Monday, July 20, 2020

Plan your next travel to Surabaya city

I don't travel very often. But when I have time I usually fly to Surabaya, the second largest city in Indonesia. Surabaya is famous for its malls, traditional markets and restaurants. Surabaya is the trading hub for East Indonesia region. It is also a transit city for travelers who want to go to Bali or Yogyakarta and Jakarta.
Traveling in Surabaya is easy because all places can be assessed by car. Most of the problems that are related to city life are the crowds and traffic jam. Usually traffic jam occurs early in the morning at around six to eight and in the evening at around five to seven.
So if you intend to travel around the city, choose the right time. Your travel guide or tour agency can set the most suitable hour and places to visit.
In my experienced when I traveled to Surabaya early this year, Singapore of Surabaya was the recommended place to eating out at night. It is located not far from Pakuwon mall. There travelers can enjoy the romantic night live of Surabaya. There are restaurants along the street which offer Indonesian, Chinese and Western cuisines.
Travelers can also enjoy shopping in Tunjungan Plaza, Delta Plaza or Galaxi and Pakuwon Mall. Personally I like to visit Tunjungan that is located in the city center. Most foreign travelers like to go to Galaxi mall. You can choose whatever shopping centers you are interested in.
After traveling around Surabaya, you can continue your trip to Malang and Batu where you can see the beautiful scenery of Mount Bromo. I will write about it later.

The best urban forest in Indonesia

Surabaya had got huge areas of green trees. Trees grow on both sides of the streets creating fresh and cool air. The mayor of the city has received award from the UN for her works in creating an environmentally friendly city in Indonesia. This was written by Charles Roring

Threats to Indonesian Coral Reefs

Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. It consists of more than 13,000 islands. These islands are located between Asia and Australia continents. Coral reefs can be found in most of these islands. Indonesian reefs have more species diversity than any other country in the world.
Coral reef environment
Coral reef in Raja Ampat
Nowadays, these world class reefs are being destroyed at a faster rate. Tsunami which occurred in Indian Ocean destroyed most of the reefs along the western coast of Sumatra island. In South East Maluku and North Maluku islands, hundreds of trawlers catch fish. Most of them are equipped with shrimp nets that catch fish and shrimp on the bottom of the sea. While many countries are restricting the bottom trawling practices, Indonesian seem to ignore them.
Coral reefs in Banda islands and South East Molucan islands have been dying for years from poisonous tailing produced by Freeport, the largest copper mine company in the region. Sea water which has been contaminated by this tailing has even threatened Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
Most of the coral reefs in Kepulauan Seribu have died since tens of years ago due to coastal development, sedimentation and debris from Jakarta, the capital city of the state.

Underwater world of west papua's reef
Coral reef in West Papua

People believe that reefs in Bali and Bunaken of North Sulawesi are still in good condition. In fact, the reefs in those islands are being damaged by debris from Manado city and some tourism activities. Many of the physical damages of reefs in Bunaken National Marine Park are caused by anchors and divers and snorkelers, as well as swimmers. Some recreational divers touch and turn corals or turtles. Many hotels or resorts built along the beach do not have sewage water treatment systems that are required to process and filter the wastes before being discharge to the environment.
Papuan coral reefs are not excluded in this case. The Geelvink coral reefs which have been in pristine for hundreds of years are facing threats from soil sediments. These sediments flow during the raining season from riverbanks. Rapid deforestation of Papuan forest cause more mud flood that flows to the sea. The mud covers sea grasses and reefs which are the source of food of fish.
From 1942 to 1944 West Papua was the battle ground US and Japanese troops. Both sides dropped thousands of bombs, laid sea mines and torpedoed ships. Today sunken ships, and unexploded ammunition still pose potential threats coral reefs in the Papuan and other Pacific islands. This was written by Charles Roring

Japanese Stockade in West Papua

Yesterday, I walked around my neighborhood. There were two elementary schools, one kindergarten, one junior high and one Church. When I passed by the Padma II elementary school, I saw an interesting concrete structure located in the middle of the school yard. It was a small stockade made of concrete material. I guess it was built by WW II prisoners of war, who were mainly Dutch, under the instruction of Japanese forces.
The chaos of World War II had long been over. Now, the quiet neighborhood was usually noisy in the mornings full of children playing around during school hours. I brought a digital camera at the time. I shot the stockade. I didn't see any children playing inside it. Perhaps, they are afraid of ghosts lingering in that concrete structure. Or maybe they get bored with that old fortification. I saw that the stockade was being dumped with garbage. I realize that people do not really know the history of this town. If the local government really know about the history of this stockades, they will maintain them as World War II monuments. Tourists can come to these monuments and recount the fierce battle of the Pacific.
There are many such stockades in West Papua. The Japanese used them during the war to defend themselves against US bombardments. Now, years after the bloody war, these fortifications are abandoned. Many are dumped with garbages. Migrants who came later to this town might not know that tens of years ago, this little town was the battle field of two major powers of the Pacific. Unexploded bombs had been cleared up from the town by the Ducth in 1950s. There are some unexploded bombs in the jungles. I cannot mention the exact number but there are. Many lie at the bottom of the sea slowly corroding. I am concerned that some fishermen have picked them up and used them as explosive material for blast fishing.
Blast fishing is a dangerous practice for the sustainability of coral reef and marine life. One blast can damage the soft and hard corals, polyps, fish and tiny marine creatures. We need to remind the fishermen to stop using this fishing method as soon as possible.
Besides the unexploded bombs, wrecks on the bottom of the sea contain fuel oil that is trapped in corroding tanks. If the tanks leak, oil will flow out and polute the reefs, fish and the beach. There are hundreds of shipwrecks in the Pacific region. We need to observe them closely. They are very fragile structure that can cause environmental pollution anytime in the future. This was written by Charles Roring, from Manokwari, West Papua.

An Energy Efficient Wooden Structure from Tropical Region

In the Pacific region where sun shines all year long, the need to create a house that does not absorb heat is important. If a house is made of concrete walls and metal roofs, it will be hotter during the days and cooler during the nights. Such extreme weather conditions make people who live in this kind of house cannot enjoy their daily activities.
Environmentally friendly wooden structure
Beach hut in Manokwari
Sea water evaporates from the Pacific ocean makes the surrounding islands always in high humidity. Therefore, house materials that are suitable for Pacific region are the ones that maintain temperature and humidity.
For years, the Pacific islanders have built their houses using sago or coconut bark that absorbs much of moisture during the rainy season and emits water vapor during the dry season. In addition, instead of installing metal corrugated roof, home builders use leaves (for instance sago leaves) as the roof materials for their house. Well tied and arranged sago roofs can endure harsh weather condition. The old roofs can easily be replaced with the new ones in two or three days working depending on the size of the house. Sago leaves roofs are sold in traditional markets.
Resort owners prefer to use sago roofs installed in the cottages to eliminate the need for installing air conditioning (AC) equipments. AC appliances consume high amount of electricity which is not always available in small islands. In certain cases, to provide electricity resort owners must run their own power plant. They do not like installing big diesel generators because besides they produce electrical energy, they also emits noise. Such noise is unwanted in a peaceful tourist resorts. The climate condition along the shore lines is very hot during the dry season, to make their houses cool, Pacific islanders construct their house above water or under the trees. By constructing houses near or above water, home owners who are also fishermen can tie the boats around a pillar thus making the house as a pier.
House design styles of low and high plains are different. Houses in higher plains do not have many openings in them. If built on the ground most of them have fireplace in the middle of the house to keep the houses hot whereas houses in the low land have separate kitchens built at the back of the houses. This was written by Charles Roring

