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.
INSIDER GUIDE TO BANGKOK
Roam the streets of this city of contrasts where the best of the traditional and modern world clash in a mixture of Michelin star food, good fun and world-class urban exploration
Words: Aleksandra Georgieva
Photography: Joshua Rawson Harris
21 December 2020
Much like the clashing flavours of an authentic plate of pàt tai, Bangkok is a city where the exotic and traditional collide bring out the best of the two worlds to the surface. The capital is a small universe of its own where generations-old customs greet travellers of the modern world and the urban exploration of influencial cultures.
While Thailand is bursting with sun-kissed islands, travellers can often discard a trip to the cosmopolitan street life in the capital city. The protests of 2013-2014 and the political tension in the Nineties make some unsure of visiting Bangkok. Yet, the heartbeat of the tropical metropolis is changing to an upbeat rythm of start-ups, new working spaces, inventive restaurants and lively street life.
Bangkok is a city of contrasts; a land of contradictions that define the character and charisma of the Thai culture. This is the place where slowly moving traffic merges with long-tail boats sliding past by the river ways and canals. Century-old village homes have been preserved throughout time and history to neighbour with megamalls equipped with tech like climate control. The ever-evolving cosmopolitanism of the city is increasingly evident as part of the modern Thai life. Golden glazed temples are homes to Buddhist monks who roam the city streets to buy the latest technological breakthroughs. Futuristic restaurants set on skyscapes' rooftops overlook some of the world's best street food stalls and vendors. Life in Bangkok is a race for the future of existing in harmony with old and new, ancient and modern, what we've been taught and what we are yet to learn. Visiting if only to witness the diversity within the city of contrasts is a life-changing experience that can hardly be put into words.
Apart from the evident clash of tradition and cosmopolitanism, the Bangkok streets are world-famous as the best place on the planet to taste Thai food. Few other areas meet locals and visitors with Michelin star restaurants scattered around the streets opposite food stalls that offer a single-dish mastered to perfection over decades of cooking by a single family. The streets of Bangkok are an intense mix of exhaust fumes, sweaty crowd and the steamy scent of freshly made seafood and noodles. Yet the curtain of sweet, sour, spice and salt that falls over the city brings a particular charm quite unlike anywhere else.
If you love food but don't need a shiny dining setting, Bangkok could turn into your favourite alongside best-value dining destination in the world by far. Immigration brings various twists to traditional Thai cuisine into the capital city diversifying the local culinary scene even further.
The Thai people are known for bringing an element of sà·nùk (fun) into all aspects of everyday life. Despite the seemingly huge language barrier, whether you are haggling at markets, ordering street food or getting cash, locals give away smiles and a dash of flirtation.
Very few other places on the planet dive into street life quite like the Thai people do in Bangkok. The capital city effortlessly blends nearly every aspect of living onto its streets turning into a beautiful and undeniably rewarding destination to explore as a tourist. From tasting the culinary masterpieces of some of the city's best food stalls found in Chinatown to meeting a monk on a stroll alongside Banglamphu’s off-road tracks and visiting a tucked away market on an extended boat trip, travel memories in Bangkok happen on the streets. When dusk falls head for the Skytrain (BTS) to Sukhumvit to enjoy the dynamic nightlife of the city.
The raw charm of Bangkok is also continuously being reinvented by a new generation of ambitious creatives. The streets bursts with traffic where motorbikes swing past honking cars and no one ever stops. The seemingly intimidating scene of busy locals, teeming markets and disoriented backpackers make up the "old Asia" charm of the city.
Here successful family-owned printing houses are transformed into museum-hotels. The young generations are breathing new life into the city reinventing authentic architecture, customs and art into structures and business that welcome modern attributes of unconventional character and sustainability. Factory compounds are turned into cafés, restaurants and home décor shops. Furniture from old factories such as vintage magazines, antique bookshelves and leather-bound editions of Bangkok Weekly create the interior of newly restored buildings. Emerging artists hang their work in art galleries that were once warehouses.
Instead of always building new, the youth in Bangkok sees the potential in what is local. The young generations add twists to what is already good making the city more flavourful, inventive and unconventional than ever before. Green spaces are used for concerts and markets on weekends providing working professionals with a much-needed escape within the boundaries of their own city. Abandoned WWII warehouses become hubs for creatives. Open-plan courtyards, design shops and riverside complexes lay where once stood family-owned rice warehouses.
While the Thai city rivals with cosmopolitan places such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, today there are more benefits than the undeniable opportunities to be inventive there. Combined with affordable cost of living and reasonable rent prices, Bangkok unfolds as a hub for the creative youth where dreams turn into ideas that with a dash of ambition and hard work can actually turn into reality.