Lapang Islanders in Indonesia

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)

Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Japan's Antarctic whaling hunt ruled 'not scientific'

Japan's Antarctic whaling hunt ruled 'not scientific'
Representatives of Japan and Australia shake hands at the court in The Hague. (NOS/ANP) - 31 March 2014
"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

China calls for peaceful settlement of maritime disputes

China calls for peaceful settlement of maritime disputes
Wang Min, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, speaks during a meeting to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the enforcement of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, at the UN headquarters in New York, on June 9, 2014. The Chinese envoy on Monday called for a harmonious maritime order, saying that maritime disputes should be settled through negotiation between the parties directly involved. (Xinhua/Niu Xiaolei)

UNCLOS 200 nautical miles vs China claimed territorial waters

UNCLOS 200 nautical miles vs China claimed territorial waters

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Poles apart but warming greater than thought

Marian Wilkinson Environment Editor,, February 27, 2009

Icebergs float in a bay off Ammassalik Island, Greenland.
 Photo: AP/John McConnico

A TWO-YEAR research effort by the world's leading scientists has uncovered evidence of global warming's widespread effect.

Snow and ice continue to decline in the Arctic and parts of Antarctica, affecting sea-level rise and weather patterns, as well as human, animal and plant life.

The findings of International Polar Year, a global research project involving 60 nations, were released yesterday. They confirmed that warming in Antarctica was greater than previously understood and the rate of ice loss from Greenland was increasing.

Dr Ian Allison, of the Australian Antarctic Division, who co-chaired the project told the Herald the effect of global warming in Greenland was clear.

"In Greenland the rate of ice loss is getting greater over the last 10 years and the surface [ice] melt is definitely related to the warming," Dr Allison said.

The project's scientists summed up their findings, saying: "It now appears certain that both the Greenland and the Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass and thus raising sea level, and that the rate of ice loss from Greenland is growing."

They also warned "the potential for these ice sheets to undergo further rapid ice discharge remains the largest unknown in projections of the rate of sea-level rise by the [United Nations] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change".

Projections for the NSW coast released by the State Government suggest sea levels are expected to rise up to 40 centimetres by 2050 and 90 centimetres by 2100. One centimetre of sea-level rise can have erosion effects of up to one metre in low-lying areas.

The popular belief that Antarctica may be resistant to global warming has been undercut by International Polar Year's research. Data from satellites and weather stations confirmed that for the past 50 years it has been warming at the same rate as the rest of the planet.

Until recently it was only the fragile Antarctic Peninsula that juts up from West Antarctica, which was considered vulnerable to global warming. The peninsula is warming more rapidly than much of the rest of the world with temperatures rising 2.5 degrees in the past 50 years and ice loss increasing 140 per cent in the past decade.

The recent research confirms the Arctic sea ice shrank last year to its second-lowest extent since satellite monitoring began in 1979. The previous low was the summer of 2007. Some scientists are predicting there will be an ice-free Arctic in summer by 2012.

Since the findings by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007, it has been widely accepted that the planet's warming is almost certainly due to greenhouse gases being released from the burning of fossil fuels, land clearing and cement manufacturing.

The new research warns greenhouse emissions could rapidly increase from the Arctic warming. The Arctic contains large amounts of greenhouse gas that has been locked in permafrost and below the Arctic Ocean.

UN support sought for WOC

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, JAKARTA | Fri, 02/27/2009 9:33 AM

Indonesia is suggesting the United Nations adopt the World Ocean Conference as its new international agenda for discussing ocean protection and climate change.

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Freddy Numberi is seeking support from Indonesian lawmakers to ‘lobby’ the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to become an ‘umbrella’ for future talks on marine conservation.

“We hope the WOC in Manado will be the first Conference of Parties (COP), a new agenda for regularly discussing ocean development that could be placed under the UNEP program,” Freddy told the House of Representatives’ Commission I for foreign affairs and security in Jakarta on Thursday.

Indonesia will host the first WOC in Manado, North Sulawesi, on May 11-15. Around 10,000 delegates from 121 countries and some UN bodies such as UNEP, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have been invited.

The meeting, to be attended by ministers overseeing maritime and environmental affairs, will conclude with the signing of a non-binding Manado Ocean Declaration.

Senior officials from 43 countries began a two-day meeting in Jakarta on Thursday to drawn up a draft for the declaration.