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Pilatus Porter, a suitable aircraft for travelling across mountainous region

While I was about to board into a Boeing 737 200 on a trip to Surabaya, I saw a small plane parking on my left. It was Pilatus Porter. It belonged to AMA (Association of Mission Aviation), a Catholic missionary airliner which has been operating in West Papua for years.
Pilatus Porter aircraft
Pilatus Porter aircraft
Travelling across mountainous region and other areas that are inaccessible by land transportation can only be done by using airplanes. Most of Papuan population live in many small villages scattered throughout the mountainous region of the island. The construction of roads to connect these villages needs enormous amount of money. Therefore, the fastest way to connect them to the outer world is by using airplanes. Most villages in West Papua have airstrips. Unfortunately they are unprepared, rough and short.
Airplane for remote villages
Pilatus Porter welcomed by villagers
Small airplanes can serve these airstrips without needing the construction of modern airstrip. Supplies from nearby towns such as food, oil, clothes, office equipments, and other products of modern civilisation as well as passengers are transported by these Pilatus Porter aircrafts. On their return flights to towns, they will carry the villagers and vegetables, meat and other agricultural products. 
Pilatus Porter aircraft is designed and manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft Limited. The company was founded in 1939. It is one of the market leaders in manufacture and sale of small turbo prop aircraft. Its headquarter is in Central Switzerland employing 1,100 workers.
Pilatus porter airplane
Pilatus Porter Aircraft
Missionary airliners in West Papua prefer to use this type of aircraft due to its versatile performance. It can carry up to 1,000 kilograms of goods and 12 passengers.
Besides having high payload in comparison to its size, the aircraft also has STOL capabilities which enable it to operate in rough airstrips or unprepared areas only reachable by helicopters. It can even land on sloped airstrip. There is a video showing how Pilatus Porter landed on this kind of inclined airstrip in Apowo of West Papua.
The capability, reliability, and versatility of Pilatus Porter will make this small aircraft the most preferred choice for many communities living in remote regions around the world. This written by Charles Roring

Singapore of Surabaya

Surabaya is the second largest city of Indonesia. It is located in the East of Java island. For years, the city has become the trading hub of all businesses in Indonesia beside Jakarta. People who are looking for cheaper Indonesian agricultural commodities can choose Surabaya as the export point.
But in this article, I am not going to talk about doing business in this city. I am talking about travelling around the city. Surabaya has a lot of malls where tourists can shop various kinds of products ranging from electronics to clothes.
While I was in Surabaya, I visited Singapore of Surabaya. It is not located in a strategic place where public transportations pass by. Instead, this little Singapore is located in Citraland in the western region of the city. The nearest mall is Pakuwon Trade Centre.
Singapore of Surabaya looks like little Singapore. It has statues that are similar but smaller than the original ones in Singapore.
At night, city dwellers like to visit this area for eating out and socialising with their friends. Cars are parked along the middle part of the streets and there are no parking attendants like what we see in most big cities of Indonesia. The restaurants offer delicious Asian foods in affordable prices. It also has wide pedestrian foot path with rows of trees along the streets making the area look green and cool.
Despite all the similarities that we can compare between the real Singapore city and the Singapore of Surabaya, there is one thing that I think different. It is the language the people use. If we are in Singapore we will easily communicate in Singlish - the mixture of English with little Mandarin, and Malay dialects.
Here, people speak Indonesian or Javanese.
When I ordered some food, I asked for spicy fried rice which looked attractive. It was very hot and I had to drink more water to cool down my mouth.
After all, Singapore of Surabaya is a great place to visit at night, it offers you romantic scene which is suitable for couples who are in love. But it is also suitable for any single person who wants to look for somebody there for a romantic dating between the statues of Raffles and Lion of this little Singapore. This was written by Charles Roring

Travel Story from Rambunan Village

My tour in Sonder villages was considered complete if I had traveled to Rambunan village. Many travel agency haven't provided tour package to this region. It is around one hour traveling by car from Manado, the capital city of North Sulawesi Province of Indonesia. After two days staying in Sonder, I continued my trip to that village. It is a special village that produce sugar from palm trees. Palm sugar is an important ingredients in South East Asian cuisines. Palm sugar is made by heating the sweet sap that has been taken from Aren palm trees usually in early the morning and at around 5.00 p.m. in the afternoon.
If you plan to travel Rambunan village, ask your tour and travel agency to arrange for a special trip to that village. The best time to visit it is during full moon period. At the time the Aren trees produce a lot of sap. The sap is sometimes fermented and distilled by farmers to make CapTikus. Cap Tikus or Sopi contains high percentage of alcohol. So, if you travel by riding motorcycle or driving a rented car, don't drink too much or you won't be able to return to your hotel.
Palm sugar from Rambunan is sold to local traditional markets in Minahasan towns such as Sonder, Kawangkoan and Tomohon. Some inter-island traders export it to West Papua, Maluku and even Eas Kalimantan. The quality of palm sugar from Rambunan village is the best in the world. The Minahasan people living in Rambunan have been making palm sugar from generations to generations. Although the process is done manually, the sugar they produce is always consistent with it taste. In addition, palm sugar from Rambunan village contains pure brown crystal. I recommend any travelers to buy some so that they use it later when drinking coffee or tea with dodol cake whose main ingredients are rice and palm sugar.
Similar to many other Minahasan villages, Rambunan village depends on agricultural commodities such as rice, clove, fruits, vanilla and corn. I like traveling to the villagers gardens and have parties with them there. Budget travelers can even arrange two or three days staying in such village to experience more about the village life and customs of the local people. This was written by Charles Roring.

The concept of Biodiesel

Biodiesel constitutes an easily handled fuel with a high energy density, comparable with that of mineral oil and substantially higher than natural gas or hydrogen. Biodiesel can already be employed in a thermal engine such as a diesel engine economically and highly efficiently for mobile applications. Biodiesel, which is sold at over 1,700 filling stations in Germany and Austria, is therefore a genuine alternative to conventional diesel. However, a complete substitution is impossible. It is estimated that five to seven percent of the diesel fuel consumption could be replaced by biodiesel production with indigenous raw materials. 10 percent is conceivable within the European Union. The biogenic fuel biodiesel is therefore now at the peak of all alternative fuels and, together with other concepts such as hydrogen engines and fuel cell technology, biodiesel will assume a supporting role in the mobility of the future, when the mineral oil wells have run dry.
The restriction of the potential quantities results from the requirement of crop rotation of the rapeseed plant. It can only be cultivated economically and within ecological reason every third or fourth year. In contrast with grain or maize, rapeseed is not selfsustaining and monocultures are therefore impossible.
Taking account of these requirements, a maximum potential cultivation of approx. 1 million hectares is ecologically achievable in Germany. Increases in the yield of oilseed cultivation and the reduction of the consumption of vehicle fleets is not taken into account in the estimated potentials. With the East European countries entering the EU, the potential area and thereby raw materials in the European Union will increase very significantly. Also, other vegetable oils can be transformed into biodiesel.
In view of the overproduction of agricultural products prevalent in our region, the cultivation of so-called regenerative raw materials for exclusive use in technology and for their energy opens a reasonable alternative to traditional food production for the agricultural industry. Instead of turning agricultural areas into fallow land due to overproduction, they can be used to produce energy. The cultivation of plants for their energy will then not compete with food production, an apprehension often expressed in connection with the discussion of raw materials. These areas will be available at any time according to the demand for food production - in contrast to permanent fallow.

