Health Protocol Violations in Bali Last Holiday Season

Health Protocol Violations in Bali Last Holiday Season

Though we are happy to see more people coming to Bali, we have to admit that opening the border for tourists has a negative impact too. With the positive cases of Covid-19 skyrocketing due to health protocol violations, let us take a moment to step back and inspect what we have done wrong.

While the use of ace masks have been mandatory all across the island, many people are still taking this lightly. Tourists were seen roaming the streets with their masks hanging on the chin, eliminating the effectivity of the masks altogether.

Malls were packed with people, whom despite of their body temperatures, might still be non-symptomatic carriers of the virus; and although they were encouraged to maintain safe distances from fellow visitors, well, it simply wasn’t the case.

As the photos of Health Protocol Violations circulated some weeks ago, headlines in several local outlets included the phrase “naughty bule” for those caught not wearing masks properly — or at all. Bule is an Indonesian word for foreigners, especially Caucasians, and the spots they tend to favour have become a focus for authorities.

Many head to the Badung regency area, where the popular Kuta and Seminyak beaches are located. Here, local authorities have recorded the highest number of coronavirus health protocol violations in Bali, with 8,864 offences occurring up to this week.

“Most of [the offences] were not bringing their masks, not wearing them properly, and some businesses not applying health protocols,” Badung regency Public Order Agency chief I Gusti Agung Kerta Suryanegara told the ABC.

While many of them were local Balinese, Mr Suryanegara said 80 per cent of people who had been fined for violating COVID-19 regulations were foreigners, mostly from Europe. “Some foreigners were found walking on the beach, sitting in restaurants, and riding motorbikes without masks,” he said.

Mr Suryanegara said foreigners who had been caught seemed to underestimate the strength of health protocols in Bali and those who had been fined were “naughty”. But those who committed minor mistakes, such as bringing their mask but not wearing it, were asked to do push-ups or sweep the street.

Although many Australians have been cautioned for not properly wearing masks, none have yet been fined over that. Some, however, were fined because they were “showing resistance” like “talking back”, or not being cooperative, when approached by officers, Mr Suryanegara said.

I’m not saying that Indonesians are well behaved, but fines were given as the [last resort], which means that [those who were fined] didn’t want to comply and were very defensive,” Mr Suryanegara said.

In September, Bali started fining residents caught without a face mask 100,000 rupiah ($9). Overall, the Public Order Agency has recorded more than 15,000 offences in Bali since the mandatory mask rule was introduced. Mr Suryanegara said so far authorities have gathered 15.3 million rupiah ($1,400) from the fines in Badung alone.

Kadek Astika lives in Kerobokan, in Badung regency, and operates a couple of villas in the area. She said the breaching of health protocols during the pandemic showed how outsiders, such as foreigners and tourists, often did not respect local culture.

“Even before the pandemic we have already seen many foreign tourists, particularly the young ones not following the rules, such as riding bikes without helmets or getting drunk and then involved in brawls on the streets,” Ms Astika said.

“Some of them also violated our traditions and values by disrespecting sacred sites with their behaviour when visiting temples.” But Ms Astika said it was not just foreigners or local tourists ignoring the health directives. “Our pecalang [traditional Balinese security forces] has been tirelessly trying to discipline local people too,” she said.

According to the country’s National COVID-19 Task Force, the compliance rate for wearing masks in Bali is 96.5 per cent, while maintaining physical distancing is 92 per cent. That makes the island’s compliance with COVID-19 protocols the best in Indonesia.

Indonesia began rolling out its vaccination program last Wednesday, with President Joko Widodo receiving the first jab of the Chinese-developed Sinovac vaccine. Bali started administering vaccinations the following day.

Throughout the pandemic, more than 850,000 people in Indonesia have been infected and there has been more than 20,000 cases in Bali. Indonesia recorded its highest number of daily cases — 11,557 — on Thursday, two weeks after end-of-year holidays. Tighter restrictions had been imposed in Java and Bali, requiring places including shopping centres, malls, and restaurants to close by 9:00pm.

