughout the world and has several published works including Kyoto Garden A B C Quest and A Small Journal of Heroin Addiction. He has worked on and off for the Sculptor Barry Flanagan OBE, a Rilke to a Rodin. At the moment he is living in London completing his latest work entitled:”Prospero’s Cell.” www.liveencounters.net

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CITY STATE

Introducing Uniquely Singapore X’ Ho why so many countries wish to emulate Singapore’s success, benign does have its appeal. But ask our true opposition leaders and they’ll surely have bones to pick about ‘benign’, especially when Singapore has a law that allows imprisonment without trial for the purpose of internal security. Just this year, a new law was passed to prosecute any unlawful assembly even when the assembly is a party of one! Don’t bother brandishing the word ‘ridiculous’ on Singapore, she’s circumvented that critique by branding herself ‘Uniquely’ to the world these last ten over years.

© X’ho

What’s this marvelous ‘economic wonder’ of Asia named Singapore really like? Well, it is almost everything you’d expect from a modern industrialized city. Things are pretty organized on the surface – loads of shopping malls, an efficient inter-district train system named the MRT, clean roads, hygienic tap water, etc. – to the point that it was all taken for granted as sterile. Being one who’s keen on ‘undercurrents’, I am here to introduce another side of Singapore many Singaporeans would choose not to discuss for fear of reprisal from the powerful morning press The Straits Times. Powerful, because it is the national paper that defines all things Singaporean and what’s acceptable within the establishment. For a start, the press and all forms of the broadcasting media are firmly controlled by the Singapore Government through the MDA – Media Development Authority. If that doesn’t raise your eyebrow, perhaps this might: Recently a pal mentioned to his fellow Briton that I have a new third book that critiques Singapore, to which the fellow Briton remarked - Isn’t there any government in Singapore that X’ likes? My pal’s reply did shock the Briton – But there’s been only one government since Singapore’s independence in 1965! Singapore is a young and small country. At the start, enough power was bestowed on a promising leader to govern, enough for that man to eventually wrestle it all from Singaporeans’ hands – and for the good of the country too, it has been stated, lest you think the rationale is otherwise. So, just an Orwellian example of authoritarian success… what’s new? Surely not everyone knows what’s behind the so-called ‘economic wonder’ and why some expatriates in Singapore have come away describing the tiny isle as a form of ’benign fascism’. Little wonder 40

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Let me cite an example to show how criticism of Singapore stops at The Straits Times. It reported on Oct 18, 08 that The Human Rights Watch – a New York advocacy group called on Singapore leaders to “end the practice of using defamation suits to stifle political opposition. The Singapore Government responded by saying that opposition politicians have the right to criticize the Government but that does not entitle them to tell lies or defame”. The natural conclusion to be drawn from that would be – quite uniquely, only Singapore’s opposition leaders are fond of telling lies since we don’t hear much of other countries’ opposition leaders being sued. Yet such simple logic of mine is never uttered or discussed in the local press! That should say much about our upright system. When push comes to shove, the authorities in Singapore will always use the trump argument – we are a small country, therefore dire measures need to be in place for the country to survive. Truth is, they are not really talking about survival but excelling to be a world statistic. Nothing wrong with great ambition but guess who has to pay the price and at what cost? Come to Singapore to live and you’ll understand who’s at a loss. Singapore’s State Ministers are the world’s highest paid, and that’s a fact. Until this recent economic recession, the pay was a monetary-figure about six times that of the US president for each of the top guns in Singapore – that’s guns with an s. For we have four here: the Prime Minister, his father (and modern Singapore’s ‘founding father’) the Minister Mentor, the Senior Minister and the President. All that should work out to be roughly 24 times the US president’s basic pay. Singapore’s population? A mere 4 million. A wonder, indeed. It is certainly a tenable way of eliminating corruption at the top, if corruption simply means illicit appropriation of State funds. Now you understand why, in Singapore, the majority race (Chinese) – rather than the minority races (Malays,


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Indians & others) – have the most thumbed-down and frustrated look on their everyday faces, especially those driving flashy cars. You’d think they’d be all smiles and jubilant. I can’t wait for you to come and experience the uniquely wonder of my ‘no ordinary country’. Warning: try not to pick up the ugly scowling look of everyday Singaporeans who don’t even realize they are scowling or sneering gleefully away. I call them ‘repressed yaya-papayas’ – completely self-unaware, self-righteous, space-encroaching and defensive. Read on to know why. Do come and learn about our ERP (Electronic Road Pricing), GRC (Group Representation Constituency), COE (Certificate Of Entitlement) and CPF (Central Provident Fund, a kind of State-enforced retirement saving, whose recent ruling is – withdrawal of the fund, possible only upon reaching the age of 85!). There’s more yet. I recommend opening the Pandora’s Box on why we have NMPs (Nominated Member of Parliament); Speakers’ Corner; the ongoing courtesy campaign plus endless other campaigns despite a so-called up-to-themark education system; why Singaporeans don’t know how to co-operate with each other as a people; why the current urgent call for Singaporeans to ‘think out of the box’; why there’s a massive jam on the highway when there’s a traffic accident on the adjacent highway moving in the opposite direction; why motorists don’t give way to others; why that one-bottle of duty-free liquor a traveling Singaporean is entitled to purchase upon return is, under the law, not allowed to be given away as a gift; why all the different taxi surcharges passengers have to pay at different times of the day and week; why bar-top dancers are not allowed, as defined by law, to chat with patrons before, during and after their dance; and most of all, why the local jargon ‘kiasu’ (the self-serving neurosis of losing out to another) is such an important catch-word in the Singapore system. Pretty mindboggling stuff, I agree. It is precisely the reason why Singaporeans have become apathetic to the point of being self-unaware and lacking in social graces; grace being the key word missing from the Government’s all-encompassing economic agenda. To truly understand Singaporeans, let me paraphrase a quip I got from the Internet about being stranded on a desert-island. Two Italian men and a lady stranded on a deserted island, what happens? The two fought and one killed the other to have the lady. Two American men and a lady stranded on a deserted island: They both had the lady

together. Two Thai men and a lady stranded on a deserted island: The first man rented the lady to the second man for two baht a night. Two Singaporean men and a lady stranded on a deserted island: The two men did nothing because there was no instruction from their Government. Perhaps now you can see why ‘thinking out of the box’ has become a national imperative in Singapore; but really, it just means thinking out of the box but within the box or else, Internal Security could still come knocking – a fact that leaves Singaporeans all the more skeptical of the maverick calling. Paralyzed by fear but having to condescend to a no-climate-of-fear turns the average Singaporean into a uniquely apathetic robot, if not pathetic defensive wreck. Check with The Straits Times and all you see are innumerable reports of Singaporeans being “upbeat”. And The Straits Times always has the last word since there’s no other. Ah, but there’s the Internet now. Hence, the newer Singapore climate – freer but supremely ‘kiasu’. Party of one, my friend!

© X’ho

X’ Ho is a Singapore musician/author/experimental filmmaker who is better accepted back home as Chris Ho, the DJ. To date, he has written three books about Singapore and made six shorts – the fourth Allen Ginsberg Gives Great Head was the only from Singapore to be in competition at the International Film Festival, Rotterdam 2008. His new solo music-album No Ordinary Country, now the first ‘protest folk’ album from Singapore, received this praise from The Business Times: “(It) should be required listening for anyone interested in plugging into a part of Singapore’s zeitgeist that too often lies simmering below the surface.” www.xhosux.com, www.myspace.com/xhosux www.liveencounters.net

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CANINE CUISINE Editor – I met Bobby when he convulsed into spasms and shades of Lenny Bruce while demonstrating how he prepared Wagyu beef steaks and his signature dish, crab cakes, at a hotel in Bali. His captivating cuisine and equally enchanting true stories of his ongoing sojourn through the Asian Diaspora makes him a culinary magician. As an exotic treat we bring you, by special permission of Bobby Chinn and his publishers, a chapter from his bestselling book–

Wild, Wild East, Recipes & Stories from Vietnam.

HAIR OF THE DOG Bobby Chinn

A friend of mine, Mark McDonald, a regular at my last restaurant in Hanoi, knew a young tour guide whose father cooked dog for a living. A regular dog caterer, in fact…grilled, braised, kebabs, schnitzel, soup, satay, stew – you name it, he cooked it. The kid was regaling my friend with his father’s tales of hardship during ‘The American War’: living in the jungle, suffering from malaria, lack of shelter, shooting tigers, and other wild animals for food, that kind of thing. The war, of course, was a living nightmare for everybody who went through it, whether they were in the jungle or the city.

© Mark Ulyseass

‘Bobby Chinn, chef, long time resident of South East Asia, television personality, hustler, International Man of Mystery... what Bobby doesn’t know about Southeast Asian food is not worth knowing.’ - Anthony Bourdain

Eventually he got on to the subject of how his father, a common Viet Cong foot soldier, had come across a dead American pilot who was caught hanging in a tree by his parachute. Since the old man was doing the cooking for his troop, and since they were suffering from serious fatigue and a lack of protein, he decided to cut a piece of flesh from the pilot’s thigh. He simply dropped it into the soup he was making that night. When the troops ate the soup, many of them didn’t like the flavour. ‘Too strong’, they said. ‘Too gamey.’ Now, twenty-five years later, the father is one of the great dog chefs of Vietnam. The kid invited us over for dinner with the promise that his father would prepare dog the customary and legendary seventeen different ways – a full-on buffet, doggie-style. My pal, a reporter, asked his photographer and me to come along. He suggested I ask culinary questions during the dinner so it would appear that the story was about canine cuisine, although his real interest was in the gory tales of the war. What better way to talk about eating a side of a man than over a little dinner of dog? The dinner took place in the old man’s house in a workingclass district on the outskirts of Hanoi. The house was hidden behind a bunch of storefronts that were selling cheap pottery, electrical gadgets and various plumbing supplies that were laced in a thin layer of dust. I arrived late, and had to walk through a maze of scattered pots, PVC pipes, an array of coils and wires, and Soviet electrical gizmos that would best be described as really bad junk. Everyone was waiting patiently, quietly sipping cups of bitter green tea. As I entered, I apologized for being late,

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Š Mark Ulyseass www.liveencounters.net

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CANINE CUISINE but could not figure out why my friends were looking so tense. The faint sound of traffic was punctuated with the sound of two dogs – one howling, one barking – in the backyard. ‘With all seriousness, I have to ask, is that dinner?’ ‘With all seriousness, I have no idea,’ Mark responded, blushing either with nerves or embarrassment, I could not really tell. Dining on man’s best friend is a strange emotional dilemma and the three of us were petrified. While the food was being prepared out of sight, in a kitchen out back, I started to run through all the culinary questions that I could muster in my head. We sat there speechless as the sound of a moaning dog filled the air like a cruel winter wind. After about twenty minutes our host finally arrived and greeted us. He apologised for not having enough time to prepare all seventeen versions of dog. I think it’s fair to say he was a real expert. You know how people always say there are ninety-nine ways to skin a cat, but nobody can tell you ‘the way’ to skin it? If anyone could, it would be this guy. The table was graced with sliced dog, stir-fried dog with lemon grass, and a dog soup, which contained what appeared to be the shank of the dog. Like many Vietnamese dishes, dog is accompanied with a dipping sauce to complement the flavours and tie the dish together. Eating dog without the dipping sauce is rather like eating sushi without soya sauce and wasabi. Unfortunately this light purple sauce with the consistency of watery ketchup smells bad and tastes worse. It is the closest thing to fermented shrimp shit you can get and seems to continue fermenting in front of your eyes as fine white bubbles coat the inside of the dipping bowl. It has taken me eight years to acquire a taste for it, and I still do not really like it. As we sized up the dishes, we darted looks at each other, knowing that the moment of truth had arrived. Wondering which one of us would start, visions of my first dog started to run through my head. Then all my friends’ dogs. They say that when you die, you watch images of your life hurtle by. When you eat dog, the experience is rather similar. You think about every dog you’ve ever been close to. The thought struck me: What the hell am I doing? Have I lost my mind? Our host, wanting to honour his foreign guests at Tet, the lunar New Year, graciously pointed out the three boiled pigs’ eyes. They were sitting in a bowl, like Cyclops – a 44

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© Mark Ulyseass

real treat here, especially during Tet. Tet does that to people – they are generally much more generous and thoughtful during this very special time. But having three eyes – with detached retinas – staring at us was more than a little eerie and I quickly retreated to my Islamic upbringing. It was me who started eating first, under the pretence that I was the most adventurous one, when in fact I was just quickest to detect the smallest portion of boiled dog available. It sat there in front of me on an oval plastic platter – thinly sliced and fanned nicely over the plate, free of garnishes and vegetables. It was nothing, I reasoned, but beef. I proceeded to remove the fat from the meat, peeling it away and placing it on the side of the plate. It reminded me of the fat from a breast of a duck, except it was slightly charred. I turned to our hosts, gave the most superficial smile I could muster, then dropped the meat in my mouth and started to chew quickly. As the flavours released, the tastes took me right back to English boarding school. The dog tasted exactly like the roast beef they used to serve every Sunday with Yorkshire pudding: dry, overcooked, and chewy except the dog had no large exposed blood


CANINE CUISINE

Then we went for the soup. Our hosts were both feverishly chowing down. As I watched them shovel up pieces of dog, like famished construction workers with a limited lunch break, I could only think to myself that we (the Americans) never had a chance here. The meal for us was pretty much over within three minutes. We were like three anorexics just doing face time at a dinner table. Conversation during a Vietnamese meal is usually very limited. The table usually falls into silence, with the exception of slurps and the ploughing of rice bowls and chopsticks. This was the opportune moment to ask all my questions and thereby avoid the food. I would learn that the best dogs for eating are six months to one year old, and the young females are best of all. The Chinese and Koreans, true connoisseurs, buy a lot of dogs from Vietnam. When I asked our host if there was any part of the dog that couldn’t be eaten, he didn’t miss a beat. ‘The hair,’ he said, without the slightest trace of humour or irony. Surely the paws couldn’t be eaten? No, they’re savoured in soups and stocks. There is no prized cut from a dog, apparently, although cooking techniques and execution are critical. The normal diet for a dog is rice and leftovers which sounds perfect for a Vietnamese pet, but the dogs raised for eating are special. They’re a strange half-breed that’s older and fatter than the normal Vietnamese house-dog, but strangely favoured by expatriates. I know some who have gone out of their way to save a dog, which they will then feed and fatten up only for the poor thing to be dog-napped by someone. Curiously, those who eat dog only eat a certain type – an intellectual justification for those who regard the little darlings as part of the family. The chef said other dogs do not taste like the mutts he cooks. He made a point of telling me that ‘the German dog’ is not good for eating. What? When was this guy in Germany? It sounded like he must have eaten a German shepherd. I imagine that during the hardships of war, they were forced to take on the K-9 corps of the US army. Hell, if

On the Yin-Yang chart of hot and cold foods, dog makes you hot. It is a winter dish, eaten in northern areas, where the winters get very cold. When you eat dog in summer, it’s said that you release a strange smell when you sweat. Dogs, apparently, can pick up on the scent, and I suspect they think you’re some kind of werewolf. Dog meat is more expensive than chicken, but cheaper than beef, and the price fluctuates according to the whole lunar calendar of karma and superstition. It is eaten for good luck during the last two weeks of a calendar month. Our dinner took place around Tet, when dog is in very high demand, and costs about $1.25 a pound. There were just five of us at dinner that night, so the neighbours were given the dog’s head. Others were awarded the intestines, liver and stomach. Thank God for neighbours. The chef asked us if we had a problem eating dog, which was very difficult to answer given that the guy had not only eaten a piece of American pilot, but had also cooked him. As our hosts continued to work their way through the dog dishes, the rest of us were content to eat the bread and drink the warm beer. A small cat began to rub up against us, mewing and whining and twitching. When our hosts finished their meal and cleared the table, they fed the leftovers to the cat, which sent the scrawny feline into a kind of sexual rapture. Yes, indeed, it’s dog-eat-dog world. Actually, it is worse then that. Man eats monkey brains, cat eats dog, cows eat sheep, and vegetarians are starting to make much more sense to me by the minute.

s

Next was fried dog. Just as I put it into my mouth my friend frowned and complained that it was very strong, which it was. It was hard to spit it out, so I manipulated it to the back of my tongue, reached for a beer and tried to wash it down. Gamey would be an understatement: ‘doggie’ would be a better description.

he could eat a piece of leg from a dead pilot hanging from a tree, then dogs that were wounded or dead on the battlefield must have seemed like fair game.

© Mark Ulyseas

vessels. I quickly washed it down with beer, but the taste lingered heavily on my palate. I needed to reassure the other guys that the dog was actually edible and we are all just facing an emotional barrier. ‘Tastes a little like roast beef,’ I said, ‘but if you put roast beef next to it, I am sure I would be able to tell the difference’.

Bobby Chinn is half Chinese, half Egyptian, raised in England, lived in San Francisco and New York and now based in Hanoi. He is one of the most respected chefs in Asia. Coming from a family of great cooks, Bobby has always been passionate about food and he was taken under the wings of various cutting edge San Francisco chefs – Hubert Keller, Gary Danko and Traci des Jardine – where he learnt his trade. His series on Asia is being filmed for Discovery. He has also appeared in the UK on BBC2’s Saturday Kitchen and Full On Food. © Bobby Chinn. By special permission of the publishers www.conran-octopus.co.uk It is available at all Periplus outlets in Indonesia. www.liveencounters.net

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© Mark Ulyseass

Navicula

Bali’s Own Green Grunge Band Lakota Moira Music in Indonesia is driven by the cigarette industry, without their sponsorship, bands don’t get heard. Navicula members; Robi (guitar, vocals), Dankie (guitar), Made (Bass), and Gembull (drums) have just released their sixth album titled ‘Salto’ (summersault) without sponsorship from cigarette companies. This is their way of singing out for a healthier new generation. “Navicula” means “Little Ship” in Latin; it also is the name of a kind of single celled golden-green algae (which could also be the inspiration for the band’s grungy fashion statements). Navicula, the band, formed in 1996 in Denpasar, Bali has reinvented itself many times. Their music has a grunge rock undertone, combined with many other genres of sound including, ethnic, psychedelic, alternative progressive, folk and straightforward good old rock and roll. Gede Robi’s lyrics are heavy with messages of peace, love, freedom, human rights, and environmental activism. This may be due to Robi’s roots in the 46

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agricultural village of Pupuan, Tabanan, where he hopes to return and work the soil as a farmer someday in the future, when he’s too old to tour in grunge costumes. The son of a trans-migrant family, Robi was actually born in Palu, Sulawesi, six hours from Poso, the heart of the religious conflict between Christians and Muslims. Robi viewed this piece of history from center ground as a young Hindu. On this new album the banner song is called, “Over Konsumsi”. This song sums up the philosophy of the musicians as they strive to build awareness in the consciousness of their enthusiastic fans. The point of the song is not only to criticize the businesses and countries who are destroying our planet, it brings it all back to individuals and asks the listeners to take personal responsibility for preserving our fragile Earth home. “Save ourselves, from ourselves…. America, reduce your gas emissions, Germany stop producing agro chemicals, Japan and China, you should have cared for Asia. All of us have over consumed…. and here in


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Indonesia the forests are gone as a result, disasters come.” Navicula is a local True Bali band, independent but active in the Indonesian music scene. Their national profile is growing with fans all over the globe. From 2004-2006 Navicula was signed with major label Sony/ BMG and released one album titled “Alkemis”, however because of differences in vision, Navicula chose to return to their independent roots, and released their 5th album “Beautiful Rebel” independently in 2007, it reflects the band’s idealism with lyrics that are controversial enough to scare away television air time. “On the screen you sell religion… Mr. Commercial tell a lie, Mr. Consumer superstitious, Turn off the TV, turn OFF the TV.” The biggest hit on this album is the song called, “Aku Bukan Mesin” (I am not a Machine). It harvested the Indo Music Critics’ best praises. Gede Robi looks like a grungy angel, in psychedelic clothing; while his mind is universal he is a true son of Bali’s upcountry green hills with all its sunshine, clouds, poetry and storms. In his personal and professional life he ‘walks his talk’, or shall we say, he ‘walks his ROCK!’ An “on the fly” interview with Gede Robi of Navicula. Lakota: What values sing to your heart? What is your true passion?

Lakota: Oppie Andaresta told us that she is a Navicula fan and that your music is healing for individual hearts and for the Planet. Do you believe that musicians have the power to heal? Robi: Oppie is an amazing artist and I am honored that she enjoys my music. As musicians, we both are very aware that we have the power to influence our audience. This is an opportunity that comes with great responsibility. We agree that the world at this time is infected by very complex disease and hence requires extra attention to heal. Most of the text from holy books was originally written in song. The Bhagavad Gita (a holy Hindu book) means “Songs of God”. So, yes I believe that music has the ability to heal, or even ‘Save the World’. Lakota: You have been called a Balinese John Lennon. You are raw and full of meaning. Can you stay unpolluted? Or, can we expect to find a lot of trashy plastic along the roadsides and rivers of your soul? Robi: It is a struggle to stay idealistic in this society that is ever more materialistic and polluted. However, it is a satisfaction and even orgasmic experience to be like a lotus in the mud, with a clean flower (our soul) on the surface. The most important thing is that my soul already has a very functional and effective recycling system in place.

Robi: First of all, I love music and I feel that music is very powerful in influencing people. I also have ideas that I spread to the world through my lyrics. These ideas are my perspective about social and environmental issues. I feel that I am just a journalist who delivers news through the medium of music. Lakota: When you have your own children, would you want them to listen to the kind of music Navicula is making today? Robi: I feel that music is a universal language, and can be enjoyed by everyone. The messages in my music are positive, and of course as a parent I will want my children to receive positive influences. But I would not force my children to like what I like. However, I do hope that they will like art, whether it is music, visual arts, or anything else. This world is so dynamic… maybe my children will listen to music of their own era. Aside from that, I will be very proud to show them that I have made a contribution to my generation, something that is priceless.

After an interview with Rolling Stone Indonesia, which will be published in one of their upcoming editions, Navicula was invited to headline the Rolling Stone Magazine August Edition release party at the Rolling Stone Magazine Headquarters in Jakarta on August 5th, 2009. More info: www.rollingstone.co.id. Follow Navicula and find out about their upcoming gigs at: www.naviculamusic.com. Email: Navicula@ naviculamusic.com www.liveencounters.net

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The Late Writers & Readers Festival

The Importance of Being Oscar Wilde Mark Ulyseas

We are now into the second day of this lively festival of internationally renowned dead writers who have arrived in paradise wearing coats of many cultures waxing eloquent on the frailties of life and the temptations of physiological attractions. When I dropped into the festival office to collect my Press Lunch Pass I was greeted by the apparition of Oscar Wilde singing platitudes in a longitude position, sipping ever so gently on absinthe whilst tapping his upright knee with his index finger. He glanced at me and said with a flourish, “My dear fellow are you one of the locals? Could you be so kind as to tell one what a gentleman of leisure may indulge in after 10.30 pm in Ubud, for I’ve noticed it gets awfully quiet and submissive to the elements?” I invited him to join me on a nocturnal run, down to Kuta, to partake of decadence in throbbing environs. “You’re a good soul, if ever one exists. Thank you,” he replied. Before I embark on an evening with a Victorian celebrity permit me to enlighten you on the distinguished gentleman in question. To understand this famous Irish Playwright of the Victorian Era it is essential to read his two famous works, a play titled The Importance of Being Earnest and the sole novel that he wrote, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin in1854 and died penniless in Paris in 1900. His life as a dandy and bisexual was the subject of much gossip in the hypocritical and suppressed Victorian society. His downfall came when he was convicted of homoeroticism and incarcerated for two years. On his release he quietly left for Paris where he spent the last three years of his 48

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“As for society – civilized society, at least is never very ready to believe anything to the detriment of those who are both rich and fascinating. It feels instinctively that manners are more important than morals.” Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde


The Late Writers & Readers Festival life under the assumed name of Sebastian Melmoth. He is buried at the Pére Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. The works of Oscar Wilde continues to be relevant even today where sections of society in many countries still remain suppressed by self appointed moralists masquerading as keepers of a faith. Later in the day when the sun had set and the full moon rose to the occasion, we drove down to Mix Well on Jalan Dyana Pura to witness the likes of Priscilla Queen of The Desert perform, in the heat of the night, a hip displacing rendition of Dancing Queen. The steamy atmosphere, blinking lights and perspiring bodies of plebeians sandwiched between Johnny Walkers and Bintangs was acutely unbearable even for Oscar who appeared flustered by the scene. “Let’s go somewhere else, please”, he said.

to believe anything to the detriment of those who are both rich and fascinating. It feels instinctively that manners are more important than morals. However, I love scandals about other people, but scandals about myself don’t interest me. They have not got the charm of novelty. I was married once and the one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties. Most of the time, I never knew where my wife was and my wife never knew what I was doing. Those who are faithful know only the trivial side of love; it is the faithless who know love’s tragedies. Therefore, one should always be in love. That is the reason why one should never marry. To love oneself is the beginning of a life long romance.

We walked across the street to Kudos and ensconced ourselves on a cement sofa festooned with red cushions; and soon we were whetting our whistles with strawberry martinis and gazing, albeit a bit distractedly, at the shenanigans of the night crawlers. I turned to Oscar and asked, “Could you share with the readers some of your thoughts on life in general and a brief sketch of your novel The Picture of Dorian Gray?” His reply encapsulated a number of his witticisms from his published works and is probably familiar to Wilde’s avid followers. However, for the benefit of those unfortunates who have yet to encounter this literary giant’s outpourings, here is a taste of Oscar Wilde! “Let me begin by saying that it is perfectly monstrous the way people go about, nowadays, saying things against one behind one’s back that are absolutely and entirely true. Mark, I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good character and my enemies for their good intellect. I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world. What a fuss people make about fidelity. Why even in love it is purely a question of physiology. It has nothing to do with our own will. Young men want to be faithful, and are not, old men want to be faithless, and cannot. And when it comes to reason, I have this to say – I can stand brute force, brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect. As for society – civilized society, at least is never very ready www.liveencounters.net

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The Late Writers & Readers Festival I believe that if a man were to live out his life fully and completely, were to give form to every feeling, expression to every thought, reality to every dream – I believe that the world would gain such fresh impulse of joy that we would forget all the maladies of medievalism. But the bravest among us is afraid of himself. The mutilation of the savage has its tragic survival in the self-denial that mars our lives. We are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind and poisons us. The body sins once, and has done with its sin. Nothing remains then but the recollection of a pleasure or the luxury of regret. The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it. And speaking about temptation, let us yield to another round of martinis. What say you my friend”, said Oscar. I ordered another round of drinks. By now two Bencongs (girly boys) were sitting at our table listening to Oscar craft each sentence and enunciate every word, rolling them on his tongue and spinning them out. Though they didn’t understand a word it was apparent that they were mesmerized by Oscar’s theatricals. A rough sketch of The Picture of Dorian Gray: Dorian gray is an effeminate and beautiful young man whose portrait is painted by an artist named Basil Hallward. When Lord Henry, a friend of Basil’s, meets Dorian he convinces him that beauty and fulfilling one’s desires were the main essentials of life. Aware at this point that he would in time lose his beauty the narcissist in him comes to the fore. “How sad it is!” murmured Dorian Gray with his eyes still fixed upon his own portrait, “How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this particular day of June… If it were only the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that—for that—I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my soul for that!”

feel the freshness in our loins and the brightness in our hearts. For a moment we think we can be young and beautiful forever.” Loud music suddenly erupted in the restaurant drowning out all hopes of further conversation. I fondled my drink as Oscar went into spasms trying to communicate in sign language with the Bencongs. After a few minutes he turned to me and patted my hand to catch my attention. He gestured that he would not be returning to the hills with me that night. I left the pulsating place for the comfort of my room and the words spoken by one of the greatest playwrights who had fallen from grace in his mortal life but was resurrected in death. “It is better not to be different from one’s fellows. The ugly and the stupid have the best of it in this world. They can sit at their ease and gape at the play. If they know nothing of victory, they are at least spared the knowledge of defeat”. (Parts of this article appeared in The Bali Times) www.thebalitimes.com

Oscar took a sip of his drink and looked at me and said, “Aaahhhh! …fair youth and beauty are both impostors for they lull us into false notions that we can remain the same forever. But youth is a passing phase, just one part of our whole lives. Narcissism reigns supreme when we 50

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Though Dorian’s wish comes true his portrait absorbs all the ugliness of his life. It slowly morphs into a grotesque image. Dorian in a fit of conscious rage murders Basil Hallward (the artist) for having created the portrait. At the end of the novel he attempts to destroy the picture with a knife. He fails and is discovered by his servants in a mummified form with a knife in his heart. The picture reverts to its original splendor.


