Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Movie- Australia

What is Communication?
         Communication is varied as asked towards others. People may think it as the sharing of ideas and information. While many others think of communication primarily in oral or written form, communication is much more. Example, a knowing look or a gentle touch can also communicate a message loud and clear, as can a hard push or an angry slap. Furthermore, communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information. It is also said that communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender's intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast distances in time and space. Communication requires that the communicating parties share an area of communicative commonality. The communication process is complete once the receiver has understood the message of the sender. This definition suggests that there can be several different types of communication, falling into the categories of non-verbal or verbal.
        Non-verbal communication involves exchanging information or transmitting data without the use of words. There are many examples of non-verbal communication everywhere in the world.While you may not stop to think about it, a red light or a stop sign is a clear form of non-verbal communication. No one is physically telling you to stop, but you see that symbol or signal and know immediately what is expected of you. Likewise, body language and facial expressions are also examples of non-verbal communication. Over the years, numerous research studies have been done to suggest that babies respond to smiling faces the world over, and that when a person sees someone else smile, he may become a bit happier as well. Thus, while understanding non-verbal communication may require some knowledge of the cultural and social meanings behind the symbols and signs used, some types of non-verbal communication are instinctual and no teaching is necessary.
       On the other hand, the system of verbal communication has become quite complex, with unique languages each having millions of words. Unlike non-verbal communication, in order for verbal communication to be meaningful, there must generally be a readily accepted understanding of the meaning of a series of sounds. In other words, sounds and words alone aren't sufficient to communicate: the person transmitting the message and the person receiving the message generally must have a cultural background or shared knowledge that allows them to understand what those sounds have come to mean. However, even some oral or verbal communication can be intuitive. For example, animals use verbal communication all the time to transmit messages to each other. Birds sing, some bugs chirp when mating, hounds bark to alert the pack on a hunt, and even whales sing, although scientists aren't 100 percent certain what those songs mean. The fact that language was one of man's earliest developments, and the fact that there are similarities among languages and that animals also engage in oral communication, all suggest that although some shared cultural understanding is necessary, the specific act of verbal communication may be innate.
      Thus over time, the methods and means used to communicate have expanded greatly. In early records, hieroglyphics and primitive cave paintings were used to communicate information and transmit messages. Oral stories and traditions were also passed down through generations and eventually many of these stories also came to be written down in some cultures. The use of carrier pigeons, followed by Morse code and telegraph technology expanded the reach of communication, making it possible for people to send messages over longer distances. Today, communication has expanded and is easier than ever before. Television allows messages to be communicated quickly and instantly to millions of viewers worldwide, and viewers can watch events such as political elections unfold in real time. Perhaps nothing has changed communication so much as the Internet. While television and radio provided one-way communication, the Internet allows for the two-way exchange of information and lets people throughout the world send data instantly and share ideas immediately. Video chat, instant messages and even voice-over-IP telephone systems make it possible to connect with and communicate with more people than ever before.
About Culture?
    Culture is often thought of as merely the unique, interesting, or odd behaviours exhibited by people who live in a different country and speak a different language. The reality is that culture is much deeper and broader. Culture consists not only of behaviours and practices, but also of deeply held beliefs about what is right, appropriate. It is passed from generation to generation, in the words and actions of parents, teachers, and fellow community members. It is so deeply rooted inside our minds and hearts that we often cannot imagine a world in which our values, the way we define right and wrong, could possibly be thought of any other way. Culture is also not unique to different countries. Cultures arise anytime we find ourselves as part of a group that shares an ideal or experience. While national culture, based on the country in which we grew up and went to school, is often the strongest and broadest of our cultures, we always have other cultures that play a role in how we see the world around us. Religious culture is moulded by our sacred texts and the teachings of religious leaders. Local culture is instilled in us based on our location: those who grew up on the seaside are likely to value certain things that others who grew up in the mountains or in an inland urban environment would.
       To discover your own cultures you need to begin to ask yourself what groups you are a part of, what those groups value, and how that has impacted the choices you make every day in life. Understanding culture is important and necessary for anyone who wishes to build success in today’s growingly diverse world. This world is a multicultural world, thus all of us should be ready to deal with the cultures around us.
What is Intercultural Communication?
       Intercultural communication in its most basic form refers to an academic field of study and research. It seeks to understand how people from different countries and cultures behave, communicate and perceive the world around them.. As a separate notion, it studies situations where people from different cultural backgrounds interact. Aside from language, intercultural communication focuses on social attributes, thought patterns, and the cultures of different groups of people. It also involves understanding the different cultures, languages and customs of people from other countries. Intercultural communication plays a role in anthropology, cultural studies, linguistics, psychology and communication studies. There are many researchers and academics of note within the intercultural field, who naturally all have different definitions of 'intercultural communication'. For example Karlfried Knapp  defines it as "'Intercultural communication,' defined as the interpersonal interaction between members of different groups, which differ from each other in respect of the knowledge shared by their members and in respect of their linguistic forms of symbolic behaviour." For those wanting to dig a bit deeper it may be a good idea to look into the works of Edward T. Hall, ‘We should never denigrate any other culture but rather help people to understand the relationship between their own culture and the dominant culture. When you understand another culture or language, it does not mean that you have to lose your own culture’.
      Furthermore, the findings of such academic research are then applied to 'real life' situations such as how to create cultural synergy between people from different cultures within a business or other professions. Theories developed by the researchers and academics can and have been applied to many fields such as business, management, marketing, advertising and website design. As business becomes more and more international, many companies need to know how best to structure their companies manage staff and communicate with customers. Intercultural communication gives them an insight into the areas they need to address or understand. Intercultural communication theories are now also used within the education, health care and other public services due to growing multicultural populations.
About the Movie