However, local media reported that authorities were involved in an argument after several foreigners refused to leave a restaurant after the deadline. The video of the dispute was posted on Instagram.

Last week, the Governor of Bali, I Wayan Koster, said since many foreigners were “difficult to manage” the Bali Government would take further action. “Tourists not wearing masks will not be given entry to tourist destinations and restaurants,” Mr Koster said.

“So they will not be given any services if they don’t wear a mask. “That’s our decision … because there are already many violations committed by foreign tourists.” Mr Suryanegara from the Public Order Agency said he hoped the tighter restrictions would “make everyone, not just foreigners, obey the rules”

With the vaccines being distributed across the country, let’s all get the shot and ditch this virus once and for all. Let’s hope for a Covid-free 2021. Like always, stay safe and stay healthy!

Drive-thru Covid-19 Test Centers in Bali? A Closer Look at the Urgency of it

Drive-thru Covid-19 Test Centers in Bali? A Closer Look at the Urgency of it

When going through this chaotic cycle of life that Covid-19 had unfortunately taken upon us, it’s often dilemmatic to decide between going outside the house and staying inside; especially when we actually have things to do outside the house.

Similarly, we often hesitate to go to public facilities such as clinic and hospitals; precisely because there are serious chances of getting contaminated with the virus from fellow patients or customers. So what do we do when we get to get tested, without having to co promise our health and taking the chance to get the virus from strangers? Well, many countries have come up with this amazing idea of a drive-thru Covid-19 test center; through which people can conveniently get Covid-19 test without even having to come out from their cars. Neat, right?

For those who develop coronavirus-like symptoms but don’t want to go to hospital too soon, the drive-thru allows a faster and safer Covid-19 screening because it minimizes physical contact between the lab technicians and the test taker. There is no need to step out of your vehicle to get tested, Now, while there have been plenty of such centers available in the capital town Jakarta, there strangely aren’t so many of them available on this expats-packed tiny islands. We truly think it’s about time to get (at least) some more for us here, don’t you think? Anyway, how does this really work?

Well, in a nutshell, health workers carry out rapid tests by taking the blood sample to detect the antibody level. This method, however, is only meant for quicker results and is less accurate than the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method or nasal swab test. Results will be notified through WhatsApp on the same day. Those who test positive for a virus attack will be requested to undergo a swab test, which will examine more accurately if the infection is caused by the novel coronavirus. If the result comes back negative, they will have to retake the test in seven to ten days.

If you need more details, below is the elaborated steps of drive-thru Covid-19 test center that we can gather from the internet:

  1. Before arrival, patients registered online for a 10 minute appointment between 8AM and 2PM.
  2. Registration was organized by vehicle, and each registration included the names, demographics and contact information of the persons who would be inside that vehicle.
  3. Upon arrival to the testing site, patients were greeted at the front of a covered parking structure and were directed by the National Guard to a marked parking space. The parking space had a sign in front of it with a phone number and instructions for one person in the vehicle to text the number with their last name to serve as notification for their vehicle arrival.
  4. The text went to a Registrar, who assigned the vehicle to a Care Team (A-E). The assigned Care Team then called the person who texted, confirmed the registration of those inside, provided anticipatory guidance, and sent a video showing how to self collect a nasal swab.
  5. The Care Team then instructed the car to exit the parking structure and drive to the indicated testing station (#1-10) in the adjacent lot.
  6. Upon arrival to the indicated testing station (#1-10), a member of the assigned Care Tea would run out the labeled test kits (swabs, instructions) and care kits (masks, guidance) to the members of that vehicle, and place them on the table next to the vehicle. The driver would exit the vehicle, pick up the test kits and care kits and then return to their vehicle. The members of the vehicle would perform their own testing swabs and then return the test kits to the table. The vehicle would then drive away with their care kits, opening up the testing station for the next vehicle. In total, there were 10-12 vehicles at a time self-collecting their nasal swabs.
  7. For follow-up, those with positive results were called and informed about isolation and other public health recommendations. Those with negative results were emailed and informed about standard public health recommendations.

