He’s young, handsome and now exceedingly well known since his billboards and activities are all over the island and country. But what’s behind this stylish, modern, smiling presentation. NOW! Bali’s Alistair Speirs went to the quiet and peaceful, manicured grounds of Rudana Museum to meet the man himself. Here’s part of a wide ranging discussion on culture, politics, life, creativity, responsibility and the future of the world!
As we approach the Presidential elections how do you think democracy has help Bali?
Democracy is a process of inspiring people. At some point people will begin to understand that happiness is inside, that happiness is serving, and that democracy is not about sacrificing other people but sacrificing yourself.
If we see Bali in the perspective of culture, the palaces are always close the temples, and so everywhere people are equal through religion. Bali is part of Indonesia and our “Tatwam Asi” (I as you, you as me) philosophy can guide and inspire the both Indonesia and world.
Do you think Indonesia as a nation is heading in the right direction?
I have great respect for our founding fathers and what they have achieved for Indonesia:
• Sukarno (Indonesia’s first President) was a great leader who inspired the people.
• Suharto (the second president) I greatly admire for his politeness (santun) and his amazing ability to speak to the common people.
• SBY (the current President) this is a man who doesn’t just talk but actually does things
Yes we are absolutely going in the right direction, 2009 should be a year of consolidating our stability and only in 2014 should we begin to look for a greater vision for the future. One note of caution though is that the levels of education in Indonesia are not get high enough so people can only express what they actually see, and what they see is not always the correct version.
What about the tourism industry which is the backbone of the economy in Bali?
Tourism is really is the staple diet of Bali so I don’t want to criticize but I am sad when I see every tourists watching poor performances because everyone trying to keep prices down. The hotel rooms here should be much more expensive, it should be a privilege to visit this wonderful island. It does seem that tourism leaders are now all heading in the same direction which is good since tourism has infinite potential but based on the spirit of Nusantara, our archipelago nation, Bali should be united with the rest of Indonesia through the sea.
But is the tourism industry being well managed in Bali?
We in the Art and Culture Business are really dedicated to our industry, “Melalui Kecintaan kepada Jiwa Bangsa”, so we can always see areas that can be improved. For example we don’t need to ban billboards just insist they are beautiful! We should not just have the exterior of buildings looking architecturally Bali but the interiors as well can be carved and styled. Petrol stations can be Bali style as well—I have already started one—and so should the airport represent our culture, it should be an art gallery greeting guest on arrival. So yet it’s being well managed but its not focused enough on being spiritually Bali, Indonesia.
So we should concentrate even more on art and culture?
Absolutely! Every country has a soul which is reflected in the products it makes. Look at Germany with Mercedes, USA with Boeing, Japan with Sony and Korea with Samsung. We should also have products which reflect our soul, which is based on art and culture in addition to technology.
How can we achieve that?
First by seeing that tourism is a source of income, but that culture needs to be protected and funded to keep it pure and intact. These should be managed by separate ministries. Art and culture should be managed with love.
So you do recognize the importance of tourism as a foreign exchange earner?
Yes of course but we should concentrate on quality not quantity. When people come here they should “experience” Bali not just sightsee, they should join in the rice planting, understand the subak (irrigation system), and watch the padi (experiencing rice harvesting). There is great “Taksu” in this experience–added value to your life. Here you can really understand “Tri Hita Karana” the relationship between God, Man, and Nature. So there is so much more value we can give to tourists and so much more contribution we can expect from tourism.
And what is your vision for future?
Great nations understand the soul of their country. They cannot build the soul by copying from others, that’s just consumptive not creative. So we must understand our archipelago, use our rivers and oceans to their best potential. We must subsidize our farmers to ensure our roots in agriculture are preserved. And above all I have a dream that all sectors of our country; legislative, executive and corporate sectors will live art and culture. That’s why the program of the government to declare 2010 as “Visit Museum Year” to get people attention back to the richness of our own culture is a great starting point for Indonesia. (NOW)
A great vision. Many Thanks.
Sumber : Now! Bali Life on the Island edisi Agustus 2009
Text : Alistair Speirs