Freddy said the declaration would detail the impacts of climate change on oceans, the role of oceans in regulating global climate change and opportunities for regional and international cooperation.

Maritime activities are currently regulated under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which came into effect in 1982.

Around 135 countries, including Indonesia, have ratified the UNCLOS, which outlines ground-rules on maritime activities.

The UNCLOS, however, does not address the method of managing maritime resources in circumstances of global climate change.

The oceans cover almost two thirds of the earth surface, with million of people living near and relying on the sea for food and income.

Experts predict the oceans are capable of storing about 50 times the carbon dioxide emissions currently released into the atmosphere.

Global warming could cause ocean acidification, temperature and sea level rise and flood entire small island states, such as the Maldives.

Indonesia has about 5.8 million hectares of ocean that could absorb up to 40 million tonnes of CO2 per year.

The maritime minister also unveiled an initiative for the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) to legislators, claiming it was the world’s first initiative to protect coral from the severe impact of climate change.

The heads of states of six countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Timor Leste – will officially launch the CTI at the sidelines of the WOC. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has confirmed his intention to witness the launch, while United States Secretary Hillary Clinton is also scheduled to attend.

Minister Freddy said preparations for the WOC were about 90 percent complete, though some obervers, including lawmaker Joko Susilo, have warned the government about ignoring pressing issues that require quick organization.

Lack of marine tourism development criticized

The Jakarta Post, Sat, 02/28/2009 2:23 PM  |  Bali


DENPASAR: Chairman of the Bali branch of the Indonesian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), Gde Wiratha, criticized the Bali administration for the lack of development of marine tourism in the island province.


"Our undersea view is so beautiful and so interesting for everyone, and yet we have done nothing to try and sell it because of the lack of development in this particular market," Wiratha said Friday as quoted by Antara news agency.


He cited Benoa Harbor, the island's largest cruise ship port, which he said remained badly managed with dirty water left to flow out into the sea.

"The environment condition of the harbor cannot support underwater tourism, it bothers tourists, and rules have yet to be enforced properly there," he said.


Three killed, one missing South Sulawesi boat sinking

Andi Hajramuni ,  The Jakarta Post ,  Makassar  |  Sat, 02/28/2009 2:24 PM 


Three people drowned and one went missing when a crowded wooden boat sank on waters of Badi Island in South Sulawesi at around 8:00 a.m. local time on Saturday.


The boat, which carried 36 people, sank only 10 minutes after it was leaving a pier in Badi Island for Paotere Seaport in Makassar.


Adj. Sr. Comr. Halik Abhan, the local police chief, said 31 passengers had been rescued and were now in Badi Island, while the police were arresting the boat's captain for questioning.


“We are suspecting that the boat was overcrowded. The boat only had 15 to 20 passengers capacity,” he said.


The police, with help from the local navy and residents, have sent search and rescue team to look for 40-year-old Supriadi, the missing passenger. (dre)

Friday, February 27, 2009

RI receives $250 million in grants for World Ocean Conference

The Jakarta Post | Fri, 02/27/2009 8:12 PM

Indonesia has received US$250 million in grants from various countries for the implementation of the World Ocean Conference which will be held in Manado, North Sulawesi, on May 11-15, 2009.

"Of the total, US$40 million is from the United States," Indroyono Soesilo, chairman of the WOC organizing committee, said in Jakarta on Thursday as quoted by state news agency Antara.

Six heads of state from member countries of the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) would participate in the CTI Summit to be organized on May 15, in parallel with WOC, he said.

CTI has six member countries, namely the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste, and Solomon Island. Australia and the United States are observers of CTI.

He also said that US President Barack Obama had appreciated Indonesia's Coral Triangle Initiative.

North Sulawesi Governor Sandurajang said his province was ready to receive around 1,500 participants from 121 countries during the WOC 2009.

The province had constructed new eight star-rated hotels to accommodate the WOC participants, he said.

Marine experts would discuss efforts to save the marine ecology from the impacts of the global warming during the conference.

WOC Website

Related Article:

CTI initiated by Indonesia: president

Batam Seals Waste Carrier Ship

Friday, 27 February, 2009 | 12:22 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Batam:The Batam’s Regional Environmental Impact Management Agency (Bapedalda) has sealed the MT Xing Guang 7 ship. The Korean-flagged ship was carrying 3.800 tons of dangerous and poisonous substances.

