Giveaway for my Readers

essentials

 

Travel with …

Boutique tour company, Miles & Smiles Chile. Their goal is simple: to provide a top quality service that is friendly and safe while assisting you to get the very most out of your time in Chile. They show you the real Chile, divulging secrets that only a native can know. Plus they support the local community by always working with, and promoting, small businesses. They also continually give back, sending a percentage of profits to help grassroot organizations and initiatives that are working to keep Chile clean, safe and beautiful.  They offer a range of private tours to ski resorts, wineries, national parks such as La Campana and city tours of Valparaiso, Santiago and more.  You will be driven by a professional, bilingual and local driver with years of experience in a clean and safe vehicle. Miles & Smiles Chile also offer customizable options as well as airport and destination transfers and have the following:

  • car seats and boosters for infants and children
  • ski rack
  • bike rack
  • snow chains
  • roof rack

To enter, just hit ¨LIKE¨ on Facebook for Querida Recoleta and you will be in the draw to win. Double entry if you give me a like on Instagram too.

You must be in Chile within the next month to claim your prize.

Infants and small children can travel too, free of charge.

 

Family Fun: Parque Fluvial Renato Poblete

What is one of the easiest ways to make your child happy, get them to sleep well and that can be done easily with a newborn? 

Easy. A park visit.  And no trip to the park would be complete without a delicious picnic.

Emilio just loves a picnic, thanks to one of my childhood books about picnicking on the moon called “Whatever Next”. There really is nothing simpler or better fun than packing up a blanket, hitting the supermarket for goodies or even baking a few treats, before searching for the perfect spot to unwrap it all and indulge.

Our usual spot is the Parque Bicentenario in Vitacura because it’s only ten minutes away from our house by car, plus it has birds and fish to feed (and Mestizo, one of my favorite restaurants here).  In summer they put out sun umbrellas and loungers that are free to use, which is great because the sun in this city is fierce. However it does have a few down sides, like it can be hard to find a park and the grass always seems to be sodden wet and full of bees (and Mestizo staff can be snobby too).  So when a friend recommended Parque Fluvial Renato Poblete we decided to give it a try.

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This park only opened in January last year but I had never heard of it.  Why is that??  The place is FANTASTIC! My friend described it as “crisp” which I think is a pretty good summation because it still has that nice feel of being new … so crisp in other words.  It’s a big park – some 20 hectares according to Wikipedia – and it’s divided into two sections. The first is focused around a lagoon area where you can rent paddle boats (including life jackets) and the second follows the Mapocho river.

It’s pretty lovely and wonderful to walk around in. It’s filled with bridges that succeed in transporting you out of Santiago and into somewhere much more romantic.

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The downside is that because the park is so new, all the plants have a long way to grow still so shade is scarce.  We did find a spot to linger in and it was glorious just to be so close to the water.  Being from NZ I am used to having the sea in close proximity at all times so I often feel claustrophobic and stifled in Santiago. If you feel like that too then you will definitely enjoy this park, just remember the sunscreen and hat!

The Nitty Gritty

Entry is FREE

Disabled/pushchair access

Sights: 2x football fields, amphitheater, statue/sculptures, fountains

Snacks sold at entrance

For more information visit the Quinta Normal official site here.

Or visit this excellent site (Spanish).

Welcome Baby M!

Luis, Emilio and I are super pleased to announce the arrival of baby M, born Sunday 25th September 2016 in Talagante, Chile.

An intense natural birth with the world-famous in Chile Talagante midwives. I can’t recommend Rosa and Eliana enough. For a holistic approach to birth, please send them a Whatsapp message:

Secretary (for appointments): 56 9 9796 4143

Rosa Maria (lead midwife): 56 9 8428 4658

Eliana (midwife): 56 9 4277 8258

*detailed post coming soon*

Lunch Review: Quinoa Vegetarian Restaurant

You know it’s summer in Santiago when long lunches give way to even longer asados (barbeques).  Just like neighboring Argentina, Chile hasreputation as a haven for carnivores, so discovering Quinoa in trendy Vitacura was a relative shock.

It is a vegetarian restaurant.

It is also spacious, light, airy – all those things you long for when the days are hot and you require food that fills your belly but does not tip you over afterwards. It also embraces the theme of being a produce lover with pots of herbs on windowsills, fresh flowers on tables and a menu that shouts refinement and simplicity – in other words, the veges really shine here.

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We ordered a beetroot lasagne and the Mezze salad main. Both were delicious and around $7000 each.  Bread and dip were given at the start of the meal (love all the complimentary bread Chilean restaurants dole out!), and we both had natural juices (there’s quite a few juice options including detox).

Everything was excellent: the food, the staff, the decor … but the reason why we will return is actually for none of those. We will go back for the mindblowingly fantastic dessert, which was a chocoholic’s heaven so delicious that Luis, Emilio and I nearly hyperventilated eating.

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The Nitty Gritty

Make a booking as it is always busy

Not much parking

Yes quinoa does feature prominently

Closed Sundays

Address: Luis Pasteur 5393, Vitacura

Visit the website for the menu here.

For more dining options, please visit here, here, here or here.

Lunch Review: I-Ching Chinese Restaurant

As you may have gathered from my frequent blogs about food, I’m a bit of fiend when it comes to eating out, especially when it’s something exotic and flavourful like Indian cuisine. But there is an area where Luis and I are equally clueless and that’s – Chinese cooking. We have both only ever eaten a Chinese takeaway, usually accompanied by chips and a soggy wantan.  Here in Santiago, the Chinese restaurant was one of the first “exotic” foods to really take off, brought here by some of the many first-generation families from Asia of which Recoleta, in particular, has many. To Luis’ friends and family, a meal from one of these elaborately decorated establishments is the pinnacle of exoticism and worthy of a special occasion, despite bearing almost no resemblance to what is actually eaten across China and Asia. Since being in Chile I have been lucky enough to meet from all walks of life, including from Taiwan, a country I honestly know nothing about except for the fact that it’s the birthplace of my friend, Amy (who you may remember from Pasteleria Lalaleelu).  Amy really knows her food and she speaks Chinese, so who better than to initiate Luis and I into the wonders of Chinese food?

