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How to Study Culture by Walking

2006-06-12 05:19:00

How to Study Culture
I walked towards the airport yesterday from the Hotel. I rented a motorbike the other day and went that direction however walking was a surprise. I am dwelling recently on the concepts of how to study cultures.
I am culturally different from the East Timor people, it is not a dramatic difference because they are more or less Portuguese Catholics, or half that and a lot closer than a Thailand person.
Walking is a better way to learn about a culture than me flying by on a motorcycle.
I observed
- Office of Timor Post newspaper -
- Big building for the Catholic Relief Services -
- Micro-finance project building -
- A Restaurant The Boss that has Chinese words on it and probably is the local buy a girl place -

I noticed because I was walking.
What is even more stupid is why I was walking this direction. The girl working in the Dili Backpacker Hostel told me there was large grocery store ten minutes walk from the Hotel that was open. Yesterday was Sunday and in a Catholic country, most stores are closed.
I missed all the list of places above, plus the super market when I was on the motorcycle.
This culture is 25 percent different from mine, which means to me I only have about 25 percent of the culture that is overwhelming or different. The differences are very subtle; to see the 25 percent difference is difficult.
How to change a culture? The malnutrition problem in Niger is because the culture of Niger does not grow vegetables and fruits. The culture needs to change if it wants to stop it children from dying of malnutrition. It is not for sure they want to stop the western perceived problem.
East Timor has a problem. I do not know what they are, and for sure it is not simple, I can be arrogant and naïve and say,
- Corruption -

The Culture of Corruption is a culture, it is not just one person or group, it is the whole culture that agrees to allow the corruption to exist. I do not know if Corruption is the problem in East Timor.

Well, there is a huge grocery store down the street from my Hostel, probably more of a hotel than a hostel, but there is a grocery store there. It sells lots of vegetables and cheese, etc. It has a huge fence in front and looks strange to me, however impossible to miss when walking.
I am getting annoyed or frustrated with myself and with information. If there is one thing, I have learned a few thousand times is that,
- It is very difficult to have the first original thought. -

99.9 percent of my ideas have already been thought of; I am not the first one to come up with ideas.
Books, Magazines, Trade Journals, etc are written about culture, backpacks, travel and every thing I ever am thinking about today or tomorrow.
How can I travel and read or even know they exist. I am in a Hotel presently that does not have CNN, BBC or the Internet. It is possible for them to have a small war on the other side of the city and I may not even know about it. What is happening on Mount Merapi is a total mystery.
News is different though than books on Malnutrition.
I can buy BGAN Satellite systems and then download my page of new feeds and I would have a very comprehensive report of what is happening on the planet.

I need to buy books on a few subjects of my research. I would like to buy books on culture, I would like to go to the library in the USA, hang around a few days and then check out some of the resource books and read them about culture and malnutrition.
I can buy the pop book, the stupid; think they are professionals who write pop culture books on many subjects. However, to purchase a boring research book are not being sold in the airport.
Getting on Amazon.com and reading the reviews, choosing a book is no good either, I need a library where I can look at many books. Hmm, where are English libraries in Asia? Maybe Singapore, maybe in the Philippines, I can try to find a major English library in Manila.
How to Study Culture

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