The iron rusted sand waste – also known as foresand – was also sealed to prevent it from being secretly carried by the owner. “We are investigating the case,” Batam’s Bapedalda chief Dendi Purnomo told Tempo yesterday. The laboratory test showed that the waste was positive, containing dangerous and poisonous substances. “We have reported it to the Environment Ministry for legal processing,” he said.

Rumbadi Dalle

Fishermen Receive Free Rice

Friday, 27 February, 2009 | 16:16 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Slawi: The Central Java government is distributing 30 tons of free rice to 6.000 fishermen in Tegal regency. Each family head will receive five kilograms. “We are distributing the rice to fishermen who are using boats under five tons,” said Wanadi, Tegal’s Indonesian Fishermen's Association chairman, yesterday.

According to Wanadi, the donation is aimed at helping small-scale fishermen who are suffering from a bad season due to the rainy season and storms. The rice is being distributed through a village cooperative unit (KUD) which has been the fishermen’s partner.

Upaya Mina KUD chief in Surodadi village in Tegal, Warsono, said he was happy to have the rice donation because it would really help fishermen who have not been able to go fishing as often as before. “At least this will reduce their expenses,” he said.

According to Warsono, so far the Upaya Mina KUD has only donated four tons of rice to small-scale fishermen who are its members. As much as 22 tons of rice from the governor has been distributed by the KUD and is intended for 4.400 poor fishermen. Meanwhile, the remaining 8 tons were distributed by Mina Agung KUD to Larangan village.


Related Article:

Cirebon fishermen fall victim to loan sharks

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mysterious ‘yawning fish’ discovered off Indonesia

By Pete Spotts,   | 02.25.09


A new species of angler fish makes its debut in the pages of Copeia, the journal of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.
(M. Snyder,

I had a chance to do some snorkeling in Indonesia’s portion of the “coral triangle” in December 2007. The triangle has been compared with the Amazon rain forest in terms of its biodiversity. It’s a key section of the ocean that countries in the region, environmental groups, and other international players want to protect.


This yawning fish may be one reason why.


Until January 2008, no one knew it existed, or if they did, they weren’t talking. A husband and wife team who were part owners of a dive shop in Ambon City, Indonesia, along with the shop’s dive guide, took the first known photos of the fish.


They shared the photos with Ted Pietsch, a marine scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle, who said last year that the critter appeared to represent an unknown family (in the biological-classification sense) of angler fish.


Now, thanks to DNA results, he says it’s a new species. And as the first to describe the fish in the scientific literature, he gets the naming rights: Histiophryne psychedelica. I can hear strains of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” now….


Folks figure these fish have been hard to find because their bodies are a bit like mush, allowing them to wriggle into and out of nooks and crannies other fish would avoid. They use their fins to help them “walk” through crevices. And unlike most fish, the eyes on these flat-faced “frogfish” appear to look forward, rather than to the sides, suggesting they may have binocular vision, like humans do.


As for the juvenile in the accompanying video?  Looks as though it may need its learner’s permit revoked.


Ironically, Dr. Peitsch has long had a couple of these striped wonders in a collection he curates at the University of Washington’s Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. They came to him in 1992 courtesy of the Dallas Aquarium. The folks in Dallas had received them in a shipment from Bali. But by the time he got the preserved specimens, they were white. So onto the back shelves they went.


Only after he looked at them under a microscope, so the story goes, did he see faint stripes similar to those in the images of living specimens.


I’m a space geek, for sure. But it doesn’t take a trip to some far-off planet to encounter strange new life forms.


Video credit: Videos taken at Ambon Island, April 2008, by Mike Veitch,;  courtesy of Andy Shorten and Maluku Divers, Ambon, Indonesia,

Minister Calls for Overall Maritime Policy Reforms

The Jakarta Globe, Putri Prameshwari, February 26, 2009


As the world’s largest archipelagic nation, Indonesia should have clear maritime policies, a cabinet minister said on Wednesday.


Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Freddy Numberi said Indonesia needed to formalize its approach to ocean management.


“Indonesia should have an ocean policy in order to consolidate its sovereignty over its maritime territories,” Numberi said during a seminar.