Bali, where else?

Warung Upon Sea

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Where your Kopi Bali is shaken not stirred.

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Ida Pandita Mpu Parama Daksa Nata Ratu Bagus The Guru of the Art of Shaking by Mark Ulyseas Why do we need Gurus – self appointed men and women who act as agents for God? Why do we allow organized religion to brow beat us with the threat of hell and damnation if we don’t follow the precepts laid down through the ages? Why rituals? Why ceremonies? Why have faith in a Power that never shows its face, one that is intangible instead of a living, breathing entity that we can touch and converse with? Why believe in God when the earth bleeds with racism, fundamentalism of all forms and extreme cruelty fueled by greed and an insatiable hunger for power? Why live on earth if it’s so wretched? Let us all commit mass suicide like lemmings do every year by simply running off a cliff and plunging to our death. Yes? No. Why not?

© Mark Ulyseas

This does not happen because many of us have Faith. Faith in God. Faith in karma. Faith in one another. And above all the power to love, forgive and rise up phoenix like from impossible situations. Where does all this Faith come from?

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“The energy is the power of Nature coming from Water, Fire, Air and Earth. These elements are also present in the human body. Through Shaking the sacred fire within us is awakened.” – Ratu Bagus

Many months ago during a discussion on Faith with Marian Hjelm a veteran of India, she mentioned to this writer about the Guru of the Art of Shaking. It didn’t take much convincing on her part for him to follow in her footsteps to the ashram door of Ratu Bagus on the slopes of the sacred Mount Agung. Having grown up on the cusp of a chillum and rock music, the writer needed a pathfinder to show him where he was at and a hint of the elusive future. Entering through the ashram’s impressive gate, he was confronted with India; shades of Bhagawan Rajneesh, Maharishi Yogi and memories of his stay at Parasnath. And when he met Ratujee he genuflected and touched the Guru’s feet because that is what his culture had taught him, respect for holy persons.

energy was like none he had encountered before. He wanted to flee. The Guru gently guided him to the front of the Shakers and showed him the posture to take for Shaking. He instructed the scribe to concentrate on the large portrait of him on the wall and chant Om Swastiastu Ratu Bagus. Then without a word he left the hall. Legs slightly apart, feet firmly on the floor and palms clasped and extended like a namasker, he slowly began to move to the music, glancing around self consciously to see if anyone was watching him.

Ratujee asked a few questions and then pointed to a building that housed a large hall and from which emanated pulsating dance music.

In minutes his body grew warm then hot with beads of sweat racing down it. The lungs, the heart and all the other abused parts of his anatomy cried out for relief… then the pain seeped in, into sinews closely followed by deep sadness. He stopped and sat down breathless. Something inside him had stirred… another being… his soul? He wanted to run from himself.

Entering the hall and witnessing people of all ages and nationalities, vibrating, twisting crying, shouting, Shaking and laughing before a display of holy objects and a large portrait of him that had written across it in bold letters Om Swastiastu Ratu Bagus. The electrifying

Just then Ratujee walked in and placed his hands on the scribe’s head motioning him to rise and continue. And continue he did for a while before leaving the place for the dining hall and water and food and silence… humbled by the energy he had encountered that was

Ratu Bagus and wife Niychola 54

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The Power of the Shaking within, around and emanating from the Guru. So who is Ratu Bagus? A former executive in a transport company in Jakarta, a former aspiring young man who wanted to join the army but failed, a Balinese born in Gianyar, Bali, in November 1949, into a poor family of nine children and named I Ketut Widnya, a farmer from Muncan Village (the site of his ashram) till a Divine visitor gave him the name Ratu Bagus Jaya Kesuma Kawi and directed him to go forth and help humanity as he had been born with the gift to transmit pure light/energy. At that time, there lived many poor people in the surrounding villages. He moved around these villages dispensing spiritual and material aid. In time people began to arrive from all over the island for guidance from this Guru. For the last 30 years he has been healing, teaching and training people in his ashram at Muncan. Every year he conducts large retreats in Europe and Australia.

Sometime ago, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of The Art of Living Foundation on a visit to Bali referred to him as the Chief Priest of Bali. So why Shake? Why not go to the gym or for long walks or indulge in regular (daily) sex which is said to be the ultimate exercise for body and soul? According to the Guru we are created by energy. Therefore, when we practice this ancient form of healing (Shaking) we tap into this sacred energy which is within us and this transforms our physical and mental being. There are many independently recorded cases where he has healed mentally and/or physically ill people by transmitting pure light/energy to the patient; and imparting the technique of Shaking which peels away the repressed feelings and replaces it with spontaneity; sadness to happiness (laughter); releases pent up emotions through crying and shouting even screaming for hours at a stretch.

In 2006 he became a Brahmin of high stature and is frequently called upon to perform religious ceremonies in Bali. His title is Ida Pandita Mpu Parama Daksa Nata Ratu Bagus.

The Art of Shaking is not mumbo jumbo. If one trains for a few months under his benign tutelage one can plug into the reservoir of sacred energy that is within all of us. This energy comes to the surface with rigorous Shaking. Heat is generated. This heat races through the body attacking the physical afflictions within. In essence

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“The ego is a destructive force. It imprisons our minds and bodies. Shedding the ego through Shaking and unabashed impromptu laughter is necessary to re-energize our bodies and to connect to the pure being within us - our soul. It (soul) is usually forgotten or over looked because the ego and mind play games and is too preoccupied with our outside world instead of concentrating on our inner world that is the source of enormous energy. The ego and mind are susceptible to negative forces. And this makes us live unhappy lives. Unhappiness is a prelude to sickness of all kinds.”

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LIVE ENCOUNTER the body heals itself through this process. It also realigns the mind, assisting it on focusing on positive rhythms thereby creating a feeling of wellbeing in the person and extruding the same. Shaking is a bio-energy that transforms a human being from a negative force into one that radiates energy and brings light wherever he or she goes. Addiction to alcohol, drugs and smoking can be overcome through Shaking. The ashram has some followers who have been former addicts and who now live reformed lives and are an asset to their community. The technique to get the energy flowing inside the body is to surrender to the energy and accept it with a smile.

Parama Daksa Nata Ratu Bagus, for it is here that the Guru will teach one how to reconnect with one’s soul through the Art of Shaking. For over a year, the ashram has witnessed numerous manifestations of energy orbs that have been caught on video and still cameras, though unseen to the naked eye. These energy balls move at different angles across the screen during the Guru’s discourses. This phenomenon, which has been reported by many independent sources, appears to be manifesting itself with increasing regularity. It is believed that he is the source of such energy and that this is a clear indication of the power of his Faith and that of his followers. Om Swastiastu Ratu Bagus

But to Shake one needs proper guidance; Technique, Concentration and Discipline. That is why it is essential to spend sufficient time at the ashram to learn the basics and then with regular daily practice wherever one is on this earth, can begin to reach the source of the energy within thereby connecting to the soul. It is this process that teaches the follower to love oneself. When this is achieved life becomes a joyous experience,” says Ratujee. In the words of Lucy Williams from the U.K.,

The writer spoke to a number of local Balinese as well as those from other parts of the island who had come with sick family members, to Shake or to meet the Guru for a hearing of their problems and possible solutions. Their opinion is that the he is one of them: A true son of Bali: A holy man who has been sent to help them spiritually and economically.

© Mark Ulyseas

“Shaking creates the opportunity to exist free from pain, free from the negative thoughts and patterns that may have controlled our lives in the past and it creates the opportunity to live to our greatest potential; to feel life, to feel love and to feel the light. It is a re-awakening of the soul, a chance to remember who we really are and a chance to be alive. The simplicity of it all is mind boggling; you can train anywhere at any time, you don’t have to get on a plane, you don’t have to make an appointment, you just stay true to yourself, train regularly and keep Ratu in your heart always”.

If you want to know more about The Guru of the Art of Shaking please contact:

Ratu Bagus Ashram Dsn. Muncan, Ds. Muncan The ashram has set up a Koperasi that assists in Kec. Selat, Karangasem education, healthcare, micro financing etc. for Balinese Bali 80862, Indonesia farmers and fringe folk of the island. Tel: +62 (0) 8155733168, +62 (0) 8155751444 Those who have sought refuge in Bali in a bid to find Email: ratuashram@yahoo.com themselves should visit the ashram of Ida Pandita Mpu www.ratubagus.com www.liveencounters.net

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Pic of the Month

Thought for the day

Kuta beach, Bali, Indonesia

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March 2010

Free bimonthly international online journal by citizens of planet earth

Daniel Herriges Amazonwatch.org Humanity vs Chevron Randhir Khare Tribal Rights Activist Carmen Roberts fast:track BBC Catholics of Palasari Bali Audrey Lamou Survival of Languages Irish Poet Terry McDonagh Hip Hop in Manila Morganics Bobby Chinn Vietnam RollingStone Indonesia Adib Hidayat John Chester Lewis Ubud Poet Henry Miller in Bali Mark Ulyseas discusses Lady Chatterley’s Lover with D H Lawrence contact

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EDITORIAL

Bengaluru India

March 2010

Shukreya dear readers and contributors you have made the January inaugural issue a great success.

Salaams to our supporters from the media in the UK, Middle East and India who have given their valuable advice and often a few words of enlightenment to help us focus on issues pertaining to the environment with emphasis on human dignity.

Live Encounters is a platform for citizens of Planet Earth to present news, views and issues that affect humanity. In this second edition we have showcased the little known Catholic community of Palasari, West Bali; Amazonwatch’s devastating report on the 17 year legal battle between indigenous people of Ecuador’s Oriente and Chevron; Audrey Lamou’s great insight into the linguistics of Indonesia; Human Rights Activist and author Randhir Khare on the Tribals of India; Terry McDonagh’s poetic dribbling; Morganics haircut in Manila; Danika Parikh, a young Indian Archaeologist speaks out; the earthy Master Chef Bobby Chinn from Vietnam cooks up another original; and more… Please let us continue to work together for harmony and peaceful coexistence by judiciously using the written word as the sign of peace.

Kindly forward this free online issue to all your friends. We look forward to hearing your words in print. Email us your news and views to markulyseas@liveencounters.net or liveencounters@gmail.com Mark Ulyseas Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

Special thanks to : Priests of The Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Catholic community of Palasari, Al & Marina Purwa, Felipe Gomez Sarita & Kamal Kaul, Shruti Kaul, Marian Hjilem, Roberto & Niken, William J. Furney, Adib Hidayat & RollingStone Magazine, Raoul Wijffels, Rudolf Dethu of One dollarformusic, Putu the Balinese school teacher, Audrey Lamou Director of Alliance Francaise Bali. Randhir Khare, Morganics, Ela & Hari Gori, Bobby Chinn, Robin Marchesi, Terry McDonagh, Daniel Herriges of Amazonwatch, Carmen Roberts of Fast Track BBC, Conran Octopus Limited, Professor Unni Wikan, Sioned Emrys, Lisa Taylor, Manuela Ortega. All articles and photographs are the copyright of www.liveencounters.net and its contributors. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the explicit written permission of www.liveencounters.net. Offenders will be criminally prosecuted to the full extent of the law prevailing in their home country and/or elsewhere. © www.liveencounters.net


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Your international journal is great. I will come to Bali in April, inshallah. Will keep you informed. All the best, Professor Unni Wikan Dept of Social Anthropology University of Oslo Norway

Congratulations and thank you for including me. This opens a new world for me. It looks fantastic. By the way, could you give me your address…I’d like to send you a copy of my latest poetry collection. Thanks again Terry McDonagh Poet & Dramatist, Ireland

A great launch…I skimmed through it. Will savour it tomorrow. Congratulations on an exciting, novel approach to the people of the world to each other. This has got to a success, there is no other way. Ela Gori USA

Have seen the issue and sent you a note of congrats. Did you get it? The issue (from what I have seen) is looking excellent. Very clean layout. And it does have the classic look. Cheers. Randhir Khare Human Rights Activist/Author

Wow it looks fantastic, very slick, I haven’t seen an online mag like that, it’s great, fascinating articles, I feel privileged to be in the first of many issues, muchas gracias signor. Morganics Sydney

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Thanks Mark! Looks super glossy. Well done! Hope you are well and life is good for you in Bali? Carmen Roberts Fast Track BBC World London

How could I forget you? We sat outside the demo and you came out from Ubud. Congratualtions on Live Encounters. I wish you all the best in your new venture and hopefully our paths will cross once again. Take care, Bobby Chinn Somewhere in the world

I just took a closer look at your online mag and I think it’s really interesting and quite diverse; I would love to read more about the indigenous craft of Bali as it’s teeming with so much stuff and for one I would love to explore more. I think when I am over I am going to spend as much time as possible researching craft ideas and how I can work with individuals to make a mutual product together… Lisa Taylor London

I am in Myanmar at the moment and the internet connection is really bad, this country has so many stories for you, we are hanging around with a monk. I was reading your online magazine and I really liked it. I hope I can read more of your stories in future. I will try and find the Samurai who speaks English in Japan. Best regards Felipe Gomez Presently Myanmar, then Japan but originally Chile


CONTENTS Special Report

Christians of Palasari, West Bali, Mark Ulyseas

Humanity vs. Chevron Tribal India

A special report by Daniel Herriges, Amazonwatch.org

Randhir Khare, Human Rights Activist for tribals in India

Fast tracking with Carmen Roberts, BBC It’s just me, and my small camera

Henry Miller in Bali Terry McDonagh

Mark Ulyseas

Irish poet and dramatist, poetic dribbling

Hip Hop Nomad in Manila Interview

A Balinese schoolteacher speaks to Mark Ulyseas on surviving life

Language Matters Archaeology Poetry

Audrey Lamou explores the linguistic situation in Indonesia

An Indian archaeologist writes on the state of ruins in India

John Chester Lewis, a young vibrant poet from Ubud

Bobby Chinn Ibiza

Morganics is offered a machine-gun to shoot a cow

Thermo regulator & rat tails from the Master Chef & celebrity

Robin Marchesi reflects on Ibiza

Mayan Time Cycles Vasumi Vijkaa on Mayan numerals Late Writers & Readers Festival Ubud

D H Lawrence discusses Lady Chatterley’s Lover with Mark Ulyseas

Live Encounter

Interview with Adib Hidayat, Managing Editor of RollingStone Magazine, Jakarta, Indonesia and an encounter with Onedollarformusic in Bali Mark Ulyseas © www.liveencounters.net


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SPECIAL REPORT

Christians of Palasari A historical perspective and impact on Bali by Mark Ulyseas

This is truly the island of the gods for even though Hinduism is the dominant religion (93.5% approx) other faiths exist in pockets across Bali.

In the West of Bali there are a number of mosques along the coast and if one turns off the road and heads into the hills that border the National Park one will come across a small community of Balinese Catholics in an area called Palasari in Melaya sub district, about 90 km from Denpasar (the largest town and seat of the Governor of Bali). In the centre of the settlement of over 1,300 Balinese Catholics is a big church with many spires amidst mango trees, vanilla, coconut, coffee, cocoa, nutmeg and rice fields. It is a thriving village that has often been referred to by many as a possible role model for the rest of Bali.

So how did Christianity get a foothold on the island? How has it survived the onslaught of historical factors like colonisation and political upheavals to build a seamless bridge between its flock and the predominantly devout Balinese Hindus - whose way of life is an endless stream of devotion to their pantheon of Gods and Goddesses? The answer to this probably lies in the psyche of the Balinese and their acceptance of all things spiritual. This brief historical account of the Balinese Christians and the priests that led the flock, throws light on hitherto little known facts about this isle and its vibrant ethos.

Š Mark Ulyseas

Live Encounters thanks Brother Patrick for sharing his time and knowledge

Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Palasari, was designed by Brother Adrianus

de Vrieze, Ida Bagus Tugur a well known Balinese architect and I Gusti Nyoman Rai. Monsignor Albert O. Carm, Bishop of Malang, inaugurated the building on Dec. 13, 1958.

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SPECIAL REPORT Overview It is claimed that the king of Klungkung despatched a letter to the Portuguese in Malaka, written on a lontar [Palmyra palm] in 1635, which said, “I would be very pleased if, henceforth, we become friends and people come to this port to trade. I would also be happy if the priests come here so that whosoever wishes may embrace the Christian religion.”

On March 11, 1635 two priests, Father de Azevedo SY and Father Manuel Carnalho SY departed Malaka for Bali. Unfortunately, there are no historical records of what transpired from this meeting or the fate of the priests. It was only in 1865, two Protestant missionaries from the Zending Utrecht Association, R.V.0nech and Y de Vroom arrived to study the language and culture besides evangelizing. Y de Vroom was murdered on June 8, 1881 for reasons unknown. In the ensuing years The Netherlands’ government banned missionaries from operating in Bali. Even though the letter from the Apostolic Vicar of Batavia to the Dutch Governor General requesting permission to work in Bali was approved on May 24 1891 it was not until September 16 1913 that Monsignor Petrus Noyen SVD came to Bali and said,

Father Simon Bois SVD

Painting by Dutch Artist Willem Gerard Hofker when they met in jail during the Japanese occupation. The original is untraceable.

The legendary Father Simon Bois SVD

Born in Mendlik, a small town in The Netherlands, he entered the Societus Verbi Divini –SVD – Society of the Divine Word) on 0ctober 10, 1910, at the age of 18. He was assigned to work in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) in 1919. Brother Bois worked for a month and a half with Father van Lith in Muntilan Magelen before heading to Ende (Flores). It was during the short stint with Father van Lith that he was confronted with the side effects of colonisation – poverty and illiteracy and this left an indelible mark on his psyche. Even though he worked as a school inspector in Lesser Sunda he was constantly “I hope the time comes/has come when we can do reminded of the ravages of colonisation. missionary work in Bali, but only priests who are truly humble, patient, holy and learned will succeed in the In 1921, along with Monsignor Noyen SVD, he midst of the Balinese people; for the first 10 years approached the Governor General for permission to of mission work no repentance can be expected. But set up schools in Bali viz. Denpasar and Klungkung when the time comes to begin harvesting I believe (now called Semarapura). In September the that Balinese Christians will be an exemplary faithful same year his request was approved by the local congregation in Indonesia. They will be people who government to establish a HIS school (Hollandsch are capable of filling positions in commerce, the arts Inlandsch School) in Gianyar. Brother Bois travelled and politics, as well as holding ecclesiastical office. ” to the USA (1922 -1925) to continue his studies in theology where his interest grew in Art and the role In 1929 Monsignor Leven posted two priests, Vod of the bioscope, which took him to Hollywood. der Hayden SVD in Mataram, Lombok and J Kersten SVD in Denpasar, Bali. The later became an expert in He was ordained Father Simon Bois, SVD near Balinese language and culture. Chicago in March 1925. It was not long before he

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Yohanes I Wayan Puniastha and Corvy Ni Nyoman Sulasmiwati


was recalled to Bali by Father J. Kersten to assist in the ongoing humanitarian work because of his deep understanding of Balinese culture and the diversity of customary laws known as ‘Desa, Kala, Patra’ (time, place, circumstance). On June 01, 1936 coinciding with the Pentecostal Feast, I Made Bonong and I Wayan Diblug from Tuka were baptised – they were the first Balinese Christians of the area.

From 1940 to 1942 construction began on 200 hectares of land near Tuka, which was given to the church by the government. It was carpeted with dense forest, the majority of trees being that of nutmeg (pala/pele). The newly established village was called Palasari (‘Pale’ means Pala/forest, and ‘Sari’ – essence, which in Biblical terms stands for ‘yeast’). However, there are other interpretations of how Palasari got its name.

Initially, 18 families from Tuka and six from Gambuh moved to the ‘promised land’. But many returned to their villages because of the harsh living conditions and the wild animals that inhabited the area. Only 18 people remained to help Father Bois SVD establish the village and the makeshift church. The success of Palasari attracted people from the surrounding areas and prompted the local government and King of Jembrana to grant the church an additional 200 hectares.

During the Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1946, Father Bois was arrested and incarcerated in Singaraja. However, two catechists Philipus Parera from East Tenggara and I Nyoman Pegeg carried on the ecclesiastical work.

© Mark Ulyseas

When Father Bois returned to Palasari village it had grown rapidly and expansion of the settlement took it across the river to Sangiang Gede, which is the site of the current village of Palasari. In 1947 a major outbreak of malaria in the village claimed many lives. The three volunteers who helped Father Bois and his parishioners to combat the disease were Ibu Ayu Kendar Sabda Kusuma, Asst. Priest Blanken SVD and Brother Ignasius AM de Vrieze SVD. The aftermath saw the creation of a basic framework for Palasari’s development.

Father Bois was appointed as the parish priest of Singaraja in 1950 A year later on a visit to his homeland, The Netherlands, he passed away. Father B. Blanken SVD became the parish priest of Palasari and held the post till 1970.

The church post-Father Simon Bois SVD

1951 - 2010. The present imposing place of worship –Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, was designed by Brother Adrianus de Vrieze, Ida Bagus Tugur a well known Balinese architect and I Gusti Nyoman Rai. The architecture is a curious mix of Gothic and Balinese! Monsignor Albert O. Carm, Bishop of Malang, inaugurated the building on December 13, 1958.

1968 – First Balinese ordained priest – Servasius Subagha SVD 1969 – First Balinese becomes a nun – Ni Wayan Rika, later christened Sister Hubertine.

The 50th anniversary of the parish was celebrated on September 9, 1990. © Mark Ulyseas

© Mark Ulyseas

Nutmeg from Palasari

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© Mark Ulyseas

The present parish priest, Father Louresius Maryono Pr., has continued the work of Father Bois SVD by maintaining good relations with other faiths and government bodies with the policy of not being exclusive but inclusive with emphasis on education, development of the community in social and economic areas.

The legacy Father Simon Bois SVD had been instrumental in bringing about a change in the attitudes of the locals in the area: Empowerment of the villagers in terms of primary health care and hygiene, development of vocational skills, raising of living standards with education as the basis for all round progress for a sustainable future. Of course, one cannot ignore the fact that religious indoctrination is continuing to play an important role in moulding the parishioners into responsible and productive citizens. Today the village has a school, vocational training centre, medical centre, sports facilities, orphanage, Franciscan Monastery and three all Catholic Banjars. Franciscan Sister Pieta OSF and left to right Balinese Ria 17 yrs, Rio 3yrs from Sumba and Balinese Erna 15 yrs

© www.liveencounters.net

© Mark Ulyseas

A Balinese Catholic Al Purwa is a second generation Balinese Catholic, Honorary Dutch Consul, District Governor of Indonesia (Rotary Club), successful businessman and philanthropist. “When I was in high school I decided I didn’t want to be poor. I became a tour guide, waiter and sold soap that a friend and I made, to pay for university. I met my wife Marina while working at Puri Saran Kanging in Ubud. We married on January 5, 1976. When I told my father about my marriage he replied that Father Simon Bois had mentioned to him 25 years earlier that both families would unite. Incidentally, when my father I Wayan Ripug, a Hindu, became an orphan at the age of seven it was Father Bois SVD who sent him to Flores to study. Later he became a teacher in an elementary school and also a catechist. My wife’s ancestor was none other than Father Bois SVD! Father Simon Bois’s philosophy was to travel through poor districts educating people and thereby empowering them to improve their lives in all spheres. His basic teaching was – make peace with yourself, make peace with your family and spread this peace in the community. He believed that education was the basic foundation upon which one had to build one’s life.” Al’s wife Marina believes that one should not compare oneself to those who have more but to those who have less: “As a Catholic I have this feeling of belonging and being taken care of by my God. In my religion the rules are meant to help me be a productive and peaceful member of society. The teaching of forgiveness is paramount and therefore easy to follow”.


SPECIAL REPORT Parish priest Father Louresius Maryono Pr. “0ur parishioners are Balinese. They are no different from their fellow men across the isle; even mass is conducted in the Balinese language. And this is what makes our community so unique. Very small numbers of western tourists have visited us. Catholic groups from Java and Sumatra have been increasing in number. Tourism would bring financial and religious benefits to the parishioners by stimulating the growth of ‘informal economic sectors’.

The truth is not many tourists know about Palasari. We are hoping our Church leaders, as well as, government and even the media would consider putting Palasari on the tourist map by promoting it as a Catholic religious centre because it is rare on an island of a thousand temples. This is the ethos of Bali, of peaceful co-existence and mutual respect.

Amen

© Mark Ulyseas

So let us share it with the rest of the world.”

Grotto of Mother Mary inaugurated by Monsignor Leopoldo Girelli, Vatican ambassador to Indonesia on September 15, 2008.

© Mark Ulyseas

Note: Denpasar Diocese has over 20,000 Catholics (6,000 of whomare Balinese). Catholic communities in Bali can be found in Singaraja, Palasari, Negara and Gumbrih, Gianyar, Klungkung, Amalapura, Bangli, Badung, Tangeb, Tuka, Babakan, Kulibul (Tatatubakul), Denpasar, Tabanan. © www.liveencounters.net


Humanity vs. Chevron “Mr. John Watson CEO Chevron what would you do if this happened to your home... to your daughter... what would your government and people do to the company?” Mark Ulyseas Editor Live Encounters

At the time of going to press a U.S. District Court judge has allowed Chevron to take complaints against Ecuador to international arbitration. Though this doesn’t have anything to do with the merits of the environmental lawsuit against Chevron it is clear the company is attempting to avoid responsibility.

In the following pages you will read a devastating report by Daniel Herriges of Amazonwatch.org on the legal battle between the indigenous people of Ecuador’s Oriente and Chevron seeking compensation for the rape of their lands and the lasting effects of the lethal contamination of natural resources resulting in the rise of cancer, birth defects, miscarriages and more....

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Pamela Ramirez, born with a birth defect, in her village of San Carlos, Oriente region of Ecuador. Pic by Kayana Szymczak Š www.liveencounters.net


Humanity vs. Chevron

Exclusive report by Daniel Herriges of amazonwatch.org on the 17 year legal battle between indigenous people of Ecuador’s Amazon region and the oil giant Chevron. The Cofán people had never seen a helicopter.

This was the case in 1964, when helicopters belonging to the U.S.-based Texaco oil company appeared without warning in the Cofán’s remote rainforest territory in Ecuador’s Oriente, or Amazon region. Unbeknownst to the Cofán, Texaco had signed an oil production contract with an Ecuadorian government that had virtually no presence or influence in the Oriente. Texaco now hoped to strike black gold beneath land that had been occupied for centuries by indigenous people including the Cofán, Siona, Secoya, Kichwa and Huaorani. These people had maintained their traditional cultures and subsistence lifestyles well into the second half of the twentieth century, despite occasional encounters with missionaries and rubber tappers. Now, the arrival of Texaco set in motion a chain of events that would nearly obliterate those millennia-old ways of life in merely decades. So begins the strange story behind what, some 45 years later, has become the largest environmental lawsuit in history and a growing global movement for corporate accountability and environmental justice. Indigenous people who, upon Texaco’s arrival, had scarcely seen money, now find themselves at the center of a lawsuit which may demand as much as $27 billion – an unfathomable amount in Ecuador – in cleanup and recompense for the shocking devastation Texaco left in its wake. Texaco has since been absorbed by oil behemoth Chevron to become the U.S.’s 3rd largest corporation, which is deploying vast sums of money in legal and public relations expenses to fight the people it seemingly dismissed in the 1960s as mere jungle savages. When Texaco arrived, the Cofán’s only foreign allies were a handful of missionaries. Now, indigenous people of the Oriente wage a sophisticated battle for justice with the help of savvy American lawyers and an international network of activists and supporters. The eyes of the media, policy makers, and financial and energy industry analysts increasingly appear glued on the outcome of this case. All seem to recognize that it will be a game-changer for the way extractive industries operate worldwide – and the way marginalized people, in the age of the Internet and with the help of global advocacy networks, can fight back when their rights are abused.

What the company unleashed in 1964 was a shocking transformation of a pristine rainforest region and the lives of its people. Social bonds were frayed as oil workers committed rape and robbery and introduced alcohol abuse to native communities. Texaco also built the first roads into the region, facilitating a tidal wave of illegal settlement and land grabs. By the 1990s, indigenous people had lost the vast majority of their ancestral territory. But this harm still pales in comparison to the public health crisis unleashed by Texaco’s drilling practices.

