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.
PLACES TO VISIT IN SINGAPORE
We take you on a tour around Singapore to highlight the must-see stops across the country
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: John T
19 June 2019
There is a little something to fit everybody's preferences in Singapore. From land to water and air, we explored the best things to do and see in order to explore the cultural values of the Southeast Asian country.
We are going to start off with something a bit more bizarre. It is not a spot that will appear on every travel blog or platform as a suggestion to visit, but we believe that it is worth the trouble of finding it. If you are ready to uncover some of Singapore's oldest dating folklore and cultural believes, then this place should be your first stop when exploring the country. Haw Par villa is possibly one of the weirdest theme parks that exists in the world. It has over 1 000 statues and weird sculptures, each one expressing Singapore's individualism differently. Some of the sculptures are complex and require you to spend some time observing them before you understand what they mean. The one-of-a-kind art hold special kind of place for the cultural significance of the Singapore nation. Chinese ancient folklore is strongly represented in the theme park.
Gardens by the Bay obviously made the list, although we've written about the man-made ecosystem before. It is a spectacular place to visit during daytime and watch the light show at night. It runs twice, and each show lasts about 15 minutes so make sure to head there a bit early to get the coolest front row spots.
Water is a source of life and in Singapore, the country where life is constantly being recreated, water means so much. You can see that when you walk around the botanical gardens, visit the waterfall spots or spend some time watching the singing fountains. You should definitely visit the Sands SkyPark Infinity Pool, build on top of the Marina Bay Sands. It is iconic in its existence and it has been made with the purpose to amaze. The concept is not entirely unique, because such pools exist in other places like Iceland and Australia, but this one is positioned on the world's largest rooftop, 57 stories above solid ground. The rooftop itself is called KuDeTa and it is one of the most iconic spots in the world. Relax under the shades of the palm trees by the pool or if you go there at night make sure to check out the bar.
Most people head to the Infinity Pool, but if you want to be a bit different, think about seeing things from the opposite perspective. After finishing your swim, why not head to the One Altitude Rooftop bar? It has a view of the Marina Bay and a drink is included in the price of the entrance fee.
For the lovers of flowers and grace, there is the National Orchid Garden. Once you get inside, you will be exposed to a kingdom of sweet scents. There are so many different types of orchids, more than you can remember, or even count. Visiting the Orchid Garden is a visual pleasure, one that pleases pretty much all your senses.
If you like being up high and seeing the world in perspective, we know the place just for you. Go for a ride on the Asia's largest Ferris wheel. This is the best way to see Singapore from up high - 165 meters to be exact. On a good day, when the weather allows it, you can see all the way to Malaysia and Indonesia.
Chinatown is a must-see as well. Make sure to make a stop at the Buddha's Tooth Relic temple. From mid-September to mid-October, Chinatown in Singapore organises an incredible Mid-Autumn Festival. It is a celebration of the local's culture and traditions that they have passed on through generations. Get yourself involved because the feeling you get when standing in the middle of the celebrations is hard to be put into words.
From an architectural point of view, away from the centre of big cities and what Singapore is mostly known for, there is the Joo Chiat neighbourhood. There are so many special characteristics to this place. It has a great historical significance. Architects and artist have joined forces to create something together and today the Peranakan houses stand proud with their colourful facades along the cozy streets.
The ArtScience Museum combines light with sculptures. Inside you can see works of art, culture and technology. It is incredible to see a building, where the past, the present and future blend together and co-exist. Our final stop is the Universal Studios in Sentosa Island. It doesn't really need much description; its reputation precedes it. Pack your bags and head to Singapore because there is so much to explore, so many things to see and experience. It is a place that will have you craving to come back for more before you've even left.