THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
The Dreamtime, or the Dreaming, portrays the Aboriginal beliefs in spiritual existence. According to the tribes that first settled down in the continent, the Dreaming's roots date all the way back to the very begging of the creation of the world. The meaning and ideology of the term is generally not so well-understood by non-indigenous people as it is referred to as part of the culture of one of the early nations, which differs from modern perceptions.
The Spirits were the creators of everything. They made the land and the seas, the rocks and the plants, the sky and the earth. They were the higher power and the Australian Aborigines spent their lifetimes honoring this power, which guided their path and shaped their way of thinking. Not only creators of everything, which could be seen as well as felt, the Spirits also gave the Aborigines the Dreaming.
The time when everything started existing according to the initial Australians, was called the Dreaming. This is the foundation of the continent's culture. The origin of the Dreaming goes way back - 65 000 years back in time to be exact. The Ancestors of the nation shaped the land, forming some parts of it as sacred. The Aborigines were very careful and overprotective of those places, strongly believing in their significance.
The Australian Aborigines are known to have believed that the world didn't have any shape and was therefore empty. Darkness dominated, and life was simply asleep, but this changed when the creation began happening. After the Dreaming and the influence of the Spirits, objects began taking shapes and came to be. They created the four elements: water, earth, air and fire, as well as all the planets, the Sun and the Moon. The Dreaming therefore is a continuous process, which never ended. It is a small cosmos on its own, unifying the past, present and the future into one.
The Australian Aborigines' home riches so many vivid areas of the continent, including Fraser Island, Tasmania, Palm Island, Groote Eylandt and Mornington Island. The Aborigines had very strong believes in relation to the powers of the land, claiming that they never owned it - it rather owned them. The only reason they were able to call it their home is because they were looking after it and the land was taking care of the people in return.
Equally important to the Dreaming was the tribes' understandings of the disappearance of the Spirits. There came a time, when the creators of everything vanished from sight. Some of them were thought to have started living in sacred places, which is why the Aborigines perceived their homeland to be so sacred. The ancestors of today's Australians used to believe that the creators started living in rocks, in water holes and some went up to the sky to guide the people from above and keep them safe. Others transformed completely, taking the forms of the rain, the lightnings and the thunderstorms so they could be part of peoples' life.
Among the hundred's different Aboriginal languages, there isn't a word to describe 'time', because to them this simply doesn't exist. Dreaming and Dreamtime are used to replace it and summarize the ideologies of the Aborigines about everything they knew, everything they could see, feel and experience. This is why the Dreaming has such a vivid, and overwhelming meaning and has survived the obstacles of time. For the past couple thousand years, the Dreaming has built a rich cultural heritage that can identify a whole nation.
Read more about the Land, its connection to people and the way it has been perceived from different generations in the very first print issue of ORIGIN. The Land Issue covers varied topics, most of which remain related to cultural aspects of the land and its importance.
A lot of people travel to explore places and learn about them which is the message that ORIGIN wants to spread. With traveling, however, comes certain responsibilities that we should all be aware of. Elephants riding has become a popular way to explore locations by land. People have been doing this as part of their trips, mostly to places such as Thailand, Nepal, Cambodia and other parts of Asia. It is a common thing to see in certain places in Africa as well. We investigated the activity to explain why it is wrong and riding elephants should be banned everywhere.
Our first print issue studies culture and traveling represented through the land. We explored various location around the globe and learned what makes the land so valuable, which nations cherish it and how it helps us establish an identity. Traveling is important to us but traveling responsibly and making an impact is what we feel proud to stand behind. This is why riding elephants as a way of amusement should be reconsidered.
Let’s talk about the details. Elephants are very caring and extremely intelligent animals. It is a well-known fact that they never forget anything. When kept in captivity instead of spending their life in the wild, elephants die younger. Unlike in other species, this is common for the gentle giants and is often a result for stress.
Many African cultures respect elephants, believing they symbolize strength, loyalty and power. However, power can be a very tender concept. Elephant used as a tourism tool suffer from great pain daily. Elephants can be hurt very severely from the weight of carrying people and a trainer on their backs. The reason for this is the design of their spines. They have sharp protrusions, extending upwards from their spine instead of having round spinal disks. The protrusions and the tissue that serves to protect them can be harmed easily from weight pressure. Once a damage to their spine has been made, there is no going back and sometimes the harm can be irreversible. While this can’t be physically seen, the harm that the chairs can do to the elephants’ skin is. It is often the case that the chairs and the weight on their back can damage the animal’s skin and cause pain to their body. The chair, called Howdah, that gets attached to their backs, rubs on their skin and can cause blisters, which can sometimes get infected.
The training that elephants are required to go through when in captivity sometimes adopts a traditional Thai ‘phajaan’ or ‘crush’ technique. Explaining the technique would compare it to the animals’ spirits constantly and continuously being broken by the means of torture and social isolation. This is done in order to tame them. Elephants are wild animals, this is their nature as they are born in such conditions. Making them safe and obedient around people requires them to go through such training. As horrible as it sounds, in some places young elephants are taken away from their mothers to be abused with nails, bull hooks and bamboo sticks to make them obey rules, given by people. The animals often lack sleep and are starved to become submissive.