He said a national maritime policy should include regulations that address security and environmental sustainability, as well as asserting the nation’s jurisdiction over outlying border islands.


Numberi said such a policy would protect Indonesia’s maritime industry and its six sub-sectors: fisheries, offshore mining, naval operations, maritime tourism, offshore construction projects and sea transportation services.


However, Juan Permata Adoe, vice chairman of the Maritime Division of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, or Kadin, said instead of focusing on an ocean policy, the government should encourage foreign investors to engage in maritime ventures in the country.


“Foreign vessels should not just be allowed to fish in Indonesian waters,” he said. “Foreign investors should also be encouraged to become involved in other sectors, like the shipbuilding industry, for example.”


Juan said that at present, there were too many government institutions in charge of protecting the country’s maritime domain, resulting in an overlap of authority.


To tackle the problem, the Transportation Ministry announced it would establish a national coast guard.


Transportation Minister Jusman Syafii Djamal said the security force would be composed of the Maritime Security Coordinating Agency, or Bakorkamla, the ministry’s coast guard, or KPLP, as well as maritime police and the Navy.

MoU to net illegal fishing boats

Mustaqim Adamrah, THE JAKARTA POST, JAKARTA | Thu, 02/26/2009 10:43 AM  

Being a maritime country with abundant sea resources has apparently made Indonesian waters very attractive to illegal fishing boats. 

With fish poaching having become a threat to the state, Indonesia and Thailand are working on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will require cooperation between firms from both countries in the fisheries sector. 

“In our experience, all this time, many Thai fishing boats operate in Indonesia, while (the Thai government) doesn’t know about this. 

“They don’t know, for example, who owns these boats,” Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Freddy Numberi told The Jakarta Post recently. 

“And when another problem comes up, say a violation, we’ll have to wait for months until it is settled,” he said. 

Therefore, he said, an MoU was necessary to ensure that stakeholders upheld their responsibilities, “and those guilty undergo all legal proceedings”. 

“The MoU will mandate cooperation in fishing and (require operators) to build (fish processing) plants in Indonesia,” said Freddy. 

The MoU would also require “openness”, with the Thai authorities also knowing of Indonesian firms that every Thai fishery firm worked with in Indonesian waters, he said. 

Rampant illegal fishing in Indonesian waters is estimated to cost Rp 30 trillion (US$2.4 billion) every year in state losses, according to calculations from the ministry. 

Many Thai fisheries firms operate in the archipelago with legal documents but allegedly do not build processing plants as required under Indonesian regulations until their licenses expire. 

The requirement for building processing plants, introduced only last year, is aimed at creating added value and jobs in Indonesia. 

When their licenses end, these firms apply for new ones and make a joint venture with a different Indonesian firm in order to wipe away their track record. This is a loophole in Indonesian regulations that may benefit them. 

But Thailand Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Thailand is committed to abiding by the regulations in the sector, saying Thailand “is not to benefit from your resources by exploiting any kind of loopholes” in Indonesian regulations. 

“We (I and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono) have affirmed that Thailand will participate under Indonesian regulations,” he said recduring his recent visit to the State Palace. 

“The best way to proceed, we think, is the course of finding partners … we need to invest in the processing industry, which of course will require support for infrastructure,” he added. 

Likewise, President Yudhoyono said new joint investments on these lines would provide  examples to follow for future cooperation. 

“(Both countries) are now working on finding the right, concrete cooperation formats that will help us manage our resources better and thus, will benefit both of us,” he said. 

Presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal said for the time being, both governments were identifying companies willing to join in future cooperation, as suggested. 

For the industry itself, the ministry is targeting production of 4 million tons of processed fishery products out of total annual production of 12.7 million tons. 

Data shows that from 2007 to 2008, the volume of exports increased by 4.9 percent, from 854,328 tons to 896.140 tons. However, at the same time export value increased by 14 percent, from US$2.26 billion in 2007 to $2.57 billion in 2008, reflecting higher value added. 

The ministry’s short and mid term plan targets 9 percent growth in the value of exports for this year, rising to $2.8 billion. 