Last weekend we headed in a group to I-Ching, a huge second-storey restaurant that Luis and I have driven past a hundred times as it’s near our house. The place is BIG and almost forbiddingly so, with a water feature and an army of staff who direct you upon entering. This is important: Chinese patrons are always directed to the right which is characterized by large circular tables, while everyone else is directed to the left, which has smaller rectangular tables and Spanish-speaking staff. On the left you will find the usual recognizable menu (it’s massive) including all the usual dishes such as chop suey, spring rolls and even sushi. But it’s on the right-hand side where you must request to be seated, and it was a promising sign that when we entered this entire space was filled with Chinese diners. In this area there are three menus. There is a dim sum menu, featuring small dishes that are most commonly eaten in Hong Kong, there is the original menu (Chinese and Spanish with pictures) and there is a newer, smaller menu that has been on offer since August (Chinese only, pictures).  Given that patrons occupying this side are Chinese-speaking, the serving staff speak Chinese and very little Spanish so expect to point to what you want!

We left it to Amy to order for the table, and many of the dishes that we tried were seasonal and not on the menu, because like many cuisines, Chinese food is regional and based around seasonal ingredients.  Tea (free) was poured for each guest and frequently refilled; hot tea is what is usually drunk with a meal because it cuts through the oil in the food.  Dishes were brought rapidly from the kitchen and placed in quick succession on the rotating raised plate in the middle of our table, the idea being that food is shared between all.

And the food?

YUM!  It’s always a good sign when the chef is actually from China and that the place is packed with people who know the food.

“From my point of view, I-Ching changed their flavour after the chef came back from vacation in August, it was my favorite chinese restaurant, but since then they have changed some of the chinese chefs.  They have to improve to reach the standard they used to be,” Amy tell us.  Her other favorite Chinese restaurant is called Sheng Xing, which is a bit cheaper than I-Ching, and is located downtown.

“Both restaurants are good for certain dishes, they sometimes have similar plates for example duck, but the one in Av. España does a better job, while I-Ching does better fish.  There are other Chinese restaurants with different styles, but I-Ching and Sheng Xing are the styles that I personally like more.”

The restaurant has some other bonus points. It’s pretty loud and spacious inside so children can make noise without really being heard, plus there’s an indoor play area to rival all others (suitable from age 3+). Car parking is free for the restaurant.

Overall, highly recommended!!!

For four, Amy recommends ordering a stirfry noodle or rice, a vegetable, a meat plate and several dim sums. Expect to pay between $10,000-$15,000 per person depending on what you order. 

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Duck
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Mindblowingly delicious fish
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Seasonal Chinese vegetable similar to spinach – name unknown in English!
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Pork 3 ways (requested dish, normally sold separately)
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Tofu

I-Ching address: Av. Independencia 1928, Independencia (closest metro is Einstein, 2.9km)

Sheng Xing address: Av. Espana 101-107, Santiago Centro (metro Union Latinoamericana)

Notes from the Street: Made In Recoleta

It is 5.30pm and I have been sitting on the grass at a Recoleta playground for the last 2.5 hours. It is one of those neighorhood spaces down a normal street and placed so smack-bang in front of people’s houses that residents must drive their cars through the playground to reach their driveways. There are a few exercise machines meant for the elderly but that get invariably commandeered by adventurous children. There are two swings, two slides and some trees interspersing a small grassy area.  In front there is the usual corner store that Emilio will forever associate with cheap icecreams and in the near distance there are cranes building yet another apartment block.

The first tme we came here I felt nervous and more than a little obvious, mainly as Emilio and I are both fair unlike the majority around us. For another, teenagers slumped in tight circles on the grass with loose cigarettes hanging from their mouths while on the roadside groups of men lingered, immersed in clouds of marijuana smoke. Today, for example, there is heavy metal blaring from somewhere nearby while the occupants of the shadowy house beside the park are doing little but standing outside with their beatup car and their fake Nike. The ground around me is littered with poop and ciggie butts and every so often a dog will come over to me, sniff my butt and then leave after confirming that, yes, I am here.

For all of these seemingly ugly features there is something special in this park, something which draws us back day after day, for hours at a time. And that reason is the children. Right now the air is filled with the sound of laughter and squealing as Emilio plays with the neighborhood residents. One of them is about three while the other is around 7 – the latter a mother-hen type who watches her sister like a hawk, reprimands her when she is naughty and comforts her when she falls. She also looks after Emilio and plays with him, pushes them both on the swing, giggles when he does and dusts his bottom off every time he gets (very) dirty.  There is a nurturing aspect to the children we have encountered here that I do not recall ever witnessing as the norm in New Zealand, or even when I take my charges to the park in other areas of Santiago. Of course, I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, I just have never noticed it to this degree.  Everyone seems to be really looking out for each other, and I see this time and time again. I can’t even safely say that it’s because the girls are being shaped into the moulds of their mothers because I’ve noticed the same from the boys as well. I remember when Emilio attended the neighbour’s birthday party and decided to jump on the trampoline with the big kids. They were all so protective of the small fry amongst them that it really touched my heart, with one in particular going above and beyond to help him up every two seconds as he fell down. Alot.

These are good kids, despite some of them growing up in difficult situations. Recoleta is, after all, a barrio just like Conchali, if you will recall the encounters of Ojos Abiertos last year. Or perhaps you can remember the story of Jose, our neighbour, and his family.  Some of these children will spend much of their lives sleeping in the same room as their parents, bearing witness to acts that children shouldn’t otherwise see. Some of them will go on to make bad choices, made bad friends or head off in unwise directions. Some of them may copy their parents and follow a path of crime or other unsavoury activities, while others still will strive and achieve success.

Diego

I can’t remember if I have mentioned Diego before but I have certainly meant to. He is the adopted son of Jose, of the famous empanadas, and at a guess I’d place him around twelve years old. He is tall, skinny, softly spoken and has a shiny earring in one ear.  I cannot tell you where his birth parents are or how he is related to Jose, but I assume Diego has had some difficulty in his life. I admire Jose because not only has he transformed our street to have a strong sense of community, but he actually no longer lives next door to us (though he continues to work there every single day without fail).  When he and his wife were expecting a baby they moved to the countryside near Batuco, taking Diego and Maria with them (another cheer for the subsidio grant!).

