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.
Just few days to go, the year 2014 will be replaced by the New Year 2015. New Year is expected to come with a new spirit and new hope. Do not forget, it also comes with new challenges getting more difficult and heavier. Nevertheless, new opportunities are still widely open to make us, our families, residents and fellow countrymen better.
At every nook and cranny of globe, people welcome the New Year’s Eve. Various means and activities are organized. Some give extravagant impression, while others celebrate it modestly. Some do it festively, while some others only contemplate in silence. Everything can be done provided that they do not interfere with the interests, social norms and religion of local people. Everything can be done.
A classical question arises again and again. What if Balinese people do not feel to become Balinese again? What if they do not love Bali any longer? Probably, these questions are excessive, but it is advisable to keep it in retrospect. This becomes particularly important when at the moment we as Balinese people are in the swirl of world civilization as a result of the so rapid tourism development.
Not long ago, the government through the Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs, Indroyono Susilo, set visa-free for short visit for five countries, namely China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and Australia. These five countries added to the previous 15 other countries having received similar facilities. They consisted of the 9 ASEAN countries (Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos), Chile, Hong Kong, Macao, Morocco, Peru and Ecuador.
Minister Indroyono said the policy was taken to improve the growth of tourist arrivals to Indonesia. According to calculation, with the introduction of visa-free for short visit was expected to draw additional 450,000-500,000 travelers annually. Earlier, when submitting visa, each applicant would be charged at USD 25. So, if calculated roughly we will lose about USD 11,250 million of foreign exchange per year. “Indeed, we will lose USD 25 foreign exchange per traveler,” he said.
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