Riding bicycle is one of the ways to create low carbon society

As global warming remains an important issue in our modern society and efforts to reduce CO2 emissions are still not fully effective due to the reluctance of developed countries and new emerging economies to reduce their emissions, then all of as as global citizens need to drastically change our create low carbon environment.
Cycling society
Urban cycling
There are a number of ways which every individual can do to participate in reducing CO2 emissions. Such ways are rejecting plastic bags when going shopping, cycling to work, giving up smoking, and eating with spoon instead of wooden chopstick.
By rejecting plastic bags, we can reduce the littering of our streets, beaches and backyards. By cycling to work, we can prevent street congestions and at the same time reduce air pollution. By giving up smoking, we can have healthier body. And by eating with spoon and fork, we can stop unnecessary cutting of trees and bamboos.
Transport vehicles are major CO2 emitters in the world. In fact many of our daily trips are less than two miles. This short distance is achievable through cycling. In some countries, cycling has become the habit of the nations but in many countries cycling is still considered or seen as poor living. This wrong perception has to be removed in every society. Governments and communities must take actions to encourage or restore cycling among the people.
Municipalities must include cycling policy in their traffic system. Extensive cycling network is needed to encourage citizens to ride their bicycles. Cycling network and parking facilities are very important for creating cycling community. In addition, combating bicycle theft is also another important factor in supporting and protecting cyclists.

Car and truck owners must limit their speed in areas or streets where cyclists are mixed with other motorized vehicles. To avoid accidents, more bicycle lanes have to be built or allocated in the land transportation system. Bicycle lanes do not have to be side by side with road and streets. They can go through the parks, shopping centers and even along the beach.

There are still many other ways where everyone can directly contribute to the creation of low carbon society and healthier environment. All we need to do is changing or transforming our lifestyle so that we will not pollute our surrounding and damage the environment.

Our education system has to be totally reformed to include or introduce individual initiatives in fighting global warming.

Children have to be taught how to ride bicycles, sort domestic waste. Teenagers can be oriented with cross country program where they can directly see the nearest jungle, river and beach; and cleaning up campaign has to be introduced in every community.

During the Soviet era, the ruling regime had their citizens go out to the surrounding environment and doing the cleaning-up thus creating a clean neighborhood.

The Netherlands although a crowded country has been one of the most prosperous country in the world through its years of sustainable ways of living. The Dutch have been using wind mills to pump out water from wetlands since hundreds of years ago. This country is an example of the best low carbon society in the world. Dutch people can also be proud of being the heaven of cyclists. Cycling has significantly improved the living condition of the country thus increasing productivity, more saving instead of unnecessary spending on fossil fuel.
This was written by Charles Roring.

Las Vegas A Diving Hub for Diver Communities

You might never imagine that Las Vegas in the Nevada desert is an important hub for scuba divers. Every year thousands of divers, diving equipment manufacturers, and resort owners gather in Las Vegas to attend annual exhibition. During the event many diving resorts offer special packages with discount prices.
The increasing conflict in the middle east have caused divers to move away from Sinai, a popular diving destination in the middle east for European divers. As a result more and more divers explore new diving destinations which still have coral reef that are still in pristine condition.
Coral reefs in Raja Ampat islands and Cendrawasih National Marine Park of Teluk Wondama regency, as well as Mapia island of Biak regency in West Papua are considered the most potential destinations in the Pacific beside the already popular ones such as Great Barrier Reef of Australia.
In the annual exhibition in Las Vegas, we could see various diving equipment which can make diving easier and more comfortable. Such equipments include special mask which is equipped with microphone and loudspeakers that are connected with a casing that keeps diver's mobile phone. With this mask and casing, scuba divers can call and receive phone calls underwater. Another simple equipment is small carriage for air tanks. When along the beach, divers can pull his air tank that is attached to a portable carriage. This simple design equipment can help divers to move or walk faster along the beach or jetty. From now on, Las Vegas will not only be seen as a city for gamblers but also a city for divers. This was written by Charles Roring.

Traveling to Bukit Kasih

Travelers like to visit Bukit Kasih when they are in Minahasa. Many tours and travel agencies in Indonesia provide tour package to this region. Bukit Kasih literally means Hill of Love. Local government built the Bukit Kasih as a tourist destination to promote peace and religious tolerance in the regency. It is actually a small but active volcano. Hot steam and hotspring accompanied with sulfurous gas come out of the ground. Food vendors boil eggs, corn directly from the hot water. At the foot of the hill, traveler can see a tall monument erected in the middle of the parking lot. It is not difficult to climb the hill to the top as the government has constructed concrete stairs for the travelers.
On certain heights of the hills there are houses of worships for Christians, Moslems, Hindus and Budhists. Along the way to the top, there are stations of the way of the cross for the Catholics. Travelers like to walk to these houses of prayer. Here they can take a rest for a while before continuing their travel to the top of the hill. There a giant cross stands overlooking the beautiful scenery of Minahasan mountainous region. It takes twenty to thirty minutes walking from the foot to the top of the hill. So, don't forget to bring some snacks when you want to travel to the Bukit Kasih. Standing on the top of the hill, I can see Tondano lake, the nearby village and two or three Minahasan volcanoes slightly covered with fog in a distant. I was very exhausted after reaching the top but the magnificent view and the fresh air that I inhaled swept away all the tiredness.
Not far from the Bukit Kasih, there is a place called Watu Pinabetengan. Hundreds of years ago, Minahasan tribal chiefs met in this place to settle problems and differences among them. There are inscriptions that no one has ever known their meanings. Travelers can go there after going down from the hill. Along the way to the Watu Pinabetengan, travelers can enjoy the beautiful scenery of vegetables and rice fields as well as horses. The farmland are producing crops that are important for the economy of the Minahasan people.
The cost of traveling to Bukit Kasih and Watu Pinabetengan is not expensive. It can be ten to fifteen US dollars/ person from Manado, the capital city of the province of North Sulawesi. You should travel in a group of five to eight so that you can share to cost of rent a car.
When I was there I took a picture of birds resting on telephone cable. They were not aware of the human crowds walking under them climbing the hill. Some of them flew down to eat leftovers thrown by the tourists or travelers. You may not see them while you travel to Bukit Kasih because of the weather or disturbances caused by tourists. If you are able to visit the love hill and see birds resting on electrical or telephone wire like the above one, please don't try to get closer to them or they might fly away. The best and the safest way to capture this kind of picture is to use zooming feature in your digital camera or video recorder. This was written by Charles Roring