As the sole operator for a consortium of companies including Gulf Oil and Ecuador’s state-owned oil company (now known as Petroecuador), Texaco disposed of its waste in ways that were blatantly illegal in U.S. oilproducing states at the time, in order to save an estimated $3 per barrel of oil produced. Texaco dumped an estimated 18 billion gallons of “produced water” – a toxic byproduct of drilling that filled with heavy metals © www.liveencounters.net


and hydrocarbons – straight into rivers and streams, contaminating the sole source of drinking and cooking water for most of the region’s people. Texaco also dumped crude oil in hundreds of unlined pits dug out of the forest floor. The pits exist to this day, overflowing in heavy rains and leaching into groundwater. By the 1980s, the region where Texaco drilled was so notorious as a disaster zone that a team of Brazilian petroleum engineers visited the region to learn exactly what not to do when drilling in a rainforest environment. And local communities were paying the price, in exploding rates of cancer, birth defects, and constant low-level illness such as stomach cramps and skin rashes. These health impacts were devastating among those with no choice but to drink contaminated water from the rivers that had sustained them for centuries. There are countless other instances in which indigenous people have been steamrolled by industrial “development.” But in this instance, the natives have courageously fought back. Indigenous tribes found common cause with migrant farmers in demanding cleanup of the appalling pollution that was devastating the health of their families and communities. By 1990, when Texaco left the country and turned over its operations to Petroecuador, a homegrown human rights movement had formed. Ecuadorian activists recruited a group of American lawyers to take on and bankroll their case against Texaco and in 1993, a class-action suit, Aguinda v. Texaco, was filed in New York. The Aguinda suit has become a 17-year legal odyssey with countless bizarre twists and turns. First, Texaco lobbied for ten years for the case to be heard in Ecuador, a request that was finally granted by the U.S. court under the condition (which was set in 1998 before the merger) that Texaco accept the Ecuadorian court’s eventual ruling. When the plaintiffs refiled the suit in Lago Agrio – the Ecuadorian oil boomtown named by Texaco after its birthplace of Sour Lake, Texas – the newly christened ChevronTexaco probably expected to squash it easily, viewing Ecuador as a more favorable venue for a powerful company with vast amounts of money and legal firepower on hand. Instead, Chevron’s legal team has suffered setback after setback. Peer-reviewed health studies demonstrated high rates of cancer and miscarriage in the region (which Chevron has attempted to counter by hiring its own consultant scientists to produce opposing reports). The company’s argument that Petroecuador, not Chevron, bears responsibility for the remaining environmental damage was undercut by dozens of court© www.liveencounters.net


H u m a n i t y vs. C h e v r o n

ordered inspections of oil production and waste sites, which demonstrated that even the waste pits Texaco claimed to have remediated in the mid-1990s – under a $40 million agreement with the government of Ecuador – were just as heavily contaminated as the pits its cleanup team never touched.

In 2008, a court-appointed independent expert assessed the evidence and recommended Chevron be held liable for up to $27 billion in cleanup costs, compensation for cancer deaths, and “unjust enrichment” penalties. Faced with the failure of its legal arguments and the likelihood of losing in court this year, Chevron has turned to a novel new strategy: political theater. The oil company increasingly appears to be moving its losing battle from the courtroom into the court of public opinion. Chevron spokespeople have been crying “Shakedown!”, accusing New York trial lawyers of conspiring with Ecuador’s left-wing government to bilk the company of billions of dollars. Its cadre of lobbyists in Washington, D.C. urge the U.S. to end trade preferences for Ecuador if the lawsuit is not dismissed. Chevron seizes every opportunity to delay a verdict and impugn the credibility of anyone associated with the Ecuadorian court. Any judgment against Chevron will have to be enforced in the United States, so the company’s best hope of avoiding enforcement is to cast doubt on the fairness of Ecuador’s judicial system. Thus, in September 2009, the company “discovered” a bribery scandal implicating Judge Juan Nuñez, who had been overseeing the case in Lago Agrio. As the supposed scandal unraveled over ensuing weeks, it became clear that not only was the evidence of Nuñez’s wrongdoing flimsy to nonexistent, the whole scheme was an entrapment effort likely intended to discredit the judge and force his removal from the case. Judge Nuñez has since been replaced, and the verdict postponed from Fall 2009 to Summer 2010 or later. In response to these tactics, activist organizations that have long supported the fight against Chevron have stepped up their efforts. Amazon Watch has waged its “Clean Up Ecuador Campaign” since 2002, engaging Chevron shareholders, policy makers and the public in efforts to pressure the company to clean up its toxic legacy in Ecuador. The organization maintains the web site chevrontoxico.com, which has become a clearinghouse for information about the case from the perspective of those supporting the affected communities in Ecuador. Mitch Anderson, Corporate Campaigns Manager for Amazon Watch, says, “Chevron must end its repeated attempts to undermine the rule of law in Ecuador. Indigenous Ecuadorians deserve their day in court, and Chevron’s own shareholders deserve to know that their company is one that respects the law and lives up to its own ‘green’ rhetoric.” In 2010, the veteran agitators at Rainforest Action Network (RAN) launched their own campaign with the slogan “We Can Change Chevron.” RAN is casting a wider net, arguing in campaign materials that Chevron should not only clean up in Ecuador, but should “use this tragedy to transform Chevron’s operations worldwide by committing wholeheartedly to a comprehensive, global policy to protect our climate, the environment, and human rights.” These groups have touched on a reality of doing business in the 21st century: corporations face increasing public pressure to operate in ways that respect the environment and human communities, and will be punished financially as consumers and investors who perceive certain companies as socially irresponsible opt to vote with their dollars. Activists hope that by bringing Chevron’s Ecuadorian legacy to a much broader level of public awareness, they will convince Chevron that the cost to its reputation from remaining © www.liveencounters.net


intransigent on the Ecuador issue will have financial ramifications that exceed the cost of settling the case and paying for a cleanup. To this end, Amazon Watch and RAN have teamed up with global online advocacy powerhouse Avaaz.org to circulate a petition to new Chevron CEO John Watson, urging him to clean up the pollution in Ecuador. By late February of 2010, nearly 350,000 people had signed the petition, with over 220,000 signatures gathered by the Avaaz action. Avaaz.org spokesperson Luis Morago says, “Avaaz members are helping send a powerful message to the new CEO of Chevron, reminding him of the impact of their behaviour in this case on the company’s brand and reputation.” He hopes that a high profile campaign will lead to “a shift in Chevron’s approach to the lawsuit – opening a more conciliatory attitude.” For now, Chevron remains unflinching. Company spokesperson Donald Campbell told a reporter last May, “We’re going to fight this until hell freezes over. And then we’ll fight it out on the ice.” But if Chevron is prepared to fight in the court of public opinion, so are the plaintiffs and their activist allies. And one thing is clear: never again will a company be able to do what Texaco did in Ecuador and expect to shove it under the rug. People like the indigenous of the Oriente have more power than ever to tell their stories to a large and sympathetic global audience, and to pursue justice through means that only a generation ago would have been unthinkable. Cofán indigenous leader Emergildo Criollo speaking outside a Chevron Shareholders’- meeting in San Ramon, CA. Pic by Amazon Watch

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T R I B A L I N D I A

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T R I B A L

I N D I A

Dying Traditions

In an India that is fast changing, the sacredness of spaces and people who preserve them is shrinking and getting increasingly faded. I have always made it a point to associate with shamans, gunins, baduas and traditional mystics from forgotten India because I believe that they maintain the invisible link with the precious ‘other world’ that quietly persists. Within that world there are powers that have survived time and change. Those who know how to dip into that world as into a pool of clear cool water have managed to refresh and rejuvenate themselves. I had the good fortune of knowing Bhoona Baba the great Bhilala shaman of Jhinjhini village in Alirajpur (in the State of Madhya Pradesh). When he died, I got to know his son Nathu Baba. A few months ago, when the monsoons began to wither, Nathu Baba passed into the other world, never to return. No one in his family continues his tradition.

Randhir Khare One blazing summer, many years ago, when Gujarat was being dragged through communal riots, I found myself just across the border in the tribal region of Alirajpur in the State of Madhya Pradesh. Based in the township, I’d often drive out to visit Bhil and Bhilala friends. On one particular journey, the driver of the jeep asked me whether I would permit his father travelling along with us as he wanted to visit a shrine in the jungle nearby the village I was visiting. Sure, I said, he can come along. ‘You should visit the shrine with us,’ he said, ‘it’s an ancient shrine.’ ‘Nathu Baba is expecting me to visit him,’ I said.

‘That’s okay sir,’ he replied, ‘we can take him along too. My father has done enough of good deeds for Nathu and his Bhilala community. Surely, he won’t refuse.’ ‘Your father’s a social worker?’

‘No, a religious worker. A reformer.’

Anyway, the father arrived and climbed into the front seat of the jeep. The enormous red slash painted on his forehead said he was a religious whitewasher.

When the vehicle surged forward, the man started talking. ‘The shrine is called ‘Babeshwar’. It’s a sacred place for us. It’s good that you’ve agreed to visit it. I go there quite often, whenever I get the opportunity. Ah, beta,’ he turned to his son. ‘Stop at Jhinjhini and pick up that adivasi fellow. Nathu, Pathu, whatever his name is…we’ll need him to show us the way.’ ‘His name is Nathu Baba,’ I interrupted him. ‘He’s the badua (shaman) of the Bhilalas.The religious head.’ Randhir Khare with Nathu Baba son of Bhoona Baba © www.liveencounters.net


DYING TRADITIONS

‘Yes, yes, I know, the magician,’ he cut through, ‘we’ve spent so much of time trying to civilise him and his people. But they are primitive wastrels. All they need is drink and women and song and dance. That’s all…’ ‘I’m going to be his guest for tonight,’ I said.

‘You’ll be lucky to get out of there alive in the morning,’ he muttered. ‘Have you seen the size of a Bhilala arrowhead? Three inches.’ The driver had become noticeably uneasy and started perspiring profusely. By the time we had reached Jhinjhini, he had to wash his face at the well and splash his head with a can of cool well water. I went into Nathu Baba’s home and briefed him on our plan.

‘Oh re, oh re,’ he said, smiling, ‘good, good, you are going to visit our Bhilala shrine, eh? Good good.’ ‘Babeshwar,’ I said.

‘Baba Ishwar Nath,’ he replied, ‘Baba Ishwar Nath.. Not Babeshwar.’ ‘It’s in the jungle nearby,’ I went on.

‘Yes, nearby. Its called the shrine of Baba Ishwar Nath.’

Confused, I walked alongside him and his wizened almost naked four and a half foot frame.

The whitewasher didn’t allow the man to sit with me. ‘Come along here,’ he barked, patting the space between his son and himself. The baba meekly complied.

For the rest of the journey through rugged broken terrain and fairly dense jungle, the whitewasher, waxed eloquent. ‘I hope you’ve told the sahib what we’ve been doing for your lot. We’ve done a lot. Held special melas at the shrine. Fed you all, distributed clothes – free, we even taught you about the evils of liquor and free sex.’ Then the whitewasher turned and looked at me over his shoulder. ‘These are an ungrateful lot. They are lucky we aren’t like the ones across the border in Gujarat. Here we do it with food and clothes and all…what do they have? They have nothing at all. And yet they don’t want to change for the better.’ While he rambled on, I watched the frail Nathu Baba sitting up there in the front seat, wedged between the whitewasher and his son. Unable to move. And yet the man firmly held his ground and his dignity. When we reached a cool glade, the jeep stopped.

Before us stood a hillock made up of massive boulders.

‘Here,’ said the whitewasher pointing to a pool of spring water at the base of the hillock, ‘here’s the shrine.’ Nathu Baba bounded up the side of the boulders to the top and called out, ‘this way, this way, here’s our shrine.’ I stood in the middle.

In that single moment I understood quite clearly what traditional and marginal people are facing all © www.liveencounters.net


TRIBAL INDIA

across the country. Not only are they being steam-rolled out of their habitations but they are also losing their places of worship and have to resist losing their identities. I climbed up the side of the boulders to where Nathu stood. Something passed between us there in the silence of the jungle.

We offered prayers and then he said, ‘see how clever they are, they have taken away our sacred spring. It has now become their sacred spring. They’ve given it another name, another meaning. They are doing this everywhere, usurping the springs because that’s the way they can reach people – through water. And you know this region, very little rain comes here.’

When we reached the jungle floor near the pool, the incantations were over and pieces of coconut were being distributed. Nathu washed his piece in the water once before eating it. Then he turned and smiled at me. There was a bit of consternation when I hauled Nathu into the seat next to me. The whitewasher found it so disturbing that he launched out… ‘times are changing sahib and we are now regaining our lost glory. Akkhand Bharat. One land.One people. One religion. No differences. Only harmony.’ I said nothing. Nathu Baba winked at me slyly.

When the jeep dropped us at Jhinjhini and drove off in a whirl of dust and the sun began vanishing in the haze of evening, I breathed in the hard, dry, invigorating air of Nathu’s Jhinjhini….

“Totalitarianism,” said Milan Kundera, in an interview with Philip Roth, “is not only hell, but also the dream of paradise – the age-old dream of a world where everybody would live in harmony, united by a single common will and faith, without secrets from one another.” He went on to explain that if totalitarianism did not manipulate and use such archetypes hidden in all of us, it would never be able to attract people like flies. Lest I be tempted to trudge on with my thoughts and take your time. I’ll leave you now, alone, by yourself © Text & Pics Randhir Khare

Randhir Khare is an award winning author of twenty one volumes of non-fiction, fiction, translation and poetry. He is the Executive Editor of Heritage India, the International Culture Journal and Visiting Professor of Literature at Poona College. Recently he was given The Residency Award by The Sahitya Akademi (India’s National Academy of Letters) for his contribution to Indian Literature and has been given the Human Rights Award for his efforts to preserve and celebrate marginal and minority cultures. © www.liveencounters.net


FAST TRACKING WITH CARMEN ROBERTS

It’s just me, and my small camera.

Carmen Roberts is an awarding winning producer/ journalist on fast:track, BBC World News’ flagship travel programme. She has written this column exclusively for the readers of Live Encounters. Shukreya Carmen! “What, just you? And that small camera? Where’s the production crew with stage lights and the make-up truck?” I’m sure these are just some of the thoughts that have been running through the minds of many an interviewee when I turn up on location for a shoot.

Presenter, reporter, producer, video journalist – I could safely say I come under all of the aforementioned job titles. Multi-skilling is my middle name. Indeed that’s the way the media industry is going these days. Gone are the days of just being a television reporter. Video journalist is possibly the most controversial of all job descriptions. The thought of pint-sized lass like me wielding a camera will raise the ire of many old-school cameramen and die-hard unionists. But modern technology has moved on in recent years and in this YouTube era, operating a broadcast quality camera has become a lot easier and more accessible. I have to say, learning to film was one of the smartest things I’ve done in my career so far.

In fact, it was this very skill that got me a foot in the door on the Fast Track travel programme all those years ago in 2002. Actually, it was all down to a little, white lie. I over-stated my filming abilities and promised to single-handedly produce a 3-minute TV report from Verona in Italy. In truth, I’d not picked up a camera since my days at university and I’d spent most of my career thus far working with experienced cameramen. But surely, it was like riding a bike? Or so I thought.

I arrived one sunny Saturday morning in Verona with a camera borrowed from the BBC’s features department, only to discover that a vital part of my kit was missing – the base plate. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this kind of equipment, this is the key part that connects the camera to the tripod. This was a true slap your own forehead moment. So, being a resourceful reporter, I proceeded to rest my camera on any number of inanimate objects – © www.liveencounters.net

© Carmen Roberts

park benches, fences and there were many low angle shots, filmed from ground level. But my footage consisted mainly of shaky, hand-held shots – which, needless to say, are every editor’s nightmare.

I really came unstuck when it was time to do an interview. It was filmed sitting at a table in a café near the grandiose Arena, the stage for the summer season of outdoor operas. Not only was the Mayor of Verona filmed from an unflattering angle, with my camera perched on the table, I also shot the interview in the wrong colour – and Signor Mayor looked a little bit like a blue-tinged smurf. These are classic amateur mistakes and I crawled back to London and confessed to the commissioning editor that I’d failed spectacularly.

Fortunately for the BBC, I was still a freelance journalist back then and my boss had the foresight to only promise payment on delivery of a finished product. But he saw through my game immediately and offered me a ‘real cameraman’ for my next report idea. Why didn’t you say so in the first place?! A few years later, when I was on the staff payroll one of the first things I requested was camera training. But it wasn’t until 2008 that I officially filmed my first 5-minute TV report. And believe me, it was a baptism by fire. A snake safari in Kenya was my first solo full-length project. Yes, we were tracking snakes – five of the


number 3: pressing record without first attaching and turning on the microphone. This resulted in a curious sequence captured on tape of me peering and reaching down my top.

My most recent solo filming adventure was on a 7-day mountain biking trip in Laos at the start of the year. Filming yourself on a bike is no mean feat. I had a very patient group of 16 well-travelled cyclists who were willing participants in my foray into adventure holiday filming. © Carmen Roberts

world’s most deadliest snakes to be exact: the Puff Adder, Python, Cobra, Boomslang and Mamba.

The group was lead by the legendary ‘snake man’ of Kenya otherwise known as Royjan Taylor. Together with five snake trackers, we set out combing the vast plains on the outskirts of East Tsavo National Park. Much like an African Steve Irwin, Royjan was a natural in front of the camera, literally leaping on top of a slow moving python and pushing the dripping fangs of puff adder right into the camera lens.

There’s something quite surreal about seeing life through the viewfinder of a camera. The reality is, you are concentrating so intently on focus, exposure and composition that you completely forget you are up close and personal with a deadly viper.

This was hard work, fanning out across red earth plains under a hot African sun lugging a camera and at times running to a location when a snake was found - only to arrive huffing and puffing, and then switch on the camera and start filming with supposedly a steady hand. After all this, I was expected to wipe the sweat from my brow, slap on a bit of make-up and stand in front of the camera and try and say something intelligent. This meant placing the camera in a static position on the tripod, pressing record and then running around in front to do what’s known in the industry as a ‘piece to camera’ or ‘stand-up’. Beginner mistake

Every morning, I’d set up the camera on the tripod, beg our van driver to watch over the camera after I’d pressed record and then fall into line as the group coasted past the lens on their bikes. I’d then have to double back and pack up the equipment, load it onto the truck and play a game of catch-up. This was good for the fitness levels, not so good for the stress levels. I must admit, my filming skills have improved over the years, but this is no substitute for a fully qualified cameraman. More often than not, the Fast Track program does provide me with a proper crew and I definitely think my reports are better for it.

But the fact that I have the capability to film has made me a more versatile journalist and afforded me some trips that might not otherwise have been possible due to budget and timing constraints. “Yes, it’s just me, and my small camera.” Text © Carmen Roberts

Carmen Roberts has been a journalist for Fast Track, BBC World’s flagship travel programme since 2003 and has reported from over 60 countries. After the Asian Tsunami on Boxing Day 2004, Carmen cut short her holiday in Langkawi, Malaysia to report from the devastated resort town of Phuket. Carmen’s most recent reports about liquor licensing and buying property in Bali was telecast on Fast Track. http://www.bbc.co.uk © www.liveencounters.net


Henry Miller in Bali - Mark Ulyseas The day commenced with a downpour that drenched his spirit and kept him closeted within himself as work meetings trailed to sundown and slipped into twilight at the bar. Devils crouching on the rocks in the water of life invaded his senses and occupied his nocturnal thoughts with carnal concoctions. Loud chatter, clatter of cutlery and the ubiquitous chiming of cell phones created a world of pathological passion that crept into his sinews, prompting him to ask a friend the question, “Do you have any company to spare tonight?”

After a few whispers into a hand phone, winks, nudges and a camaraderie that bespoke of a reality he had never encountered before, he suddenly found himself sitting in his car with a warm sensual woman clutching his body like a baby simian suckling one of the troop. The time they spent in the darkened car park was made up of silhouettes punctuated by unabashed emotional eruptions that loosened the tightly held strings of their lives. She searched him out by tracing her soft hands across the contours of his aging body. The tautness suddenly snapped when he left his imprint on her as they both convulsed into spasms of tingling intimacy. Then they rested in each other’s arms to the sound of their breathing…her breasts rising and falling like a gentle summer breeze. The symphony of sweating, heaving bodies subsided to the croaking sound of mating frogs.

© Mark Ulyseas © www.liveencounters.net

He wiped himself with his shirt while she struggled like a contortionist to put on her skimpy clothes in the narrow confines of the car.


F ICTION

Aroma of cheap perfume and perspiration He removed $25 from his pocket and placed it in permeated the air. her sweaty palms.

“I am looking for a boyfriend”, she said with an air She held it up to the neon light penetrating the car of contentment and hope. and smiled, “Yes, this is okay, thanks”. He quickly turned his face away to light a cigar, rolling down the window and blowing plumes of smoke into the night that was being washed by a light drizzle. He never answered her and instead started the car, leisurely driving out of the car park. “I want some water to drink. I’m thirsty,” she said.

He stopped at a Circle K and bought them water, chocolate ice cream and chips, as if to shrug off the sudden guilt that had descended on his shoulders.

The midnight traffic jam in Kuta, the throbbing music emanating from the restaurants and the effervescent crawlers that thronged the pavements made up the landscape of a Henry Millerish montage; one that would remain briefly in a reality of lascivious surrealism spiced with Sambal (a potent local chili sauce). A short time later they reached her place that was located on a narrow side street. When the car came to a halt she bent over and kissed him on the lips, running her fingers through his hair and whispering, “Call me when you need someone to love, I’ll be there but only nights”.

She licked the cold bar and munched on its crispy chocolate coating. Then the door slammed shut and the darkness swallowed up another desperate soul leaving him “uuummmm…this is nice…sweet but cold. Do you to drive home alone to the grating whine of Dylan’s always order out? I mean like me? You know I’m ‘’Desolation Row”. alone. My parents passed away many years ago. My only sibling is my brother who doesn’t bother © Text & Pic Mark Ulyseas whether I am alive or dead”. “We all have our lives to live. We cannot run from ourselves”, he said softly at the same time reaching out with one hand to stroke her like a pet that had just done a trick.

“Yes I know. I work in a Spa. Sometimes I have to do a customer but I don’t mind ‘cause I get enough money to pay rent, buy clothes and enjoy. I don’t know how much to charge you. Actually I accompanied my friend tonight hoping to find a boyfriend. Oh well, maybe another time. Do you have family here? Okay, so how much will you give me?” she asked hesitantly. © www.liveencounters.net


HIP HOP NOMAD

Manila

Exclusively for readers of Live Encounters an excerpt from Morganics upcoming book, Memoirs of a Hip Hop Nomad. In this chapter he shares with us details of a brief ‘stop over’ in Manila! I wake up in Docker River (Kaltakatjarra), Australia’s most isolated Aboriginal community at the south west of the Northern Territory, near the South Australian and West Australian borders. There are 800 people in the community and at 5am as the sunrises over this huge Namatjira landscape, no one is stirring.

© Mark Ulyseas

It’s the end of three weeks of workshops and we pile into the troopy - the 4WD. We hit the red dirt road and start bumping our way north, it’s about four hours drive to Yularra, the airport. About fifteen minutes into our journey we spot a couple of camels on the road up ahead loping along. They turn their goofy heads and look at us as if to say, “Oh shit! A car!” and keep running along the road. We laugh. They keep running along the road.

Stallholders wave bunches of bananas, young men munch hamburgers and statues of the Virgin Mary flicker in the darkness and smells from the open sewer running beside reminds me of Mexico, that same mix of Catholicism and Spanish culture in a third world context.

© www.liveencounters.net

We are doing about eight kilometres an hour now and it’s a fair drive so we beep our horn and try to wave them off the road. Not known for their incredible brain capacity - water is another thing they just keep running along the road, trying to get away from us. So for the next ten minutes we trundle along behind them laughing as they try to figure out what is going on until one of them has a brain surge and steps off the road. We yell in triumph, the other camel takes the cue and they run off into the vast horizon looking back at us as if to say, “What is their problem?” I get the four hour plane to Sydney, get home, shower, wash the desert dirt off me, have a feed and head to my night club gig at the bottom of a huge shopping mall in inner city Glebe. My job is to MC, i.e. crowd hype, at a Hip Hop R’n’B club. I knew it was going to be pretty commercial, I tell myself it’s good to reach out to a different audience, keep an open mind and help pay for my upcoming trip while you’re at it. Strange how these things work, the poster for the event is of an oiled up, muscular guy and a sexy, scantily clad


woman, both African American. The poster says “Hip Hop and R’n’B” and somehow that translates into a double levelled club of 1,000 people with the English bar men, the Lebanese security guys and me being the only ones who aren’t Indonesian, Vietnamese or Filipino. The crowd is cool though, they don’t really want to hear me rap obviously cause I don’t fit the stereotype, and I’m not famous, so I hype the crowd, occasionally.

“We can shoot a cow with a machine gun,” he offered with a deadpan face.

The DJ’s rotate, I am on for five hours, and each DJ seems to play the same set of songs in a different, and sometimes even in the same, order. It gets a little boring, my jetlag is starting to kick in and when I hear Ice Cube’s “Get Your Back Into It” for the fifth time at 4am, I tell the promoter that I think I should let the DJ take over now, collect my cash and go home. No sleep, it’s a 6 a.m. check in, I grab my stuff and head to the airport for my flight to San Francisco. As soon as the plane takes off, I start snoring.

At Manila airport we are told to wait...and wait...and wait. They tell us that the plane has a “mechanical fault” and that they wont know if it can continue onto San Fran for another three hours. So I grab my backpack and take off to check out Manila on foot, © Mark Ulyseas in three hours. It’s about 7 p.m. and I walk out of with a guitar stop me and ask where I am from. the airport and into your normal South East Asian big city mix of heat, humidity, pollution, noise and “Australia, Sydney” colour. “And what are you doing here?” Sweating with my backpack on I just walk straight ahead and see what I can find. Being right beside the “Our plane is broken down, so I have to wait.” I am airport I quickly figure out that this isn’t Bel Air. As feeling a little footloose so I ask if they can play a the streets start to get smaller and darker I realise I song. am walking through slums. I see six people on three “Maybe I can beatbox?” I suggest bunk beds, cardboard, wood and sheets. I am obviously not a local and people are really friendly if a little surprised. Kids run along the street waving at me, old ladies smile. A group of young guys

“Beatbox?” lost in translation they smile “OK” and they laugh amongst themselves and as the guitarist strikes up a riff, I .....beatbox. They jump around © www.liveencounters.net


HIP HOP NOMAD

dancing as their lead singer starts singing what sounds like a Phillo pop song. They all join in and at the breakdown I bust a freestyle rapping about the clothes they are wearing, the bananas being sold right beside us, responding to the environment. It transcends translation, even if their English is limited and my Tagalog is non-existent, they understand what I am doing and start holding out different objects, keys, a wallet, a mobile phone that I can rap about. Then their chorus kicks back in and they all sing along, I add some vocal scratches and the jam is finished. We shake hands, pat each other on the back, the old lady at the stall beside us gives me a banana, and we bid each other goodbye as I walk deeper into the slums, smiling. One thing I have definitely found with my travels is that whatever energy you put out, locals pick up on it really quick. Put out fear and people will feel uncomfortable around you, the energy will get antagonistic.

A gay friend of mine told me that when he was walking home one night in Sydney he noticed a bunch of young guys had started walking behind him. He quickly adjusted his walking style so that he looked as if he was a bit drunk, and voila! The young guys lost interest and walked away.

crews that he knew the names of. I bought a couple out of curiosity, he got me to beatbox for him and I carried on.

One slightly dodgy looking dude followed me for a few blocks, asking all the normal questions until he finally came to the point. “Do you want to fire a gun?” “What?”

“Do you want to fire a gun? We can go somewhere you can fire a handgun?” Being in a particularly good mood, firing a gun was the last thing on my mind at the time, and a little taken aback I said… “Thanks for the offer, but I’m cool thanks”

“We can shoot a cow with a machine gun,” he offered with a deadpan face. “Um...” slightly grimacing at the visual “you know what I’m actually a vegetarian, so I think I’ll have to take a rain check on that one. Thanks for the offer though”.