   The movie is entitled ‘Australia” and undoubtedly it is a movie about the rustic country itself and its history and ever blossoming culture.  Australia was released in the year 2008 and its story is based in epic historical romance film directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring two highly recognized a-list Australian actors, Nicole Kidman alongside Hugh Jackman. It is the second-highest grossing Australian film of all time, behind Crocodile Dundee.  The movies genre is based on romance, history, drama and adventure.
     The movie is about, Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) travels from England to northern Australia in 1939 to force her philandering husband to sell his faltering cattle station, Faraway Downs. Her husband sends an independent cattle drover (Hugh Jackman), called "Drover", to transport her to Faraway Downs. Lady Sarah's husband is murdered shortly before she arrives, and the authorities tell her that the killer is an Aboriginal elder, "King George" .The childless Lady Sarah is captivated by the boy Nullah, who is an Aborigine. Nullah tells her that he has seen her cattle being driven onto Carney's land — in other words, stolen from her. Because of this Fletcher mistreats Nullah and threatens to kill him and his mother, so Lady Sarah fires Fletcher and decides to try and run the cattle station herself.
      Lady Sarah persuades Drover to take the cattle to Darwin for sale. Drover leads a team of six other riders, including Lady Sarah, Drover's Aboriginal brother-in-law Magarri , Nullah, and the station's accountant Kipling Flynn (Jack Thompson), to drive the 1,500 cattle to Darwin.  Then, Lady Sarah and Drover fall in love, and she gains a new appreciation for the Australian territory. The team drive the cattle through the dangerous  desert with obstacles thrown by Carney’s man.
The, Nullah is drawn to perform a walkabout with his grandfather "King George", but is instead taken by the authorities and sent to live on Mission Island with the other half-Aboriginal children (dubbed the "Stolen Generations"). Lady Sarah, who has come to regard Nullah as her adopted son, vows to rescue him. Meanwhile, she works as a radio operator in Darwin during the escalation of World War II. When the Japanese attack the island and Darwin in 1942.
      Drover, who had quarrelled with Lady Sarah because she wants to save Nullah left, returns to Darwin and hears (mistakenly) that she has been killed in the bombing. Drover learns of Nullah's abduction to Mission Island, and goes with Magarri and a young priest to rescue him and the other children. Meanwhile, Lady Sarah is about to evacuate, but when Drover and the children sail back into port at Darwin.Fletcher, distraught at the ruination of his plans, attempts to shoot Nullah, but is speared by King George and falls dead. Lady Sarah, Drover, and Nullah return to the safety of remote Faraway Downs. There, King George calls for Nullah, who returns to the Outback with his grandfather.
History, Culture and Language of the movie ‘Australia’
I)                   History
       The setting of the movie is in the era before and during World War II. As noted, Lady Sarah Ashley was an aristocrat veteran, thus, she came from United Kingdom, where a form of government in which a few elite citizens rule. In later times, aristocracy was seen as rule by a privileged group (the aristocratic class) and contrasted with democracy. So, here a person who is from a aristocrat ruling is in-depth with high society and is at the top most of its highest social class.  Furthermore, in some parts of the movie it is notable that in true history facts , the Japanese which were from the Imperial Japan during World War II bombed several of times in Darwin on 1942, and the subsequent exodus south, known as the ‘Adelaide River Stakes’. Many people will understandably be unfamiliar with these historical events. 
     On the other hand, before the arrival of European settlers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples inhabited most areas of the Australian continent. They spoke one or more of hundreds of separate languages and dialects, and their lifestyles and cultural traditions differed from region to region. Their complex social systems and highly developed traditions reflect a deep connection with the land. Asian and Oceanic mariners and traders were in contact with Indigenous Australians for many centuries before the era of European expansion. Some formed substantial relationships with communities in northern Australia. The first recorded European contact with Australia was in March 1606, when Dutch explorer Willem Janszoon (1571–1638) charted the west coast of Cape York Peninsula in Queensland. In 1688, William Dampier became the first British explorer to land on the Australian north west coast. It was not until 1770 that another Englishman, Captain James Cook, aboard the Endeavour, extended a scientific voyage to the South Pacific in order to further chart the east coast of Australia and claim it for the British Crown. Thus, we can see that Nullah a part f the character in the story is a half aborigines, so, we can see that their society is changing as the British in settlement is progressing during that time. Scarcity of labour, the vastness of the land and new wealth based on farming, mining and trade made Australia a land of opportunity. Yet during this period Indigenous Australians suffered enormously. Death, illness, displacement and dispossession disrupted traditional lifestyles and practices.
II)                Culture
        The define culture of Australia is divided in many categories arts, music, rituals, clothing and so forth. It is evident that the arts and music were in Australia among the aborigines people. In the movie, we can see that Nullah was playing a harmonica and his tribes were also playing and singing different instruments which were wooden in the movie. This music was called the indigenous music. In other parts of the movie, we could also not that the British were into folk music and classical music because they were adapted from Europe. On the other hand, we can see rituals in some parts of the movies were the Aborigines people had witch doctors and other superstation arts.  The Rainbow Serpent is a major ancestral being for many Aboriginal people across Australia. Baiame or Bunjil are regarded as the primary creator-spirits in South-East Australia this was mentioned in the movie when the Drover explained the aboriginal culture to Lady Sarah.
        During the twentieth century the types of clothing worn by Western Australia's original inhabitants were influenced by European styles.  Prior to contact with British colonists, according to the climate of each region in Western Australia clothing was not always considered a necessity.  In cooler areas skin cloaks using possum, wallaby or kangaroo were worn to give protection from the cold and wet while in warmer regions decoration, rather than clothing in a European sense, was traditionally used for ceremonial purposes. So, the as we can see the movie took place in the northern region, thus, it was hot they didn’t were anything except for body paint and shells to cover up certain parts of the body. Other than that, when the aristocrat came in here which was Lady Sarah she wore a dress that was seemingly too hot for the weather when she arrived. Stylistic developments in women's clothing reflect their liberation from the constraints of the restrictive clothes worn in the 19th century.  The heavy fabrics - gussets, corsets, starched collars. Since, they were in the North they had to wear lighter and cooler clothes because of the dry weather. In the movie the Drover wore cowboy styled clothing as well as the other British people.  This was true for people working in all regions of Western Australia including the far north and northwest, where Europeans often wore the pith helmet of the British colonial tropics.
III)             Language
       There were more than 250 languages spoken by Indigenous Australians prior to the arrival of Europeans. Most of these are now either extinct or moribund, with only about fifteen languages still being spoken by all age groups. Linguists classify mainland Australian languages into one large group, the Pama–Nyungan languages. The rest are sometimes lumped under the term "non-Pama–Nyungan". The Pama–Nyungan languages comprise the majority, covering most of Australia, and are generally thought to be a family of related languages. In the north, stretching from the Western Kimberley to the Gulf of Carpentaria, are found a number of non-Pama–Nyungan groups of languages which have not been shown to be related to the Pama–Nyungan family nor to each other. It has been suggested that, given their long presence in Australia, Aboriginal languages form one specific sub-grouping. The position of Tasmanian languages is unknown, and it is also unknown whether they comprised one or more than one specific language family.

