Category Archives: Culture

Family. A word that entered into English in the early 1400s, meaning “servants of a household,” from the Latin familia “family servants, domestics collectively, the servants in a household.”  The original definition includes the estate, the property; the staff, and any relatives. How things change! When I was growing up, “family” generally meant a nuclear family of two […]

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It is dark inside a wattle and daub Himba wattle and daub hut. As well as being dark, the huts are likely to be noisy with chatter, packed with bodies, and smoky from the fireplace, pipe tobacco, and incense. The huts are built from mopane wood – a local termite-resistant hardwood – plastered with a mixture of clay and animal dung. […]

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Some days feel dark. Very dark. It is a truism that the best way to combat darkness is to shine a lamp or light a candle. Loi Krathong  (ลอยกระทง) is Thailand’s own festival of lights. On the evening of the twelfth full-moon of the traditional Thai lunar calendar, Thais – and lucky visitors – congregate around a body […]

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Hong Kong has to be one of my favourite cities. The harbour, the skyline, the street markets, the parks, the culture, the shopping… Exotic and “oriental” while having all the familiar comforts of a large cosmopolitan city, Hong Kong buzzes with excitement, oozes with money, and, at the same time, feels accessible and safe. This sense of […]

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There are countless deities in the Indian pantheon. Sometimes it seems that the number of religions and cults is almost as high. Scattered around the Western Thar Desert of India and Pakistan are villages of people calling themselves Bishnois. Followers of “Jambhaji”, as Guru Jambheshwar of Bikaner (b.1451) became known, these people are predominantly descended from Jat peasants and Rajput warriors from the north: Haryana, […]

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