Taking a moment to collect my thoughts, still slightly reeling at the crazy proposal and scared to think of what else he might have offered if I had of hung Tonight in the slums of Manila I was on a bit of a around any longer, I focussed on my immediate high, soaking up a bonus voyage into a dizzying surrounds. array of alleys and smells, sights and sounds and I’m pretty sure the vibe I was putting out was so good Then I spotted a barber, and I thought to myself, a that it didn’t matter that this was definitely not on haircut in Manila, perfect, and excused myself away from the local gun club street rep and stepped the tourist map. through the door, as he walked off disappointed. I came across a CD stall in an alley and got into a half hour discussion with the owner about Hip Hop When I travel one of the coolest things is getting my in the Philippines. We compared stories I had been haircut in different places. Women get manicures and told by my Philo-American friend Roland of the first pedicures and real haircuts, but men, and especially wave of breaking turning Manila into a thriving Hip Hop men, we go to the barber. mass of sensationally talented Bboy crews back in the early 80’s. The CD seller showed me some local There weren’t many barbers out in Docker River and stuff that looked pretty commercial, but compared I may as well hit San Fran looking fresh so it was a to Australia at least there were some local Hip Hop serendipitous moment. The barber looked at me a

© www.liveencounters.net


bit as if he had seen a ghost but covered it well and asked me to wait while he finished the guy he was working on, who was also staring at me, but broke into a big smile. I smiled back, picked up a girly mag and sat down. Across the lane from the barber was a little church and it was in full effect. About thirty people in the congregation singing the praises of the lord in a mix of Tagalog and biblical English while the house band thrashed away on a cheap drum set and a Casio keyboard. Now, to my surprise and contrary to all my previous experiences, I couldn’t help but smile a little when, listening to them, I realised that not all Filipinos can sing after all.

The barber ushered his last client out and with a pronounced casualness asked me to sit. He was a professional, took his time, didn’t chat and proceeded to give me a very smooth “short back and sides”. With people walking by giving me a double take and little kids faces popping out from the back of the shop, smiling, toothlessly at me, I knew I would soon be on the plane to the home of the best Hip Hop DJ’s in the world, the Filipino massive known as the Invisible Scratch Pickles. Qbert, Appolo, Shortkut, guys like Vin Roc all hailed from the Philippines but now called San Francisco home and as long as my plane didn’t break down again, I’d be there in the next 12 hrs.

Morganics is an award winning Hip Hop Artist, spoken word performer and director as well as a passionate community worker. He has performed from New York to the UK, the Sydney Opera House to Prague. His extensive work with indigenous communities throughout Australia includes The Wilcannia Mob’s “Down River” which he remixed for MIA’s latest. He produced an album for ex street kids Wayahudi Family in Tanzania and has recently released his CD/DVD “Hip Hop is My Passport”. Morganics is currently working on his forthcoming book “Memoirs of a Hip Hop Nomad” and Australia’s first Hip Hop musical feature film “Survival Tactics”. www.morganics.info

© Mark Ulyseas

And just in case my plane didn’t get fixed I could always stay in Manila and shoot a cow with a machine gun.

© www.liveencounters.net


www.terry-mcdonagh.com

The Leveller

What’s the point in poetry and death if your team’s all sloppy and out of breath. Football’s the leveller.

What’s the point in sexy women or toast if the goalie lets a soft one in by the post. Football’s the leveller.

What’s the point in orgies on ice if the star admits to being loving and nice. Football’s the leveller.

What’s the point in that god of mine if United gets a goal in injury time. Football’s the leveller.

What’s the point in laughter and derision if your team’s got a foot in the second division. Football’s the leveller.

What’s the point in Plato’s common clay if the pitch is in bad shape on Saturday.

Football’s the leveller. What’s the point in reincarnation and Zeus if our lads down there are getting dog’s abuse. Football’s the leveller. © www.liveencounters.net

What’s the point in being run off your feet if as usual the game ends up in defeat. Football’s the leveller.

What’s the point in life, fun or the game if when you face your mates the result is the same. Football’s the leveller.

What’s the point in dying before the game’s won if the gravedigger’s not there to get his job done. The shovel’s the great leveller in the end


TERRY MCDONAGH

Hamburg V Stuttgart 0:1

Bjorn stood with his back to the Polizeiwache on the corner of Davidstrasse and even if it was after midnight, he didn’t feel he had anything to fear. Two police officers charged past him, jumped into a car and ripped along the Reeperbahn in the direction of Altona. He stood transfixed, fascinated by the blazing light and screaming siren as the car disappeared into the distance and someone’s tragedy, perhaps.

albeit from the outside. After all, he’d only be having two half days and one night in the city.

A bunch of exuberant, English-speaking guys pushed up behind him, taking him with them in their stride, past the barrier and into the surreal world of Herbert Strasse. Women weren’t welcome. His Catholic background hadn’t prepared him for such a visit. Jusus Maria. He checked his wallet. It They had won the game, beaten HSV, one nil, and was safe in his trousers pocket. A man could lose he’d come all the way from Stuttgart in a threesome a fortune in this place, he concluded as he stared of supporter-friends from school. He’d loved the at scantily clad, angelic-looking women sitting in stadium and the atmosphere – he even joined in the windows. There was a whole row of these colourful singing, which was lots more than he’d usually do shrines to choose from. He ventured along the short but, above everything else, he’d been excited about street to the end and then did the journey back the long train-trip to Hamburg with his friends, in again. the weeks leading up to the game. Some chairs were vacated. One of the girls left His leggy, distant relative, Charlotte, had a bed for her erotic perch as a man indicated his interest in him in Eimsbüttel, so his mother didn’t mind him a greater degree of intimacy. Bjorn felt his wallet. staying over till Sunday. She liked Charlotte and if he It was safe. His mother talked about the power were honest, so did he. She wasn’t that much older of prayer. He felt an ejaculation coming on but he and hardly a cousin at all, he was quick to remind nipped it in the bud. Prayer would be of no help at himself. The friends had gone home after the game a time like this. and he’d wandered about the city, drunk few beers and felt the world at his feet for the first time in his It was just past 1am. He’d been walking up and life. Cousin C – as he liked to call her – was going to a down this cosy little street for forty-five minutes. It party and he had the city to himself. Die Reeperbahn had seemed like no time at all. His mobile rang. It was a must. He had her mobile number and she had was Charlotte to say she’d be going home in about his. Bingo. an hour. She hoped he didn’t mind that she’d only one bed and her place was tiny. He was sure he’d It was April 2008, in Hamburg. Bjorn was on the sinful heard her giggle as she gave him directions. mile, at the age of eighteen with money in his pocket and a can of Becks in his hand. Die Grosse Freiheit, There was a takeaway on the corner of David Eros Center, Herbert Strasse, striptease bars by the Strasse. He was suddenly dying for a bag of chips. score: girls, girls, girls. An inner yahoo released itself Stuttgart had been the better team on the day he in a gush of pure breath. He would tell his mother of decided as the SBahn pulled in along the platform. the great work The Salvation Army were doing and These chips were among the best he’d ever eaten how, in their exotic uniforms, they went from bar to and he was only half-way down the bag. He let his bar collecting for the poor and destitute. ears back and sighed. I saw them with my own two eyes. I did, Mama. Then there was Die Michaelis Kirke, he told himself as he peeped around the barrier that protected Herbert Strasse from public view. His mother had always intended to visit Hamburg, so he’d have to tell her about churches and important buildings he’d seen –

Terry McDonagh, www.terry-mcdonagh.com, poet and dramatist, has published four collections of poetry; a play; a book of letters and a novel and poetry for children. His work has been translated into Indonesian and German, funded by Ireland Literature Exchange. With piper Diarmaid Moynihan, he completes poet/ piper duo, Raithneach. Twelve of his poems have been put to music by German composer, Eberhard Reichel. His latest collection, Cill Aodain & Nowhere Else, www.killedan-and-nowhere-else.com, illustrated by artist Sally McKenna, was published in 2008. © www.liveencounters.net


“I want to learn. I want to do further studies in a foreign university because I will learn much more and when I return I can get a better job, maybe in a government school, as the pay is very good. I could also be a professional translator – English/Indonesian/ English for the tourism business. Without better education, I will remain a nobody struggling to eat everyday.”

Putu 23 years

English teacher earning US$50 per month + private tuitions for 4 students once a week for a monthly fee of US$ 12.00.

© Mark Ulyseas © www.liveencounters.net

Educational qualifications: SMP (Sekolah Menengah Pratama – Junior High School – Class 7 to 9 Balinese taught only till Class 9. SMA (Sekolah Menengah Atas) Senior High School – Class 10 to 12 SPD Maha Saraswati University, Denpasar, Bali. 3 yrs 6 mths. Strata 1. Studied English. No books only lectures. However, one could photocopy books, as the books are expensive. The university has a library.


A schoolteacher somewhere in Bali speaks to Mark Ulyseas

This was the financial situation when I was schooling. Now it is much harder as basic living costs have risen, for example the price of food. My three siblings are school going. A. Tuition fees per month US$3.50 pm x 12 months Two sets of books US$ 20.00 per annum Uniforms 3 different colours– 3 x US$ 3.50 Private Tuition per month US$ 5.00 x 12 months Sundry expenses e.g. school sports day etc. US$ 25.00 Total Average Cost per child per year

= US$42.00 = US$20.00 = US$10.50 = US$60.00 = US$25.00 = US$157.50

B. Total per year for 1 brother/2 sisters/self 4 x 157.50 this does not include transport, food at school, medical, misc.

C. Both parents are teachers each earning approx. US$200 per month 2 x US$200 x 12 months D. Deduct Education for children (C) US$2400 (B) $ 630.00 Balance in hand for yearly household expenses – food, transport, Medical, ceremonies, clothes for 6 members of the family

= US$ 630.00

This averages US$25/per member/per month/and per day

= US$ 2400.00 = US$1770.00

=US$ 00.83 Feb.2010

The monthly deficit works usually out to around $150/- and sometimes more when ceremonies/ festivals/accidents/illnesses occur.

I don’t want to get married now, maybe in another five years. I will continue to contribute to family expenses as my parents have educated me. They believe that without education one cannot go forward in life. If you want to help this schoolteacher travel abroad for further studies please contact liveencounters@gmail.com

01. School children must buy their textbooks from their teacher. 02. There is no standardisation of textbooks.

03. In government schools tuition fees are waived for all students till Class 6. But the overheads like uniform books etc. have to be paid for.

04. Many children drop out after Class 9 (on completing SMP) because their families cannot afford to pay the tuition fees etc. for Classes 10 onwards (SMA). One can see them working in warungs and other businesses at the bottom rung of the workforce.

05. Unsubstantiated reports reveal that Bali has a shortfall of 9,000 teachers for the Balinese language and Hindu © Mark Ulyseas religion.

© www.liveencounters.net


Language matters …

It is the soul of a culture, says Audrey Lamou as she explores the linguistic situation in Indonesia. For more than ten years, February 21st has been declared “International Mother Language Day” by UNESCO. What is actually the need for such a day and what can we expect from it? Defining “Mother Language” itself is not easy. It can refer equally to the language that a person has learnt first, that he identifies with or is identified as a native speaker of by others, that he knows best or finally that he uses most.

Many questions come to mind when we think about the situation in Indonesia, which is said to have one of the richest linguistic biodiversity in the world. What are the mother tongues of Indonesians? If “bahasa Indonesia” is both national and official language of Indonesian citizens, is it spoken in the immediate environment of its population and does it embrace all the heritage of the ethno linguistic groups? To what extent are these languages endangered or not? What responses can be considered? An overview of languages of Indonesia

In Indonesia, the linguistic situation seems very complex at first sight. Some authors have counted from 300 up to 742 local languages, whereas Denys Lombard, for instance, states that there are 20 main languages, for which there are of course numerous variants. What is undeniable is that Indonesia is linguistically the most diverse country in all of Asia. The official language, Indonesian, is the medium of instruction at all levels of education, yet only about ten percent of the population speak Indonesian as their mother tongue. The constitution and an education act support the use of students’ mother tongues as mediums of instruction in the early grades. In practice, however, local languages are rarely used in formal government schools apart from being taught as subjects in some areas. “Local languages are more widely used in non-formal education, particularly in adult literacy.” Contrary to what is often said though, “Indonesian is not an “artificial language”, “composed by heterogeneous elements” or “imposed from above” by the authorities of a State preoccupied by worries of unification.” Denys Lombard explains © www.liveencounters.net

© Mark Ulyseas

that it was chosen in 1928 by the young Dutch Indies nationalists, who decided to fix on a unique language, which would serve as an official language for future “Indonesia”. The vast majority of them opted for Malay, and not Javanese, even if this regional language was then spoken by two fifths of the population. Some have argued that Javanese language was sacrificed in Independent Indonesia, as illustrated by the poem Panglotjitaning basa jawi (1952), first published the monthly magazine of Balai Bahasa (the House of Language, 1948-1952), Medan Bahasa, and commented by Jérôme Samuel in Archipel. The name of “bahasa Indonesia” was given to the language in 1928, and from 1972, Malaysian and Indonesian spellings were harmonized to facilitate book exchanges and cultural connections.


LANGUAGE MATTERS

So “bahasa Indonesia” is actually the most recent state of a much older language that has proliferated with an extreme vitality, enriching itself with new turns of phrase and numerous neologisms. Aside from the origin and the evolution of the language, we can of course salute this pillar of the “Pancasila” (“One Nation, One Language”), for it has unified writings and works of art, of authors and artists from different backgrounds of Indonesia, as underline by Goenawan Mohammad, for instance, when he declared “Dari deret nama itu tampak, mereka datang dari latar belakang yang beraneka ragam, tapi berada dalam satu tradisi–tradisi teater modern Indonesia. Bahasa Indonesia memungkinkan itu.” (“These names come from this line, they come from diverse backgrounds, but they are in one tradition of modern Indonesian theatre. Indonesian language made this possible”). The main vocabulary characteristic of Indonesian is an extreme abundance of borrowed terms; we can easily distinguish three different levels corresponding to three major periods: the Sanskrit level (corresponding to the “Indianised period”), the Arab and Persian level (corresponding to the Islamization period) and the European, Portuguese and English level (corresponding to the colonization period). But what is interesting is that pronunciation for the last two, Arab and English words, is often faithful to its original accent. A book by Alif Danya Munsyi, alias Remy Silado, states that “9 out of 10 Indonesian words are from abroad.” An example is given from an advertisement published in the newspaper, Kompas :

“Gadis 33 (Minangkabau language: tuan gadis, appellation for a girl, descendant of a king), Flores (Portuguese : floresce), Katolik (Greek: katolikos), sarjana (Javanese: sarjana), karyawati (Sanskrit: karyya), humoris (Latin : humor + Dutch: isch), sabar (Arab: shabran), setia (Sanskrit: satya), jujur (Javanese: jujur), anti merokok (Latin: anti, Dutch: roken), anti foya-foya (Manado: foya, meaning someone who likes partying), aktif (Dutch: actief) di gereja (Portuguese: igreja). Mengidamkan (Kawi language: idam, meaning desire) jejaka (Sundanese language: jajaka), maks 46 (Latin: maksimum), min 38 (Latin: minimum), penghasilan (Arab: hatsil) lumayan (Javanese: lumayan), kebapakan (Tionghoa - Chinese: ba-pa, meaning father), romantis (Dutch: romantisch), taat (Arab: thawa’iyat), punya (Sanskrit: mpu + nya) kharisma (Greek: kharisma).”

Spread by radio and written press, “bahasa Indonesia” has now reached everybody, down to the most isolated places, and only a small number of people do not understand at least a few words of it. On the other hand, as it is the only language for secondary and higher education, the youth tend to adopt it exclusively, to the detriment of their “regional languages” (“bahasa daérah”). And, up until now, the majority of Indonesian speakers, whose mother tongue is not “bahasa Indonesia”, agree that this language still lacks accuracy and preciseness. For instance, the Balinese word “nengel” (meaning that an object that is on the verge of falling down, from the corner of a table for instance) does not have an exact equivalent in Indonesian. Names of instruments, like the Balinese word “cobek ulekan”, also lose accuracy when translated into Indonesian. What threats to linguistic diversity?

“The greatest linguistic diversity is found in some of the ecosystems richest in biodiversity inhabited by indigenous peoples, who represent around 4% of the world’s population, but speak at least 60% of its 6,000 or more languages.” © www.liveencounters.net


It is now widely recognized that a crisis is confronting many of the world’s languages, the vast majority of which are indigenous peoples’ languages. What is less known is that this phenomenon might actually be worse than the extinction of living species. UNESCO established that India, the United States, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico, countries that have great linguistic diversity, are also those, which have the greatest number of endangered languages. However, the situation is not universally alarming. Thus, “Papua New Guinea, the country which has the greatest linguistic diversity on the planet (more than 800 languages are believed to be spoken there), also has relatively few endangered languages (88).”

© Claude Theret

harmonious relationship between the global and the local context, here between Indonesia and Asia, and Indonesia and the rest of the world. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, declared on the occasion of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, August, 9th 2008, that “the loss of these languages would not only weaken the world’s cultural diversity, but also our collective knowledge as a human race.” This day was organized, as explained by Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO on this occasion, to make decisions in order to “achieve the six goals of education for all (EFA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on which the United Nations agreed in 2000 (…), to ensure that the importance of linguistic diversity and multilingualism in educational, administrative and legal systems, cultural expressions and the media, Some argue that “tribalism is seen as a threat cyberspace and trade, is recognized at the national, to the development of the nation, and it would regional and international levels.” not be acting responsibly to do anything which might seem, at least superficially, to aid in its To take the example of cyberspace, let us examine preservation.” Indonesian constitution officially Indonesian languages diversity on the web. allows the use of local languages in early grades, Measuring the languages in the overall number of in cases where they are necessary for the teaching pages on the Web increasingly presents challenges of certain knowledge and particular know-how. In for the reason that just because a page is on the reality, bahasa Indonesia rules in all classrooms, and Web does not mean it is used, or even “visited”. foreign languages also start to be heard everywhere, We should rather look at the way Internet is used even when teachers do not completely master the and by whom. Another indicator is the number of syntax of these languages, like English or Mandarin. pages per population ratio, to give an indication of the relative intensity of web authorship. A report Languages are not only essential to the identity of by the Internet Governance Forum states that “the groups and individuals but also to their peaceful rich diversity of written pages is found in the coexistence, especially in a context where several country with the richest diversity of languages ethnics and cultures live side by side like in in [Asia], Indonesia. And it is interesting to note Indonesia. They constitute a strategic factor of that there is significantly larger number of pages progress towards sustainable development and a in Javanese (1.267.981 pages for 75.000.000 Languages carry much more than just words. A whole set of knowledge, a repertoire of traditions, cultural codes, ways of thinking and of seeing the world have been shaped into idioms for generations and centuries, and will never be fully rendered in a foreign language, or even a national language. It is an obvious yet not generally recognized truism that learning in a language that is not one’s own provides a double set of challenges: not only of learning a new language but also of learning new knowledge contained in that language. So, even if we can understand the argument that speaking a language such as English, French or Spanish can open up new worlds and is often a ticket to modernity, it is not a sufficient reason for discarding traditional habits and despising local languages in the education system.

© www.liveencounters.net


LANGUAGE MATTERS speakers @ ratio: 1.92) compared to Indonesia (866.238 pages for 140.000.000 speakers @ ratio: 1.31).” But we should bear in mind that the US, which does not equal any Asian country as far as linguistic diversity is concerned, still controls much of the machinery behind the World Wide Web. So the relationship between languages on the Internet and diversity of languages within a country indicates that even with a globalized network, nation states have a role to play in encouraging language diversity in cyberspace.

States, especially in a thriving globalized context. If conditions are not favourable, communities and languages die along with their speakers. So this issue not only concerns local and national cultures, but also cultural goods in an international and increasingly globalized context. The border between a “natural” evolution and a political will is very thin, which is why we need to keep our eyes open.

On the other hand, we can also argue that a language being a living entity, its evolution is natural and cannot be stopped. In Jakarta and in the big cities in Indonesia, it is now normal to hear English words What can be done? slip into the conversation, words like “sorry”, Of course, cyberspace is not the only place where “jealous” and sometimes-entire sentences. This languages are at risk. Data are worrying: Lucía tendency is also spreading to more remote Iglesias Kuntz states that “out of the approximately areas, where the vocabulary for all the new 6,000 existing languages in the world, more consumption goods and technologies comes than 200 have become extinct, 538 are critically abroad. The spelling and pronunciation of these endangered, 502 severely endangered, 632 foreign words are also now “Indonesianized” definitely endangered and 607 unsafe.” So, what - “komputer”, “knalpot”, or “telpon” are a few responses can be considered to threats to linguistic examples. diversity? The first possible response is doing nothing. With the death of Marie Smith Jones, the Eyak language of Alaska (United States) died out in 2008 and Ubykh (Turkey) vanished in 1992 with the demise of Tevfik Esenç. These 200 languages have become extinct in the last three generations. This figure is dramatic, but some scientists believe that this is a natural process and that we should not interfere. A second reaction consists in documenting endangered languages: the interactive digital version of this Atlas provides updated data about approximately 2,500 endangered languages around the world and can be continually supplemented, corrected and updated. The third reaction is to engage in revitalization activities, but this is another issue, and involves different actors. “The study of languages is a scientific enterprise; the effort to preserve them is not. It is a political question.” Books and recordings can preserve languages, but only people and communities can keep them alive. “It is a good thing to record structural features of threatened small languages”, but this action as well as any other, already has political overtones. A language is a living entity and needs to be kept alive by a community of speakers, who will transmit their heritage to future generations through that means. Communities of people can only exist in viable environments, favoured by a support from

© Claude Theret

Audrey Lamou was born in the South of France in 1982. She studied English Literature and Civilization in Bordeaux and in Trinity College, Dublin, where she stayed for 2 years teaching French in the Alliance Française Dublin and contributing as an editor in the magazine Authentik. She also graduated in Pedagogy for French as a Foreign Language, and she then joined the French Cultural Centre in Jakarta as an International Volunteer. After two years there, she settled for Bali, where she has now been director of the Alliance Française in Denpasar for almost three years. © www.liveencounters.net


Indian Archaeology – a state in ruins? Danika Parikh

Barsi Gate, Hansi, Haryana - an Early Medieval monument that is still part of life as tractors and cars drive through it every day.

For archaeologists, unstable employment and poor remuneration are almost standard. We usually discuss this with good humour. We joke that archaeology is a career in ruins because normally no one ever becomes an archaeologist to make money. Archaeology has the distinction of being one of those ‘industries’ that people rarely enter by accident; the peculiar combination of backbreaking manual labour and painstakingly detailed research requires a passion for one’s work. Sadly, the extension of the old joke is the belief among many Indians today that our material heritage also lies in ruins, that archaeology, as an industry, is in a state of decay and disrepair. On a trip around India, nearly every tourist visits the famous archaeological sites. Monuments such as the Taj Mahal and the royal palaces of Rajasthan are so obvious as symbols of the country that it is almost unnecessary for me to point this out here. However, the keen-eyed tourist who ventures off the beaten track will notice that the architectural heritage of India is omnipresent, rather than confined to lone monuments dotting the capital or other big cities. © www.liveencounters.net


Three generations of women in front of the Medieval Islamic mausoleum that is their home.

Š www.liveencounters.net


An Indus Civilisation bead made of carnelian. Bead-makers still use the same techniques that were used four millennia ago.

I am a native of New Delhi, and I grew up aware that it was a city of considerable antiquity, its history out in the open for all to see. This openness is present across the country, where heritage is rich and varied. Medieval monuments are still occupied; ancient Indus Civilisation sites are found under modern villages; the towns of Emperor Asoka’s time have had people living in them for two thousand years, and many craft traditions of today use the same techniques that were practiced millennia ago.

after years of undignified crumbling, they are torn down with little feeling and even less respect. The relentless pursuit of modernization means that these days ‘ancient’ is a dirty word.

Archaeology as an industry is in many ways neglected in India. Certainly, old buildings still have multiple generations of families living in them; they are covered in graffiti and urinated on; and eventually,

Groups from foreign universities including Cambridge and Kyoto team up with Indian institutes for excavations and research projects (private excavations have been illegal since 1886). Even

That’s not to say that people don’t notice. Newspapers have run features over the last few years, commenting on the degradation of the city’s architectural heritage. This periodic outrage, presumably forgotten soon after, is what I want to talk about, rather than the archaeological destruction that inspires it.

Everywhere in India, history can be touched, tasted It is common knowledge that government bodies are and breathed. under-funded and that monuments and sites receive There are two major downsides to this ubiquity of little to no attention. ancient material heritage. The first is that the sheer volume of sites, buildings and artefacts means that The main government body that coordinates the archaeological resources, both financial and archaeological activity across the country is the manual, are stretched very thin. The second is that Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), although there it is human nature to find everything normal with are regional branches, or ‘circles’ as they’re referred time; for Indians who grow up with archaeology to, as well as state departments of archaeology. There everywhere, it is no longer special. Tragically, the are also several universities that have departments thing about Indian heritage that amazes everyone of Ancient History and Archaeology. Among them who visits the country is the very thing that causes are Deccan College, Benares Hindu University, and MS University of Baroda. us to find it unremarkable.

© www.liveencounters.net


ARCHAEOLOGY

though there are many archaeologists working in India much has been left undone. This has resulted in citizens taking a cynical view of the government’s role. But the ground reality is that India is a subcontinent and vast resources are needed to make a positive impact in the drive for preservation of its heritage. The ASI is faced with the impossible task with limited resources at hand. Perhaps the answer is for everyone to try to be a part of the solution.

03. Be vigilant. If you see someone scrawling their initials on a monument, stop them. If there is a monument in disrepair in the area where you live, get in touch with an organisation that can help protect and restore it. 04. Don’t buy illegal antiquities as they are stolen from sites and museums. Heritage belongs everyone, which means we all have a responsibility to protect it.

If you’re interested in contributing towards heritage In the 1980s, an organisation called INTACH (Indian preservation in India, the NGOs mentioned in the National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) article can be contacted at the following websites. published a clarion call in national newspapers: There are opportunities to volunteer, donate money ‘Wanted: A Person Who Cares’. They asked that or books, and sponsor projects. people join the fight for conserving India’s heritage. Two and a half decades later, the call remains the Let your involvement be interactive organise and attend events. same. There are several NGOs that work with material INTACH: http://www.intach.org heritage and culture. INTACH and DRONAH DRONAH: http://www.dronah.org (Development and Research Organisation for Nature, Arts and Heritage) are two such groups that work towards the conservation and preservation of material and architectural heritage, as well as arts, craft practices and oral traditions. Here are a few pointers on how to take an active part in understanding and preserving our heritage.

01. Visit the museums in your city. Also, parents/ schools should take their children/students to sites and monuments, local museums, and on heritage walks.

02. If you cannot afford to contribute money to the NGOs then be generous with your time in helping these NGOs. Recently, the billionaire CEO of ArcelorMittal the world’s largest steel company, Laksmi Mittal sponsored an important exhibition on the Aztecs at the British Museum in London. It would be nice to see Laksmi Mittal take an interest in heritage preservation and museum promotion in the country of his birth, India! High profile Indians continue to contribute to a number of worthy causes in India, but the protection of heritage and culture is one cause that is overlooked.

Danika Parikh is an archaeologist from Delhi. Her research focus is the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation of South Asia. She currently works towards archaeological outreach by giving talks for young students on archaeology and heritage, and runs the blog http://www.induswaliarchaeologist.blogspot.com. She has two degrees in archaeology: a Bachelor’s from Durham University and a Master’s from the University of Cambridge. Danika will return to Cambridge this October to begin her PhD. © www.liveencounters.net


Delta - The Getaway John Chester Lewis

The poem Delta comes from John’s first anthology of poetry, Templo de la Luna that was completed at the end of 2008. This poem was written about the islands and canals in the Tigre River Delta just south of Buenos Aries, Argentina.

