PASSPORT Duke University’s International Magazine
2008 BEIJING OLYMPICS
EARTH’S LAST FRONTIER FISHING FOR GOLD
PARTY LIKE A
ROCK STAR HIDDEN IMMIGRANTS: THIRD CULTURE KIDS
BIG BREAK Volume 7 Spring 2008
Melanie Wright These days, it seems like everyone is seeking more diversity. We hear about this in schools, in the workplace, in organizations—only rarely does PRODUCER anyone explain why diversity is so beneficial. We are just supposed to Nicholas Chan know that it is something to strive for, like happiness and equality. But why is it such a big deal? MANAGING EDITOR Michelle Fang It’s because without diversity, we never have to challenge ourselves. People with different viewpoints force us to investigate why we hold onto Kayleigh O’Keefe our beliefs. They inspire us to question our morals, politics, religions, and SENIOR EDITORS Christina Patsiokas intuitions. Keeping diverse company helps us to explore who we truly are Linda Qu and—more importantly—why we have chosen to be this way. Julie Sogani With this issue of Passport, challenge yourself to look at life from anCara Stalzer Sandy Sun other perspective. Weigh the merits of individual achievement versus rich interpersonal relationships with Maddie Pongor in “Would You Like Your Culture Hot or Cold?” Allow Jei Min Yoo to show you a novel way to in- GRAPHICS EDITOR Lindsay Emery terpret spectator sports in “GG!” Journey to the North Pole with Konrad Nayantara Atal Kalpen in “A Whole New Cold War” to confront the land-grabbing tendenRosie Kilgore cies of the world’s nations. Absorb the different views and ideas presented GRAPHICS Natalie Macaruso by our writers, but also take a moment to reflect on your beliefs and form Menaka Nayar your own opinions about these subjects. Sunmin Park I am grateful to all the seniors for how they have shaped the publication Jackie Talpalar during their time here. They will certainly be missed. I’d also like to thank Sarah Wallingford Minette Yao a fabulous senior staff for their hard work, dedicated writers and graphic designers for their inspirational creativity, and all the readers for their enEDITOR Jei Min Yoo couraging comments that keep our passion for this magazine alive. Enjoy! Melanie Wright
Moana Jagasia COPY EDITORS Wendy Liu
Aaina Agarwal Brandy Austin Lihua Chen Lindsay Emery Michelle Fang WRITERS Konrad Kalpen Bengisu Kuscu Sarah Newman Christina Patsiokas Maddie Pongor Linda Qu Julie Sogani Sandy Sun Jei Min Yoo WEB DESIGN Derrik Chan Xiameng Sun A Special Thanks to Our Sponsors: Asian/Pacific Studies Institute Duke’s International House
Passport Magazine is a Franchised Publication under the Undergraduate Publications Board. The views expressed in this publication are the authors’ own and do not reflect the opinions of the magazine.
photo by blank66
by Christina Patsiokas
by Linda Qu and Michelle Fang
A Whole New Cold War
by Konrad Kalpen
by Sandy Sun
Belgian Bridge is Falling Down 10 by Lindsay Emery
A Passage to Kochi
by Julie Sogani
Would you Like Your Culture Hot 15 or Cold? by Maddie Pongor
Third Culture Kids
by Sarah Newman
A Bowl of Cereal
by Brandy Austin
by Jei Min Yoo
Brazil: A Developing Countryâ€™s Fight Against AIDS 22 by Bengisu Kuscu
Do You Speak Any English?
by Michelle Fang
Hippie Travels and Conversations That Dance
by Aaina Agarwal
Shanghai: Pearl of the Orient
by Lihua Chen photo by Melanie Wright cover photo by meekakeszi
In Da Club
piracy reborn? a golden business
They are the Indiana Joneses of the high seas, the plunderers of sunken misfortunes, the starry-eyed lovers of all that glitters beneath the ocean’s surface: they are treasure hunters. From individual divers off the coasts of Florida to publicly traded salvage companies, the profession of treasure hunting represents for us a romanticized, swashbuckling endeavor to live out the universal dream of instant wealth. The potency of its allure comes from wrecks like that of the H.M.S. Sussex, which sank in 1694 carrying what is estimated today to be over a billion dollars in silver and gold. However, archaeologists say these entrepreneurs are nothing less than modern-day pirates who daily destroy invaluable underwater cultural heritage. Is treasure hunting a justifiable business, or is it just culturally-sanctioned looting? Before the age of remotely operated underwater vehicles and expensive scanning technology, all a treasure hunter could hope for was a chest of gold lying on the ocean floor at a depth not unreasonable for diving—about fifty meters. Today, however, one can merely log on to their E*TRADE account and buy a share of OMEX, Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc., to get involved in the world of marine treasure salvage. It might not be a foolish investment, either. In May of 2007, Odyssey Marine Exploration recovered an estimated $500 million in silver and gold coins from a ship found in international waters off the southwest coast of England. The company code-named the wreck the “Black Swan” and has kept its location entirely secret. Before that, Odyssey located the wreckage of the S.S. Republic in the summer of 2003 approximately 100 miles off the coast of Georgia. They found 51,000 coins and 14,000 artifacts; the coinage is appraised at $75 million. Currently the company has a database of 3,000 shipwrecks that they are investigating. Merchandise income for a salvage company like Odyssey Marine comes from the sale of silver and gold, but the recovery efforts also yield a large amount of archaeological artifacts that hold intangible cultural value. In the case of Odyssey, the company keeps a private collection and has opened a museum attraction in Tampa, showcasing reclaimed bottles, religious artifacts, ceramics, and personal effects.
by Christina Patsiokas
Odyssey may soon find itself in competition with Deep Blue Marine, an up-andcoming salvage company, which launches ships out of Key West, Florida. Combining state-of-the-art recovery technology with experienced divers, the group “engages in exploration and recovery of important, historic treasures and artifacts worldwide,” according to their website. The company even signed actor James Brolin as its spokesperson in March of 2006 to attract investors. And in February, the company was featured on “Good Morning America” while they were diving at a site off of Key West. This corporate approach to treasure hunting represents a major shift in the way gold is found—previously, it was mostly charismatic individuals who gathered around them experienced divers and enthusiastic investors to run salvage operations. Perhaps the best-known individual treasure hunter is Mel Fisher, a World War II veteran whose obsession with diving and treasure led him to a $450 million jackpot off the Florida Keys. Fisher, along with family and friends, hunted for the Nuestra Senora de Atocha for over sixteen years before finding the “mother load” on July 20, 1985. The Atocha, part of a twenty-eight ship Spanish fleet transporting goods from the Caribbean to Spain, disappeared in 1622 during a hurricane carrying twenty-four tons of silver bullion in 1038 ingots, 180,000 pesos of silver coins, 582 copper ingots, 125 gold bars and discs, 350 chests of indigo, 525 bales of tobacco, twenty bronze cannons, and 1,200 pounds of worked silverware.1 Though the find was monumental, the search operations had cost the lives of four of Fisher’s crew members, one of whom was his son. Fisher eventually established the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society in downtown Key West, which showcases the findings of four salvaged ships.
These extraordinary profits do not come without controversy. When Odyssey intimated in May of 2007 that the Black Swan may have been a colonial-era Spanish ship, Spain immediately laid claim to the ship and its treasure. Though Odyssey maintained that the ship was in international waters, Spain seized one of Odyssey’s salvage ships, barricading the vehicle in a Spanish port at gunpoint. Spanish authorities searched the ship, but the 500,000 pieces of recovered coin had already been hauled
back to a storage center held by the Tampa, Florida-based company. Spain released the ship in December, but filed an ongoing lawsuit claiming rights to the wreck. Under maritime law, treasure hunters can claim ownership of any abandoned wreckage in international waters, but Spain holds that it never abandoned the ship. The next hearing in the case is set for March of 2008.2 Odyssey has had disagreements with Spain before. In 2006, the country disrupted Odyssey’s search for the H.M.S. Sussex, an eighty-gun British warship that sank off of the Spanish coast in 1694. Odyssey had acquired a unique contract with the British government, which claims ownership of the wreckage, to search for and excavate the sunken ship. The Sussex sank during the Nine Years War, which pitted England against France led then by Louis XIV. At the time of its disappearance during a storm, the ship was reportedly carrying a bribe to the Duke of Savoy to secure an alliance against France.3 That bribe, believed to be a million pounds sterling in 1694, would now be worth anywhere from $500 million to four billion dollars. In a highly controversial agreement, the British government promised compensation—allegedly eighty percent of the recovered artifact’s appraised value—to the company for the retrieval of the wreckage. However, the Spanish government intervened and requested that Odyssey submit an archaeological plan that would ensure the preservation of any ship found. Salvage operations were suspended until March of 2007, when several meetings in London and Madrid culminated in a diplomatic agreement. Spain recognized Britain’s claim to the ship but also received guarantees that the work would protect any archaeological findings.4 The United Nations Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organization, or UNESCO, has also sought to bar treasure hunters from accessing internationally located shipwrecks. The group met in 1998 for the Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage to draft a treaty that would make every shipwreck in extraterrestrial waters the property of some government. The idea behind this treaty is that archaeological excavation is needed to preserve the historical value of shipwrecks, and that treasure hunters do irreversible damage to the wrecks when they search only for objects of material value. In 2001, the group took a final vote on the treaty; eighty-
seven countries signed, four voted against the convention, and fifteen abstained.5 The United States is not part of UNESCO, but sent delegations that opposed the treaty in favor of the benefits of privatization to the convention. The final signatories agreed that they should block the private sector commercialization of shipwrecks; countries that voted against or abstained, including France, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom can continue to hire private companies like Odyssey Marine to salvage underwater sites. In other words, any ship operating out of a non-signatory country can continue to hunt for treasure in international waters.
a murky debate
Since the years when Mel Fisher began scouring the Florida coastline for the sunken Spanish fleet, archaeologists have denounced the activity as destructive amateur looting. They argue that people should be able to dive on sunken ships, but should not be able to disturb or remove anything from the site. In the United States, the American Shipwreck Act (ASA) of 1987 protects historic, abandoned shipwrecks that lay within three miles from the coast line and within nine miles of the coast in the Gulf of Mexico. Outside of these zones, only sunken ships in designated marine sanctuaries and mineral-extraction sites are off-limits to treasure hunters.6 In international waters, treasure hunters can claim ownership over any ship which they can prove is “abandoned.” Archaeologists say that this situation leaves underwater cultural heritage in extreme danger of imminent destruction. In a recent article in Archaeology magazine, archaeological journalist Heather Pringle discusses Odyssey’s 2004 excavation of the Republic and writes, “If a private corporation had targeted such an important site on land in the United States and hawked many of its artifacts, heritage activists would have been up in arms, asking hard questions about the commercial exploitation of the country’s cultural history.”7 From an archaeological standpoint, shipwrecks and their artifacts belong to the public, and thus salvage companies are selling off publicly owned gold and silver. On the other hand, treasure hunters say that they are providing a service that archaeologists cannot, because they raise money to find and retrieve artifacts that would otherwise remain in watery obscurity. The debate, then, concerns the costs of privatizing a branch of archaeology that has not yet received enough public funding to discount the usefulness of treasure hunters. Indeed, nautical archaeology is a relatively new field that has grown since the 1960s with the advent of advanced SCUBA technology and, more recently, remotely operated underwater vehicles. In 1973, Dr.
George Bass founded the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M University, the first and most significant organization in the discipline. Its mission is “to conduct significant archaeological research that will increase knowledge of the evolution of civilizations through the location and excavation of submerged or buried ships, submerged ruins, and their associated artifacts, and dissemination of the knowledge gained therefrom.” Since its inception, the institute has successfully excavated several sites, including the sunken ruins of Port Royal, Jamaica, the famed English port city that was buried underwater by an earthquake in 1692. They have also exhumed the remains of ancient ships off the coast of Turkey that date from 1300 B.C. and 1025 A.D.8 It is not difficult to imagine the chagrin of professionals at treasure hunters’ profit-motivated, unofficial scavenger operations at archaeologically viable sites. But in a November 2007 interview with the magazine New Scientist, John Opperman, the director of archaeology, research, and conservation at Odyssey Marine Exploration, fired back at his opponents. He said, “Academics say all we’re doing is finding stuff and selling it. Yes, we do offer a portion of our finds to collectors, but only items that are not of cultural value and that we have numerous duplicates of in our inventory collection.”9 The costs of carrying out underwater excavation seem to necessitate private investment and ownership. Treasure hunters liken underwater cultural heritage to the classical art world, where many of the items for collection are held and preserved in private hands. The new age of underwater technology has set high stakes for the archaeologist-treasure hunter debate. On the one hand, private companies are literally striking millions in gold on the ocean’s floors. On the other, scholarly pursuits have recovered historical evidence about civilizations extinct for thousands of years. Culturally, the public is enamored with the romantic notions surrounding treasure hunting and turns a deaf ear to the historians that fight for public ownership of shipwrecks. Perhaps at heart, the majority of us would rather be pirates than preservationists. Whatever the dominant ethics suggest, it is clear that a battle is brewing in the world’s seas, but this fight will not sink battleships to the ocean’s depths—it will resurrect their ghostly glories.