The ministry hopes to increase the total fisheries workforce to just over ten million this year, while also planning to increase the average income of fishermen and fisheries workers to Rp 1.5 million per month,  empowering 850,000 poor people living in coastal areas.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Growing Tourism on Flores

The Jakarta Globe, Benito Lopulalan, February 24, 2009


A line of minibuses is parked at the port of Labuan Bajo, a small town that serves as the regional capital of the West Manggarai district of Flores Island, in East Nusa Tenggara Province. The afternoon sun heats up the asphalt that covers the area. People walk from the buses through the gate of the port, carrying their bags. Others sit talking, sheltering from the heat under the shade of mango trees. The sky and the sea share a calm shade of blue.


Some of the islands that make up Komodo National Park can be seen from the port, giving a special attraction to the town of Labuan Bajo where, every Saturday afternoon, a crowd of more than a thousand people gathers.


“They are waiting for Tilongkabila,” says Don Bosco Mansen, a resident of Labuan Bajo who works as a guide.


Named after a mountain in North Sulawesi Province, Tilongkabila is a passenger ferry that operates between Surabaya, Denpasar, Labuan Bajo and Makassar.


“The capacity of the ship is 1,000 passengers, but it often carries more than that,” Mansen says.


The development of the area from a small traditional port into a relatively modern facility that hosts bigger ships has attracted residents from across Flores. But not all come to travel aboard Tilongkabila.


“People from Lembor or Cancar come to the seaport with their families,” Mansen says. “The big ship fascinates people and creates an attraction for local tourists.”


It can take up to two hours by bus to reach the port from the villages of Lembor and Cancar, but the distance is obviously not a deterrent.


There is a crowd in the port, and I am reminded of a dream sustained by Indonesia’s tourism operators. Joop Ave, Indonesia’s first minister of tourism and considered a guru by the country’s hospitality industry, once stated that “the crowd created by tourism will develop a market for crafts and agricultural products.” He also said, “Tourism is industry, and needs a good plan.”


His words were taken to heart by promoters of tourism development across many regions of Indonesia, with Bali a clear example of the symbiosis between tourism and community-based industry. Data from the Bali Tourism Authority shows that in 2008, an average of 6,000 foreign tourists arrived in the country daily through Bali’s international airport.


Fidelis W. Peranda, the district head of West Manggarai, said: “Labuan Bajo is considered a tourist destination and we are working to build the necessary infrastructure, including hotels, roads and other facilities, to develop tourism. We have to develop it according to our financial ability.”


The development of the port area is part of a plan to increase tourism to Komodo Island. But so far, in tourist numbers, a year in West Manggarai is comparable to less than four days in Bali. Data from the Komodo National Park shows that last year 21,000 tourists, both foreign and domestic, visited the park.


The locals that gather at the port are also far from representing the first tourism minister’s dream about developing tourism for the community. There are no booths selling local souvenirs, or restaurants offering local food. The crowd doesn’t come to sell local products, but rather to buy cargo off the ships.


Flores islanders come from afar to buy apples, pears and other imported fruit from Tilongkabila’s crew. They take some of their purchases back home as proof they made it to Labuan Bajo, residents say.


The district only grows pineapples, mangoes and bananas, and has recently started cultivating rambutan and durian as well.


“This is a small town by Javan standards, but for people from remote villages, it is a metropolitan town,” says Mansen, who moved to the town from Lembor. “When I was still living in my village, going to Labuan Bajo was a big deal.”


The trip is considered similar to that made by villagers on Java Island to the country’s capital, Jakarta.


With a population of less than 100,000, Labuan Bajo is gradually gaining renown with visitors from elsewhere. Having an airport with regular flights, a good port with regular routes and its location at the edge of Komodo National Park gives the place a unique advantage. More than 42,000 Internet sites refer to the town in relation to Komodo National Park or by using the term “Komodo Adventure.” That term, in fact, has become the most cliched image of Labuan Bajo tourism.


The Komodo itself is the biggest living lizard on Earth. Some scientists refer to the creature as the Komodo lizard, but tourism brochures and national park literature call it the Komodo dragon.


“Location, location, location,” the mantra of business development for merchants around the world, is proving to be of great advantage to the growth of the town.


“Labuan Bajo is growing to be a more interesting town than other towns in Flores,” says Puji Astuti, who recently moved to the town from Ruteng, the capital of neighboring Manggarai district.


“If I had to choose between Labuan Bajo and, say, Ruteng, then I would choose Labuan Bajo. A thousand percent,” Puji says, adding that some government ministers have become regular visitors to Labuan Bajo.