Sharing A Bicycle

Boys like to share bicycle.
Boys and a bicycle
In European cities like Paris, and Rome, people can rent bicycles in the downtown if they want to travel around the cities by bicycles. The rental fee can be some euros a day. These bikes are also equiped with GPS devices which can trace the bicycles if they have gone beyond the restricted area.
Providing bicycles for rental in big cities, is one of the city programs in reducing air pollution and preventing traffic jams.
When we were young, we like riding around with our own bicycles. We rode around the neighborhood, schools, and towns. Sometimes we rode further away to the beaches, and foothills. We took for granted for the bicycles we had.
But in other part of the world, even a small bike is a luxurious thing. In Manokwari, a small town of Papua island, not all family can afford to buy a bike for their children.
Children who have bicycles sometimes have to share them with their friends. A few days ago I took a picture of children with a bicycle. A child who has the bike charge 5,000 rupiahs (around 50 cents USD) an hour as rental fee on his friends.
Such amount is considered expensive by these little children whose parents are not wealthy enough to buy bike. So, if they want to rent their friend's bike, they have to work as car or motorcycle washer. For every motor cycle they wash, they can obtain between 2,000 and 5,000 rupiahs.
Next time when we ride bicycles again, we can remember that there are thousands of children around the world whose daily night dream is having or riding their own bicycles.

Manokwari town in Indonesia
Manokwari town
If you are interested in taking a holiday in Manokwari town, you could enjoy swimming at the beach or go hiking in the forest to watch tropical birds of paradise and other wild animals. This was written by Charles Roring.

Sweep the floor

Floor sweeper
Classic broom
How do you clean your house? This is a simple question that I ask of you. Some of you will say, "Well, I clean my house using some cleaning devices, such as brush for the toilet, abrasive pad for the sink, and vacuum cleaner for the floor. If I want to mop the floor I will use electric mopping machine."
Whatever the tools you use, you have to make sure that you don't spend much electrical energy. More electrical energy we spend, indirectly, more fossil fuel we burn. Most of the power plant in the world run on fossil fuel i.e. diesel fuel.
Clean the floor
A man was cleaning the floor
So, if you really care about the environment, please don't use more machines for cleaning your house. You can still clean the floor with a broom instead of vacuum cleaner. You can wipe the window pane with a peace of wet cloth but please do not apply chemical liquids. Just use water. The dust will be wiped away with wet cloth. You can brush your bathroom tiles and rinse them with water. Don't use acid liquid as it may be harmful for the environment. If you are diligent enough in cleaning your house manually without using cleaning machines, your house will still be clean. Unfortunately, if the floor is covered with thick carpet, you will still need a vacuum cleaner. Well, you can still clean it without vacuum cleaner but it takes time and hard work. I used to clean my carpet by hanging it on the clothes line and beating it repeatedly. The dust would fly everywhere. This way is not practical.
When you go to a shop, you can see many kinds of broom and brush there. If you are interested in buying a broom, please choose the one that is not made of plastic. The broom that you choose has to be made of material such as wood, palm fiber or animal hair.
Sweeping the floor with a broom is not enough. You must use a broom that is made of natural material as I mentioned above. Don't use a broom whose brush is plastic. Most plastic material is made of oil. Use a natural one.
Maybe most of you will say that the manual cleaning a house is a laborious job. If we are serious in fighting global warming, it is worthy. Any single act that we do everyday has to be environmental friendly. In addition, cleaning your house with your own hands will be good for your health. It will burn fat stored under your skin so that you will look slim and healthy. This was written by Charles Roring

Foot Massage in French Polynesia of Bora bora A Right Choice for a right Traveler

French Polynesia is a must see destination for real travelers. It has got luxurious resorts that provide professional services from water sport to body and mind relaxation. Resort spa has been a favorite place for relaxation. In Bora Bora there is a resort that offers unique foot massage. The weight of the masseur's body add more pressure to yours that have been lubricated with palm oil. The pressure given by the masseur's feet can create an exotic sensation as well as improve the blood circulation. Traveling to Bora Bora is now an exclusive journey yet an affordable trip for every body.
Bora-bora is one of the beautiful islands in French Polynesia. It has been a favorite tourist travel destination for years. When travelers arrived in Bora bora whether by air or sea, they will be greeted with the colorful coral reef dotted with emerald islets encircling the main island. The island of Bora Bora is one of the most renowned island in Polynesia.
There is a beautiful resort that is located in a secluded lagoon of the island. Cottages lie in rows above the sea water. Their design is unique and adapted to Polynesian indigenous homes. The roof is made of palm leaves that are arranged together to provide natural shelter for the guests of the resort.
From the resort, divers can hire a boat to go diving in pristine coral reefs around Bora Bora. Travelers may also enjoy sunbathing along the white sandy beach of the island across from the resort. Contact your nearest tour and travel operator in town to see if they provide travel deals to the Polynesian island of Bora This was written by Charles Roring

Saturday, July 18, 2020


The sun was about to set in the West when I and Lucky Kaikatui, a Papuan artist, arrived in Franky Yenno’s house. It is located in Sanggeng area, Manokwari, the capital city of the Province of West Irian Jaya. The appearance of his house haven’t changed. It has a small room at the front. He displays all his artwork here. This time he could not recognize me anymore. Two years ago I came to his house as a tourist. But this time I visited him as Lucky’s friend. Lucky introduced me to him and I began to take pictures and chat with him. The batteries of my digital camera were nearly exhausted.
Carving artist Franky Yenno with his artwork
"Peace Dancing" carved by West Papuan artist, Franky Yenno
Yes, I used to visit him two years ago. At that time I bought a wooden plate with Paradise Bird relief carved on it and a sheet of batik cloth which he made. I was surprised to know that he could make batik. I knew it was a special skill owned a small number of Javanese women in Jogja or Pekalongan city of Java island. I found the answer two years later.
For me Franky is a prolific carver. Most of his works tell us about the daily life of the Papuan people, their houses, god (Karwar –symbolized by paradise bird relief), and their rituals (please see oil painting of birds of paradise). He put carvings on the floor and paintings on the wall. Similar to Aborigin artists, West Papuan artists do not use canvas but bark. The rough surface of tree bark is an ideal media to put paintings on it.
Carving art from West Papua
The late Franky Yenno with his artworks
Wooden Statues and tablets carved by Franky Yenno, a prolific artist from West Papua
One piece of artwork that attracts me much was the wooden relief carved in a large wooden panel. After admiring it for a moment, I began to ask him some questions.
“What do you call this artwork?” I asked.
“It is peace dancing.” He answered while folding his hands on his bare and hairy chest.
“Could you tell me the background story of that dancing?”
“Sure, as you know, West Papuan are coming from hundreds of tribes. Sometimes they live peacefully but often they fight against one another. These clashes have to be settled through Hukum Adat (customary law). When they had reached peace agreement, they would celebrate it in a number of rituals. One of them is Barapen (meaning Bakar Batu – burning stone) ceremony and Peace Dancing. Here hand in hand they danced around and around like a snake. So the tribes who were at war could dance together hand in hand as brothers and sisters.
“Conflicts among Papuan tribes still occur until today besides conflicts with the central government-Indonesia,” I interrupted.
“We really need peace. Therefore I created this artwork to remind our people that we need peace to develop our land and to live side by side with other Indonesians equally.”
“Wow, it’s fantastic,” I said. “How long does it take to finish this carving?”
“It takes around one and a half month.”
“What is it made of?”
“It is made of Lingua” Franky added.
“Do you have any other activity besides carving?”
“I like to grow orchid. It helps me to earn a living when I cannot sell my artwork. You know, I need money to support my family.”
“I bought a Papuan batik painting from you two years ago. How did you learn to make Batik?” I asked again.
“Well, similar to Lucky, I went to Jakarta, Jogja and Bali. There I learned art. Trying to get as much knowledge as possible from experienced artists there, including how to make batik.”
I have visited many of West Papuan artists. Many of them face a common problem. They cannot sell their artwork easily. They are isolated from the outer world. The local government have not been able to create special website to promote these briliant artists to the world.
I remember Alfred Russel Wallace’s comments, a famous British naturalist – a close friend of Charles Darwin. Together they built the theory of evolution. In his book entitled The Malay Archipelago, he said that West Papuan were briliant artists. It was unfortunate for them to remain isolated from the outer world in today's intenet era. This was written by Charles Roring

