A kaleidoscope of glimpses into various cultures within Asia. Each tribe, each ethnicity expresses its identity in various ways – music, dance, textiles, costumes, food, language, life format etc.
It is impossible for an individual to capture the complete essence of any tribe – either one’s own or another’s – but it is possible to experience the diversity and be nothing less than awestruck by the beauty of human society.
Sometimes the customs and traditions are so different from the ones I have been exposed to until now, that it is hard not to be alarmed and to remain unjudgemental. But the only way to view any custom is to see it as a part of the complete picture, within the paradigm that has given birth to the custom. It is only then that the view is fair.
Every society has its reasons for doing what they do. The set of rules that have evolved have withstood the test of inter-generational transmission. Therefore they are always internally consistent within the system and provide answers to all of the issues faced by that particular society. When viewed from outside, a traveller usually only gets a limited view and she sees a single custom / tradition without seeing all the evolutionary factors and the paradigm within which this is perfectly valid. Given that this is merely a slice of the whole life model, which is quite likely to be different from her own, this view is likely to cause the viewer some dissonance and sometimes result in an imbalanced judgement.
Of course it is not only the limitedness of the view that causes this bias. Sometimes the close-mindedness of the viewer also contributes to this.
It has taken me many journeys into the lives and minds of others to realise that unless the context is known and empathised with, the judgement is unfair and therefore invalid.
I try to make a deliberate effort to ‘understand’ and ‘empathise’ instead of judging.
It is in that spirit that I have written my articles. My respect for their lives is total (and unconditional) even though my information about their paradigm is not.
The posts have been listed below in order of posting. You could either choose to scroll down all the way and read all or click on the titles that interest you.
New posts are constantly being added to this list and will appear at the top.