An employee walking along a thermal pipe at the Kamojang geothermal
power plant near Garut, West Java, on March 18. State utility provider
 Perusahaan Listrik Negara is targeting an additional 135 megawatts of
electricity from three new geothermal plants. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,.. etc.)
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) - (Text version)

“.. Nuclear Power Revealed

So let me tell you what else they did. They just showed you what's wrong with nuclear power. "Safe to the maximum," they said. "Our devices are strong and cannot fail." But they did. They are no match for Gaia.

It seems that for more than 20 years, every single time we sit in the chair and speak of electric power, we tell you that hundreds of thousands of tons of push/pull energy on a regular schedule is available to you. It is moon-driven, forever. It can make all of the electricity for all of the cities on your planet, no matter how much you use. There's no environmental impact at all. Use the power of the tides, the oceans, the waves in clever ways. Use them in a bigger way than any designer has ever put together yet, to power your cities. The largest cities on your planet are on the coasts, and that's where the power source is. Hydro is the answer. It's not dangerous. You've ignored it because it seems harder to engineer and it's not in a controlled environment. Yet, you've chosen to build one of the most complex and dangerous steam engines on Earth - nuclear power.

We also have indicated that all you have to do is dig down deep enough and the planet will give you heat. It's right below the surface, not too far away all the time. You'll have a Gaia steam engine that way, too. There's no danger at all and you don't have to dig that far. All you have to do is heat fluid, and there are some fluids that boil far faster than water. So we say it again and again. Maybe this will show you what's wrong with what you've been doing, and this will turn the attitudes of your science to create something so beautiful and so powerful for your grandchildren. Why do you think you were given the moon? Now you know.

This benevolent Universe gave you an astral body that allows the waters in your ocean to push and pull and push on the most regular schedule of anything you know of. Yet there you sit enjoying just looking at it instead of using it. It could be enormous, free energy forever, ready to be converted when you design the methods of capturing it. It's time. …”

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Poor residents implement a program on water supply

The Jakarta Post, JAKARTA | Fri, 02/27/2009 2:29 PM 


Nuryana, a resident in community unit (RW) 12 in Penjaringan, North Jakarta, was busy fixing three water hoses in the back of a two- by one-meter room sheltering a water jet pump.


He checked whether the hoses were strongly attached to a water pipe coming from a blue water tank in a tower near him.


"These hoses will channel clean water to residents in three different zones," Nuryana told The Jakarta Post recently.


Nuryana is among 60 residents in Penjaringan who will use and operate the newly donated water installation next month.


The installation, which includes a water jet pump, a hydrant tower and water pipeline networks, was donated by US-based NGO Mercy Corps under a program called the Community-Based Water Supply System.

 Digging deep: A worker stands over groundwater tanks, which are still under construction. A hydrant tower has been built above the tanks. (Courtesy Mercy Corps Indonesia)

"We helped 60 residents establish a working group to manage the installation," Mercy's project officer for the program, Vincent Hermanus, Pooroe told the Post on Tuesday.


"They have to be responsible for the installation's daily maintenance and make sure that all residents pay their water bills."


To prevent failure in billing payment, Vincent said the group needed to initiate a system ensuring that all members pay their bills on time.


"Because most of the residents earn daily incomes, we have suggested they put some money in a savings box in their house."


"The group also needs to deliver the water billings at least 20 days before the payment is due," Vincent added.


The installation takes clean water from pipes belonging to tap water company PT PAM Lyonnaise Jaya (Palyja).


The residents only need to pay for the water they use with some additional fees to maintain the installation.


"According to our calculations, by using this installation, families can reduce their spending for clean water by almost 50 percent. They will only spend a maximum of Rp 50,000 *US$4.20* each month." he said. (hwa)

Apartment residents use hoses for water

The Jakarta Post, JAKARTA | Fri, 02/27/2009 2:29 PM 


Dozens of long water hoses protruded from the windows of a four-story apartment building in Penjaringan, North Jakarta.