Alright, now that we all know how this system works, let’s talk about how the local Bali government tackles Covid-19 and if there is any indication of the island getting a drive-thru Covid-19 test centers soon. According to the news we managed to gather from the internet, there are only a handful, if not a couple, of such facilities available in Bali: one conducted by one of the biggest hospital chain in the nation which has a branch on the island, and another made available by an online medical service application in partnership with local laboratories.

With prices ranging between 175K to just below 1M Indonesian Rupiah, these Covid-19 test centers provide alll kinds of Covid-19 tests such as the IGG and IGM Rapid tests and also the PCR and Antigen Swab tests. Depending on how quick you need the result to come out, you’ll be given the information of the prices even before you come in for the test.

While 2021 has promised us the perfecting of the Covid-19 vaccine, we honestly don’t know how much longer we have to wait for it happen, distributed, and proved safe. If in the meantime we need to hop on a plane and catch a flight, this drive thru Covid-19 test centers will prove very useful. Let’s just hope that they will open more facilities like this in Bali. Until that day, do stay safe and healthy, and please keep doing all those health protocols to keep the virus at bay. Have a great day!

Korean Wave Industry Affects & Entertains Global Community During Pandemic

Korean Wave Industry Affects & Entertains Global Community During Pandemic

The Korean wave refers to the significantly increased popularity of South Korean culture around the world; it is also referred to as hallyu, in the Korean language.

The term was coined in China in mid-1999 by Beijing journalists surprised by the fast-growing popularity of Korean entertainment and culture in China (Kim, 2007, p. 15). Broadly speaking, it can be said that the popularity of Korean pop music and television soap operas in China and Taiwan sparked the Korean wave abroad.

The outbreak of hallyu can be traced back to 1997, when the Korean TV drama, What Is Love All About, broadcast on state-run Chinese television, CCTV, set the stage for hallyu in China, following an MBC-TV drama, Jealous, which was imported as the first popular cultural product from South Korea in 1993 (Kim, 2007, p. 15).

Since then, the boom of Korean popular culture in the neighboring Asian countries has remarkably increased and significantly penetrated them over the past several years, and in the years 2000 through 2002, according to one source, “the Korean wave moved forward to diverse parts of Asia, including Southeast and Central Asia, and therefore this wave reached an active penetration stage” (Hyejung, 2007, p. 6).

Interestingly, though every country in Asia had a common reaction toward the Korean wave at first, each had a slightly different outlook. This is because “each country has a different ethos, and based on this, its audience decodes and responds to cultural products in different ways” (Kim, 2007, p. 24). For example, in Taiwan, Daejangguem had the best reception of any Korean drama, whereas in Japan, Korea Herald was most popular (Kim, 2007, p. 24).

The trend soon spread out from the mainland to Taiwan, Hong Kong, affecting ethnic Chinese in other Asian countries and eventually Japan, leading all these Asian peoples to be fascinated by not only Korean music and drama, but also its films, food and fashion. Accordingly, Korean cultural products have become a catalyst for curiosity about Korean culture and Korea itself.

Korean dramas in particular have served as an important bridge for the different countries to encounter Korean culture. The appeal of Korean pop culture to Asians is especially meaningful for the Korean government “since the country’s national image has not always been positive in neighboring countries” (Doobo, 2006, p. 6).

Many Asian countries have been distant from their closest neighbors in terms of cultural understanding and exchanges, and instead “have had a tendency to link more closely to the former colonial empires or advanced Western countries than with neighbors sharing borders” (Ryoo, 2007, p. 144). The impact of the Korean wave has not only permeated popular culture but is also a measure of positive lifestyle for many Asian people (Ryoo, 2008, p. 144). Many Asians did not know much about South Korea or knew only a few simple, often stereotypical things about South Korea. Images associated with South Korea were negative and related to events such as the Korean War, cycles of poverty and political instability (Lee, 2007, p. 29).

