The night has come - and gone

This Balinese New Years party in 2013 was celebrated on Ubud's main gathering venue, our football field. Many thousands watched the Ogeh-Ogeh's and later infront of the Royal palaces dances by groups from varies parts of town celebrating Caka 1935.

Ngrupuk & Ogoh-Ogoh 2013 Read more!


Getting ready to party

We are getting ready here for the Balinese New Year celebrations, famous all over the world for their silent part called Nyepi - 24 hours the life here comes to a standstill, even the airport is closing and do not try to leave the house secretly to visit your lover - it can end in a disaster as happened to our neighbour a few years ago : But that is a story I will tell you in two days, on the 12.March, the day of this years Nyepi and as always on the New Moon day in March. First comes the purification from the dirt, pollution of all kind. Then comes the parade of Ogah-Ogah's and let's start here showing one of them I saw on my daily morning rides with the pedelec (hybrid push-bike). Nyepi 2013 Ogah-Ogah

More info about Nyepi you can find in this post from 2007

Read more!

Ubud - don't follow Citi and Starbucks

Shadows on UbudThe writers are moving home, time for conclusions. One voice which captures the feeling of most visitors to Ubud delivers a serious warning to further shadowing Ubud's image:

The image of Bali is that of terraced rice-paddies, great food, a hippy and arty element in Ubud and swimming and surfing on Bali's many beaches. In other words, a kind of laid-back lotus-land.All to sadly in a place like Ubud, the 21 century has arrived with a bang. Clogged roads and bumper-to-bumper traffic, bus-loads of day-visitors tramping the streets and now even a Starbucks cafe in the main street. Of course all the usual US influences such as KFC and McDonalds have been evident for years in places like Kuta or Denpasar. The innocence which was Bali, especially in Ubud, is evaporating. The local people are as charming, gentle and smiling as ever. The prospects of things becoming 'better' are not evident. With the release of the movie Eat, Sleep, Pray, starring Julie Roberts, there are already signs of tourists, principally American women, headed for Ubud in droves, to try and 'capture' whatever the Julia Roberts character did in Ubud.

Read more!


From the heart make it ryhme

41SepBZ64FL._SL500_AA266_PIkin3,BottomRight,-13,34_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpgBook lauches are the salt on the meal of the Ubud Writer and Reader festival 2010. And also a social event. We met Salvodore Bali on those in Casa Luna. He was so impressed by what he saw and heared, that he wanted to leave his comments here.

Its not everyday one comes across a writer who exposes his soul such as the book FALSE PROPHET by Berislav Loncarevic does. Time travel short stories that say it from the heart make it ryhme. Where you go there you go. Wherever you are, there you are. Sensitive, warm and self reveling. Read it.

Salvadore Bali Read more!


Nothing to loose

Loewenstein AmiryAt the Ubud writers and Readers festival 2010 Palestinian Suad Amiry in conversation with Antony Loewenstein

We did already introduce Gustav as the blogging father at this years Ubud literature festival. He is continuing his notes today with a report about one of the most interesting sessions of the second day, when 'an event took place which was significant and rare on a number of levels. First of all the 2 speakers, in conversation with author, journalist and blogger Antony Loewensteinblog revolution, were a noted Palestinian writer Suad Amiry and well-known Israeli writer Etgar Keret .

As Indonesia and Israel don't have diplomatic relations, the Festival organisers had to move heaven and earth to secure a Visa for Keret to enter Indonesia. #1 rare occurrence. And rare occurence #2 was that here were two highly intelligent and articulate people, at opposite ends of the spectrum which is the Israel-Palestinian conflict, in civilised discourse with even humor injected into the discussion.
Read more!


Festival diary – day 1

As a result of the 'Blogger for Beginners' workshop of the Ubud Writer and Reader Festival we are posting here those blog entries related to the Ubud Writers and Readers Conference 2010. For reference and further reading please look at the end of the articles. Blogger friends, who do not agree, that their diaries are posted please call back! As a starter Bob Gosford from his Blog 'The Northern Myth'
Register and off to the press conference. The jovial and rotund  Australian-Irish leprechaun that is Thom Keneally was joined on stage by Festival Director Janet De Neefe, a few others that I didn’t know.