The hoses stuck out like giant pieces of spaghetti, chaneling clean water from a gronteng, a deep pool beneath a small hut, to the units of the low-cost Mawar and Melati apartments.


Every 20- to 30-meter hose was connected to small jet pumps inside the little hut.


Supriyanto, who lives on the fourth floor of Mawar Apartment, said residents started to connect hoses to jet pumps around two years ago.


 Water web:: A man walks under hoses at Mawar Apartment in Penjaringan, North Jakarta. Residents living in the apartment’s upper floors use jet pumps and hoses to channel water to their apartment units. (JP/Hasyim Widhiarto)

At the time, they were concerned about reliability of the water supply from city tap water operator PT PAM Lyonnaise Jaya (Palyja).


"The apartment's water jet pumps absorb water from the nearest Palyja hydrant, which is located 500 meters away from the apartment," he said.


"Most of the time water pressure is very low and can't help the machines push water to the highest units."


Supriyanto, who has lived in the apartment since 1997, said the installation was meant to be temporary.


"Residents used to bring their jet pumps and hoses after filling up jerricans with water.


"Later, almost all residents used the installation because water supply from Palyja was unpredictable," the father of two said,


He said the installation could work almost 24 hours a day during the dry season. Most residents in Mawar and Melati apartments work as seasonal workers.


They pay Rp 143,000 per month to rent an apartment, plus approximately Rp 50,000 for electricity and Rp 30,000 for water.


However, as the water supply is repeatedly disrupted, residents in apartments on the top floors had to dig deep to provide extra cash to install the spaghetti-like hose system.


Yuni, another resident, said she had no money to buy a jet pump and a hose.


"My husband doesn't work and we have not saved enough money for the installation," said the mother of nine.


"At the moment, it costs at Rp 350,000 to buy a jet pump and Rp 100,000 to by a 20-meter hose."


Yuni runs a small grocery store at her apartment block. She said she had no choice but to rely on the existing water installation.


"When the water flows at midnight, I have to make sure that my water tank is full."


Yuni, who has been living in the apartment for seven years, said she sometimes asked to share water with her nearest neighbor.


"I am ashamed, but what else I can do?" she said. (hwa)

Stop using groundwater, says environmental board

Oyos Saroso H.N. and Jon Afrizal , THE JAKARTA POST , JAKARTA, BANDARLAMPUNG, JAMBI | Fri, 02/27/2009 2:14 PM

The Jambi Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) in cooperation with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and other concerned NGOs are intensifying the hunt for a man-eating tiger.

The Sumatran tiger is reported to have killed and eaten two illegal loggers from Lampung last week in Sungai Gelam district, Muaro Jambi, Jambi. The BKSDA is reportedly mulling relocating the tiger.

On Thursday, ZSL Indonesia representative Dolly told The Jakarta Post in Bandarlampung that a female tiger nicknamed Salwa, who the BKSDA captured on Feb. 11, might not be the only tiger in the jungle that had eaten humans.

The fact that people had continued to be attacked and eaten by a tiger even after her capture indicated there was at least another man-eater in the wild.

"We are now working together with the BKSDA in Jambi to catch the tiger. We have found its traces based on our survey and mapping," Dolly said.

Salwa, now being kept temporarily at Rimba Pall Merah Zoo in Jambi, is strongly believed to have attacked a total of five people, three of them fatally, between the end of January and the beginning of this month.

Dolly said there were frequent reports of the target tiger entering villages in Muaro Jambi area and causing panic among villagers. Its most recent appearance was in Paal 12 village in Sungai Gelam.

"We want to catch it soon. It probably will be released back into its habitat together with Salwa," Dolly said. He also said they would likely be released in a forest in Jambi. "It's possibly the South Bukit Barisan National Park," he said.

Sumatran tigers are the world's most critically endangered tiger subspecies. Only about 250 of the big cats are left in the wild, down from about 1,000 in the 1970s.