1 The 1622 Fleet. The Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society. 23 Feb 2008. <http://www.melfisher. org/1622.htm> 2 “Sunken treasure ends up in court.”Associated Press. 24 Jan 2008. MSNBC.com. 15 Feb 2008. <http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22826040/> 3 Sussex Project. Odyssey Marine Exploration. 23 Feb 2008. <http://shipwreck.net/sussex.html> 4 Spain, the United Kingdom, and the Junta of Andalucia Agree to Sussex Shipwreck Archaeology Project. 26 March 2007. Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. 23 February 2008. < http://shipwreck. net/pr130.html> 5 Stemm, Greg. “The New UNESCO Convention: Rules You Need to Know.” Underwater Magazine. Jan/Feb 2002. 6 Elia, Ricardo J. “US protection of underwater cultural heritage beyond the territorial sea: problems and prospects.” The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. 29.1 (2000): 43-56. 7 Pringle, Heather. “Insider: Profiteers on the high seas.” Archaeology. 60.4 (July/Aug 2007). 8 Bass, George F. “Foreword.” History of INA Research. 2 May 2001. Institute of Nautical Archaeology. 10 February 2008. < http://ina.tamu.edu/> 9 Giles, Jim. “Rescuing riches from the ocean floor (Interview). New Scientist. 196.2629 (Nov 10, 2007): 74.
photo by Frank Kam
8 0 0 2 G N I J BEI chelle Fang
by Linda Qu & Mi
traditional meets modern: the new Olymp ic stadium ‘Bird’s Nest’ venue offset by a traditional pavilion.
remove the dust preparing for 08.08.08; workers y them with numbers. spra to s seat 00 80,0 from covers
hina, meet world. Or is it world, meet China? Separated from Western societies by vast oceans, China at once embodies mystery and mystique—the epitome of a crouching tiger, a hidden dragon. The mist surrounding the Middle Kingdom, however, is clearing fast. The scene has been set. On August 8, 2008, Beijing will invite the world to its doorstep—to the Opening Ceremonies of the 29th Olympic Games. Much ado has been made about this latest installment of arguably the most prestigious event in sports. As this is the first time that China will host the Games, the country has spared no expense to ensure that this showcase of its culture, people, and growing prosperity occurs on the grandest scale. Thirty-one Olympic venues, including the National Stadium—dubbed the “Bird’s Nest” for its ornate exterior architecture—and the surreal National Aquatics Center, or “Water Cube,” have been constructed. The government has invested billions of dollars on improvements in transportation and the creation of a greener environment. The city of Beijing has been literally transformed; twentyeight million trees were planted in the last year alone, nearly all public buses have been replaced with new models, and signs across the city were erected to encourage residents to properly dispose of trash. Taxi drivers received training in basic English, and workers in the hotel and restaurant industries attended etiquette classes, all so that this image-conscious nation can present its finest front to the world.
Still, many concerns remain about how Beijing, notorious for its polluted air and congested streets, will accommodate its estimated two million visitors this summer. Government officials have said that they plan to relantern the at 2008 mascots duce motor traffic by half during festival on February 21, 2008. the Games—a feat that requires the removal of roughly 1.65 million vehicles from the roads. A four-day test conducted last August succeeded in eliminating one million cars and trucks by requir-
ing motorists to drive only on alternate days, as specified by their license plate numbers. To further ease congestion, special lanes will be dedicated for Olympic traffic, and new shuttle buses will run between Olympic venues and other parts of the city. Beijing has also been pressured to improve its air quality for Olympic athletes. Cleanup measures have been underway for nearly a decade, with the result that the city’s “Blue Sky” monitoring program, which records the number of acceptable air quality days per year, has shown commendable progress. Olympic teams from around the world, however, remain skeptical, particularly marathon runners and cyclists who will race outside for hours. Many athletes have expressed concerns about allergies or asthmatic problems that would compromise their abilities to compete. Nevertheless, the International Olympic Committee, citing similar pollution issues that arose prior to the 1984 Los Angeles and 2004 Athens Games, continues to be optimistic about Beijing’s preparations and has given numerous assurances of confidence to foreign nations. The task of hosting millions of Olympic participants and spectators also affects China’s aviation and subway systems. Chinese officials have worked for years to expand Beijing’s Capital International Airport, with the result that the world’s largest passenger ter terminal is scheduled to open there in Spring 2008. Responsible for controlling the influx of international travelers, it is estimated to process 1,600 arrivals and departures daily. The levels of Chinese airspace open to civil aviation will also be doubled, increasing the number of aircraft able to fly simultaneously. Security has correspondingly tightened to combat possible terrorist activity—which officials believe is the biggest threat to the Games—by installing high-tech bomb detectors, X-ray machines, and antiriot robots. Travel via subway, one of the most convenient modes of transportation in
the city, will be facilitated by the creation of a new line linking the airport to central Beijing and the Olympic Green. These transportation upgrades are only part of a master plan to make this summer’s Olympics well worth remembering, not only for their smoothly efficient logistics, but also as the golden opportunity for Beijing to debut its newfound modernity and global sophistication. While many laud these improvements, less light has been shed on the emotional costs of the city’s changes. According to the Chinese government, 15,000 Beijing citizens were displaced from their homes during the construction process for the Olympics. This number does not include, however, the thousands of others whose homes were demolished in the wider effort of creating a new, cosmopolitan image of the city, which called for the replacement of hutongs (alleys) and historical buildings with parks and skyscrapers. While the 15,000 citizens were compensated for their relocation, other families were not as lucky. Such forceful evictions have led to much anger and heartbreak, as evidenced by the graffiti one protester left on a wall: “The Olympics—a lifetime of pain.”
tion to Sudan, giving it the confidence to resist United Nations envoys in the region. Such actions directly counteract the plans for peace set by nations across the globe, thus triggering a flood of protests and campaigns questioning the morality of hosting the Games in Beijing. The fact that dissidents and human rights advocates within China are continually being arrested and silenced by their fellow countrymen has not helped matters, and indeed it is tarnishing the Olympic theme of national pride and international unity. Even celebrities have taken a stand: director Steven Spielberg recently declined to continue his post as Beijing 2008 artistic advisor, saying—with regard to Darfur—that his “conscience will not allow him to continue with business as usual.”1 While China has made many efforts to polish its reputation as a technologically advanced country, the internal dissidence and international outcries that have recently surfaced threaten to obscure its Olympic glory. As the clock ticks down to August’s Opening Ceremonies, all eyes are on China, awaiting its every move. Cooper, Helene. “Spielberg Drops Out as Adviser to Beijing Olympics in Dispute Over Darfur Conflict.” New York Times 13 Feb. 2008. <www.nytimes.com>.
Beijing’s selection as the host city for the 2008 Games was also one of the more controversial decisions in Olympic history. Some harsher critics of Chinese domestic and foreign policy have gone so far as to call them the “Genocide Olympics,” citing China’s refusal to condemn the situation in Darfur. In order to gain access to Sudanese oil, China has continually supplied arms provided and diplomatic protec-
ew N ole h A W
CC oo ll dd W W aa rr
by Konrad Kalpen
an has never really considered it more than a frozen wasteland. It is a place where icy, glistening mountaintops reach for the heavens while their floating feet stretch even deeper into the mysterious fathoms below. No plants grow and nothing changes. The days seem endless, and the biting cold nights seem even longer. Never claimed by any man or nation, much of the pristine expanse of ice and snow has remained basically untouched by mankind. In humanity’s collective imagination, it is only inhabited by mythical creatures—abominable beasts, enormous whales, and giant squid. Ancient Danish maps warn, “Here There Be Dragons,” and even modern children know that it is the natural habitat of Santa’s reindeer. But while once labeled no-man’s-land because no man wanted it, this frozen and forgotten region has become a hot point
has taken its toll, and much of the arctic ice has melted to create new sea routes. Many environmentalists predict that within a few years much of the ice in the North Pole will only be seasonal, leaving much of the Arctic Ocean open for safe sea trade. However, this is not what has caught the eye of most nations. Instead, they are targeting the enormous wealth of the arctic assets which are literally about to become unfrozen. The first country to claim the North Pole will be annexing much more than a few frozen icebergs and an elfin toy workshop. According to recent geological estimates, significant deposits of diamonds, silver, copper, zinc, and potentially uranium currently lay unclaimed at the North Pole. The North Pole may contain up to a quarter of the world’s remaining unmined gold. As the current gold supply promises to be depleted within the next forty-five years, this last quarry will command even higher prices. However, even more important than the precious metal are the billions of barrels of black gold that lurk like a sleeping beast beneath the pole’s icy depths.1 Although only modest estimates can be made until a
country gets the rights to drill in the area, the pole is believed to contain at least ten billion barrels of oil.2 Once thought to be the empty refuge of polar bears, the North Pole is now a veritable treasure chest for the first nation that gets its hands on it. Claiming the pole, however, is not just a matter of rushing in and planting flags; it requires answering to stringent requirements already established by the United Nations. Currently, standing resolutions give no nation proprietorship of the pole. Instead, it is run by the International Seabed Authority, a committee established by the UN. All of the nations that ring the pole—Canada, England, Denmark, Greenland, Russia, Norway, and the U.S. (by way of Alaska)—only possess “economic zones of interest” that extend 200 miles beyond their own terrestrial borders, in accordance with the 1997 Convention on the Laws of the Sea.3 Based on this resolution, no country can make claims that reach any further without submitting proof to the UN that their continental shelves are geographically linked to the Arctic seabed. No claims of this sort had been posited since the convention
until Russian newspaper headlines roared out in bold Cyrillic that the North Pole was theirs on August 2, 2007. In an official statement released to the public, the Russians announced that a nuclear powered submersible had reached the bottom of the arctic seabed after drilling through three miles of ice.4 Not content to simply show the world their pictures and proof, the Russian Federation placed a titanium flag emblazoned with their white, red, and blue bars on the sea floor to stake a claim for more than half of the Artic Circle. Not even Santa Claus had ever made so bold a claim. According to a team of Russian scientists, the evidence from seismic readings and their submersible quest proved that the Lomonosov Ridge, on which their country sits, extends all the way to the North Pole and allows them to claim a vast majority of the Arctic for themselves.5 The land they have claimed covers more than 463,000 miles, a chunk of the Arctic Circle bigger than the countries of Italy, Germany, and France combined. With this claim, Russia—the world’s second largest producer of crude oil—increased their already staggering supply by untold amounts.6 Despite its boldness, many world leaders were not entirely surprised by this claim. Russia had filed a related petition in 2001, but a United Nations committee shot down the proposal due to lack of seismological reports and seismic evidence. Now, Russia has returned with the same claim and proof that the underwater Lomonosov Ridge is not merely a chain of mountains in international waters, but rather an extension of Siberia’s continental shelf.7 As nations await the decisions of the committee, some are not content to sit idly by. Even without official debunking by the inter-
territory for nearly a century: Matthew Henson placed Old Glory at the pole on his journey as the first man there in 1909. The Danes may have even earlier claims from the sea routes their ancestors used when they chose to go “a-viking.” Even the more concrete evidence of seismological linkage is seen as preposterous by many scientists across the world. Sergey Priamikov, the international cooperation director of Russia’s Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in St. Petersburg, says that even he finds it a “little bit strange.” A Russian himself, he says that the research is somewhat skewed for the benefit of his own country. According to him, “Canada could make exactly the same claim. The Canadians could say that the Lomonosov Ridge is part of the Canadian shelf, which means Russia should in fact belong to Canada, together with the whole of Eurasia.”8 The other nations can say what they like, but it all comes down to the decision of the international committee as to how legitimate the Russian claims are. Despite the disgruntled jeers of rivals, as the nation with the biggest head start on claiming the pole, Russia may cross the finish line well before the other nations have even readied themselves at the starting blocks. Now, with a fervor that has not been seen since the fifteenth-century conquest of the New World, the four nations ringing the pole have started expeditions of their own to either debunk Russian claims or to establish their own. In an official mission statement for their arctic exploration program, the Danes assert “that the Vikings should be the first to claim the pole.”9 American diplomats to the UN have called Russia’s actions “provocation” and even a “conflict which may not result in the most peaceful of solutions.”
be loaded with both research equipment and arms. According to the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, the Canadians also plan to build two new military bases in the northernmost regions of the country to train elite Ranger units for cold-weather combat.11 With the majority of international conflicts being fought in scorching deserts along the equator, it is quite clear that these troops are being trained for a different theater of war. Attracted by the promise of unprecedented riches in self-maintained oil supplies as well as traditional gold and gems, every nation is ready to stake its claims on the pole. In the coming summer months, as the ice thins and more ships set sail, we will see even more attempts to take the pole. Denmark has already tried to enlist the aid of Sweden, a non-contender in the fight, to help back their claim, and the actions of Canada suggest that the nation is quite literally prepared to battle for the Arctic. Unless the UN and the International Seabed Authority can peacefully resolve this conflict, the last of Earth’s frontiers may become the spoils of war. With only a few months before the current treaty on the pole expires, the face of the globe—or at least its most northern point—will soon be changed forever. Zarakhovich, Yuri. Russia Claims the North Pole. TIME Magazine. 12 July 2007. 2 Harding, Luke. Kremlin Lays Claim To Huge Chunk Of North Pole. The Guardian. 28 June 2007. 3 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Annex 2, Article 4). 4 BBC News. Russia Plants Flag Under N Pole. 2 Aug 2007. 5 Ibid. 6 Parfitt, Tom. Russia Plants Flag on North Pole Seabed. The Guardian. 2 Aug 2007. 7 Zarakhovich 2007. 8 Harding 2007. 1
by Sandy Sun
photo by Torin Boyd
There is a person in there!
