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Interview with Rita Dewi: Trustee (Bendahara -Treasurer) YKSB

How have you seen this island change over the years?

Bali has changed a lot, of course. First, 25 years ago, when I was a small child, there was no traffic - now, there is a big pollution problem in the streets. Then there’s development, which for me has always had positive and negative sides. Also, there’s the trash problem. Before, everything we used was natural and biodegradable, so throwing it away on the ground was not a problem. We haven’t had proper education on waste management across the island. I see a big transition happening. While many Balinese are sticking to tradition, some are following the influence of Westerners, which again can be positive or negative. On the negative side, many are focused now on making money. It used to be that everyone helped each other, a tradition that came out of the need for a lot of help when preparing for and performing our many ceremonies. Now, I see this less and less. People buy their offerings instead of making them with their neighbors. On the positive side, Balinese are benefiting from improved education, technology and opportunities. Balinese have greatly improved their hygiene and health. Balinese now also put more emphasis on education, instead of pushing them into helping on the farm from a young age. Actually, the reason why many farmers are selling their land is because this is the only way to afford sending their children to school and giving them a chance to make a better life. Most young people think that when they go to work in tourism, they’ll be benefited, but they forget our essential need for food. If they go into farming, they can work for themselves, they can link tourism and agriculture, and they can create a better balance in our economy. At the moment, the tourism and hotel industries are growing and growing - but people will stop coming if our culture and nature disappear.

How did you get into real estate?

I started nearly 12 years ago because I love meeting people and having new experiences. This is what I get from renting, managing, and welcoming visitors to our properties. I would always explain to first-time visitors about Bali’s culture and life, and how it has endured throughout history. I always emphasized the connectedness of community. Many guests expressed that they could feel this, and that it was something they wished they had in their communities at home.

Why did you decide to start working with Sawah Bali?

I am from Bali. I have seen the positive curve of development go bad in the last few years. I’m not going anywhere, but I see things moving along the wrong track. Many visitors who come here or people who start businesses here don’t care about their impact. I want our young people to learn better and inherit a healthy island. I want to put Ubud on the right track.

I think that when development started growing quickly, around 10 years ago, it was mostly hotels. Now, there is a huge demand for private villas, which are easier to get approval for from the government. As long as a villa has fewer than five bedrooms, they can build anywhere. This has caused sprawl - more villas breaking up the land.

I work in real estate, but I feel we need to stop and breathe, so we can see more clearly what direction we are going in. You can’t create land here. Land prices have gotten very expensive, so when Balinese people sell their land, they will never be able to afford to buy it back.

Without land, there is no culture. I hope to encourage people to rent existing properties instead of building new ones, and to start being more careful and considerate.

Biography: Ibu Rita

Her education is Economy S1 degree of Warmadewa University. Ibu Anak Agung Ayu Rita Dewi or in her family usually called by her short name Rita was born in a family where art has been hereditarily fused in life's every aspect. At the young age of five she had been already introduced to art, especially the art of traditional dance.Balinese dancing was a large part of her activities in the palace where she comes from and its surroundings. Ibu Rita has also always been very fond of socializing. She likes to meet new people and relate with them, and loves learning about culture and different perspectives from many different people. This side of her led her to down her career path in real estate. After receiving a degree in Economics from Warmadewa University, she entered this business, which she finds very exciting and which has has given her many opportunities to meet people and challenge herself. She brings great spirit and motivation to running Red Lotus Property. Now, as she sees Bali changing, she wishes to bring balance to her life by working against the overdevelopment of the island.

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