These negative images have diminished dramatically due to trendy entertainers, new technology, and the image of contemporary South Korean lives through dramas and movies. Rhoo wrote, “Regional cultural affinities also help explain this phenomenon in the sense that the success of the Korean wave is closely related to the ability of South Korean culture and media to translate Western or American culture to fit Asian taste” (2007, p. 45). “Western popular cultural artifacts will not likely succeed because of a certain non-negotiable cultural heterogeneity,” Rhoo predicted ( 2007, p. 45). South Korean popular culture is much more readily relatable and accepted to Asian audiences.

The cultural affinity between South Korea and neighboring countries in the region may thus function as an effective bridge or buffer between the West and Asia (Ryoo, 2007, p. 145). South Korean television shows and movies portray themes that Asian audiences can relate to more easily than those of Western entertainment because Korean “dramas typically deal with family issues, love and filial piety in an age of changing technology, and often reinforces traditional values of Confucianism” (Ryoo, 2007, p. 140).

Observers generally agree that the most likely explanations for the popularity of South Korean shows, singers, and movies throughout Asia include South Korea’s high income levels, the close cultural proximity and affinity they share with neighboring Asian countries (Ryoo, 2007, p. 140). As a result of these and other economic developments, “South Korea is now the twelfth largest economy in the world, and its entertainment companies are able to finance shows and movies with production values much higher than in most of Asia” (Ryoo, 2007, p. 140). As seen above, the Korean wave has had a marked impact in various ways regarding transaction with other countries.

Local sentiment towards Korea has not been respectable in the past, but the Korean wave has fundamentally changed the national image of Korea in a positive way. The Korean wave ultimately improved Korea’s image in foreign countries, which in turn created a ripple effect that has extended much. farther than just the Korean economy or peninsula.

With the world living in the shadow of the pandemic for the last few months, the role of culture and media goes beyond entertainment and will become greater still, heavily affecting the kind of businesses and tech startups that come. Putting things into perspective, the world is bracing for an economic impact as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. The Asian Development Bank stated a staggering estimate between USD 5.8 trillion and USD 8.8 trillion in losses—equivalent to 6.4% to 9.7% of global gross domestic product (GDP).

At the same time with lockdowns leaving many at home, the global consumption of media has risen sharply across the board with video streaming services going up by 51%, and gaming enjoying a 31% boost. The sharp rise in media consumption extends beyond entertainment, in mid-March Pinterest saw more searches and saves globally than any other weekend in its history for topics such as home improvement, activities with children, and new projects and skills that people were keen to pick up.

Hallyu has successfully achieved milestones across different media types. Bong Joon-ho’s groundbreaking film Parasite received universal acclaim and awards internationally, K-pop boy band BTS accounts for USD 4.65 billion of South Korea’s GDP and rivals The Beatles on the charts, while South Korean game developer Bluehole’s PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds reach critical success, with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile becoming the highest-grossing video game in March. For the first time the content industry saw its combined export surpass USD 10 billion in 2019, and in 2020, the Korean government is setting aside USD 1.42 billion in funds to support more local content creation.

In 2012, Simon Fraser University Professor Dal Yong Jin wrote an insightful article about the introduction of Hallyu 1.0 and how its momentum led to Hallyu 2.0 as a global phenomenon.  As a cultural export, Hallyu’s success is seen front and center, a success that has been sown through technology, a sector that the South Korean government has committed up to USD 3.9 billion in 2020. A momentum catalyzed through the right timing, and use of social media platforms. Right now as the projections and theories around industry 4.0 and Hallyu 3.0 are challenged by the pandemic, the growth seen in both tech and Hallyu have always been deeply intertwined and in tandem.

All in all, there is no doubt that Hallyu has catapulted Korea on to the global stage. With so much international attention on Korea and its pop culture scene and its creative economy, it is imperative for the Korean government to leverage on all its entertainment and cultural products to further drive the brand equity of Korea as a country. Brand Korea needs to be able to strike a balance between not over-commercializing Hallyu, but to market and build its identity in a genuine way.

