by Kartika D. Suardana
When you arrive in Bali nowadays, you are greeted by a new airport, a new road system and a virtual new city. The conurbanation of Tubankutalegianseminyak now is a modern, bustling complex of hotels, shops, malls, clubs, restaurants and bars, and is accessed by roads totally dominated by giant billboards selling every known product…..except Balinese culture.
Kartika Dewi Suardana, the young Balinese author of this lovely book, started her career researching and recording Balinese dance and this was the subject of her first book “Dances of Bali”, which proved immensely popular with visitors to Bali.
Now she returns with a unique guide book which totally ignores modern development, which is 99% not Balinese in architecture, style or spirit, and concentrates on “real” or authentic Bali : the temples, the palaces, the museums and nature.
This is the Bali i love, the Bali that we should preserve, the Bali that is the origin of all tourism, and the source of life for the Balinese. I make no apologies for omitting all the modern aspects of life in the south of Bali, it’s there in your face anyway. The traffic, the noise, the endless commercialism is there to enjoy, you just need to find it.
I hope you love Bali both in real life and through the pages of this book, as much as we do.
Alister G. Speirs
Kartika dewi Suardana
Dewi, as family and friends affectionately call her, was born in Bali in 1983. She spent her childhood on the island until 1994, when her family moved to Jakarta. There she grew up amongst the hustle and bustle of the great metropolis. In 1999, she moved to Bandung and the following year registered as a student in Parahyangan Catholic University majoring in International Relations.
Dewi has been in love with writing since she was in junior high school. She was part of her school magazine team, which she wrote several short stories for. She started writing professionally in 2005 for Gadis magazine, a nationally distributed teen magazine. She was also a WWF ghostwriter for a Coral Reef program in West Bali in 2006 before departing to New Delhi to pursue a master’s degree in Jawaharlal Nehru University. her life in India and seeing the rich Indian culture was a huge inspiration.
upon returning to Bali, Dewi met Alistair Speirs and was given a great opportunity to be part of the NOW!BALI Team. Her features are found at the beginning of every issue and they illustrate many of Bali’s traditional performances. These eventually became her first published book titled Dances of Bali. Now, Dewi’s features also include writings and photography about the island’s unique temples, places and museums and have been compiled to create this wonderful book, Real Bali.