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About The Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2006 Theme  

by on Thursday, 17 August 2006No Comment | 363 views

Desa-Kala-Patra (Space, Time and Identity)

The Ubud Writers & Readers Festival is a project of the Saraswati Foundation for the Arts, a non-profit organization which aims to bring together writers, readers, artists and performers from Indonesia and from South-East Asia and the West to;

  • Exchange information and ideas between the diverse cultures in Asia, the South Pacific and the West, thereby increasing cross-cultural understanding between East and West.
  • Foster greater public awareness and understanding of writing, cultures and issues in this region.
  • Create opportunities for emerging and established writers from our region to present their work in an international context and to participate in cross-cultural exchanges.
  • Foster on-going creative partnerships between Indonesia and the wider Asia and Pacific regions.
  • Support and provide educational programs for young Indonesians to reach their full potential.

The international Ubud Writers & Readers Festival began as a healing and economic development project after the Bali bombings in 2002. The Festival is an annual-ongoing event, held each October, in a month that commemorates the first Bali bombing. Now in its third year, the Festival promises to become the largest and most prestigious literary gathering in the South-East Asian region.

Our 2006 theme Desa-Kala-Patra arose out of discussions that arose during the 2005 Festivals. Desa-Kala-Patra is a Balinese/Hindu term that has been translated as Place-Time-Identity. Desa-Kala-Patra will address the ties that bind us to place, ancestry and identity in modern times. Renowned Indonesian playwright Putu Wijaya wrote the following about this theme.

Desa-kala-patra is part of a basic life principle for the Balinese people. The concept refers to space, time and identity that dissolve into one. It is reflected in Balinese behavior, attitude, reactions, actions, speech and even in their mind, contemplation and feelings. Desa-kala-patra is not a verbal teaching; it is a belief in the domain of sub-consciousness. It functions as a converter for Balinese’ spirituality, as it is manifested in their behavior, attitude and opinions in their daily life in all situations, be it in official discussions or in less formal conversations in warungs, at the market and even within the ‘unseen’ world.

For the Balinese Desa (space) is essential to indicate origins, links and directions. By tracing their space the Balinese discover their linkage to their homes, origins, braya-pisaga-semeton (society, neighbors and family) and even with their guests. The space is also linked to kala (time). Night and day, morning and afternoon, today and tomorrow can change, take form and make those links to time perfect. Finally Patra (identity) also means situation and condition, meaning that space and time can be harmonized with what is taking place.

Desa-kala-patra becomes a trinity. It is a driving force for the Balinese not only to live in the past, the present and in the future but also to make their lives ever new and always tangible. For the Balinese, the past, the present and the future are one. This inner self perception becomes the soul or guidance of what we call karma pala (cause and effect). In life one cannot postpone our karma. We harvest what we grow.

In the desa-kala-patra concept, uncertainty may coexist besides certainty. Consequently, change, growth, development as well as unlawfulness can occur when desa-kala-patra allows it. With desa-kala-patra the Balinese people always adapt themselves, and as a result to this nonstop adaptation, they reach harmony in every second of their life. Fanaticism, extremism and unchallenged dogma will never exist, as rebirth take places every second.

If the desa-kala-patra concept changes, every thing else will change.

Editor’s Note
More information about Ubud Writers & Readers Festival please visit

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