Not all the kids we encounter here are angels but Diego has something special. He is caring, considerate, extremely intelligent and most of all he exudes a quality of gentleness. Every time he sees Emilio he hugs him or gives him a high five, and if the other kids are around with a toy or a lollipop he encourages them to share.  One of the children from next door is close in age to Emilio and about as similar to him as night and day.  I will call him Daniel and his mother is one of the daughters of Luisa. Daniel is not a happy toddler, in fact every time I see him he is either crying or bashing Emilio over the head with something. His mother, Ashley, is extremely aggressive and will never make eye contact if I encounter her a few metres away from her house.  I do not imagine that she has had an easy life either, and certainly she has made a few mistakes along the way. Daniel, according to Luisa, was one of them, as the whole street found out the night when her pregnancy was ever so discreetly announced. Luisa was screaming at her using every curse word and foul thing to say under the sun – right below our bedroom window – mainly because the lack of respect her pregnancy brought but also, I suspect, because the father is about as big a drug addict as you can get, does not work and therefore would not be able to contribute to the growing costs of pregnancy, birth and raising a child (even using the public system of healthcare and education).  The family were already strained enough, with a good twenty people sharing the small living spaces next door. That was all two years ago now and during that time Ashley has been kicked out of a rented room down the road, moved back in with her mum and given birth to Daniel. Daniel and Diego are as different as chalk and cheese but they originally started out in the same household. What a difference the guidance of Jose has made. I really, really hope that some compassionate teacher will see the potential Diego has and single him out, hopefully providing him with further positive mentors and options for his future. If he receives that, Diego will go a long way.

Being a mother here in Santiago has come with plenty of ups and downs but the general attitude towards my son has been overwhelmingly positive. Strangers will look out for Emilio and interact with him, sometimes in the most unlikely of situations. But what I really love is how warm and caring so many of the kids are, especially when I’m sitting on the grass, five months pregnant (and therefore slow to get up) and writing a blog entry, like today. If the future is in the hands of the children then the future of this city looks bright indeed.

Very bright indeed.

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Valparaiso art, but seemed fitting.

Note: the featured image for this blog was drawn by one of the students of Hoda and Georgina in Conchali last year, during the volunteer Art Expression classes organized by Ojos Abiertos.

Mummy Diaries: When It Doesn´t Work

Tomorrow is Mothers Day! On my street there is a party amosphere in the air and next door Jose’s family have prepared a lavish display of bouquets and ubiquetous roses to sell to our unprepared neighbours.   I have no doubt that the usual empanadas and ceviche delights will make an appearance later, or that they will sell like hot cakes.

In Santiago, any cause for celebration (and sales) are clutched at with fervour. Easter is the same, so was Dia del Nino, a holiday followed with gusto and which I’d never even heard about before coming here.

I don’t like the forced and commercial aspects of manufactured days such as Mothers Day, but I do like the idea of taking a moment to thank and honour loved ones.  Particularly mothers who, thanks to ridiculous societal expectations, often feel like they do 1001 things without much notice. Men have an equal role in the household of course, but it’s safe to say that their a difference between the male and female modus operandi.

Luis avoids birthdays, dreads Christmas and shuns all other “special days”. He really doesn’t have to – saying thank you does not have to come with expensive gifts or a diminished bank balance. Although this day is dedicated to all the hardworking mamas out there (YOU!), I’m about to break protocol and say gracias to the daddy in our household. It is thanks to Luis’ business-savvy ideas and hard slogs at night in the taxi that I have been fortunate enough to work part-time over the past year and be at home with Emilio after my studies concluded.  This is the same hardworking individual who has been robbed at knifepoint and threatened in front of the barrel of a gun over the years – driving a taxi is not a picnic. Thanks to Luis we own two houses and I have been able to discover areas of Chile that are rarely seen by expats, let alone tourists.

The last three months have been a time of unbearable tension in our home, and not really through any fault of ours, either. In a nutshell, we bought a car to rent out as a taxi (as we have done three other times before), of which we needed to buy the rights seperately. Thanks to Santiago’s congestion and pollution problem, there is now a limit to how many taxis can be officially on the road so it is now no longer possible to buy new taxi permission. The normal practice now is to thus buy the papers secondhand.  Luis took out a bank loan to do this, of CLP$9 million. This seems like a lot, but once rented out the taxi basically pays for itself and creates quite a good income (or it did before Uber!). Luis found rights that matched our model of car , met with the owner and went with her to the notaria in San Miguel.  Once there, the notary checked all the documents, said all was hunky dory and cleared Luis to pay the woman. Luis did so. But one month later the notary had gone silent and nothing had been processed. Luis was livid and concerned as that meant that nothing had been transferred into his name and so therefore the car was sitting in the yard … and still a car. The bank loan still needed to be paid.  A lawyer advised us to speak to the head notary himself and demand compensation for our loss of business but, while the man admitted the mistake, he laughed at the thought of handing out money. Another months laters and Luis was positively shitting himself, especially as the police called to say that actually the ID and some of the documents were as fake as Kim Kardashians face  and that he was actually number 5 on the list of taxistas previously scammed.  Thanks to the ridiculous delay in transferring titles, all camera footage at the notary and the bank had been deleted and the notary worker who had authorised the documents had up and vanished.  All the while this was happening the bank was hounding us to make repayments on the loan that we now couldn’t possibly afford …

Luis has since been in and out of the police, hassling them and making statements. An investigation has been launched and the police are finally taking it seriously, particularly due to the grave implications the notary’s involvement infers.  Around the same time two of our cars needed to have extensive repairs done after being crashed by careless drivers, while all our other bills mounted. It’s been a time of unprecedented stress, especially as it came at the same time as 1) my recovery from last year’s attack 2) the quiet time for my work and 3) the awful sickness that my finally falling pregnant heralded (think vomiting blood every ten minutes). To add further difficulty, Luis had just started university as well.

We have fought and cried and despaired and hated the sight of each other and had long absences … but still we survive. We have been together only five years but in that time we have lived through two long distance relationships, travelled together, lived apart, lived together, and also suffered together when our son became gravely ill.  We are together still because we genuinely enjoy each others company and balance the other’s faults out. There’s no-one else I want to be with and I am so thankful that he is the father of my children. I honestly respect and love him, and it breaks my heart to see him struggle.

We are not going to stay in Chile, in fact once we are able we will head out on a new adventure. But through it all and no matter what I will stand by Luis during successes and mistakes, through happiness and hardships. No importa that tomorrow is the Dia de la Mama, I would not be a mother without Luis and I am thankful for every moment that we have.

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Our Miles & Smiles venture has helped enormously as we have been able to do something with the car, so I would like to take this moment to personally thank each and every customer who has booked with us, recommended us or shared our information, particularly the community of English Speaking Mum’s who have so far been our biggest client group.  We have also been overwhelmed by the generosity shown by friends, Facebook acquaintances and certain family members who have reached out during this tumultous time. Another GRACIAS goes to all those English Speaking Mums (them again!) who have helped me on the job hunt, either by taking a chance on me, referring me or continuously booking my services in childcare. Much appreciated everyone!! I’d also like to point out that we are still so very, very fortunate compared to many in Santiago and, although Ojos Abiertos has not been active so far this year, any opportunities that you can think of that we can get involved with to give back please don’t be silent and we will do our bit to do our bit, even if that’s rallying the troops or blogging about a cause.

