61 imagesThe sun had not yet shown up from the eastern horizon but 42 year-old Ridwan Sururi already got busy tending the horses. The father of five was feeding those large animals of his, cleaning them and the barns up as well in the process. Being a horse caretaker, he has been doing these duties for a long time in his home village of Serang at the feet of Slamet volcano in Central Java, Indonesia. But starting from December 2014, he has had another business to run. There is Kudapustaka now, a small mobile library he brings around the village on one of his horses on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday every week. The idea for Kudapustaka actually came up in one of his conversations with Nirwan Arsuka, a fellow equine lover from Jakarta whom he first knew from a social networking site. The two agreed they should do something good and meaningful for the environment and community with their hobby. Nirwan suggested to create a mobile library on a horse, something Ridwan did not take long to say yes to. At the start Nirwan contributed as many as 136 children books and Ridwan began to hawk them on his white mare, Luna. Now with more and more people having heard of Kudapustaka thanks to social media as well as local and international media coverage, the number of the book donations has grown to the thousands. That morning he was heading to Elementary School 5 in Serang with Luna, his loyal partner for the cause. At 9 o’clock after the bell rang for the first break, the children were running out of the classrooms and at once bustling about him to borrow or return books. Seeming unable to cope with the hurly-burly, Ridwan quickly told them to help him out by writing down the books they were returning on their own while he was taking care of those wanting to borrow. According to data from UNESCO, Indonesia has succeeded in winding down its adult illiteracy rate from 15.4m in 2004 to 2.7m in 2011. The data also shows, however, that there remains approximately 977,000 illiterates in Ridwan’s area of Central Java. On a similar note, the literary reading rate in the country continues to be very low with books coming at expensive prices and libraries being scarce, limiting the affordability of publications for rural people. It is in this context that Kudapustaka plays an important role of providing one of those disadvantaged communities with access to books.
40 imagesBali is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia. According to a record, around 3,5 million tourists from around the world visited the island for vacation in 2014. Most of them preferred staying in the southern coast such as in Kuta, Nusa Dua, and Sanur. These are the tourism hubs of Bali that naturally attract investors’ interest to build hotels and other leisure establishments. The island’s tourism is indeed inseparable from its southern coast’s history, an area blessed with breathtaking beaches. It is from here the Bali holiday business began to develop as the influx of Australian hippies and surfers to Kuta started back in the 70s. The fishermen’s villages would later transform drastically because of it. Hotels, restaurants, and other facilities were growing and spreading along the coast so fast like mushrooms in a rainy season. These uncontrolled constructions have brought about significant damage to the coastal environment. Problems like pollution and erosion became serious matters to address.
30 imagesMekepung, literally means “to chase around”; is a race among water buffaloes driven by a jockey. Historically, Mekepung is estimated to appear in the 1930's. Originally it was designed as a fun game for peasants to kill their free time when the harvest time was ended, as they were waiting for the start of the planting season. In the 1960s they created two groups which had competed in mekepung up to this time. Those of two groups were based on the flow of The Ijo Gading River which divides Jembrana into two major polar of Mekepung rivalry. So, there emerged the Ijo Gading Barat Team with a red flag that was located in the west bank of the river and the Ijo Gading Timur Team with the flag of green which was situated in the east river. Since then, mekepung became contagiously addicting for almost every Jembrana fellows. In the era of 90s, that excitement was transformed into an official competitive race. The competition of Mekepung is conducted on a seasonal series like Moto GP or Formula One. The tourney is consisted of a few series, and is running on several exceptional circuits for mekepung, like the Delod Berawah Circuit. To watch Mekepung, it’s best to visit Jembrana on early July until November. At present, Mekepung had spread its fame and enthusiasm throughout Jembrana District. That’s what makes Jembrana named as “Gumi Mekepung” means “The Land of Mekepung”.