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.
EAT LIKE A LOCAL WITH OUR STREET FOOD GUIDE TO BANGKOK
From street food stalls that master a single dish for decades to Michelin star fine dining, this is our ultimate guide to the food scene in the best city for Thai food in the world
Words: Aleksandra Georgieva
Photography: Nomadic Julin
22 December 2020
For visitors the street food in Thailand can often seem overwhelming and nowhere else is this truer than it is for Bangkok. With the city's endless street vendors and stalls the exotic cuisine is filled with colours, scents and choice of dishes each one more intriguing than the last.
Over time Bangkok's street food has had a vivid influence by various nations and circumstances. For almost 300 years the Bangkok-based royal court has put a sophisticated spin on central Thai dishes. The 'royal' food that was once available only within the palace is now served in restaurants across the city.
Tip: if ever in Bangkok, try máh hór - a sweet-savoury dish made of orange, pineapple or mandarin and topped with pepper, coriander roots, sugar, peanuts, pork and chicken.
Chinese cuisine also plays a major role in modern-day Thai food. For centuries labourers from China have influenced the local dishes and are believed to have introduced some noodle recipes as well as the wok to the Thai kitchen.
Tip: for a taste of Chinese-influenced Thai cuisine try bà·mèe - a type of noodle made of egg and wheat that is commonly served with barbecued pork on the side.
Muslim influence is another layer of Thai food since the late 14th century when travellers from the Middle East and India settled in the region bringing along recipes of meat dishes with added flavour and aromatics of dried spices.
Tip: for such an authentic dish that has barely been modified at all throughout time, try the Islamic-world influenced fried bread known as roh·đee.
From sticky rice to a whole fish on a stick, fried bugs, banana leaves and traditional glossy marzipan the vast variety of choices can make you equally doubtful and excited to taste authentic Thai food. Here's a few of our best recommendations to get you started on roaming the street vendors in the capital.
Thai food is within its own universe of spicy. Even if you are a lover of hot food, some street dishes are so spicy, even the steam can make you tear up. Remember to always orded less heat and add any of the various spiced sauces later. Same goes for sweet. While the dessert and iced tea scene in the region may seem like a dream for travellers with a sweet tooth, some tastings can actually give you stomach ache. Yet, as long as you order less sweetness, you can always add more to taste. Another good aspect of Thai food is it's cheapness. American dollars are a common way to pay there and for no more than $1-2 you can eat a plateful. In Thailand is also customary to use your fingers when eating or use a fork to grab what you like, then transfer the bite onto a spoon before eating.
It is not a secret that the local dishes of central Thailand are very flavorful and creative. Savoury, tangry, herbal and sweet notes mix with coconut milk, pork and freshwater fish ingredients. Particularly popular in Bangkok is the wide range of seafood from the region's closeness to the Gulf of Thailand.
In recent decades Thai food gained international fame and Bangkok remains the best place to taste it. From contemporary dining influenced by immigration to Michelin star restaurants along the streets, the food scene in the city is varied and unmatched by any other place in the world.
Despite the popularity of the street food in Bangkok, since mid-2017 stalls and vendors slowly started to get closed from the city's streets. Media outlets reported on the new laws in the area and the appeals of locals and visitors quickly escalated to the involvement of The Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Thailand Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Although official statements claimed on reinforcing only existing regulations, many street food stalls were removed from key areas of the city including Th Suan Phlu, Th Sukhumvit and Soi 55 in orded to clear the footpaths and streets of Bangkok. There is an estimation of over 20,000 street vendors in the city, which destiny remains unclear. Yet, if you are ever in Thailand make sure to visit the incredible food scene in Bangkok before the streets potentially get cleaner and cleaner.
With a reputation that precedes expectations, the taste of the city is one to be remembered brighter than that of any other street cuisine in the world. From morning coffee to boxed lunch noodles to take in the office and stir-fry to enjoy at the metal tables and chairs in front the cluster of street vendors in Bangkok's suburbs, welcome to the most loved dining spots for Thais and travellers alike. Open-Front restaurants in the city, known as hôrng tăa·ou, have cooks that specialise in a single or limited variety of food options, which means they have mastered generations-old recipes of the same dish to perfection. Although slightly more expensive than street food, this dining is a bit more hygienic and offers the incredible opportunity to taste traditional food that has not been modified throughout history.
Alternatively, for a menu in English and a clean setting, you can visit Bangkok's shopping centre's famous food courts, which locals consider as a last option compared to street food stalls. If you are lucky enough to speak Thai, the made to order restaurants known as ráhn ah·hăhn đahm sàng are known for their display of raw ingredients such as meat, vegetables and fresh seafood. For a complete taste of the city make sure to also visit any of Bangkok's restaurants (ráhn ah·hăhn) or taste the pre-made dishes of rice and curry shops (ráhn kôw gaang). Fine dining with artistic spin is not uncommon in the city either. Upscale restaurants accommodate foreign palettes if you ever need a break from authentic Thai street dishes. Western-food is found in hotels where it does come at hefty prices, yet midrange venues across the city offer good and less expensive food, while international chains have spread across Bangkok where alongside exotic Thai dishes you can also find modern cafes with familiar menus.
3 OF THE BEST STREET FOOD VENDORS IN BANGKOK:
As most vendors specialise in a single traditional recipe, these hotspot street stands in the Thai capital are where some of our favourite dishes have been mastered to perfection.
1. Hea' Sa (best for on-the-go satay)
One of the area's most popular snack food is satay sticks. Tumeric and spice mix is used to marinate pieces of chicken, pork or beef, which are then skewered and cooked over a grill. If you are ever in Chinatown's market, keep your eyes peeled for Hea' Sa where alongside the various combinations of sticks, foodies get a salad of chillies and pickled cucumbers and a peanut dipping sauce to bring out the satay flavour. To make the most of the sauce and leftover juice, we recommend ordering a side of grilled white bread too.
Samphanthawong, Samphanthawong Bangkok, 10100, Thailand
2. Pad Thai Nana (best for the national Thai dish)
Mix dried sticky noodles with fresh rice and you can't go wrong. Cooking this national dish the Thai way means wok-frying it with large prawns and tamarind paste. Pad Thai Nana is said to have been around for the 80-some years since the existence of the traditional recipe. Today the vendor is run by two sisters and remains the best place to grab a plate for only £1. Backpacks love a drink at Khao San Road which happens to be a walking distance from this Pad Thai heaven.
152 Thanon Samsen, Khwaeng Ban Phan Thom, Khet Phra Nakhon Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, 10200, Thailand
3. Lim Lao San (best for fishball noodle soup)
If you've ever wanted to dine in a movie-set-like venue, this humble street food vendor is the place for you. For over 50 years the family run business has perfected every stage of cooking their fish bowls. Attention to detail here ensures quality and consistency of every aspect of the freshly handmade dish - from the stickiness of the rice to how chewy the egg hor fan tastes. Sit outdoor alongside wooden doorframes and exposed brick walls in a tiny alley where you can recharge and rest from the endless excitement and business of the city.
Song Wat Road, Khwaeng Samphanthawong, Khet Samphanthawong Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, 10100, Thailand