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