Flexible photovoltaic panel is suitable for travellers going to remote region

Travelling to remote region such as mountains, isolated islands and tropical forests can be exciting. Natural places offer beautiful sceneries, clean air, and serenity that are effective to relieve stresses and headaches which the travellers got during their hectic workdays in big cities.
When travellers set up camps in remote region, they will need electricity for powering lamps, recharging their GPS handset, mobile phones and even laptops. Portable navigational devices will enable travellers to go to certain destinations. Mobile phone is also important to help them communicate with "civilised word" in case of accident. If those equipments cannot work, travellers will be lost.
Usually travellers burn dry twigs to cook food, and to provide lights and heat at night. But it is not recommended to burn wood, especially during the summer, in natural places as it might cause forest fire.
Travellers buy a lot of batteries which will become additional weights in their rucksacks as energy bank for their electronic devices. We all know that the capacity of batteries is limited. When they are used up, they will be thrown away. High powered batteries contain various toxic materials which can pollute the environment. Most travellers are reluctant to bring them back home for recycling. Such practices have to be stopped. A better solution is now available on the market.
Then, solar panel was invented. Travellers could use this photovoltaic technology to recharge batteries or run their communication equipment. Unfortunately, photovoltaic panel is sold in big size. It is also rigid and cannot be inserted to small bags. If a traveller wants to bring the photovoltaic panel during his journey, he or she cannot really enjoy her trip because she has to handle the panel cautiously. If it is broken, it cannot function anymore.
Photovoltaic manufacturing companies have provided solutions to this problem. In their websites, they offer flexible photovoltaic panels which are rollable and available in the range of 5, 10, and 20 watts. This power supply can easily be rolled-up and inserted to a small bag. There are also portable solar panels whose sizes are small and can be inserted into travel bags.

Solar Sail that use photovoltaic panels

Another futuristic design of passenger ferry is the one shown in the picture below. Solar sailor combines solar and wind energy to power the boat.
There are a number of design constraints which naval architects usually face when designing sail boat. Wind blowing on horizontal direction usually forces a ship or a boat to an inclined position, thus creating frequent rolling to the vehicles. In addition, if solar panels are to be installed the amount of energy will not be fully enough to drive electric motors that propel the boat. On the other hand, if sails are to be installed, it will not fully efective in propelling the boat all the time because wind blows are unpredictable. There are times when there is no wind blowing or if there is one, its direction might be from the front.
So, naval architects will have to compromise all these constraints in order to reach an optimum design which effectively rely on renewable energy. To minimize water resistance and maintain boat stability, catamaran (twin hulls) or trimaran (three hulls) is applied. Boat material will have to be as light as possible so that the boat will not need a lot of energy to  move.
Improvements in photovoltaic technology have brought many design possibilities come to reality. For instance, thin film photovoltaic cells or commercially called flexible photovoltaic panels in the near future will be taken into consideration when naval architects need to design sails for their boat. Besides having lighter weight, its flexibility can enable it to be integrated into the sail. But flexible photovoltaic panels have to be backed up by strong sail material which can endure stresses and strains caused by wind blows.
The application of solar sail will become the primary choice in the future. So, a green boat will be driven by electric motors whose electricity is supplied by a sail which also propels the boat.
Another problem that we must consider is about toxic substances contained in batteries that store the electrical energy. Batteries must be sealed properly to prevent them from any leakages that can pollute sea water.
When all these design constraints have been solved or compromised, passengers can enjoy their trip free of noise, vibrations, and most importantly toxic fumes.
It says that the boat will carry passengers to Alcatraz, a famous island prison located in the middle of San Francisco bay.
Conventional Sail Boat
Even though conventional sail boat has long been replaced by cargo, passenger ships and airplanes in transporting people and goods, they are still popular among hobbyists and tourists. One important example is Phinisi schooner from Indonesia. This type of sail boat has got 2 masts where the sails are installed. In the part, the boats are used to transport people and goods between small and big islands in Indonesia. Today more Phinisi schooners are being developed to cater the increasing demand for liveaboard vessels that transport visitors to various destinations in this country such as Raja Ampat, Cendrawasih bay, and Wakatobi. The sails and the masts are not used during the whole operation of the vessel. These liveaboard vessels have been installed with marine diesel engines to enable them to travel faster at sea. 

Hybrid solar photovoltaic - wind system is applicable to power boats

Last night while I was surfing on the internet, I found a website which displayed a picture of a boat that is powered by sunlight. It is called Solar Sailor. It is the proud of Australia, especially the city of Sydney. It features a futuristic design with a catamaran twin-hull form and solar panels that also function as "sails". The catamaran has got eight solar panels mounted on top of its roof. The panels can be adjusted to harness both the sun and the wind. When adjusted to near vertical positions, the panels will function as sails. Photovoltaic panels absorbs solar energy and convert it to electricity. The electricity is then used to drive electric motors that propel the boat.
Back-up batteries are needed to store the electrical energy and can be fully charged in four hours. During the 2000 Sydney Olympic games, the boat attracted worldwide attention both from the mass-media and sports' fans who went to attend the games.
In general, one hull design boat has high frictional and wave resistance. To minimize it, the designers of the boat applied a twin-hull type called catamaran that reduce the block coefficient of the watercraft. This kind of design makes the deck area larger and more stable. As passenger ferry and hospitality vessel, the boat can carry 110 passengers, and is operated by two crews. Solar Sailor is the word's largest solar vessel of her era. It is also the first commercial marine vessel which has been totally powered by a combination of renewable energy i.e. the sun and the wind.
It is also important to see that the boat does not emit fumes, noise, and does not pollute sea water. Since the boat is an environmentally friendly marine vehicle, it can enter various restricted waterways which are sensitive.
The introduction of solar boat into the world market opens more possibilites for the application of such hybrid system as photovoltaic - wind energy in many other boats and ships. Unfortunately, the cost of producing highly efficient mono-crystalline photovoltaic cells is still high. Such investment is worth it if we take into account the environmental impacts that solar boat brings. It does not need fossil fuel so it will not emit toxic gases which significantly contribute to air and water pollution as well as global warming. Such savings in fuel is very important in todays situation when the soaring price of fossil fuel has reached 140 dollars/ barrel as of June 2008. This was written by Charles Roring

