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High­lights

Asian Geographic - - Front Page - POP­U­LA­TION RE­LI­GION a Dwin­dling pop­u­lat ion

LAN­GUAGE Raute num­bers are plum­met­ing from forced re­lo­ca­tion and seden­tari­sa­tion

The Raute have al­ways been no­madic, and en­vi­ron­men­tal knowl­edge is passed down orally – one open se­cret is how mon­keys at the end of the rainy sea­son have fat, de­li­cious meat – but this prim­i­tive cul­ture is now suf­fer­ing a food cri­sis. Cli­mate change has af­fected the rains that once wa­tered the for­est yams, berries and mush­rooms with which they sup­ple­ment their diet, and the mon­keys they hunt are at risk of ex­tinc­tion.

Within the tribe, in­fant mor­tal­ity and phys­i­cal dis­abil­ity rates have climbed rapidly in re­cent years. Moth­ers of­ten die in child­birth, and many Raute lack key vi­ta­mins and proteins; the fact that us­ing medicines vi­o­lates the tribe’s an­cient be­liefs pre­vents modern help from reach­ing them.

The Nepalese gov­ern­ment and hu­man rights or­gan­i­sa­tions have tried to of­fer the Raute plots of land on which to live and farm, and free ed­u­ca­tion for their chil­dren. But the peo­ple re­sist as­sim­i­la­tion, pre­fer­ring to pre­serve their cul­ture than be a part of a world they do not un­der­stand.

“We say no to set­tle­ment, ed­u­ca­tion and agri­cul­ture. We would rather die than give up our no­madic way of life,” says leader Mahin.

Adds a hunter, Bir Ba­hadur: “God gives us all the mon­keys that come into our nets.” ag

“We say no to set­tle­ment, ed­u­ca­tion and agri­cul­ture. We would rather die than give up our no­madic way of life”

The writ­ing and pub­lish­ing in­dus­try in Singapore re­ceived a boost this March with the 10th All In! Young Writ­ers Fes­ti­val, an an­nual event that seeks to groom as­pir­ing writ­ers aged 13 to 25 aim­ing for ca­reers in pub­lish­ing, broad­cast­ing, creative writ­ing, and jour­nal­ism.

Al­most 800 youth from var­i­ous schools were taught and men­tored by a wide ar­ray of writ­ing men­tors and in­dus­try play­ers – in­clud­ing film­maker Saleem Hadi, novelist Sa­man­tha De Silva, and play­wright T. Neshma – through sem­i­nars, train­ing ses­sions and work­shops to bet­ter un­der­stand the writ­ing in­dus­try in Asia.

Be­sides fa­cil­i­tat­ing con­tact be­tween young writ­ers and in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als, the fes­ti­val also pro­vides a plat­form for young writ­ers to show­case their work lo­cally and re­gion­ally through a series of writ­ing com­pe­ti­tion, with cat­e­gories in­clud­ing fic­tion, short sto­ries, es­says, and film.

The ASIAN Ge­o­graphic Hot Soup School Chal­lenge 2019 will be held in con­junc­tion with All In! 2019 to en­cour­age young peo­ple to read Young peo­ple in the Cam­bo­dian cap­i­tal Ph­nom Penh now have a place to test out their wheels with the city’s new Skate School, com­pris­ing a 500-square-me­tre skate park, a class­room, a li­brary, and a large green space. Launched ear­lier this year by non-profit Skateis­tan – an or­gan­i­sa­tion that works to em­power youth through skate­board­ing and ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties – the new fa­cil­ity will ben­e­fit chil­dren in the area, with a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on girls and youth liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties. The new Skate School was opened with per­for­mances by in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal fe­male skaters in­clud­ing Sky Brown, Mimi Knoop, and Kouv “Tin” Chansangva.

Skateis­tan is work­ing with mul­ti­ple part­ner or­gan­i­sa­tions in the city to in­te­grate into the com­mu­nity and pro­vide a safe space for lo­cal chil­dren to learn and play for years to come.

800 Young Writ­ers Groomed at All In! Fes­ti­val 2018 Ph­nom Penh Wel­comes New Skate­board­ing School for Youth

Cit­i­zens of 80 coun­tries – in­clud­ing China, Singapore, Ja­pan, In­dia and In­done­sia – will now be able to en­ter Qatar visa-free and stay for up to 60 days, the Qatari em­bassy an­nounced in Au­gust last year.