Neon lights fade as the city’s skyline begins its transformation ever narrowing in the jungles canopy as it envelops the bustling hustle at the end of the river tunnel

A forty horse motor whinnies down the corridor as the lights in shanties & mansions reveal their glistening lines of backlit floral brush &hedges connecting towering trees &miniature docks each with an individual staircase descending beneath the murky depths

The brightest stars unperceivable at the speed of city lights descend from overhead while the black canopy turns to a mixture of individual branches to an open night sky at the mouths of the river intersecting itself Stargazing young lovers drift past port in a large dugout canoe with only a slight roll and yaw and a subtle tilt of the head The idling boat rides by on momentum

Š www.liveencounters.net

Stars, lovers, & the tips of three islands fade in the transformation once again of the horizon from silhouette to individual branches into blackened canopy where the songs of frogs mingle with jasmine & a hint of gasoline


POETRY

off the engine of a passing boat moments after the mutual flashing on & off again of respective spotlights affixed to their separate bows A lone dog upon the bank barks at the floating intrusion into its bridge checkpoint while two motionless young boys sit atop the bridge monitoring the exchange

Dozens of islands continue to open and close folding up into one another displaying the oneness of their canopy then repeatedly unfolding in star pockets and intersections of the individual silhouettes

At the midpoint of the path is a gazebo overlooking a bean shaped pond with lily pads covering all but the far side which is crowded with cattails sheltering a chorus of amphibian harmonies A late meal is procured from a smiling one-eyed man & the sound of jungle drifts then floats into the state of dreams

Along the starboard bank a man walks lifting his hand to wave while never giving glance toward the soft rumble of just a few of the forty horses swimming down river

The boat slows to its destination a brown dock resting under a corrugated tin roof sheltering an elderly couple patiently waiting to welcome their guests A raised wooden pathway leads up to the deck patio of an orange cottage resting on stilts to protect it from the swellings of the river

Š Mark Ulyseas

John Chester Lewis was born in Southern California and began writing poetry during university in Colorado. Presently he lives in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia where he works on his poetry, music, and painting, when not running JL Galleries fine art. Three more books of poetry are due to be released in 2010. http://www.poempress.com http://www.jlgalleries.com http://www.johnniechester.com Š www.liveencounters.net


© Bobby Chinn

Thermo regulator and rat tails – Bobby Chinn

Once again the Master Chef from Vietnam regales us with his wit and expertise in all things Asian. Thank you Bobby for supporting Live Encounters.

Nha Tho Street is now known as Church Street for the miniature replica Notre Dame Cathedral that stands at the end of the road. The street has become a tourist destination filled with some of Hanoi’s finest boutiques and restaurants while dictating some of the highest rents in the city. This wide tree lined street used to be a quiet residential neighbourhood back in 1996 even though it was in the heart of the city just off Hoan Kiem Lake. Moca Café, situated on Church Street, was one of a kind that brought much attention to this area, transforming it into what it is today.

Moca Café was a converted colonial convent. It was unusually large, as they had converted two spaces making it wide with sweeping views of the street. The space was unique with glass windows that could slide freely from one side to the other leaving a large breezy space, giving it an almost ‘open air’ feel to those seated by the front windows. The walls were wonderful old bricks that lined both flanks of the room, with a marble fireplace that would be quite cosy during the cold wintry months. Art deco in style, it was furnished with white marble tables and Frank Lloyd Wright chairs, giving the establishment one of, if not, the finest looking casual dining space Vietnam had yet to see. The high ceilings allowed for additional seating area with a converted loft like landing that flanked the perimeters of the room. In © www.liveencounters.net

the front, an antique brass coffee roaster stood by the door, churning out freshly roasted coffee.

Jeff, an American from New Orleans, was the mastermind behind the design and layout of the place. A managing partner he was one of the most colourful characters within the growing expat community. Rich in experiences and stories that were so wide and varied he was nicked named Zelig after the Woody Allen movie. He had opened probably the best independent restaurant in Hanoi at the time and it was an incredible achievement. Moca Café was an instant success, serving three distinctly different cuisines: Vietnamese, Indian, and Western, not to mention on-the-floor roasted coffee. It was one of the first packed western managed restaurants attracting Vietnamese, expat and tourist alike.

It had been a year since its successful opening and although the place was always jam packed, it was now becoming more run down by the lack of cleaning and maintenance. Jeff had called me up to ask if I knew of anyone who could install a thermo-regulator for his Wolf range oven. I immediately suggested that I bring over Willie, Chief Engineer at the Hanoi Tower’s and Vu Son from the purchasing department. Together they could assist with additional parts, as well as, expertise or staff that could assist. Willie was from Singapore, and always made it a point to show


BOBBY CHINN off his knowledge of everything concerning anything that touched upon engineering. He was very proud of his engineering triumphs and his operation. Vu Son, being the purchaser, was very close to Willie, as he needed to keep Willie updated on all the new fixtures, spare parts, prices and engineering items that were making it’s way into the local market. They would take the company van on Saturday to source for supplies for the Hanoi Towers. I decided to join them and take them on a slight detour towards Moca Café for a coffee so that Jeff could coincidentally show up giving him the opportunity to tell us about his equipment failure. Knowing Willie, he would give free advice and probably assist, if asked. We arrived at Jeff’s establishment on what was typically a busy Saturday afternoon. We luckily arrived when a table by the window was leaving and ordered our coffees when Jeff magically appeared. Looking a little frazzled like he had already had more then his fair share of coffee I made the introductions. ‘Jeff, let me introduce you to Willie and Son. Willie runs the engineering department and Son runs the purchasing department. Jeff is the proud owner of Moca.’

After a couple of minutes of formalities Jeff slowly made his request. ‘Hey, you wouldn’t know how to install a thermoregulator would you?’

To my surprise Willie did not know what a thermoregulator was, and Jeff looked a little perplexed and became rather undiplomatic.

Willie threw me a glance of surprise and I was not sure if it was because my friend was rude or simply because I had roped him into a little free consulting without his consent. I simply brushed it off and focused on getting Jeff to calm down.

‘Now slow down Tiger, we are here to help you.’ With that I gave him a slow glacial nod, staring deep into his eyes with the hope that he would remember that they were coming out of their way to assist him. Hoping that he would mellow out I then turned to Willie

‘He is having a YIV day’ (Your In Vietnam) it was a code, a reminder for expats that culture shock was kicking in but the person that was experiencing it did not recognize it. It was a phrase that we all learned to use. Willie tilted his head and approved reluctantly. Turning to Jeff, I asked, ‘Jeff why don’t you show us the oven, then we can all see what you are talking about’ Jeff proceeds to tell us what a thermo-regulator is as we get up and make our way towards the kitchen

‘A thermo regulator is an instrument that regulates the temperature of the oven based on the setting, which in turn regulates the gas to ensure that a temperature is retained continuously. So if you open the door, a lot of the heat is lost, so the regulator increases the gas flow to bring the heat back up to the temperature that it is set to.’

We walk pass all the diners and entered his western kitchen which is connected to the bar. The kitchen was one of the first ‘open’ kitchens in Vietnam, with ‘What? You don’t know what a thermo-regulator most other operators knowing full well that hygiene is?’ would be a deterrent to anyone ambitious enough Jeff quickly turned to me and glared, wondering how to even consider a display kitchen in those early days. To the side lay what appeared to be a brand they could help. new 6 top Wolf range oven in the midst of a lot of the Willie calmly replied, ‘I know what a thermostat is, used locally fabricated equipment that surrounded and I know what a gas regulator is, but I have never it. It supposedly worked the first day or a couple of minutes according to Jeff. Someone had installed it installed a thermo-regulator’. without checking the manual first, or not knowing Jeff immediately turned to me wav-ing off Willie and what a thermo regulator is, and within a couple of Son. ‘I’d be fucked if you think that I am going to let minutes the oven door blew open with fire and never him touch my oven if he doesn’t even know what a worked again. Everything looked fine until I opened the oven door to the stench of what reminded me of thermo regulator is!’ © www.liveencounters.net


the lion cages at the San Francisco Zoo. The smell was so over powering that Willie and Son took another couple of steps behind me as the smell hit them with equal offence. They also gave the space a quick inspection running their eyes over the kitchen and then finishing with me, looking appalled by the filth. The base of the oven was a large steel plate that covered the major heat source. ‘The thermo-regulator is below this steel plate?’, I asked.

‘Yeah,’ replied Jeff, ‘I think so, that is what I need help with. I don’t know as we lost the manual’ ‘Ok, do you have a screwdriver with a Philip head?’ asked Willie

Willie and Son looked like they were both ready to bolt. ‘We can come back later if you don’t have a Phillip head’

© Mark Ulyseas

the shelter of the cast iron plate. This time it was clear that there was a rat in the oven, as its tail was exposed. I quickly jumped up on the plastic stool. ‘Dude you got a rat in the oven!’ I screamed He quickly hushed me

‘Come on man I got customers!’

‘No, let’s do this now or it will never happen,’ I said He then proceeded to lean over to the prep table in with finality. front of the oven and quickly removed the 12-inch chef knife that sat on the table and then fell on his I reached into my pockets and pulled out my Swiss knees. He slammed the blade down on the exposed army knife, kneeling down onto the grease riddled tail of the rat as it quickly ran to the shelter of the floor I took a deep breath of fresh air and on my hand other gas pipe. He slams the knife again this time and knees, using the finger file, I began to unscrew over the left gas pipe, where a pair of rats ran from the oven’s base. My head now deep in the lions left to right. I quickly turn to the bewildered Willie cage I was struggling not to gag from the nauseating and Son who by now looked further and further from smell when coming up for air I plaintively would getting any closer to the oven, let alone taking on the look at Jeff hoping to see some recognition of the responsibility of installing a thermo-regulator. true friendship I was showing him by doing this disgusting job. But all I could see in his eyes was ‘My God, it’s two rats!’ impatience and a caffeine haze. Frantically hacking away, back and forth in between Once the base was removed, the heating system of the pipes, on top of the cast iron plates, he desperately the oven was exposed; two parallel cast iron plates tried to kill the rats. He looked like he had just lost designed to radiate the heat throughout the oven his mind as more and more rats were sent running as well as help to hold its temperature. Beneath back and forth, through the guillotine of his Hienkel those plates ran the gas lines for the heating system. knife. The rats were now bumping into each other, From the corner of my eye, I could have sworn I saw as more and more rats appeared colliding with each something move in the darkness of the oven from other. It seemed apparent to me as well as to the rats one pipe to the other. I looked at Jeff and said, ‘Did that they were doomed in the congested space of the oven and that their only chance of survival was to you see that? quickly storm the executioner. And in one sudden I then kicked the oven and then clearly saw a rat moment, the rats charged. Leaping out of the oven, run from one pipe back to the other, hiding beneath the horde of rats ran over Jeff as he fell on his back © www.liveencounters.net


BOBBY CHINN by the shock of it all, knife in hand slashing out like a musketeer. One after the other, they ran, some limping, some with bloodied bodies, some with tails, some without. Like a mad man he rotated the knife, waving it aimlessly in vain as the rats literally jumped over him in their great escape. There I stood on the low plastic stool but this time my words were filled with resonance and colour. “Oh my God! You have tons of rats!’

His index finger quickly rushes over his mouth as he lay there on the floor now bloodied by the rats…

thought of a rat attack, while in the middle of the kitchen two horrified members of management from the Hanoi Towers stood there in shock. At that point Willie suggested, ‘Do you want to do this another time?’

Jeff propped a smile, which lacked any form of ingenuity and agreed, ‘Yeah let me fix things up here and I will give you a call when I am ready. Can you do me a favour? Please don’t mention this to anyone?’

Willie agreed, but it was a tall order. They never fixed that oven. I had not eaten there since that incident. I also kept the story close to my chest until the day ‘Shhhhhhhush! I have customers!’ he was kicked out by his partner. I later hired Jeff to I turn to the dining room packed with diners help me open my restaurant. He ran the bar, trained enjoying their food, oblivious of the present state the bar staff on our prolific cocktail list. of the kitchen. Turning back to the kitchen Jeff was now back on his feet with his knife in hand, he turns Jeff is probably one of the most entertaining bartenders I have ever met. I have yet to meet to Willie and Son anyone who could talk with close to encyclopaedic ‘Where did they all go?’ knowledge on any subject. ‘They went that way’

Son pointed into the opposite direction, changed his mind and went with Willie’s suggestion. The kitchen floor was laced with a trail of blood that seemed to run off in many directions. Jeff did not know what to do as the pack of rats escaped into the larger dining area that was packed. He then placed his chef knife back to the prep table. It was now dented and stained with blood from all the tails he had successfully amputated. A prep cook arrived with a bucket of peeled potatoes in water and placed a chopping board on the wet towel, picked up the knife and proceeded to chop up a potato. I felt the need to bear more bad news to Jeff, without words. Clearing my throat loudly until I got Jeff’s attention. My eyes darted towards the prep cook cutting away at the potatoes with a bloody knife. Jeff’s eyes rolled up into his head and then fell into a deeper state of despair. He slowly placed his hands on the hands of the cook, then removed the knife and placed it in the sink and then says: ‘Don’t ask, please don’t ask!’

The confused cook stood there staring at Jeff, then to me standing on a plastic stool petrified from the

We still get a giggle out of the encounter with the rats. Text © Bobby Chinn

www.bobbychinn.com

© Mark Ulyseas

Willie wide eyed pointed to the inside kitchen.

Bobby Chinn is half Chinese, half Egyptian, raised in England, lived in San Francisco and New York and now based in Hanoi. He is one of the most respected chefs in Asia. Coming from a family of great cooks, Bobby has always been passionate about food and he was taken under the wings of various cutting edge San Francisco chefs – Hubert Keller, Gary Danko and Traci des Jardine – where he learnt his trade. His series on Asia is being filmed for Discovery. He has also appeared in the UK on BBC2’s Saturday Kitchen and Full On Food. A must read is his best selling book Wild, Wild East, Recipes & Stories from Vietnam published by http://www.conran-octopus.co.uk © www.liveencounters.net


IBIZA

Robin Marchesi

© Robin Marchesi

The Well of Truth where the dead lie still, anticipating, being drawn, into action, while I, alive, yet in rigor mortis, look out across the fields and mountains, awaiting the call to water…

Two pages lost to nothing and another dashed hope, singled out for the present in the idle rays of autumnal sun and the sweet plummets of smoke moving mountains in a Northerly wind… This life seeking rhythm in words or perhaps more a harmony, belief, indeed delving depths for a matrix, out of chaos it’s certain, dominance before God!

I am all addled perception caught in a searchlight, frozen by past participles. It was too late long before any of these misplaced mishaps occurred. The die cast in the kiln, when I knew no thing of Sculpture… “There’s 2,000 years worth of hard labour here!”

“I’m up before the judge…Think I’ll get eight years.”

“Eight years? - I’ve done that standing in the dinner queue.”

© www.liveencounters.net

Autumn in Can Amat. Leaves tumbling- The last flies buzzing slowly and wood creaking from lack of life…like my bones must feel when contemplating the future- Creaky- Looking at old age, its onset, despite the mind and all the dreams of youth, that this will never happen, growing old before my very eyes.


IBIZA

A sharp gust of wind, my first time alone for a long time, although, as I write, a house Martin swoops gracefully and flies around the terrace, hardly more than five feet away above the Earth and away from me.

Everyone knows how to write, it’s simple, making sketches with words, but one cannot help, but be clouded by the self, as a whole. You write, you reveal yourself. It comes with practice, over time, “muchas trabejos” and experience worth the word. I cough, aggravated by the damp of Ibiza, it is a smoker’s cough, and needs to be dealt with.

My eyes have eaten the Morna Valley in a feast of sight. The sweet pine and thyme scented airs fresh from the seas have reached my nicotine stained lungs. I have stood privileged to hear flocks of birds chattering in shrubbery or to watch a falcon riding the swirls of wind before diving, like a panther, for its prey. I have witnessed the vast skies of night that dwarf humanity with constellations, solar systems, planets, moons and universes. I have sensed shadows stalking my footsteps; felt the pull of lunar tides, on my own tides, as fascinated; I’ve watched its penumbras and changes, its cycles, in our petty breaths. I have held cloud-induced commentaries with God and in the vast silences of my daily time; I have spoken to the dead, lulled by their camaraderie, comforted by their presence. No doubt, peaky and press-ganged, at some future date, wandering down Ladbroke Grove in London, I might remember this intelligence, amongst my city-influenced companions.

© Mark Ulyseas

My heart breaks, ‘Mi Corazon Rompe’ for you, Ibiza, the nearest place I found to home.

www.robinmarchesi.com

Robin Marchesi was born in 1951. He was educated at Oxford and London Universities. He has lived ‘on his wits’ throughout the world and has several published works including Kyoto Garden A B C Quest and A Small Journal of Heroin Addiction. He has worked on and off for the Sculptor Barry Flanagan OBE, a Rilke to a Rodin. At the moment he is living in London completing his latest work entitled:”Prospero’s Cell.”

© www.liveencounters.net


Mayan Time Cycles

- Vasumi

The Tzolkin is the most commonly used cycle of the Mayan Calendar. TZOL means to count. KIN is a day - T zolkin is the ‘Count of Days’. Based on a matrix of 20 x 13 or 13:20

Zjikaa

The Maya have a calendar based on the 13 count, which is reflected in many indigenous cultures, including the Aborigine, Maori, North American Indian and Celts to name a few. The ancient Vedic Hindu calendar shares similar cycles especially in connection with the greater yuga cycles of 5200 years which herald in the different ‘ages’ (52 is 13 x 4). Unique to the Maya, is their awareness of 17 different cycles, which both ancient Mayan and dedicated modern timekeepers of today have tracked simultaneously. One of these cycles holds the ratio of 20 (fingers and toes) x 13 (major joints in the body) days, and equals 260 days, the time from conception to birth. Within this ratio there are 20 different archetypes or Universal Truths, which evolve one to the other, dayby-day, portraying the cycles of evolution by revealing the Story of Creation from the Mayan perspective. The count of days portrays this Story of Creation as a day-by-day experience wherein we are the players in this evolutionary spiral of consciousness.

The following perceptions are based upon pursuing the Mayan Calendar daily for the past 13 years. It is in this spirit that I present my viewpoint, one that is shared and inspired by many; most notably Dr. Jose Arguelles, Art History Professor and one of the world’s most dedicated Mayan Calendar pioneers, who is responsible for bringing the Mayan Calendar to the western world.

In an attempt to assist people to become aware of the natural cycles that we and the Earth move through, there is a movement on the planet focused on educating humanity around the use of our measure of time, our Calendar. The very word Calendar comes from the Latin word ‘calends’ meaning ‘taxes’.

If we were to use a measurement of space – a ruler – where every unit or inch was a different measure, we would not be able to easily build anything in a spatial context. We then look to our current collective understanding of time, which we cannot touch, yet we measure with our minds our movement through space with TIME. Time is of the Mind, so it follows that the time we follow, is the mind we follow, the The Mayan Indians of Central America are believed measure of time is what we condition our minds to be the most adept at measuring the cycles of time too collectively. We are currently programming to a and space. It is known that many Western experts measure of time that is disharmonic and out of order in this area are in full respect of the knowledge that with natural cycles. is held by these people. The surviving ruins of this day are encoded with information that reveal the The Gregorian calendar with its 28, 29, 30 or 31 day intelligence of the Maya in their ability to track the months is programming our minds to disharmonic, natural cycles of not only our Solar System but also disconnected and disordered beliefs. E.g. in Latin Sept our Universe. Astronomers have given full credit to is 7 - September is the 9th month; Oct is 8 - October the accuracy of the Mayan knowledge of Universal is the 10th month; Nov is 9 – November is the 11 month; Dec is 10 – December is the 12 month. Cycles. © www.liveencounters.net


MAYAN TIME

These anomalies serve to unconsciously confuse the mind - unnatural time, unnatural mind. With this understanding look around at the way we abuse our planet. Is it any wonder there is a collective mental program of disconnected isolation. Perhaps here lies an answer to the question as to why the there are growing numbers of people suffering from depression, alienation and the myriad other miasmas that affect all of life on our Planet. It is time to look down at what we are standing on and understand our connection to the Earth as she naturally cycles in alignment with all in the Solar System, the Galaxy and the Universe. Perhaps it is time to heed these natural cycles and simply follow them daily as we realise ourselves as part of a greater holistic system, as the Mayans and the Olmecs before them have for thousands of years, charting our evolution on this planet in relation to the cycles of the greater Universe. We are connected and we do have the response-ability to care for our planet as she cares for us.

look around at the way we abuse our planet. With little attention to natural cycles that support times of Action and Inaction; we are a planet gone mad. Natural cycles allow for natural polarities to strengthen our collective, this brings balance and helps to combat the very common symptoms of depression and suicide arising from frustrations of not achieving or living up to previously set goals, set in unrealistic time frames. The Industrial Revolution began with the invention of the first machine, the clock, which began our disconnection to the natural, nurturing cycles of the Earth as Mother. The mother, an archetype that is hugely disrespected in today’s western world. The Earth’s natural cycles instructs us on how to use the least to create the most, a simple wisdom now distorted by using the most, to create the least with an abundance of waste that has not been factored in to the equation of sustainability.

In my experience of following the Mayan measure of time for 13 years daily, I have become increasingly aware of the overlay of the disharmonic major paradigm and in realizing this it is my passion to share the understandings gained with as many beings as possible in order to reveal the track to real meaning in our lives, to understand ourselves as evolving consciousness, forever moving forward in times great unfolding. May we heed the call and begin to release the feelings of despondency that have become far too predominant in our planetary culture.

Time is of the mind, when we follow unnatural time, we have unnatural mind, and with this realization

© Vasmi Zjikaa

It’s about ‘TIME��� to awaken to the simplicity of natural Many people of our planet are now realising the harmonic measures of our days in reverence of life importance of this message, and there is a movement as evolving consciousness, with human experience to follow time cycles of greater harmonic measure, as part of holistic creation. which attune us to Universal cycles, based on Mayan In respect of the work with the Mayan Calendar by Jose Arguelles Day Keeping. It is wrong to assume because the www.lawoftime.org calendar is of the Mayans that it belongs to them alone, we much understand that our indigenous brothers and sisters are but the caretakers of the ancient wisdoms until the time that the world has so lost its way that it is ready to listen to the simple wisdom that connects us back to Source.

Vasumi Zjikaa has been a student of the Mayan Calendar for the past 13 years, sharing through workshops, lectures, seminars, sacred theatre and readings. She has worked and studied with some of the world’s finest teachers including Jose Arguelles, Drunvalo Melchizedek. As a devotee of Ramana Maharshi she had her strongest awakening which led her to the Mayan Calendar and its deep wisdom. She is also an avid astrologer and student of both paths, Vedic and Western. www.13moonz.ning.com www.worldtree.ws © www.liveencounters.net


The Late Writers & Readers Festival

D H Lawrence

discusses Lady Chatterley’s Lover with Mark Ulyseas

Some months ago when the moon played truant with the night and the shadows had taken a day off, a visitor from the twilight zone dropped in unannounced to invite me to the festival. The visitor, the director of the festival, was none other than Sylvia Plath. Her captivating melancholic demeanor was overwhelming so I had to accept the invitation. There are no tickets or dinners or literary lunches or congregating culture vultures or for that matter book launches or book signing ceremonies. The uniqueness of this 24 x 7 festival is that every visitor can conduct a one on one with any (late) writer or poet by simply walking into a book shop and picking up one of his or her works; and then, reading it in the confines of one’s mind.

1960; and the collection of poems titled Pansies (1929) which was banned on publication in England; had been lambasted by the self appointed guardians of misplaced morality. They had uttered such statements as “…if a search were made through all the literature of all the ages, as foul a book might be found, not fouler…” and “… this book excels in filth…it was created out of the turgid vigour of a poisoned mind…” After the pleasantries and pastries and steaming Kopi Bali, I asked David to tell me why he wrote Lady Chatterley’s Lover in a style deliberately to provoke the public.

“Mark, I lived in a society that had ‘corseted’ itself in narrow-mindedness to a point that even mention of So join me dear readers on this truly enchanting sexual acts was an abomination. Putting it in print journey through the labyrinth of the lexicon world of was vulgar. Yet promiscuity thrived in the privacy of (late) authors who have often brought enlightenment homes, boarding houses and wheat fields. My novel to oppressed or suppressed peoples. is justified in so far as stating the truth, exposing the hypocrisy at that time. I detested the stifling Just the other day I bumped into David Herbert contemporary morality. Lawrence and wife Frieda (nee von Richthofen and cousin of the German Ace Fighter Pilot Baron The protagonists in the novel, Connie and Mellors, are Manfred von Richthofen aka the Red Baron) walking symbols of individuality for they in a way, crafted their through the mist covered rice fields. I invited the own moral code outside the confines of a prevalent couple to high tea, which they graciously accepted. culture. The love affair between an aristocrat and a So come the day we met at a restaurant to partake game keeper is a challenge to society and instigation of decadence punctuated by the brilliance of David’s to reassess its social and sexual prejudices. The graphic words. rendition in words of the explicit sex scenes was a deliberate attempt to press home my point of view. This soft spoken author of such controversial Has anything changed since I died of tuberculosis in works as Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1929) that was Vence, France in 1930?” he asked while sipping his greeted with lawsuits for obscenity in England in Kopi Bali. © www.liveencounters.net


Tell me a word That you’ve often heard, Yet it makes you squint When you see it in print! Tell me a thing That you’ve often seen, Yet if put in a book It makes you turn green! Tell me a thing That you often do, When described in a story Shocks you through and through! Tell me what’s wrong With words or with you That you don’t mind the thing Yet the name is taboo! D.H.Lawrence, Conundrums

© Mark Ulyseas

© www.liveencounters.net


D H Lawrence - Lady Chatterley’s Lover

“Not really”, I replied, “There are pockets of morality that are entrenched in medieval mentality. Methinks the world in your time and now seems curiously unchanged in many ways. Your novel may still be banned in many countries for obscenity. I guess enlightenment is still on its way”. For those readers who haven’t encountered this prolific writer’s book, here is a brief synopsis.

Constance (Connie) Chatterley is married to Sir Clifford, a writer, intellectual and landowner who is confined to a wheelchair as he has been injured in Flanders in the Great War. The couple reside at Wragby Hall in the Midlands. Connie has a short but unsatisfying affair with a well-known playwright, Michaelis, which is then followed by a steamy and passionate relationship with the game keeper, Oliver Mellors. She gets pregnant, goes to Venice to obscure the baby’s parentage. Finally, Connie decides to tell her husband the truth for she wants to be married to Mellors who is already married to someone else. The novel ends with Connie and Mellors, briefly separated, awaiting divorce from their respective spouses. I requested David to read an excerpt from his novel that showed his sensitive portrayal of a woman. I handed him my copy.

He took the book from me and said that he would read aloud a part prior to Connie finding love in the arms of Mellors. --When Connie went up to her bedroom she did what she had not done for a long time: took off her clothes, and looked at herself naked in the huge mirror. She did not know what she was looking for, or at, very definitely, yet she moved the lamp till it shone full on her. And she thought, as she had thought so often, what a frail, easily hurt, rather pathetic thing a human body is, naked; somehow a little unfinished, incomplete! She had been supposed to have rather a good figure, but now she was out of fashion: a little © www.liveencounters.net

too female, not enough like an adolescent boy. She was not very tall, a bit Scottish and short; but she had a certain fluent, down-slipping grace that might have been beauty. Her skin was faintly tawny, her limbs had certain stillness, her body should have had a full, down-slipping richness; but it lacked something. ….her breasts were rather small, and dropping pear-shaped. But they were unripe, a little bitter, without meaning hanging there…. She looked into the other mirror’s reflection at her back, her waist, her loins. She was getting thinner, but to her it was not becoming. The crumple of her waist at the back, as she bent back to look, was a little weary…the longish slope of her haunches and her buttocks had lost its gleam…only the German boy had loved it, and he was ten years dead, very nearly. How time went by! Ten years dead, and she was only twenty-seven. The healthy boy with his fresh, clumsy sensuality that she had then been so scornful of! Where would she find it now? It was gone out of men. They had their pathetic, two-seconds spasms like Michaelis; but no healthy human sensuality, that warms the blood and freshens the whole being. …but the front of her body made her miserable. It was already beginning to slacken, with a slack sort of thinness, almost withered, going old before it had ever really lived. She thought of the child she might somehow bear. Was she fit, anyhow? She slipped into her nightdress, and went to bed, where she sobbed bitterly. And in her bitterness burned a cold indignation against Clifford, and his writings and his talk: against all the men of his sort who defrauded a woman even of her own body. Unjust! Unjust! The sense of deep physical injustice burned at her very soul. –


The Late Writers & Readers Festival

David put down the book and for a moment looked out at the pink bougainvillea cascading over the ledge. The silence that hung heavy in the air was broken by Frieda’s soft voice announcing that they had to catch the Red Baron’s plane which was due to take off from the nearby football field. But before leaving the restaurant David put his hand on my shoulder and said,

Twilight had set in as the plane roared off into the rising moon.

