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Area 6 : News & Views

NEWS - ROVING REPORTER

The longest journey starts with a single step .....................................................ancient Chinese proverb


Kathryn Watts reporting worldwide [Article 1, page 2]


I look around and see children just strapped and literally swung onto the back of a woman, merely by a piece of cloth. I wonder whether any woman in this country would ever dare do such a thing through fear of dropping or hurting the child. Here, prams are the way to transport a child. Woman working in the rice fields bending down for hours a day or carrying baskets or huge pieces of wood on their shoulders amaze me, not only because of this labour but because the baby is still tied onto their back. The !Kung San in North West Botswana also have children that are more developed in certain motor skills. This is representative of other countries too which suggests that this physical contact is more characteristic of non-industrialised than industrialised societies.




Openly expressed affection between parents and children is observed which affects physicality , leading to rough and tumble play. Adults often slap and pinch infants and children. This is done as a kind of game, although they may act seriously at the time. Parents do this both to their own children and to those of friends and relatives. The correct response on the part of the children is no response, just a blank stare. Young infants seem to learn not to react to being hit. When the parent slaps the child and they do not respond the parent often smiles and laughs with delight: this is an everyday happening in Angang in a Taiwanese community.




In such societies I find the communities are so welcoming to outsiders as well as to their own "members". Curiosity and intrigue towards people from different cultures is apparent everywhere one goes. A genuine interest is behind all their advances, inquisitive stares and questions. Sadly, to start with I felt quite suspicious towards their open friendliness and the amount of physical contact they portrayed towards me. This was until guiltily I realised that most of these people have no false pretences to live up to, that they were simply a lot more, one could say, genuine than people in this country. An Indonesian lad invited me back to his parent's house, I was pleased although felt a bit apprehensive about it. When we arrived all his family came out and greeted me, offering me food which is something that should always be accepted as to these people it is a privileged sign.



People in these societies are not ashamed of openly showing affection in public for fear of ridicule. For example in Indonesia teenage boys would walk down the street hand in hand. This was a sign of friendship which actually really touched me, and filled me with disappointment that this kind of behaviour would not be seen in our country because of certain actions that are "not done" in our society. Where has our individuality gone?



..... continued on page 3 page 1


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