Illegal hunting and trading of the rare animals is blamed for their decline. In Jambi, for instance, such practices have rapidly decimated the tiger population from 50 a few years ago to only about 20 at present.

"Unless something is done about it, they will be extinct in only a few years' time," Jambi BKSDA head Didy Wurjanto said recently.

Expats hail ownership plan

Prodita Sabarini, THE JAKARTA POST, JAKARTA | Fri, 02/27/2009 2:29 PM 


Expatriates living in Jakarta and surrounding areas said they welcomed the government's plan to allow foreigners to own property in Indonesia for 90 years.


Currently, the National Land Agency, Home Ministry and Public Housing Ministry are revising a 1996 law on foreign ownership of property. The revision will extend foreigners' utility rights of houses, apartments and condominiums in Indonesia from 25 to 90 years.


On Thursday, German national Dieter Speers said he welcomed the plan. Having lived in Indonesia for almost 20 years, he said owning land in the country would definitely bridge the gap between foreigners and locals.


"I buy a property to live in. I obey the culture and adjust to the neighborhood," he said.


"I'm more likely to be part of the community by owning a house than just renting one apartment and moving the next year."


Speers purchased a house in 1999 under the 1996 rules.


Speers works in the bakery and cafe business, after serving as a professional chef in five-star hotels in Jakarta. He commutes from his house in Rancamaya, Bogor, to his workshop in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta.


He said the choice to live and have a business in Indonesia was his own.


"I'm not married at all. I'm living on my own. I'm very free to move anytime, but I chose to continue to stay here," he said.


"Indonesia is so promising, in terms of entrepreneurship and the hospitality of friends is second to none."


Another expatriate, Karen Merrick, said that if the plan passed, it would help sustain the economy.


"I think the plan would widen the popularity of Indonesia from other countries," she said.


Malaysia and Singapore allow expatriates to own property. In Singapore, an apartment would cost Rp 170 million per square meter while, in Indonesia the price is still around Rp 10 to 25 million per square meter.


Last week, the chairman of the Indonesian Real Estate Association (REI), Teguh Satria, urged the government to revise the regulation to allow foreigners to acquire 70-year home ownership rights in order to help the economy.


Property analysts said that because of the global economy crisis, within two years the property business here would be sluggish.


The draft revision reportedly allows ownership rights up to 90 years straight, longer than what the REI demanded.


CEO of property giant Agung Podomoro Group, Handaka Santosa, said the government was taking too long to deliberate the regulation.


The ministry has been working with the National Land Agency to draft the regulation with input from the Indonesian Real Estate Developers Association since last year. It was scheduled to go into effect by the end of 2008, or early 2009 at the latest.


"They should hurry up and not take too much time to pass the law," he said.


"The government should be smart in looking for a breakthrough to help the economy," he said.


Handaka said opening up the real estate market to foreigners was a good way to attract investment.


"Compared to the stock market, real estate is safer, because even though they leave the country, the property is still here," he said.


Calls to open up the real estate market to foreigners have been sounded since 2006. That year, REI estimated that the country could reap at least $10 billion in foreign investment in five years should it decide to open the sector.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Developers start building water treatment plants

Prodita Sabarini, THE JAKARTA POST, JAKARTA | Thu, 02/26/2009 11:31 AM 


With only 3 percent of Jakarta and its surrounding areas connected to a sewerage system, sewage treatment plants are a rarity.


This one is located in Lippo Village, a privately developed residential and business complex covering 3,600 hectares. It processes sewage from around 10,000 families living in the area. 


While the city administration has not been able to provide adequate waterworks infrastructure for the city – having only a sewage treatment plant in Setiabudi, South Jakarta, and waste treatment facilities in Pulo Gebang, East Jakarta, and Duri Kosambi, West Jakarta – the private sector (i.e. real estate de-velopers) is investing in sanitation systems.