Bali Tropical Lifestyle

Bali is perhaps the most famous tropical island in the world. It is a tourist hub of Indonesia. Every year millions of visitors come to Bali. They want to enjoy swimming and sunbathing at Kuta and Legian beach or explore the beauty of terraces of rice fields in the inland areas. Although agriculture still provides the the largest employment, tourism is the driving power of the economy. Bali is also the center of art. Art lovers will feel that Ubud town is more suitable for them. Art galleries and museums present the superior craftsmanship of Balinese woodcarvers and painters.
Some businessmen make Bali as their trading hub. They import carvings, furniture, or even wooden houses for their clients in Europe, South America or Australia. Balinese carpenters can build timber frame houses that are decorated with artistic reliefs on the walls and carvings on the pillars. For Balinese, art is an integral part of their daily life.
In Bali - the island of the gods, everyday is a holiday. There are plenty of attractions which travelers can see, and enjoy. From hiking the mount Batur to watching dolphins at Lovina, travelers may choose activities and adventure packages which they want to experience in this tropical island. Lovers come to Bali to enjoy their honeymoon too. Feeling stressed with office works? Don't worry, Bali has got endless rows of tropical beach resorts and spas where you can stay to book for massage service or taking some yoga classes.
I have visited Bali several times. My last visit this year lasted for 3 months. I stayed in a nice tropical house in Ubud on Jalan Sukma. I ate Balinese nasi campur, I rode a mountain bike to explore the slopes of Ubud. I visited Neka and Anthony Blanco art galleries and Museum Puri Lukisan to see traditional and modern paintings. Drawing is my hobby. When I was on the second floor or Neka art gallery, I saw pastel paintings of Gerard Hofker. Such fantastic artworks from Western painters depict the traditional Balinese lifestyle that are slowly being mixed with cultures from all corners of the world.
Balinese are a religious society. Hinduism is the main religion here. However, the Balinese are tolerant to other cultures and religions. Temples are every where even in business centers such as Ubud market or the shopping center at Kuta main street. Yet, the Balinese culture will not be eliminated. It continues to exist side by side with other cultures that have entered this beautiful tropical island. So, culturally Bali does not belong to Indonesia anymore. It belongs to the world. It is a cosmopolitan. Come to Bali and you will feel as if you are at home. This was written by Charles Roring

A photovoltaic hybrid system is better

Solar energy is another renewable energy resources which can be converted directly into electricity. In fact, all the renewable energy whether it is hydropower or biofuel come from solar energy. Traditionally, villagers have used solar energy for drying grain, clothes, and fish. Tropical countries enjoy full sun light all year long. For example, farmers make concrete floor at the front yard to dry rice paddy (as shown in the picture). By doing so, farmers can save cost and get higher profit. There are drying machines available on the market but the price of such machines are very expensive. In addition, their capacity is very limited and they still need fuel to run. Sun rays heat sea water and evaporates it into steam and then into clouds. When it is cooled, it will pur down in hills and mountains. Water flows down into waterfalls, rivers and back to the sea again. When it flows down through waterfalls its potential energy is collected, channelled to penstock that goes to powerhouse, there the water jet is converted into mechanical energy by water turbine that is coupled with electrical generator.
To produce grains, plants such as corn, soya beans need sunlight to carry out the photosynthesis. Grains contain oil which will be extracted by bio-fuel pressing machine.
The direct conversion of solar energy into electricity can be done by using photovoltaic panel or module. A photovoltaic (PV) panel consists of a number of solar cells. PV cells convert sunlight directly into electricity without polluting the surrounding environment. PV cell is a semiconductor device. Another semiconductor device which is similar to PV cell is diode. Their characteristics are similar. Diode is an electrical load whereas PV cell is a source of electricity. PV cells are made of at least two layers of semi-conductor material. One layer has a positive charge, and the other negative. When sun rays enter or hit the surface of the cells, some of the photons from the rays are absorbed by atoms in the junction of the layers. This will energized the electrons and freeing them from their negative layer to flow through an external circuit and back into positive layer.
To increase the amount of electricity, dozens of individual photovoltaic cells are grouped and interconnected in a sealed, weatherproof panel or module. If we want to double the voltage, we have to wire two panels in series. The current remains constant. The current will be doubled if we connect them in parallel. These kind of connections make photovoltaic system becomes flexible.
A PV designer can achieve a desired power, voltage and current by combining PV modules in serial and parallel connections. PV module is suitable to be deployed in remote regions where there are small cluster of homes. It is also powerful to pump water in an agriculture estate or provide electricity of communication device.
Solar panel does not need refuelling. It only needs sunlight. As long as the panel is not broken, it can produce electricity for up to 25 years. Usually, photovoltaic panels are installed on the roof or deck shade of a house.
The electrical energy a PV system produces is stored in batteries. At night, the house can still use electricity from these batteries. To ensure stable supply of electricity, a hybrid system should be considered. Such hybrid system consists of wind turbine, and PV system. Sometimes an emergency generator is added. Most PV designers prefer hybrid system when deploying electricity to remote health care or weather station, or communication centers in remote region. Hybrid system can give uninterruptible supply of electricity to people who use it. This was written by Charles Roring

Regeneration of Coconut Trees in Minahasa

Minahasa is one of the regencies in Indonesia that has large area of coconut plantation. Coconut has been an important export commodity of the Province of North Sulawesi. After harvesting the fruit, farmers take the white flesh out of the shells and dry it under the sun or roasted it using the shells as the burning fuel. A fresh white flesh or endosperm contains around 40% oil while the dried one, called copra, contains up to 65% oil. Usually, farmers sell their copra to Bimoli factory in Bitung municipality. One metric ton of copra needs between 9,000 and 11,000 coconut fruits.
Coconut fruits can also be processed to make other products such as palm sugar, nata de coco and dessicated coconut or farine de coco. Other side products of coconut are bungkil (solid residue of copra after oil has been extracted); fiber and coconut shells which are very good raw material for the manufacturing of active carbon.
Coconut will remain productive until the age of 40 years. Then, the output will wall gradually. The minimum economical production rate of coconut should be 5 metric ton per hectare per year. If the amount cannot be met, farmers must do regeneration. This kind of activity will make the land unproductive for the next three or four years until the new plants produce coconut fruits again.
Majority of coconut plantations in Minahasa, North Sulawesi have reached their productive limit. Therefore, they have tobe replaced by young plants. Many Minahasan farmers do not obtain optimum per hectare harvest. They know that they have to replace the old plants with the new ones but high cost of replacement has become the main hurdle for them.
In order to prevent the farmers from not getting income, a gradual regeneration must be introduced. Besides the plantation can still give income to the farmers, it will only need small number of workers. In gradual regeneration scheme, only unproductive plants that will be replaced by young coconut plants. This method is called selective regeneration.
There is also another scheme that is considered suitable for farmers. Young coconut plants will be planted among old trees as insertion plants. When these young plants are able to produce coconut fruits, then the old trees will be cut.
A plantation in Bukit Doa, Pinaling of Minahasa regency raises additional income by opening a prayer resort in the middle of the area. Tourists visit this religious site, recite rosary along the way of the cross that had been constructed among the coconut trees. Incorporating tourism activity into coconut production line needs special preparation and knowledge.
In the Philipines, tourists are invited to visit traditional palm sugar production centers located in the middle of the plantation and the villages.
The conversion of coconut oil to biodiesel is not recommended, unless the market is overstock, as the amount of profit which farmers can gain is not significant. Such conversion will create scarcity of cooking oil in the market. In fact, the ones who enjoy the profit of biodiesel conversion are the manufacturer. This was written by Charles Roring