Pasteleria Lalaleelu

If you live in Nunoa then you are SO much luckier than I am.

No, no, no – it has nothing to do with any of those reasons you are probably conjuring up right now. It’s actually because you live in close vicinity to this place: Pasteleria Lalaleelu!!

Run by Young and Amy, a husband and wife team from South Korea and Taiwan respectively, this is a shop that knows it’s cakes and takes them seriously. The couple met in Australia while studying French Cuisine and the French’s reputation for excellence, refinery and delicious pastries are evident the moment you step inside this small but chic shop located just steps away from Metro Santa Isabel.  They opened when Amy was pregnant with baby Andres with the idea that everything on offer would be suitable for children, families and pregnant women.  They use no colourings and offer plenty of sugar-free and also dairy-free options for the vegans. No corners are cut either – everything is prepared from scratch on the premises using seasonal ingredients.  See that Raspberry Tart?  That vibrant, rocking red is all from the fruit which Young has the skills to masterfully display.

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The shop itself is small and simple but one of it’s highlights is Amy and Young themselves who man the store every day. They talk to everyone and when I visit they seem to know every customer. The serving staff greet everyone with huge smiles and, to be sure, everyone leaves happy. This is a place where the atmosphere is genuine and where families are welcome, just take a deeper look at the shop name, a mix of Amy and Young’s last names and Lala, the nickname of Andres.

But the reason to visit any cake shop is surely for it’s cakes and Lalaleelu does not disappoint. Highlights for me include the Jezy Limon, Torta de Limon and the so-good-I-want-to-marry-it, Devil’s Cake. For those stuck at the counter struggling to decide between winter fruits and chocolate, why not try them all by splurging on the Cake Testing option? There are also a variety of drinks, breads and other pastries to try.

Young is a master of his craft who serves a dazzling array that places Lalaleelu at the top of their game. Nunoans you have a good reason to smile with food of this quality on your doorstep. Definately worth a special trip.

Website: http://www.lalaleelu.cl

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Pasteler%C3%ADa-Lala-Leelu-761747433852311/?fref=ts

Phone: (2) 2980 7252

Address: Santa Isabel 0106, Nunoa (Metro Santa Isabel)

Opening Hours: Thursday, Friday & Saturday 11am-20.00

 

* Pasteleria Lalaleelu also offer custom-made cakes *

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Death Through The Ages: Journey with Grim Reaper

Death’s Diary:

A look into the mind of the Grim Reaper as he travels across years, cultures and spaces to assist departing souls.

399 BC Athens, Ancient Greece

Socrates had only been a blip on my radar.  I knew his time was near given his age (70) and I knew that his risk factor was slightly higher because of his public persona status, but I have to be honest and say that I hadn’t give much thought to him at all.  I’ve been quite busy in general over the last hundred years or so, although not so much in Greece thanks to their excellent medical advances (I’ve also been enjoying my rest time so that I’m alert for the upcoming Plague of Athens). When Socrates’ trial began the atmosphere was electric, especially because Socrates was a dynamic speaker and there was alot of emotion involved by the prosecutors. I enjoyed the trial immensely and am glad that Plato was there to note the atmosphere down – I’m looking forward to what he will write. However, I never really thought Socrates would die! I felt his convictions growing stronger and stronger as the trial continued, but when he willingly drank that poison I felt so in a state of shock that I was a bit slow to act!  Patriotic and true to his word until the very end, he came with me stoic, proud and oblivious to the feelings he’d left behind.

1870 Staithes, United Kingdom[1]

I thought I would include this sleepy Yorkshire village in my journal because a) the sea air always relaxes my soul and b) the women are a wonderful example of how death is not an individual phenomenon. Whenever I arrive and witness them in the midst of caring for their dying with vigour and then preparing the corpses, I feel both in awe and overwhelmingly tired. It’s always fascinating to me to see how humans dispose of the body afterwards, but generally I expect a bit of a show.  I remember the years before when even the Neanderthals left shells and tools and coloured their deceased with ochre! (De Spelder & Strickland, 1983: 35).  Now in Staithes they wash the body thoroughly, tie up the jaw and adorn it with Maltese lace and a pleated sheet. The women announce and prepare the funeral, often bear the coffin, and serve funeral food (of which the Madeira cake I would love to eat if I had physical form!)  In their black and white clothes and hats, these female bearers form an imposing V – virtuous and strong – before taking to their homes in solitude and mourning for as long as they deem necessary. Such team spirit!

1883 Munich, Germany[2]

During the last few years the world has changed rapidly. They are calling this time an “Industrial Age” and it has brought about many changes for me. Firstly, I seem to be taking many adults as a result of work-related accidents and secondly, death itself has been called into question. Do you know that I hear people asking when is someone dead?! I scoffed at first (of course I did – I’m Death personified) but then I began to wonder. Given that I am immortal and without corporeal form, this is something I have never really thought about before. People come to me when their time is up, plain and simple. However, I can see the confusion. Sometimes the body stops but the mind does not, sometimes the soul leaves but the body ticks on.  It’s a conundrum that has puzzled the world and in the process sparked some imaginations, as in the case of Edgar Allen Poe or the people of Transylvania who have begun encountering “vampires” among them (Kastenbaum, 2001: 36).  I am currently in Munich where the local death-houses have constructed the most unorthodox methods for determining whether death really is death. A guard will sit watch over corpses whom have a tiny ring on one finger which is then attached to a bell – should a person happen to not really be dead they will thus inadvertently sound the bell by moving (Kastenbaum, 2001: 36). Obviously I know when one is truly dead so my time there is brief, but I have stayed long enough times to witness the morbid waiting of the watchmen, his eyes like pallid lights in the gloom, quivering when the sudden clamour sounds (Twain, 1883 in Kastenbaum, 2001: 36)!

1970 Staithes, United Kingdom (update)

I try not to double up in my journal (think of how long it would be otherwise!) but I feel compelled to write of the change that has affected the world. Funerals are not quite the family affair they used to be and instead are becoming quite the money vehicle for professionals (Aries, 1974:99). Even in my beloved Staithes I have noticed a change over the past years! The women are no longer overseeing the preparation of the corpse or bearing the coffin – and worst of all they are not making more Madeira cake (Cline, 1995: 44).  I am unsure of how I feel about this, particularly when so much of the world is turning to cremation and the appointment of funeral directors to do everything.