 Rare view: An officer inspects a sewage treatment plant at Lippo Village in Tangerang, Banten. A number of developers have equipped their housing estates with modern sewage treatment plant. JP/Prodita Sabarini

Light brown water flowed rapidly at a privately owned sewage system plant in Tangerang. A slightly foul odor lingered from the plant, but the smell was better than what comes out of the city’s putrid gutters.


The latest move to build a sani-tation system was in 2002, when the city signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) worth US$5.3 billion with an Australian company to develop a proper sanitation system.


Under the agreement, the company was to construct a deep tunnel sewerage system to treat all liquid waste in the capital.


However, there has been no follow-up to the agreement until recently, apparently due to financial constraints.


Poor sanitation leads to water pollution in the city’s rivers.


The city environmental agency has repeatedly reported the presence of E. coli bacteria in all of the 13 rivers it regularly monitors throughout the city.


The two tap water operators in Jakarta – PT PAM Lyonnaise Jaya (Palyja) and PT Thames PAM Jaya (TPJ) which currently bear the name PT Aetra Air Jakarta – have frequently complained about the quality of the water they must treat to turn into potable water.


Private companies that can afford to invest in sanitation systems at their estates said their reasons were not only environmental but also economical.


Furthermore, developers are obliged to provide sanitation systems at their project sites under a 2005 gubernatorial decree on waste water treatment. 


Cornelia Retno, the water and sanitation manager of Lippo Karawaci, the developer of Lippo Village, said the initial investment for the waterworks system in the early 1990s reached billions of rupiah.


“It is profitable in the long term,” she said.


She said that because of the infrastructure, the value of property at Lippo Village continued to rise at an average of 20 percent each year.


The largest integrated property developer also developed Lippo Cikarang and Royal Serpong Village. It launched Kemang Village, an integrated city project in South Jakarta worth US$880 million in late 2007, and is building the $1.2 billion St. Moritz Penthouses and Residences in the Puri Indah Central Business District.


In Lippo Village, the houses are connected to sewage pipes, which transport wastewater to a sewage treatment plant. The plant processes 130 liters of waste per second. The water is then stored in basins or used to water plants.


The town also has a water treatment plant, which process tap water from the local water company into potable drinking water.


Retno said the company was currently studying the possibility of using the basin as a water source.


Another property giant Agung Podomoro Group also invests in sanitation system. The company, which managed to survive the 1997 Asian financial crisis, is embarking on a massive project called Podomoro City in West Jakarta. Occupying a 21-hectare block, the project will consist of 15 apartment towers, malls and office areas.


CEO of Agung Podomoro group Handaka Santosa said there would be sewage treatment plants and a water treatment plant at Podomoro City.


“It is profitable. Water is expensive. So rather than throwing it away, we will reuse it,” he said.

Handaka, however, said the government should provide the city with a proper sanitation system. Educating the public about keeping the rivers clean is also important, he said.


The small river behind Senayan City Mall in South Jakarta is another project of Agung Podomoro Group.


“At first I put a metal fork to trap the flowing garbage in the river.


The result was three trucks full of garbage every day. I decided to take the fork out as it was costly,” he said.


At the site, a resident threw a bucket of rubbish into the river.


“You saw that with your own eyes, didn’t you?” he said.


“Education, it’s important.”

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Low Cost Flats to be Built in Yogya

Wednesday, 25 February, 2009 | 11:47 WIB 

TEMPO Interactive, YOGYAKARTA:The government of the Special Region of Yogyakarta will build 192 low cost flats in Pringwulung village in Sleman, Yogyakarta, this year. 

The cost for constructing homes for low-income earners is estimated to reach Rp24 billion. 

“The concept is to build a twin block, able to accommodate 192 flats,” said Cipta Karya Housing Development Directorate General chief, Edy Priyatna, yesterday (24/2). 

According to Edy, each flat will be 27 square meters in size, with two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a kitchen. 

