Monthly Archives: January 2008

Ubud organic market needs more space

Features – January 31, 2008

Anton Muhajir, Contributor, Denpasar

The front yard of Pizza Bagus in Pengosekan, Ubud, was bustling with activity one recent morning.

Vendors had transformed the cramped yard into Ubud’s first organic market. Buyers carefully scoured piles of various organic food products, from fruits and vegetables to bread, honey, and ice cream.

Dutch national Edith van Walsum, a mother of two children, said shopping the organic market was quite exciting.

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Filed under Bali, Kliping, Perjalanan

Farmers benefit by going organic

Features – January 31, 2008

Smiling and talking casually despite the strong aroma of cow urine coming from the bucket in front of him, Ketut Wiantara looked very happy as though he was rich with treasures.

The urine was his real treasure though, for later it would be mixed with water to create organic fertilizer and pesticides.

Farmers in Pancasari village, Sukasada district in Buleleng regency, around 60 kilometers north of Denpasar, used to use chemical fertilizers and pesticides for farming, which inevitably caused them losses.

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Membelah Pulau Seribu Bukit

Meski melelahkan, perjalanan membelah Flores sebenarnya bisa jadi kegiatan wisata yang menarik. Pantai, bukit, dan gunung terhampar sepanjang pulau yang layak disebut Pulau Seribu Bukit ini.

Aku berniat menulis perjalanan lima hari di sana secara tematis, bukan kronologis. Tapi itu kan ide. Lain lagi praktiknya. Hehe.. Tiba-tiba hari aku ingin nulis mengalir saja. Seperti biasa, tidak usah pusing soal tetek bengek aturan nulis. Tulis saja apa yang ada di kepala.

Maka aku mau nulis panjang meski nanti bisa juga dibagi jadi beberapa bagian. Dan, kali ini aku mau memulainya dari tempat pertama yang aku datangi, Labuan Bajo.

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Lima Hari yang Meremukkan Tulang

Perjalanan ke Flores pekan lalu benar-benar untuk sebuah pekerjaan yang melelahkan. Aku melakukannya bersama Jelle, teman dari kantor pusat tempatku kerja part time. Lembaga di bidang pertanian berkelanjutan ini berkantor pusat di Belgia dan memiliki kantor setidaknya di 15 negara, termasuk di Indonesia. Kami ke Flores untuk meliput program lembaga ini di beberapa tempat di Flores.

Tentu saja melelahkan. Kami harus mengunjungi lebih dari lima kabupaten selama lima hari di Flores. Dan kondisi di sana benar-benar berbeda. Tidak seperti di Bali dan Jawa yang jalan di kampung pun sebagian besar sudah mulus dan datar. Di Flores, jalan naik turun bukit berkelok-kelok. Sudah naik turun, kondisi jalannya pun rusak parah.

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Filed under Pekerjaan, Perjalanan

Update Rencana Launching BBC

Minggu sore kemarin, panitia launching BBC kumpul di Art Café Jl Hayam Wuruk 159 Tanjung Bungkak Denpasar. Semeton belogger yang hadir diurut dari yang paling tua: Mas Yos, Anton, Novan, Ivan, Lode, Yanuar, Arie, dan Eka. Ada juga Isoul yang kebetulan ketemu di jalan lalu ngobrol sebentar di sana. Pas obrolan soal launching mau dimulai, kartunis yang tampangnya memang lucu ini malah cabut.

Kami ngobrol dari sekitar pukul 5 sampe 6.30an ditemani teh hangat, jeruk hangat, jus alpukat, dan pisang goreng kelapa andalan cafe yang biasa dipakai tempat ngobrol soal seni rupa ini. Dan, menurutku, oborlan kemarin bener-bener menyenangkan. Sangat hangat meski mendung gara-gara Soeharto sudah mati padahal belum diadili.

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Filed under Aneka Rupa, Blogging

Sebagai Apa Kita Mengenang Soeharto?

Pas zaman Soeharto wong cilik ora ono sing meketek,” kata emakku begitu saja pas nonton TV soal matinya Soeharto tadi siang. Kami duduk di kasur melototi TV yang berlomba memberitakan matinya Soeharto sekitar pukul 13.10 WIB tadi. Suara mak hanya suara orang awam tentang tidak adanya orang kecil yang susah pada saat Soeharto berkuasa.

Ketika berkuasa, Soeharto memang mampu mewujudkan sesuatu yang hilang pada masa Soekarno sekaligus hilang menjelang dia selesai berkuasa, kejayaan ekonomi. Pembangunan meski tidak merata, swasembada pangan, pengendalian laju penduduk, dan seterusnya merupakan keberhasilan Soeharto ketika memimpin. Dan, bagi orang-orang seperti mak, itu mungkin lebih penting dibanding urusan lain-lain yang hanya dimengerti sebagian orang.

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Tidak Perlu Tetek Bengek Blogging

Daripada malas tidak jelas, aku nulis sesuatu yang beda saja. Kali otakku perlu peralihan sebentar dari soal perjalanan ke Flores dan Jawa seminggu penuh kemarin. Maka, kali ini aku nulis soal standar ngeblog saja. Ini juga pikiran sudah lama. Tapi karena si tukang malas ini tidak nemu mood untuk nulis, jadi ya tertunda terus.

