Saturday, July 02, 2005


Bali is an honorary South Pacific idyll. It is not in the South Pacific, but the 1949 Rogers and Hammerstein musical "South Pacific" is set in Bali-Hai. (This idea is from Adrian Vickers' book Paradise Created.) The whole Pacific idyll thing is analysed entertainingly by the SBS-commissioned Trevor Graham documentary, Hula Girls.

In my letter from Samoa I commented on the Australian man I found on the triple W who said of Samoa “The Samoan people must, in general, be among the happiest in the world” and “‘Paradise’ is the word that comes to mind, even if you prefer to avoid clichés.” "Island of the Gods" is the most hackneyed hyperbole (though if you were a God, Bali would be a good place to hang out; so too if you were an evil spirit -- you'd be propitiated there like nowhere else), but Pandit Nehru called it "the morning of the World" in what the Balinese and their chroniclers have always assumed to be a compliment (I have no reason to believe it wasn't, but I'm not exactly sure what he was getting at).

And, here's something little-known: Australia's best known ex-Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam said, on checking in to the Oberoi "If there be a Paradise on Earth, this is it, this is it, this is it". (This is from p. 110 of the quaint book In Praise of Kuta by Hugh Mabbett.

The image is one of Phitar's, from Flickr.


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