The bidding process will be carried out in the near future. 


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Indonesia: World Bank-administered GPOBA Supports Expansion of Piped Water Supply to Surabaya’s Poor

The Worldbank, News Release No. 2009/2 

Washington D.C., February 20, 2009 – The World Bank, acting as administrator for the Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid (GPOBA), signed a grant agreement with the Republic of Indonesia for US$2.4 million to increase access to piped water networks for poor households living in Surabaya. 

Up to 15,500 households or 77,500 people are expected to benefit from the scheme through new household connections, including bulk supply or “master meter” connections for particularly poor, dense or informal communities not otherwise eligible for household supply. 

“The GPOBA project will assist Indonesia towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal for water by specifically targeting those households that are least able to afford connection fees and network expansion,” said Joachim von Amsberg, World Bank Country Director for Indonesia. “The benefits for these families will include improvements in health and savings from a reduction in the cost of water.” 

Currently, only 17 percent of households in Indonesia have access to piped water. Many families rely on wells, but use of such sources is becoming increasingly unsustainable due to contamination of shallow groundwater sources and over-pumping of deep wells. Many poor households also buy water from vendors and neighbors with piped-water supply, but this can cost them more than 20 percent of their income. While piped water is more affordable, steep connection charges constitute a barrier to entry for the poor. 

“Surabaya has shown clear commitment to connecting the poor and the GPOBA project demonstrates an innovative master meter approach for informal settlements, where individual household connections are not viable,” said Maurin Sitorus, Director of Funds at the Indonesian Ministry of Finance. “Providing service through bulk supply, and enabling communities to manage their own distribution networks, metering, billing, and collection is a new approach to service delivery that has not been tested before in Surabaya. Successful implementation of these schemes could have a very powerful impact on city leaders and PDAM managers.” 

Thanks to the GPOBA subsidy, the connection fee for poor households in the target areas will be US$33 (payable over three months) instead of the usual price of US$66-260. The project will be implemented jointly by the Ministry of Public Works, the local government, and the public water utility of Surabaya (PDAM Surabaya) which has shown a strong commitment to expanding the water network to the city’s poor neighborhoods. In line with the output-based approach, most of the GPOBA subsidy will be paid to PDAM Surabaya only after the services have been delivered and verified by an independent agent. 

“We hope this project will have a demonstration effect that will enable scaling-up and replication throughout Indonesia’s more than 300 public utilities, and help the country to increase the proportion of people with sustainable access to safe drinking water,” said Suhail J. S. Jme'An, Senior Financial Analyst, and Yoonhee Kim, Urban Economist, World Bank Team Leaders for the project. 

The GPOBA project will draw on funds from the UK’s Department for International Development. Additional funding will come from PDAM Surabaya, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and user contributions. 

Available in: Bahasa (Indonesian)


In Washington:

Cathy Russell, tel. (+1) 202 458 8124, 

In Jakarta:

Randy Salim, tel. (+62) 21 5299 3259, 


Monday, February 23, 2009

West Jakarta wants to lead Old Town rejuvenation

Prodita Sabarini, THE JAKARTA POST, JAKARTA | Mon, 02/23/2009 11:36 AM 


West Jakarta Mayor Djoko Ramadhan said Saturday he wanted his office to lead the rejuvenation of Jakarta’s Old Town because it fell within his municipality.


Ramadhan, after meeting with Old Town stakeholders at the  Mandiri Museum, said he agreed with the idea of the city having sole authority over the management of the area, but added his office should be in charge.


“The governor said to me when I took up office to take care of the Old Town,” he said.


The area’s revitalization is on the city’s “dedicated program” list, meaning it is a priority for the city administration. The cultural and tourism agency has been put in charge of the project.


The Old Town area is a heritage area because it contains several old buildings, including the former Dutch Batavia Town Hall, now the Jakarta History Museum, in the heart of the area. It spans 1.3 square kilometers, straddling both North and West Jakarta.