Vending Machine Skirt It is a late night in Tokyo. Neon lights flash from window displays, and a lone street lamp overlooking a deserted street flickers in the dark. A woman walks along this road, making her way home. Behind, a man trails her stealthily. She senses his presence and quickens her pace. He speeds up, beginning the chase in earnest. He sees her turn a corner, and he jogs to keep up only to find... she is gone. The only objects on the street are trashcans and vending machines—ubiquitous items of Tokyo’s urban landscape. Sullen and a little confused, he walks away. A few minutes pass, then one of the vending machines collapses in a manner reminiscent of a Transformer robot, folding in on itself to become a skirt. The woman reveals herself within it. Feeling frightened yet victorious, the woman continues on her way home. The woman was wearing a vending machine skirt, an invention created by Japanese artist Aya Tsukioka. A mixture of art and camouflage, it is disguised as an ordinary floor-length skirt with two folds. When the wearer is in danger, she can pull up one of the folds to reveal a graphic mimicking a Tokyo vending machine. Only her feet are slightly visible beneath the skirt. This invention exploits Tokyo’s urban landscape to create a modern camouflage that may be useful to women in danger.
A tremor shakes the entire city as the earth begins to shift. Buildings collapse, unable to withstand the stress exerted on their foundations. In the midst of this destruction, there is one structure that remains intact, carelessly rolling along with the tremors. Inside this earthquake house, the inhabitants are huddled together, watching the world tumble by outside their window. This patented invention, consisting of hexagonal panes fitted together to form a sphere, resembles an oversized soccer ball. When the house’s built-in sensors detect an earthquake, the house is released from its tether lines so that it can roll with the earth’s tremors. The inner structure of the house remains upright while the outside of the house spins, so that the inhabitants incur no damage. A Japanese company manufactures the Barier, a house whose structure is similar to the Earthquake House. It comes in different sizes and colors, and it can even float.
It is 10:00 p.m. An engineer is working late in his office. He finishes up some calculations and turns off the computer. Finally, he will be able to go home. As he is about to walk out the door, he glances at his calendar and realizes that today is April 3—his anniversary! Cursing himself for forgetting and fearing his wife’s reaction, the engineer tries to fashion a solution out of this mess. His eyes fall on his printer. On their first date, he had gotten her pink daisies. He smiles as he remembers her reaction—she was impressed that he had known those were her favorite flowers. He sits back down at the computer and finds a photo of a daisy. Then, he imports the picture into a design program, sets the colors, and clicks print. His printer begins whirring softly and the daisy appears layerby-layer. He prints several more daisies to form a bouquet, and on a whim, decides to print a vase to hold the flowers. His present ready, the engineer makes his way home, certain that his wife will be pleased. The engineer was saved by his 3-D print-
er. Manufactured by several companies, the 3-D printer functions by printing a solid object in layers. In most of these printers, a tough plastic, such as acrylnitrile butadene styrene (ABS), is used to form the object. Diagrams are sent to the printer through software that allows the user to design an object of specified colors and dimensions. Although they are mostly used in engineering firms to create models and prototypes, some companies are attempting to create a cheaper model that can be used in the household.
School is out for the day. A boy runs over to the neighborhood carousel with his friends. His feet dragging along the ground, the boy delights in kicking up miniature dust storms and then catching onto the merry-go-round as it spins, driven by his momentum. His friends are sitting on the carousel and they take turns spinning it around. As they play, they are also helping the village by providing everyone with clean water. The merry-go-round is part of the PlayPumps system, which is designed to provide clean water to third-world countries at minimal cost and maintenance. Manufactured by Roundabout Outdoor, more than 700 pumps have been installed in sub-Saharan Africa. The pumps work by capitalizing on the spinning motion of the carousel. The merry-go-round is connected to a water pump that forces clean ground water into a 2,500 liter tank. The water is stored in the tank until it is needed. Through this design, PlayPumps can help provide many villages with clean water. They save women from having to transport water over long distances and give children a novel way of having fun.
Belgian Bridge is
Hitler’s rise to power in Germany pervaded our middle school history class curriculum, and many of us witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Union. U.S. elections currently flood our television screens with rallies, debates, and voting results. Few people, however, heard that an Alaskan language, Eyak, died this January when its last speaker passed away. Who knew that France, indulging its stereotypical pride, created a new word for email (corriel), since they view English vocabulary as poison to their pure French lexicon? Although wars, genocide, and politics dominate our global discourse, language is the cornerstone of how we think and communicate. The differing structures, vocabularies, and expressions of the world’s languages dictate how we understand global issues, express societal opinions, and make political decisions. Despite the complexities that arise from accommodating many languages within one country, multilingualism within a government is not often recognized for this intricacy. Nevertheless, Belgium has always been respected by the international community for its multilingual citizens, while it also maintains a distinct national and cultural identity—especially when it comes to chocolate. For 150 years, the southern region, Wallonia, and the northern region, Flanders, have been unified and known as Belgium. Brussels, the bilingual capital, has aided in the preservation of this union between two culturally and linguistically divergent communities; however, intense animosity and political dissension between the Wallonians and the Flemish have recently reached har-
rowing heights and may instigate a language civil war. Wallonia and Flanders refuse to cooperate with one another, primarily because the South speaks French and the North speaks Flemish, a dialect of Dutch. After years of built-up resentment, each language group has formulated its own culture and identity, which have eroded any unified Belgian identity. These tensions have reached a breaking point in the past year, leaving Belgium without a functioning government. The crisis has become so severe that dividing Belgium into two linguistically separate nations may be the only viable solution. A Brief History of Linguistic Conflict In the early nineteenth century, prior to the formation of linguistic regionalism in Belgium, French flourished as the language of the economically prosperous. Although Brussels stood within Flanders, its upper class population spoke French. The defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, however, marked the end of French popularity and rule, and the 1814 Congress of Vienna formed the Kingdom of the United Netherlands under the Dutch rule of William I of Orange-Nassau.1 This sprawling region consisted of what is now Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. Despite the linguistic tension between Wallonia and Flanders, the two regions’ common desire to liberate themselves from external control overpowered any internal complications, and the Belgian Revolution of 1830 freed them from William I. Since the monarch had mandated the use of Dutch, Belgians’ resentment for
by Lindsay Emery
the imperial language inspired a return to French. During the Industrial Revolution, the South flourished while the economy of its northern counterpart stagnated, due to outdated textile and agricultural industries. The Wallonians took every conceivable action to muffle the Flemish language and culture, and the Flemish began to realize that they held little authority in politics and the economy. Around 1870, a surge of pride for their cultural heritage and love for their mother tongue led to the Flemish movement. The first significant political success of this movement gave Flemish defendants the right to use their native language in criminal proceedings. This ruling was prompted by the wrongful execution of two Flemings who did not understand French. They were working in southern Belgium when they were tried and sentenced to death for murder. One year later, the real murderers confessed.2 The collective feelings of injustice and discrimination fueled by such cases only strengthened during World War I when Flemish soldiers were sent into battle with French-speaking officials; many died simply because they did not understand their orders. Constant pressure on the government led to a proposal in 1930 that reformed Belgium as a federation of Flanders, Brussels, and Wallonia.3 The central government officially became completely bilingual. In 1970, a constitutional reform erected formal linguistic borders between Flanders, Wallonia, and Brussels, with all political, economic, and social affairs equally divided among them. However, this superficial
“magic kingdom” failed to stifle decades of animosity. Whereas the South flourished economically at the beginning of the twentieth century, the North has ridden the recent technology boom and thrived. Although Flanders is now prospering, feelings of resentment toward the Wallonians have not waned. The Flemish now create eightyfive percent of the country’s exports, generate sixty to sixty-five percent of taxes, and must pay ten to eleven million dollars to the Wallonian population each year. As a result, the Flemish feel cheated by the Wallonians, especially because nearly twenty percent of Wallonians remain unemployed.4 A linguistic divide also characterizes Belgium’s political structure. Belgium’s National Parliament is separated into two groups: French and Flemish speakers. Each legislative group has an executive branch in which members are divided among its respective unilingual regions and Brussels. Despite the explicit language distribution within the Parliament, Belgian residents still harbor severe hatred towards their regional neighbor’s linguistic and political views. Certain villages within both regions have verbalized their opinions concerning this language crisis. Dilbeek, a small Belgian town ten miles from Brussels, welcomes visitors with a sign that reads, “Here the Flemish people are at home.”5 A native Flemish postal worker, who also speaks French, told National Public Radio that it is against the law to speak French in Dilbeek. He could be punished financially if he is caught speaking French to a client.
ties differ in political views, but those who do share similar ideas refuse to cooperate with one another simply because they do not speak the same language. Unlike in the United States, Belgian elections do not guarantee a single majority winner. In the most recent election on June 10, 2007, the Parliament failed to create a workable coalition, and Belgium currently stands without a government. The Christian Democrats, the largest existing party, received only nineteen percent of the total votes, granting them a mere one-fifth of the seats in Parliament.7
To add to this turmoil, the headquarters for the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are located in Brussels. Therefore, the future of Belgium will not only dictate the existence of Flanders and Wallonia, but it will also influence most of the world. An Evasive End What does this mean for Belgium, Europe, and the EU? Breaking up Belgium into the two individual nations of Flanders and Wallonia stands as the most promising option, but it comes with its own obstacles. As two separate countries, each community could embrace its cultural identity and avoid linguistic dissension. However, splitting Belgium calls into question the future of Flanders’ government policies and the decisions of global agencies and other language-divided countries. Belgium has over eleven political parties, six of which each control over ten percent of the popular vote.6 Not only do these par-
Global political agencies, such as the EU, remain unfazed by Belgium’s internal turmoil. Although surrounded by the heightening animosity between the Wallonians and the Flemish, the European Union has other priorities. While the stakes are high for the EU—gaining two new countries would upset the current balance—it has not yet expressed its opinion on the situation. Still, Wallonia’s current economy may not generate the necessary gross domestic product to become a country at all. Wallonia, then, would become land free for anyone to control, and Europe would argue about its fate for years to come. Flanders may contend for possession of Wallonia’s land to increase their geographic and political power. Based on Dewinter’s opinions of Muslim immigration, it would not be surprising if he forced Wallonians out of their homeland if they refused to speak Flemish.
S R DE
The most popular candidate for head of state is Filip Dewinter, leader of the
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guistic controversy between the Wallonians and the Flemish has promoted Flanders’ desire for a strong independent leader, which is not unlike the state of Germany after the Treaty of Versailles. Unless another spectacular orator of democracy-like descent takes a stand, pro-Nazi politics may be the only “choice.”
Flemish Interest Party (Vlaams Belang). While Dewinter is finally gaining popularity amongst the Flemish population, he is a potentially volatile political leader. His party, whose origins trace back to pro-Nazi groups, was disbanded in 2004 after the Belgian court convicted it for racism, hatred, and discrimination, specifically against Muslim immigrants.8 Now, however, the party has been reborn under the same leader and champions the same views; it merely has a different name. Dewinter openly speaks out against Muslim immigrants, who he feels do not assimilate into the existing culture: “We can’t allow that they come to our country, that they come to
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Europe, and they keep their own culture, their own religion—Islamic religion—which is not always compatible with our way of life, our culture.”9 Not only is Dewinter against the “famous multicultural society,”10 but he also desires complete separation between the French- and Flemish-speaking regions of Belgium. If Flanders does gain independence, Dewinter’s discriminatory beliefs may become the nation’s policy. Also, with less geographical turf, the Flemish Interest Party would have yet another excuse to discriminate against the Muslims by asking: so why can’t the Muslim immigrants just move elsewhere?
With a far right pro-Nazi group gaining popularity and the possibility of Flanders declaring independence, the Nazis may reappear on the map. The never-ending lin-
Yet how stable will the EU be in Brussels if Belgium divides? Besides jeopardizing the nia, the death future of Walloof Belgium w o u l d also destroy the home base of the EU and NATO. Both groups pride themselves on cultural and linguistic diversity, and they call the neutral and versatile capital of Brussels home for all of Europe. The question remains to see if Brussels will become a part of Flanders, follow the model of Washington D.C., or cease to exist.
A I ON
The Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia each collapsed when it ignored divergent ethnic nationalisms within its borders and attempted to forge a singular and false national identity. With this historical lesson in mind, it may be best if Flanders and Wallonia separate in order for each to embrace its own identity. If Flanders and Wallonia separate, will the rest of the world accept them as nations? Kosovo, which just declared its independence from Serbia, recently sent 192 letters to world leaders seeking formal recognition of its autonomy. While the United States,
12 Britain, France, and Germany accepted the appeal, many EU members opposed the declaration. Spain claims that “the independence bid was illegal under international law” and refuses to acknowledge the new country.11 Will similar conflict arise if Belgium breaks up? Will Flanders and Wallonia each refuse to formally recognize the other’s independence?
