Aum Swastyastu ... Welcome to the Stranger in Paradise

(Published in the Hello Bali Magazine, November 2007)

Dr. Anak Agung Made Djelantik, 21.7.1919 - 4.9.2007

Bali loses a favourite son

Dr. Anak Agung Made Djelantik, second son of the last Raja of Karangasem, died peacefully on 5th September 2007. This remarkable, gentle man enjoyed enormous respect over a 70 year career devoted to healing, to nurturing and to the preservation of Balinese culture.

“We have to be good ancestors in our life-time” was Dr. Djelantik’s favourite saying; according to his biographer Idanna Pucci.

Anak Agung Made Djelantik’s life was defined by extraordinary hardships, pioneering efforts and miraculous survivals.
He was born in Karangasem Palace on 21st July, 1919, into a Balinese royal family known for its statesmanship and architectural pursuits. His mother died two years after his birth and he and his elder sister were raised by one of his eight stepmothers. His childhood in Karangasem in the 1920s, surrounded by great beauty – natural and man-made – was idyllic and action-packed.
He went to Junior School in Denpasar – H.I.S., the first Dutch School (in a class with independence hero Ngurah Rai) – and then high school in Malang, and Yogyakarta, where he won a scholarship to study medicine in Holland. He was the first Balinese to study medicine overseas. At Amsterdam University, he met Astrid Zwart, the daughter of famous graphic and industrial designer Piet Zwart. They spent the traumatic war years in occupied Holland, underground, in the home of mentor and protector Hans Rodius. (Rodius would go on to write a biography of the legendary German biographer Walter Spies; one imagines that Rodius’ relationship with the young prince prompted his life-long passion for Bali).
Their first daughter, Ayu Bulantrisna, was born in Holland in 1947. On their return to Indonesia they had a formal wedding at the Karangasem Palace in East Bali in 1948. Shortly after, Dr. Djelantik was ‘exiled’ to peripheral areas by the newly formed Indonesian government (possibly due to a misunderstanding on the part of the Raja of Gianyar, the Prime Minister of Eastern Indonesia at the time). During his years on the outer islands, he started his pioneering work on the eradication of malaria and tuberculosis.
After the Dutch had fully abandoned Indonesia, Dr. Djelantik was fully able to settle back in Bali and work as a doctor. He was soon promoted to the position of ‘Chief Physician’ responsible for the medical care of the entire island of Bali. When President Sukarno came to stay in his residence in Tampaksiring, Dr. Djelantik served as his private doctor. Sukarno then asked him to start the faculty of medicine at the University of Udayana. It was at this time that Dr. Djelantik founded Sanglah Hospital; becoming its director.
During these years, famed anthropologist Margaret Mead and Beryl Bérnay became friends; the Djelantiks regularly shared Christmas at their Kintamani retreat with them.
Despite the demands on his time from the medical profession, the doctor wrote a book on Balinese Painting for the Oxford University Press in 1968 and worked as tutor in Aesthetics at Bali’s Dance Academy, A.S.T.I, which he founded.
Following his retirement, he worked for ten years as an expert on malaria with the World Health Organization, in Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan. When he returned to Bali, his nurturing of Balinese culture and dance continued. He founded Lestibia (the agency for Balinese cultural preservation) and, shortly after, founded the Walter Spies Foundation (in memory of the great German artist whose art and love of Balinese culture influenced a generation). During his retirement years Dr. Djelantik and Astri would often entertain in their cottage at Tirtagangga water gardens in East Bali. (Dr. Djelantik’s architect son, Widoere, is now director of the Dutch-based Tirtagangga Foundation, which is dedicated to the preservation of the last Raja of Karangasem’s great landscape masterwork.)
In the week of Dr. Djelantik death, his eldest daughter, Dr. Ayu Bulantrisna (60), who now lives in Bandung and the US, came to Bali to dance the Legong with the Jakarta dance troupe Bengkel Ayubulan she founded in 1994.The event was at a Legong Festival held in Peliatan as a tribute to the late great gurus Gung Kak Mandera and Niang Sengog. From his deathbed, Dr. Djelantik registered this feat with trademark wry smile.

• • •

During the week after Dr. Djelantik’s death, his body lay in state in the Balé Bali pavilion in the beautiful garden he and Astri had created almost fifty years before. The Karangasem cremation was awaiting the return of his three other children based overseas, Madelief, Merti and Dharma Widoere; every night, friends and family gathered in the pretty garden of the Djelantik’s Renon home. Among the mourners were Idanna Pucci and Sarita Newson, writer and publisher respectively of Dr. Djelantik’s last book ‘Against All Odds’ – an extraordinary biography (with Dr. Djelantik’s own paintings); Prof. Made Bandem’s wife and other leaders from Bali’s classical dance community; Horst Jordt, director of the Walter Spies Foundation; Putu Suarsa (who remembers Dr. Djelantik’s pivotal role in Batujimbar in the late 1960s, advising Wija Waworuntu, on the future of cultural tourism in Bali); impresario Ade Waworuntu, dancer Pino Confessa, the Italian Honorary Consul, another member of Bali’s classical dance community and Dr. Djelantik’s friend, photographer Beryl Bérnay.
Dr. Djelantik is survived by a sister (the high priestess of Sidemen), five children, the Sanglah Hospital (soon to be renamed the Rumah Sakit Dr. Anak Agung Made Djelantik), the Walter Spies Foundation, Tirtagangga, and a whole island of admirers, all grateful for the life’s work of this great man..

