Tue, 23 May 2000

There is no violence in Bali

The violent takeover of power in Fiji by George Speight and a band or armed thugs on May 19, 2000 has opened a window of opportunity for Bali to cash in on what will be millions of dollars worth of cancellations when travel agents in Australia and New Zealand open their doors this week.

Unfortunately, Bali still suffers from a negative image as a result of past and current unrest in areas of this vast archipelago far distant from Bali itself.

As a concerned expatriate ad man I've taken the liberty to draft up a press ad I feel would deliberately target the customer into bowling into his travel agent and demanding to be pulled out of Fiji and put into Bali. I would propose the ad be run in News Ltd. tabloids across Australia, predominantly on the east coast and especially in New Zealand where the greatest damage was done to Bali's image by Jose Ramos-Horta in September 1999.

There is no violence in Bali. There was violence in East Timor, 1,000 kilometers east of Bali, and it's over. There is violence in Ambon, 2,000 km north of Bali, and it's diminishing. There is violence in Aceh, 3,000 km west of Bali, and it's on the mend. There has been no violence in Bali since our war of independence was won in 1949 ... A record not all paradise islands can legitimately lay claim to.

There is the essence, now it needs to be polished by a distinguished wordsmith such as my old Pommy mate Pete from Admanta. Any interest out here? Incidentally, I don't feel it is necessary to name Fiji in the ad. The western press will be making a meal out of Fiji's demise for weeks, even months. Besides, it could be libelous. There is sufficient insinuation in the final sentence to leave the reader in no doubt as to which paradise island we are referring.

It may be argued that to use the word violence, instead of less sensationalist terms such as civil unrest, social disorder etc. is not particularly wise. However, as the world press and television has already instilled in the minds of its readers and viewers that events in Ambon and Aceh are violent, it would be pointless to try and tone them down.

The exercise after all is only meant to distance Bali from these events and establish the destination as a viable alternative to the currently more fancied destinations in Malaysia and Thailand. Strike while the iron is hot.


Sanur, Bali