1991 Winchester, United Kingdom[3]

I always find the United Kingdom a beautiful place to visit, but lately my trips there have not been very straightforward. The following is a good case in point.  I have had a woman named Mrs Lillian Boyes on my list for a while now.  To say that she has been sick would be an understatement.  Her rheumatoid arthritis was one of the worst British professionals had ever seen, and her condition was made worse by the presence of septicaemia, gangrene and body abscesses. When I arrived her screams were unlike anything I had ever heard before and it was so bad that even heroin (given as pain relief) offered her no comfort. I heard her begging – pleading – to be allowed to die and I have to admit that even to me her plight was distressing. I waited many days, my ears ringing with her cries. When she refused mediation five days ago, I readied myself to work -now, surely, my time had come to step in. But nothing happened! Mrs Boyes’ heart was beating as it was when I’d first arrived and I could see that Doctor Cox was at his wits end. He just did not know ethically how to proceed. On August 16 he entered the room looking calm, serious but tense, as a man who’d accepted a grave decision, and I knew then that he’d decided to give her what she was begging for. As the potassium chloride entered her bloodstream I drifted over to her, and her eyes met mine. I took her soul quickly and she came to me without looking back. Before I left I looked to her doctor, sitting on the chair beside her bed, exhausted. I nodded my head to him in acknowledgment of his act as I went, going past the nurse who was hurriedly leaving to report him for what he’d done.

2006 Kerikeri, New Zealand[4]

They say that variety is the spice of life and for me that is certainly true. What makes my job interesting is the fact that no matter where I go, mourning is never the same. Although human, there are so many influencing factors that determine this process like situation, life experience, gender, culture, customs, religion, society etc.  The New Zealand Maori always fascinate me – how I recall the days when I would eagerly watch their traditional war dance ‘the haka’ before my work would begin.  Their deaths are usually large, family affairs and the great wail “haeremai” that heralds their funerals will often linger in my ears for hours afterwards.  However in these years of global culture, the internet and weakening borders, sometimes it is difficult for me to gauge substantial differences between people in life. Death has thus emerged as a time to re-associate with one’s culture. In the case of the Maori, they harken back to creation beliefs that was overwritten during colonisation whereby there is a different connection between person and place to what is now accepted. The writer P. Beatson describes this as an umbilical cord with the land which connects the Maori to their ancestors in Hawaiki, their gods and demi-gods and the cosmos (1989). To them, I am called “Hine-nui-te-Po and they come to me with what I term ‘reluctant willingness’ (Beatson, 1989: 628).  When I am not working – which is rare – I read, and this line strikes me as apt to describe the Maori attitude: “I go but do not weep. No weeping, it is my time” (Mataira, 1984 in Beatson, 1989: 628).

Reflections

The above journal entries have been imagined in the voice of the Grim Reaper, a popular personification of Death.  Death is a figure that has taken many forms: from the feared and disfigured through to field labourer with scythe (Van Gogh), from the dancing skeleton to the harpies of Homer (Kastenbaum, 2001: 49). Here I have written Death as a gender-neutral conversational voice with a touch of loneliness. Through Death I have highlighted suicide, the biomedical approach, mourning and funeral rites, euthanasia and Maori ritual, because I feel that they provide an interesting overview of the many layers that are involved in a study of death and dying.  I shall now briefly look at each in turn, with my own reflections.

I chose to begin with the death of Socrates, who willingly accepted death by poison as one of the most famous acts of suicide in history.  I described his personal response as pride, not only because he stood by his convictions but because academics note that there was a general feeling of honour towards suicides amongst many Ancient Greek and Romans (Johnson, 1994: 253).  However, this death could also be viewed as a form of heroic death, which is affirmed by the understanding that society acts as a vehicle for symbolic hero-making through the use of customs and norms (Becker, 1973 in Seale, 1995: 597). The sociologist Giddens (1991) wrote that death upset the easy passage towards individual hero-making because of its anxiety inducing effect, however this was often eased by religion’s gift of a higher purpose (in Seale, 1995: 598). In modern times, the lessening of religious ties has prompted some academics to propose that death has become taboo (Aries, 1974) or even pornographic (Gorer, 1955). Others, such as Seale assert that there are ample opportunities today for individuals to create narratives whereby they rise above death after a struggle, thus showing great courage (1995: 602).  Although Socrates lived before the ‘modern’ time, he chose to die because his words were his beliefs, and therefore they were afforded more power as he died ‘heroically.’

       There are many ways to interpret Biomedical approaches but I decided to base this entry on Mark Twain’s writing because it seemed highly visual while also appearing somewhat comical. Michel Foucault sums up Biomedicine as a “new medical spirit with the discovery of pathological anatomy, which seemed to define it in its essentials” (1975: 124). In the scene I describe it is possible to witness that a) the corpse is no longer in the hands of the family and b) that death has become mechanized.  This last refers to what P. Aries explains as a “technical phenomenon (…) a series of little steps, which finally makes it impossible to know which step was the real death” (1974: 88).  Further, the passage demonstrates how the individual (or their family) no longer has any autonomy, for their return to life remains in the hands of the watchman, a member of the medical team and an outsider, and always on the lookout to obtain an ‘acceptable death’ and one that avoids any embarrassment to the living (Aries, 1974: 89).

       I included Staithes to provide an image of one of the many funeral and mourning practices in existence.  However I also included Death as being appreciative of their efforts given that their clinging to tradition and burials contrasted them against the vast majority of areas who were preferring “paid professionalism” (Cline, 1995: 44). For example, in the seventies funeral practices underwent sudden metamorphosis which saw men replace women in ritual, along with the inclusion of a funeral director who took care of the corpse (Cline, 1995: 44).  As years have continued to pass, Clines notes that Staithes has continued to bury their dead despite “the trend towards a more clinical impersonal standardisation of death (…) to which such moral matters have been placed in the hands of male professionals” (1995:44). I understand this point as directly relating to my paragraph on Biomedicine, in which power has been transferred away from the family and individual and into “the masters of death” (Aries, 1974: 89).