How Did Switzerland Manage? Switzerland is the Tower of Pisa of language-savvy governments; it is a success story that over time has started to lean, and if not steadied, it may eventually crumble. Switzerland has four established national languages: German, French, Italian, and Romanche. Since the nation emerged after the Congress of Vienna in 1814, it has maintained linguistic and cultural diversity without controversy. Why has Switzerland succeeded when Belgium has not, causing one nation to thrive over the past 150 years and the other to hasten towards collapse?
Belgium’s potential demise may also result in serious instability and regional movements in other lesser-populated European nations. For example, Belgium may set a precedent for the linguistic tension rising in Scotland. About sixty-six percent of the Scottish population believes that Gaelic is an important part of Scottish life and Scotland’s cultural identity. The Gaelic Language Act of 2005 requests “equal respect,” between Gaelic and English,13 but there is no clear mention of equal validity.
Some of the most significant reasons are historical differences. Whereas the French and Flemish speaking regions of Belgium were originally part of France and the Netherlands respectively, the various regions of Switzerland did not have nationalistic identities. The French-speaking part of Switzerland has never been a part of France’s geography, the German-speaking regions are not topographically related to Germany, and the Italianspeaking part of Switzerland was never on Italy’s map. Therefore, built-up resentment from historical linguistic and political ownership of these regions never developed. Another mitigating factor is that linguistic borders within Switzerland do not correspond with political opinions or religious boundaries. Of the four regions, three are bilingual (French and German) and one is trilingual (German, Romanche, and Italian).14 The political parties are not divided by language as they are in Belgium, where each region is basically monolingual and no laws enforce education concerning the languages that are not spoken within a region.
Unfortunately, the plan to spread Gaelic is not legally enforceable, and it may end up in a pile of lost policies in the dark closet of an unknown politician. Although the Scottish Parliament endorsed the act, additional UK authorities did not authorize its enforcement beyond Scotland’s borders. Despite national pride and the desire to expand the Gaelic language, the number of speakers and its use in the community continue decline. Belgium’s disintegration may either lend credence to the Gaelic movement or destroy any hopes of revalidating this classic language.
Interestingly, each Swiss territorial state carries out certain federal duties to avoid difficulties due to language barriers. National taxes are collected by regional authorities, instead of the federal government insisting on tons of paperwork in four different languages. Innovative strategies such as these have promoted Switzerland’s success. However, like the famous leaning tower, Switzerland is beginning to tilt. Historically, Switzerland has facilitated amazing cooperation among its linguistically and culturally diverse citizens. However, this landlocked European country may falter like Belgium as the federal government’s language policies are no longer sufficient for maintaining a linguistic balance in the country’s increasingly diverse climate.
For 150 years Belgium has fallen back on partial compromises to avoid a more severe political conflict. For a world record of over 200 days, Belgium has failed to establish a working government. The outcome of Dewinter’s campaign, set on an indefinite timeline, will ultimately determine the future of Belgium. Belgium’s deterioration will alter the political and linguistic landscape among existing countries and European agencies. With bitterness and contempt menacing the connection between the Wallonians and the Flemish, the Belgian bridge is falling down.
Socioeconomic rifts and migration patterns resulting from globalization have begun to complicate Switzerland’s language policies. With an influx of immigrants from countries such as Albania and Portugal, Switzerland faces the challenge of reorganizing its linguistic education policies to continue its history of accommodation and understanding. A continuous decline of Romanche use in the younger generations further complicates the situation by altering the balance among the languages. Switzerland’s economy has begun to reflect the importance of speaking certain languages, which may lead to a conflict similar to that between the Flemish and Wallonian economies. While eight percent of the Swiss French are unemployed, only two percent of Swiss Germans are unemployed, fomenting feelings of resentment between the two groups.15 Switzerland must retool its language policy in order to continue its history of unique collaboration among differing linguistic communities. As the current tensions build, Switzerland may find itself heading in the same direction as Belgium.
Endnotes: Murphy, Alexander B. The Regional Dynamics of Language Differen
University of Chicago, Committee on Geographical Studies, 1988. Ibid.
November 7. Ibid. Popular Belgian Party Rejects Multicultural Society. 2007. National
Ibid. Belgium Split over Language, Economy. 2007. National Public Radio, November 8. Ibid.
McLeod, Wilson. “Gaelic in Contemporary Scotland: Contradictions, Challenges
and Strategies.” University of Edinburgh (2007).
Public Radio, November 21.
dian Press 2008.
Belgium Still Can’t Form Government. 2007. National Public Radio,
tiation in Belgium: A Story in Cultural-Political Geography. Chicago:
Grin, François. “Language Policy in Multilingual Switzerland: Overview and Re
cent Developments.” Cicle de confèrencies sobre política lingüística. Barcelona,
“Kosovo Wins Recognition from the U.S., Major European powers.” The Cana-
A Passage to Kochi by Julie Sogani
I want to see the real India.” In the classic E.M. Forster novel, A Passage to India, Adela Quested sums up what you might be thinking after visiting the major tourist attractions on the subcontinent. Not that you aren’t enthralled by the magnificently vibrant metropolises, home to the rajas and ranis of Bollywood cinema; rather, you want to experience more than the towering skyscrapers and elegant apartment complexes that would make the modern Mumbai almost indistinguishable from any European city, if not for the ever-present shanty huts and dhobi ghats (washing places). You are in luck, as there is more than meets the eye in this country where every state has
13 photo by Julie Sogani
unique cultural customs. On its southern coast lies a town that is a myriad of islands packed with coconut palms and crisscrossing lagoons and a history embedded with Jewish traditions. This is Kochi, the “Queen of the Arabian Sea.” Here, you can experience the blend of Western and Indian cultures that has defined Kochi as a city of both modernity and tradition. Kochi, formerly called Cochin, is a seaport city in the Indian state of Kerala. Once an important spice trading center, Fort Kochi was the site of the first European settlement in India in 1503. Today Kochi is home to Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and Jews, drawing visitors to delight in its multicultural landmarks. On Jew Street, you can visit Paradesi Synagogue, which was built in 1568 and has the distinction of being the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations. While you’re there, be sure to browse through the antique and curio shops owned by the now only fourteen
Jews remaining in the city. A short stroll away, you will find the Catholic St. Francis Church where Vasco da Gama was originally buried. If you yearn for more religious inspiration, you can also find a mosque and Jain temple in the vicinity. At the heart of Fort Kochi lies the Dutch Palace and Cemetery. The Portuguese built
the palace in 1555, offering it to the Kochi royal family as appeasement for pillaging a nearby temple. While you marvel at the traditional Kerala style of architecture, you will be dwarfed by the massive wallspanning murals of Hindu mythological art. The portraits of the rajas of Kochi painted in the Western style and the exhibits of brass cups, coins, stamps, and clothing highlight the integration of East and West. If your feet start to give way, hop in an auto rickshaw, India’s form of taxi, to set out to Kochi harbor. Dozens of teak Chinese fishing nets, or cheena vala, line the shore. These nets are used in an ancient form of fishing in which fishermen lower a huge, cantilevered apparatus into the bay. Nearby street vendors sell a variety of wares: everything from USB flash drives to jewel carpets. Although Kochi is located on the ocean, breezes rarely permeate the city. To cool down, indulge in refreshing coconut water served right from its shell, a popular
resembles a rice barge outwardly but parallels the luxuries of a hotel within. As you sail along, you will journey through a picturesque paradise. See the luscious emerald landscape dotted with towering palm trees and sprawling rice paddies. Hear the song of drongos and kingfishers as they prance on floating lotus and water lilies. Maybe you will even catch a glimpse of the local boat races that draw whole families and communities out to watch. If you find yourself utterly enchanted by the natural backwaters, beauty of the you can decide to stay overnight on the Ketuvallam. Although you might think you have attained the highest state of relaxation along the backwaters, a traditional ayurvedic treatment awaits at your hotel. Ayurveda, an ancient medical system that originated in India, uses alternative medicine to balance the mind, body, and spirit. Unwind your mind with shirodhara a treatment in which oils shirodhara, are slowly drizzled onto your forehead to reduce anxiety, insomnia, and other psychological conditions. Head down to the beach for a massage and let your body be completely lathered in natural fragrant oils that have been used for two thousand years to cure everything from arthritis to schizophrenia. Many Westerners, in fact, flock to Kerala for “medical tours” to take advantage of the natural ayurvedic therapies as well as conventional treatments offered at unbelievable bargains.
Finally, you can’t leave Kochi without witnessing Kathakali, a form of drama-style dance unique to Kerala. Brightly colored make-up and elaborately jeweled costumes astound you at first as you wonder how the actors can dance for hours dressed in such a fashion. As the music begins, however, the performers paint a story with their precise gestures and expressive eyes, carrying you into scenes from the classical Hindu epics, Mahabharata and Ramayana. The steady beating of the drums and chanting of the singers entrance you as you mull over your experience of the sights and sounds in this culturally rich city. From its endless backwaters to its enchanting art forms, Kochi does indeed epitomize the real India.
commodity in the fort district.
After a day in the bustling downtown area of Kochi, it is time for a change of pace: a serene cruise that snakes along the famous Kerala backwaters. Board a traditional bamboo Ketuvallam, a houseboat that
Would you like your culture by Maddie Pongor
We were almost finished, but they had barely lifted a finger. As the August day wore on, we became increasingly concerned that we would not finish the project in time. Finally, one of my friends asked if they could lend a hand. They gladly contributed upon request, but my friends and I still felt cheated. While we had hauled dead branches, plucked weeds, and burned piles of leaves in the sun, they were sharing stories from the weekend and sipping mate tea in the shade. As a Christian mission team, we had come to assist the students at this
ph o to by
N aom i K el
school for missionaries-in-training in Asunción, the capital of Paraguay. We had envisioned getting to know the students as everyone worked together, not waving at a distance while they sat at a picnic table and we heaved massive rocks into the woods. Not fun. Not the bonding activity we’d hoped for. The sun had set before we cleared away the last pile of leaves and finally collapsed, exhausted and disappointed. This was my first taste of a “warm culture” versus a “cold culture.” Coming from a cold culture, most Americans set goals for themselves and function according to deadlines. For many of us, this behavior is involuntary
because external forces such as school and work ingrain the need to achieve into our mindsets. We cannot imagine life differently. Oddly enough, this lifestyle is usually associated with the world’s colder nations. In contrast, countries in South America, Africa, and parts of Asia are considered not only warmer than the United States in terms of temperature, but also in terms of culture. As demonstrated through my interaction with
Op erati on
on ic a l M is si Sm ile Med , Vie tn am g n a Nh a Tr
the Para Paraguayans, work and relation relationships are prioritized very differently in such produc places. While we took pride in our productivity that summer day, they were content to make new acquaintances and catch up with friends—strengthening their vast network of relationships. Being accustomed to our American way of life prohibited us from realizing how remarkable this approach was. When I first heard of the warm and cold culture concept, I was defensive and skeptical. Defining Americans as solely time-oriented, work-focused people makes us seem materialistic and shallow. There are certainly many Americans who do not aim to maximize every hour of their day. And of course, not every non-American is consumed with
HOT the idea of making friends at every possible opportunity. Instinctually, I rejected this overgeneralization of countries as strictly warm or cold cultures. But when I really paused to think about it, there is a lot of truth in this stereotype. Consider a weekday in the life of the average Duke student. Maybe she gets up for an 8:30 a.m. class, races between West and East Campuses multiple times, grabs quick meals, makes time to attend that club meeting and work out at the gym, and settles down in the dorm or library at night to pound out that eight page paper due at midnight—and maybe start the 100 pages of reading due by tomorrow afternoon. Even with all the time and energy she puts into her activities, there will always be something left undone. The checklist never ends. Maybe she will have a conversation with a friend about something deeper than her hefty workload or the latest Juicy Campus gossip. Hopefully between grabbing coffee and catching the last few minutes of a guest lecture, she will make time to call a family member back home. To understand the truth about warm cultures, on the other hand, I needed to ask someone with a long, recent immersion in foreign countries. Someone like Naomi Kelly, who has nineteen years of international experience from living in Indonesia, Kenya, Cambodia, and Massachusetts. “There is a saying in Kenya,” she told me. “It goes something like this… Americans run by time, but have no time. Africans have no sense of time, but all the time in the world... I just think about how, for example, a church service would happen in Kenya. They’d say the service would start at 9 a.m., but people wouldn’t start trickling in until 9:30 at the earliest. Eventually there would be a large enough group to start, but more and more people would keep showing up, so the church service could last four hours or more… Another time we had to leave a wedding after waiting for hours when it seemed the wedding party wasn’t going to show up. The Kenyans are just more laidback than we are in America. Here, it’s very busy: you’re scrambling to make deadlines, parents are so focused on sending their kids to the best schools… it can be very stress-
or ful. This isn’t to say that the Kenyans don’t have ambitions; their priorities are just different. I’d say the same about Cambodians—they’re a lot like the Kenyans in that way. Family comes first. Money, working, deadlines, those kinds of things usually take second place.” So, it would seem that I had missed out that day when I begrudgingly carted sticks and stones around a schoolyard. If I had succumbed to the temptation of relaxing with my South American friends, I could have taken part in an unfamiliar but beautiful aspect of their “warm culture”: focusing on building relationships rather than tidying an acre of land. But that is not to say that I was not pleased with what I had accomplished. In fact, if I did not have to compare myself to the Paraguayans, I would have said I was happy with my mission team’s work. I am sure the Paraguayans would have expressed similar satisfaction in having spent the day in each other’s company.
