Friday, May 13, 2016

Acculturation of Chinese-Indonesian Culture in Indonesian Society, Part One Art

There has been a lot written about conflicts between Chinese and other Indonesians (a.k.a. pribumis) but I would like to explore the idea of acculturation or the cultural adaptation that has occurred through the contact between Chinese and Indonesian cultures.

Firstly, the process of artistic influence. As Chinese-Indonesians came to live and trade on the north coast of Java (a.k.a. pasisir region) they influenced the style of art used, for example the style of mega mendung (rain clouds).

This style can be seen at Keraton Kesupuhan (the former royal residence of the Cirebon sultan) in Cirebon, Java on the walls.

 Mega mendung is influenced by the Chinese concept of 'lucky clouds' which are often associated with Chinese mythology and divine figures considered to bring blessings.

It can also be seen on many pasisir batik clothes.
Another thing you can see here in this image is the use of dragons, considered to be benevolent in Chinese culture, represented as one of the 12 zodiac figures.

(You can find several more of these images on the SMP Prosit site)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Double Translation Language Learning Method

Hey all, it's been some time since I put up a post but I decided to as I think this is a good method for learning other languages (Double Translation Method).

This is a language learning method one which is used by Assimil (language courses company from France) and has been used in previous centuries as well.

What we do is take a phrase from a foreign language:Bugün, hava bir güzel(Turkish) and then we will translate it in English literally.
Bugün - This-day (compound word), hava - weather, bir - a/one, güzel- beautiful.
Now we have this-day, weather a beautiful.
Notice how Turkish lacks the article 'the' and uses the word for 'one/a' to represent is in this sentence.

Next, put it into better English: Today, the weather is beautiful.
Now what I would do is to take the words that I have translated literally and translate it back into Turkish without looking at the original.

What this method teaches us is to think in the syntax (the way words relate to each other in a sentence) of the other language so we can move away from thinking in the structure of our native language to the language we are learning.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dom Talks about Jesus

I grew up semi-Catholic and have been questioning my relationship with Christianity, Jesus, etc. ever since then

Dealing with experiences with involvement with evangelical Christianity and missionaries a few years back pushed me to the point where I felt I had to prove Christianity was wrong,
I used to read up on a site called Jews For Judaism to prove that the teachings were wrong, Jesus was not the messiah, etc. etc.

Over the past year or two I've been looking at esoteric representations of Jesus,  Jesus in Espiritismo (from Puerto Rico and Cuba) and Spiritism (the codified doctrine of Allan Kardec), gnostic Jesus. Something has definitely clicked, I feel that Jesus represents something powerful, not the Jesus who holds the real and only keys to salvation, but still powerful, the Jesus that connects to each of us.

I respect Judaism as a religion which asks people to be just but I've felt that the emphasis on roles between Gentiles and Jews is distracting from the true face of God that connects to all of us.
I can read and enjoy Kabbalah seeing it as fulfilling yet ultimately something that needs to be seen less as a fulfilment of only practitioners of Judaism but as something which connects to each of us (esp. in Hermetic/Christian C(Q)abalah).

Understanding the Bible for me is about looking at esoteric and hidden meanings, it takes one step for 'good Christians' to look at how the Old Testament leads to Christ through allegories but another to see Christ within each of us that we are "sons(and daughters) of God".

The Jesus that came back from the cross was a spiritual body and not a physical one (as stated in docetism, and Kardec's Spiritism).

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Hermeneutics and Interpretation of Religious Texts

Interpreting religious texts is quite a varied approach, hermeneutics is the way we approach and interpret these texts (philosophical texts too).

Hermeneutics comes from the Greek "hermēneutikos - (an) expert in interpretation".