The rapid development of the town can be illustrated by official population statistics, which show an amazing rate of growth. From 2000 to 2001, the population growth was 1.25 percent, but between 2005 and 2006 it rocketed to 14.53 percent — more than seven times the national level of 1.59 percent in the same year.


“Sometimes I think this place grows too fast, but as long as people enjoy it, that’s OK,” Puji says.


Yos Darma, a radio presenter in the town, says that not only tourists but “also salesmen come to Labuan Bajo,” adding that shops in the town are now filled with more brands and choices than several years ago.


Some of the inns and small hotels have provided accommodation in Labuan Bajo for many years, and have now been joined by more upmarket facilities, including the Komodo Ecolodge, Hotel Anam Emerald, Puri Beach, Bintang Flores and Pulau Bidadari Dive Resort.


Many visitors stay at the smaller hotels while waiting for a ship or ferry to Sape on Sumbawa Island, in West Nusa Tenggara Province. They sometimes have to wait several days, when rough seas prevent the ferryboats from sailing.


Even though the hotel scene is changing, some older properties keep to old practices.


“Some hotels owned by locals here won’t accept tourist couples,” Darma says. “Not because they are tourists, but because the owners know many tourist couples are not married.”


In fact, in the small Pelangi Hotel, I see a European couple being rejected by the receptionist who says the property is penuh , or full, even though there are still empty rooms.


But some things have changed in the recent past.


“The town’s living standards are now very different to what they were three years ago,” Mansen says. “Now that the price of land is rocketing, the price of rental rooms is also increasing compared to three years ago.”


A room that cost less than Rp 200,000 ($16.80) a month three years ago can now cost Rp 300,000. In other areas of Flores Island, prices have remained stable for the past five years.


Houses are even more expensive to rent or buy, with prices about three times more than they were four to five years ago, residents say.


“Expatriates from Germany, England, Italy, Japan and other areas bought land on the hill slopes that face the national park,” says Brian Susanto, a radio journalist in Labuan Bajo. “The hills had no value before, but now the area is so expensive because of these expatriates.”


The slopes of Labuan Bajo provide a great panorama of the bay with its scattered islands, including glimpses of two of the three major national park islands — Rinca and Komodo.


Residents say prices also began to rise after West Manggarai became a separate district in 2003. Government money poured in, propelling the price of land around the harbor up significantly.


“Now we can see the town is separated into several areas according to different market prices,” Susanto says.


“It is hard to buy land in the town now — it is too expensive.”


Around the town, the price of property is about Rp 40 million per 100 square meters.


An influx of people from the islands of Sulawesi, Sumbawa and Java who have moved to try their luck in the town have contributed to the price increases.


Ambu Redang, 26, moved the town almost two years ago from Goa, in South Sulawesi.


“My uncle has been living here for five years now, and he said we can make a good living in Labuan Bajo,” he says.


“So I moved.”


Ambu operates a boat between Labuan Bajo and Komodo National Park and sometimes spends three days on board, depending on what his passengers require.


During the peak tourist season of June through August, he ferries 15 to 20 groups a week between the port and the park, and is paid Rp 75,000 for each trip.


“But outside the peak season I only take two or three groups per week,” he says.


Even so he considers it a good income, “because I live close to my uncle and eat at his house.”


But for him, the price of food is high in Labuan Bajo, compared to his hometown in Sulawesi.


“Labuan people import fruits and vegetables from Sulawesi,” he says, explaining that he often transports fruit and vegetables from Makassar to Labuan Bajo using a traditional phinisi boat.


“I think the transportation cost is the main reason food is so expensive here in Labuan Bajo.”


Food and dining are related to culture and ethnic groups have their own unique culinary traditions. But finding a restaurant offering the local cuisine is impossible in Labuan Bajo.


“Every time a tourist asks me where to buy local ethnic food, I try to talk about something else,” says Mansen, who originally came from Manggarai.


The Padang food of West Sumatra dominates the culinary scene in Labuan Bajo. Padang restaurants are all over the town, and also dominate the culinary scene throughout Flores Island.


There are no restaurants providing local Flores food and some of the residents say a unique style of Floresian cuisine does not exist.


Mansen disagrees, and says that every ethnic group in West Manggarai has traditional dishes.