Mood untuk nulis soal standar ngeblog itu tiba-tiba muncul pas aku blogwalking ke beberapa semeton belogger. Membaca blog orang lain selalu memunculkan ide atau sesuatu untuk ditulis. Blowalking memang salah satu cara untuk mencari inspirasi. Jadi kalau ada orang bingung mesti menulis soal apa, tentu saja aneh bagiku. Kan bisa saja dia nulis soal kebingungan dia. Tidak ada informasi bisa jadi informasi itu sendiri. *Nah kan nglantur maneh?*

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Habis Semangat, Malasnya Kumat

Kemarin tuh aku kok sepertinya semangat banget ya untuk segera nulis catatan perjalanan ke Flores dan Jawa. Tapi hari ini kok berubah 180 derajat? Aku males banget. Padahal seharian juga udah di depan komputer terus. Maunya maksa tapi kok takut malah acak adut tidak jelas. Makanya ditunda saja. Nanti kalau moodnya sudah datang, baru nulis panjang.

Sepertinya ini akan jadi tulisan panjang memang. Jadi ya harus dibagi-bagi dalam banyak bagian. Semula aku berniat nulis kronologis saja. Urutannya menurut waktu. Tapi kok sepertinya kurang asik. Maka, maunya nanti aku nulis tematis saja. Misalnya place, people, panganan alias pood (maksa banget sih?), dan seterusnya. Tapi ya, sekali lagi, karena aku pemalas, jadi nulisnya juga tergantung mood. Kalo lagi semangat nulis, nulis saja. Kalo giliran males tidak usah dipaksa.

Bukankah karena itu sebuah blog ada. *Ngeles teruuusss*

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Solo, Timlo, dan Loyo

Di tengah perjalanan minggu ini, aku nemu warnet juga. Maka aku girang bukan kepalang. Meski badan sangat loyo, bisa online seperti mengalahkan itu semua. *Alamak, heroik sajaaaaaan!*

Yup, ini lagi Solo. Seharian tadi jalan ke tiga lokasi. Begitu turun dari Bandara Adi Sucipto Jogja, aku dan Jelle langsung ke Solo. Di sana ngobrol sama temen2 LSKBB, LSM mitra tempatku kerja part time. Kami ngobrol soal program mereka di bidang consumer awareness untuk produk pertanian organik. Ini masih sisa pekerjaan membuat dokumentasi program sustainable agriculture chain development, advocacy, dan consumer awareness untuk tempat kerja part time. Lanjut setelah di Flores lima hari.

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Inclusive ashram open to all religious traditions

Features – January 24, 2008

Anton Muhajir, Contributor, The Jakarta Post, Karangasem

Students of Ashram Gandhi Candi Dasa in Karangasem regency, Bali, have to practice their spiritual beliefs amid the constant noise produced by the bars, restaurants and cafes that are located just a few meters away from the ashram building.

The 2008 New Year’s celebrations showed just how difficult the situation could become for them.

While others celebrated the end of the year by partying, the 13 students of Ashram Gandhi sat cross-legged, trying to enjoy a moment of silence, while embracing the coming of the new year.

They chanted the holy mantrams (Hindu’s traditional prayers) by heart. They tried hard to act as if they were not aware of the festivities outside.

The year may change but not the students and the ashram.

Established in 1976 by prominent spiritual Balinese figure, Gedong Bagoes Oka, Ashram Candi Dasa — located in a part of Bali popular with tourists — is now the headquarters for two other ashrams: the Ashram Gandhi Vidyapith Denpasar, which was established in 1996 and the Ashram Gandhi Vidyapith Yogyakarta, established in 1997.

Ibu Gedong, as she was familiarly known, was an ardent activist for interfaith dialogue activities.

Many of Indonesia’s well-known religious figures came to the ashram when Ibu Gedong was running the place. Former president Abdurrahman Wahid, or Gus Dur, was one of the frequent attendees.

Even though an ashram is meant to be a place to learn about Hinduism, Ibu Gedong imposed a totally different set of rules, permitting others with different religions, or sometimes also people with no religions, to learn and live in the ashrams.

Besides religious teachings, the ashrams have also taught other skills needed in life, such as embroidery, craftsmanship and farming.

I Nyoman Sadra took the lead over the ashrams after Ibu Gedong passed away in 2002. He was one of Gedong’s first batch of students and also a former member of the Sarvodaya International Trust, a Bangalore-based international organization that aims to follow Gandhi’s way of life.

Sadra has also acknowledged that not all the students come to the ashram for spiritual reasons. Many of them do so simply because they cannot afford to go to school.

I Ketut Dharma Saputra is one of them. The 15-year old is the son of a poor farmer from Gianyar. His neighbor brought him to the ashram after hearing the ashram provided free schooling for its students. Ashram Gandhi gives educational assistance to all the 13 students who live in the ashram.

“We give them educational assistance from junior high school to university,” Sadra said.

He added that they had also built a kindergarten, which now has around 30 students. The learning process continues after school as these students still have to learn and practice spiritual and religious subjects in the ashram at night.

“It feels very awkward at first, but we learn to live with it,” Dharma commented on the obligation for students to practice religious teachings.

Unlike their peers, who are spoiled by television, Play Station and junk food, these teenage students eat no meat and must practice a modest way of life.

But life, however modest, requires money.

This fact has created confusion for Sadra as the ashram has no fixed income. The ashram has chosen not to get directly involved in the commercial world and this fact leaves them with no choice but to rely on donations and the savings accumulated during Ibu Gedong’s lifetime.

“Actually we have eight cottages that function as tourist accommodation in the compound, but since we don’t offer anything but a tranquil atmosphere, tourists rarely pick this place,” he said.

He realized that relying on the savings was not the best choice because the momentum of life at the ashram would flag once it was gone.

“I don’t want to beg for donations simply because Ibu Gedong did not do that,” Sadra said.

Published in The Jakarta Post

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