Judith Waworuntu Tumbelaka Bell
20.6.1930 - 13.9.2007

14th September 2007: End of an Era
Wija Waworuntu and his English artist wife Judith set up their little hotel, the Tanjung Sari in Sanur, in 1963. There was nothing else on Sanur beach; save for a few ancient coral temples.
They raised five children in haute bohemian bliss (barefoot, but with lots of servants). It quickly became the tropical world’s most desirable beach hotel. They entertained reigning monarchs, world leaders and stars of screen and stage at their beautiful boutique hotel – Asia’s first! They cut a broad swathe through Jakarta’s café society as well! Australian artist Donald Friend and retired English diplomat Chris Carlisle joined the partying in 1967.
I knew Judith in the 1980s when all her brood – Fiona, Iskandar, Timi, Yaya and Ade – were all single and very much part of the hopscotch and scooter crowd in Kuta! Judith, who by then had advanced to her third husband, the affable Bernie Bell, founder of Nusa Dua Tourism Zone, was still producing art and jewellery and dispensing warm bohemian advice.
In the 1990s, when her grandchildren numbered some twenty (official count), I knew her as a glamorous tennis-loving grandma – a link to a by-gone era of Jakartan glamour and grace.
Judith died in her sleep on 13th September 2007 in Trebiano, Italy, in the house she adored. Her eldest daughter Fiona and son-in-law, André Puri, were there. A funeral was held on the 19th September at the local church. Ade Waworuntu flew to Italy to represent her very extended family.
The Stranger joins the Waworuntu clan, the Tanjung Sari hotel and Judith’s family and friends in mourning the passing of this remarkable pioneer.

Judith and her husband Wija Waworuntu with their children at the Tanjung Sari hotel in 1963


Early 19th century painting of Mads Lange’s factory in Kuta (note visiting Balinese royals)

18th September 2007: the 200th anniversary of the birth of Kuta’s Great Dane.
In the old days in Kuta, everyone wanted to do a film on Mads Lange, the legendary Danish trader who had a ‘fort’ in Kuta in the early 1800s. (Remnants of the fort were still there when I was a Kuta bar-fly in the 1970s).
David Bowie was roped in at one stage by Lawrence Blair or was it Shane Sweeny or John Darling – they all look the same to me, I can’t remember – but the ‘property’ was hot. It involved palace intrigue, treachery, treason, rape, pillage, blue and white plates, boy mischief (Danish emissaries) and at least one white horse.
Until I recently fell into flesh I thought I would be the perfect actor to play the dashing multi-lingual Danish sea-cucumber salesman.

• • •

They all have been pipped at the post by the publishing of a book on Mads Lange by Leonard Leuras and Bali-based Danish impresario Peter Bloch.

• • •

Cok NGurah Wardana, Mads Lange IV at Puri Kesiman on 200th anniversary of Mads Lange birth!

Tjokorda Sakti Kesiman (1862 photo). (Courtesy Puri Agung Kesiman).

Balinese great-granddaughter of Tjokorda Sakti Kesiman with Tenku Atiya from the Johor Royal family (Malaysia), a great, great, great-granddaughter of Mads Lange

I recently attended an extraordinary expat event at the Kesiman palace. It was the 200th anniversary of the birth of Mads Lange, an early 19th century trader who eventually became a Dutch agent in Bali. (He had been a great friend of the legendary 19th century king of Kesiman, Tjokorda Sakti).
Lange was married to a Balinese girl in the Kesiman palace in 1840 (the priestly-prince officiating). His daughter, Cecelia eventually married Sultan Ismail of Johor. All of the Johor royal family are thus descended from this expat Dane.
At the palace ceremony, the present prince, Anak Agung Ngurah Wardana, pointed out in his welcoming speech that it was also exactly one hundred years ago to the day that Bali fell to the Dutch, in a wave of horrific suicide battles.
The blonde Danes all clapped wildly, confused, as they were, by the preponderance of tea-colour relatives.
“By the year 2050 everyone will be tea-coloured.” Buckminster Fuller famously said.

The Stranger with Tjokorda Kesiman and the Johor group.
Pemerajan Agung Puri Kesiman, the Kesiman Palace’s royal ‘chapel’.
The famous main gate of Puri Kesiman.

Tenku Atiya and her mother Gusti Putri from the Mangkunegaran royal family for Solo, Central Java.
Tenku Atiya from the Johor Royal family ( Malaysia), a great, great, great-granddaughter of Mads Lange.

Tenku Abu Bakar of the Johor royal family, a direct descendent of Mads Lange.

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