Himalayan travelogues are full of stories. For the most part, those stories fall into a specific genre, one that I tend to refer to as “my magical adventure in an exotic land.” Mustang, especially, has this reputation. In fact, multiple coffee table books easily available from booksellers everywhere pay homage to the “Lost Kingdom of Tibet,” the “Lost World of Lo,” and the “real Shangri-La.” Unfortunately, these books and pamphlets on high altitude travel are equally full of popular orientalist tropes of “pure” cultures and “innocent” people who somehow exist “out of time” despite being just as familiar with and a part of the “modern” world as anyone else is. But the impetus to see Mustang (and the Himalayas generally) as “magical” place filled with “spiritual” people is a hard one to resist. Most especially because the illusion is not just conjured up by Euro-American travel agencies or National Geographic specials but by Nepalis and Tibetans themselves, many of whom rely on the trekking and tourism industry for their livelihoods in a land politically marginalized between China, Kathmandu, and India.
The Familiar Strange · Ep# 79 A Journey to the West: Nicholas Ng on the Music of the Teochew Diaspora in Western Sydney We're back this week with familiar stranger Jarrod's first interview! For this episode, Jarrod sits down with Dr Nicholas Ng from Western Sydney Uni’s Institute for Culture and Society. Dr Ng is … Continue reading Ep# 79 A Journey to the West: Nicholas Ng on the Music of the Teochew Diaspora in Western Sydney
For some, instructions to wear masks in public places have been an opportunity to chart new courses in fashion or have simply been a minor inconvenience in the effort to prevent the further spread of Covid-19. Alternatively, for others in more libertarian and sometimes conspiratorial groups, the face mask has become a symbol of the overreach of the state. I suspect for many of those reading this blog post the opposition to wearing masks seems deeply irrational and perplexing. Likewise, I have found these sentiments troubling and an affront to my own sense of community and ethics. For myself, wearing a mask has become a way of publicly presenting my commitment to stopping the spread of viruses and an acknowledgement of science and evidence as a guide to public health policy. So how has the face mask become a symbol of such divergent meanings?
The Familiar Strange · Ep #78 Alternative Healing Practises & The Social Status of Shopping Centres: This Month on TFS This week we’d like to introduce you to our newest Familiar Stranger, Ruonan Chen! Ruonan is currently doing her fieldwork around hospitals and healing practises in the Tibet autonomous region. In this episode, the strangers … Continue reading Ep #78 Alternative Healing Practises & The Social Status of Shopping Centres: This Month on TFS