Euthanasia was not an easy topic to write, mainly because thinking about it too deeply was upsetting. I cannot even imagine being in the kind of pain or despair that would cause me to want to end my life. It was also a topic that the media consumes rapidly, so there were many vivid options to choose from. This is interesting as it brought to life the idea that the media latches on to images of death and sends it out widely as public discourse, while at the same time these topics are not referred to in the private sphere (Walter, Littlewood & Pickering, 1995: 593). It was this that made me think of Gorer’s ‘Pornography of death’ claim. Gorer refers to pornography as“shameful or absorrent, so that it can never be discussed or referred to openly” and this is a claim that applies to euthanasia, as shown in the case of Mrs Boyes (Gorer, 1995: 19).  Gorer adds that pornography is “clandestine” – which would apply to those committing the act (in this instance Doctor Cox) – however I am hesitant to say that anyone would have felt “pleasurable guilt or guilty pleasure” afterwards (Gorer, 1995: 20). For this reason, I described Death viewing the Doctor as tired and weary but also satisfied – the job was now over and there would now be no more “feelings of guilt and unworthiness” (Gorer, 1995: 20).

There were many modern day examples I could have written about next but I chose to look at the experience of Maori with death and dying because it allowed me to draw comparisons between worldviews, and how these shape our approaches to what death is.  It is interesting that Maori choose death as a time to assert customs which are slowly disappearing from practice, although Beatson writes that this is because death is the moment when one’s cosmic relationship becomes more visible (1989: 58). Death is the moment that causes people to turn to religion, spirituality or something of comfort, and for the Maori they remember that human life is part of a circle that wraps around both geography and the past (Beatson, 1989: 58). This idea allows the Maori to reconnect with their cosmic genealogy, in which they are connected centrally (Beatson, 1989: 59). Beatson believes that its purpose is not only spiritual but political: it “work[s] to confer a central position in the universal scheme of things upon the Maori, who have been marginalized in Western cosmology” (1989: 55). This would apply on numerous levels, the most paramount being that the Maori are trying to assert themselves independently from their European colonisers.

Each diary entry has been selected to showcase the pattern that attitudes towards death and dying has followed over the years. From the time when death was accepted and even welcomed by autonomous beings (suicide) through to its inclusion into Biomedicine and the movement of the deathbed; the strong ritual and public mourning exhibited by the living, through to the quietening of private discourse and the contradictory shouting of the media.  Finally, to show the use of death as a political agent to strengthen cultural and societal bonds which have been struggling against the threat of extinction. This has been a paper which has caused me to think about not only what it means to die but what it means to live – to be human – and it seems evident from the tightly interwoven nature of the dead and the living left behind that this relationship is not so different after all.

 

References

Aries, P. Western Attitudes toward Death from The Middle Ages to The Present, London:          Marion Boyars, 1974.

Beatson, P. ‘The Politics of the Supernatural’ in The Healing Tongue: Themes in           Contemporary Maori Literature, Palmerston North, Sociology Department, Massey     University, 1989, pp. 57-67.

Cline, S. Lifting The Taboo: Women, Death and Dying, London: Little Brown and        Company, 1995, Chapter 2.

De Spelder, L.A. & Strickland, A.L. The Last Dance: Encountering Death and             Dying, California: Mayfield, 1983, Chapter 2. ELIAS, N. The Loneliness of The     Dying, Oxford: Blackwell, 1985.

Foucalt, M. The Birth of the Clinic, London: Vintage, 1975, Chapter 8.

Gorer, G. (1995, 4th edition). “The Pornography of Death” in J.B. Williamson and         Shneidman, E.S. Death: Current Perspectives.  California> Mayfield.  pp. 18-22.

Johnson, M.J. Bioethics a nursing perspective, Sydney: Harcourt Brace, 1994 (second   edition), Chapter 12.

Kastenbaum, R.J. Death, Society and Human Experience, Sydney: Allyn and Bacon,    1995 (fifth edition), Chapter 2.

Marks, Kathy. Doctor’s dilemma of pain or death: Dr Nigel Cox will be sentenced   today for the attempted murder of one of his patients, 70-year-old Lillian Boyes. The      Independent. 21 September 1992. Retrieved 10 June 2015. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/doctors-dilemma-of-pain-or-death-dr-       nigel-cox-will-be-sentenced-today-for-the-attempted-murder-of-one-of-his-patients-         70yearold-lillian-boyes-kathy-marks-looks-back-at-his-trial-1552676.html

Oppenheim, R.S. Maori Death Customs, Wellington, Reed, 1993, Part Two.

Seale, C. ‘Heroic Death’, Sociology, Vol. 29, No.4, pp.597-613, 1995.

Walter T.; Littlewood, J.; & Pickering, M. ‘Death in the News: The Public         Investigation of Private Emotion’ Sociology, 29(4), November 1995.

Additional Reading

1880’s. Wikipedia. 5 June 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2015 from:    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1880s

Euthanasia Cases (2006). Chris Docker (ed). Retrieved 10 June 2015 from:        http://www.euthanasia.cc/cases.html

Giddens, A. Capitalism and Modern Social Theory, Cambridge, Cambridge University             Press, 1974, pp. 10-15, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 14.

Plague of Athens. Wikipedia. 2 June 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2015 from:        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plague_of_Athens

Rachels, J. (1993). ‘Euthanasia’ in Regan, T. (eds), Matters of Life and Death, New York,         McGraw-Hill, Chapter 2.

[1] Case study by David Clark in S. Clines 1995

[2] Based on Mark Twain n Kastenbaum 2001

[3] Case of Lillian Boyes http://www.euthanasia.cc/cases.html

[4] Based on R.S. Oppenheim (1993)

Globalisation & India’s Middle Class

You may be wondering how this essay connects to a blog about Chile. On the one hand it doesn’t – I am just trying to empty out my overflowing hard drive and don’t want to press delete permanently. But as I upload this I can see that there are numerous parallels that can be made to the situation currently occurring in Santiago. Enjoy!

Effects of Globalisation Upon the Evolving Social Landscape of India’s Middle Class:

            Out of all the possible arenas one could choose to explore further, none (in my view) are more topically relevant than that of globalisation. It provides a good entry point towards understanding a culture that is not one’s own given that all the globe is experiencing it to some degree.  However, India is a nation so large and diverse that there are numerous factors effecting, and being affected by, the event of globalisation which make understanding it a convoluted lesson involving religion, history and socio-cultural constructs like caste. To help matters, I shall be focusing only upon the effects of globalisation upon the middle class strata of India’s mega-cities, and I shall be observing their present day state rather than their previous conditions.  Although there are many aspects to this issue, below I shall be examining only three and the part they have played in the construction of a new social identity.  I shall look at how identity is created, the changing physical environment including new work spaces, and the shared social anxieties that binds these people together.  I will use this data to make the claim that globalisation has evolved the middle class into a previously unknown class archetype.