In 2007, as part of the Old Town revitalization plan, a pedestrian area began to be built on Jl. Pintu Besar Utara in Central Jakarta.


“There has yet to be an integrated coordination for the Old Town,” Djoko said, adding he hoped to revitalize the area starting this year, and had met with stakeholders to discuss problems in the area, prior to proposing his plans to Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo.


To revitalize the area, Djoko asked property owners to revamp the pedestrian arcade on Jl. Pintu Besar Selatan and Jl. Pintu Kecil.


Yusmada Faizal, head of the West Jakarta Public Works traffic division, said many property owners used the pedestrian arcade in front of their buildings for private use, with some even building gates or using the arcade as a parking spots.


He added property owners should agree to refurbish the arcade and provide the space for pedestrians.


“The Old Town can have the same atmosphere as places such as Braga in Bandung and Malioboro in Yogyakarta,” he said.


Djoko said the city would provide the design, while property owners should share the cost with the government for the construction.


None of the property owners from Jl. Pintu Besar Selatan and Jl. Pintu Kecil were present at Saturday’s meeting, but Djoko said he would meet with them next week.


As part of the rejuvenation plan, Djoko also proposed rearranging the traffic flow in the area, especially around Jakarta Kota Station and the Transjakarta busway shelter.


He said traffic should flow such that the Old Town became a destination rather than a transit point.


Muh. Fausal Kahar from the West Jakarta City Planning Agency said traffic around Kota Station was always packed. Despite the large numbers of people in the area, a lot of buildings remained desolate and abandoned, proof that people did not view the area as a destination.


“The only way to liven up the area is first by solving the traffic problems and making way for pedestrians. Also, abandoned buildings, some of them owned by state companies, should be revamped,” he said.


Candrian Attahiyat, head of heritage sites at the Jakarta Culture and Museum Agency, said there were 29 abandoned buildings in the Old Town, seven of which were severely damaged and could collapse if no immediate measures were taken.


One business owner said at the meeting that the abandoned buildings were also an entry point for criminals breaking into neighboring properties.


“In a year, we get three to four break-ins. The burglars come in through the empty buildings,” he said.

Tangerang sees four lakes disappear due to buildings

Multa Fidrus, The Jakarta Post, Banten | Mon, 02/23/2009 2:24 PM 

At least four of the existing nine small lakes, or situ in newly formed South Tangerang municipality have gone missing due the administration's lack of control over illegal occupation by local residents and housing developers.

Kusparmadi, a planology lecturer at the Indonesian Institute of Technology (ITI), who recently made an inventory of the lakes, said there were originally nine small lakes.

They are Situ Tujuh Muara and Situ Kedaung in Pamulang district; Situ Parigi in Pondok Aren district; Situ Rawa Kutub in North Serpong district; Situ Gintung, Situ Legoso, Situ Rumpang, Situ Bungur and Situ Rawa Antap in Ciputat district.

"After we made an inventory of the lakes through satellite imaging, we found Situ Legoso, Situ Rumpang, Situ Rawa Kutub and Situ Rawa Antap no longer existed," he said, adding the lakes could no longer been seen from satellite monitoring.

He called on the South Tangerang municipal administration to take measures to tackle the problem, saying the lakes played an important role in the local ecology as water catchment areas.

Yulianto, head of lake matters at the Tangerang regency administration's Public Works Agency, said he was aware of the disappearing lakes.

"The lakes were initially just left in neglect, so long-term sedimentation turned them shallow. And since there was no control by the administration, local residents took over parts of the lakes and began erecting houses one by one," he said.

He added the illegal occupation of the lake had reduced the capacity of the land to absorb rainwater, which in turn contributed to floods.

"I think this is homework for the new administration to work on."

South Tangerang is a spin-off from Tangerang regency. The municipality covers the four districts of Serpong, Setu, Pamulang and Ciputat.