Although Australia has no official language, it is largely monolingual with English being the "de facto" language. Australian generally follows the Queen's English spelling and grammar norms, but has its own distinctive accent and vocabulary – including the distinctive "g'day", a common and renowned greeting used in Australia. It is believed that there were between 200 and 300 Australian Aboriginal languages at the time of first European contact, but only about 70 of these languages have survived and all but 20 of these are now endangered. An indigenous language is the main language for about 50,000 people (0.25% of the population).

Movie Review - The Gods Must Be Crazy! defines communication as:


communications, plural

1. The imparting or exchanging of information or news

- Direct communication between the two countries will produce greater understanding

- At the moment I am in communication with London

2. A letter or message containing such information or news

3. The successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings

- There was a lack of communication between Pamela and her parents

4. Social contact

- She gave him some hope of her return, or at least of their future communication

5. Means of connection between people or places, in particular

The root of the word “communication” in Latin is communicare, which means to share, or to make common. Communication is defined as the process of understanding and sharing meaning. It is the relationship that involves interaction between participants, the process of understanding and sharing another’s point of view effectively.

There are various forms of communication:

-Symbolic and Written Forms of Communication

Symbolic and written communication enabled humankind to communicate and record history that took place many years ago; in fact, it is believed that some of the symbols scribed on the inside of caves were made from early humans that dated as far back as one million years BC. Some of the oldest forms of communication were symbolic in nature; for example, the Ancient Egyptians developed an alphabet with symbols that represented each letter in their alphabet, and they would put words together that formed sentences through clustering them vertically. Early native peoples did much the same thing through using physical symbols through the medium of smoke signals to warn their people of danger or to signal an attack to begin battle. As the human race has evolved globally, our form of written communication has become what it is today: more sophisticated with grammar and vocabulary.

-Verbal Communication

Verbal communication is also one of the oldest forms of communication and it too dates back to the times of early humans where sounds such as grunts, groans, and other guttural sounds, at different volumes or inflections, indicated friendly communication or a threat or warning to stay away from food or belongings. As is the case with the development of writing, our verbal communication has progressed and has become, as we know it today.

