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Teiki Mathieu Baillan surfing a self-made Alaia surfboard in Lances Left, Mentawaï, Indonesia. Photo by C. Naslain, 2009.
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Part Three: Mentawai Controversy - Mentawai Government Control:
The issue is too sensitive to be really detailed here. The reader can refer to the Global Surfers original posts. In short, “Kake” analyzes a well known corruption case and link it to the techniques Mr Cameron uses to control the Mentawai Government.
The demonstration appears to be founded on real facts but does not present definite written proofs of the direct implication of Mr Cameron.
And here stops the Global Surfers/Realsurfers discussion.
The facts we have evoked here reveal all the weaknesses of the Mentawai communities facing the development of Surf Tourism on their territory.
The discourse served on the surfers forums about “democracy, self-determinism” is completely beyond the Mentawai reality. Colonialism, manipulation, corruption, intimadation are the reality.
The surf tourism is now regulated by laws designed by Mr Cameron and “offered” by him to the Mentawai Government.
The law is enforced by a person who appears to be fundamentally violent and use intimidation tactics on a daily basis . (And has the means to do so).This is why the Padang surf community does not dare to speak up.
It`s only after Mr Cameron` influence on the Mentawai Government will be understood that a new regulation, taking into account the highly complex Mentawai reality, will be possible and colonialism will end.
Only after the situation is fully investigated, the Mentawai people and the surf community will be able to consider properly:
What sustainable development for the surf in Mentawai?
What place for the Mentawai people?
Monopoly or free enterprise?
How to manage the carrying capacity?
What balance between boats and resorts?
What power balance between foreign investors/customers and the local authorities?
What taxes structure?
Use of the “charity image”.
Like many surf apparel companies do, Mr Cameron uses the “charity image” for his corporate communication and PR. Fair enough, our world is not perfect and the local people benefit even from these PR operations.
However, there is no record of any recent charitable activity of Mr Cameron` Island Aid in Mentawai that could justify the monies collected by Island Aid from donors.
Now, a real discussion can begin. Starting from the reality. Not the pretenses. And documented.
Part two: Mentawai Controversy - From Global Surfers Mentawai Forum:
Another activity Rick likes to do is closing competitive resorts. Rick does not like competition in his kingdom. He has succeeded to close ``Katiet Villas`` a resort a competitor had built partly on land Rick claims he had rented in the past (and paid for?). Rick advertises now this as being his resort. Las, the resort is closed and will remain so until the Court decides who the real owner is. But that does not deter Rick, who advertises for years another non-existing resort: Ebay, which he has never finish building!
(Quicksilver Travel should at least check that the resorts they sale do exist!)
Another investor had to learn to survive another of the Rick attacks. One day Rick came to M.A resort with one of his employee, Mr Sayful, a policeman, declaring to the staff and the patrons that he, Rick Cameron closed the resort, on orders of the Regent of the Mentawai. In actuality, the Regent had never closed this resort, and dared to say so, so the resort stayed open, to the furor of Rick. One month later, the same resort was invaded by a gang of young people under the protection of the same policeman Mr Sayful.
Mr Sayful established himself on the resort, allowing the gang and its leader to stay there.
The records of the satellite communication system of this resort show that Rick called or was called 14 times in a single day from and to this resort. What the hell was he calling for? He had never called this resort before. Could it be possible he had some role in this occupation and had some orders to give to his employee, Mr Sayful? Could it be possible he was hiring a mob of young people and some stray cops to close competitive resorts?
This is the weapon Rick uses the best: spreading fear. In Padang, nobody among the surf community has ever dared to speak up, but Christina Fowley. Courage is missing. Charging tubes is OK. Confronting Rick Cameron is not. To repulse any threat of competition, Rick needs to make Mentawai an unsafe place for investors. As he writes in one of the numerous threatening emails he showers on the expat community of Padang: ``If I am not safe, nobody is``.
Mentawai controversy - From "we found them virgin and let them beautiful", global surfers Mentawai Forum"
Now, Rick has developed other techniques to rip off, exploit and take advantage of underprivileged Mentawai people.