The districts are home to housing complexes like BSD City, Gading Serpong, Alam Sutera and Villa Dago Pamulang.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Borobudur at the crossroads

Sunita Sue Leng, CONTRIBUTOR The Jakarta Post, Borobudur, Central Java | Sun, 02/22/2009 10:09 AM



(JP/Sunita Sue Leng)

The best time to visit Borobudur Temple is at dawn. That is when Central Java’s magnificent World Heritage monument is enveloped in cool mist and peace.


That is when you will be able to climb the ancient stones in near solitude and be rewarded with a view of the candi’s rotund stupas – 72 in total – rising majestically out of the mist with the first rays of the sun.


Of course, you don’t actually have Borobudur to yourself. When I went, I was surprised to find 20 to 30 others on the highest terrace of the monument, waiting impatiently for the sun to come up.


They were mostly foreign tourists, some with fancy cameras on tripods, some with little children.


However, it was relatively quiet and I felt very fortunate to be able to visit this historic gem in such serene circumstances.


This was my second visit to Borobudur, and how different it was from the first. I had come the day before and made the mistake of coming on a Sunday. The entrance at the foot of the monument was already buzzing with people eager to set foot on the monument and as I looked across the length of Borobudur Park, I could see a never-ending stream of people making their way toward the entrance.


Borobudur at dawn – quiet and peaceful (JP/Sunita Sue Leng)


Once past the entrance, it was quite a challenge trying to navigate the stairways. The narrow stone stairways were choc-a-bloc with people, so climbing was a slow process, often with a view of nothing else but someone else’s posterior. When I got to the top, several visitors, mostly teenagers or children, were seated on top of the stupas, despite signs forbidding visitors to do so.


Strewn across the floors of Borobudur’s many terraces was litter – cigarette butts, empty bottles of mineral water, plastic bags. The few dustbins that were available were already full to the brim. It was not a pretty sight.


According to the authorities, Borobudur gets about 2.5 million visitors a year, the bulk of whom are Indonesians. When I went, schools were on their year-end break so a high proportion of the visitors that day were large groups of excited students on school outings. The rest were mostly families from neighboring provinces who had come on holiday, and a handful of foreign tourists accompanied by their guides (or guidebooks).


Litter along the terraces of Borobudur could damage the porous surfaces of the ancient stones (JP/Sunita Sue Leng)


It is comforting to know that so many people make the effort to visit Borobudur. After all, the monument is a present-day window to Indonesia’s glorious past. It is also an enduring memento of the advanced level of craftsmanship that prevailed in Java at a time when Western Europe was struggling through its Dark Ages.


Built in the eighth and ninth centuries, Borobudur houses a staggering 2,672 relief panels, many exquisitely detailed, as well as 504 Buddha statues. At the summit, a gigantic central stupa rests on a massive lotus-shaped base half a meter thick, making this the largest Buddhist stupa in the world.


Borobudur is a place of pilgrimage for those of the Buddhist faith. Its passages were designed for monks to circumambulate the edifice in silent prayer. Along the lower square terraces, they would be flanked by carvings such as the biography of the Lord Buddha, from his descent from heaven until his enlightenment, which is depicted on the main wall of the first gallery.


As they ascended to the higher circular terraces, they would be surrounded by unembellished stone walls, representing Buddhism’s Sphere of Formlessness. Above them, the main stupa – which is empty, signifying Nirvana – would soar into the sky. Today, Buddhist rituals are still carried out at Borobudur on auspicious days such as Waisak.


On top of this, Borobudur lies amid great natural beauty. As I stood atop the candi’s highest tier, I was almost eye to eye with Mount Merapi, the still-active volcano that soars 2,911 meters in the northeast. It was wrapped in fluffy clouds, while on the ground, green rice paddies stretched for miles.

