Dear Sir

A breakout of rabies – that’s all we need!

On top of pornography laws, a 360-percent increase duty on imported alcohol restrictions on imported foods, Prohibition-like raids on restaurants, threats of reprisal bombings, police setting up roadblocks to raise personal revues for themselves, appalling traffic jams reminiscent of Bangkok before the Sky Trains, all for the want of a functional and synchronized sets of traffic lights which can and do remain dysfunctional for years.

Police seemingly asleep or dozing behind smoke glass windows apparently oblivious or uncaring as to the chaos right before their eyes, and continuing rampant corruption at every level.

What family will now seriously consider bringing their children to Bali when faced with the prospect of having to avoid the beaches, stray dogs which abound, hotels and resorts which can only offer prohibitively priced food and outrageously expensive alcoholic drinks?

History will tell anyone who reads that Prohibition never works. It just breeds more illegal smuggling and further loss of taxes.

History will also tell you that to do the very opposite by bringing down import duties and facilitating desired imports which cannot be obtained in Indonesia will increase the tax take immeasurably.

What are they trying to do to tourism in Bali? Kill it stone dead?

If the object of the exercise is to turn history back 50 years, then you will have succeeded beyond your wildest dreams, as the tax receipts for the forthcoming year will amply demonstrate.

If there is another agenda, then we should all know about it; otherwise the people who make up the very foundations of the economic pillars in Bali will form their own conclusions and withdraw in droves.

More worrying, however, is the apparent collective oblivion to the coming international storm. There seems to be the attitude that Bali is an unleveraged economy which will ride out the coming storm. This is patently absurd.

Bali will be devastated unless serious remedial action is taken now by at least rectifying some of the more obvious problems which can be cured by the stroke of a pen.

No one is suggesting that all things can be done at once, but at least try to keep the jewel in the crown alive.

The last time an economic tsunami of this magnitude blighted the world, Bali, and in fact Indonesia, was a sleepy agrarian society under the thumb of its colonial and regional rulers.

Things have changed dramatically and you are now faced with a dire economic crisis which may drag on for many years.

This is not a time to be bringing in repressive laws and hobbling international tourism.

It’s a very, very serious situation which must be addressed now, proactively; otherwise we are going to see widespread suffering, a dramatic increase in crime, widespread business failures and a breakdown of this fragile society.

I may be wrong with these dire predictions in the face of mounting evidence, but is it not best to hope for the best whilst planning for the worst?

As outsiders, we can’t force change other than to draw your attention to the astronomical storm clouds which are gathering on the horizon, the effects of which can still be mitigated with urgent action.

The patient is in a critical condition, but not yet fatal.

Act now, for the sake of Bali!




Dear Sir

On the morning of December 14, I went for a beach run from 66 to Tuban, and counted 16 wild dogs. There was one large pack in Legian and another in Kuta. It’s probable that none of these dogs were rabid, although it is, of course, now possible.

I asked some of the lifesavers about why these dogs had not yet been removed. Already Australian newspapers are reporting on the problem. One lifesaver answered that his job was to rescue swimmers, not deal with dogs. I suggested to him that if a rabid dog happened to attack someone on Kuta Beach, the impact on tourism might mean that he wouldn’t any longer need to rescue swimmers, as there wouldn’t be any.

Often before this current problem, the sometimes snarling dog packs on Bali’s beaches annoyed me. Once I was bitten by a wild dog whilst shopping in Legian. I just had the wound thoroughly clean and a tetanus jab. Now I would need to have a painful series of anti-rabies injections. I have read that experts advise widespread vaccinations rather than culling, which might endanger the culler. So potentially rabid dogs might be left on beaches because they might endanger collectors? Crazy.

Yesterday some cafe workers in Seminyak told me that the local banjar had told them that baits might be spread to control the strays, and that I should be very careful walking my dogs on the beach. That baits might be used in such a public place defies belief.

Many of your readers would have read the American classic To Kill a Mockingbird. In one of the most nightmarish literary scenes ever, Atticus saves his daughter from a rabid dog. I can’t imagine anything more terrible at the moment than being confronted by a snarling dog on a Bali beach. Atticus had a gun.

