Bali has moved on from the bomb: Indonesians don’t really dwell on disasters.

The site of the Sari Club is currently being used as a car park. Picture: Lukman S Bintoro

In the eight years since the tragedy, the Sari Club site has become ground zero for a different sort of terror - that of extreme ugliness.

The memorial built there in 2005 in the Gianyar Gothique style is surrounded by girly bars of the Bangkok type and, on most days, by lots of yobs in Bir Bintang T-shirts brandishing stubbies. A community park anywhere in downtown Kuta would be a godsend.

Shortly after the 2002 Bali Bomb, a determined group of Kuta-based citizens - most prominently Indonesian activist Asana Viebeke Lengkong, entrepreneur/philanthropist Stephen Palmer and screamer-chops suffragette Dallas Finn (Spokesperson) - started the push for a Peace Park.

The Peace Park Association, now under different management (including many survivors), with Dr. Fiona Wood as patron and the Australian and Bali Governments behind it, has the Sari Club land owner at the bargaining table (no mean feat) and a real chance of achieving its goal.

The kick off at the Australian Consulate Bali was well-organized and well attended by all of the island’s Consuls General and a good representation from local government.

The evening’s most moving speech - which reminded all present of the special ‘mateship’ bond between many Australian and their Balinese buddies - was by Jan Laczynski who lost five Balinese mates in the terrorist attack.

He presented an original vintage SARI CLUB T-shirt - the one which he had worn to trial of the bombers - to the Peace Park Museum.

The small museum is a big part of the Peace Park’s design programme: any thoughts of the Sari Club becoming a ‘shrine’ were dispelled by this touching act of generosity: so many people want to preserve the memory of their mates without building another stiff memorial.

A park with a contemplation corner - in the tradition of Anzac parks in many country towns in Australia, but in the Balinese style - would be a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives.

As an exercise in environmental management it would also represent a piece of garden-loving Australia, in the heart of the urban sprawl that has engulfed Kuta.

The only gardens left in Kuta, apart from Hotel gardens, are in the family house temples that take up approximately a quarter of every Balinese home.

The Kuta Peace Park is designed to be a garden to lift the spirits too - with meditation corners for different faiths - but it is not a shrine.

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    • Stiffy says:

      07:10am | 15/10/10

      Certainly a park in Kuta whould be nice but the touts for cheap copy sunglasses and the likes would destroy any chance of it being some sort of sanctuary from the madness that is Kuta. The beach tends to be the the open space relief that locals and tourist seek. Any peace park would need to be policed as such and its upkeep and purpose maintained.
      The perception of stubbies and t-shirts is somewhat true. Almost every tourist buys a bintang singlet. but hey it was your funloving aussie that enjoys Kuta who were the majority of victims to the Bali bombings.
      Nothing the matter with the traditional style memorial. It lists the names and Nationalities of the victims. To visit the memorial you must negotiate legians heavy traffic of cars and motorbikes and it is completely surrounded by potted shrubs and vegetation so at least it is not just being walked past and ignored. Good luck with the Park.

    • ibast says:

      10:19am | 15/10/10

      There already is a memorial across the road and the land proposed for this park is privately owned.  It is unreasonable to expect the owner to hand over the land.

    • Paul says:

      03:12pm | 15/10/10

      The location of the park should be moved ...heard their looking at 20 million AUD

    • bwren says:

      02:08am | 16/10/10

      202 people lost their lives on the very spot the peace park is proposed for. Ask the families and friends of those 202 people if they think the park should be “moved”?  I am appalled that the landowner could consider it fitting to develop the site as if nothing had happened. But I guess it takes all kinds.

    • Jan Laczynski says:

      11:01pm | 17/10/10

      I lost 5 mates here - every year I always return back to this site to remember them all.  I will never forget Oct 12th 2002.

    • Made Peter says:

      02:12pm | 19/10/10

      You need to understand the politics here in Indonesia and drop the emotion, why is it all about the Australians…

    • Elizabeth says:

      08:07pm | 20/10/10

      Actually, you are not the only one who has lived in Indonesia and many do understand the politics and sadly not everything is always open and straightforward, but as my “sensitivity” bone is still in place, I realise for those that lost loved ones…it will always be an emotional issue. Many nations were affected by the ugly face of terrorism when it struck our neighbouring country and friends in Bali. Because Australians comprised the largest group killed, of course we are behind the peace park. I mean, really…where’s your respect?

    • jan laczynski says:

      10:20pm | 27/10/10

      Hello Made Peter, with respect i think you do miss the point that 5 of my friends lost were locals from Bali. This peace park is so much about the Balanesse and its rich proud history that brings people like myself to your land

    • Made Peter says:

      10:01pm | 30/10/10

      No I havent missed the point here we the Balinese have done our ceremonies and have moved on RESPECT OUR BELIEFS ! I doubt very much you really know that much about the Balinese culture and religion, if the same thing happen in Australia and I decided to build a park I would be told to go home, the Americans are building a hotel on ground zero.
      The park is a peace park not a memorial as Mr Finn has pointed out this could better placed away from Jalan Legian there is a big piece of land without the politics and greed 5 minutes away that could be saved from developers.


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