Non-food Crops should be used for bio-fuel production

If you go to palm oil plantation areas, you can see trucks loaded with bunches of sawit fruits heading to Crude Palm Oil (CPO) factory in Manokwari, West Papua province of Indonesia.

Oxfam has just released a report which says that Biofuels are not the answer to climate or fuel crisis. You can read the news about it and the link to download it in pdf form below this article. In my opinion Biofuel IS the answer for fuel crisis, especially for the transportation. The way we make biofuel is what really matters. In many countries, biofuel is obtained from the conversion of food materials especially soya beans, corn, cassava, and sugarcane. Such practice will significantly reduce the amount of food supply both in the national and international market. Massive palm and sugarcane plantations in Malaysia, Indonesia and Brazil destroy bio-diversity of the local environment. Malaysia and Indonesia open millions of hectares of Sawit plantation for palm oil production.
In addition, the introduction of bio-fuel plant foreign to certain area will definitely damage the balance of food chain. For instance, I read in a book entitled Bahan Bakar Nabati (meaning literally bio-fuel) which says that Papua and West Papua province of Indonesia have the potency of 5,137,186 hectares of Sawit plantations (elais guineensis) for the production of palm oil and bio-diesel. I consider it as unwise project. Sawit is not native plant of Papua. It comes from Africa. The introduction of sawit in Papua in the form of huge plantations will be harmful to the local environment, especially the tropical rainforest. Actually there are a number of plants that are ready to be used for making bio-fuel. On the map, Papua island is located above Australia, it has tens of millions of Aren palm trees (arenga pinnata) which are native plants. Traditionally, villagers tap the sap from very very small number of these plants to make alcoholic drinks whereas the rest majority are left untapped in the jungle. Local government have banned alcoholic drinks made of these plants since drunkards often committed criminal acts in the community. Less than one percent of the trees are used for making palm sugar.
The tapping of sap from Aren tree will not harm the environment because the worker does not have to cut any single Aren tree for 50 years which is its average life-time. Industrialized countries in Europe, The United States, Japan and South Korea must set special standard of biofuel imports. Biodiesel and bioethanol which are imported from third world countries must come from plantations that are not directed for food production.In fact, countries in Africa and Asia have a number of plants for bio-fuel raw material which are not food crops. Some of them are elephant grass, jatropha curcas; and to some extend Aren (arenga pinnata) and Nypa (nypa fruticans). Both plants can produce 2 - 3 times more ethanol than sugacane per hectare.I hope that this opinion will give a balance perspective on this bio-fuel matter.
The news below is Oxfam press release:Another Inconvenient Truth: Biofuels are not the answer to climate or fuel crisis says OxfamToday's biofuel policies are not solving the climate or fuel crises but are instead contributing to food insecurity and inflation, hitting poor people hardest, according to a new report by international agency Oxfam.
In today's report "Another Inconvenient Truth ", Oxfam calculates that rich country biofuel policies have dragged more than 30 million people into poverty, according to evidence that biofuels have already contributed up to 30% to the global rise in food prices.
"Biofuel policies are actually helping to accelerate climate change and deepen poverty and hunger. Rich countries' demands for more biofuels in their transport fuels are causing spiralling production and food inflation," said report author, Oxfam's biofuel policy adviser Rob Bailey .
"If the fuel value for a crop exceeds its food value, then it will be used for fuel instead. Thanks to generous subsidies and tax breaks, that is exactly what is happening. Grain reserves are now at an all-time low."
Rich countries must stop and revise their policies now. "The evidence about their damage is overwhelming," Bailey said. Even in poor countries where biofuels may offer some reward, the potential costs are severe and they should proceed with caution.
Rich countries are supporting their own biofuel production through targets, subsidies, tax breaks and tariffs. This has been described as a new "tax on food".
"Rich countries spent up to $15 billion last year supporting biofuels. That's the same amount of money that Oxfam says is needed to help poor people cope with the food crisis," said Bailey.
"This is a regressive tax that hits poor people the hardest because their food bills represent a greater share of their income," he said.
The biofuels being grown today are not an effective answer to climate change, Oxfam says. Instead, biofuels are taking over agricultural land and forcing farming to expand into lands that are important carbon sinks, like forests and wetlands. This triggers the release of carbon from soil and vegetation that will take decades to repay.
Oxfam estimates that by 2020, as a result of the EU's 10% biofuel target, carbon emissions from changing the use of land to produce palm oil could be almost 70 times greater than the annual savings the EU hopes to achieve from biofuels by then.
Bailey says that biofuels will not address rich countries' need for fuel security. "Even if the entire world's supply of grains and sugars were converted into ethanol tomorrow - in the process giving us all even less to eat - we would only be able to replace 40% of our petrol and diesel consumption," Bailey said. "Rich country governments should not use biofuels as an excuse to avoid urgent decisions about how to reduce their unfettered demand for petrol and diesel," he said.
In developing countries, Oxfam says that biofuels could provide a sustainable energy alternative for poor people in marginalized areas - but that the potential economic, social and environmental costs can be severe, and countries should proceed with caution. In Mali for example, bioenergy projects provide clean renewable energy sources to poor women and men in rural areas. But, as the main plank of a policy to substitute transport fuel by rich nations, biofuels are failing.
"Biofuels were meant to be an alternative to oil - a secure source of new transport energy. But rich countries have designed their policies too much for the benefit of domestic interest groups. They are making climate change worse, not better, they are stealing crops and land away from food production, and they are destroying millions of livelihoods in the process." said Bailey.
Oxfam Ireland is asking the Irish government to support the dropping of the proposed EU target to meet 10% of transport energy needs from 'renewable sources' - in practice biofuels - by 2020*.
'To support a huge increase in biofuels use when we're already seeing the damaging impacts of increased demand would be hugely irresponsible. It may have once looked like a good idea but clearly now is the time to rethink and drop the target' says Colin Roche, Oxfam Ireland 's Policy and Advocacy Co Ordinator
* Renewable Energy Sources Directive

"Another Inconvenient Truth"
makes the following key recommendations:

Rich countries should:
  • Introduce a freeze on implementing new biofuel mandates

  • Urgently revise existing biofuel mandates that deepen poverty and accelerate climate change

  • Dismantle subsidies and tax exemptions for biofuels

  • Reduce import tariffs on biofuels

Developing countries should:
  • Proceed with extreme caution, planning for the long-term, avoiding ambitious targets and analysing the economic, environmental and social impacts of biofuels

Companies and investors should:
  • Ensure no biofuel project takes place without the free, prior and informed consent of local communities
  • Promote access to energy in remote areas

Bio-vehicle, the easiest solution when facing the soaring fuel price

I have just read in Euronews TV that the price of crude oil has reached 140 USD/ barrel. The recent hike is caused by the decision from Libyan government to reduce production. Whatever the reason for the price hikes, it clearly shows how vulnerable the fossil fuel is. Any disturbance in the Middle-East, say - a refinery is attacked by a small granade, will bring the fuel price getting closer to 200 USD/ barrel.
The soaring price will create more burden to customers around the world. When oil producers enjoy this prosperous moment, oil importer countries must face street protests from their own people. Fishermen cannot catch fish, truck drivers blockade main streets, university students in Indonesia are involved in violent clashes with the police while protesting the government policy in front of the parliament house. More and more office workers commute by public transportation instead of driving their own cars.
Actually when fewer cars are seen on the streets, the environmental condition will be better. But such condition is not what city dwellers want. People still have to go to work, school, hospital, and anywhere they need. That's why experts are doing more efforts in inventing energy efficient cars running on bio-fuel and solar energy. The European Union, The United States, Japan, Korea, and Brazil have developed flexible fuel vehicles that run on gasoline and bio-ethanol. There are also hybrid cars that use fuel-cells, gasoline and even solar energy. Solar panel or solar module is installed on top of a car to provide additional electrical energy for the car.
Sulawesi Utara Indonesia
Pedati di Minahasa
In the field of bio-fuel, tropical countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, African and South American countries open massive plantation to produce palm oil for bio-diesel production. The United States and Brazil are leaders in bio-ethanol production using sugarcane. It is hoped that all these efforts will improve the environmental condition and at the same time reduce the dependency on fossil fuel which is harmful to the environment.
When people in industrialised countries are focusing their attentions and efforts on the development of energy efficient cars, people in third world countries have to make adjustments too. They have been much effected by the already soaring price of staple food and cooking oil due to the conversion of these agricultural commodities into bio-fuel. Unfortunately, they cannot afford to buy cutting-edge cars running on bio-fuel. They do not have sophisticated renewable energy laboratory and the know-how to produce solar panel or flex-engine either. Solar panel production needs special technology that is very difficult for the villagers to achieve. The easiest solution for them is going back to organic farming, and riding or driving bio-vehicles. Here, the term bio-vehicle is not meant to be a car that consumes bio-ethanol nor a kind of car or truck or tractor that runs on solar energy. It is simply a carriage that is drawn by animal.
So, bio-vehicle is horse or cow or donkey-drawn carriage used to transport people and goods. While I was in Sonder Minahasa, North Sulawesi, I happened to take pictures of these bio-vehicles. Some are pulled by horses while others by cows. Whether a cart is pulled by a particular animal depends on the purpose of the vehicle. For transporting people to school or work, the cart is drawn by horse. The first picture shown in this article depicts how Minahasan people use Bendi (a horse-driven cart) as taxi. In the second picture, a cow-driven cart called Roda Sapi is used to transport agricultural produce from a farmland to the market. Both bio-vehicles do not emit CO2.gas. There are thousands of Roda Sapi and Bendi in Minahasa. They contribute significant income to their owners. The money paid by a customer will not fly out to oil exporter countries in the Middle-East. It will go to cart owners who spend it in the local market. Such bio-vehicles were abandoned by town dwellers in the past due to lower fare public buses which consumed fossil fuel.
Today, when the fuel price is expensive, the number of bio-vehicles is expected to rise again. Bendi owners have been asked by their customers to keep their carriages clean and comfortable in order to attract more commuters. Bendi also attracts tourists who want to travel around the towns of Minahasa. One only pays less than a dollars to go around Sonder town, a beautiful town in Minahasa regency which has beautiful scenery.
We hope that in the future, we can see more flexible engine vehicles and bio-vehicles running side by side on the streets. This was written by Charles Roring and republished in

Watercolour Sketch of a Teapot

Years ago when I practised sketching, I began with simple thing. I chose a teapot. It was made of green plastic and very thin glass. I used watercolour to make the still life sketch. In around 30 minutes, I could finish it. First, I made a quick sketch of the teapot and then applied some colours in it.
Watercolour art
Sketch of A Green Teapot
Now I don't practice that often. But I still male some sketches every month. I also try to use Autodesk Sketchbook to create sketches in places where bringing watercolour is not convenient. Well, the drawings are good but I still miss the natural look of watercolour paintings.

Aren tree is the highest among other bio-mass in terms of bio-ethanol production

Aren tree (arenga pinnata) is the highest in terms of bio-ethanol production compared to other plants such as sugarcane, wheat, rice, cassava, and banana. Aren is also called Saguer tree in Minahasa, the Province of North Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is a kind of palm which is similar to Sawit and Coconut trees. While I was travelling around Sonder village, I could take a picture of Aren tree between two coconut trees. Aren or Saguer has more leaves. Its color is also darker than coconut. There are approximately two million Aren trees in Minahasa. If all of them are productive, their sap can produce 876,000 kilo litres of bio-ethanol. Traditionally, the sap from Aren has been used in the production of alcoholic drinks by the villagers in Minahasa; Borneo; Java, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Fiji, and other islands in the Pacific. The sapping method is significantly different among tribes.

The sap is tapped from male inflourescence spadix twice a day, usually in the morning and in the afternoon before dark. The highest tapping is obtained during the full-moon period. Villagers don't tap the sap from female spadix due to its inferior quality.

One Aren tree can produce between 1 and 20 liters of sap/day. Ten percent of it, after fermentation and distillation, will be converted into bio-ethanol. According to Indonesian Science Agency - LIPI, one hectare of land can accomodate from 75 to 100 trees. On the average, one hectare of Aren trees produces 1,000 liters of sap a day which is equivalent to 100 liters of bio-ethanol. It means that the amount of bio-ethanol produced from one hectace of land is 36,000 liters/ year. This figure is higher than sugarcane.
A number of companies have constructed bio-ethanol distillaries in Indonesia. One of them is located in Motoling, South Minahasa, Indonesia. Its production capacity is 1.5 metric ton of 99.5% bio-ethanol/day. Indonesia is seriously developing its bio-fuel and renewable energy resources after becoming net-importer of oil. This year alone, Indonesia has quit from its membership in OPEC. The soaring oil price in the world market creates more burden to national budget due to the fuel subsidy. This unfavorable situation forced the government to reduce the subsidy by raising the fuel price. Such policy creates massive street protests nationwide, food price hikes and instability in the country.
It is hoped that the production of bio-ethanol from Aren or Saguer trees, sugarcane, cassava will help poor farmers in getting higher income thus improving their economy.
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