-Body Language

Another form of communication that is neither verbal nor written is body language. Reading a persons body language can indicate if they are upset, nervous, stressed out, or angry. On the other hand, body language can also show if a person is relaxed, tired, happy or sad. Body language is a very effective form of communication that is used by children and adults, but it is also used by domestic or wild animals; for example, you can tell just as easily if a saber-toothed tiger is about to attack or when your pet cat wants a back rub, yet both of these forms of communication through body language are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

-Digital or Electronic Forms of Communication

Our world has progressed quickly over the years with the inception of digital and electronic forms of communication. From that fateful day Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone to the present, humankind has swiftly moved forward in its digital or electronic communication. Instruments and tools such as computers, e-mail, faxes, radio, satellite television, the telephone, and the cellular phone have aided humankind in its quest to communicate efficiently. Unfortunately, it has also increased the workload experienced by people around the world.

Intercultural communication or communication between people of different cultural backgrounds has always been and probably will remain an important precondition of human co-existence on earth. Intercultural communication seeks to understand how people from different countries and cultures behave, communicate and perceive the world around them.

The definition of intercultural communication must also include strands of the field that contribute to it such as anthropology, cultural studies, psychology and communication. There are many researchers and academics of note within the intercultural field, which naturally all have different definitions of intercultural communication. For example Karlfried Knapp defines intercultural communication as “the interpersonal interaction between members of different groups, which differ from each other in respect of the knowledge shared by their members and in respect of their linguistic forms of symbolic behaviors." There are also many more theorists such as Edward T. Hall, Geert Hofstede, Harry C. Triandis, Fons Trompenaars, Clifford Geertz and Shalom Schwartz.

The theories developed by the researchers and academics can and has been applied to many fields such as business management, marketing, advertising and website design. Intercultural communication theories are now also used within the education, health care and other public services due to growing multicultural populations. Intercultural communication is of importance to international businesses as it examines how people from different cultures, beliefs and religions come together to work and communicate with each other.

Demands for intercultural communication skills are increasing as more and more businesses operate globally. They realize that there are barriers and limitations when entering a foreign territory. Without the help of intercultural communication they can unknowingly cause confusion and misunderstandings. For these intercultural businesses to breach the cultural barriers encountered when stepping into foreign grounds it is vital for them to fully understand the cultural differences that exist so as to prevent damaging business relations due to intercultural communication gaps.

There are many theories that set principles to help interpret the basis of intercultural communication. These theories help to iron out possible ripples of misunderstanding by giving a basic guideline on how to address situations. These guidelines help prevent clashes between different cultures groups caused by misperceptions. The basic skills of intercultural communication are fundamentally general communication skills that can be used universally by all cultures and races. These skills are simply tweaked in a direction that takes the cultural limitation into consideration. An example of such communication skills in the intercultural environment is to listen without judging, repeat what you understand, confirm meanings, give suggestions and acknowledge a mutual understanding.

In a nutshell the main purpose of following such theories is to earn respect from others. Respect in all cultures in the world is a common language and by earning it through respecting other peoples culture and religion; the favor is returned.

The film I chose to review is titled “The Gods Must be Crazy” it is a 1980 comedy. “The Gods Must be Crazy” was written and directed by Jamie Uys. The film was the first of “The Gods Must be Crazy” series. It was set in Botswana and South Africa, it tells the story of Xi (Starring N!xau, a Namibian farmer) a Sho of the Kalahari Desert whose band has no knowledge of the world outside the desert. Ster Kinekor Pictures first released The Gods Must Be Crazy in South Africa in 1980; it became a box-office record breaker in the country. On July 13, 1984, The Gods Must Be Crazy was released on videocassette worldwide.

The film consists of three separate stories, each crossing paths with one another; interchanging ones believes and culture. The journey of Xi, the Bushmen to the end of the earth to get rid of a Coca-cola bottle, the romance between a naïve and shy biologist Andrew Steyn (Marius Weyers) and a schoolteacher Kate Thompson (Sandra Prinsloo); and a band of rebellious guerrillas.

Xi and his tribe of relatives lived deep down in the Kalahari Desert. Isolated from the world beyond, their first encounter with technology was a Coca-Cola bottle that fell out of an airplane. Initially, this strange artifact seems to be another gift from the gods, Xi's people found many uses for it. But unlike anything they had before, there were only one bottle to go around. Since it has caused the tribe unhappiness on numerous occasions, Xi decides that the bottle is an evil thing and must be thrown off of the edge of the world. He sets out alone on his quest and encounters Western civilization and modern society for the first time.

