It was with great sadness that I heard of the sudden and unexpected passing of Made Wijaya, my long time friend and columnist of both NOW! Jakarta and NOW! Bali magazines. Made was one of the great characters of Bali: a designer, writer, philosopher, artist, videographer, raconteur and the only foreigner that I know to really penetrate the inner workings of Balinese palace and temple communities. (August, 2016).

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His columns brought insight and clarity to the complications of Balinese society, allowing our readers rare and privileged insight into real Balinese life. He was humorous, gregarious and an absolute perfectionist and was a demon if he thought you were wrong about matters of design and presentation as I found out all too often in the past! But it was his incredible intelligence and knowledge that always impressed me. Where did he find the time to delve so deeply into the intricacies of Majapahit architecture or the historical connections between ancient Java and Bali? He knew so much and loved Bali so much and was loved by so many. We will miss you greatly.

Farewell, old friend.

Alistair Speirs, OBE
Publisher, NOW! Magazines

About Made Wijaya  

Made Wijaya was born Michael White in Sydney, Australia. He arrived in Bali in 1973, having jumped ship and swum ashore in a rainstorm. A student of architecture, he first of all intended the visit as a short break from his studies, but his fascination with Bali’s rich culture and tradition led him to move in with a Brahman family in South Bali. After various jobs teaching tennis and English, working as a tourist guide and photojournalist, he began contributing to guide books before being asked to design the gardens of the legendary Bali Oberoi.

More than 600 gardens later, Wijaya became a world-renowned tropical garden designer whose company, P.T. Wijaya Tribwana International, has a 500–strong team of artisans and “garden commandos,” as he calls them. He traveled between his Bali base and Singapore, India, Spain, Morocco, Hawaii, Australia and Mexico to weave his magic. He was also famous for landscaping David Bowie’s holiday home in Mustique, an island in the Caribbean, along with Linda Garland.


A recognized authority on tropical gardens and South East Asian architecture, he has published five books, The Complete Stranger in Paradise; Balinese Architecture: Towards an Encyclopaedia; Tropical Garden Design (Archipelago Press and Wijaya Words, 1999); At Home in Bali (Abbeville Press, 2000); and Architecture of Bali – A Source Book of Traditional and Modern Forms (Archipelago Press and Wijaya Words, 2002). He also contributed to Tropical Asian Style and was the main author of a pocket guidebook to Bali.

Made Wijaya has written in every issue of NOW! Bali Magazine since 2009, his column ‘Stranger in Paradise’ provided unique insight and opinion into Balinese culture, Balinese society and can truly never be replaced – he also wrote monthly for NOW! Jakarta Magazine.

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His last ever columns for NOW!, sadly published post-mortem, are in our September 2016 issues (Bali and Jakarta) and shall be treasured in his name.

Made’s legacy will live on through his many recordings through photos, words and video. You can find his monthly columns over the years in our Culture section dedicated to him: Stranger in Paradise and Travel Diaries.

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Or visit his very own website, and watch many of his YouTube videos on his channel found here:

NOW Bali Editorial Team

NOW Bali Editorial Team

This article has been written or uploaded by NOW! Bali's in-house editorial team.