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Comment on Assignment 1

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  • jillhazell
    Thank you, Jean, for your idea to look at some assignments from previous years courses. I looked at the one you suggested - Shanghai Lil s first Assignment
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2008
      Thank you, Jean, for your idea to look at some assignments from
      previous years' courses. I looked at the one you suggested -
      Shanghai Lil's first Assignment done in Jan 2001 - and thought it was
      most interesting, so I am going to write my comments on it.

      The Aboriginal Women of the Balgo community in The Great Sandy Desert
      of Australia.

      There were two things I found particularly interesting:
      1) The fact that the community only came into contact with the
      outside world forty years ago and therefore their culture had
      remained unaltered for thousands of years. However, it seems that
      the men and women who first made the contact were not too impressed
      with what they saw of western `civilization' and they seem to have
      made a conscious decision to hold onto their own beliefs and culture
      as can be seen in how they still organise their lives and keep their
      traditions in their religion, their art, clothing and every corner of
      their community.
      2) But there is now a conflict of interests with the younger
      generation who have been brought up with TV and modern schooling have
      seen how modern western civilization differs from theirs and they
      want to be part of it. Clothing obviously plays a big part in their
      rebellion. For instance, older women never wore trousers as they
      considered it immodest to show the shape of their thighs - though
      they consider it absolutely normal to show their breasts within the
      community. But now, some younger girls wear jeans, going against all
      the older people's beliefs. Whether the younger girls still bare
      their breasts within the community was not clear in the assignment,
      but they may feel embarrassed by it as it is something not normally
      seen on daytime TV!

      The conflict between the generations in a society based on thousands
      of years of unchanging culture must be much greater than normal
      adolescent rebellion in western society. The older people must fear
      the end of all their values and their culture, whereas the younger
      ones simply want to be like the people they see on TV. Our western
      civilization has adapted and changed quite slowly over thousands of
      years, while the Aboriginal people of Balgo are having to change from
      a primitive society to a modern `sophisticated' one in just a few
      generations. Heart breaking for the older generation I should
      imagine, but a challenge to keep the things that really matter to the
      community, while allowing the younger people to move ahead into the
      modern world.
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