Nightfall blanketed my soul as I walked home to my woman friend clutching in my sweaty hands the paperback edition of Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

“I have traveled with Frieda to Italy, the French Riviera, Germany, Ceylon, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Mexico and the United States. Alas, I wish I had come to Bali and tasted its unabashed sensuality and luscious lifestyle. Maybe I will return in a coming lifetime for it appears I would Sections of this article appeared be accepted here without prejudice.” in my column Paradox in Paradise in www.thebalitimes.com

© Mark Ulyseas © www.liveencounters.net


Š Adib Hidayat RollingStone Magazine, Indonesia

Š www.liveencounters.net


LIVE ENCOUNTERS

Interview with Adib Hidayat Managing Editor RollingStone Magazine Jakarta, Indonesia - Mark Ulyseas Could you give the readers a glimpse of your life/work? I love music: collecting vinyls and CDs of local Indonesian music to metal, jazz, world music, alternative, blues and rock. I have worked for around 11 years as a journalist covering all aspects of the music world. After that I did a stint for a year in a record company; and written biographies of musicians and books on the history of music. Also, I am the proud father of two beautiful girls, Jemima and Jasmeena – Big J and Lil J ! What is the role of RollingStone magazine in Indonesia? How does it help upcoming artists?

RollingStone magazine (Indonesia) is the No.1 music magazine in this country. Its role is to give hitherto little known information about music trends and to showcase Indonesian bands/ artists. It assists in promoting upcoming bands by publicizing them in the magazines pages and offering music education and music biz info to the urbanites who are of the affluent hip crowd that love art, music and hidup manis (sweet life). What are the various Indonesian music genres and what is the most popular at the moment, and the best selling bands/songs?

Pop music of any kind is still No.1. The best selling bands/songs, I think, were in the 1990s and the first five years of the millennium when bands like Sheila On 7, Padi, Jamrud and Dewa 19 sold more than a million copies each. We term these bands ‘million copies’ bands’. But with the advent of music being digitalized, the superstars have lost a great deal. Presently, Indonesians buy music with RBT (ring back tone). It works like this – one can buy a 30 second cut from the ‘refrain’ of a song or an intro from the song. The price tag varies around US$ 1. It is used as a ring tone and can be uploaded onto a hand phone. The best selling song right now is ‘Baik-Baik Sayang” by the band Wali. Sales figures for the last three months have been 15 million RBT ! What is your opinion on the state of IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) and how do Indonesian Bands producing original tracks protect themselves from piracy?

Piracy is not only confined to Indonesia, it is endemic worldwide. Admittedly this country is famous for its pirated CDs, but if we look at other countries like USA, UK or Europe they too have a problem and this is related to the digital world. Anyone can search the Internet and download music illegally without paying anything. Music firms, musicians and government must join hands and close down file sharing Internet sites. One should consider Paul McGuiness’s (manager of the band U2) suggestions made at the MIDEM conference last year. Sponsored by

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Is there money to be made in the music business? And are businesses houses coming forward to finance upcoming and established bands? Yes. In this digital era much can be achieved and earned. In Indonesia, telecommunication companies are coming forward to support local talent. The reality is that Bands need Brands…established Brands. I think this collaboration is mutually beneficial. Bands need Brands and vice versa for marketing their products to the ‘now’ generation. What is your opinion about organizations like OneDollarForMusic? Do they actually help struggling artists? And are there any success stories? I think OneDollarForMusic is a good idea. But to implement this idea and take it to an effective level needs a national campaign, big budget and continuous promotion to get the message across this country of over 250 million people and two time zones. The problem lies in the fragmented state of the numerous music promoters, both commercial and social organizations. There is no cohesive effort. Everyone has different agendas.

What is the prevalent situation as regards to legally accessing/downloading digital music in Asia? And how can Indonesian music industry be protected? Our government must create laws and enforce the same to protect our music industry because in this digital era there are no borders!

At MIDEM 2010, speaker Mathew Daniel, Vice President of a China based digital music distributor highlighted the plight of Asian music consumers who are barred from legally accessing/paying for/and downloading music from iTunes, Amazon or Spotify even though the sales of MP3 players and iPods run into millions of pieces. He termed this action as incomprehensible and ‘music apartheid’.

As we move into a new decade and leave the last one behind, we see yet another year of unfulfilled opportunities gone by in the Asian market (references to Asia generally exclude Japan, Korea and Australia). For too long, Asian music consumers have been neglected and not been given fair access to music. Instead, discussions on music consumption in Asia are usually in the context of piracy and Asian music consumers are often arbitrarily labelled as the stewards of said piracy. It is inexplicable that in this digital age, legal access to music across large swathes of Asia is non-existent.

With the lack of fair and convenient access, it is no wonder that Asia’s music consumers have had to resort to file-sharing networks to obtain their music. China, despite the huge levels of piracy - in an ironic twist of circumstance and partly due to efforts to curb piracy - has recently been infused with one of the largest quantities of legal full-length music available to consumers in Asia via Google China and Wa3.cn; with the caveat that it is still an experiment in progress with other variables at play that will influence the final outcome. In the meantime, the rest of Asia’s consumers would be justified in wondering if indulging in excessive piracy is the only route by which they too will be offered legal access to music. Instead, Asian consumers who want to do the right thing have often been subjected to music apartheid in their futile attempts to purchase music legally. Consumers do not understand the music industry’s selfimposed borders and complex self-righteous rights controls in this digital age that they see as ultimately serving only to impede the access of legal music to their shores. © www.liveencounters.net

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Does the tobacco industry finance many music events/bands etc.? Yes. But now, telecommunication companies also finance many events/bands in Indonesia. Do you see Indo music going to Bollywood and Hollywood?

Bollywood? Maybe one day. But to US and other countries, yes, they have been and are continuing to tour. The bands and musicians that have toured abroad are: Sandy Sondhoro (Russia & Germany), Dira (UK), Suarasama (UK, Europe, US), The Temper Trap (UK & Australia), Ghost of A Thousand (UK), Discus (Europe, US, UK), Simak Dialog (UK, US, Europe), Anggun (France). What suggestions do you have for the music industry and how can it prevent piracy?

Selling music with subscription on a mass scale potentially solves almost every problem the music business faces. It kills piracy – with the death of ownership comes the death of theft – and injects a fresh flow of cash into an industry whose profits have been ripped down to zero and beyond by a generation of freetards. I don’t think that’s too naïve a hope. But ultimately it’s not about fuzzy abstractions like the ‘state of the industry’. It’s about us as listeners, and the value we place on creativity. We need to make a decision - do we care about music enough to pay for it? What message do you have for the international readers of Live encounters?

We should follow the principle of ‘to enlighten and lighten up’ – in a way similar to ‘inform, inspire and rock n’ roll’. The fact is music is an art form that needs to be protected just like any other art form. And this can only be done if we all join hands to protect it from piracy, unscrupulous business and government interference. www.rollingstone.co.id

© Mark Ulyseas

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Raoul & Rudolf of onedollarformusic Š www.liveencounters.net

Š Mark Ulyseas


LIVE ENCOUNTERS

Mark Ulyseas

Bali is inundated with Yayasans (charities) ranging from free eye operations, education, recycling to animal shelters. A number of these Yayasans are doing good work and have made a positive impact on island life. One such organisation is Onedollarformusic, the brainchild of Raoul Thomas Augustine Maria Wijffels a Dutch national residing in Bali.

When I first came across this organisation I assumed it was another scheme to make money off unsuspecting bleeding hearts with a conscience that continually beseeches them to ‘contribute’ to ‘causes’. However, after meeting Raoul (who has over 20 years experience in music, arts, education and management including working as a teacher and music pedagogue at the Conservatories of Amsterdam, Utrecht and Rotterdam) and the Indonesian chairman Rudolf Dethu, it became apparent that this is an organisation that has the potential of becoming a major force in the creative and economic development of young potential musicians across the Indonesian archipelago.

www.onedollarformusic.com

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© Mark Ulyseas

What is onedollarformusic?, I asked Raoul

In 2007 I founded this Yayasan because I felt that the hidden and undeveloped musical skills in this country needed such an organisation to nurture it and bring it to maturity through a comprehensive…a holistic approach.

Then why do so many Indonesian musicians I have met still have a ‘please excuse me attitude’ and are not aggressively promoting themselves. There appears to be a latent hesitation that defies logic. Why?

I agree there is some truth to your observation. Maybe this is because of the past political situation But this could only be done by first learning the in the 60s and 70s that resulted in a form of language, Indonesian, then forming a legal entity so oppressiveness, which infiltrated even the creative that all operations/accounts could be above board community. Things have changed dramatically and and finally involving the people of this nation… this country, Indonesia, is racing ahead to catch up empowering them to seek expression through their with other nations in all spheres of development... compositions, lyrics and rhythms. not excluding the indigenous music. That is why our organisation is preparing a base on which these One dollar for music is an insignificant amount for very talented artists can learn, grow and actually most people. However, each dollar adds up…each make a living from their music. Today we have a dollar does make a difference. fast growing music industry, a free press and most importantly with the advent of (multi-lingual) Since its inception the Yayasan has been swamped social networks like Facebook and Wordpress, by youngsters with immense talent eager to learn, Indonesia has become an integral part of village create, compose, perform and even help with the earth. mundane activities of the organisation. So what are your future plans? It has been slow but steady progress though hampered by insufficient funding. Undiscovered artists that are out there across the nation need to be found and brought into the We need all the help we can get at the moment to mainstream. And this can be achieved provided maintain smooth operations. we have the resources to create a composite road show that criss-crosses the islands thereby coming Does your program help in preservation of the into direct contact with budding musicians who can prevailing culture? then be taken under our wing to be professionally trained in various musical instruments and as Music transcends all barriers. It is universal. composers and lyricists. Also, a vacuum exists It doesn’t have a language. And more importantly where an institute of music should be...a centre for preservation must have a development value to it. professional excellence providing a wide range of What is going wrong is that we tend to put a fence courses for young Indonesian talent. All services around culture, to preserve it like a museum... should be free and supported by Indonesian and isolating it from being ‘connected to the ebb and international organisations through funding from flow of life tides’. Free movement of ideas through different agencies. And like art schools this centre music by the now generation helps in impregnating can link up with similar institutes across the world and giving birth to new trends and this directly thereby exposing local talent to international artists impacts industry and the overall economy of a and becoming the gateway to endless possibilities country. for future development.

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Rudolf , you are the Indonesian Chairman of the Yayasan, what are your views on the work the organisation is doing and is it effective? As a country we have still to shake off the after effects of the Suharto regime. Yes, I agree things are much better but the psyche of the people still has to ‘open up’ to become more free. Therefore, I see how our young people, the now generation or should I say Jeaneration…still need to come out and express themselves…and what better way than to come to us and be able to develop their creative skills. Onedollarformusic has been instrumental in showcasing many such young people and some have composed, performed and recorded their musical compositions. They could not have done all this without us backing them. But we urgently need a large infusion of funds for the grass roots program that is to be implemented. If you want to help email us and we will get back to you immediately.

What has been your contribution to the music scene? And your views of the prevailing market conditions for upcoming bands? I have been associated with many well known Indo bands - Navicula, Superman is Dead and Suicidal Sinatra; Radio Oz Bali and other radios stations; and founder of Musikator- a directory of Indo bands with emphasis on Bali; Scribe for the Beat Magazine and more. Indo bands are not being protected and often their rights and privileges are non-existent. Our Yayasan must provide a kind of free legal aid to the nascent music industry.

We must educate them on how they can seek protection under the IPR and negotiate contracts with recording companies; and more importantly how to prevent their compositions from copyright infringement.

I know this sounds crazy because Indonesia is known for its pirated CD/DVDs! But we are growing up and becoming responsible...hahaha. Did you know that many popular pop Indo songs are being illegally used as ring tones for hand phones? The enormous revenue loss for the relevant bands is mind-boggling.

This has to stop as it is killing the music industry. I think this is where Onedollarformusic comes in… we can provide back up in terms of legal aid as well as making representations to government and industry.

Also we can play an important role in educating the young people on such matters that in the end affect us all.

Any suggestions on where the funding will come from? What is more safe than music? It is not trying to make war. It is an artistic form of non-violent expression.

Therefore, funding must come from organisations that don’t have an agenda like religious or political. It should not have any strings attached. Of course it goes without saying that our operations and accounts are transparent and open to inspection by the respective donors. Funding from government and industry will be welcomed provided we are free to carry out our work without interference and/or subjective promotion of unqualified individuals.

But we should not forget the individuals who donate the one-dollar. It is these individuals who are the true lovers of music and it is their one dollar that has kept us going. Every dollar adds up in the end.

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© Mark Ulyseas

Seandainya aku bisa Menjatuhkan air mata Kujatuhkan di sini If I drop my tears I’ll drop them here!

Vendi Antara 21 years, Karangasem, Bali. Composer. Vocalist. Guitarist. Band: Hanamura (Village Flower) Genre: Emotional Pop

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Atossa Soltani Amazonwatch, USA, Audrey Lamou, Bali, Indonesia, Bobby Chinn, Hanoi, Vietnam, Candess M Campbell, USA, Carmen Roberts, Fast Track BBC, UK/Singapore, Caroline Bennett, USA, Daniel Herriges, Amazonwatch, USA, Danika Parikh, New Delhi, India, Dr. Mukesh Batra, Mumbai, India, Elaine Farmer, Australia, John Hank Edson, John Chester Lewis, Bali, Indonesia, Jill Gocher, Bali, Indonesia, Lakota Moira, Bali, Indonesia, Mark Ulyseas, Morganics, Sydney, Australia, Natalie Wood, Galilee, Israel, Pau Sarradell, Balearic Islands, Catalonia, Randhir Khare, Pune, India, Rebecca Tyrer, U.K. via Palestine, Riz Khan, Al Jazeera, Middle East, Robin Lim, Bali, Indonesia, Robin Marchesi, London, UK, Sue Healy, Dublin, Ireland Terry McDonagh, Ireland/Germany, Vasumi Zjikaa, Bali, Indonesia, X’Ho, Singapore, Matthew Van Ortton, England, Atossa Soltani Amazonwatch, USA, Audrey Lamou, Bali, Indonesia, Bobby Chinn, Hanoi, Vietnam, Candess M Campbell, USA, Carmen Roberts, Fast Track BBC, UK/Singapore, Caroline Bennett, USA, Daniel Herriges, Amazonwatch, USA, Danika Parikh, New Delhi, India, Dr. Mukesh Batra, Mumbai, India, Elaine Farmer, Australia, John Hank Edson, John Chester Lewis, Bali, Indonesia, Jill Gocher, Bali, Indonesia, Lakota Moira, Bali, Indonesia, Mark Ulyseas, Morganics, Sydney, Australia, Natalie Wood, Galilee, Israel, Pau Sarradell, Balearic Islands, Catalonia, Randhir Khare, Pune, India, Rebecca Tyrer, U.K. via Palestine, Riz Khan, Al Jazeera, Middle East, Robin Lim, Bali, Indonesia, Robin Marchesi, London, UK, Sue Healy, Dublin, Ireland, Terry McDonagh, Ireland/Germany, Vasumi Zjikaa, Bali, Indonesia, X’Ho, Singapore, Matthew Van Ortton, England, Atossa Soltani Amazonwatch, USA, Audrey Lamou, Bali, Indonesia, Bobby Chinn, Hanoi, Vietnam, Candess M Campbell, USA, Carmen Roberts, Fast Track BBC, UK/Singapore, Caroline Bennett, USA, Daniel Herriges, Amazonwatch, USA, Danika Parikh, New Delhi, India, Dr. Mukesh Batra, Mumbai, India, Elaine Farmer, Australia, John Hank Edson, John Chester Lewis, Bali, Indonesia, Jill Gocher, Bali, Indonesia, Lakota Moira, Bali, Indonesia, Mark Ulyseas, Morganics, Sydney, Australia, Natalie Wood, Galilee, Israel, Pau Sarradell, Balearic Islands, Catalonia, Randhir Khare, Pune, India, Rebecca Tyrer, U.K. via Palestine, Riz Khan, Al Jazeera, Middle East, Robin Lim, Bali, Indonesia, Robin Marchesi, London, UK, Sue Healy, Dublin, Ireland Terry McDonagh, Ireland/Germany, Vasumi Zjikaa, Bali, Indonesia, X’Ho, Singapore, Matthew Van Ortton, England, Atossa Soltani Amazonwatch, USA, Audrey Lamou, Bali, Indonesia, Bobby Chinn, Hanoi, Vietnam, Candess M Campbell, USA, Carmen Roberts, Fast Track BBC, UK/Singapore, Caroline Bennett, USA, Daniel Herriges, Amazonwatch, USA, Danika Parikh, New Delhi, India, Dr. Mukesh Batra, Mumbai, India, Elaine Farmer, Australia, John Hank Edson, John Chester Lewis, Bali, Indonesia, Jill Gocher, Bali, Indonesia, Lakota Moira, Bali, Indonesia, Mark Ulyseas, Morganics, Sydney, Australia, Natalie Wood, Galilee, Israel, Pau Sarradell, Balearic Islands, Catalonia, Randhir Khare, Pune, India, Rebecca Tyrer, U.K. via Palestine, Riz Khan, Al Jazeera, Middle East, Robin Lim, Bali, Indonesia, Robin Marchesi, London, UK, Sue Healy, Dublin, Ireland Terry McDonagh, Ireland/Germany, Vasumi Zjikaa, Bali, Indonesia, X’Ho, Singapore, Matthew Van Ortton, England, Atossa Soltani Amazonwatch, USA, Audrey Lamou, Bali, Indonesia, Bobby Chinn, Hanoi, Vietnam, Candess M Campbell, USA, Carmen Roberts, Fast Track BBC, UK/Singapore, Caroline Bennett, USA, Daniel Herriges, Amazonwatch, USA, Danika Parikh, New Delhi, India, Dr. Mukesh Batra, Mumbai, India, Elaine Farmer, Australia, John Hank Edson, John Chester Lewis, Bali, Indonesia, Jill Gocher, Bali, Indonesia, Lakota Moira, Bali, Indonesia, Mark Ulyseas, Morganics, Sydney, Australia, Natalie Wood, Galilee, Israel, Pau Sarradell, Balearic Islands, Catalonia, Randhir Khare, Pune, India, Rebecca Tyrer, U.K. via Palestine, Riz Khan, Al Jazeera, Middle East, Robin Lim, Bali, Indonesia, Robin Marchesi, London, UK, Sue Healy, Dublin, Ireland, Terry McDonagh, Ireland/Germany, Vasumi Zjikaa, Bali, Indonesia, X’Ho, Singapore, Matthew Van Ortton, England, Atossa Soltani Amazonwatch, USA, Audrey Lamou, Bali, Indonesia, Bobby Chinn, Hanoi, Vietnam, Candess M Campbell, USA, Carmen Roberts, Fast Track BBC, UK/Singapore, Caroline Bennett, USA, Daniel Herriges, Amazonwatch, USA, Danika Parikh, New Delhi, India, Dr. Mukesh Batra, Mumbai, India, Elaine Farmer, Australia, John Hank Edson, John Chester Lewis, Bali, Indonesia, Jill Gocher, Bali, Indonesia, Lakota Moira, Bali, Indonesia, Mark Ulyseas, Morganics, Sydney, Australia, Natalie Wood, Galilee, Israel, Pau Sarradell, © www.liveencounters.net


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May 2010 Free bimonthly international online journal by citizens of planet earth

Special Supplement Interviews with remarkable people by Mark Ulyseas

Text & Pics Š Mark Ulyseas


Bengaluru India

EDITORIAL

May 2010

This special supplement of Liveencounters features some of the extraordinary people I have encountered over the last few years.

It is an enchanting concoction - a mix of priests, prostitutes, celebrity chefs, marine biologists, girly boys, rice farmers, schoolteachers, rainbow warriors, editors, musicians, lepers and more. The one common dominator is that all these extraordinary people are citizens of planet earth. Their lives are reflected in this quote‌ What another would have done as well as you, do not do it. What another would have said as well as you, do not say it; what another would have written as well, do not write it. Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself and thus make yourself indispensable. - Andre Gide, Les Nourritures Terrestres (Fruits of the Earth,1897)

Kindly forward this free online issue to all your friends. We look forward to hearing your words in print.

Email us your news and views to ulyseas@gmail.com For advertising contact liveencounters@gmail.com Mark Ulyseas Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

Special thanks to : Sarita & Kamal Kaul, William J Furney of The Bali Times, Terje Holte Nilsen, Mark Tuck. All articles and photographs are the copyright of www.liveencounters.net and its contributors. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the explicit written permission of www.liveencounters.net. Offenders will be criminally prosecuted to the full extent of the law prevailing in their home country and/or elsewhere. Text & Pics Š Mark Ulyseas


Interviews with remarkable people by Mark Ulyseas Professor Unni Wikan anthropologist & Author Faceless in a Crowd lepers - beautiful people Delphine Robbe marine biologist Mike Fincken captain Rainbow Warrior Greenpeace Butterfly of the night a prostitute in Bali Michael Franti musician, poet, writer Rice Farmer living on the edge Bobby Chinn celebrity chef Cassandra bencong girly boy One dollar for music raoul wijffels & rudolf dethu Balinese schoolteacher living from hand to mouth Adib Hidayat managing editor RollingStone magazine The Shaman of two worlds Text & Pics Š Mark Ulyseas


Professor Unni Wikan

celebrated Norwegian anthropologist and author of Managing Turbulent Hearts – A Balinese Formula for Living speaks to Mark Ulyseas in an exclusive interview. Thanks to Terje Holte Nilsen for making this happen.

MU - Many visitors, women being in the majority, view Bali as a ‘feminine’ island with a culture that is all embracing. Do you feel that the increasing number of immigrants to this island will dilute or distort this culture? And will it (Balinese culture) morph into a more aggressive form thereby seeing a clash of cultures? UW - I never thought of Bali as a ´feminine´ island; to me, such a concept does not make sense. Bali is a rich and complex civilization with a multitude of ways and “cultures” being practiced, some of them strongly patriarchal. I do not think that immigration as such presents a danger to this remarkable Culture. On the other hand, the exposure of youth to manifold influences through globalization, modern forms of communication, tourism etc. will undoubtedly have its impact, in Bali as elsewhere. We cannot say at this point in time what will emerge. It is not just a question of what happens in Bali but in the wider world. MU - Do you think that the concrete jungle that is growing across the isle will alienate the Balinese with the growing influence of the “hotel and villa” culture? And what, if any, is the way out?

UW - I wish I had the answer to your question for there is clearly the danger that you point to. The Balinese have traditionally lived in close harmony with nature; you couldn´t cut down a tree or erect a building, even a hut, without appeasing and taking permission from supernatural spirits. The “hotel and villa” culture is fundamentally transforming the land and disturbing spirits that used to belong in certain places and that are a part of Balinese cosmology. On the other hand, the Balinese resemble other humans in that they are pragmatic, and these new developments offer jobs to many people. There is no win-win situation. MU - Many long time residents believe the Balinese must be more pragmatic in terms of rescinding their responsibilities of the numerous mandatory attendances at religious ceremonies for the responsibilities of a job? Please comment.

UW - This is a challenge in many societies, how to accommodate job obligations with religious or ritual observances. I did fieldwork in Bhutan, a Buddhist country, and the same concern arose there: what could be required of job attendance of people who every so often had other “legitimate” ritual concerns. Or take Muslims in Norway, my country: praying five times a day at specific intervals is not easily combined with many kinds of job. Solutions must be found and generally, religions can be flexible: they are, after all, partly man-made. MU - There appears to be a growing gap between the haves and have not’s – the former being expats and the latter, Balinese. Do you think that this will lead to a backlash that will see a rise in criminal activities and in general disrespect for the Tamu (guest) leading to law and order problems?

UW - We see such problems emerging in many societ ies, they seem to be part and parcel of globalization. Organized, transnational crime is also on the rise everywhere. What is special about Bali, as I know it, is how peaceful and orderly the island still is. But one should be aware. Large-scale tourism naturally changes people´s perceptions of the Tamu, and the way many tourists (and some expats) behave further creates disrespect. Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas


Text & Pics Š Mark Ulyseas


MU - Some say that marriages between expats and Balinese, where the age gap being a generation or two is abhorrent and should be curtailed; often these marriages are not legalized with competent authorities from the foreign embassies thereby disenfranchising the offspring from their rights to citizenship of the foreign country from which one parent comes from. Are we witnessing the birth of a generation existing between the gaps in society? And will these children of the morrow become the catalyst for change? And what change do you perceive this to be? UW - I do not have first-hand knowledge of such cases, therefore it is hard for me to think through the implications with regard to Bali. Not having a legalized marriage is, however, a problem that many people in many countries are dealing with, and there is much international discussion of how to secure the rights of the child to paternity, inheritance and citizenship. Recently, there was a case in Egypt where a woman went to court because the man, with whom she had entered into a non-legalized (so called traditional – urfi – marriage) denied the child he had fathered paternity. In this case, both were Egyptians. She won, and has become an exemplar for others. I believe women can become the catalysts for change. MU - “I will not blame the rapes on Norwegian women. But Norwegian women must understand that we live in a Multicultural society and adapt themselves to it.” “Norwegian women must take their share of responsibility for these rapes.” You stated this in reference to high profile incidents in Norway involving immigrant men and the local (Norwegian) women. Do you think the reverse will happen in Bali, like attacks on ‘visitor women scantily clad’ by ‘locals’ because the ‘visitors’ have shown ignorance of the social norms and/or not understood the prevalent culture?

UW - I have never said that women must take their share of responsibility for rapes. This is sheer misrepresentation of my statement. The rapist bears full responsibility for rape, which is a crime. What I did say was that many immigrants come from societies where the way many Norwegian women dress and behave is misunderstood to mean that they are immoral. In a multicultural society, it is an advantage if people learn something about one another´s codes of communication. The same applies if you are a tourist. It is a sad fact of life that women are exposed much more than men to sexual violence. So women need to be careful, and knowledge is power. But full responsibility for rape resides with the rapist.

MU - Some say that marriages between expats and Balinese, where the age gap being a generation or two is abhorrent and should be curtailed; often these marriages are not legalized with competent authorities from the foreign embassies thereby disenfranchising the offspring from their rights to citizenship of the foreign country from which one parent comes from. Are we witnessing the birth of a generation existing between the gaps in society? And will these children of the morrow become the catalyst for change? And what change do you perceive this to be? UW - I do not have first-hand knowledge of such cases, therefore it is hard for me to think through the implications with regard to Bali. Not having a legalized marriage is, however, a problem that many people in many countries are dealing with, and there is much international discussion of how to secure the rights of the child to paternity, inheritance and citizenship. Recently, there was a case in Egypt where a woman went to court because the man, with whom she had entered into a non-legalized (so called traditional – urfi – marriage) denied the child he had fathered paternity. In this case, both were Egyptians. She won, and has become an exemplar for others. I believe women can become the catalysts for change. Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas


PROFESSOR UNNI WIKAN

UW - I do not have first-hand knowledge of such cases, therefore it is hard for me to think through the implications with regard to Bali. Not having a legalized marriage is, however, a problem that many people in many countries are dealing with, and there is much international discussion of how to secure the rights of the child to paternity, inheritance and citizenship. Recently, there was a case in Egypt where a woman went to court because the man, with whom she had entered into a non-legalized (so called traditional – urfi – marriage) denied the child he had fathered paternity. In this case, both were Egyptians. She won, and has become an exemplar for others. I believe women can become the catalysts for change.

MU - “I will not blame the rapes on Norwegian women. But Norwegian women must understand that we live in a Multicultural society and adapt themselves to it.” “Norwegian women must take their share of responsibility for these rapes.” You stated this in reference to high profile incidents in Norway involving immigrant men and the local (Norwegian) women. Do you think the reverse will happen in Bali, like attacks on ‘visitor women scantily clad’ by ‘locals’ because the ‘visitors’ have shown ignorance of the social norms and/or not understood the prevalent culture? UW - I have never said that women must take their share of responsibility for rapes. This is sheer misrepresentation of my statement. The rapist bears full responsibility for rape, which is a crime. What I did say was that many immigrants come from societies where the way many Norwegian women dress and behave is misunderstood to mean that they are immoral. In a multicultural society, it is an advantage if people learn something about one another´s codes of communication. The same applies if you are a tourist. It is a sad fact of life that women are exposed much more than men to sexual violence. So women need to be careful, and knowledge is power. But full responsibility for rape resides with the rapist. MU - Is then, cultural clashes and clichés the raison d’être foran emerging ‘irrational society’?

