On every Nyepi celebration, one day before, there is Pengerupukan Ceremony and usually there is Ogoh-Ogoh parade. Ogoh-Ogoh, a puppet in the shape of creepy giant is the symbol of bad characters of human and must be destroyed. This must be done so in celebrating Nyepi Day which is the Caka New Year, the human will be in a clean condition, physically and spiritually. It is the philosophy of the Ogoh-Ogoh parade and the meaning behind it.
One afternoon, Mrs. Laetitia Delvart Sugandi, General Manager of Harris Hotel & Residences Riverview Kuta made a visit to my office. This French woman married to an Indonesian man then told the story on how the condition of hotel business in Bali that tended to decrease this time. It was trigged by many causes, said Mrs. Leti, as he is familiarly addressed.
After that, the woman who also occupies a position in the Sport Department of the Bali Hotel Association (BHA) slightly detailed a number of the causes. Some of them are the AirAsia flight disaster, political and economic conditions at home and outside the country and the execution plan of the two members of the Bali Nine group, the drug kingpin from Australian. Yes, the issue of Bali Nine inevitably makes the diplomatic relations between Jakarta and Canberra heat.
Has the labor of Bali tourism been ready to compete against foreign labor? This question always comes up at various occasions. Similarly, it also appeared when Bali Travel News organized a Cocktail Break, an event to select young talents in the bartending field no long ago.
Is the labor of Bali ready? The answer is: ready or not ready, must be ready, let alone after the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Indeed, the labor of Bali has long been tested, even before the AEC was agreed. The first test definitely takes place among the local labor and then among the labor from outside the island and overseas, either those having already possessed a working permit or the illegal ones. It has become a very real fact.
Story on Lubdhaka is quite familiar among the people of Bali. Imaginative figure of Mpu Tanakung is indeed very popular especially before Shivaratri celebration falling on the day before new moon in January (seventh month in Caka calendar). It is said that the figure Lubdhaka is a hunter who lives a hard life every day. As a hunter, he definitely has killed many animals.
One upon a time, as usual, he was hunting to a dense jungle. Without being realized, he has penetrated the jungle too far and did not know the way out of the jungle till night. Inevitably, he had to sleep in the jungle. He climbed a leafy and shady bilva tree. Underneath there was a pond with clear water. Throughout the night, Lubdhaka was trying to keep awake. When falling asleep, he would fall and be devoured by wild animals.
Ahead of the yearend 2014, a friend of mine from Ubud, Gianyar, lamented to me. He is a businessman and former public official. He expressed some few complaints, or perhaps more accurately it posed information because I am a journalist. It was starting from the latest condition of Ubud to the situation of Bali tourism in general.
“Do we still hold on cultural tourism?” he asked. I know this question did not require an answer. He added that when observing the current situation the change could be prominently felt. Balinese culture began to get slowly marginalized. “Everyone will experience it,” he added.
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