Friday, September 19, 2014

Heh. Shangri la keeps moving

In archeology, experts keep finding "peaceful" cultures that didn't go to war, only to have their ideas found wrong when they find bodies (Minos) or literature (Maya) or other evidence.
Ditto for anthropologists, the most famous being Margaret Meade's finding of a peaceful Samoa which she attributed to teenaged promiscuity.

Here, the greens continue these delusions: There was a nice film about the paradise of a small island in the Visayas that they hoped to keep for ecotourism and they described the folks as happy in their simplicity. The problem? It is Joy's home island, and we always are getting pleas to hire people so they can support their families.

The problem is that a lot of cultures emphasize being nice, so outsiders don't recognize the problems there. For example, where I worked in Africa, the emphasis was never showing anger, so if someone got mad enough, they used witchcraft to revenge themselves. This is one reason for the atrocities in Rwanda: Anger explodes.
Tibet was a favorite "Shangri la" and even was made to seem so in the movies including Seven years in Tibet...but the book, if you read it closely, includes reports of deaths of women in childbirth and children dying of disease.
The Chinese taking them over is seen in the west as "evil", but the Chinese are trying to improve the dire poverty there by development, and those sent there are paid extra as it is considered a hardship post.

So are the Chinese destroying culture, or trying to help the peasants to get out of dire poverty?

The argument about "Destroying culture" is true, but there is no easy answer. Try to educate people into the modern world, and you are now considered evil (although I noticed that on the Native American "reservations", that the ones most against development tend to be college educated Marxists...the regular ones tend to want jobs, hence the casinos and development of oil and mineral resources).

The Shangri la then was changed to Nepal, but after the regicide and the communist insurgency, maybe that won't last long. And now, after the last episode where 7 Sherpas died, a few reporters noted that the Sherpas who risked their lives to help tourists go up Mt Everest did so to support their families... not because they "enjoyed" it, but because it was the only job available that paid well.

well now, the latest Shangri la is Bhutan. at least according to a lady who graduated from an Ivy league college and worked at NPR.

Why, with a huge unemployment rate (leading to the gov't encouraging people to work overseas) and a high maternal mortality is it called Shangri La?

And yes, it allows serial marriage which is seen as a good thing, according to her (just ignore the children, I guess)

Also interesting are her descriptions of ordinary life in Bhutan. Guests walk into people's homes without knocking. Marriage is a casual institution, with couples deemed to be wed when they move in together and unwed when one person moves out. Not every aspect of life in Bhutan is so different from life in L.A.

yeah, just like LA, including children growing up fatherless and in poverty?

The UNICEF’s report ranks Bhutan 45th among 198 countries in under-five mortality rate, the highest in the region after Afghanistan. India is at 49, Nepal 62, Sr Lanka 110, Bangladesh 58 and Maldives 88.
Dysentery, diarrhoea and pneumonia still top the causes for death in children under five in Bhutan.
“The state of the world’s children is intimately linked with the state of the world’s mothers,” said the education minister Lyonpo Thakur Singh Powdyal in his address. 

on the other hand, after promoting the country as an ideal situation, it is nice that the latest softcover version notes there is a little problem with refugees in the area.

The softcover version contains a chapter about the Bhutanese-Nepalese refugee situation, as well as a reader’s guide for book groups. \\\

so where is the shangri la?

Last week, David warren noted one poll said the happiest people were in Denmark, which sounds fine except for their high suicide rate suggests otherwise.

Today's "poll" says the happiest place on earth is Panama.

take the information with a grain of salt.because they also came to this conclusion:

 five countries outside of these regions had levels of thriving within an element that rank in the top 10 of all countries: Bahrain in financial well-being, Saudi Arabia in community well-being and physical well-being, Malta in social well-being, and Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates in community well-being.
So, did they poll the 20 percent of the population of Saudi who are OFWs? Or ask the UAE's maids and oil workers if they were happy?  Did they poll the Tamil areas of Sri Lanka?

In other words, there is no "Shangri La": there are only people being people with people's problems.

As for "Shangri la": When I was a missionary, I was warned that foreigners suffering from culture shock tended to fall into two groups: Those who only saw the good in the the country they visited, and those who only saw the evil.

And seeing Shangri la in primitive countries is a tradition that goes back to Tacitus, who compared the pure and brave Germans to the decadent Romans...


addendum from the BBC article:

About 100,000 ethnic Nepalese refugees from Bhutan live in camps in Nepal after they were allegedly made to leave Bhutan under government pressure in the early 1990s.
From this population, three groups have emerged - the Bhutan Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist), the Bhutan Tiger Force and the United Revolutionary Front of Bhutan.
yeah. They did their own version of ethnic cleansing...

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