New Year New Beginnings?

  I suppose we all want to have the opportunity to start again, to get out a fresh sheet of paper and say “this time I’ll get it right”! And I suppose that the beginning of a new year is as good a time to do that as any. But actually I don’t think this

Alistair G. Speirs

Things Worth Keeping, Things Worth Losing

Isn’t this a wonderful way of categorising things in our lives? So simple and can apply not only to physical objects but activities and most especially, states of mind. (*) If we start with the simple things like transport we’d have to keep cars, trains, buses and planes but noisy polluting motorcycles would be on

The Best Things In Bali

I have just returned from speaking at an international conference organized by the Singapore Tourism Board where tourism officials from 40 countries around the world were invited to come and learn about best tourism practices from some very learned academics and practitioners (present company excepted of course) which was a great learning experience for me,

What is the Spirit of Adventure?

For a lot of people life is about certainty, staying on the safe path, keeping “out of trouble,” not rocking the boat, making sure that no risks, especially unexpected ones come into view. But really is that what you want from your holiday in Bali? The safe path from room-to-breakfast-to-pool-to-beach-to-bar-to-restaurant-to-bed? Here in Bali there are

Welcome to Bali, Cocktail Capital of Asia!

You think I’m joking, but I’m not. For those of you who have met me or read this column before, you will know I am fanatical about “real Bali,” the protection of the culture and the preservation of nature. So first of all why have an issue of NOW! Bali dedicated to cocktails? Then why

The Important Things In Life

What are the most important things in life? Money? Fame? Power? A beautiful house? A fast car? Well to some those are important, but to others the more philosophical aspects of life are much more important: belief in God, following one’s principals, looking after your family, doing good for the community. It may not look

Putting Things in Proportion

Did you know that a Balinese house is built directly in proportion to the size of its owner? If you visit an absolutely traditional Balinese house, you will discover a lot of really logical things and many meaningful ones too. (But of course finding a traditional house is getting much harder!). First of all a

Still Worthy of Your Bucket List?

Bali used to be pretty close to the top of many people’s “bucket list” along with African safaris, skydiving, whale watching and visiting Macchu Pichu. As it swiftly transforms from cultural destination to western playground, that is changing. The desire to visit just another beach-club-resort-mall-bar-scene is diminishing and those high value, low impact cultural tourists

Indonesian Nationalism 2

Indonesian Nationalism, With A Smile

On the 17th of August, Indonesia celebrates Independence Day with a day of parades and revelry. On such patriotic occasions foreigners the world over are usually relegated to being mere outsiders. Perhaps not so in this country, though, as an interesting anecdote taught me… On the 17th of October a few years ago, as I

Celebrating Indonesia’s Independence

It was surely one of the great moments in history when Soekarno and Hatta declared independence from the Dutch in 1945. To be free to govern themselves after kowtowing to the colonial government of some far-off European nation was a magical feeling which spread from end to end of this vast archipelago. But with that

Banned : Building on Beaches

One of my favourite things in life, which I’m sure I share with many of you, is simply walking along a beach. There is something so peaceful about the lapping of the waves when the sea is gentle, and so powerful when the surf is crashing in. Both are reminders that nature is our preferred

Devoted Island

Have you ever stopped to think about devotion? It’s an interesting word isn’t it? Not exactly used every day, we talk about how our friend is “devoted” to his mother, or vice versa, but rarely apart from that. Devoted means having a dedication to something or someone, it means putting that objective above our own

Ice-Cold Beer is Here to Stay

You may not know it, but Bali just averted a serious disaster: the banning of beer sales in minimarts and small outlets and informal sellers! This was proposed by the Minister of Trade to safeguard Indonesian youth from intoxication due to the ready availability of beer in the many thousands of minimarts, all over the

Now Bali