The major approaches to interpreting religious texts I have been looking into are:
  • Religious interpretations: Christian (Orthodox, Catholic, Evangelical...) and other religions which interpret texts in accordance with their dogmas and revealed beliefs, to read through divine revelation.
  • Historical interpretations: Historians explore religious texts through looking into the possible religious influences into that text (external or internal), whether there are political contexts that may affect the readings (i.e Book of Revelations in reaction to events in the Roman Empire).
  • Esoteric interpretations: Kabbalistic interpretations using gematria or a numbering system that uses the Hebrew (Imperial Aramaic) script to interpret words thereby giving secret meanings. Hidden meanings of words and texts understood by mystics/esotericists serve to further direct this understanding or interpretation.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Volunteering Overseas to Teach Theatre

So, I've been thinking about volunteering to teach theatre overseas and I've been focusing on two places:
Brazil and the Philippines. Both places have volunteer theatre programs, I admit the Philippines has a specific program which is connected to the local traditional theatre and that would be special.
But honestly I really want to go to Brazil, so I do intend to save up to travel there. The thing is though with the flight expenses it won't be easy going to Brazil (3500-4000 in total for the complete journey).
So, I've been looking at various options: doing crowdfunding or getting a grant
Crowdfunding is a new way to save up by putting your project on the internet for others to chip in. Considering, my present situation means that I may be studying sound production this year and I'm not too sure about the time periods writing a specific advertisement for funding doesn't sound so good at the moment. So, I'm left with working which hasn't been going anywhere even though I've been putting in an average effort because I'm not too fussed about what I've been applying for.

Confusing situation, eh?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Finding a Sense of Community and Identity

I've been debating community, identity, tradition and modernity in today's world.

Firstly, living in a modern Western society (Australia) ensures that I am free to be an individual, free to define my own journey. Of course peer pressure is relevant here and we do have expectations from ourselves and from others around us but in a different way to other societies.

We want meaning, we want to define where we stand, find out whether we fit or don't fit.

Recently, I read a book which relates to these issues by Robyn Bavati called 'Dancing in the Dark'. It is about the life of a young Haredi/Ultra-Orthodox Jewish girl living in a conservative family who wanted to become a ballet dancer (fictional yet based on a real individual). She faced difficult in doing this and had to lie about her other life and what Robyn does in this book is interesting, you would think she would condemn them and their ways but she shows that there is something about living in a Haredi community that can be fulfilling and that we as individuals are continually making choices to be where we are or to change directions and maybe the walls that limit us can be empowering for some people (giving them a sense of meaning and place-i.e Sara, Ditty's friend) but limiting for others (i.e Ditty, the main character).

I, as a Mauritian-Australian am constantly asking myself about my identity. My Creole culture (which was explored in an earlier post) is based on the interactions of slaves who lost their cultures and Europeans and other Mauritians and finding meaning in Creole identity, community is something that isn't really easy to work out. You can say it's our music or our involvement in religion (Catholic, Anglican, Evangelical and even Rastafarianism) but I don't see that as fulfilling for me as an individual. Growing up in Australia has definitely made me feel different from people in Mauritius, our culture here is not quite defined, it was about a specific British/Northern European heritage and that still plays a role (hence of course, use of the English language) but transitioning into a multicultural society has led us to ask what makes us Australian. And, I find that I don't personally connect to Australia's British heritage overly (although it has obviously influenced me) and modern civic, multicultural Australia hasn't developed the culture or symbols for me to connect with (on a deeper level) coming from my background.
Maybe, it's because I don't feel complete with my Creole heritage and the people around me with a strong cultural background can relate to cultures with stronger identities and traditions which can then interact with their Australian identity for a stronger, more complete one?

I am searching, spiritually and culturally to fulfil myself and find a greater sense of meaning that I can connect with. I do have good friends and having friends you can talk to is truly a sense of community. Family, forms another community and I do have many cousins (many overseas and interstate though) and I do feel I can connect with a few of them fairly well (e.g. Mum).
But because culture is so important to me, I feel that in places such as Brazil, Mexico and a few other Latin American countries have experienced cultural hybridity on a deeper level and can fulfil the aspects of both Creole and Australian cultures I find lacking. I can learn about Brazilian spirituality and connect it to the ancestor veneration of my Malagasy African heritage, the Catholic practices of other ancestors (e.g. religions such as Umbanda, Catimbo, Candomble in Brazil, Espiritismo and Santeria in Cuba). Indigenous and European heritages have meshed in Mexico where in Australia they have mostly remained separate (Day of The Dead).


Monday, April 22, 2013

My New Life in Asia: East Meets West: Myths About Collectivism and Individual (re-post from other blog)

My New Life in Asia: East Meets West: Myths About Collectivism and Indi...:
This was a good read and shows how we think Eastern societies care more about the community but actually Western societies can be more caring! It shows that we make major assumptions about these two groups but they can actually be misunderstandings.