So then, to move beyond merely comparing these two lifestyles, the question is whether the people within one culture are happier than those in another.
ome n’s H i ldre h C r u’s L i mu a n e K y elly om i K y Na b o t ph o
In considering this question with Naomi, she praised the Cambodians as warm, happy people. This would seem surprising after atrocities such as the genocide that killed roughly 1.7 million Cambodians in the 1970s and the American
COLD? bombing of Eastern Cambodia towards the end of the Vietnam War. One would hardly blame the Cambodians if they were bitter toward foreigners. However, Naomi commended these people for how they overcame past hardships and presently seem affable and content. She also described activity on the streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to me: “The city is full of life. You see monks walking about, you hear music, you see the ‘resident elephant’ parading about the city, street vendors everywhere, motorcycles coming at you from every direction… Definitely different from Durham!” I compared this visual to New York City, an exemplary American metropolis. Monks may not be the most common spectacle in Central Park, and I can promise you won’t see an elephant strolling down Fifth Avenue (at least, not without
ph o t
all of the NYPD and a frantic zoo-keeper in its wake), but I can tell you with confidence that NYC is full of life. Everywhere you turn, there is something else to admire: street vendors calling out, music wafting from somewhere around the corner, taxis honking, shoppers bustling, businessmen yapping into their cell-phones, entertainers hoping to catch your eye… Are these people less happy than the Kenyans or Cambodians? Our definitions and estimations of happiness may be very different because we prioritize our lives differently, but there is certainly something to be appreciated and learned from both warm and cold cultures. Perhaps the key to happiness is not to allow the culture around us to dictate how much time and energy we devote to family, friends, work, school, and other activities, but rather to independently determine what matters most in our own lives.
die P o ng o
r M ad die As u n w i t h c h c ión , Pa r i ldre n ag u a y
by Sarah Newman “So, where are you from?” asked a friendly-faced girl sporting a Cameron Crazies t-shirt and faded jeans. Oh no, I thought, here it goes again. I knew she was just trying to be nice, and fill the awkward silence that became so familiar during freshman orientation week, but I didn’t think I could handle explaining my whole story all over again. “I’m from Paris,” I replied. “Paris… France?” she asked with a confused look on her face. I nodded slowly. “Really? But, you don’t sound French. How come you don’t have an accent?” I took a breath and tried to explain to her: “My father is American but he moved overseas for work, and so I have lived abroad for most of my life. My mother is French, so I live in Paris now. I don’t have an accent because I went to an American international high school in Paris.” She looked at me blankly and the silence she had tried to fill came flooding back. For some international students, figuring out where they belong can be a daunting task. Home could have a variety of meanings: What does my passport say? Where are my parents from? Where have I lived growing up? Where does my family live now? Emily Blakemore, a friend from high school, finds it hard to single out a country she feels attached to. Emily was born in New York, lived in Japan for five years, Singapore for ten, and Paris for the last two and a half years of high school. Siobhan Steen, another classmate from France captures the difficulty of telling people where she is from. In a phone interview, she explained her typical response: “Well it depends how interested I think they are. If I think I’ll talk to them again and eventually become close friends with them, I’ll tell them I’m from Paris. If I think I’ll never see them again, I’ll say I’m from D.C.; or, I’ll lie and make something simple up.” Siobhan was born in Spain, moved five times within the US, and
then to Paris for the last three years of high school. Her father works for the American Embassy and his occupation made the Steen family move every few years. She currently attends Catholic University in Washington, D.C. while her family still lives in Paris. International students, such as Siobhan, Emily, and myself, are known as “Third Culture Kids” (TCKs). They can be, for example, “American,” in that they have a passport that grants them US citizenship, but they have spent a significant portion of their lives living abroad. TCKs are raised in a “neither/nor world,” a world that neither fully resembles that of their parents’ culture, nor fully that of the culture in which they were raised. As a result they form their own unique “third” culture that mixes aspects of their parents’ and host country’s cultures. They are citizens of the world, belonging everywhere and nowhere simultaneously. The term “Third Culture” was coined by two social scientists, John and Ruth Useem, in the 1950s. David Pollock, the author of Third Culture Kids: Growing up Among Worlds, defined the TCK as “a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership of any. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationships to others of similar background.”1 Even after returning to their parents’ home countries, TCKs still feel out of place, not knowing where to fit in. They grow up to become adult-TCKs, keeping an international dimension to their lives. My father, for instance, spent his middle school and high school years in Holland and Australia, and was only in America for college.
Emily’s parents moved to Asia when they were young, and she told me they “never wanted to come back to the U.S. after that.” TCKs live abroad because of their parent’s occupation, which is usually government, religion or business related. According to the 1990 Census, three million American workers and their families were living abroad either permanently or temporarily.2 Such figures show that the community of TCKs is much larger than people may think. Many TCKs feel connected to this international social group—no matter where they find themselves at a particular moment, they feel instantly connected to people who grew up in a similar fashion. Often, two people will bond because they both attended “international schools.” These English-language international schools have different names but are some variation of the “American International School of City X.” Interschool conferences are divided by region, and their students often cross paths: Schools compete against each other in sports and unite for musical events and academic conferences. For example, twice a month, my basketball team would travel to other Western European countries for the weekend to play against the host country’s team. Most of these students have visited many other international schools and feel connected to the TCK community as a whole. Some schools even form rivalries. My high school, the American School of Paris (ASP), was a rival in basketball with the American School of London (ASL). The ASP versus ASL games were always most popular. Even with this rivalry, however, I would feel connected to ASL students if I met them outside Europe. Sitting in a 300 person lecture hall my first semester at Duke, I recognized a girl sitting behind me. It turned out she was an ASL student, and we shared a flute stand during an Honor Band Concert in
Paris in seventh grade. We met again in to learn the language and local customs. eigner for the majority of my life, I London in tenth grade when my basketball Despite the brevity of their stays, TCKs hardly feel like one. Beyond my North team played against hers. These coincidenc- gain an international outlook that many American exterior of green eyes and es seem to happen so often that TCKs are continue to maintain. Although some may dusty blonde hair lies a heart fully used to exclaiming: “What a small world!” find it challenging at times, a number of conquered by the warm Latin spirit. In addition to this global TCK community, TCKs wish to maintain this lifestyle as an Yet, despite my deep love for these international students tend to keep to them- adult, and consequently pass the expericountries, there is no changing the selves within their host country, forming an ence on to their children. My sister has facts. I am not Colombian, I am not international “American bubble.” Due to the been living in Washington, D.C. for only Brazilian, and I am not Chilean. And nature of their parents’ work most of these six months and is already looking forward although the American government students live a privileged lifestyle since the to moving back to Europe, where she hopes may beg to differ, I am not entirecompany or Embassy provides expatriate to travel and live in a new city every three ly American either. Rather, I am a benefits, such as a driver, a spacious house, years. Siobhan is studying architecture and third culture kid—a living, breathing and a paid private school education. For her dream would be to join a large interpatchwork of four unique cultures example, the American Embassy provided national firm that would frequently send and peoples, a citizen of the world.” Siobhan’s family with an apartment in one her to different countries for new projects. Moving back to the U.S., many TCKs exof the nicer districts of Paris. She com- Emily says that living in the U.S. for college perience a reverse culture shock, realizing mented that if it were not for the Embassy, has made her realize she does not want to that they no longer identify with their peers. her family could Looking, dressnot live the way ing, and sounding they did. She exAmerican, these adplained: “To get olescents become their employers “hidden immito move their grants.”4 Even affamilies and work ter explaining their abroad, the Emstories to Ameri- You’ve said that you’re from foreign country X, and (if you live in America) your bassy has to offer cans who have audience has asked you which U.S. state X is in. perks, including a grown up in the - You flew before you could walk. raise and getting U.S., several find - You have a passport but no driver’s license. their house paid it hard to under- You don’t know whether to write the date as day/month/year, for.” The result is stand how Amerimonth/day/year, or some variation thereof. that some of these can TCKs can know - You get confused because U.S. money isn’t color-coded. students do not so little about the - You think the Pledge of Allegiance might possibly begin with fully experience country of which “Four-score and seven years ago….” life as a typical they are citizens. - You may have learned to think in feet and miles after a few years of living resident of their (and driving) in the U.S. (But not Fahrenheit. You will *never* learn to think in Fahrenheit). As Leah recounted, host country. “Leaning over - You have frequent flyer accounts on multiple airlines. This seems to the seat, I ca- The thought of sending your (hypothetical) kids to public school scares you, be mostly the sually ask my while the thought of letting them fly alone doesn’t at all. case for non-Euparents, ‘I’ve alropean countries, ways wondered, where safety can are you two become an issue Republicans or and public transDominicans?’ portation may not be as reliable. During stay here permanently. She would prefer The question is met by silence as my her years in Singapore, Emily explained to be part of the ex-pat community abroad. parents exchange glances of disbeto me that even though her family tried to Even though many become addicted to lief. Did I say something wrong? Sudexperience the local lifestyle more than her this distinct lifestyle, TCKs may face a vadenly, they erupt in a good-natured other American friends, she never truly left riety of difficulties growing up because they fit of laughter. Yes, that’s me, Leah the “American bubble.” She and her fam- are often forced to move. According to ShaBenjamin—a third-culture kid who ily went to local restaurants and traveled ron Willmer, a therapist for TCKs and an mixes up a tiny island in the Caribbeto neighboring countries as often as they adult-TCK herself, such students have two an with an American political party.” could, but her extracurricular activities, her fundamental psychological needs that often Despite the frequent heartaches of moving, friends, and her everyday life still revolved remain unfulfilled: the longing for deep, last- most TCKs grow to love their international around her school and the American com- ing relationships and the desire to belong. 3 identities. It will take them a while to conNevertheless, many TCKs take pride in sider themselves American in the same way munity. Even in a cosmopolitan city such as Paris, where it is relatively easy for stu- their unique experience and want to remain that it will take Americans a while to grasp dents to integrate into the French culture, abroad in the international community; the TCK story. For these global nomads, most TCKs that I knew from high school they do not feel they belong to any other. “Where are you from” has only one easy reremained on the outside of Parisian life. On one hand, the “American bubble” pre- sponse: “Don’t ask, I’m a Third Culture Kid.” As my peers got older and began explor- vents TCKs from being fully assimilated ing the local nightlife, they tended to con- into their host nation, yet on the other, David C. and Ruth E. Van Reken. Third Culture Kids: Grow gregate at the same handful of cafes, bars, without having spent significant time in Pollock, -ing Up Among Worlds. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 1999. and clubs, which quickly became known as the U.S., they are not truly American eiknow you’re a TCK when…” tckid: Third Culture Kid Forum. the ex-pat hangouts. Not only do they stick ther. Leah Benjamin, a TCK here at Duke “You <http://www.tckid.com/group/you-know-youre-a-tck-when/>. to their own international community, but makes this sense of rootlessness clear in Pollock 19, Pollock 6, Pollock 146, Pollock 53 because of the frequent need to move, some her college application essay. She writes: “While I have been regarded as a forTCKs do not stay in one place long enough
You know you’re a third culture kid when:
To Open, Slide Finger Under Arrows to Left And Right
BETTER IF USED BY
12162008 ce04571123 General Mills
large bowl sits on the kitchen table. It’s filled with little brown spheres. They are drowning in the milk so I pick up the spoon. I push the survivors that haven’t gone under into the milk. I finally scoop them up and take a bite. My mouth explodes with sugar as the little brown spheres crunch between my teeth. The crunching fades and I slowly open my eyes. I’m no longer at the kitchen table. Instead, I’m lying in bed, sweating in the blistering heat. I think wistfully about the Cocoa Puffs that I was “eating” only moments ago. I yearn for just one more bite. They didn’t fill me up, but what was I expecting? It was only a dream. When morning breaks, I rush to catch a taxi with only one thought in mind—Cocoa Puffs. The driver takes me to the shopping center. I don’t have any problem finding them. The box looks different than it does in the United States, but it still says General Mills. After putting the box into my basket, I circle the store looking for milk. I can’t find any. I ask the clerk where the milk is and he points to cans of powdered milk. I tell him that I want real milk... liquid milk. He takes me to the right aisle. I get a little worried because the milk is warm. Not only is it warm, but it’s also in a box. My milk usually comes refrigerated and in a jug. Since there is no alternative, I reluctantly put a box into my cart and make my purchase. I’m about to leave the store when I realize that I don’t have a bowl or a spoon. How am I going to eat my Cocoa Puffs without a bowl and a spoon? Looking around, I initially see only glass dishes, but after a few minutes I find something that will work. Next, I start searching for a spoon. I see plenty of spoons, but they are all sold as parts of silverware sets. I don’t want a thirty-dollar
silverware set. I’m about to buy one in desperation when I suddenly realize that I have a second option. I pay for the bowl and rush to the ice cream store. The spoon they give me is really tiny so I ask for a larger one. They don’t have larger ones. Frustrated, I take the tiny one and return to the hotel. Buying a bowl of cereal has been more complicated than I thought it would be. But it doesn’t matter, I have everything I need. I dump some of the Cocoa Puffs into my bowl and take a scoop, too excited to even pour
but didn’t have any idea what to expect. The Study Abroad website showed a picture of a student standing in front of a small house with a group of Ghanaians. I didn’t know how all those people could fit inside the tiny structure, but it looked like she was having fun. I was prepared for this type of challenge. More specifically, I braced myself for culture shock. I had traveled internationally so I knew what an underdeveloped country was like. In Ghana, I readily accepted most challenges: the children grabbing my arm and asking for money, the bucket showers at the homestay, the bottled-water showers at the hotel, the bugs swarming in the air like snow, the heavy traffic in downtown Accra, the taxi cab drivers who asked me to marry them every morning, the compliments about putting on weight, the electricity rationing in the city, and the cramped quarters inside the TroTro cars. I adjusted to all of this just fine. But not having any Cocoa Puffs was difficult.