The growth of the Korean Wave over the past 2 decades has been a fascinating one, and it is still unfolding. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how Korea continues to innovate and tap on the massive potential and popularity of the Korean Wave to sustain its appeal to global audiences. This could further enhance the nation brand equity of Korea, and contribute to the continued success of the Korean society, economy and culture.

Nusa Penida and Labuan Bajo Tourist Attraction to Look Up To

Find the best places to visit with our list of the top attractions in Indonesia. In this article we would like to give you a sight about the top 2 visited place that Indonesia have which are Nusa penida (which located in Bali) and Labuan Bajo. Without giving any further delay, shall we start?

Let’s start with the Island of God, Nusa Penida Bali. Nusa Penida is the biggest of the three Nusa Islands just off from mainland Bali. Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan make up the trio of islands, each with uniquely breath-taking landscapes. There are so many awesome things to do on Nusa Penida Island but let’s get started with the logistics. The ferry leaves multiple times per day from Sanur (east Bali) If you book it in advance often you can have your pick-up from the hotel included. To book it online in advance for the guaranteed lowest price you can click the link below to reserve your ticket.

There are several places that you can visit during your trip in Nusa Penida, Bali. The first one is Pura Gua Giri Putri Cave. Our first stop was unbelievable! The Pura Goa Giri Putri Cave is perched midway up the mountain, accessible by a steep winding staircase. Before being allowed up the staircase we had to rent a sarong for 50 cents. We dodged a few rogue monkeys before arriving into the middle of prayer.

With no idea what he had walked in on we were blessed with some water to the forehead before crawling through a tiny crack in the ground. Over 100 other people joined us down, crawling through the crack. Next, if you want to experience beach vibe you can visit Atuh beach. After the interesting cave experience, we headed to the coast. We drove through a collection of villages waving to the kids as we dodged chickens, dogs, and potholes on the road.

The poor road soon turned to a dirt hill so we abandoned the bikes and crossed our fingers we were in the right spot when all of a sudden we spotted an amazing view through the branches. Atuh Beach is a stunning white sand beach surrounded by the huge cliffs and remarkable rock formations. An arch sit directly out from the shore while several islets string off in the distance.

If you feel a little bit bored about the beach, calm down, Nusa Penida ready to amaze you with it waterfall called Peguyangan Waterfall. Peguyangan Waterfall is one of my favorite spots on Nusa Penida because it has a mix of everything. Up and down those steep blue stairs is a workout. Then you add in the spectacular coastal cliff views that are the trademark of the island. Finally mix that in with the tradition and culture of the sacred temple and the waterfall, which is a pilgrimage site and you have this awesome blend in one spot! The hike down takes about 20 minutes, leading you down to the pilgrimage site. The sacred temple is based on the water blessing. I spoke to one of the locals who was going through his ritual.

There are three spouts. In order, they must shower underneath each and then use the fourth main spout to finish. This is how they cleanse themselves and receive blessings. I didn’t go under the three smaller spouts but the local guys who were dressed in just a sarong or underwear for the boy invited me to shower under the main spout. Shrines and trinkets are spread throughout the sacred site, which eventually leads you down to cascading pools. These pools have the purest of water, it looks like bottled water it’s so clear! The rock pools are tiered down until they eventually flow out into the ocean. It’s a really beautiful area and has so many different things going on. As we left there was a ceremony taking place with 20 locals sat on the ground being led through a prayer.

You are reaching for the famous spot for your Instagram feed? Nusa Penida ready to offer you the most Instagram able location called Kelingking T-Rex. The Instagram famous coastal cliffscape, which truly does look like a T-rex didn’t disappoint. I still remember the moment I laid eyes on the beach below. It felt like I was a human drone. I watched the crystal clear water slowly form into a wave before crashing below us, in what seemed like slow motion.

We took a short trek down the spine of the T-Rex and took in the epic drop-offs down each side. This is definitely my favorite thing to do on Nusa Penida and is just one of those landscapes that make you feel small. It makes you feel lucky to be in its company, to be able to witness earth’s creation.