A jovial, rotund leprechaun of a man, Thomas Keneally
A jovial, rotund leprechaun of a man, Thomas Keneally
Also there was Sitor Situmorang, a prolific local author once jailed for eight years without trial following publication of his essay Revolutionary Literature. He later moved to the Netherlands for ten years.I’ll have more about Sotor and his work soon.
Sitor Situmorang - one of the 'Angkatan 45'
Sitor Situmorang - one of the Angkatan 45
Read more!


Like a Prostitute

citiallrev.jpgUbud is changing, big foreign business arrived - Citi Bank advertisements all over the place or in the words of the official Ubud Writer and Reader festival blogger Ric from Water and Stone: "The first thing that struck me on arrival to Ubud was the ubiquity of the Festival marketing banners; they seem to be everywhere this year." Or in twitter: "Seeing our print and design work all over town. Nice!" and surely he got well paid for those design and marketing work. Congratulations!

What Ric does not mention is, that the Citi Bank logo is everywhere, it clearly dominates the streets - in small letters the UWRF follows. And the Citi Bank does not even have a brach here in Ubud (yet). Starbucks is one step ahead. After members of the kings family were resisting for decades to let foreign franchising into Ubud one of them simply could not resist the big bucks Starbucks offered for the lease of one of Ubud's most dominating buildings.

Nor could Janet de Neefe, the mastermind behind the Ubud Writer and Reader festival resist - 'Feels like prostitution' as a festival visitor remarked. The 7th years is famous for being critical in a marriage, let's hope that the 7th incarnation of the UBRF does not mark the beginning of the end of the Ubud we love - and that it does not sell it's soul.

Citi UbudBig business buys the media and tries to make Ubud to a place like so many others - as do the official bloggers -  hopefully not all of us:-). Here in full length the first real official post on the CITIBANK-UWRF website:

Arrived in Ubud today, settled into my hotel room and picked up my media kit. Had someone rent a motorcycle for me so I can get around town -- they show up with this tiny pink thing. I should have known better than to let someone else handle this for me. Well, at least I will be easy to spot. I'll be the large white guy wrapped around the tiny pink scooter.
The first thing that struck me on arrival to Ubud was the ubiquity of the Festival marketing banners; they seem to be everywhere this year.
Read more!

Does Ubud need the Citi to maintain its identity?

Citi branch Ubud
At the press briefing before the opening, Ubud Writer and Reader festival founder and director Janet De Neefe answered questions on whether the sponsorship would jeopardize the festival’s integrity.

“Of course it’s important for us to maintain our identity but also we expect involvement from Citibank. Hopefully it’s a win-win situation. I swear when Citibank committed to us I was sleeping better than ever. Last year was the most dreadful year for the festival — how many times did I go to Jakarta looking for money. You can’t imagine how hard it was last year for us — so when Citibank came aboard I just said ‘hurrah!’,” she said.

Read more!

Ubud Writerfestival 2010

The festival is opening in a few moments - and everybody is getting ready. The workshop 'Bloggers for beginners' is preparing some inside sights behind the scene. Guided by the wonderful  Jeff Loewenstein a dozen newcomers will try to cover the event. As in the last years we invite the paticipants to share their view on the festival with us - and we are more than happy to provide links to your own blogs for further reading.

Read more!


Ubud Writers Festival 2010

kaledioscope.pngThe Ubud Writers Festival for 2010 kicks off tomorrow night with a Gala Opening - to be followed until next Sunday with a galaxy of some 100 writers, from all over the world, in conversation, discussion or simply chatting over a relaxed lunch or dinner.Needless to say Ubud is the perfect spot for a Festival. As it happens a book, Eat, Pray, Love - part of which plays out in Bali and is the subject of a movie, just released, with Julia Roberts - will, all too sadly see scores of people flock here to try and capture the Kama the book details.

MPS is here and will report from time to time about various events. Stay tuned.

Source: MPS Gustav Read more!