One night I had a dream about cereal. Another night I had a dream about Canadian bacon pizza with pineapple. By the time I left Ghana, I had a list of over twenty foods to eat when I got back to the United States. My dad’s by Brandy Austin beef stroganoff, my mom’s fried potatoes, my grandma’s sugar cookies, and a in the milk. Two lone Cocoa Puffs fill my ton of fast foods immediately made the list. spoon—that’s all that will fit. Lo and behold, I have to say that the airplane food on my my Puffs are stale. My heart starts to sink, returning flight was one of the best meals I but then I come up with a solution. Why have ever had. I never thought frozen pasta not mask the stale taste with the milk? The could taste like a meal from a five-star reswarm milk that comes in a box…that sounds taurant or that a mini Baby Ruth could taste slightly promising. Unfortunately, I can’t like specialty chocolate. Ultimately, I never open the box. My roommate can’t open it, expected that not having any American food and neither can the two people across the would be the hardest part of spending six hall. I sit down defeated—I won’t be eating weeks in Ghana. I adapted to a new culture, but at the end of the day I still missed the any Cocoa Puffs in Africa. taste of home. I was ready for an adventure when I applied to Duke in Ghana. I was immensely excited
by Jei Min Yoo
Why would Koreans go to a computer cluster with friends on a Friday night? Late group project? Annoying weekend assignment? Nope. Instead they gather together for a quick round of Starcraft, a video game that has captivated the hearts of many Koreans for over ten years
Seo Ji-Soo “TossGirl” (right) and Song Byung Gu “Stork” (left), two pro-gamers.
The gaming industry in Korea is growing at an unprecedented speed, especially in the field of computer games. Yet, even with the many fun games developed every year, Starcraft remains unrivaled in its fame. It has lost little of its luster since its 1998 debut, and Koreans have bought about half of the 9.5 million copies of Starcraft sold worldwide. Starcraft’s basic concept is very similar to that of Alien vs. Predator: humans, ugly monsters called Zergs, and a highly intelligent species called the Protoss fight against each other. At the start of the game, the player chooses one of these three species, and as a commander, he raises an army to attack or defend against other players. The ultimate goal is to eliminate other players’ forces, which focuses the game on epic battles between the players. Each of the three species has distinct fighting units with vastly different characteristics. The Protoss’ high templar can use magic, such as showering thunderstorms on the enemy units or replicating a fake image of a friendly unit. Zerg’s defiler can “consume” a friendly unit to restore its psychic energy and cast deadly magic. Human units’ abilities stay in a relatively reasonable realm, although the medic’s instant healing powers seem to be a bit of a stretch. These abilities might be overwhelming to newbies, but once they see the pro-gamers play, they fall in love with this game. The special abilities yield limitless strategic potential while maintaining balance among the species. Nevertheless, despite all of these fascinating features, Starcraft is still just a game. It is difficult to imagine that a video game created ten years ago could generate the hype and loyalty once belonging only to soccer. Among young men and women in Korea, however, Starcraft is filling a void that other pastimes have been unable to satisfy. For starters, Starcraft suits the hectic lifestyle of young Koreans. Because Korean society regards academic excellence as the top priority for students, many teenagers are pressed for time between school and private tutoring. Furthermore, the general Korean public dismisses video games as being for children. These attitudes undermine many fans’ inclination to play for long hours. With an average round conveniently lasting from ten to twenty minutes, Starcraft fits
perfectly into this niche. Starcraft also provides an activity accessible to almost anyone in a society that takes an all-or-nothing approach to sports. In sports, unless one is on a competitive team—most Korean athletes abandon academics to pursue their careers—one has few options to play recreationally. Instead, students feel pressured to concentrate on their “job” as students and do not have the time to pursue other hobbies. As a result, many of them turn to Starcraft to alleviate stress. The game attracts novices with its simple attack-and-kill concept while entertaining experts with its emphasis on strategy. Thus, Starcraft offers a convenient way to spend leisure time.
In this way, Starcraft established a solid base of young players. Thanks to the game’s longevity, pioneer players are now in their twenties or early thirties. After long work hours, instead of changing clothes and going to the gym, these fans choose to sit with their colleagues in an internet café and play a thrilling game of Starcraft. Although its violence and intensity have enthralled many fans from other nations, the fever for Starcraft has spread in Seoul’s crowded population more rapidly and with more dramatic effects. It has achieved a feat that no other game has ever done in the world. Starcraft drove the birth of e-sports and created a new job: the professional game player, or pro-gamer. The beginning of e-sports was rather humble. The TV broadcasting of Starcraft games started as a part of a cable channel; after a surprisingly positive response from the audience, a new channel, OnGameNet, was dedicated to Starcraft in 2000. Today,
OnGameNet deals with video games in general, among which Starcraft remains the most popular. MBC, a major broadcasting company in Korea, followed OnGameNet’s success and created its own league called the MBC Star League. The two are now the biggest Starcraft leagues, and hundreds of pro-gamers and amateur gamers compete in them. As the players advance in the tournament, their battles attract more attention. Eventually, in the later rounds, the players compete on stage as an audience cheers wildly below. The commentators introduce the competitors and the game begins; a big screen in the middle displays the game. During the match, they analyze the game on the spot in an attempt to decipher the players’ strategies and pepper the air with excitement. Often, the screen shows a fan cheering or holding a good-luck sign. Eventually the game ends with one player typing “GG,”— good game–acknowledging he has lost. From the American perspective, the Starcraft tournament seems like a regular sporting event. Just as Americans watch football games and cheer for their teams, Koreans often gather around the TV to watch progamers play Starcraft. Many kids aspire to be pro-gamers, and they “train” their skills to play more efficiently and strategically. E-sports have also become a lucrative business. Companies line up to insert advertisements between TV broadcasts of the games, and pro-gamers often switch teams, hoping to raise their salaries. Indeed, Starcraft is like other sports, only played in cyberspace. Video games are a suitable form of entertainment in today’s on-the-go society. Regardless of skill level and amount of free time, people can always enjoy them. Whether playing together in an internet café or cheering on their favorite pro-gamers in front of their TVs, Koreans have incorporated video games into their lives like no other people have. For Koreans, video games may be the cornerstone of a new, high-tech culture.
A Developing Country’s Fight Against AIDS “Local manufacturing… is not a declaration of war against the drugs industry. It is simply a fight for life.”1 Brazil is commonly known as an exotic country with an endless coastline, lush tropical rainforests, and vibrant samba celebrations. Its cultural treasures aside, Brazil is now gaining recognition in the medical world for its stunning success in controlling the AIDS epidemic within its borders. Despite the World Health Organization prediction that Brazil would have 1.2 million people suffering from AIDS by 2000, the country defied statistics and reported only half that number at the start of the century.2 How has Brazil managed to keep AIDS at bay while the same epidemic continues to spiral out of control in other developing countries? Brazil’s strategy combines supplying free condoms and offering free HIV/AIDS testing to all of its citizens. Most surprising, however, is Brazil’s provision of free antiretroviral (ARV) drugs for all registered HIV patients, which cost an average of $10,000 per patient per year in the developed world.3 Brazil is able to locally produce eight of the fifteen drugs in the antiretroviral mixture4 known as the “AIDS cocktail” thanks to their unique patent laws.5 The policy requires products from foreign companies to be manufactured in Brazil within three years of receiving a patent, allowing the country to afford this free medication. Although the United Nations Commission on Human Rights supports Brazil’s distribution of free ARV drugs by declaring access to AIDS medications as a human right, a heated controversy is still brewing over this practice. Efavirenz, patented by U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck, is one of the most essential drugs in the “AIDS cocktail” and is currently used by 75,000 Brazilian HIV patients. Negotiations between the Brazilian government and Merck to lower the price of this key drug began in November 2006 and continued until the end of April 2007 with no success. In response, Brazil
declared the compulsory licensing of the medication, setting a precedent in its history of free ARV drug provision. By claiming Efavirenz to be of public interest, the country could produce the copyrighted drug itself or import a generic version. To the average person, copyrights may mean little, but Brazilian lives depend on circumventing the patent giving Merck the right to charge whatever price they see fit. Brazil’s choice to import the generic version will save the government about $240 million by 2012, the year that the patent for Efavirenz expires. Thanks to its compulsory licensing policy, Brazil can spend its savings on other progressive pursuits. By raising awareness about AIDS, Brazil could decrease the need for these medications in the first place.
Merck’s head of global AIDS programs defends the company, saying, “If countries like Brazil demand lower prices, the policy of favoring poor countries becomes unsustainable.”6 Merck’s spokespeople further argue that they “simply cannot sustain a situation in which the developed countries alone are expected to bear the cost for the essential drugs.”7 These claims seem warranted, yet drug companies are not known for their reasonable pricing schemes. As a matter of fact, pharmaceutical companies often overprice medications that are in high demand. In 2006, Pfizer, another pharmaceutical company, charged double the price for its heart medications in the Philippines8—a country where heart disease is the number one cause of death. Pfizer also recently increased the price of the world’s top selling drug, Lipitor, by sixteen percent. Moreover,
by Bengisu Kuscu
the average price increase in the pharmaceutical market in the U.S. doubles the overall economy’s annual inflation rate.9 Perhaps these companies are afraid that the Brazilian prototype of demanding lowerpriced medications “could serve as a model for other countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, even Africa,”10 a precedent that would bring them further monetary damage should these countries follow suit. While pharmaceutical companies do pursue profits, they also work towards developing treatments for deadly diseases and deserve credit and protection for their hard earned patents. Still, the lives of 75,000 Efavirenz users in Brazil are much more important than the year-end bonus Merck’s CEO will receive or the profits its stockholders will collect. Through the years, Merck’s shares have proportionally increased with international AIDS outbreaks, and the company has barely been affected by Brazil’s policy of compulsory licensing.11 The dilemma for developing nations like Brazil is complicated: their AIDS epidemics are not as dire or alarming as other undeveloped and truly poor countries; but neither are they as rich as developed countries that can expect citizens to pay for their own AIDS medications. Legal or illegal, generic drugs will always be in demand. Brazil should be praised for devoting itself to its people’s health and well-being, instead of appeasing pharmaceutical companies like Merck. Wadia, Roy. “Brazil’s AIDS Policy Earns Global Plaudits.” CNN World 16 Aug. 2001. 29 Feb. 2008 <http://archives.cnn.com>. Ministry of Health of Brazil. (2003). Brazilian STD/AIDS Policy. Brazil: National STD/AIDS Programme. 3 Szwarcwald, CL. (2002). “The impact of national production of ARV drugs on the cost of ARV therapy in Brazil, 1997-2000.” Presented at the XIV International AIDS Conference. 4 Gilman, Susan. (2001). “Brazil, AIDS, and Intellectual Property.” TED Case Studies, No. 649, January. 5 Drug Companies Vs. Brazil: The Threat to Public Health. Oxfam GB. Great Britain: Oxfam Briefing Papers, 2001. 29 Feb. 2008 <http:// publications.oxfam.org.uk/>. 6 Stewart, Alastair. “Merck Says Brazil AIDS Patent Move Impedes Investment.” Dow Jones Newswires 04 May 2007. 7 lcorn, Keith. “Brazil Issues Compulsory License on Efavirenz.” Aids map 07 May 2007. 29 Feb. 2008 <http://www.aidsmap.com/en/ news>. 8 “India, Thailand and Philippines Must Face Down Conflicts to Guarantee Affordable Medicine.” 11 Dec. 2006. Oxfam GB. 1 Mar. 2008 <http://www.oxfam.org.uk/applications/blogs/pressof fice/2006/12/india_thailand_and_philippines_1.html>. 9 Ibid. 10 Wadia 2001. 11 “MRK: Basic Chart for MERCK CO INC.” Yahoo! Finance. 29 Feb. 2008 <http://finance.yahoo.com>. 1
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by Michelle Fang
Ah, the classic tourist conundrum—do I clumsily attempt the native tongue and watch as locals try to hide their amusement, or do I assert myself in English and risk coming off as a snobby American tourist?
probably wasn’t. After all, with its beautiful landscapes and historical sites, Greece is constantly flooded with foreigners speaking various languages. To me though, the issue deserves much greater consideration.
this country, I never seen anything like this. The lady says ‘Speak English, I don’t want to hear Spanish!’ and big fight happens. There was blood in here and everything… It [was] crazy.”
