Travelogue: Movie Shown on Silent Day Causes Unexpected Introspection

Balinese Adventure Part 40

A movie is shown on Silent Day at the hotel Michael Taylor is staying at. It takes him from his childhood to his present, causing the introspection that he is supposed to engage in on this holiest of days on the Balinese calendar.

The Balinese New Year, a.k.a. Silent Day or Nyepi, is supposed to be a time of meditation or introspection. It is a time to reflect on your own life and think about your relationships with others.

Entertainment is one of the things you are supposed to avoid.

Hotels, however, are given a bit of leeway. They are allowed to organize activities within the hotel grounds to prevent guests from getting bored.

Many of them, including L Hotel Seminyak Bali, where I’m spending the final 4 days of my Balinese adventure, show movies. ‘The Butler’ is one of the 3 movies that are scheduled to be shown.

On the one hand, I’m thinking, “Watching a movie seems to be a violation of the spirit of silence and introspection”. On the other, I’m thinking, “But I really want to see this movie.”

From My Childhood to My Present

And what an amazing coincidence it is. The movie, as it turns out, takes me from my childhood in the 1950s to my present, with the election of our first African American president.

That one of the 3 datelines shown in the movie – Washington, DC, Birmingham, Alabama, and Oakland, California – is my hometown (Oakland) gives me an unexpected personal connection to the story.

The Black Panthers, which the butler’s son joins, were founded at Merritt College, where I studied in the late 1960s.

The movie causes me the introspection that I am supposed to engage in on this holiest of days on the Balinese calendar. A mere coincidence? Perhaps. But somehow I don’t think so.


L Hotel Seminyak, Jalan Raya Petitengt Ho. 8L, Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia. Telepphone: +62 361 894 7898. Website: L Hotel Seminyak Bali.


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