Dear All

It was time to have the coconut trees cleaned up. Once in while that has to be done; coconuts do fall down sooner or later, that it could target a human head is something nature didn’t think of. The same goes for the gigantic leaves that sometimes come down with much tumult, amputating limbs of colleague plants in the process, not to mention what happens when you’re under it. Pak Made was here and climbed the trees effortless (see the puzzle below) and took away all that was ripe or rotten, the result is a considerable crop of coconuts. The garden in the meantime looks wonderful with flowers everywhere and green, green, green. The rainy season still didn’t come but Doni waters the garden twice a day and the garden blooms like never before.

IMG_2292 IMG_2297

Made’s warung, a small restaurant nearby. Saturday night, an arak with honey, the food is good and we take our time. In a corner of the restaurant stands a little temple where, when we arrive, the owner is busy with a little bell, softly uttering her prayers. Later she starts to sing. She too takes her time, it’s more then an hour before she’s done. I often doubt the use and the intentions of all the ceremonies here and still, when I see this sort of stillness….

In 1965 an enormous massacre took place in Indonesia. Under the pretext of communism the new president Suhartp – before an unknown general – aloowed more then a million people to be killed. Each and everyone that was suspected of the wrong sympathies was slaughtered, it also was a good opportunity to deal with old conflicts. The story is that in Bali the rivers were red of blood. The surviving relatives, ‘children of communists’, got a mark on their ID and were not allowed to make use of the few facilities this country offers, for them no university, no health care, no nothing. The rest of the world, what’s new?, stayed quiet. Since the downfall of Suharto the freedom of speech in Indonesia increased and slowly this sort of tragedies could be talked about, always carefully. The present president even promised apologies to the victims and surviving relatives when he would be elected. The army and the police, not bothered by democratic control and still in the possession of a lot of power. Not for the first time the president was called back and swallowed his excuses. The censor is back.

The Ubud writers festival, close by, this year wanted some focus on what happened now fifty years ago. They could choose: remove those parts from the program or no festival at all. ‘Well, let those thousand of visitors come’, I would think, put a message on the door ‘closed because of censor’. Maybe that will teach them. Alas, they choose to remove the obnoxious parts of the program. A chance missed!

The previous help left, the successor mainly wanted more money and more days of; we had to go on a search again. My, actually rather solid, excuse for a help is that living on a visa for pensioners I’m obliged to give work to at least one Indonesian. Not so easy, finding a help I mean. But Pak Made knew someone. Later he called and told that the person he had in mind couldn’t do it after all but that his daughter was interested. ‘Can I come by with her?’ ‘Fine’ and there they came. The daughter was just 14 and wanted to know if it was okay if she brought her little sister to work… Uh no, that was not our solution. In the meantime we found a nice lady from a village nearby and we’re happy with the way she works. We do our best to keep her happy as well.


Doni works hard to master several techniques with glass, it goes well. The ‘Studio Ilham Collection’ is on its way, soon the first pictures. You might as well start to make some room, there will be lamps you’re going to buy. And oh, for those to whom it wasn’t clear from the last blog; yes together we have beautiful times.

Love, Frank