There are also storylines of a shy biologist Andrew Steyn who is studying the local animals and has nervous breakdowns when close to a women. He was assigned to pick up the newly hired village schoolteacher from a town of Mabula, with an unreliable, breaking down vehicle. She was a former newspaper reporter named Kate Thompson, who needed a break from the hectic city life so she applied for a teaching job in a small village of Botswana. From the moment they met, situation between Steyn and Thompson are extremely awkward and embarrassing. Steyn has an assistant and mechanic M'pudi (Michael Thys) who helps Steyn with his girl problems. Also in the plot were a band of guerrillas led by Sam Boga (Louw Verwey), who was being pursued by government troops after an unsuccessful attempt to massacre the Cabinet of the fictional African country of Burani.

Xi happened to come upon a civilization where he found a heard of goat and decided to shoot one with his arrow. For this he is arrested and jailed for stealing livestock. Xi is totally oblivious to the crime he had committed. M'pudi, who had experienced living with the Bushmen and spoke Xi's language, realized that Xi will die in the alien environment of a prison cell. M’pudi and Steyn managed to help Xi out of jail. Meanwhile, the guerrillas invaded the school where Kate was teaching and used the pupils as hostage for their plan to escape. Steyn, M’pudi and Xi managed to immobilize the guerrillas and saved Kate and the children. Steyn manned up to approached Kate and won her love.

Xi left the civilization to continue his quest to the edge of the world. Xi eventually finds himself at the top of a cliff with a solid layer of low-lying clouds obscuring the landscape below. This convinces Xi that he has reached the edge of the world, and he throws the bottle off the cliff. Xi then returns to his band.

The film illustrates the utter contrast between the culture of the Bushmen and modern society by socializing members from very different culture background. The cultural contrasts are evident in the characters' actions, values and views of what is considered a norm to each society. The film clearly presents differences between human cultures and the idea of ethnocentrism.

The Bushmen culture is one of simplicity and contentment. The pace of life in the Bushmen culture is relaxed and slow. Being completely isolated from the outside world, they thought airplanes were noisy birds that fly without flapping their wings. The Bushmen culture was one without social classes. They never punished or even spoke harshly to their children and yet the children were surprisingly well behaved. The Bushmen place the greatest value on their family and their relationship with god. At the beginning of the film, a member of the Bushmen quoted “everything god has gave us is good because we are his children and he loves us.” The Bushmen also seem to have a deep respect for all life both human and non-human. In one scene, the Bushman shoots an antelope with a tranquilizer dart and waits until the animal lays down to go to sleep; before killing it the Bushmen would apologize for killing the animal and explained that he must do it so that his family could eat. His action showed that the Bushmen hunted only out of necessity and not as primitive games. Although the Bushmen lived in circumstances that modern society would think of as backwards or prehistoric they seemed to be very happy and completely content with their lives.

The most striking aspect of the Bushmen culture was the complete lack of conflict among its members. Their culture had no crime, no punishment, no violent, no laws, no police, no judges, no rulers and bosses. They had no concept of private or personal property and readily shared their food with others. This situation changed immediately upon the discovery of the “gift from the gods” which was in reality just a coke bottle a pilot had threw out; but they believed it was god’s gift because it had fallen from the sky. The Bushmen found a various uses for this bottle, used as a music-maker, tool and toy. The bottle was described as the most useful thing god has ever given them. It became the Bushmen's first scarce resource to them. The narrator quoted “for the first time thing became a necessity, unfamiliar emotions began to stir, feeling of wanting to own and not wanting to share, anger, jealously, hate and violent.” The bottle encouraged the members to begin fighting with each other for its possession and use. The situation was considered as the worst thing that had ever happened to them. It made them wondered why god has given them such an evil thing. The Bushmen decided they had to get rid

of it by throwing it off the edge earth, thinking earth is flat. Xi’s first encounter with Kate and Steyn, he assumed that they were gods and tried giving them back the bottle. Narrator quotes “though it was a hot day, she was covering her body with skins that looked as if they were made from cobwebs. She was doing strange and magical things, and it struck him that she must be one of the gods.” This was the first time Xi had ever seen a woman wearing a dress; in his culture women would only be wear a piece of animal skin. Xi than saw Steyn smoking a pipe, he thought Steyn had a fire inside him; the smoke came out through his mouth and nostrils. It was because of these “gods” behavior as well as the havoc caused by their “gift” that the film got its name “The Gods Must Be Crazy.”

Modern society is very different from the tranquil world of the Bushmen. Ours is a society that moves at an incredibly fast pace. It is a culture of alarm clocks, highways, traffic jams and coffee cups. Our society the entire day is both highly structured and highly chaotic. The narrator explains that people from modern society can go insane because of how hectic a day can be he quotes “Civilized man refused to adapt himself to his environment; instead, he adapted his environment to suit him. So he built cities, roads, vehicles, machinery, and he put up power lines to run his laborsaving devices. But somehow he didn't know where to stop. The more he improved his surroundings to make life easier, the more complicated he made it. So now his children are sentenced to 10-15 years of school, just to learn how to survive in this complex and hazardous habitat they were born into. And civilized man, who refused to adapt to his surroundings, now finds he has to adapt and re-adapt every hour of the day to his self-created environment. For instance, if it's Monday and 7:30 comes up, you have to dis-adapt from your domestic surroundings and re-adapt yourself to an entirely different environment. 8:00 means everybody has to look busy. 10:30 means you can stop looking busy for 15 minutes. And then you have to look busy again. And so your day is chopped into pieces, and in each segment of time you adapt to a new set circumstances. No wonder some people go off the rails a bit.” A day in modern society does not revolve around relationships with god and family as in the Bushmen culture, but instead seems to revolve around work and wealth.