Remember that thanks to the Perda 16, the Mentawai people have no right to develop any surf business on their own lands, but they do have the right to rent them to Rick Cameron, who, due to Perda 16 `` buffer zone`` system, by renting one small speck of land, control 2 kilometers of shores.
Well, Rick has rented small plots of land in front of each of ``his`` waves. The rental of each of these pieces of land costs him around 500 USD per year. Not too bad for 2 kilometers of perfect beaches and shores, and a world class wave. For around 3000 USD per year, Rick has the full control of half of the best surf tourism sites in the Mentawai Archipelago.
A ridiculous cost for what he wants to sell 7 000 000 USD.
But Rick does not even pay to his land owners. He lets them come to his house when they approach him begging for money, humiliates them by keeping them waiting for 5 hours before receiving them and later refusing to pay his debts, sending them away. Why should he pay for his rental fees? He has got the contract, that`s well enough because no land owner would ever dare to go to Court against him, knowing only too well he would put him in jail. As he has already done.
He is important and powerful so why should he pay the poor and powerless Mentawai land owners?
He has also stolen the land ownership paper (called ``Certificate``), from one of these land owners, in a way to even better secure his obedience. The local authority, the Camat, has tried to ask for the Certificate back. Rick never even answered. What can the Camat do? Maybe report Rick?
But report him to whom? To the police? At what level? Rick has got powerful friends very, very near the top of the hierarchy in Padang.
I have some answers - To the person needing HT's information. Its an easy affair to get to HT's. When you get to Padang, just look really lost while holding a surfboard at the airport. You'll be accosted by some friendly guide that can organize to take as much money as is humanly possible while delivering the absolutely bare minimum.
The ferries to the Mentawais are on a regular schedule until they're not regular, so kick back and enjoy dusty Padang until you get confirmation that in fact the ferry will leave (or not). The port you want to head to is called Sikakap, and don't let any of those blood sucking guides tell you otherwise. From Sikakap it is an easy 2 hour ride south along the east coast until you get to the village of Bosua, where you can find cheap places to sleep and eat. There are probably a dozen homestays there, and you'll have no problem getting fresh fruit and veges, fresh fish and other healthy staples. Cheap cheap cheap as well!
Be careful of the speedboat drivers as they'll probably want their money up front, and because you're a tourist they will ask for 3 times what they deserve. The standard fare for the speedboat is around Rp. 50,000 or about $5 USD. They'll back off if you threaten to fight them over the extra charges, so go ahead and act macho.
The last thing is that this whole trip can be made even cheaper by inviting 8 of your best mates with you. Everybody can share the same speedboats, food and laughs along the way. Make sure you choose mates that don't care about meeting girls, because there have been cases of beheadings for some tourists that like to be touchy feely with the young virgins.
I hope this has been useful for you, and good luck in your big adventure. Dean.
What to do? - Is there anybody who knows how to get to HT's and stay with the locals there? What ferries, what days? Peace.
Wavepark - Christian, you are quite obviously a fag. You have not stayed at either resorts so keep your comments to yourself. Prick. And BTW everyone, Wavepark is without doubt the best resort in this area of the Mentawais. Anyone who thinks that rashies, shorties and reefboots are gay obv doesn't surf reef breaks day in day out.
Any cheap Accomodation ? - Hi , i am on my way to the isladns with little money , any tips ? Thanxs
In two months i will tell you my adventure
surf lodge - Banyak Island lodge-north sumatra
Feb '09 Off-Season Charter Discounted - Join Us - Taking one of the nicer bigger boats out Feb 15th - 26th just to check out the whole operation. May be buying in and we only have about three people going. Looking for a couple extra people who want to get some waves without the high season crowds. Thanks -DK More info on this listing: http://losangeles.craigslist.org/lgb/spo/994452024.html
Wavepark - The original surf camp in the area, been there many times and a lot of pits. Christie gives waves to his guests, not hog them. I guess if you can't surf and pull back on a lot of good ones then yes you will be paddled around and snaked CHRISTAIN. Another resort just opened in the area and have ruined it. Owners who back stab each other, dump 20+guys in the line up all the time, and 2-3 boats worth of surfers daily following you around. If there are pros at that resort when your there your skrewed they will put you on the back burner and cater to those over paid kooks. If you want good food learn to fish.
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