All (not just some) of the wild dogs on Bali’s beaches have to be removed immediately.


John Daniel


Dear Sir

Your paper is great and I think it is wonderful that you include a Kakuro puzzle every week. Only, I have trouble deciphering the clues because the white lettering in the black boxes is not very visible, so that most of the time I am unable to complete the game. I want to suggest that you use a lighter color (maybe light gray?) for the clues boxes or print the clues much bolder.


Ines Wynendaele

From this edition, the puzzle lettering is darker. Ed.


Dear Sir

I am surely not the first to strike this dilemma.

We read reports of official policies to reform attitudes to corruption, and until now I had avoided knowingly paying to “speed up” a process.

Now I am not so sure.

We also read frequently of official clamping down on foreigners in breach of their visa status, etc. I would guess that many give up in frustration, despite attempts to legalize their position.

Two and a half years ago (yes, that’s right) I commenced the process to have a Pondok Wisata license issued for my villa.

Wheels are still turning slowly. I have just been told that the regency keeps changing the rules. It may well be that we have actually not made any progress in that time, and the whole thing may have to be resubmitted!

I was stunned today to be told that it will require a group of 18 officials to visit for the next inspection. Of course they are to be entertained, and I was informed the amount of “pocket money” to pay to each on the day, as well as paying their transport, plus a hefty official fee!

So here I am between the devil and the deep blue sea! I either play their game, against all my principles, or resist – clearly my application will go nowhere in that case; it would be rejected on some flimsy pretext, if a reason was given at all.

There has already been one inspection, and it seems that another two inspections may be needed after this one!

This is a wonderful country in so many ways. We as foreigners are criticized for becoming cynical, but how else should I feel? We are clearly seen as targets for bleeding dry. I need not add that all around me are locally owned accommodation providers with no adherence to any of these regulations. I do not wish to operate illegally, but I am getting close to understanding why some do.

I will gladly provide details should anyone have access to the governor.




  1. John Daniel says:

    Dear Sir,

    Further to my letter of last week about rabies in Bali, it may be true that the problem is contained and that there is little chance that dogs around Kuta and Legian are rabid; however Bali is now a rabies declared area and the perception of most tourists will be that wild dogs are possibly rabid. At the best of times, packs of snarling, barking wild dogs on Bali’s beaches are frightening to some and annoying to most. I repeat my assertion that all of them should be removed.

    Furthermore, a collar on a dog does not protect it from getting rabies and being frightening. Owners should not be allowed to let their dogs run free. All unaccompanied ‘collar protected’ dogs should be impounded.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I will never bring my family back to Bali now this dog problem has been highlighted. My friends are of the same opinion. All of us have always been very scepticle of these sickly looking animals so now that we have confirmation sadly we will holiday elsewhere.

  3. Very Concerned... says:

    As a very frequent visitor to Bali, sadly to say, the rot is setting in. The uneducated masses that clog the waterways with plastic and all sorts of matter, uncollected rubbish from the streets, sepid water from over flowing canals, high fees for anything that is even remotely linked to a foreigner requiring any sort of work and now the rabies debarcle. I have spoken to many Banjars, “local representatives”, etc, but whenever a solution is put forward, the inevidable question follows “what do I get from this…”. It is absurd.

    A majority, YES, majority of Indonesians in Bali, will not even assist to clean up thier own Island to support the very industry which keeps dollars coming back every month. Not enough is done at the local level to address this issue, whatsoever. There are no local campaigns, no local focused issue groups, NOTHING.

    A warning…if Bali maintains its current course, water WILL be totally polluted, diseases (like rabies) will take fester in the growing mounds of rubbish around the Island, beaches will become un-usable and the planes will fly in to Bali completely empty. BALI ACT NOW!

  4. Anonymous says:

    The increasing rabies problem in Bali is hot news here in Australia and not well recieved, people will not risk bringing their family to holiday in Bali as we used too because of it. This and the way money changers steal from people who only want to change their money is hindering your economy.