I would like to begin by recalling my own memories from a trip to India in 2009. Before disembarking the plane I, like many other New Zealanders, envisaged an exotic land. My mind conjured up pictures of a ‘Jungle Book’ like world, with lush jungles, decorated elephants and small villages with women in saris balancing jugs on their heads. However I also pictured dense cities beneath a cloud of grey, whispers of terrorist activity and huge swarms of faceless people. In short, I hat two rather distinct sets of predispositions about India: the first being vivid and romantic and the latter dull and disconcerting. The India that was before me when I disembarked was neither.  As we raced through steams of traffic, I was terrified by begging children and transvestites, and by the cacophony of sounds, sights and smells that jammed my senses.  However when we arrived at my friend Swati’s apartment in a highrise block in one of Mumbai’s numerous outlying suburbs, it was cool and calm.  There was Big Bang Theory playing on the television and Swati’s husband Ashish was playing games on his iPhone (and this was before Apple became famous in New Zealand). I realised that there was a huge disparity between what I had imagined, experienced outside and what I was now seeing. As I soaked up the atmosphere during my month’s stay, it seemed as though there were multiple worlds existing simultaneously. There is no better example to visualise this juxtaposition than the case of my friend Swati, who would get dressed in jeans and labelled American tshirt before putting on her sari or salwar kameez over the top.

My friends Swati and Ashish represent Mumbai’s new middle class. I refer to it as ‘new’ because its current form has specific codes of practice that have formed over the last ten years or so (McGuire, 2011: 119). While it is not known whether the middle class has actually increased in number, what is clear is that their position is highly visible and thus it stands to reason that importance is placed upon appearance (McGuire, 2011: 119).  Its appearance in today’s India is due to economic liberalization that began in 1991 and prompted multinational companies to enter India in search of workers who could be hired at a fraction of the cost as elsewhere in the Western world (McGuire, 2011: 119).  The economist Gurucharan Das identifies these workers as educated English speakers who have thus been able to enter into positions of relative affluence due to the “the opportunities opened by technology and globalization” (2001, in McGuire, 2011: 119).  The new middle class includes multiple communities and values which are then brought together by shared educational and work backgrounds, and consumption patterns (Donner, 2011: 1).  Such rapid change has meant that actors are currently in the process of forming new identities based upon their class position, which is often expressed through modes of dress, language usage and choices of consumption (Donner, 2011: 2).  Anthropologist Meredith McGuire refers to these outward expressions of identity as a performance that is “constituted by consumer and entrepreneurial practices that are played out in public (2011: 120).  She gives drinking coffee in Barista coffeehouses as an example, whereby it is not the act of drinking coffee that constitutes membership to the middle class but the act of drinking there (McGuire, 2011: 120).  Status is then attributed. Further, the actor is attributed the characteristic of tenacity, of one who has worked hard,  as the popular notion is that being poor (or in poverty) is a choice made  by refusing to work hard (Gibson, 2011: 68).

The acquiring of status is not unique to India’s middle class – it naturally occurs during the process of social interaction.  Professor Robyn Andrews explains that social interaction forms the basis of ethnic identity and is “shaped through a dialectic between ‘similarity and difference’” (2010: 181).  Prejudices arise as status’ are judged – status’ regarding gender, age, ethnicity and occupation (Andrews, 2010: 181).  While Andrews uses the example of Anglo-Indians to illustrate her point, the claim that there is a “preconception of what others think of them, in turn, [which] helps them to form their idea of themselves” applies equally to the case of the new middle class (2010: 185).  While the Anglo-Indians use this to distance themselves from non-Anglo-Indians, the middle classes use it to separate themselves into a new group that is characterized by the weakening of traditional loyalties and obligations (Mishra, 2011: 175).   Numerous opportunities in the workplace allow the middle class to afford the plethora of consumption options available, therefore leading to the idea that more self-autonomy is possible through the avenue of class identity (Mishra, 2011: 175).  The acquiring of public status is known as a form of ‘social capital’ that thus allows for movement in the social sphere, trumping even caste-based distinctions that, until a few years ago, still held overarching importance in the balance of the social landscape (Gibson, 2011: 67).

It is precisely this indiscriminate nature of acquiring social capital that has lead to the dramatic urban migration that has taken place throughout India.  Mumbai is India’s largest population hub and the second most densely populated city in the world (Chalana, 2010: 1).  Its continued growth has been due to the appeal of mega-cities as a place to find more substantial employment, in order to increase one’s social capital, fund education or support family members that continue to live rurally. However, Mumbai has limited by buildable land so increased growth is impossible (Chalana, 2010: 2).  As such, a beautification process named ‘Vision Mumbai’ is underway that seeks to modernise Mumbai into a city of world-class distinction (Chalana, 2010:2).  The campaign is being lead by an American company that is following a global city model that has been followed by other mega-cities, such as Shanghai (Chalana, 2010: 2).  It requires the demolishing of entire dwelling areas to make room for shopping malls and supermarkets and, while including a housing plan for Mumbai’s lower classes, this plan fails to take into account how social identity has become intertwined with housing (Chalana, 2010: 3).  For example, chawls, which developed around the 19th century, allow for highly communal modes of living, while Jhuggi-Jhopri settlements allow for the successful merging of familial and economic responsibilities whilst having relatively a low environmental impact (Manish, 2010: 3).  Architect Manish Chalana describes these spaces as “defined by a complex realm of social practices (…) completely devoid of ‘the spectacle’ (…) these places are rich repositories of the city’s social meaning and cultural history” (2010: 5).  He further writes that “once the transformation is complete, a working-class neighbourhood with a rich history, sense of community, and vernacular architecture will be transformed into a space that reflects the culture of US-dominated global capitalism (Chalana, 2010: 6).  The areas of Mumbai where one could find certain trades, for example, will disappear along with cultural memories that were once traditionally allocated to architecture and temples, to be lost amongst a skyline of homogenous steel. I can attest that during my own time in Mumbai I could easily find a McDonalds or shopping mall – even in the more further located suburbs I visited – and then forget I was even in India.