UW - No, I wouldn´t use such a term. Society is not “irrational” but persons can be. However, rape does not have to do with irrationality. It is a crime usually committed by wholly rational people. MU - You have written a number of books that have thrown light on the travails and tribulations and the constant fight for survival between man and woman in societies that discriminate. Does your book “Behind the veil in Arabia: Women of Oman” shed light or reflect the state of women in general in societies across the world like India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and beyond? And is the treatment of women in a society reflective of its ethos?

UW - Oman is special. It was, and continues to be to me an exemplar of a good Muslim society where women are well respected and treated. Oman has an enlightened ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who has had the power for nearly forty years, and has done a world of good for his country, including women. Yes, there is an ethos in Oman that underscores gracious behavior and that is reflected in the treatment of women. It is different from what you find in many other parts of the Muslim world, local culture and religion always intersect, and so Oman is quite different from not just Afghanistan or Iran, but also its neighbor, Saudi Arabia. That said, there are also similarities: Polygamy – a man´s right to have several wives simultaneously – still holds in many parts of the Muslim and non-Muslim world, Oman included. Men are privileged in numerous ways. But Oman could point the way to what other traditional societies, more harsh to women – Muslim, Hindu, Christian etc. – can become. Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas


“We don’t want anybody to know about our heart. If we express we will make others disappointed, and perhaps angry too. Balinese do not want to make another unhappy. - Suriati” Text & & Pics Pics © © Mark Mark Ulyseas Ulyseas Text


PROFESSOR UNNI WIKAN

MU - What is the role of a culture? Does it create, give birth to or is it a matrix in which we are all born? And does this matrix hamstring enlightenment/progress in all parameters of society? UW - We are born into cultures; I was born on an island in the Arctic Ocean in a part of Norway called the Land of the Midnight Sun, and my view on the world is profoundly shaped by the influences I came under through my formative 18 years there. But cultures are ever changing, just like people; indeed, it is people who make up cultures, we are the agents, culture in itself can do nothing, it is just a word, a concept. It is important to keep this in mind: People have in their power to create and make “culture” happen, for good or bad. Therefore too, culture clash is not a term I use: it indicates that there is something there with the power to act by itself. Think of people instead, and you have a better instrument for building peace. MU - As a celebrated and highly respected anthropologist do you think that Bali will survive the onslaught of the continuing influx of alien cultures bombarding the island; and will this be the beginning of a convergence that will bring about a new evolved society or will it be another reason for a conflict of cultures? UW - Bali has withstood a continuing influx of alien cultures for a long time in history. That gives me hope for the future of this gem of a civilization. Bali is bound to go on changing and evolving; and society fifty years from now will be different from the one we know. But I believe there is a solid core that is sustainable and that may even take on a stronger identity as “Balinese” as cultures mix and mingle. Or, I should rather say, as people from different cultures mix and mingle. My husband, Fredrik Barth, wrote a book called “Balinese Worlds”, plain and simple. That says it all: Bali consists of many worlds, many cultural traditions that have co-existed, competed, and also enriched one another. This is due to the resourcefulness and tolerance of Balinese people. MU - What are you working on now and will you be visiting Bali in the near future? UW - I have just finished two books – one published in the US, the other in Norway, on honor killings in present-day Europe. A sad topic I never planned to handle but that became urgent with the murders of several young girls by their (immigrant) families in Europe. One is called In Honor of Fadime: Murder and Shame and deals with the fate of a young Swedish-Kurdish woman who was killed by her own father because she had “dishonored” her family by choosing her own love in life and refusing a forced marriage to a cousin. Her story made the international community wake up to the fact that honor killings do not just belong to “them” but to “us” in the West, and has helped to put the problem on the international agenda. Now I am about to do something much more pleasant: embark on a long fieldtrip to Arabia (Yemen, Oman and Saudi Arabia) to explore ideas of freedom and dignity post 9/11, and to see how these ideas are put into practice in various walks of life. As an Arabic speaker I can work without interpreters and as a woman, I have easy access to people, I am not considered a threat. Among places I will visit is the Hadramawt in North Yemen where some families I know in Singaraja originally came from so I will explore the links; there have been close connections between inner Arabia and Indonesia for centuries, with influences going both ways. I have also an ongoing project in Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas, where I have spent much time to explore culture and religion. I was last in Bali a year ago, and hope to return later this year. It is very much a part of my heart. The author Unni Wikan is Professor in the Institute of Ethnography at the University of Oslo, Norway. Her books include - Behind the Veil in Arabia: Women in Oman and Tomorrow, God Willing: Self-made Destinies in Cairo. All the abovementioned books have been published by The University of Chicago Press, U.S.A Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas


This story has not been written to “frighten” away tourists. But simply to tell a story about people that people forget. About children of a lesser God - the lepers of Bali Many of us have come to this island to suck the elixir of eternal youth: our notions of living life to the fullest often regardless of the people around us. Just once let us hold the hands of those afflicted with leprosy to help them live a life and to die with dignity.

Often ignorance is an excuse for bliss. But it could also be a way of living in a fool’s paradise. Bali is much more than a paradise. It is and will always be paradoxical: The Yin and Yang controlling the life tides of ebb and flow. We must respect all living beings on this island. So read this story and after doing so let us all walk out of the door and start giving back to Bali what we have taken for so long…Life. When I was confronted by the thought of actually meeting and talking to leprosy patients I was a bit circumspect about hygiene and worse still being confronted with ugliness amidst beauty. As an Indian who had worked at Mother Theresa’s Home for the Destitute and Dying in Calcutta in the ‘70s and who faced death there every morning, the “leprosy problem” as some so succinctly put it is not really a problem. It is a misplaced common human reaction to a disease that has been the scourge of mankind since time immemorial, but which is easily curable! Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas


FFAACCEELLEESSSS IINN AA C R O W D

Being from a country that has (I presume) one of the largest populations of lepers, I am surprised at the adverse reaction I have received when I have spoken to residents on this island. Surprisingly this has not come from Balinese but from expats who have business interests here and also from international clubs. The most common remarks have been: “This is Bali, it’s beautiful why are you talking of ugliness we don’t want to see it”. “Come off it seriously there are no lepers on Bali…”

“You can’t talk about this it will drive the tourists away. Bali doesn’t need this now”. “You Indians always want to talk of poverty and disease…get real”.

Yes I did get real. I talked to my Balinese friends who were gracious and most helpful in taking me to parts of Bali that many have not travelled to meet with motley ragged scattered bunches of lepers living on the outskirts of humanity. This journey took me to my soul and I beg to ask the question, “Is there a God?” Driving from Seminyak to the ‘other part’ of Bali along dusty village roads to far-flung hamlets it was like searching for an elusive tribe. No one wanted to speak about them. No one acknowledged them. Yet they existed in their filthy clothes, smelling of rotting flesh and worse still the children. In their eyes bore testimony of a generation lost because of ignorance and fear, fear of the unknown and fear of becoming like them. When I entered an area made up of a few coconut huts I was confronted by a group of ragged adults and children. As someone once said, “The eyes are the windows to the soul”. All I could see were their eyes that stared into oblivion in a catatonic like trance with a hint of hope…hope for succour. Walking up to a young child and introducing myself with an outstretched hand I received a hearty handshake from a stump of a hand and a smile that dispelled the gloom. “What’s your name,” I asked?

“Kadek,” the child replied in a tiny voice.

“How long have you been living like this?”

“As long as I can remember. I don’t feel anything in my hands and feet. You have any food? I’m hungry.”

Text Text& &Pics Pics© ©Mark MarkUlyseas Ulyseas


I hadn’t brought any food but after rummaging in my pockets I found half a roll of Mentos, which I promptly gave him. He put it to his mouth and began peeling the wrapper away. In seconds he was munching the sweet while grimacing. Perplexed, I asked him why? “My teeth hurt.”

Suddenly the motley group turned their backs and started walking down the path towards the road. A few metres away they stopped and waited for a second and then raced forward. I ran after them curious to see what they were doing. Turning the corner I saw them bending over plastic packets. It was food and water left by the villagers.

Back at the “camp site” they shuffled around laying a tattered cloth on the ground. They sat down and began eating. I declined their invitation to join them. Kadek suddenly got up and held my hand. “Why aren’t you eating?” “My teeth hurt!!”

“Oh okay. Then if you’re not eating why don’t you show me where you sleep?”

Kadek gently held my hand and guided me to a small coconut shelter that I presumed was used for cattle. It was his home. Open to the vagaries of nature this was his room. On the floor of covered with tattered cloth lay bits and pieces of colourful empty packaging of detergents. “Why do you collect this?” “I want to be an artist.”

Watching his stump of a hand waving around while he talked and the glimmer of life lurking in his eyes I wanted to carry him away from all the sorrow and pain.

“At night the animals and insects come to me. But I don’t feel anything. I wish they would go away and let me sleep”. “Do you have any friends to play with?”

“Yes in this group but we have no toys. And we can’t go to the village to play with the children there. Most of the time I like talking to the trees. They are my friends. Only at night they make a noise”. Text&&Pics Pics© ©Mark MarkUlyseas Ulyseas Text


FACELESS IN A CROWD

Suddenly silence blanketed us and for a moment time stood still. Then life returned with a gust of breeze. Probably it was the angel of death reminding us…

It’s noon and with the warmth of the sun the flies returned buzzing around us like hungry creatures. Fortunately Made returned from the village to escort me back to the car. I wanted to run away and hide from humanity. I made my farewells and promised to return with crayons and paper for my little friend. And yes, food too.

Kadek stood at a distance and gazed at me waving his little arms and grinning like a Cheshire cat. “Suksama,” he shouted

“Dhanyavaad,” I replied folding my hands and bowing ever so gently. And under my breath I whispered, “I wish you well my dear Kadek”.

Back at the car I meet a few villagers whose relatives I had just met. They enquire about their wellbeing and apologise for having ostracized them. “What can we do? We don’t want to get the disease.” I tell them it’s curable.

Their doubtful looks are not encouraging.

One unnamed health official tells me that the government has been fighting a battle educating people, timely detection of the disease and medical help. Though the local communities do their best it is still short of what is required. They need sufficient funds for medicines, nurses and doctors. And more importantly a program to educate the people.

Sections of this article appeared in my column Paradox in Paradise in The Bali Times

Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas


“I prefer to see Tuna in the sea than on a plate” Delphine Robbe, Agronomist, Co-Founder of the Biorock Project, Gili Trawangan, Indonesia.

Delphine was born in Paris. She studied in France and Canada obtaining her Masters in Agronomy Engineering followed by fieldwork in Madagascar in 2002. After that she traveled for over a year and a half in South East Asia, India, Mexico, Costa Rica, Israel, Gautemala etc. and then came to Indonesia in 2004 to do a Dive Master and Instructor Course at Big Bubble, Gili Trawangan (Gili T). Here she met her present employer, Anna Walker who was instrumental in setting up the non-profit organization, Gili Eco Trust, with Anthony Clubbey and Maurice Stevens of Manta Dive. In 2005 Delphine founded the Bio Rock Project in Gili T with Foued Kadachi and Laurent Lavoye. Mark Ulyseas met Delphine at Scallywags, a beachfront restaurant on Gili T, to talk about her life and work.

Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas


DELPHINE ROBBE

What is Bio Rock technology? The two scientists who invented Biorock Technology was Dr. Tom Goreau, a marine biologist and Professor Wolf Hilbertz, an architect and inventor of electrolysis. The discovery came about when Hilbertz was studying how seashells and reefs grow by passing electricity through the salt water. He observed that calcium carbonate (Aragonite) slowly formed around the cathode, coating the electrode with a material as strong as concrete. And as long as current was passing through the structure it continued to grow at the rate of 5cm a year. When damaged the structure could also heal itself. This discovery prompted Hilbertz to devise a plan to grow low-cost structures in the ocean for developing countries. It caught the imagination of author Marshall Savage who wrote a book titled The Millennial Project.

However, his focus shifted to regeneration of coral reefs when he met Tom Goreau, a marine biologist, who was working on the preservation of reefs affected by erosion, pollution and global warming. The Biorock process is simple. Build a tunnel shaped steel structure in size 10 meters long x 1.5 meters in width. Then place it under water. Connect electrical cables to a 12-volt battery on the shore and attach the cables to the underwater structure. Through electrolysis with the salt water limestone forms and grows on the structure. Coral can be broken off from the reef and tied to the structure. The electric current assists in the growth of the coral from 2 to 6 times faster than usual. Why did you start the project at Gili T?

After one year since my arrival in 2004 on Gili T, I started the Biodrock Project with Foued Kadachi and Laurent Lavoye because I was concerned about the state of the coral reefs around the Gilis. There was too much dead coral, pollution and above all no one was doing anything worthwhile to protect, preserve and sustain the reefs. I had earned enough money from my job in diving and I felt I needed to give back to the Gilis, to say thank you. This is my way. What is the importance of the Coral reefs?

The coral reefs protect the shoreline/beaches from erosion by breaking the wave action. But most importantly the coral reef is the habitat of nearly 70% of the fish in the ocean. It also acts like a nursery for the sea creatures. So the survival, good health and continuance of the reefs are vital for all living beings. The coral reefs act as a classroom for marine biologists; students and tourists to learn all about sea life because it can be observed at close quarters.

Text & Pics Š Mark Ulyseas


What are the results of your work? I am happy to announce that we have regenerated nearly 1.5 kilometers of coral reef. I could not have done this without the help of the Gili Eco Trust, SATGAS (Indonesian Security Force that assists in protecting the areas from being damaged/illegal fishing etc.), the Professors and students of Mataram University, Lombok; And more importantly the expats and Indonesian businesses on the isles. In 2006 we conducted the Fourth Indonesian Biorock Training Workshop for scientists/students/divers/ artists from all over the world. There were 35 participants. A total of 10 structures were built and installed East-South of the island. Since then many more structures have been put up.

In 2008 we organized workshops for 52 students/marine biologists/diving instructors/Indonesian businesses and restaurateurs. We are now registered to certify divers in PADI Biorock Speciality. Recently, CNN filmed a documentary on the work done on the reefs. This is very heartening as the international community will see how Indonesia is coping with its environment and help will come from all quarters. Why do you like the Gilis?

No cars. No motorbikes. No dogs. It’s quiet and I can dive everyday. Any advice for visitors to the isles?

Don’t throw toilet paper in the bowl. Don’t throw plastic. Save water, save energy. Enjoy Nature don’t destroy it. Don’t walk on the reef. Don’t collect seashells or coral. Don’t buy seashells or coral. As an incentive we offer one free dive on the first Monday of every month to those who spend one day on the isle picking up plastic and other polluting waste from the beach and other areas. Why do you seem one with the sea?

When I was twelve years old I did my first dive. It was off Reunion Island (next to Mauritius). During this dive I saw dolphins, the angels of the sea. The feeling of being part of a beautiful environment and being one with it was so overwhelming that I had to become a citizen of the sea and protector of it. The sensation of water all around me caressing my body, the colorful sights of fish and coral and the silence… yes silence. Swimming in the sea is like being an intrinsic part of an exotic world. Do you understand what I am trying to say? Where do you think this passion and lust for life comes from?

My father. He was a pilot with Air France and he also performed stunning aerobatics. Unfortunately during one of his maneuvers he crashed. I was six years old when he died at 33. I love him very much. I carry him in my heart wherever I travel. Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas


You are now a 31-year old, unmarried? Do you ever think of settling down? Why should one settle down? Life is one fascinating journey. I don’t want to get married or have babies because I will die by the time I am 33, just like my father. I have so much work to do for the environment and not enough time. Will you continue living on this island?

No. My dream is to live on an Eco Boat and sail around the world educating people on how to preserve and sustain the environment. Do you have a message for the readers?

The seas sustain all life on the planet. Help us to preserve it by not plundering its natural resources and polluting its world. I appeal to you to become true vegetarians – no meat or seafood. This will help stem the savage rape of the seas, thereby giving us an extended lease of life.

Professor Wolf Hilbertz died of cancer in Munich, Germany, August 11, 2007. The world has lost a true citizen of the sea. Many Indonesians and expats in Bali and the rest of the archipelago fondly remember him for his assistance on the preservation of the coral reefs in this country. “Mike”, the world’s first hydrogen bomb, vaporized Elugelap Island and other parts of the Enewetak Atoll (Marshall Islands) on November 01, 1952. (The blast was 700 times more powerful than the explosion that leveled Hiroshima). In the half century or so since then humans have destroyed around a quarter - some say a half - of all tropical coral reefs, which are one the world’s richest and oldest ecosystems and provide vital benefits in over 100 countries. Will the rest be gone within another fifty years - or less? – http://www.coralstory.blogspot.com Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas


A meeting with a Rainbow Warrior “There is a prophecy from the First Nations of America that there will come a time when the earth will become sick, its waters polluted and the skies full of smoke and at that time there will rise up from all around the planet warriors and they would be known as the Warriors of the Rainbow. They will fight the forces destroying the earth and return to all that has been plundered from it. We hope these warriors would also come from Bali,” said Mike Fincken, skipper of the Greenpeace boat, Rainbow Warrior, to me when we met last December in Bali. This is the second boat of the same name. The first one was blown up by the French Authorities to prevent Greenpeace from protesting the nuclear tests in the Pacific.

In December 2007, nations gathered in Bali to confabulate and agree upon a strategy to prevent the further destruction of the earth by wanton pollution. It was grandly called the UN Climate Change Conference. I didn’t attend the jamboree. But I did get an opportunity to board the Rainbow Warrior anchored at Benoa harbour to speak one on one with the captain, Mike Fincken. He agreed to my request for an interview of sorts provided he spoke in his personal capacity and not as the official spokesman for Greenpeace. I was only too happy to share a cuppa with him while he showed me around the boat.

The ensuing encounter brought back memories of the Sunder Bans and the savage rape of its fragile eco system. Afraid of reliving this reality that one had ‘left’ behind when recording Mike’s utterances for posterity, I filed this story under the heading miscellaneous hoping to return to it at another time; And what better time than now when plastic waste continues to clog and pollute the rivers and sea shores of Bali – the island that breathes a beautiful life into all who arrive at its doorstep. Mike, as he prefers to be called, has been sailing the Rainbow Warrior for the last two years. He has worked a total of 12 years with Greenpeace. Being a pacifist South African when Mandela was incarcerated in jail on Robin Island, he went to sea Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas

to avoid the compulsory conscription then in force. As head of operations on a cargo ship loading lumber in Vancouver he began wondering as to source of the wood and the resultant destruction of pristine wilderness wrought by mindless logging. This ignited an interest in environmental groups and their actions and brought Mike in contact with Greenpeace and in particular its maritime service. He began a correspondence with their office for two years while at the same time completing the mandatory 10 years sailing to obtain certification of Master Mariner. In 1996, he resigned his job and at his own expense flew from Cape Town to Amsterdam, the HQ of Greenpeace to volunteer his services. He was assigned to a boat called Moby Dick without salary but board and lodging. “An unforgettable and humbling experience has been sailing in the south sea of Antarctica… on display Nature in its purest form, untouched and virginal… The vast whiteness and untamed wilds with lots of Orcas and hump back Minkes frolicking in the


MIKE FINCKEN

sea… Sunrays refracting on the ice creating mini rainbows…the mesmerising sparkle of light in many hues of pinks, blues and reds. Alas, every time we return on our annual visit we have to sail further and further south to reach the main ice lands as global warming has affected the South Pole by slowly melting the ice cap. This is the result of what we are doing to our planet, our only home. Do you know that two thirds of climate change is the direct result of energy production? We need to promote alternative sources of energy like solar power,” lamented Mike.

years. This is because their staple food, Plankton, is diminishing primarily due to global warming that is destroying the ozone layer and letting in harmful UV rays that affect the growth of Plankton. The truth is that more whales will die due to the effects of global warming than by exploding harpoons.

Mike has been on many missions with his associates riding the choppy seas in motorised rubber boats to act as a shield between the whales and the fishing fleets. The danger of exploding harpoons does not deter him. I suppose the cost of one human life for the sake of the survival of a species is a small price to pay.

At the end of the enlightening meeting, the skipper handed me a signed message from him to all who dwell on this isle. It is included as an insert in this column. Let us cut it out and keep it in our wallets as a constant reminder of our duty to preserve this paradise.

During the Climate Change Conference, the Indonesian Minister for Environment launched, from the Rainbow Warrior, the government’s program; “Energy Efficient Bali 2008 – Switch off, unplug and enjoy”. (What progress has been in the last nine Greenpeace has three boats: Rainbow Warrior months is anyone’s guess). Mike firmly believes that (small), Artic Sunrise (medium) and the Esperanza such a program will be successful if each one of us (large), which means hope in Spanish. takes on the responsibility as an individual. And this could start by every person doing his or her small I asked him about the Japanese whaling fleets, how bit like not littering, picking up plastic waste and and why they killed whales for scientific experiments conserving energy by unplugging appliances not in and how Greenpeace has often successfully stopped use. them from slaughtering whole herds. With the arrival of another round of coffee, the He told me that when the Japanese whaling fleet skipper spoke emotionally about his small home in locates a herd of whales they fire harpoons that South Africa and how his interest in the environment strike the whales and explode inside their bodies began after he took a course in organic vegetable immobilising them. When a whale has been hit the farming: tilling the soil with his bare hands, feeling others, on hearing its distress calls, gather around to the moist earth and discovering the many tiny comfort it. This is when a number of them are also creatures like earthworms and beetles in his small shot. The sea turns red with blood to the wailing garden. It sensitised him to the value of all life. song of the gentle giants of the oceans. Then the fleet moves in and secures each whale by the tail And yes Mike is a vegetarian and so are two thirds with rope hauling it tail first onto the boat. As the of his crew. He told me that the Rainbow Warrior is profusely bleeding whale is still alive its head is left like a floating United Nations as the crew of 15 came under water for a while so that it drowns. from 13 countries.

It has been suggested that we can begin by first banning plastic bags on Bali and then clearing the plastic waste that is defiling this sacred isle of the gods.

On the other hand the Japanese also conduct scientific experiments. For instance, they annually measure and record the size of the stomach of a number of whales. Apparently the condition and size of the innards is a barometer of the state of Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om the environment. For instance, it has been known that whale stomachs have been shrinking over the Sections of this article appeared in my column Paradox in Paradise in The Bali Times

Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas


BUTTER FLY OF THE NIGHT

And then? My parents who were very poor couldn’t support me so I began selling vegetables at the local bazaar. At that time we were surviving on US 50 cents a day. Tired of such a poor life I came to Bali thinking I could get a job for a lot of money. I guess I have. (Laughs). How much money do you send home every month? US$ 600/-

How many members in your family? There are five of us - my father, mother, younger brother and my five-year-old daughter. The world’s oldest profession exists on the assumption that human beings need physical sustenance and tender loving care – for a price; the end justifying the means or vice versa. The professional gets paid for the services rendered and the customer leaves after having given into an urge or a fantasy or both, as the case may be. The professional is a butterfly that exists precariously on the edge of humanity, shunned by a hypocritical society and used as a receptacle for the male/female libido. Often the lives of such individuals become easy targets for unscrupulous people, warped religious aficionados and perverts. The prevalent apathetic society that feeds on the lasciviousness of life only fuels the urge in many of us to fall prey to carnal desires that exceed the boundaries of propriety and common sense (morals in this case being elastic). This is an excerpt from the conversation that took place. Some details have been omitted - names/places have been changed to avoid embarrassment to known/unknown persons and to maintain a semblance of decorum. Tell us your name and where do you come from? I won’t tell you my real name. You can call me Tina, that’s the name one of my customer’s calls me. Actually it’s the name of his wife. He says he loves his wife. I am not from Bali. I came here about five years ago, leaving my sixmonth-old baby with my parents. You are married? I was married for little less than a year till I got pregnant. My husband was very angry and divorced me because he didn’t want children. Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas

Do your parents know what you do? Yes but they don’t say anything. Such things are never spoken about at home. My mother keeps telling me to leave this job and to return home to look after my daughter and maybe to start an honest business there. I think I will retire next year and return home if God wills it. Have you saved enough for your retirement? I have a house, car, ten Are of land, many motorcycles that are given out on hire and I hope to open a shop in my hometown to sell nice things from Bali. How old are you? I am 24 years old. Been in this job for nearly five years.

How did you become a Kupu Kupu Malam? When I came to Bali I met this very kind taxi driver who patiently explained how I could become a working girl. In fact he got me my first customer, David, who paid me US$15/-. He too was very helpful and got me many rich customers. He loved me but I hated him. And you know why?

Why? Because he took advantage of me, he threatened to report me to the police if I didn’t give him a freebie for every few customers he got me. But he never took money from me. Thankfully he died of cancer after about a year of dealing with me. How old was the youngest and the oldest customer? And how many customers do you entertain a day? The youngest was a sixteen year old from Frenchie (France). And the oldest was a seventy year old from England. The Englishman was very gentle and treated me like a lady. I would have married him if he were not already married. On a normal day I have two or three


customers. But this number goes up during peak tourist season. Then I sometimes have around eight or nine of them. I don’t mind. Some are very scared; others give me presents and food. Have you been sick with a disease you could have contracted from your customers? Yes, twice I had to go to the doctor. Now I insist on using protection otherwise no happy ending.

Do you believe in God? I believe in a God but I curse the world for making me a woman. Men just phone me, use me and then go back to their wives. Men are like Bali dogs. That’s why I like spending mental and physical time with women. They talk to me, listen to me when I am speaking to them and are always understanding when I sometimes mess things up. Above all they are very gentle in bed. What is your favorite color? Black because it covers all what I do and no one on the road can see through it.

Do you have a boyfriend? I have many boyfriends - One at home and three (New Zealand, Spanish and Australia) here in Bali. My Australian friend wants to marry me and take me away. He knows what I do for a living but he truly loves me. I don’t trust men. They can’t stay with one woman for life. They have to try new ones all the time.

What goes through your mind when you are alone in your room? I lie in bed and think about the men. How sad they really are. How stupid they are. And then I begin to feel happy because I know they will need me whenever my phone rings. So many men thinking about me, makes me feel good. I make them happy and then I take their money. I get angry when they take credit and don’t pay on time. What was your wish when you were a little girl? I wanted to be happily married and to live a decent life.

If you had one wish from God what would you ask for? To be born a man.

Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas


Who are you Michael Franti? I am a musician and a filmmaker. My goal is to be a musical communicator of social justice and tolerance. Music and moving pictures help me translate my words into tangible symphonies of images and sound. Where are you from?

San Francisco. I was adopted by Charles Franti, an Afro-Native American and Carol Franti of Irish/French/German descent. Where did you first get your inspiration to write poetry and play music?

I used to play basketball when I studied at the University of San Francisco and lived above the campus radio station, which used to play all kinds of music. The rhythms, beautiful voices crooning, lamenting and rejoicing in life ignited that spark in me to be a creative person. I wanted to put my poetry to music to get my word across to people who I think are the best part of Nature. Text & Pics Š Mark Ulyseas


MICHAEL FRANTI

Can you recall one of your performances that still holds a special place in your heart, and why? Well in June 06 I performed at the Folsom Prison. It was the first performance since Johnny Cash visited the place 37 years ago when he sang Folsom Prison Blues. Folsom prison is Level 4 maximum-security prison. The prisoners are hardened criminals and yet when I sang one of my songs – One step closer to you – they broke down and cried, holding each other and singing along with the guards and me – I believe in the spiritual, I believe in the miracle, I believe in the one above, I believe in the one I love, and take me one step closer to you. It was an experience that left me believing there was a benign and loving God who cared for even the most evil of us all. For a moment I saw the prisoners for what they really were – lost children of the world. I also understood what Johnny Cash was trying to do so long ago.

Have you performed at any other prisons in the States? Ya, at San Quentin, youth and women’s prisons. In fact I will be teaching yoga in Salt Lake City prison in January 08. I believe there is a lot of wisdom to be found in prison ‘cause both men and women criminals during their incarceration have time to contemplate their lives and to slowly sync with the universe. But am not for the death penalty. Taking a life for a life does no one any good nor does it achieve any purpose. Tell us about your recordings? Michael Franti Spearhead has recorded a total of 12 albums till date. My CD - Everybody Deserves Music – is on sale at Kafe. The latest one, which has still to reach Ubud is – All Rebel Ruckus. It’s a hip hop/reggae/ rock mix, which was recorded in Jamaica. And films? I made the movie – I know am not alone – in June 04. I spoke to the people on the streets of Baghdad, Palestine, Israel and the Gaza Strip.