Nusa Penida has so many amazing views making it hard to pick a favorite. But when the cliffs form in the shape of a Tyrannosaurus Rex at Kelingking Secret Point Beach it is bound to be a crowd favorite. Kelingking actually translates into English meaning Pinkie a term referencing the smallest finger on the hand. Just like a pinkie promise, the land does also appear to take the form of a Kelingking or pinkie finger. However, it is the comparison to the T-Rex that has caused this location to become so popular.

You already explore Nusa Penida but still looking for another journey in Indonesia? Now we will provide you another great island that near to Nusa Penida, Bali which called Labuan Bajo. Labuan Bajo, Flores, is located in a half moon bay surrounded by hills that rise steeply from the shore. The setting is picturesque with breathtaking views at sunset. You won’t be surprised when I tell you that Labuan Bajo is one of my favourite towns in Indonesia. It’s why we started offering tours here (I’m secretly looking for an excuse to move here part of the year). We’ll start the list with the essential guide of things to do in the city, before sharing other ideas for things to do around the town with you.

Most tourists looking for things to do in Flores come to visit the island of Komodo, home to the famous Komodo dragons. To see the Komodo dragons you will have to join a Komodo Island tour with one of the rangers. There are a number of set hikes to choose from ranging from the short hikes, which take 20-30 minutes, to overnight hikes where you get to camp on the island. The best time to visit the island of Komodo is in the early afternoon when the big Komodo dragons are sitting lazily in the shade and the baby dragons are wandering through the wilderness. After seeing the most iconic animal Indonesia, you can go to Padar Island.

The island is famous for the viewpoint from where you can see the three beaches of Padar Island (one is white, one is pink and the other is a black sand beach). The best time to do the climb is in the early morning for sunrise. Be warned there are Komodo dragons on the island and they hang around in the shade of the rocks (which is where you will want to be).

After taking a lot of selfies in Padar Island, it is time to go swimming with Manta at Manta Island. Manta Point is one of the most famous sites for diving near Labuan Bajo. This is the place where I met turtles talking to manta rays… But more seriously it is one of the best Komodo Island diving sites. The reason Manta Point is so popular is the strong nutrient rich current that flows through the strait that attracts large schools of Manta Rays. Manta Point is recommended for divers who have experience with drift dives. When you are going to Labuan Bajo and thinking of getting the best picture for your social media feeds, you cannot have missed the famous pink beach in Labuan Bajo.

After seeing the Komodo dragons the next activity on most Komodo Island tours is a visit to the Pink Beach. The beach gets its name from the red grains of sand, which is created from the grains brightly coloured coral, that give the Pink Beach its distinctive colour. Alongside taking photos of the beach you can also go snorkelling through the coral reefs that are located just offshore. It’s a beautiful place to swim through and explore, but watch out for the strong offshore currents.

Those are the things that you can do in Both Island while you visiting them. Remember to enjoy every sunset that both of island have during your stay. Always to stay safe during your trip, take your usual medication with you and follow the local rules so you can travel comfortably. Enjoy your holiday, and don’t forget to snap a lot of pics!

BALI’S OPTIMISM WELCOMING THE HOLIDAY SEASON 2020

BALI’S OPTIMISM WELCOMING THE HOLIDAY SEASON 2020

What is up, Bali?

The long holiday at the end of October made many people from all over the country visit Bali for vacation. This had raised concerns in several circles, particularly tourism entrepreneurs and the government. The dilemma situation arose, where many people have to go back to work to meet their needs.

However, on the other hand, they could have risked their lives because they made contact with the tourists who could be the carriers of the Covid-19 virus without symptoms. What’s more, Indonesia has experienced a spike in Covid-19 after a long holiday last July. But the good news is that after a few days since the holidays ended, Bali and Indonesia have not reported a significant increase in the number of new infections. The cure rate has now exceeded the number of daily infections (new cases). All parties still have to work hard to reduce the death rate.

While Bali has shown good progress in controlling the spread of COVID-19 during the holiday season at the end of last October, nevertheless; all levels of society need to be aware of the possibility of the emergence of new Covid-19 clusters at tourist attractions. It was stated that almost all accommodation, restaurants and tourist attractions in Bali have successfully implemented the safe-travel protocol. This can be seen from the stable rate of daily new infections, deaths and cures in Bali. No need to worry too much, but of course we still have to comply with existing health protocols.