The differences in the perceptions and tastes of the two cultures are amazing. There are several sharp contrasts that come to light through the thoughts and behaviors of the characters in the film. The first such difference is in each culture's standard of beauty. The schoolteacher Kate Thompson is, in the eyes of western society, an attractive woman. She was thin, blonde haired, and had a cute face. When Xi saw her; she was not regarded as beautiful in his eyes he described her as, “the ugliest creature he had ever come across, she was as paled as something that crawled out of a rotting long.” He saw her blonde hair not as some attractive ideal but instead as being white, like an old woman's hair. The second difference in the two cultures is the prevalence of fear. Those characters in the film that came from modern society were conditioned to automatically fear strangers and expect the worst from other people this was not, however; true of the Bushmen. In a scene of the film, where a rhino was approaching them, Steyn jumps on Kate Thompson in an attempt to warn her as to the rhino’s attack. Kate's automatic reaction is to assume the worst: she fears that he is attempting to rape her, to do her harm. The Bushman does not show this same fear when encountering strangers; he only thinks them rude when they behave so strangely toward him. Xi was not afraid of a gun to him it was nothing more than a “funny stick.” The white man was, however; scared to death by the gun because modern society has conditioned him to fear guns and their destructive power.A particularly interesting clash of the cultures occurs when Xi is arrested for killing a goat. In the eyes of modern society he had broken a law by stealing the goat and had to be brought to court, but in his eyes he had been simply hunting for his food just as he did every other day of his life and had broken no law. He was totally oblivious to the concept of ownership. When the police took the goat away from him he thought the police was greedy and wanted to eat the goat himself. When Xi entered the courtroom he smiled at the others and was confused when no one smiled back. The verdict could not even be translated into his language because the Bushmen had no word for "guilty."

The Bushman did many things that seem weird to members of modern society such as talking to a baboon. When the baboon took the Coca-Cola bottle; Xi calmly explained to the baboon "That is a very evil thing you've got. You better give it back so I can take it and throw it off the earth. It brought unhappiness to my family. If you don't give it to me it'll bring grief to you and your family too." He spoke long and earnestly until the baboon began to pay attention. He must have convinced it, and it dropped the thing. And Xi said, "You have done a very wise thing." He did not speak to the baboon as an animal, but rather as an equal. In one scene, Xi risked his own neck to help M’pudi escape from a hungry lion that was coming after him, whereas the reaction of the members of the modern society was to save his own life first. Another amazing difference between the two cultures is the value that each places on money. At the end of the film, Steyn gave Xi some money but says that he has no use for it. After Steyn insists on giving him the money the Bushman throws it away. Money, the all in all of modern society was completely worthless in the eyes of the Bushmen.

I have watched this film countless times through out my life, Xi the Bushman actions and perceptions are absolutely hilarious; it does not fail to make me laugh every time. Even though the film is a comedy, this film conveys several messages and teaches the audiences several lessons. For instant, it cunningly brings the harsh reality of apartheid in Africa to an international audience. I personally learn to respect and not to underestimate or judge a person. No one among us can expect all people to think and act as we do. The film showed that people socialized into different cultures come to see the world through very different sets of eyes. Individual cultures, as well as individual people are different. Just because we are different does not mean that there is not a great deal that we can learn from each other. We must embrace our differences and see the great strength that comes with diversity. It is also particularly interesting to me that the Bushmen seem to have nothing and yet have everything at the same time. While it is true that they lack automobiles, electricity and big fancy houses; they have one thing that very few people ever manage to have in modern society: true happiness. In our society we spend so much time trying to get ahead financially so we can be happy for an instant, that we forget the things that could make us happy forever.

Indian Cultural Cuisine

Indian Cuisine

Very fine meals that suit the various taste buds of people all over the world are prepared in India. Strict vegetarianism is mostly confined to the South. Beef, from the holy cow is strictly taboo for the Hindus and Pork is equally taboo for the Muslims.
In the north, much meat is eaten and cooking is often of the "Mughal style" which bears relation to that of the Middle East and central Asia. The emphasis is more on spices and less on curry heat. In the north more grains and breads are eaten and less rice. In the South, more rice is eaten and the curries tend to be hotter. Another peculiarity of Southern vegetarian food is that it has to be eaten by hand and not by fork and spoons!

Curry and Spices

There is no such thing as "curry" in India. It is an all-purpose term devised by the English to cover the whole range of Indian food spicing. Indian cooks have about 25 spices on their regular list and it is from these that they produce curry flavor. Normally the spices are freshly ground in a mortar and pestle called SIL_VATTA. Spices are usually blended in certain combinations to produce meals. Garam Masala, for example is a red-hot combination of cloves and cinnamon with peppercorns.