And festivals? Every year in Frisco I am part of festival – The Power to the People - that occurs very close to September 11, when more than 50,000 people congregate to hear musicians from all over the world. We don’t want 9/11 remembered as a day when the call was made to war but a day when the call has been made to end all wars. How did you meet you wife? Carla Swanson volunteered to help me on the film I was making on Iraq in 04. At that time she was a successful film editor at Hollywood with written and spoken knowledge of Arabic, Spanish and Japanese. In fact when she saw the rough cut of the movie she could understand the Arabic spoken by the Iraqis on the streets of Baghdad. She is my partner in films, manager of the website, merchandiser, art director, stage design and music videos. Will you be visiting Ubud again? I will be performing at Meghan Beth Pappenhiem’s Bali Spirit Festival (a celebration of yoga, dance, music, love and gratitude) being held at Yogabarn from March 05 to the 16th, 2008. A part of the proceeds is going to Robin Lim’s Yayasan – Bumi Sehat – for the building of a new wing at the medical centre.

Any last thoughts? I believe in the power of melody and rhythm to communicate the problems that afflict the world. And the greatest gift for me is to see people smile and rejoice when they hear my songs

Sections of this article appeared in my column Paradox in Paradise in The Bali Times

Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas


RICE FARMER-TEGALLALANG-BALI

“I want to tell my Gods, it’s not fair” Seventy five year old Pak Wayan Runia is a farmer who has been tiling the immaculately laid out terraced rice fields like his forefathers had done for hundreds of years. He lives with his wife, daughter, son in law and a grandchild in a modest dwelling. The daughter and her husband work part time for a workshop producing handicrafts.

Pak Wayan owns 20 Are of land cultivating rice and reaping two harvests a year. Each harvest, which is every six months, gives him 100 kg rice. Some of this he sells for approximately US 40 cents per kg if money is in short supply, which is quite often. The rest is for domestic consumption for a period of six months.

He pays US$ 5 per month for electricity, US$ 5 per month for water, US$ 8 Tax per annum, 6 kg rice from every harvest to the Subak (water authority), US$ 5 and US$ 2.5 for every major and minor religious ceremony respectively. Free or subsidized medical aid and/or insurance are absent.

Pak Wayan has a fiscal deficit of US$ 40 every month as sometimes his daughter and son in law who work part time are laid off.

In return he gives the people of his homeland and tourists a free view of the world famous terraced rice fields of Bali. The reward? Commercial establishments mushrooming around his ‘work’, peddling the rice field views through the media, local and international, hotels selling rooms at a premium for the view he has created with great toil; Photographers, journalists, artists et al jumping on the bandwagon. The local administration gives him US$ 25/- per year for the view.

Recently, a foreign movie crew filmed one whole night on his land after seeking his permission and promising to pay him. They have never returned nor paid him for trampling through the rice field. Mark Ulyseas asked him if this was the great rip off and who should be contacted to seek justice for him.

“I want to tell my Gods, it’s not fair”, replied Pak Wayan and then turned his back and silently walked into the rice fields. Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas


Text & Pics Š Mark Ulyseas


On Thursday in the Bella Singaraja Restaurant of the Intercontinental Bali Resort, Jimbaran, Celebrity Chef Bobby Chinn, the swashbuckling host of World Café Asia, Discovery Travel & Living Channel, author of the cookbook ‘Wild, Wild East, Recipes and Stories from Vietnam and owner of the famous Bobby Chinn Restaurant in Hanoi –gave us a Kitchen demo and press luncheon hosted by the hotel. With verbal antics and culinary gymnastics he introduced us to his world in the kitchen – the devil’s kitchen. Bobby demonstrated how to dissect a crab and prepare his famous tamarind glazed crab cakes; and Bun bo wagyu beef with rice noodles and salad. According to Bobby, Bun bo wagyu beef comes from the most pampered living creature on this planet – the cow that lives in Japan which is feed partly on beer and is given daily massages by hand! The luncheon menu was; grapes wrapped in goat’s cheese with a pistachio crust; Bobby’s famous tamarind glazed crab cakes; Bun bo wagyu beef with rice noodles and salad; And for dessert, coconut crème brulee. Of course, it goes without saying, each course was accompanied by fine wine. After the gourmet meal I retired with Bobby to the lush green lawns of the hotel to chat about his life and work.

Interviewing Bobby is like trying to communicate with someone who has a thousand volts of electricity going through him. He is a high voltage wire without insulation. So here goes. Could you share with the readers a glimpse of your background?

Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas

Well I am New Zealand born, studied in an English Boarding School, did my BA in Finance and Economics, worked on the New York Stock Exchange got disillusioned with the work and followed my passion for cooking by training under the guru chef Hubert Heller of Fleur De Lys. I did my apprenticeship in Bordeaux and Paris. To make ends meet I worked as a runner, busboy and steward in various restaurants. Actually my first work experience was in the kitchen of Elka, a Franco-Japanese restaurant in San Francisco.


BOBBY CHINN

So where does this passion for food come from? Both my grandmothers – one who is Chinese (Buddhist) and the other Egyptian (Muslim). My preferred food when I was homesick in school was; Moukh – deep-fried goats’ brains that is creamy inside with a crispy outer texture served in a sandwich. And the other favourites were and still are - Chicken Tikka Masala, Falafel and other Arabic food and Mexican food. I am enchanted by all kinds of cuisine. In the foods of the world I see reflected a people’s culture, age-old traditions and more importantly love. Probably that is why the cooking of my grandmothers captivated me. How would you describe yourself as a cook?

I am not that kind of cook who says, ‘Let’s create something new everyday’. My cooking is based on need and necessity. I am an artist in my own right. I get to paint the masterpiece while others have to repeat it everyday. (Laughs). Food for me is a tool. I remove myself from the emotional impact like cleaning a live crab. I was a vegetarian from 1982 to 1994 and stopped when I became a chef. Maybe in the distant future I will become a vegetarian again. So have you learnt everything you wanted to know as a chef?

Impossible. No one can say they have reached a point where they don’t need to learn anymore. For me I have reached a level in my work where no one wants to teach me. I find it difficult to get other wellknown chefs to share their knowledge. So I have to get creative and draw on my experience eating street food, food cooked for me when I visit people’s homes for a meal etc.

my book Wild, Wild East – recipes and Stories from Vietnam it tells all about the truly fascinating life that awaits all who arrive on its shores. What was your first experience in Bali?

Some years ago when hosting my maiden program World Café Asia in Bali, everything went wrong in the sense that I was not used to being ‘directed’ and needed to walk and talk naturally. But the following programs panned out well once we all got into the rhythm. What do you look forward to when you arrive in Bali?

Eating Betutu Bebek and satay and the sixty-minute Balinese massage that are unparalleled anywhere in the world, more importantly the Balinese who are experts in the hospitality field. I come here to relax and go back tired (laughs). Any suggestions for the readers?

Yes buy my book from any Periplus bookshop. On page 160 is the recipe for my signature dish Tamarind-Glazed Crab Cake with Chive Flowers. Go for it, try making it yourself and if you stumble and mess it up, try again and again till you get it right, that is, if you are an aspiring chef. Otherwise give me a call and I’ll drop by to cook it for you in return for a first class air ticket and stay at one of the luxurious suites at the Intercon (Laughs). www.bobbychinn.com

Sections of this article appeared in my column Paradox in Paradise in The Bali Times

Tell us what you have been doing in Vietnam?

I have been living and working in Hanoi for twelve years. After much travel I ended up in Vietnam and was instantly smitten by the wealth of culinary ingredients, applications, combinations and most importantly street food. I worked in a number of popular restaurants. Finally some years ago I started a restaurant, as I wanted to present my own eclectic cutting edge concoctions of food and drink. Read

Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas


CASSANDRA Contemporary society is unrelenting. It is like a juggernaut that often crushes individuality and smothers the voices of the meek, usually sidelining Nature’s genetic goof-ups, like the Bencongs (girly boys) in Bali: Boys who at a young age suddenly find themselves confronted with the reality that they are in effect ‘female trapped in male anatomy’. The memories of the growing up years imprison the hideous humiliation of being beaten by the boys in the school yard and shunned by the girls who viewed them as freaks of nature. They stumble through the labyrinth of social stigmas, ostracized by a society hell bent on maintaining a semblance of ‘normality’ (whatever this means). Cassandra, the Bencong who I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing, is a female in all respects except for the appendage of masculinity, preferred to be called a she and took umbrage every time I mistakenly addressed her as him. Is Cassandra your real name? No. But is it important what my name is? You ask me my name because you probably want to place me and know where I come from? Yes?

Yes. Ok. I was born into a family of 3 girls and two boys in a village in Makassar. At the age of six I knew I was a girl. My parents reluctantly accepted my condition and often referred to me as their fourth daughter. They love me very much.

Where did you do your schooling? In Makassar. In school I was taunted, beaten and my food stolen from me. Sometimes even the teachers treated me with disdain. I didn’t want to study. I wanted to be an actress; to be beautiful and famous and loved by all men. Did you complete your schooling? Yes I did.

And then? After that I worked in a beauty salon not far from home. I learned how to do pedicure, manicure and body massage. Many men and women customers would ask specially for me when they came to the shop. The customers were never rude and began tipping me generously. Once a customer gave me a tip of one dollar! I would give the extra money to my mother who would buy pretty things for me. It was at this time that a boy friend told me about the hormone tablets that were available to help me transit from male to female. I took them and still do take them. After sometime my body began changing and I grew breasts like a woman. Looking at myself in the mirror one day I realized I had become a woman. A few months later I got a job in Jakarta in a well known chain of beauty salons. It was the break I was looking for. My parents were sad to see me go but they were also happy, happy I was making my life as a woman. How was life in Jakarta? At first it was very difficult. My salary was not enough for Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas

board and lodging. I had to find a boyfriend to support me. Many men came and went in my life. Some helped me others abused me mentally and physically. At one time I went through a phase where I hated all men. But after a year, I think, things got better. I was being paid a higher salary and I had made many friends with people like me (Bencongs). We would dress up and go out in groups to the malls and restaurants and enjoy life spending money and making love. This was the first time I felt truly liberated, truly free, a free woman. Have you thought about a sex change operation? Yes I thought about this but I don’t feel it’s necessary. An operation for my breasts would be okay. I believe in God and believe he made me like this for a reason. So why make the change? What do you miss about Makassar? Food! My favourite is Coto Makassar. It is a soup made of beef broth, ketupat (sticky rice) and vegetables.

What about clothes? Where do you buy them? What are you asking? I go to shops that sell women’s clothes, where else? You still don’t understand, ya?

Tell us about your job in Bali? Have you found love? I came to Bali a year or so ago to work in a beauty salon. Often customers would fall in love with me, spend private time with me and then return home to their country leaving me with gifts and sad feelings. Sometimes regular men mistake me for a woman and when we finally reach the point of intimacy and they realize I am not a complete woman, run away or just chase me out of their room. I don’t mind. That’s life. I am still waiting for a good decent man to settle down with. Do you want to get married? And do you know India has become the 127th country to legalize same sex marriage? Yes I want to get married and adopt children. But the laws in my country do not allow it. Maybe if you help me travel to India I can get married there! Have you had any illness related to your sex life? I always use protection so I have never had any problem. I am thankful to the Yayasan in Makassar that helps HIV/ AIDS patients and also teaches everyone on how to live healthy lives. From my earnings I send money to my family and also to this Yayasan that is doing good work for my area. Why do you like men? Because I am a woman!

What is your favorite color? Black and white – the color of my life.

If God gave you one wish, what would you ask for? To be born a woman and to have children.


Text & Pics Š Mark Ulyseas


legal entity so that all operations/accounts could be above board and finally involving the people of this nation…empowering them to seek expression through their compositions, lyrics and rhythms. One dollar for music is an insignificant amount for most people. However, each dollar adds up…each dollar does make a difference. Since its inception the Yayasan has been swamped by youngsters with immense talent eager to learn, create, compose, perform and even help with the mundane activities of the organisation. It has been slow but steady progress though hampered by insufficient funding. We need all the help we can get at the moment to maintain smooth operations.

Does your program help in preservation of the prevailing culture? Music transcends all barriers. It is universal. It doesn’t have a language. And more importantly Bali is inundated with Yayasans (charities) ranging preservation must have a development value to it. from free eye operations, education, recycling to What is going wrong is that we tend to put a fence animal shelters. A number of these Yayasans are doing around culture, to preserve it like a museum... stellar work and have made a positive impact on island isolating it from being ‘connected to the ebb and flow life. One such organisation is Onedollarformusic, of life tides’. Free movement of ideas through music the brainchild of Raoul Thomas Augustine by the now generation helps in impregnating and Maria Wijffels a Dutch national residing in Bali. giving birth to new trends and this directly impacts When I first came across this organisation I industry and the overall economy of a country, assumed it was another scheme to make money off replied Raoul. unsuspecting bleeding hearts with a conscience that continually beseeches them to ‘contribute’ to ‘causes’. Then why do so many Indonesian musicians However, after meeting Raoul (who has over 20 years I have met still have a ‘please excuse attitude’ experience in music, arts, education and management and are not aggressively promoting themselves. including working as a teacher and music pedagogue There appears to be a latent hesitation that at the Conservatories of Amsterdam, Utrecht and defies logic. Why? Rotterdam) and his Indonesian counterpart Rudolf I agree there is some truth to your observation. Dethu, it became apparent that this is an organisation Maybe this is because of the past political situation that has the potential of becoming a major force in the in the 60s and 70s that resulted in a form of creative and economic development of young aspiring oppressiveness, which infiltrated even the creative musicians across the Indonesian archipelago community. Things have changed dramatically and . this country, Indonesia, is racing ahead to catch up What is onedollarformusic?, I asked Raoul with other nations in all spheres of development... In 2007 I founded this Yayasan because I felt that not excluding the indigenous music. That is why our the hidden and undeveloped musical skills in this organisation is preparing a base on which these very country needed such an organisation to nurture it talented artists can learn, grow and actually make a and bring it to maturity through a comprehensive…a living from their music. Today we have a fast growing holistic approach. But this could only be done by first music industry, a free press and most importantly learning the language, Indonesian, then forming a with the advent of (multi-lingual) social networks Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas


ONE DOLLAR FOR MUSIC

like Facebook and Wordpress, Indonesia has become I have been associated with many well known Indo an integral part of village earth. bands Navicula, Superman is Dead and Suicidal Sinatra; Radio Oz Bali and other radios stations; and founder So what are your future plans? of Musikator- a directory of Indo bands with emphasis Undiscovered artists that are out there across on Bali; Scribe for the Beat Magazine and more. the nation need to be found and brought into the Indo bands are not being protected and often their mainstream. And this can be achieved provided rights and privileges are non-existent. Our Yayasan we have the resources to create a composite road must provide a kind of free legal aid to the nascent show that criss-crosses the islands thereby coming music industry. We must educate them on how they can into direct contact with budding musicians who can seek protection under the IPR and negotiate contracts then be taken under our wing to be professionally with recording companies; and more importantly trained in various musical instruments and as how to prevent their compositions from copyright composers and lyricists. Also, a vacuum exists infringement. I know this sounds crazy because where an institute of music should be...a centre for Indonesia is known for its pirated CD/DVDs! But we professional excellence providing a wide range of are growing up and becoming responsible...hahaha. courses for young Indonesian talent. All services Did you know that many popular pop Indo songs are should be free and supported by Indonesian and being illegally used as ring tones for hand phones? international organisations through funding from The enormous revenue loss for the relevant bands is different agencies. And like art schools this centre mind-boggling. This has to stop as it is killing the music can link up with similar institutes across the world industry. I think this is where Onedollarformusic thereby exposing local talent to international artists comes in…we can provide back up in terms of legal and becoming the gateway to endless possibilities aid as well as making representations to government for future development. and industry. Also we can play an important role in educating the young people on such matters that in Rudolf , you are the Indonesian Chairman of the the end affect us all. Yayasan, what are your views on the work the organisation is doing and is it effective? Any suggestions on where the funding will come As a country we have still to shake off the after from? effects of the Suharto regime. Yes, I agree things What is more safe than music? It is not trying are much better but the psyche of the people still to make war. It is an artistic form of non-violent has to ‘open up’ to become more free. Therefore, I expression. Therefore, funding must come from see how our young people, the now generation or organisations that don’t have an agenda like should I say Jeaneration…still need to come out religious or political. It should not have any strings and express themselves…and what better way than attached. Of course it goes without saying that to come to us and be able to develop their creative our operations and accounts are transparent skills. Onedollarformusic has been instrumental in and open to inspection by the respective donors. showcasing many such young people and some have Funding from government and industry will be composed, performed and recorded their musical welcomed provided we are free to carry out our work compositions. They could not have done all this without interference and/or subjective promotion without us backing them. But we urgently need a of unqualified individuals. large infusion of funds for the grass roots program that is to be implemented. Write to us and we will inform you how you can be of help. But we should not forget the individual who donates the one-dollar. It is these individuals What has been your contribution to the music who are the true lovers of music and it their one scene? And your views of the prevailing market dollar that has kept us going. Every dollar adds up. conditions for upcoming bands? www.onedollarformusic.com Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas


Text & Pics Š Mark Ulyseas


BALINESE SCHOOLTEACHER

“I want to learn. I want to do further studies in a foreign university because I will learn much more and when I return I can get a better job, maybe in a government school, as the pay is very good. I could also be a professional translator – English/Indonesian/English for the tourism business.

“This was the expenditure incurred by my parents when I was in school. My three siblings are school going.

A. Tuition fees per month US$3.50 pm x 12 months =US$42.00 Two sets of books US$ 20.00 per annum =US$20.00 Uniforms 3 different colours– 3 x US$ 3.50 =US$10.50 Private Tuition per month US$ 5.00 x 12 months =US$60.00 Sundry expenses e.g. school sports day etc. =US$25.00 Total Average Cost per child p.a. = US$157.50

Without better education, I will remain a nobody struggling to eat everyday.”

B. Total per year for 1 brother/2 sisters/self 4 x 157.50 =US$ 630.00. This does not include transport, food at school, medical, misc.

Putu

C. Both parents are teachers each earning approx. US$200 per month 2 x US$200 x 12 months =US$ 2400.00

23 years old. Balinese part time ‘English’ Schoolteacher, Ubud, earning US$50 per month. She also does private tuitions for 4 students once a week for a total monthly fee of US$ 12.00.

D. Deduct Education for children (C) US$2400 (B) $ 630.00 = US$1770.00 Balance in hand for household expenses – food, transport, medical, ceremonies, clothes for 6 members of the family for one year.

This averages US$25/per member per month/ and per day =US$ 00.83

If you want to help this Balinese schoolteacher please email : liveencounters@gmail.com Her educational qualifications SMP (Sekolah Menengah Pratama – Junior High School – Class

7 to 9. Balinese taught only till Class 9. SMA (Sekolah Menengah Atas) Senior High School – Class 10 to 12 SPD Maha Saraswati University, Denpasar, Bali. 3 yrs 6 mths. Strata 1. Studied English. No books only lectures. However,

one could photocopy books, as the books are expensive. The university has a library.

The monthly deficit works usually out to around $150/- and sometimes more when ceremonies/ festivals/accidents/illnesses occur.

This was the situation when I completed my schooling. Now it is much harder as basic living costs have risen, for example the price of food. I don’t want to get married now; maybe in another five years. I will continue to contribute to family expenses as my parents have educated me. They believe that without education one cannot go forward in life. And yes I will marry a Balinese.”

Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas


ADIB HIDAYAT MANAGING EDITOR, ROLLINGSTONE MAGAZINE, JAKARTA, INDONESIA

Could you give the readers a glimpse of your life/work? I love music: collecting vinyl records and CDs of local Indonesian music to metal, jazz, world music, alternative, blues and rock. I have worked for around 11 years as a journalist covering all aspects of the music world. After that I did a stint for a year in a record company; and written biographies of musicians and books on the history of music. Also, I am the proud father of two beautiful girls, Jemima and Jasmeena – Big J and Lil J ! What is the role of RollingStone magazine in Indonesia? How does it help upcoming artists?

RollingStone magazine (Indonesia) is the No.1 music magazine in this country. Its role is to give hitherto little known information about music trends and to showcase Indonesian bands/artists. It assists in promoting upcoming bands by publicizing them in the magazines pages and offering music education and music biz info to the urbanites who are of the affluent hip crowd that love art, music and hidup manis (sweet life).

What are the various Indonesian music genres and what is the most popular at the moment, and the best selling bands/songs? Pop music of any kind is still No.1. The best selling bands/songs, I think, were in the 1990s and the first five years of the millennium when bands like Sheila On 7, Padi, Jamrud and Dewa 19 sold more than a million copies each. We term these bands ‘million copies’ bands’. But with the advent of music being digitalized, the superstars have lost a great deal.

Presently, Indonesians buy music with RBT (ring back tone). It works like this – one can buy a 30 second cut from the ‘refrain’ of a song or an intro from the song. The price tag varies around US$ 1. It is used as a ring tone and can be uploaded onto a hand phone. The best selling song right now is ‘Baik-Baik Sayang” by the band Wali. Sales figures for the last three months have been 15 million RBT ! What is your opinion on the state of IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) and how do Indonesian Bands producing original tracks protect themselves from piracy?

Piracy is not only confined to Indonesia, it is endemic worldwide. Admittedly this country is famous for its pirated CDs, but if we look at other countries like USA, UK or Europe they too have a problem and this is related to the digital world. Anyone can search the Internet and download music illegally without paying anything. Music firms, musicians and government must join hands and close down file sharing Internet sites. One should consider Paul McGuiness’s (manager of the band U2) suggestions made at the MIDEM conference last year. Is there money to be made in the music business? And are businesses houses coming forward to finance upcoming and established bands?

Yes. In this digital era much can be achieved and earned. In Indonesia, telecommunication companies are coming forward to support local talent. The reality is that Bands need Brands… established Brands. I think this collaboration is mutually beneficial. Bands need Brands and vice versa for marketing their products to the ‘now’ generation.

Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas


© Adib Hidayat RollingStone Magazine, Indonesia

Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas


What is your opinion about organizations like OneDollarForMusic? Do they actually help struggling artists? And are there any success stories? I think OneDollarForMusic is a good idea. But to implement this idea and take it to an effective level needs a national campaign, big budget and continuous promotion to get the message across this country of over 250 million people and two time zones. The problem lies in the fragmented state of the numerous music promoters, both commercial and social organizations. There is no cohesive effort. Everyone has different agendas. What is the prevalent situation as regards to legally accessing/downloading digital music in Asia? And how can Indonesian music industry be protected? Our government must create laws and enforce the same to protect our music industry because in this digital era there are no borders!

At MIDEM 2010, speaker Mathew Daniel, Vice President of a China based digital music distributor highlighted the plight of Asian music consumers who are barred from legally accessing/paying for/and downloading music from iTunes, Amazon or Spotify even though the sales of MP3 players and iPods run into millions of pieces. He termed this action as incomprehensible and ‘music apartheid’.

As we move into a new decade and leave the last one behind, we see yet another year of unfulfilled opportunities gone by in the Asian market (references to Asia generally exclude Japan, Korea and Australia). For too long, Asian music consumers have been neglected and not been given fair access to music. Instead, discussions on music consumption in Asia are usually in the context of piracy and Asian music consumers are often arbitrarily labelled as the stewards of said piracy. It is inexplicable that in this digital age, legal access to music across large swathes of Asia is non-existent.

With the lack of fair and convenient access, it is no wonder that Asia’s music consumers have had to resort to file-sharing networks to obtain their music. China, despite the huge levels of piracy - in an ironic twist of circumstance and partly due to efforts to curb piracy - has recently been infused with one of the largest quantities of legal full-length music available to consumers in Asia via Google China and Wa3.cn; with the caveat that it is still an experiment in progress with other variables at play that will influence the final outcome. In the meantime, the rest of Asia’s consumers would be justified in wondering if indulging in excessive piracy is the only route by which they too will be offered legal access to music. Instead, Asian consumers who want to do the right thing have often been subjected to music apartheid in their futile attempts to purchase music legally. Consumers do not understand the music industry’s selfimposed borders and complex self-righteous rights controls in this digital age that they see as ultimately serving only to impede the access of legal music to their shores. Does the tobacco industry finance many music events/bands etc.?

Yes. But now, telecommunications companies also finance many events/bands in Indonesia. Do you see Indo music going to Bollywood and Hollywood?

Bollywood? Maybe one day. But to US and other countries, yes, they have been and are continuing to tour. The bands and musicians that have toured abroad are: Sandy Sondhoro (Russia & Germany), Dira Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas


ADIB HIDAYAT

(UK), Suarasama (UK, Europe, US), The Temper Trap (UK & Australia), Ghost of A Thousand (UK), Discus (Europe, US, UK), Simak Dialog (UK, US, Europe), Anggun (France). What suggestions do you have for the music industry and how can it prevent piracy?

Selling music with subscription on a mass scale potentially solves almost every problem the music business faces. It kills piracy – with the death of ownership comes the death of theft – and injects a fresh flow of cash into an industry whose profits have been ripped down to zero and beyond by a generation of freetards. I don’t think that’s too naïve a hope. But ultimately it’s not about fuzzy abstractions like the ‘state of the industry’. It’s about us as listeners, and the value we place on creativity. We need to make a decision - do we care about music enough to pay for it? What message do you have for the international readers of Live encounters?

We should follow the principle of ‘to enlighten and lighten up’ – in a way similar to ‘inform, inspire and rock n’ roll’. The fact is music is an art form that needs to be protected just like any other art form. And this can only be done if we all join hands to protect it from piracy, unscrupulous business and government interference. www.rollingstone.co.id

Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas


THE SHAMAN

There comes a time in life when one is confronted with diversities that addles the brain and confuses the inbuilt compass that is the guide for navigating the Seen and Unseen. Here in Bali many among us have tasted the bitterness of reality that ambushes us time and again - loss of wealth, loss of self respect, a gut wrenching loss of a partner and more. In this despair we seek to rejuvenate our spirit through prayer and meetings with holy men. The following is the portrait of a Balinese holy man who is a beacon for lost souls. The writer had the privilege and honor to meet him in person to pick his brain and inscribe for posterity his life. No amount of verbosity can aptly describe this truly remarkable man; therefore one has resorted to brevity. He has been a shaman for the last 12 years. About 12 years ago he was afflicted by an illness that sapped his energy and drew him close to death. It was ‘diagnosed’ by a shaman in his family that a ‘Taksu’ (spirit) had set up home in his body and was forcing him to renounce the life of a ‘normal’ person and to become a shaman. The ‘Taksu’ residing in him is the son of the God of Lempuyang temple, Dewa Rambut Sudana. The shaman continues to recharge his energy by visiting many holy places with offerings. In return the spirits residing at these holy places honor the shaman by bestowing on him spiritual energy. However, even though he has been granted the powers to ‘cure’ and ‘guide’ people with various ailments including heartbreak he cannot demand a fee but has to rely solely on their generosity. The shaman can only become rich, in a manner of speaking, in mind and body. He meditates and performs rituals every 15 days - Full Moon (Purnama) and Dark Moon (Tilem). These rituals are performed at twilight (Santi Kala). On these auspicious days he does not shower and eats only white rice cooked by his wife at home.

For the last 12 years he has not had a haircut. The shaman’s matted tresses which is meters long is tied up and covered with a cloth. He believes that cutting and shaping his hair would bring sickness to his body. Also, it is a sign of shedding the ‘ego’ and the ‘no shower routine’ is seen as giving up worldly pleasures in service to the spirit world and God.

The land that his humble dwelling is built on has been ‘loaned’ to him without any charge like rent etc. If the land is sold by the present owner then the shaman and his family (wife and five small children) will move © Mark Ulyseas somewhere else. He is confident the villagers will give him another place to reside. The shaman and his family live at the mercy of the spiritual and material elements like the generosity of villagers and visitors who bring food and drink. Some of the ‘usual’ requests made by visitors: Foreigners – How or will they ever meet the right partner and/or a solution to failed/ing relationships. Balinese – A cure for ailments, solutions to family problems and guidance on how to change one’s life for the better. Matur Suksama

Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas

The Shaman of Culik with son Nyoman


Text & Pics Š Mark Ulyseas


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Text & Pics Š Mark Ulyseas


Live Encounters Annual 2010