Singapore is the world's busiest seaport, and the cleanest, greenest, safest place on earth. Thayer Soule, in his film "Singapore to Bali," which he is bringing to Kingsbury Hall on Tuesday, April 2, at 8 p.m., presents a booming center of trade with world-class hotels, and all the color and excitement of many races and religions. Bali, on the other hand, is the ultimate in contrast - green, misty, mysterious, a land of gentle, caring people where rice is life, and the Hindu religion is all pervasive, with colorful processions and dazzling ceremonies.
Singapore and Bali are a study in contrasts. Both are small tropic islands in Southeast Asia, world-renowned cruise stops and tourist centers. They are only three hours apart, but totally different from each other and anywhere else. Singapore is a vibrant, booming city/state, a great financial center and a shopper's delight. Four races, four cultures and religions flourish side by side. Together, they make Singapore a fascinating, uniquely successful entity.Bali is an island of cloud-covered mountains, sunny beaches and smiling people. Protected until quite recently from the outside world, it is a land where evil spirits and monsters are still a part of life. It is an island of Hindu religion in an otherwise Muslim Indonesia. Colorful temple ceremonies occur every day. Life is centered in the family, and the green, lovingly tended rice paddies.
Soule's film will open with a stop at Raffles Hotel, now a century old, and once a favorite of Rudyard Kipling, Noel Coward, Somerset Maugham and James Michener. The Long Bar is much as it has always beens - ceiling fans, but no air-conditioning. In 1912, a tiger invaded the lobby! Across the street, in Singapore, towers the world's tallest hotel - 73 stories. From the top, Thayers's camera focuses on a breath-taking view of the city and the Padang, a huge playing field, center of Singapore since colonial times.
Occupied by Japan during World War II, Singapore was liberated in 1945 and under the leadership of Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, it is now history's most successful city-state. Through the lens of Soule we will travel by subway and rickshaw to parks, gardens and the Orchard Road with its wide shaded walks, world-class hotels, fast food restaurants, shopping centers with their pewter, curry, crafts and orchids dipped in gold. Dragon boats where eight nations compete in a colorful regatta will lead us to the cruise ship, Golden Odyssey, where we will sail for Indonesia and Bali.
Bali is a mystical island in a misty sea. Volcanic lakes, towering Mount Agung and Besakih, the mother temple, are often shrouded in fog. In Soule's film we will view Klungkung's floating pavillion and its marvelous ceiling, ancient carvings of Yeh Pulu and the mysterious royal tombs of Gunung Kawi. We will witness a religious procession along the road to the capital, Denpasar and thousands of motorbikes as we near the main bazaar; classic Balinese dancing at the art festival; the painters of Ubud; the intricacies of making batik; a traditional Indonesian shadow play; a unique festival at Tenganan; sacred ferris wheels and a spectacular finish with an evening at Tanah Lot overlooking the surrounding sea. It is a world apart. Once experienced, it cannot be forgotten.
Thayer Soule has been traveling all his life, producing travelogs and presenting them all over North America. His father was an artist, his mother a world traveler. His home for many years was Rochester, N.Y.
It was after seeing an illustrated lecture of the Mountains of the Moon in Central Africa that Thayer decided to become a lecturer. He sat still long enough to earn a degree at Harvard, with high honors in languages, geographical studies and public speaking. In World War II he was a Marine Corps photographic officer in Guadalcanal and Iow Jima, winning the Bronze Star and promotion to lieutenant colonel.
Even before that he was working with Burton Holmes, creator of the travelog, and for a half a century the world leader in travel photography. Their association lasted 20 years. Today, Thayer is the dean of his field. He appears regularly in all parts of the U.S. and Canada, with a record 38 times for the National Geographic Society, a number no one else has even approached.
General admission tickets are on sale in Kingsbury Hall office, room 210, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and again from 6:30 till showtime on Tuesday.
The free shuttlebus will begin service in Rice Stadium parking lot about 7:10 p.m.