The implementation of strict health protocols plays a very important role in saving the tourism industry in Bali and Indonesia. The impeccable performance of health protocols at The Nusa Dua has been able to increase the confidence of tourists to visit during this pandemic; This can be seen from the significant development of room occupancy rates at ITDC. Several popular tourist spots in Bali also reported similar good news. Ulun Danu Bratan Temple in Bedugul, Tanah Lot Temple and Pandawa Beach recorded the highest number of visits in the past eight months. The Balinese government continues to encourage everyone to adhere to health protocols; Therefore, many officers were dispatched to guard the many checkpoints in various places. Those who are caught not wearing masks will be fined IDR 100,000 and perform push-ups or other sanctions.

And now, the Christmas and New Year holiday are now getting closer. For most Indonesians, the year end holiday of 2020 is felt to be longer than usual due to the Eid al-Fitr collective leave policy that has been moved to December due to the Covid-19 outbreak. In total there will be 11 national holidays, starting from December 24, 2020 to January 3, 2021. However, this is not certain due to the rumor that President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, advised his cabinet to study several possibilities for shortening the year-end holidays.

Meanwhile, one of the most popular Online Travel Agencies (OTA) in Indonesia Pegi-Pegi has conducted an online survey involving more than 1400 people to find out whether the public has planned a year-end vacation or not. The result is that more than 75% of respondents have plans to travel during the upcoming holidays.

Currently, the Provincial Government of Bali continues to encourage all tourism businesses to seriously implement the #safetravel campaign and register their hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions to get the new normal protocol certification. Governor Regulation Number 46 of 2020 is also still in effect, those who are caught not wearing masks in public will be subject to a fine of IDR 100,000 and business actors who violate the new normal provisions will be subject to a fine of IDR 1,000,000.

The latest data regarding Covid-19 As of Tuesday (25/11), there were 111 new infections in Bali, bringing the total cases to 13,442. The number of new recovered patients was 105, with a total of 12,260 and one death reported, bringing the total to 415. Meanwhile in Indonesia there were 4,192 new cases, bringing the total number of cases to 506,302. The number of daily cures was 2,927, for a total of 425,313. The new deaths numbered 109, for a total of 16,111.

Recently, the rumors about Indonesia opening its borders to international tourists on December 1 have also circulated in various media in recent weeks. However, no official statement has yet been made by the authorities to clarify this.

Indonesia, including Bali, is still closed to foreign tourists, but foreigners with business purposes have started to return to the Island of the Gods. But still and all, during this period of ‘hiatus’, it is better to introspect and then preparing. In a program called We Love Bali, by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Bali’s revitalization is implementing a tourism with CHSE (Cleanliness, Health, Safety, and Environment) concept, where the visitors no need to worry about anything, in order to experience convenience while traveling.

So, we need you all guys, to support us and the world, whatever it is, to make this happen, not only in Bali, but everywhere around the world. Keep the positive vibe!

KEMBALI20: A Virtual Festival for Bali’s Come Back against the pandemic

KEMBALI20: A Virtual Festival for Bali’s Come Back against the pandemic

As we see the world changing before our eyes, an independent, not-for-profit foundation in Ubud, Bali, Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati, is embracing the change caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic with its newest digital initiative, KEMBALI 2020: A Rebuild Bali Festival (KEMBALI20).

The Foundation is known for one of the world’s leading literary and arts events Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) and Southeast Asia’s leading culinary event Ubud Food Festival (UFF). KEMBALI20 presented the best of the two Festivals in a new and exciting virtual experience from 29 October–8 November 2020.

From Amsterdam to Adelaide, Dubai to Delhi, Philippines to Pekalongan, and dozens of cities in between, over 120 speakers joined KEMBALI20 to share extraordinary stories, diverse voices, and brave ideas in virtual panel discussions, performances, workshops, film screenings, book launches, and cooking challenges.