“Every time there is a ritual ceremony, we grill fish fillets, meat and rice in bamboo cylinders,” he says, explaining the local food tradition.


“We only have very simple food, not good enough for restaurants,” says Anna Fatima, a local housewife.


Puji, who became head of the women’s empowerment division of the local government after moving from Ruteng , says the town organizes a festival for local food.


“But so far, cooking food is only considered as a domestic activity.”


Just as they wait for what they consider to be exotic fruit to be delivered aboard Tilongkabila, the people of Labuan Bajo seem to be hoping that each newcomer will bring their own tradition, any tradition, to make the town a richer place.


In contrast, local guides say that visitors hope to taste the town’s unique culture, not only from its nearby natural wonders, but also the food and crafts of its own residents. 


Photo: Boats ferry passengers between the many islands in Komodo National Park. (Benito Lopulalan, JG)

Artist, journalists plant coral, release turtles at Sikuai

Padang, W Sumatra (ANTARA News) - Some film artists including Christine Hakim, West Sumatra tourism officials and foreign journalists planted coral reefs and released a number of young green turtles at Sikuai Island beach here on Friday.


The event took place at the New Sikuai Island Resort, one of West Sumatra's tourist destinations, about one hour by boat from Padang, capital of West Sumatra province.


The group who included movie  actress Christine Hakim and some foreign journalists were making a six-day visit to West Sumatra at the invitation of the provincial branch of the Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI) and the local tourist office, starting from Friday (Feb.20).


In addition, Rikwan, the Sikuai Island owner and several officials of the local tourist office also participated in the social activities.


The artists and  journalist  left the Dermaga Bahari for the Sikuai Island,  about 50 hectares wide and 400 meters high, by boat.


The Sikuai Island resort is about three miles from Padang beach.

The artists and journalists were also scheduled to attend the launching of a tourist train on Saturday (Feb 21) which will be operated by the provincial administration in a bid to lure more tourists to the province. 

Cirebon fishermen fall victim to loan sharks

Nana Rukmana, The Jakarta Post, Cirebon, West Java | Wed, 02/25/2009 1:52 PM

Fishermen in Cirebon are facing difficult times as the bad weather continues. Some who dare to go out to sea are complaining about tiny catches, while others who prefer to stay at home do not have one at all, forcing them to eventually fall into the jaws of loan sharks.

Locals say the difficulties started in December 2008 when the bad weather came. The weather has yet to return to normal, forcing some fishermen to go back to sea, although often only to return home almost empty-handed.

"Because of the bad weather, we do not have the courage to sail further out to sea. We cannot go far from the beach due to the high waves," Mista, 50, from Citemu village, Mundu district, said.

As a result, he added, his catch was very small. Normally, he could catch between 25 to 50 kilograms of crabs, locally known as rajungan, but currently his catch was only between 2 and 5 kilograms.

"It is only enough to cover a single day of my family's daily needs." Mista said.

Cirebon fishermen are known for their specialty in catching crabs and small fish locally known as teri nasi.

"It is even more difficult to catch teri nasi during such bad weather," Mista added.

Separately, chairman of the Association of Indonesian Fishermen's (HNSI) Cirebon branch, Dade Mustofa Effendi, said those who forced themselves to go to sea in such bad weather mostly did it out of dire economic need.

"They stopped going to sea for a relatively long time. They decided to return despite the bad weather because their daily expenses were mounting and they just could not wait," he said, adding that some fishermen were also forced to change occupation, to being manual workers or pedicab drivers, just to help them earn something to support their families.

Many, however, preferred to stay at home, repairing their fishing boats and tools and thus earning nothing. As a consequence, to cover their daily needs they relied on credit, both from fishermen's cooperatives or neighboring kiosks selling staple foods, Dade said.

"Many have fallen into the hands of loan sharks. This is a matter of grave concern that the government should look into," Dade said.

Affected fishermen are mostly from the five main fishing districts of Mundu, Gebang, North Cirebon, Kapetakan and Losari. Their total population is about 25 million. Of them, 15 million are from Gebang district.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Deep blue

The Jakarta Post     |  Tue, 02/24/2009 9:00 AM 



A boy jumps from a boat Monday into the sea in Bandengan kampung, Cirebon regency, West Java. Many kids are spending their spare time swimming, after fishermen have been left grounded because of high seas and bad weather. JP/Nana Rukmana