To give tourists a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of what to ex­pect when vis­it­ing the coun­try, the Arab state has pub­lished a guide to Qatari cul­ture and tra­di­tions, such as pearl div­ing and folk danc­ing.

Vis­i­tors can ex­pect to see lo­cal fal­con­ers and their birds hunt down the houbara bus­tard – a bird that mi­grates south across Qatar – dur­ing the win­ter hunt­ing sea­son, and dis­cover more about the oys­ters that grow in the wa­ters around the Qatar Penin­sula, which is said to pro­duce some of the world’s finest pearls. To­day, lo­cals no longer har­vest these oys­ters given the boom­ing ar­ti­fi­cial pearl in­dus­try, but in the past, pearl div­ing was a com­mon liveli­hood for Qataris.

An­other cul­tural high­light is the arda, a syn­chro­nised folk dance per­formed by men at wed­dings to the beat of hand­held drums. Per­form­ers still carry swords and wear cross­belts in a nod to its his­tory as a war dance. Vis­i­tors will also be treated to warm Qatari hos­pi­tal­ity in ma­jlis – places set aside for wel­com­ing vis­i­tors with food and drink – where they will be served kahwa, tiny cups of cof­fee brewed with car­damom and served from a quaint-look­ing cof­fee pot.

Visa-free En­try to Qatar Now Avail­able for Cit­i­zens of 80 Coun­tries

the bed­room win­dow of the woman he de­sires, ac­com­pa­nied by a num­ber of friends and pro­fes­sional mu­si­cians, called ha­rananistas, for sup­port. Us­ing a cus­tom­ary set of songs, the trou­ba­dour then ser­e­nades his la­dylove for the en­tire neigh­bour­hood to hear, bol­stered by his en­tourage.

The lyrics of typ­i­cal ha­rana songs use ar­chaic Ta­ga­log. Be­gin­ning with a gen­tle strum­ming of the gui­tar as a pre­lude to the on­com­ing noc­turne, the man ad­dresses the woman di­rectly. Through his im­pas­sioned tunes, he may ask her if she is asleep, or ap­peal for her to look out of the win­dow.

Should the win­dow stay shut, the re­jected suitor will leave, but if the ob­ject of his af­fec­tions shows her­self and lis­tens to the bal­lad, she may ei­ther re­spond with a few lines of her own, or in­vite him into the house, where he then presents gifts to the fam­ily as a sym­bol of his mat­ri­mo­nial in­ten­tions. De­spite his suc­cess, the suitor has yet to seal the deal – it is not uncommon to re­quire sev­eral rounds of ha­rana to prove a sup­pli­cant’s per­sis­tence to a dis­cern­ing re­cip­i­ent.

An­other oc­ca­sion for the rit­ual is when women from other vil­lages or cities visit, and men organise a ha­rana ses­sion to catch a glimpse of the new ar­rivals and in­tro­duce them­selves with chaste for­mal­ity.

This van­ish­ing “ser­e­nade of fer­vent love, tongue-tied of naivety”, as de­scribed in the poem Hoy, Pi­noy, Ban­gon Na! ( Hey, Filipino, Rise Up!) by Filipino poet and novelist Gumercindo Rafanan has been im­mor­talised in its name­sake, award-win­ning film Ha­rana (2012), which gar­nered crit­i­cal ac­claim in the in­ter­na­tional film fes­ti­val cir­cuit. Based on the ex­pe­ri­ences of its Filipino di­rec­tor and cast, in­clud­ing ac­claimed mu­si­cian Flo­rante Aguilar and sep­tu­a­ge­nar­ian ha­rananistas Ce­lestino Aniel, Romeo Ber­gu­nio and Felipe Alonzo, the meta-cinema piece asks so­ci­ety the same ques­tion it does of its pro­tag­o­nist: Will ha­rana van­ish into to­mor­row’s woe­fully silent night? ag Tra­di­tional ha­rana ses­sions fol­low a struc­tured pro­to­col con­sist­ing of five stages. Each stage has a des­ig­nated set of songs

Set 1: Ar­rival

Songs an­nounce the suitor’s pres­ence

Set 2: Court­ing

Songs de­clare ad­mi­ra­tion for the woman

Set 3: Re­sponse

The woman sings back lines im­bibed with mean­ing: ei­ther rec­i­proc­ity, un­cer­tainty or dis­in­ter­est

Set 4: Re­ac­tion

If re­jected, the suitor’s songs are about heart­break

Set 5: De­par­ture

Songs bid farewell, show­ing how un­will­ing the suitor is to leave

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