Posted by: masaranghk | October 8, 2014

The Lost Forests of Indonesia

The wonderful world-class annual event, the 11th Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, was held this year from October 1 -5th and featured over 150 writers from more than 25 countries. Dr. Willie Smits was invited to speak at the event. The festival was sophisticated, dynamic and knowledge–filled, much like the Founder and Director of the Festival, Janet De Neefe.
From left to right Dian Fatwa, Willie Smits, Bustar Maitar and Tim Flannery

The theme this year was Saraswati: Wisdom and Knowledge and it explored the wisdom gained by creative expression. The festival offered an opportunity to consider memorable stories as well as global issues, especially those involving the environment.

Willie participated in a thoroughly fascinating panel discussion about the Lost Forests of Indonesia. The discussion highlighted amongst other key issues, the fact that the speed of deforestation in Indonesia has overtaken the speed of deforestation in Brazil. The other panel members were: Tim Flannery, writer and scientist; Bustar Maitar, Head of Greenpeace Indonesia; Dian Fatwa, delightful panel chair and noted Australian Broadcasting Corporation staff member.

The extremely popular discussion resulted in a full house. There were many concerned questions from the audience and many words of support and admiration for the work of Willie and the other panel members. Amitav Ghosh, the master novelist and author of The Glass Palace, was in the audience and offered a few kind words to Willie after the discussion. Willie is looking forward to finding the time to read all of his books!
Amitav Ghosh (seen from behind) waiting to talk to Willie Smits along with other attendees
From left to right Dr. Bayu, Willie Smits, Kirana Agustina

Willie co-founded two environmental projects in Bali: the Bali Starling project on Nusa Penida Island, with Dr Bayu, a Hindu priest and veterinarian; the Tabanan Animal Rescue Centre. He was able to combine attending the conference with meeting Dr Bayu and one of his staff, the ever-smiling Kirana Agustina. He was pleased to hear how the Bali Starling project has progressed since his last visit to Nusa Penida with Dr Bayu.

A delightful, worthwhile experience in Beautiful Bali!

Adrienne Watson
President Masarang Hong Kong
Bali, 5-10-2014

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