----- Original Message -----From: Holy UncleSent: Tuesday, April 21, 2009 6:44 PMSubject: [mediacare] Buddha Bar Sheds Its Name Signs, and Asks: Is That Enough ?
April 22, 2009
Buddha Bar Sheds Its Name Signs, and Asks: Is That Enough ?
The outdoor nameplates above the door are gone, but it's business as usual at the Buddha Bar in Central Jakarta.
The management of the Menteng bar has removed several instances of its name from above the entrance of the colonial-era building it uses in order to accommodate a request from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, a bar spokesman said on Tuesday.
Buddha Bar operations manager Herry Marheroso told the Jakarta Globe that the removal was a voluntary "sign of respect" to the government and, in this case, Religious Affairs Minister Maftuh Basyuni.
The nearly century-old building will soon sport its former colonial name, "Bataviasche Kunstkring," although the bar will legally retain the Buddha Bar name. The action follows protests by some Buddhist groups who claimed that using the image of the Buddha on a bar was disrespectful.
"We hope that with the name-sign removal there will be no more problems," Herry said, adding that the government asked the restaurant's management to make an "adjustment" to its name.
The interior design of the high-end bar remains unchanged and there are still Buddha statues on display.
Herry said that there was no governing regulation regarding the statues' display, as they are also used as decorations in other places.
There are at least two popular bars in Bali that also use both the words "Buddha" and "Bar" in their titles.
"We didn't change anything in the interior concept, and it still refers to our principal in Paris," Herry said.
According to the bar's official Web site, Jakarta was the first city in Asia to host a Buddha Bar franchise, which was originally established in Paris in 1996.
Herry admitted that during the height of the demonstrations staged by Buddhist communities, the restaurant experienced a significant drop in clientele, though it is slowly picking up again.
For now, there is just a faded name high up on the wall of the 1913 building referring to its former use as the main immigration office for Central Jakarta.
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