As Janet DeNeefe, KEMBALI20 Founder and Director said, “With the COVID-19 pandemic, our lives have changed and things have changed permanently. In this extraordinary year, we have reimagined UWRF and combined it together with UFF and we are presenting something more meaningful, more diverse, than ever before. I’m proud to show you, and to launch, this Festival in this most unusual year.”

Just like its offline events in the past, this year’s celebration was packed with international guests including Academy Award-winning musician, composer, and producer David Byrne, bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians Kevin Kwan, Booker nominee Avni Doshi, international chef and pioneer in sustainable fishing Bart van Olphen, distinguished Human Rights Watch researcher Sophie McNeill, and Haitian-American writer and MacArthur fellow Edwidge Danticat.

They were joined by Nobel Peace laureate and former President of East Timor Jose Ramos Horta, celebrated food journalist and writer James Oseland, Eritrean rising poet, storyteller, and activist Manal Younus, leading voice in Israeli literature and cinema Etgar Keret, and consultant for the Obama Foundation’s Girls Opportunity Alliance and Leaders: Asia Pacific Program Maya Soetoro-Ng.

As Indonesia’s leading platform for showcasing its writers and artists to the world, the Festival is honored to welcome former Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti, prominent actor and film producer Nicholas Saputra, Indonesia’s current most internationally renowned author Eka Kurniawan, critically acclaimed writer Dee Lestari, leading Indonesian architect Andra Matin, award-winning author Intan Paramaditha, and celebrated Indonesia’s first Muslim female stand-up comedian Sakdiyah Ma’ruf.

“KEMBALI20 is a virtual playground, unique, new, imaginative, is itself a testament to the fact that we can mount a response to the pandemic that we can get over the challenge and find new ways to do things,” commented Australia’s Ambassador to Indonesia Gary Quinlan. “It is not a Festival just about revitalizing, rebuilding Bali, it is actually a Festival about hoping to rebuild all of us, all our lives, all our communities in this difficult time.”

Audiences learned how creativity, traditions, culture, and art is vital in facing global challenges theough 60 donation-based Main Program sessions comprising panels and one-on-one interviews. Sessions such as A Creative Response and Writing in Times of Crisis highlight the significance of the creative industry and its social impact during the pandemic.

Events outside the Main Program were also packed with ample inspiration. In Our Mothers’ Land, journalist Febriana Firdaus travels to meet women who have risen to lead social movements, facing violence, imprisonment, and judgement from conservative societies as they fight for their rights.

While Leila S. Chudori’s The Sea Speaks His Name Book Launch event shares the stirring story of a momentous period in Indonesian history. An artist-anthropologist from Ubud, Dewa Ayu Eka Putri, also presented a tribute to the legendary poet and writer, the late Sapardi Djoko Damono, who died after a quite long illness last July.

Stories from the Field, The Foundation’s first documentary-series production of the year, features five short movies that share and celebrate the resilience and adaptation of Balinese during the pandemic. With local filmmaker Wayan Martino, the series will showcase Bali beyond the beaches and rice paddies as we know it

The Lifetime Achievement Award, an initiative started by the Foundation as an appreciation for the world of Indonesian literature, is given annually to great figures who have dedicated their lives to developing Indonesian literature through their writings and works.

This time, the honor wss given to Toeti Heraty, Indonesia’s renowned poet, philosopher, and human rights activist. Born in Bandung on 27 November 1933, Toeti has been named the only woman amongst the leading contemporary poets of Indonesia and is considered the first generation of feminist thinkers.

“KEMBALI20’s aspiration to connect various communities of literature, art, culture and culinary lovers in all corners of the world, ignites the spirit that Bali can rise again,” said Vice Governor of Bali Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati. “Hopefully the inspirational and uplifting stories shared by KEMBALI20 can be the first steps in making this world a better place.”

We truly appreciate the people who have made time and put so much effort into making such a positive event that will hopefully bring Bali back to its feet. Always support local business and stay healthy, and we’ll see you next time.