Geography 200
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Rescooped by Elizabeth Bitgood from Geography Education
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Laos May Bear Cost of Planned Chinese Railroad

Laos May Bear Cost of Planned Chinese Railroad | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
China wants a railroad linking it to Thailand and on to the Bay of Bengal in Myanmar, but some international groups warn that it may put a big burden on Laos.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

The article discusses how China’s wish to build a rail road through southeast Asia will most likely incur a high cost from the country of Laos that the rail road will go through.  China is anxious to regain its power in the area and its terms for the rail road will leave Laos severely indebted to China to such an extent that many see it as China trying to make Laos a vessel state.

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Jessica Rieman's curator insight, April 23, 2014 4:53 PM

This article depicts the major problem between trade route going through Laos. Laos is upset because they have no input in anything even though the railways will intersect through their country by the Chinese and their railways for imports and exports. "China wants a railroad linking it to Thailand and on to the Bay of Bengal in Myanmar, but some international groups warn that it may put a big burden on Laos". China wants to link to  Bangkok and then on to the Bay of Bengal in Maymar expanding China’s  enormous trade with Southeast Asia. Creating no way for Laos to get out of this deal though there has been some hesitation there will not be any stopping the maintenance of the soon to be power railways suffocating Laos. 

 
Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, December 12, 2014 2:18 AM

This is interesting, Laos pays for a railroad that they can't afford because China wants it? Now how does that make sense.  These people that barely make enough money to live as it is can no where near afford to have a railroad put through their country especially when they won't be able to reap many of the benefits.  Even with China's letting the country borrow the money to fund the project not only do they have to pay back the money but also give China minerals throughout the duration of the loan.  The people of Laos need to really think about the consequences to this railroad could be, both good and bad, for the country before any agreements are made to construct the railroad.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, November 28, 2015 7:01 AM

Once again China is getting its way without having to bear almost any coast. When the nation of China makes a deal with a neighboring nation, that deal is almost always one sided. China would not enter into this railroad agreement, if it was not beneficial to the governments bottom line. The looser in this scenario will be Laos. Laos is a rural largely undeveloped nation that would love to become a major economic partner with the dominate nation in the region. The problem with this scenario is, Laos will see little of the actual bennifits of this rail line . This railroad is being built to secure Chinese influence in the region. China hopes to dominate this region and make it a Chinese spear of influence. Laos will foot the bill for the railroad, and be dominated by China. Laos is getting the losing end of this bargain.

Rescooped by Elizabeth Bitgood from Geography Education
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Mixing Past And Present In Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea, once home to cannibals, still has an exotic aura. The local tourist economy caters to those notions, and visitors may see a hybrid of the traditional and the modern.

 

This story is an intriguing blend--we see traditional cultures engaging in the global economy. They have created two villages: a traditional one designed for tourism filled with emblems of their folk cultures, and another one where people work, live eat and play with various markers of outside cultural and technological influence.

 

"Tourists are taking pictures. They don't want to take pictures of those who are in Western clothes.  People who are in Western clothes are not allowed to get close to people who are dressed up in the local dressings."

 

Questions to Ponder: Which village do you see as the more "authentic" one? How can culture also be a commodity?

 

Tags: folk culture, tourism, indigenous, culture, economic, rural, historical, unit 3 culture, Oceania.


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This pod cast shows the dichotomy of old and new.  The villagers earn a living being a living museum of their past culture.  But to do that they need to keep all modern influences away from the tourist village which leads to them living in a separate village nearby. 

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Kendra King's curator insight, May 3, 2015 1:40 AM

The title of this article seemed to be a little bit of a misnomer given how the geographic forces impact Papua New Guinea. Part of the population caters to the tourist desire to see the "exotic." However, this Papaua New Guinea is in the past. While the rest of the population lives in the present where the citizens live without the tourist dictating how they live.   