 Children climbing one of the stupas (JP/Sunita Sue Leng)


On the western and southern edges, the Menoreh hills rose and fell. This is the geographical center of Java. Called the Kedu Plain, it is also known as the Garden of Java as it has been made unusually fertile and lush by volcanic earth and the intersection of two rivers, the Progo and the Elo.


Little wonder, then, that so many are drawn to Borobudur, which is already under threat, even without the crowds. According to the Borobudur Heritage Conservation Institute, acid rain has damaged some of the carvings, while global warming could cause more fissures and cracks in the monument’s stones.


The growing number of tourists to Borobudur, which is managed by PT Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur, Prambanan and Ratu Boko, add further strain. Litter is not just unsightly; the remnants of cigarettes or sugary drinks could damage the porous surfaces of the monument’s stones. Overcrowding along the steep stairs holds the risk of accidents, should a child or elderly person slip and fall.


Poorly supervised youngsters mean unnecessary touching of carvings, or worse, climbing onto statues and stupas, contributing to erosion of its more fragile surfaces. Painstakingly restored in the ‘70s and ‘80s with help from UNESCO, the Borobudur temple is a grand inheritance that every Indonesian should be proud of, regardless of religion. It would be a shame to let it succumb today to modern-day tourism.

Sweden to launch waste refinery project in RI

The Jakarta Post, Wed, 02/18/2009 2:55 PM   

INDONESIA: Sweden, one of the few countries which fulfilled Kyoto Protocol emissions reduction target, in collaboration with Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta, will launch the Waste Refinery Indonesia project in Yogyakarta, the Swedish Embassy said on Tuesday.


From the Swedish side, the municipality of Boras and the University of Boras will work with UGM.


Both Sweden and UGM are jointly organizing a two-day workshop in Yogyakarta that will be opened on Wednesday by Swedish Ambassador Ann Marie Bolin Pennegard and UGM rector Prof. Sudjarwadi, on waste refinery. Both Pennegard and Sudjarwadi will also launch the Waste Refinery Indonesia project.


"The objective is to develop a network around Indonesia under the project name Waste Refinery Indonesia," the embassy said in a statement sent on Tuesday to The Jakarta Post. - JP

Friday, February 20, 2009

City considers adding new bus shelter in Old Town area

Agnes Winarti,  The Jakarta Post,  Jakarta | Thu, 02/19/2009 2:12 PM  

The administration is currently mulling over a plan to establish an additional Transjakarta bus shelter in the Old Town part of West Jakarta, as part of efforts to order chaotic traffic in the area. 

"We will review the newly proposed plan within a month," head of road traffic division at the city transportation agency, M. Akbar, told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday. 

A new Transjakarta shelter on Jl. Kunir, located in the northern part of Fatahillah Square, was proposed recently during a meeting of the coordinating team for the revitalization of Old Town area. 

The team includes officials from the city transportation agency, public works agency, district and subdistrict offices, parking unit, city cultural and tourism agency's Old Town unit, and Old Town building owners association. 

Head of the Old Town unit at the cultural and tourism agency, Candrian Attahiyat said, "The shelter would ease the flow of visitors going to the heritage area, so motorists wouldn't be caught in traffic jams." 

The plan will add another 600-meter lane, connecting the Kota shelter to the new shelter on Jl. Kunir. It will help people traveling north, south, east and west around the 840-hectare heritage site in West and North Jakarta. 

"First, we need to reduce the traffic volume in the area, which is more of a transition area for those going to Pluit and Bandengan," Akbar said. 

Under the traffic volume reduction plan, he said, the city would erect traffic signs prohibiting motorists on certain streets. 

Ella Ubaidi, from the Old Town building owners association, said the traffic solution should be integrated with the Old Town master plan. 

She said the traffic problem in Old Town was not only because of vehicle flow on the streets, but also because of motorists misusing sidewalks, which contradicted the administration's plan to turn the area into a pedestrian site. 

"It is too early to decide whether we need more busway shelters," Ella said. "We do not mind having a new shelter close to the heritage area."