Popular spices include saffron, an expensive flavoring produced from flowers. This is used to give biryani, that yellow color and delicate fragrance. Turmeric also has a coloring property and acts as a preservative. Chillies are ground, dried or added whole to give that hot taste to curries. They come in red and green varieties but the green ones are the hottest. Ginger is supposed to be good for digestion. Coriander is added to many masalas so as to cool the body. Cardamom is used in many sweet dishes and in meat preparations. Other popular spices are nutmeg, cinnamon, poppy seeds, caraway seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek, mace, garlic and cloves


Rice is the staple food of the Indians but it is given much importance only in the South. The best Indian rice is the famous Indian Basmati whose patenting has raised a lot of dust and is still under controversy. It is predominantly grown in the Dehra Dun Valley. It has long grains, is yellowish in color and has a slight sweetish or "bas" smell, which gives it its name.

In the north a range of breads called ROTIS or PHULKA in Punjab supplements this rice. Indian breads are varied but they are always delicious. Simplest form is the Chapatti, just Wheat flour and water fried up like a thin pancake. It is supposed to be a British invention. Rotis are flour and water cooked on a hot tawa. Direct heat blows them up, but how well depends on the glutin content of the wheat. Baste your roti in butter or ghee and it becomes a paratha. If deep-fried it is called poori in the north and loochi in the east, made of rice and black gram flour it is called dosa in the South. Dosas are found all over India and when wrapped around curried vegetables it becomes masala dosa, a nice snack. Another type of deep-fried bread with a stuffing is the Kachori. Bake the bread in an oven and it becomes Naan. An Idli is a kind of rice dumpling, often served with dal curry called sambar, a south Indian favorite and green chilly chutney. Tomato or Onion chutneys also go with it. Papadams are crispy deep-fried wafer often served with Thalis or other meals.

Basic Dishes

Curries can be made of vegetables, fish, meat, chicken, lamb, and pork. Mostly vegetable oils are used for this purpose. These curries are accompanied by rice in the South and Rotis in the north. Probably the most basic of Indian dishes is Dhal. Dhal is almost there everywhere whether as an accompaniment to a curry or with rice and chapattis. The favorite dhal of Bengal and Gujarat is yellow arhar; in Bengal channa is also yellow; mung is green, rajma is Heinz. Altogether there are 57 varieties of dhal available in India

Tandoori and Biryani

Tandoori food is northern specialty and refers to the clay oven in which the food is cooked after first being marinated in a mixture of yogurts and spices. Tandoori chicken is a special favorite in many places.

This food is not very hot and usually tastes terrific. Biryani is a Mughal dish. Chicken Biryani is mostly the best favored. Here the meat is mixed with deliciously flavored, orange colored rice, which is spiced with nuts and dry-fruits. A Pulao is a simpler version of the biryani. These biryanis are not too hot like most of the curries

l specialties

Rogan Josh is a curried lamb popular in Kashmir where it originated and also in most parts of northern India. Guntaba, pounded and spiced meat balls cooked in a yogurt sauce is also a Kashmiri specialty. Still in the north, Chicken Mahanwala is a rich dish cooked in a butter sauce. Many coastal areas have excellent seafood, including Bombay, where the Pomfret, a flounder-like fish, is popular. Bombay Duck, another fish dish is also famous in Bombay. Dhansak is a Parsi specialty found in Bombay, lamb or chicken cooked with curried lentils and steamed rice. Goa has excellent fish and prawns. Further South in Kerala, all varieties of prawns and crabs and a lot of fish are available.

Another famous Indian dish is the Kababs. These are found all over north India with a lot of variations. The two main forms are Sikka (skewered) or Shami (wrapped). In Calcutta Kati kababs are a local favorite. Further south in Hyderabad, Hallen, pounded wheat with lightly spiced mutton gravy is available. The Andhras are noted for their heavily chillied food. In Tamilnadu Pongal made of cooking rice with jaggery is a specialty. Equally notable is the "vada", made of Black gram dhal flour or Bengal gram dhal mixed with chillies and lots of onions. These two always find their place in the menu of any Tamil family.

Side dishes

Indian food has a number of side dishes to go with the main meal. Probably, the most popular is the Dahi- or curd or yogurt. It has the ability to cool the stomach after a very hot meal. Curd is also used in making Desserts and in the popular drink Lassi. Raitha is another popular side dish where with curd a lot of vegetables in raw form or curried vegetables are mixed. Particularly tomato and cucumber is used. Sabzi are curried vegetables, bhartha is pureed or minced vegetables, and bhujjas are fresh vegetables. India is also famous for a variety of pickles. They come in all flavors, lime, mango, ginger, onion, mixed vegetables, chili, alloo, etc., and in a number of combinations of the above mentioned.