 

Given the impact of the forces, the split makes figuring out which Papa New Guinea is actually the most "authentic" is tricky. There are elements of Papa New Guinea in each place. The perfect way to obtain authenticity is blending them as the title suggest, but that is not that case. Under the circumstances, I think the village in which tourist are not present are the most "authentic." It is because of the tourist that the past village exits and while some members of the population like that this helps preserve their past culture, Papa New Guinea has clearly started to move on.  It reminds me of the Plymouth plantation field trips in which the tourist view america during the times of the pilgrims. Clearly, America has moved on, but continues to honor their roots. Due to this idea of moving on, I think the other village that shows the present is more authentic because it is a closer measure of what the village realistically acts like without interference from the outside world.  


While, I realize Papa New Guinea is more than the past, a fair amount of the world doesn't. As a few tourist mentioned, they were eager to hear about cannibalism despite the practice stopping years ago. Yet, from an outsiders perspective, they don't see this other Papa New Guinea and because the country plays into this idea of a village stuck in the past, it gives the world the wrong impression. As such, I wonder how how much catering to the rest of the world holds Papa New Guinea back economically. Being perceived as less developed won't generate lenders and living up to that expectation curbs other modern economic sectors. So it seems the overall affect might actually be more detrimental then helpful from an economic stance.   

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, May 4, 2015 12:38 PM

I believe these indigenous people found a way to survive.  They were smart!  Globalization and tourism were gonna happen with or without them.  Now they found away to keep on existing.  Authentic?  How do they live their lives now, thats authentic.  The past history is just that, the past.  Its a commodity because they've found a way to exploit their culture to benefit them.  

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, December 14, 2015 8:47 PM

This podcast talks about two different areas of the same area. One section living in the past and one living in the present. I believe that the section that is living in the past is more authentic. This is a group of people who have had to learn their way of life. The present would have had to learn to adapt to new ways in life and this new way would be truly authentic to their religion.

Rescooped by Elizabeth Bitgood from Geography Education
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Russian Summer

Russian Summer | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
At the dacha, the soul of Russia--and its cultural divide--is on display. In vacation cottages the women are in housedresses. The men, Speedos and rubber boots. They brood, plant, party, and restore their souls.

 

The dacha (a seasonal second home or a vacation spot) is incredibly important in Russia.  It is is estimated that over 50% of city residences in Russia own a dacha as a way to culturally connect with the countryside.  This is a nice glimpse into that life. 


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article talks about the almost mythical feelings of a Russian summer spent in a dacha.  The brief summer is enjoyed and experienced from a home in the country that is a representation of freedom to the Russian people.  The oppressive Soviet sate was hard to escape but for a few months out of the year, people who owned dachas could get away and enjoy life.  It gave city dwellers a place to garden and to relax from the city.  The dacha is still an integral part of the Russian soul.

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Jess Deady's curator insight, May 1, 2014 12:02 PM

This is definitely a part of the country/cultural side of Russia. Bathing with animals and in lakes like this is definitely not a part of urban Russia. Throughout societies, there is always an urge to live a different lifestyle. In this country, the residents are given an option to live both countryside Russian life and urban Russian life.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, October 27, 2014 9:07 AM

“Everyone in Russia has a dacha story”. Dachas are small, summer cottages and cabins that over half of Russia’s population owns. While many people in the United States have this mental image of Russians as drunk, stern, communists, the dacha shows insight to a life much more similar to ours than many people would probably imagine. Russians use dachas as a form of escape, in the same way that many Americans visit a beach house or a mountain cabin in the summer. The need to escape and break through the rut of the daily grind is something that transcends ethnicity or nationality. The need to leave our concrete jungles for the simplicities and feeling of completeness offered by the natural environment is something much more  primordial.

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 17, 2014 9:12 PM

Everyone in Russia has a dacha story. It may be a trace of childhood memory like playing ball late into evening by a sun that won’t set, gathering pinecones to perfume the fire, or swimming in an icy pond. It may be quietly romantic, a first love that fades with the season or blossoms into marriage. An older woman tells of coming home from work to find her husband in bed with her best friend. She kicked him out and, with retirement looming and no husband, wondered, What will I do now? The answer was the dacha she bought for 500 rubles, with a forest nearby for mushroom hunting, a lake, and a garden. “The dacha saved my life,” she says. Sweet or bitter, lighthearted or dark, the story always takes place in summer. A dacha, after all, is a summer cottage.