Actions from such nature are cruel and harmful as the technique is used to crash the animals’ spirit. Once wild and free, elephants become a source of tourism and entertainment. Nobody, who cared about sustainable tourism should ever ride an elephant.
In a sense, elephants have a human soul. They socialise and feel everything – pain, happiness, grief, sadness etc. They spend their life building families and finding friends. The largest land animals are a gift from nature and it is our responsibility to take special care of them and make sure they live according to their nature. Many animals, who are kept in captivity, are forced to live in isolation and carry heavy loads all day long, which is a wrong way to treat them. Their strength and power shouldn’t be abused but treated gently and celebrated by people. Elephants require minimal care to stay happy and healthy, which comes from giving them freedom to behave naturally and socialise. It is our responsibility to be culturally aware while traveling and make sure to spread awareness about the problem.
You can read the rest of the article as published in the LAND issue.
AN ISLAND COUNTRY
Indonesia holds so much cultural richness in its territory that people can visit all other places in the world and still not have seen enough if they haven't been there. Follow us to the biggest island land that has ever existed
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: Radoslav Bali, Hobi Industri, Oliver Sjostrom
22 November 2019
There are more than 300 spoken languages within the borders of Indonesia. This magical country is the fourth more populated region in the world. It gives birth to volcanoes, beaches and rain forests. It is truly magnificent how a land with its 1,904,569 square km of land is the home of over 17 000 islands of which just under half are realistically inhabited.
Indonesia is very much a touristy destination, but there still exist locations within in that are hidden and only known by the locals. Nature explorers will appreciate the mountain of Mount Semeru in Oro Oro Ombo. It is one of the rarely visited places within the island country, even though it represents its soul. The island land's geographical situation is ideal for the region to protects numerous rain forests and animal species. Being situated along trading routes between Far East, South Asia and the Middle East, Indonesia is strongly influenced by diverse spectrum of cultures. From a religious aspect, the land contains as many belief systems as the people, who have moved there over century-long periods of time have brought with them. Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Islam and Christianity - this land is rich in its diversity and very adaptive to changes. Indonesia welcomes differences as it has become the home of so many people, who identify themselves through a mixture of varied cultures, customs, believes and ideologies.
Approximately, there are 261 million people inhabiting Indonesia. You can imagine the cultural clash and richness that tangle together in this place. Food, music and traditions are celebrated alongside each other and influence one another. Many people from the Middle East, Myanmar and Australians are reported to have moved to Indonesia without indenting to ever go back to their homelands. In the eastern part of Bintan, there are currently more Singaporean than Indonesian who live there.
From Bali to the Gili islands, tourists take a boat to experience a trip up the rich waters of Indonesia. There is a lot to be see. Each island is its small, own world. But, as the saying goes, travelling is not just about reaching the desired destination, it is also about the journey of getting there. And Indonesia effortlessly sustains a breath taking scenery to enjoy the journey. Travelling through the country is so special because of the diversity of the route. With each region reached, there is more to be seen, more to be explored. Indonesia changes within itself and it is no wonder why it is known for its freedom of spirit.
Back in 1945, on August the 17th, Indonesia was proclaimed as independent. Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta were the world leaders, who made this progress happen. They became the first Indonesian president and vice-president.
Among the island landscape, Java, Borneo, New Guinea and Sumatra are the largest and some of the most visited islands in Indonesia. Of course, we won't forget to mention Bali and Sumatra. Being there means exploring Indonesia for what it really is. Although both destinations are treated very much in a tourist manner, the locals influence is strongly sensible as everything hold a very tropical charm.
In the village of Bukit Lawang, elephants can be seen bathing in front of people. The friendly giants are not afraid of human attention. They even allow people to stroke their nails and tusks. Java welcomes with its 12 national parks, volcanoes and temples that can be explored. Java is also the home of the world biggest Buddhist temple - the Borobudur.
Indonesia treasures the locals' traditions and customs as much as it welcomes travellers to explore. They can witness some coming-of-age ceremonies in some rare parts of the island land and see how people celebrate their origins and traditions, passed on to them through their precursors. Much like other places in the world, the topicality and mystery of Indonesia attracts people to plan their backpacking adventures in search for experiencing piece, tranquillity and spirituality that the temples have to offer.
Regardless of wanting to live in harmony with nature, hike the tallest mountain (Puncak Jaya, 4 884 m), look for inner peace in some of the numerous temples or live a life by the beach in the comfort of the islands' beauty, Indonesia has it all. It is a world where many can find what they are looking for.
If you want to read more about Indonesians spirituality and customs, you can read NOMADSofORIGIN's The Time of the Dead article about Indonesians beliefs regarding what comes after death.