This was a constant debate my parents and I had when we went to Greece. Seeing a local’s puzzled expression as he struggled to understand my poor attempts at Greek (Ayfah-ris-to? Ef-huh-rees-to?), my parents would chuckle and shake their heads. Yet each time they approached locals and queried them in English, I couldn’t help feeling slightly embarrassed.
In the States, many expect foreigners that come here to speak English, reasoning that it is only fair since they are “trespassing” upon our land. Though reasonable on the surface, this attitude can trigger a landslide of anger and hate. Take, for instance, the brawl that occurred in a Boston beauty salon after one woman screamed, “Speak English! This is America!”
In circumstances like this, it becomes clear how important it is to address the issue of respecting another country’s language.
Why should this be such a point of contention? To the people we encountered, it
David Win, the owner of the beauty salon, later told the Boston Herald, “Ten years in
Trying out a new language in a foreign country can be akin to riding a bike for the first time—chances are you’ll fall flat on your face or at most end up riding along shakily for a few feet before quickly hopping off. Even if you have been learning the language for years, there is nothing like being dropped into a foreign country to make
you realize the difference between practicing for an oral exam and speaking in a local market. I’ve had friends who excelled in Spanish at school, only to be knocked down a few notches the moment they landed in Latin America—they discovered the accent and pace of the language to be completely different from that learned in their classroom. And what if you’re like me, and just want to pick up a few basic phrases from a “trusty” source such as Wikipedia before plunging into the native land? Forget it, it’s not worth the embarrassment—at least that’s what people tell me. I’m not sure I agree. It might be humbling to stand there stupidly, slowly untangling the syllables from your tongue, but attempting to speak the native language is like offering an olive branch to a stranger. It is a way of showing your respect for the culture of the country you are visiting by attempting to somewhat assimilate. It seems slightly pretentious to walk up to a stranger in a foreign land and assume that he or she can speak English. Refusing to try a new language reflects laziness at best and a narrow-minded attitude at worst. Furthermore, as easy as it is to downplay the importance of a language, it represents a nation’s history and culture. For example, the chosen official language of an African country frequently reflects its history as a European colony. Word borrowings (such as “algebra” from Arabic) or shared linguistic characteristics often stem from one nation’s interactions with another. Thus a
country’s language can speak magnitudes about its roots, politics, and religion. Going back to the incident at the beauty salon, why should we be so riled up when someone speaks a different language on our “territory”? After all, if my experiences abroad serve me correctly, many Americans don’t even bother attempting to learn any phrases of a foreign language if they know they can get by with English. It seems hypocritical to demand that others speak
Refusing to try a new language reflects laziness at best and a narrow-minded attitude at worst. English when they visit the States but stubbornly cling to our English when we in turn visit them. Obviously, it is impossible for us to learn to speak a language fluently each time we travel abroad, but that should not deter us from learning a few key phrases. Even greeting a stranger with a simple “Hello, how are you?” in his or her native tongue before asking for directions in English can make all the dif-
ference in your interaction. My parents might have laughed at me the first few times I bravely greeted someone in Greek only to confuse him all the more with my terrible pronunciations, but by the end of the tour, they were the ones asking me to teach them a few words in Greek. By putting my pride on the line a few times, I was able to share a few short, awkward, but wonderful conversations with the locals (if you can even call them conversations: “Hello, how are you?” “I’m fine, how are you?” “I’m fine. Merry Christmas!” “Thank you, Merry Christmas!” “Thank you!”). Traveling isn’t just about taking pictures of the land and buying souvenirs—it’s also about immersing yourself in the culture and learning from a different way of life. On the last night of my trip in Greece, I dined in a restaurant with my family. The restaurant was packed, and the only waiter who could speak decent English was running around frantically. While the other American families might have opted to sit there hungrily, I wasn’t going to let language get in the way of food. Coolly summoning over a waitress, I used my very limited vocabulary to order food, then I nodded and smiled at whatever she said. To this day, I have no idea what I agreed to, but I do know that the food soon arrived, and it was delicious. As we left, she winked and wished me a happy new year. I cheerfully responded ‘hronia pola’—proud that I got to show off my acquired Greek one last time. Mission accomplished.
Hippie Travels and Conversations That Dance by Aaina Agarwal
Welcome to the world of hippie travelers. These are the idealists amongst today’s European and Israeli youth, those who don’t claim enlightenment but are inspired to search for this truth in all its murky splendor. India is one of their top destinations of choice. They come seeking spirituality, and I suspect they’ve chosen the right place. India belongs to a civilization that spreads from the beginning of mankind. The allure of ancient myths and undiscovered beauty is as much fact as it is fiction. Tales of epic warfare and opulent kingdoms settle into the roots of this country. Profound traditions of music and dance pulse like a lifeline through the culture, providing a strong continuum between past and present times. It is this connection to tradition that the hippies are after. India offers much that has not yet faced the force of globalization. Many of India’s treasures are protected from development by obscure locations and third world conditions. This obscurity keeps them from the undiscerning eyes of travelers who are not interested enough to make the difficult and tiring trek that is often required. Hippie travelers eagerly seek this challenge. They are the ones that accept buses without air-conditioning and third-class overnight trains with panache. Their scene is one of extended stays and unplanned stopovers. They are the wallflower travelers, who wish to observe rather than intrude. They pack lightly, hoping for the image of spontaneity they find in the literary worlds of Salman Rushdie or William Dalrymple. They are content to realize that they have no wisdom to superimpose, and that India is not a culture or nation less advanced, but rather one that exists in a different medium of living altogether. Many hippies sport dreadlocks, and some even bring their small children, who trot behind them with faint sproutings of matted hair and nonchalance just beginning to surface. These are the types of travelers I have met and observed throughout my adventures in India, and I find them to be quite delightful. After significant experience with the country, I would like to think that I have touched upon the strong
kinship and respect for humanity that characterizes their travels. I welcome you to be the judge. After being born, raised, and married in Delhi, my parents opted for the immigrant dream of America. I hold an interesting position of Americanborn foreignness towards India. While I was brought up with the quirks and charm
of their tradition, I still feel strange assuming India to be completely my own. A lifetime of visits and transplanted culture do not suffice; India is not a country that extends a missionary-type welcome to any outsider who wishes to hop on the bandwagon. She makes belonging elusive, and that is part of her charm. I spent my junior year of college living in Old Delhi with twenty American college students. This was not your structured, crowded study abroad experience. We found a flat, a cook, and a wrought iron elevator that occasionally worked. Here you are, ready, and… go. No rules, no imposing scheduled group restrictions, and no how-to creed to be followed. We enter the open-aired rickshaw and watch the tableau of life run on either side. Pass the outdoor barbershop, which is always speckled with a regular group of small Indian men sporting butterfly moustaches and sipping endless cups of chai. Left down the lane tunneled by jungle trees that overflow to create dappled shadows on the ground. Looking up, we spy a band of monkeys trolling about the area. Regal old houses lie in crumbling ruins behind high walls, and the monkeys have taken to guarding this territory for themselves. Sharp right, and if fate is smiling we spot
the old stray dog we named “Purp.” Purp refers to the deep shade of bruised purple that he has somehow turned after years of flea-infested survival. He just chills all day on these lanes that are his home, and we’ve decided that spotting him is a sign of a lucky day. Slight left, make sure to honk around the blind corner so we don’t hit the vegetable seller on his bike. Some kind of animal, most often an oxen or a lumpy cow, greets our presence as the beautiful house on the corner just starts to become visible. The rickshaw comes to a jolting halt. We argue over small prices for the sake of principle, and the driver zooms off. Greeting the chokidhar’ (gate
guard) with a smile, we are dually comforted by his familiarity and his Hindi title, both of which we have incorporated into our daily repertoire. Day or night, bitter cold or tropical heat, he is always there, welcoming the patrons of 7 Raj Narain Marg as we make our way back into this haven, our home. Living in Delhi was equal parts challenge and delight. Since there were no rules and no place for judgment, we felt free to express our personalities without restraint. It was sink or swim, and we were the lifelines provided for one another. The situation required fierce immediacy to be properly played out. We were in India, after all, a land of kinship above all else. Every adventure needs a significant partner in crime, and I found the best one a girl could ever ask for. Enter Andrea, my Philly go-to girl. Each morning involved finding a cycle rickshaw ride to the gym. While being pedaled along by an old man on an old bike, we both delighted in spotting new odds and ends on the same route we had taken the day before. We would load little pipes bought from street vendors across the country and
smoke them on our rooftop overlooking the city. We planned picnics in various jungle gardens throughout Delhi, where we sipped wine among peacocks, ancient buildings, and the bona fide jungle that landscapes the city. There was a seamless ease between us despite our many differences. Our friendship took subtle gems from humor, wit, and spirit to create its own entity of unspoken understanding. We fell into conversations that danced, rather than agreed or antagonized. There was much else about India that occupied our lives, yet this particular friendship has come to dominate my memories and continues to shade them with new color and detail long after our return. While living in Delhi, we were free to travel the country as we pleased—camping in the mountains of Kashmir, considered by some to be the remnants of the Garden of Eden; jumping through sand dunes and racing camels in Rajisthan; lazing through the back water lagoons of Kerala on the prow of a wicker-made houseboat; and strolling the beaches of Pondicherry with its quaint, French-flavored ambiance. Yet the six months that we lived in India could never be enough to journey to all the places we longed to see. So one year later, we came back to India for two weeks of whirlwind
a few hours. After some haphazard consolidation efforts, we are left with one shared suitcase and we board a plane to begin the next chapter of our adventure. This time around, we know some tricks. We sit close in the open-air rickshaws for warmth. I am bombarded with, “Excuse me miss, are you from India?” Outside of the cities, people are confused. Why is there a random white chick walking with this Indian one? Or is the Indian one actually white? But no, she couldn’t be, look at those tell-tale features! Another favorite is a few variations of, “Ah, one Indian, one foreign.” For better rates and friendlier reception, we devise a crafty story to portray ourselves as insiders. I am from Delhi, and Andrea is my “Indian-loving” white friend who studies there with me. This explanation flies in rural areas and smaller cities because the Hindi dialect is so varied that to the untrained ear, my American accent can pass for one from Delhi. Indians know how to work their own system, and they do it extremely well. It seems fitting that we found a way to slide into this tradition ourselves. Our bare feet hit the smooth, cool floors inside the Ajanta Caves—Buddhist cave monuments from the second century B.C. They are built almost hidden into the side of remote mountains, left over from an ancient
travels without concrete plans. What we do have, however, is a bond that is strong enough to command all situations favorably, and that is exactly enough to fill the luggage and board the plane. The influence of hippies that we encountered in the past seems to have made its mark on our approach to travel. We have embarked upon this adventure with only an idea of the places we need to hit and a vague sense of the travel scheme that will get us there. After arriving in Delhi, it’s two non-stop days with our old friends on no sleep. In a haze of delirium and exhaustion, we are attempting to pack for the upcoming ten hectic days of rural travels, kicked off by a flight to Bombay that leaves in but
and abandoned civilization. They house large Buddha sculptures and intricate paintings that have retained their color and detail over thousands of years. We stand awestruck before the imposing erotic temples of Khujaraho, featuring fully depicted kama-sutra sculptures that have been carved with elegant devotion to myth and dance. The sculptures of sexual orgies are built stacked on top of one another to create the elaborate exterior of the temples. We load up on Indian medicines for the trifecta of cough-fever-exhaustion sickness that has started to creep in so that we can take on the temples with our A-game. India is not to be missed, or half done, no matter what the circumstances. In vogue
photos by Aaina Agarwal
with hippie fashion, our rural travels are 26 uncrowded. We row down the Ganges at sunrise to watch life appear along one of the world’s oldest and most revered rivers. People emerge to bathe and wash clothes. Men consort with one another and women sing tunes of religious devotion. Kites fly everywhere in sight, while wind and prayer sweep continuously over the water. We indulge in an exclusive five-star hotel brunch in Bombay, and then we sleep crammed into one top berth of a crowded, fluorescent-lit compartment on a night train to the grimy transit city of Jabalpur. Showers are actually dribbles of cold water in the small yet endearing guesthouses we find for a night’s rest along our way. We canoe marble rock canyons and abandon train tickets to take an impromptu safari across the untamed fields that spread through the middle of the country. Workers laze in small huts that pop up every so often in the center of flower fields. We stop along the way to take photos of children who smile at us without fear, intent, or expectation. Dirty and tired, but brilliantly happy, we pack each day with discoveries that are equally big and small. Our plans have worked well and our method of peaceful chaos has
made them all the more enjoyable. Kinship between hippie travelers provides new definitions for friendship. We share clothes and shampoo and travel-induced illness with patience and ease. I forget to pack warm clothes, and Andrea forgets to pack cool ones. So, while freezing in a gritty train station at 4 a.m., “Andrea can I wear this?” really becomes an unnecessary question with an obvious answer. Can I use your face wash? Why are you even asking? I have no more socks! Oh well, have my last pair. I’m sorry I brushed my teeth with Ganges water and am now crumpled in illness. Will you be upset if we stay in? An hour later, giggling and enjoying room service hummus and badly dubbed American movies, it was another question that needed no answer.
