Oleh Janet De Neefe
The spirit of liberty has been running through the streets of Bali with Indonesia celebrating its Hari Raya Kemerdekaan, Independence Day. Red and white flags are still flapping in the breeze along the streets, shop fronts and tied to cars, in a robust demonstration of “freedom”.
Meanwhile, in the villages, Bali is celebrating Galungan. Galungan occurs twice a year and ultimately symbolizes the battle of good over evil and the victory of dharma. This is also a time when the deified ancestors are said to return to their family shrines in the compound for ten days, until the time of reunion expires and they fly back to the heavens. Penjors, or decorated bamboo poles, now line the streets creating a romantic, shady canopy throughout Bali.
Amidst all these festivities, the Festival team is celebrating the emergence of the 2008 program as it weave writers, ideas, theme and sessions together. You could say it’s like one of Bali’s daily small coconut offerings or saiban, where the many layers make up that beautiful whole.
But now let’s turn to our special festival events ..
The celebration of food continues with our lunch at the Chedi Club called simply The Miracle of Rice, in honour of Dewi Sri, the rice Goddess. Guest chef, Jimmy Shu, will lead guests through a three-course feast of exotic dishes from Sri Lanka to Malaysia, while Indonesian TV personality Bondan Winarno and Janet De Neefe will wax lyrical about Indonesian food and the glory of rice. It will be a food celebration like no other with course after delicious course spotlighting rice in all its finery alongside a host of exotic accompaniments, from lemongrass soups to fragrant curries. And while savouring the flavours, poetry from our most seductive poets will fill the gaps. All on the edge of the ricefields.
Once again the Festival will present our highly popular wine tasting event where we pair wine with the written word called In Praise of Wine and Women. According to Persian mythology, wine was discovered by a woman. W.C.Fields said “A woman drove me to drink and I didn’t even have the decency to thank her.” So the UWRF thinks it is only fitting that we honour the sensory pleasures of women, wine and food with a wine-tasting matched with our most seductive poets and authors.
I am thrilled once again to be celebrating Arabian literature with a glittering line up writers from Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Turkey and Iraq featuring Bahaa Taher, Zuleikha Abu-Risha, Adania Shibli and Muniam Alfaker in a lunchtime soiree called Voices from the Middle East. Sip on mint-scented tea as we take you on a spell-binding Middle-Eastern carpet ride of literature while food writer and author of Turquoise, Lucy Malouf, dishes up mezze platters of honey, orange and cardamon-scented favourites.
Just some of the offerings in what promises to be an extraordinary feast of words and writing ………..stay tuned! [b]
Catatan: Tulisan ini merupakan newsletter bulanan Ubud Writer and Reader Festival yang dikirimkan secara rutin ke berbagai media maupun individu yang tertarik.