This is made easier given that the format of employment is also changing. During the 1980’s and 1990’s, Mumbai’s economy began to shift away from textile and industry to service-based roles (Chalana, 2010: 5).  This is nowhere more evident than in the rise of the transnational call centre. This work requires the metaphorical transportation of the employee from India, and are therefore “deliberately designed to assert the physicality of a new modernity and cosmopolitanism (read: Americanism) brought about by global technology, and to distinguish that modernity from the rest of the city” (Shome, 2006 in Mishra, 2011: 182).  Firstly, this allows for a distinction between the traditional and the modern, whereby the new is perceived as being better.  Secondly, on an anthropological level, it allows for the actors to be “temporarily in [a] foreign place while they still dwell in India” (Mitra, 2008 in Mishra, 2011: 170).  This has numerous repercussions upon the social landscape. Increasing levels of agency is contributed to by enhanced social position, less traditional restrictions and higher levels of economic power (Mishra, 2011: 173).  As individual autonomy is nurtured, the availability of choice allows for actors to choose for themselves what form their identity will take (Bauman, 2000 in Mishra, 2011: 175).  Thus, there is a considerable degree of privilege and glamour to be found working in a call centre that makes it particularly attractive for women, many of whom migrate to large cities looking for opportunities (Mishra, 2011: 181). This movement away from family, and the subsequent entering into employment, has allowed for gender-dictated norms and mobility to be affected by the entrance of global commerce (Mishra, 2011: 181).  Further, the ability for a woman to financially help or support her family introduces “a new discourse of honour” (Mishra, 2011: 181).

There are further areas which are impacted by employment in the call centre sector but most relevantly, the job itself requires an identity shift in the employee to function. As part of the job description, workers must undergo extensive training to neutralise their accents and to learn intimately American culture (Mishra, 2011: 182). They are given an anglicised name as part of their new “American identity” and work nights to “emulate the temporal rhythm of a different place” (Mitra, 2008 in Mishra, 2011: 183).  Knowledge of the United States comes to them via numerous avenues, however one notable way is from trainers who in some cases have never left India (Mishra, 2011: 90). Anthropologist Swati Mishra observes that America is labelled as “cool (…) the discussion is exciting and animating for everyone in the room” (2011: 190). Attitudes such as this, along with “mediated experiences of globalisation through American television serials and films (…) give rise to imagination of new possibilities in lives” (Youna, 2006 in Mishra, 2011: 195).  Amongst these possibilities are changes in dating and relationship patterns (including attitudes regarding sex before marriage), changes in attitude towards having friendships not based upon gender and changes in dress  – all of which are made possible given economic and physical independence away from their families (Mishra, 2011: 200-202).  Preferences for clothes that echo Western ideals of what is fashionable or ‘sexy’ shows how images and symbols of the West “are integrated into daily lives, considered as modern, desirable and thus defended as normal and part of a progressive life” (Mishra, 2011: 213).

With the growing power of status within middle class identity, comes a level of anxiety about losing social capital, and in many ways this is fuelled by the effects of globalisation.  Maintaining one’s lifestyle has taken paramount importance due to being adopted as part of their new identity (Donner, 2011: 2).  For example, Douglas Haynes highlights that financial responsibility to one’s family forces breadwinners to stress over their ability “to provide such unrelated products as life insurance, health tonics, and malted milk powders (Donner, 2011: 36). In this vein, it is possible to gauge the connection between consumption, class and the individual, which is increased by media and social interactions.  It is possible to witness this occurring on a number of levels across India, as detailed in the documentary ‘Nero’s Guests” which explores a recent phenomenon of farmer suicides that have taken place nation-wide.  In many cases, traditional caste-based employment has either disappeared or become too competitive, and so instead men have looked to farming as a viable option to make capital (Vasavi, 2009: 4). However, they are often inadequately prepared for the reality of farming (particularly using the Green Revolution international model) and so occurrences such as incorrectly using fertilizers and pesticides with adverse effects has become commonplace (Vasavi, 2009: 5 – 8).  As crops inevitably fail due to lack of support and education, debt mounts and many have thus been driven to suicide, which is particularly reinforced by the idea of losing social capital (Vasavi, 2009: 8).  Hayne’s argument that the “development of a consumer-oriented capitalism and the fashioning of masculinity [are therefore] closely intertwined” seems inarguably apt, therefore (Donner, 2011: 1).

The subject of desire for capital and consumption allows me to return to my friend Swati and the metaphor I alluded to at the start regarding the wearing of jeans beneath the sari. I remember wondering at the time why she did this, particularly on a hot day when she must have been so uncomfortable. I wonder what the point of it was, given that no-one around of us would have seen the jeans. I propose, finally, that perhaps the performance that McGuire alluded to earlier is perhaps not by definition always a public one.  Perhaps it gains strength just by existing at all, whether in the public sphere or privately, known only to the individual. Furthermore, its existence is one that is perpetuated and given strength by the actors who afford it power, which is made all the more easier given the environ in which it lives. Mumbai, like all of India’s megacities, is a changing metropolis that is evolving to meet demands from abroad and at home, from its residents who deem the modern and Western as progressive.  Identity and the economic landscape are therefore not mutually exclusive, as espoused by Marxist theory, and as such the effects of globalisation can be seen to impact cultural and social existences.

 

References

Andrews, Robyn (2010).  Chapter V: Social Interaction of the Anglo-Indians Within and             Outside the Community. 146302 Regional Ethnography: Asia Study Guide 2015.          School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Massey University: Palmerston North.

Chalana, Manish (2010). “Slumdogs Vs. Millionaires: Balancing Urban Informality And    Global             Modernity In         Mumbai, India.” Journal Of Architectural Education 2 25.    Academic OneFile. Web. 7 June 2015.

Donner, Henricke (Ed.). Being Middle Class in India: A Way of Life. New York: Routledge,          2011.

Gibson, Lorena (2011).  “Hope, Agency and the ‘Side Effects’ of Development in India and        Papa New Guinea”. 146302 Regional Ethnography: Asia Study Guide 2015.  School   of Humanities and Social Sciences. Massey University: Palmerston North.

McGuire, M.L. (2011). “How to Sit, How to Stand”: Bodily Practice and the New Urban             Middle Class.  In L.Clark-Deces (Ed.). A Companion to the Anthropology of India.     (pps. 45-61). Chichester, England: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Mishra, Swati (2011).  “Recasting Respectability: Habitus, Call Centres and the Modern   Indian Woman.”  146302 Regional Ethnography: Asia Study Guide 2015.  School of   Humanities and Social Sciences. Massey University: Palmerston North.

Vasavi, A.R (2009). Suicides and the Making of Agrarian Distress. In 146316 Visual        Anthropology Study Guide (2015). Massey University, Palmerston North: extramural.