Monday, 23 September 2019

Police Ban Ogoh-Ogoh with Anti-Benoa Reclamation Theme

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta-Ahead of Nyepi holiday (Day of Silence), Bali residents has made ogoh-ogoh (giant statue representing demon) as a symbol of rejection towards the Benoa Bay reclamation project by PT. Tirta Wahana Bali International (TWBI).

    In West Denpasar Sub-district, local banjar (neighborhood) youth incorporated in Sekaa Teruna (ST) Tenaya Kusuma has made ogoh-ogoh themed ‘Protect Bali, Save the World’. The ogoh-ogoh is made in the form of a giant holding excavator fragment in its left hand, and the earth in its right handnas a symbol of protection towards the earth from environmental destruction.

    “We want to convey the message to protect the environment, on waste issue for example,” Banjar Buagan Chief, Gede Supartha told Tempo on Monday, March 7, 2016.

    Excavator symbolizes the enormous volume of waste in the environment which makes it difficult for the excavator to contain. In addition, he did not deny that ogoh-ogoh which stands at 2.5-meter high gives an impression of rejection towards Benoa Bay reclamation plan.

    “The issue has been around for years, so it’s normal if there’s an impression of rejection towards the reclamation. The symbol of ogoh-ogoh is part of our aspiration in rejecting Benoa Bay reclamation,” he said.

    Ogoh-ogoh that required Rp9 million to build has suddenly been banned by police because it is considered to have disturbed social order. On Friday, March 4, 2016 at 11:30 pm Central Indonesia Time Supartha was invited to meet social security and social order guidance police (Bhabinkamtibnas) from West Denpasar Police Precinct.

    “He did not ban our ogoh-ogoh, but he said according to West Denpasar Police Precinct Cheif’s instruction, the excavator fragment must be removed,” he said. The police chief reasoned that excavator fragment could heat up the Benoa Bay reclamation issue, he said.

    “We agree with what police want, but after consulting with Head of Village, we will still use the excavator [fragment] for the ogoh-ogoh, albeit not on its hand,” Supartha said. Basically, the excavator fragment will be placed at the ogoh-ogoh’s feet above piles of plastic waste and cans as a symbol, he said.

    “I can understand that police have a responsibility to maintain order, but it’s an art which brings message to preserve the environment. I think the instruction to remove [excavator fragment] by the police could give an impression of censoring people’s aspiration,” he said.

    West Denpasar Police Precinct Chief Wisnu Wardana himself said that it’s a preventive measure to avoid potential disturbance to security and order ahead of Nyepi commemoration. “I think it’s not suitable with ogoh-ogoh theme which usually [made] as a symbol to defeat evil trait,” he told Tempo.

    Wisnu explained that excavator fragment symbol on ogoh-ogoh in Banjar Buagan is feared to carry certain interests. “We are not prohibiting the ogoh-ogoh [in Banjar Buagan] anyway, but it has limitations [to remove excavator fragment]. In the event that we ban ogoh-ogoh, it means that something is wrong,” he said.

    Ogoh-ogoh with a theme of rejection towards Benoa Bay reclamation has also been made in other areas in Denpasar as well as in North Kuta Sub-district, Badung District.

    ST Eka Dahrma Canthi Chairman, I Komang Sukra Wijaya, 28, hoped that ogoh-ogoh could encourage all of Balinese to continue to fight against the reclamation. “We don’t want to provoke, since we have no political interests. We are genuinely voicing our struggle to prevent Bali environment from destruction,” he said.

    BRAM SETIAWAN