Eastern Representations; at the zoo?

So this weekend I am babysitting and today I took the girls to the Columbus Zoo. It was the perfect day with great weather and so much fun watching how much the girls love it. Obviously they couldn’t wait to see the elephants, which led us to what the Columbus Zoo calls the “Asian Quest”. I never would have even thought about anything in this section of the zoo until this class. I immediately noticed how everything was portrayed as exotic. The walls were plastered with proverbs, Gandhi quotes and the like. I thought it was just really interesting how differently I viewed this exhibit after this class!! Below are some pictures I snagged of my “quest” through Asia.

obviously welcomed to asia by a dragon and a crystal ball that talked to us 

and clearly monkeys can only play on ancient runes

 

 

 

 

 

 

t

his sign was just so funny to me

 

 

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Roy

Today our small group touched a little on how amazing a person Arundhati Roy is. We talked about her in class a little and touched on the fact that she hasn’t published a novel since The God of Small Things, but has become involved in several political issues surrounding India. The other class read the book of essays about her and so I thought it would be interesting to learn a little bit more about her political views and what she’s been fighting for. Someone already posted a really interesting video about her views on Obama but below is an interview she did with the magazine “The Progressive”. My favorite part of the interview was when the interview stated: “You feel a sense of responsibility to these silent voices that are calling out to you.” She replied by saying, “No, I don’t feel responsibility because that’s such a boring word.” She just seems like such a cool woman!

http://www.progressive.org/intv0401.html

Arranged Marriages

Ever since class on Wednesday, I keep thinking back to the discussion about arranged marriage. I am pretty fascinated and I guess kind of surprised that arranged marriages are still so common. I asked a friend at lunch her thoughts on and I kind of explained what some people who had had experiences with arranged marriages said in class. At first, she seemed appalled at the idea, but in the end we kind of concluded that maybe our “marry for love” isn’t much different. Don’t we still consider money, family, values, personality, etc. when we look to marry someone? Can a marriage really be successful just because you love someone? I am continually amazed at how much this class is opening my eyes to knew thoughts and ideas!! Hope everyone had a great weekend. So excited to talk about God of Small Things in class!!

Gay Rights in India

I can honestly say I was really surprised and impressed at the fact that gay marriage is legal nationwide in India. LIke someone said in class today, its interesting to think that we consider the United States so liberal and the front runner when it comes to equal rights. Clearly we are behind (and need to catch up, like yesterday). Here is the Times article from 2009 (yes, two years ago) when gay marriage was legalized in India. Thoughts on this?

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1908406,00.html

Media Stereotypes

I pretended last night for a few hours that I had nothing to do at all and let myself succumb to a little pop culture and watch a pointless TV show and let my mind chill out for a second. Who knew I would be able to relate my worthless television watching to class?! My show of choice ended up on Grey’s Anatomy (all seven seasons free on netflix!). I was watching one of the first shows from the first seasons. Now Grey’s got a lot of attention for the diversity among it’s cast. Unlike a lot of shows with an all white cast and the one character thrown in for diversity, Grey’s has a good amount of diversity compared to other shows out right now. In a particular scene, Izzie (white) is asked to put stitches into a chinese woman who does not speak any English. Izzie calls for Christian (Asian), thinking obviously she will be able to help translate for her. When Izzie tells her what she needs help with, Christian stares blankly at Izzie and says she was born in Beverly Hills and can’t help her.

This reminded me a lot of when we talked in the beginning of the year about being from the United States and your identity of being American. Do you guys think the directors/writers were just looking for a laugh or trying to point out a flaw in our society or were they falling themselves into stereotypes?

Interesting Article

While sitting on my porch this morning on vacation enjoying my cup of coffee, I came across this article in the NY Times. (That makes me sound like I actually read the paper, really, I read the Times every morning on my laptop.) We had discussed a couple weeks ago in class about different parts of India having different types of people. I thought this article was really interesting. This woman seems to have a pretty negative view on the rest of India besides Mumbai. I put the questions out to those who know more than me, is this accurate? Is Mumbai really the only part of the country a woman could go without fear of rap everywhere she goes?

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/21/opinion/21iht-edfaleiro21.html?_r=1&ref=india