Pearl of the Orient by Lihua Chen
The evolution of Shanghai is much like that of a reformed prostitute. A century ago, its society of loose, opium-induced morals and its openness to foreigners earned it the nickname “Whore of the Orient.” Later, during the stronghold of Communism, Mao Zedong forced it into penitence as a chastened symbol. Only for the past two decades has the prostitute dared to recover some of its former decadent glory. Once again a bastion for foreigners and cutting-edge entertainment culture, Shanghai has reemerged—without forgetting its lessons of conservatism. The city is now smarter about tempering its innate desire for brazenness against the dominance of foreigners. As an economic powerhouse with valuable assets, it has discovered that marrying up is more profitable than prostitution. Shanghai should be thrilled with its new moniker: “the Pearl of the Orient.”
The Rise of Sin City Seven hundred years ago, Shanghai existed as a local shipping town. Its flowering into an international hub of extravagance did not begin until the mid-eighteenth century, when British traffickers headquartered it for the smuggling of opium. By the 1830s, more than enough opium entered the city every year to supply twelve million addicts, or ten percent of China’s population.1 So many illegal ships were voyaging across the ocean to Shanghai that “shanghaied” became a verb, used to describe those who were drugged and kidnapped into service as sailors. While already a magnet for the wealthy, Shanghai’s dramatic leap towards becoming a cosmopolitan center occurred a few
photos by Lihua Chen
decades and battles later, when a weary emperor granted foreign powers extra-territoriality, or immunity from Chinese law. Shanghai became a paradise for adventurers and traders who operated more on whim than by rules. Almost immediately, a culture of excess and a dynamic nightlife sprang up to accommodate their tastes. By the 1930s, Shanghai was responsible not only for half of all foreign trade in China, but also for its most vibrant pleasure industry—one in 130 women was a prostitute.2 Shanghai was transformed by this surge of entrepreneurs and expatriates. An eccentric collection ranging from exiled Russian tsarists—penniless nobility who often re-started life as bakers—to avantgarde writers such as W.H. Auden and George Bernard Shaw called Shanghai home. Foreign consuls carved their presence not merely into the carousing culture, but also into the physical landscape. Even now, some of the city’s focal points for leisure are the beautifully tailored French Concession and the Bund. A former British settlement, the Bund rests on one edge of the river that runs through Shanghai. Its English name derives from a Hindi expression meaning “embankment,” while the literal translation of its Chinese name is “foreigner’s shore”—location and name encapsulating the intensity of Shanghai’s diversity. Currently, the area hosts some of the city’s trendiest clubs, multi-story monstrosities that could rival the most exclusive venues in London or New York City. Waiters walk around the rooftop of Bar Rouge
with fireworks shooting out of bottles of Dom Perignon. Paris Hilton even visited for a publicity blitz in 2007, and she posed in a traditional qipao dress amidst skyscrapers along the Bund. Now, like a century before, the foreign and wealthy find much to attract them to Shanghai.
The Birthplace of Chinese Communism Early twentieth century expatriates would not have dared to indulge in such excesses within their home countries. Yet in Shanghai, they were impervious to laws. They treated the city as a bounty prize, fueling their prosperity with its underbelly of poverty. Foreign industry subjected the local Shanghainese to grueling labor, trifling wages, and high taxes, resulting in high death rates. Indeed, in 1934, the local life expectancy was only twenty-seven years.3 With outside powers dominating the city’s political life, the Shanghainese simmered with resentment and readied themselves for an opportunity to vent their antipathy. Rebellions and bloodshed began to streak the streets by the 1920s.4 Recognizing the need for change, Mao Zedong attended the inaugural meeting for the Chinese Communist Party in ironically enough, the French Concession.5 The Communists’ seizure of China and the Japanese defeat in World War II radically redefined the city. The openness necessary for a decadent Shanghai deadened under a sealed and centrally planned economy. Unsurprisingly, Mao’s repressive authoritarianism explicitly denounced Shanghai as “evil and hellish” and targeted it for cleans-
ing. At public meetings, party leaders would purposely degrade those who had had frequently dealt with foreigners. The government purged the opium trade, placed the addicts into rehabilitation, and rounded up around 30,000 prostitutes for “re-education programmes.”6
A Flamboyant Love Affair Only after Mao’s death did Shanghai dare to peek out from the shadowy shutters of conservatism. With the rise of a new leader, Deng Xiaoping, and his economic liberalizations in 1979, Shanghai was once again poised for commercialization. Today, China has more foreign direct investment than any country in the world, with Shanghai greedily claiming the largest share.7 The city has been modernizing rapidly, moving almost as if fueled by revenge. Chagrined at being considered a backwater for so many decades, it is determined to regain its cosmopolitan status. Taxi drivers love to joke that while the graceful crane is the national bird of China, it is a different kind that dominates the Shanghai skyline: construction cranes. Almost a quarter of the world’s cranes line Shanghai’s newly paved avenues. The city is also more adroit with its foreign involvement. It is welcoming of Starbucks, but only if the chain will serve green tea frappucinos and mooncakes. Fashionable Shanghainese lounge on the coffeeshop’s signature couches and learn the art of people-watching, all the while nibbling on red bean tarts. And unlike the gangster and opium-driven market of a century prior, the government cracks down on crime— though at times in terrifyingly strict ways. China issues ninety percent of the world’s death penalty sentences, and occasionally for transgressions as minor as derrière pinching.8 The main bulk of Shanghai’s black market has been reduced to pirated movies.
As with its economic sphere, Shanghai’s pleasure culture itself has been transformed. Though no longer as illicit as a century ago, the city still bustles with nighttime revelry. After all, China does not even have a drinking age. At high school gatherings, teenagers guzzle Reeb (beer spelled backwards) over circular tables that rotate with steaming plates of chicken feet and jellied jellyfish. While foreigners still play an immense role, it is the glamorous Shanghainese who now drive an industry of entertainment. Bars, dance venues, and private karaoke rooms glow with neon lights late into the night. No longer involved with prostitution, young locals actively create the social agenda instead. And they have no desire to return to the strict deprivation of Mao Zedong’s era. Reminiscent of the loose carousing of Vegas, Shanghai believes that bright lights equal big city. Shanghai is where young Chinese go when they are looking for a flamboyant love affair. Rural kids pour in from the countryside, taking advantage of the easy availability of jobs and the intoxicating freedom of adventure. A night of karaoke with friends is staged in a private VIP room, replete with disco ball, drinks, and dark nooks with leather couches. The most requested songs of the country’s more popular pastime alternate between classic Chinese love songs and old-school Britney Spears. For Shanghai, its past as a cultural hub, no matter how much it is decried as “evil and hellish,” is its identity. No amount of reform can permanently suppress it. The Shanghainese are nostalgic for the early twentieth century decadence in the same way that many Americans are nostalgic for the Roaring Twenties.9 No one desires a return to the actual conditions—neither Prohibition nor foreign rule hold much appeal—yet the glamorized past of revelry is difficult to resist. Shanghai is struggling to decide how much cosmopolitan charm it can regain without
sacrificing its independence. If no longer a “Whore of the Orient,” then how should Shanghai construct its new image?
The Harvesting of a “Pearl” The biggest city in China, Shanghai is actively advertising its image as the “Pearl of the Orient.” It sells itself as a long-simmering treasure that is just fully revealing itself, but this glosses over the damage that feverish modernization brings. There is still regulation of laws, outrageous corruption, and an environmental disaster that is literally visible on the horizon. Sunny, blue skies reveal themselves from the suffocating smog for only about ten days each month. Yet Shanghai is convinced that the consequences of hasty construction will be compensated for by the rewards of success. After all, the reflection of the Bund’s city lights off of the polluted HuangPu River does hold its own special kind of luster by moonlight. Shanghai’s pride and landmark, the soaring TV tower with its silhouette of spheres, is named the Oriental Pearl Tower. One can gaze across at it from the eighty-seventh floor of Cloud 9, the highest bar in the world. As one sips a Chivas and green tea martini, one could almost believe it to be merely a string of red paper lanterns, fluttering in the 1930s wind. Shanghai – Historical Background. The Economist.com. Jan. 29, 2008. Shanghai – Historical Background. The Economist.com. Jan. 29, 2008. 3 Shanghai – Historical Background. The Economist.com. Jan. 29, 2008. 4 Robert W. Barnett. Starvation, Boom and Blockage in Shanghai. Far Eastern Survey. Vol. IX, No. 9, April 24, 1940, pp. 97-103. 5 Paul Goldberger. Shanghai Surprise. The New Yorker. December 26, 2005. 6 Shanghai – Historical Background. The Economist.com. Jan. 29, 2008. 7 Nicholas R. Lardy. The Role of Foreign Trade and Investment in Chi na’s Economic Transformation. The China Quarterly, No. 144, Special Issue: China’s Transitional Economy. (Dec. 1995), pp. 10651082. 8 Executions in China. The Economist com. March 1, 2008. http:// www.economist.com/world/asia/displaystory.cfm?story_ id=10498179#top. 9 Hanchao Lu. Nostalgia for the Future: The Resurgence of an Alienated Culture in China. Pacific Affairs, Vol. 75, No. 2. (Summer, 2002), pp. 169-186. 1
30 NEW YORK, United States. New York City is known as the hub of nightlife, and it’s not hard to see why. Naturally, there are many typical dance clubs with splashy lights, gyrating dancers, and a DJ spinning out Top 40 hits. To add a little flair to your clubbing experience, visit one of the many exciting themed clubs, such as La Caverna, modeled after actual Roman caves, or Earth NYC, a club that emulates Bombay after dark with Indian street foods such as kebabs and samosas and drinks such as mango cocktails. For a zesty time, visit clubs like La Nueva Escuelita, where Latin drag queens parade around the crowd, or Barracuda, a gay club to “meet the shark of your dreams.” No matter what you’re looking for in a club, New York City’s nightlife is guaranteed to satisfy—and surprise!
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina. If your travels take you to Buenos Aires, be sure to put on your sexiest outfit and hit up the Opera Bay in the Puerto Madero district of Argentina’s capital city. Shaped like the Sydney Operahouse, Opera Bay’s upscale, classy atmosphere attracts locals and international students alike, especially on Saturday nights where the colorful interior and ubiquitoustechno beats keep the party pumping on all three dance floors. Although a bit expensive by Argentine standards (thirty pesos, or about ten dollars), Opera Bay’s cosmopolitan mixture of sexy people, delicious drinks, and hot music will seduce you into another visit.
photo by eustatiub
FLORENCE, Italy. Imagine your typical American dance club. Then imagine it twice as large, blasting techno music, and packed with men and women dressed in skin-tight, funky-patterned clothing. The line to enter Maracaná may seem daunting, but get to know the staff, and you’ll pass right in. Men aren’t shy to approach women, go-go dancers perform atop platforms and in cages, and smoke fills the room. The bar system is more complicated than our “open a tab” format. When you go in, you pay a cover charge and get a paper card, which the bartender punches for each drink you order. At the exit, you pay the cashier for your drinks, though one beverage is typically included in the entrance fee. This energetic scene continues until 3 a.m. and serves as a place that unites locals, students, and other foreigners.
DAKAR, Senegal. The bar is jammed full of people, which is surprising in a Muslim country where ninety-five percent of the population will not drink. Overhead, a continuously shifting techno remix interlaces Shakira, Senegalese rap, and the latest Top 40 from France. The dance floor is completely surrounded by mirrors, and even the supporting columns have mirrors on every side. Dressed to the nines in clothing that would offend the locals, each member of the largely ex-pat group stands in front of a mirror, intensely focusing on his- or herself, and dances as if to seduce the reflection. Are they just practicing their dancing? Crammed together, everyone dances alone, a moment of solitude in a crowded world.
SHANGHAI, China. It’s not surprising that Attica played host to Paris Hilton in November of 2007 while she was in Shanghai. This massive venue sits on an eleventhfloor rooftop overlooking the HuangPu River, which cuts through the middle of the futuristic metropolis. Denizens lounge in VIP booths on the spacious terrace as they sip Grey Goose vodka and take in the spectacular view of the colorfully lit Shanghai skyline across the river; its eerie reflection in the river’s dark water mesmerizes the eye. Inside, hundreds of people pulse and bob to the rhythm of Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack” in a large black room with boxy decorative accents and blinding disco lights. Whether dancing, drinking, or both, one can’t help feeling like a Hollywood star in this exotic locale.
SYDNEY, Australia. On a typical Friday night, party-goers and locally and internationally renowned DJs gather for Club Sublime, or Subbies. Voted Australia’s number one club, Subbies features a ‘pyromaniac’ display of colored lights that flashes in time to the music. Trance music plays in the background as some people dance the Melbourne Shuffle, which blends jazz moves with a modern step. Others simply move with the music, forgetting themselves in the rhythm and the sheer movement of their bodies. This is a time for people to enjoy the moment of anonymity as they lose themselves to the darkness of the dance floor.
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