A thali is the all-purpose Indian vegetarian dish. Although it basically belongs to south India, it is found in the north too. There are regional variations also. The name comes from the "thali" dish in which it is served. The Thali consists of a metal plate with a number of small metal bowls known as Katoris on it. Sometimes the small bowls are replaced by small indentations on the plate itself. Mostly the plate is a big Banana leaf.

A thali consists of a variety of vegetable curry dishes, relishes, a couple of papadams, puris or chapattis and a whole lot of rice. A deluxe variety would include a Pata, a rolled betel leaf stuffed with fruit and nuts. It may also include curd and one or two Desserts. The main plus points of thalis are they are cheap and 100% filling. Moreover the rice is unlimited for the Gourmet.


Samosa, tasty little curried vegetable snacks fried up in a pastry triangle, are found all over India. Bhelpuri is a popular snack in most of the cities, one, which is sold in peddled, carts in the nights. Chana, spiced chick peas served with puris is also a roadside favorite. Chat, a general term for snacks and nibbles is now found in good packs to suit all tongues and pockets.

Western Food

The western foods available for breakfast include Bread Toast and Jam, Bread with butter or Cheese, all types of egg like omelette, fried eggs, bulls-eye and a lot more, the types that can be prepared with little effort. One western food that the Indians have come to terms 100% is the French Fries, which we Indians call, the chips. Calcutta and Bombay have a small Chinese population so Chinese foods can be had in the major cities with a little search. In the north where the Tibetans have settled in many places Tibetan restaurants are present as in places like Dharamsala, Manali and Srinagar.

Desserts and Sweets

Indians are said to have a sweet tooth and an amazing collection of sweets are available to satisfy them. Kulfi is a widely acceptable dessert, a sort of Indian representation of ice cream. Of course, good quality ice creams are also available from a number of leading brands all over the country. Rasgullas are another popular type of Dessert, sweet little balls of rose-flavored cream cheese.

Desserts are mainly rice or milk puddings in sweet syrup or sweet pastries. Gulab Jamuns are small round balls made of flour, yogurt and ground almonds. Jalebi are pancakes in syrup. Milk dishes are usually boiled until the liquid has been removed and then the various ingredients are added to desserts like barfi, which has coconut with almond or pistachio flavoring. Sandesh is a variety of milk dish popular in Calcutta. Payasam as it is called in the south is made from milk simmered with crushed cashews, cereals and sugar, topped with raisins. Firnee is a rice pudding dessert with almonds, raisins and pistachios.

Many of the Indian sweets come with a coating of silver paper, which is edible. Halwa, a translucent, vividly colored sweet belongs to Tamilnadu, particularly the Tirunelveli District. Grinding wheat for a long time and then boiling the ground paste with sugar and seasoned with a lot of nuts makes it.


India boasts of a wide variety of fruits, fresh from the gardens. The collection varies all the way from tropical delights in the south to apples, apricots and other temperate region fruits in the north. Cherries and strawberries are available aplenty in Kashmir, and apricots in Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh. Apples are found all over the northwestern part but particularly in the Kulu Valley of Himachal.

Melons are widespread in India, particularly watermelons that are fine thirst quenchers. Mangoes and bananas are found in many parts of India; Pineapples in Assam, Oranges in Kerala, tangerines are widespread in Central India, particularly the hot season.


An Indian meal finishes with Paan- the name given to the collection of spices and condiments chewed with betel leaves. Found throughout eastern Asia, Betel is mildly intoxicating and addictive. But after a meal it is taken as a mild digestive in small amounts. Paan sellers have a number of little trays and containers in which they mix either sadha or Mitha (sweet) paans. The ingredient may include apart from the betel nut itself, lime paste, various spices and even a dash of opium for a better price. The whole concoction is folded up cleverly and chewed.

Drinks Non - Alcoholic

Tea is the most popular drink in the north, while in the south, coffee is the number one drink. "Tray Tea", which gives you the tea, milk and sugar separately is the most commonly available form of tea in most of the sophisticated hotels in India. Nimbu Paani, which is nothing but lemon squash is commonly available in all the towns, particularly in the summer. A number of branded soft drinks like Pepsi, Coca-cola, sprite, seven-up, etc have cropped up in recent times, and they seem to quench ones thirst though they are said to have only artificial contents with high sugar content. Apple juice drinks are widely available in Himachal Pradesh. Coconut milk, straight from the young coconut, is a popular street-side drink. Another escape from soft drinks is the plain soda, which is widely available. Finally there is the Lassi, that cool, refreshing and delicious iced curd drink.

Drinks - Alcoholic

Alcohol seems to be little expensive in India. In some states like Goa, it is very cheap, whereas in some states like Tamilnadu, it is very expensive. Indian Beers to mention are Golden Eagle, Rosy Pelican, Cannon Extra Strong, Kingfisher, etc., Beer and other interpretations of western alcoholic drinks are known as Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL). Local drinks are called country Liquor and include Toddy, a mildly alcoholic extract from coconut palm flower, and Feni, a distilled liquor produced from Fermented cashew nuts or from coconuts. The two varieties taste differently.