Category Archives: Opinion

Comment: Nominee “Crisis” Seeking Resolution – the Silent Approach or Shine a Light?

I recently received a long letter from a reader calling himself Bali Bulé (BB) sent, he said, on behalf of himself and a group of long term Canggu residents addressing the subject of foreign ownership of land in Bali via nominees. In this letter he expressed their disagreement and, he claimed, that of many other readers, with ‘much of what I wrote’. They also took grave exception to the word “crisis” being used in this connection. The “crisis” being, in their opinion: “an entirely self-created, and possibly self-serving, crisis manufactured by some of those involved”. Who such persons might be ... [ Read More ]

COMMENT : Saudi Execution of Indonesian Maids Embarrasses President

Indonesia’s President, Jokawi Widodo has not had it easy since his election last August. While managing to retain power many of his core supporters have begun to question his ability to change things for the better as promised. He has not made things easier for himself with his decision to resume the execution of drug smugglers, a policy already starting to backfire but could now go toxic with the recent beheading of two Indonesian maids in Saudi Arabia convicted of murder. Joko’s basic dilemma remains how to maintain his core support from the mass of people who elected him on ... [ Read More ]

Bali Booms… Expat Residents Tremble Open Season as Nominee Ownership enters uncharted waters

These are strange days in Bali. While increasing tracts of the fabled island are given over to runaway property development of questionable provenance and merit, traffic congestion reaches epic Bangkok and Jakartan proportions, with foreign residents increasingly victimized, even killed as a result of property disputes, unable to obtain protection under the law from the courts or the police – despite all this and more, foreigners still want to come here and stranger yet, want to invest in a home or property here. Are they mad, greedy fools, or simply being badly advised? Some are certainly one or all of ... [ Read More ]

Hurrah for the Minister, Three Cheers for Susi – Raspberries for the Usual Suspects, Time to Shape Up…

Something long overdue with long-reaching, significant and hopefully beneficial effects for Bali, the Balinese and foreign residents on the island occurred last month. First, on March 10 Minister of Agrarian and Spatial Planning and Head of the State Land Board, Ferry Baldan made an announcement clarifying beyond any doubt something we all either knew or should have known already. In a statement to the press the Minister said “Foreigners are absolutely not allowed to own an inch of land in Indonesia under the constitution of Indonesia.” He went on to say that the government intends to clamp down on all ... [ Read More ]

Parallels in Corruption: Does Hong Kong have Lessons for Indonesia?

Through Jakarta last month was Tony Kwok, one-time Commissioner of Hong Kong’s Internal Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), a man who now travels the world as a consultant to governments and state organizations, including Indonesia’s own Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). Kwok has served in a number of senior roles with the ICAC since its formation in 1975 until retirement in 2002 following the 1997 handover to China, and which included an early existential face-off with Hong Kong’s Police Force (HKPF), known in pre-1997 as the Royal Hong Kong Police(RHKP). Kwok, Man Wai (Tony) is a man who has devoted his working ... [ Read More ]

Bali 9 – Mercy Makes Sense

As a child growing up in England in the 1950s I can still remember the chill and frisson of fascinated fear we all felt on the occasions a death sentence was carried out. An overriding aura of a shameful and squalid act being committed pervaded the nation. All the usual suspects, the protests and vigils by abolitionists, the truculent affirmations from saloon-bar conservatives and above it all the solemn sententious pronouncements from judges and political leaders, lending a grisly numinosity to the proceedings. It was rather as if the sun had broken through the clouds when in 1965 Britain abolished ... [ Read More ]

Knight of Oz throws the Abbott of Oz for a Spill

Prince Philip, the 93 year-old Prince Consort of the Queen of England is hardly in need of another title and yet Tony Abbott, Australia’s Liberal prime minister and ardent monarchist, thinks he is and knighted him last year, along with an Australian airman and a brace of Dames. Australians don’t agree and it nearly cost him his job. Australia’s constitutional arrangements, the benefits of a presidential system versus a parliamentary one and vice versa, have a relevance for many countries far beyond Australia. They include not only Canada and New Zealand but 52 other Commonwealth countries all qualifying as either ... [ Read More ]