Post Tagged with "Asia"

Meet Kateryna, who started her own business from scratch in Turkey

The latest in our local business interview series is Kateryna, who moved from her home in Ukraine to be with her Turkish husband. She built a business which uses her knowledge of the Russian market to connect local Turkish manufacturers with new customers, and here she tells us how she did it.

Kateryna, tell us a bit about yourself

I am from Kiev, I moved to Turkey three years ago. I married a Turkish man and I am a journalist.

When I moved to Bursa, where I live with my husband, I started to think about what I could do. I knew that to continue with my profession, I had to learn the language very well – and that it would have taken time to achieve fluency.

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June 13, 2013 Comments disabled

Tomb Sweeping day in China

Two PocketCultures readers from China wrote in with this post about tomb sweeping day in China, which was on April 4th this year.

Tomb-sweeping Day has a very long history in China. It is an important day which shows that we Chinese value family ties and our ancestors. For the older generation, the most common practice is to return to their birthplace and to visit the cemetery of their ancestors. In the countryside, many tombs look like small piles of earth.

Tombs decorated at a cemetery in Beijing

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April 17, 2013 Comments disabled

Rangoli – colourful Indian chalk paintings

The word comes from the Sanskrit word Rangaavali – which itself is a combination of two words – Rang, meaning colour and Aavali meaning creepers or lines. Rangaavali, or Rangoli, as we call it today, thus, literally translates into ‘coloured lines’ and that is what it essentially is – lines drawn in colour – inside or outside the house. It could be a celebration of a festival, an expression of happiness, a sign of welcome, a symbol of cleanliness and purity… but all it is, essentially, is lines of colour.

Rangolis are something you can see in every corner of India, no matter where you go. It is mostly a Hindu tradition, but I have seen Rangolis outside churches in southern India too, and some of my Muslim friends are as adept at it as I am!

A typical Rangoli pattern

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December 5, 2012 4 comments

Going local: foreign brands in India

Isn’t it funny to see how  foreign brands, when coming to shores of different culture like India, adapt themselves to suit the local needs? They also make themselves the household brand names, be it Nokia or Pepsi in India, saying “Youngistaan Meri Jaan” (the power & dreams of our youth drives the nation). Imagine this American brand turning itself into Desi products, which we are readily accepting as it shows how much we have broken the barriers of culture.

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November 23, 2012 Comments disabled

The complexities of India’s ID system and how it is changing

The first time I needed a document to prove that I was indeed a resident of Mumbai, I had to make umpteen visits to a local administrative office, had to struggle to understand the dialect of Marathi he spoke, convince him that I did not have a surname, and finally, after much sign language, understood that he wanted a bribe. Yes, all that rigmarole had nothing to do with all the forms (in quadruplicate) that I had to fill, but a simple matter of making a state government employee’s wallet fatter. I stormed out of the office in anger, refusing to grease anyone’s palms, and the officer didn’t even shrug… he simply went on to the next applicant, who was probably a lot less naive than I was, and ready to cough out the sum required to get the required document. Needless to say, I still do not have the document in question.

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June 27, 2012 2 comments

Are some cultures more kid-friendly than others?

Out for Lao food in Sydney. Pic: Liz Ledden.

Out for Lao food in Sydney. Pic: Liz Ledden.

As someone who likes to eat and drink out – a lot – it was inevitable that when kids came along they’d be joining in the fun.  Baby number one soon got to know Bangkok’s assorted eating spots, albeit while mostly asleep, and as a toddler ran amok in Saigon’s restaurants. Well-meaning staff would pull her back from the edge of enticing turtle ponds and others knew her by name and even her regular order. Staff were super friendly to the kids and we felt welcome everywhere, from cheap and cheerful local restaurants to higher end places, and even cool cocktail bars (at family o’clock I mean!).

Now living in Australia, cafes and restaurants are still on the agenda for both our girls, but time and experience has shaped where we take them, and when. The anything goes mentality of much of Southeast Asia does not always apply in Australia – while some places are decidedly kid-friendly with toys, chalkboards and babyccinos on tap, others seem not so enamoured of small people. Reluctant service, withering looks and ‘too cool for school’ attitudes are the hallmarks of the un-family friendly places we’ve encountered, though thankfully, rarely. While I realise certain places at certain times are off limits (and I sometimes enjoy these too, kid-free), I’m talking cafes (in the day, in suburbs full of kids) that should know better.

We most often head to Asian eateries, as we know the kids will always be welcome. Noisy, crowded yum cha restaurants are always a winner, but it’s small, friendly, family-run Vietnamese and Thai places that always seem to accept the kids with open arms. Italian, Lebanese and other Middle Eastern places have also been really accommodating, which makes me wonder, why are these places so kid-friendly and others, not so much? Is it that in some cultures, there is more importance placed on extended family, and a tendency to include kids in social events? Has something been lost along the way in some Western cultures when it comes to tolerating kids in public places?

I don’t know the answer to this, but I do know I’ll continue to take my kids out and about to experience different tastes, cuisines and cultures, and gravitate to the places I know they’ll be happily accepted.

 

Read more

5 interesting facts about Australia

A taste of the Middle East in Sydney’s Lakemba

Games for children around the world

June 22, 2012 6 comments