The Island of Thousand Temples

Bali is the most significant among the few remaining pockets of predominantly Hindu areas in Indonesia after the fall of the Hindu Kingdom of Majapahit in the early 16th century. The Balinese Hinduism is unique and an integral part of the Balinese culture and everyday life of the people. Bali boasts several stunning temples (pura) built on some of the most picturesque sites on the island.

Pura Tanah Lot
Canang sari offerings, Pura Tanah Lot and surfers (10/2010)

Pura Luhur
Pura Luhur on top of a cliff at Uluwatu (10/2010)


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Folk Dance in Bunad

Bunad is the traditional costume in Norway. You won’t miss it if you happen to visit the country on May 17 (Kiat’sEyeView:SyttendeMai) when it is popularly worn for the national day celebration. Needless to say, bunad is naturally the costume of choice in traditional cultural event such as folk dancing. Shown here are my picture and video documentations of the midsummer day (23 June) performance in front of the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) in 2007.

Norwegian Folk Dance 1

Norwegian Folk Dance 2

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The Batak People and Culture

Horas! Welcome to the Batak heartland that centres on Samosir Island and covers the surrounding areas of Lake Toba. Sites of cultural and historical significance to the Batak people can be found on the island at places such as Tomok, Ambarita and Simanindo (see Lake Toba Album). Batak houses, with distinctive saddle-shaped, twin-peaked roofs, are eye-catching and unmissable. They can be found all over Samasir Island in all shapes and sizes, from elaborately decorated traditional houses preserved in museums to practical zinc-roofed village houses or resort cottages by the shoreline.

The following excerpt from gives some ideas on the Batak architecture and symbolism built into the design:
"The roofs of the house are designed so the back of the roof in higher than the front. The father of the house always sleeps at the front of the house and the children in the back. The higher roof in the back signifies that the father wants his children to reach higher in life than himself. The steps leading up to the small entrance are always atleast 4, 5 or 6 to signify how many children the family wants to have. The small entrance into a Batak house are designed so you have to bow down to enter the house paying respect to the people inside the house."

Batak House 1
Batak House 2 Batak House 3

Batak culture is also known to be rich in customs and rituals. This 53-sec video clip, taken at the Museum Huta Bolon Simanindo, aims to give a sample of traditional Batak dance. The performance (Mon-Sat 10.30-11.10, 11.45-12.30; Sun 11.45-12.30) is not to be missed by culturally inclined visitors to Samosir, Lake Toba.


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Tartan and Kilt

Away from the tropics, Kiat is currently in the Land of Tartan and Kilt, pursuing knowledge, broadening his horizons and learning about haggis, whisky and Irn-Bru. No, he still has not learnt how to play a bagpipe :-P

Picture 1
Participants posing at George Square, Glasgow for the Glasgow International Piping Festival (10/08/07)