1.1 Purpose of visit –
i) To attend the Asian Heritage Network (AHN) Symposium and spread the word about INTO among the delegates.
ii) To visit potential venues for the 17 ICNT, including hotels, conference centre and sites.
1.2 The Symposium
This took place over 3 days, 8-11 Jan, in the Karangasem Regency in Eastern Bali. Altogether there were 75 delegates present, including 30 from Indonesia (with 14 of those from BPPI) and 10 from Japan. 6 INTO member organisations were represented. These were our hosts, the Indonesian Heritage Trust (BPPI) ; ITHRD ; Taiwan National Trust ; TEIA ; Badan Warisan Malaysia ; Yangon Heritage Trust. Queensland National Trust was also represented (by Stewart Armstrong) – a quasi member ! Of the remaining delegates, very few represented organisations that might become INTO members in the future with the exception of the Penang Heritage Trust.
The first day was spent on site visits (learning journies) which included the oldest traditional village in Bali, Tenganan, where the famous double Ikat weave is produced as well as many other hand-made local products. We then visited Sibetan Agro-tourism and watched the process of making coffee from the kernel of the Salak or Snake-skin fruit before eating a traditional Balinese lunch at a private home in a nearby village.
During the afternoon we went to the Royal palace of Amlapura and were shown round by a member of the Royal family before ending the day at the Taman Ujung Water Palace for a formal ceremony which included Balinese dancers complete with Gamelan orchestra, prayers, speeches, and a « Delegates Défilé » whereby the flag of each country represented was paraded by Balinese girls in differing attire all of which was explained in a running commentary.
After a marvellous buffet dinner and more Balinese dancing, we watched a spectacular fire dance before departing for our respective hotels in Candidasa. The next two days were held at a conference centre in Amlapura. The official opening of the symposium included more dancing, singing of the Indonesian National Anthem, welcoming speeches, another flag parade, and ended with a group photo.
After two keynote speeches, the second an excellent one from Hashim Djojohadikusumo, President of BPPI, delegates presented their ‘Activity Reports’ until the close and for much of the following day. Altogether there were 21 of these although 12, including mine, were in parallel sessions.
During the afternoon of the final day we were presented with a draft of the Karangasem Declaration which was then discussed, added to, tweaked and finalised for all to approve (copy attached) before the symposium closed with rather energetic and competitive traditional Balinese games !
1.3 Preparations for 17 ICNT
A number of lessons were learned from the 3 day symposium which will be taken on board for the ICNT. The following day I moved to Ubud, in the Gianyar Regency, to the Wana Resort Hotel which is likely to be the main hotel for the Conference with 70 rooms. Adjacent to it are a number of other smaller hotels and homestays to suit all pockets.
Hashim had invited me to have lunch at his home, although he himself would not be there. It is practically next door to the hotel. I was joined by Stewart Armstrong who was staying at the same hotel, and two of BPPI volunteer staff, Derina and Anti. Much to my surprise I discovered I had stayed at the property when it was owned by an English woman, Linda Garland, on my first visit to Bali in 2002. Hashim had bought it from her a few years ago.
It is in a beautiful location with a steep sided garden running down to a gorge surrounded by large bamboos and other tropical trees. The house itself is constructed mainly of bamboo. It is intended to have a reception there on the first night of the conference.
Derina and Anti then drove Stewart and me to the Tirta Empul Holy Water Temple and a brief visit to some rice paddies before looking in on the Ubud Market – a must for ICNT delegates to steep themselves in traditional crafts !
The next day I visited the following likely sites for delegate visits ; the Gianyar Rice Terraces, a World Heritage site ; the temple, Pura Samuantiga at Bedulu, another traditional village ; and Goa Gajah temple.
I returned to Catrini’s home in Denpasar for the last 2 full days of my stay from where I took part in the Executive Committee webinar and, the following evening, the ICNT Panel meeting.
2.1 Purpose of visit –
To learn more about our member and potential member in Malaysia
2.2 Badan Warisan Malaysia (INTO member)
I flew to Kuala Lumpur on 17 Jan and next morning met with Melanie Anthony and her colleagues at the Badan Warisan Malaysia (BWM) headquarters, a beautiful building in the heart of the city completely surrounded by enormous skyscrapers !
It lies in an extensive garden area and adjacent to it is Rumah Penghulu Abu Seman, one of the oldest surviving traditional Malay houses dating from 1910, previously owned by the chief of a village in the northern part of peninsula Malaysia, which BWM rescued, relocated and restored in the mid 1990’s.
Badan Warisan lease their site from the government on a short term renewable lease. However with only two years to run and being on such a prime site for development, they are feeling under considerable threat. I have offered support from INTO in any way that we can help.
2.3 Penang Heritage Trust
Later that day I flew on to Penang to spend my final two days in Asia with the Penang Heritage Trust (PHT) an organisation that has yet to join INTO. Based in Georgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage city, PHT was established in 1986 dedicated to promoting the conservation of Penang’s heritage, tangible and intangible.
This is achieved through raising awareness of the cultural significance of heritage sites, disseminating conservation know-how, alerting the press when heritage sites are threatened, and consulting with authorities, property owners and other stakeholders to secure their preservaton. They rather delightfully refer to themselves as ‘the busybodies’ !
The organisation is run by a Council of 10 (volunteers), with 2 part time paid staff and other volunteers. Their turnover is extremely limited.
I was hosted by Lim Gaik Siang, the new President of PHT who showed me round many beautiful sites in the city of Georgetown, took me to their office where I gave a short address on the work of INTO and heard a power point presentation of their work. I also met many of the Council members and staff, including Khoo Salma, the previous President.
What impressed me most as we toured the city was that Lim seemed to know or be known to many of the inhabitants so that wherever we went she had an entrée – a free pass for the two of us! One such free entry was to the 3 D museum of illusions where she insisted on photographing me in uncompromising positions ! All in a day’s work, I suppose !
I very much hope that PHT will join the INTO family and allow their voice to be heard amongst the membership. They are certainly powerful advocates for heritage conservation and we could all learn from their experience.
All in all it was a well worthwhile 2 weeks in Asia, meeting many people from different organisations learning a great deal and moving forward the plans and programme for the next ICNT.
My grateful thanks to all concerned, in particular Catrini , Melanie and Lim for their kindness and generosity