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Changing Cultures

  • Penang’s Fading Street Food Traditions

    Penang is known for its street food, but this is a tradition that’s fast giving way to something else.

  • Redefining Exploration In A New Age Of Discovery

    We live in wild times. So wild, in fact, that even the most outrageous and earth shattering developments are often taken as normal fare. The great age of discovery and exploration is not finished, it’s just getting started.

  • Bali’s Markets: Can The Traditional Be Super Too?

    Above and below the cloudy surreptitious dream of Wall Street’s market, the stars are brilliantly lit and the actual market thrives. It’s cool, dark, and tranquil here this Balinese morning. Well before the crack of dawn, the first pick-up truck stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables softly enters the parking lot of Ubud’s traditional market. [...]

  • Survival of the Harmonious: Balinese Youth On Their Hinduism

    At about 10 a.m. Wayan walks out of her family’s house with sarong neatly wrapped around her thin adolescent waist balancing a woven basket abundantly full of offerings to the gods, perfumed and smoking gracefully. She looks natural, and her movements are as deliberate as anyone who is relaxed with their tasks. On her face [...]

  • Breakdown of Traditional Beliefs Put Ecosystems in Danger

    Long honed cultural traditions, sometimes even the most ridiculous, often make sense if observed in the environment or historical contexts in which they were honed. Traditional/ old/ indigenous cultures around the world often have mechanisms which either directly or indirectly teach its members how to live sustainably within their environments — a practice often referred to [...]

  • Convergent and Divergent Theories of Cultural Evolution

    All cultures change, this is normal. Even rapid change, mass assimilation, disintegration are not oddities in the timeline of human cultural evolution. With each ebb and flow of a socio-political empire across large portions of the world, cultures, traditions, and languages are rapidly changed, assimilated, killed off, and new cultures are created. What is culture? [...]

  • The Meaning of the Cultural Zoo

    There is a value to the cultural zoo, which is essentially what cultural preservation movements aim to create. A cultural zoo is essentially what happens when a tradition or art is reenacted in modern times in a way that is removed from the social sphere in which it was originally created. Exhibits in the cultural zoo [...]

  • Preserving Cultural Traditions is More than Just Arts and Crafts

    11 cultural traditions were just added to the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List. This is a collection of arts and other cultural traditions in danger of going extinct which UNESCO feels should be preserved because of the role, message, or meaning they have for the societies where they are practiced. Added to the list this year was Chinese shadow puppetry, Mexican mariachis, a particular type of poetic duel indigenous to Cyprus, Fado singing in Portugal, Jultagi Korean tight rope walking, Hezhen Yimakan Chinese story telling, Lenj Iranian fishing boat construction, Kaskek ceremonial Turkish stew, Japanese rice rituals, the Jaguar Shamans of Colombia, and Indonesian Saman Dance. Read about these endangered cultural practices and the changing contexts in which they struggle for existance.

  • Retirement Homes in India, a Sign of Changing Culture

    The New World Looks Ahead, Not Back: The elderly left behind with their times in the new India We piled into a mini-bus and took off through the traffic wretched, exhaust poisoned streets of Bangalore. It took us over an hour to get to the outskirts of the city where we came upon the retirement [...]

  • The New Mask of India

    “What is the Good of That?”and other reasons why I cannot stomach the faith of commerce“….the idea is that no society is ever complete, neither are its needs exactly the same as those of other societies.” -Idries Shah, The Way of the SufiVarun (or Victor for work purposes) declares: ‘An air-conditioned sweat shop is still [...]