Amsterdam, Macau, to the Rest of the World: An Interview with Chichi

Posted by Helena Trapero • Tuesday, May 24. 2011 • Category: Global Career
I met Chichi in Porvoo, Finland. We were there as Erasmus exchange students. In the beginning I wondered how somebody from Asia can be an Erasmus exchange student. Only later I got to know that Chichi was actually raised in the Netherlands by her Chinese family. Being a Dutch girl of Chinese origins who studied in Europe, lately in Macau, and is now contemplating her next global career destination, she has many interesting insights to share with us.

Chichi together with her parents
(c) by Chichi

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Across Cultures: An Interview with the Interculturalist Hans Durrer

Posted by Anne Rhebergen • Monday, May 2. 2011 • Category: Crossing Cultures
Lately Knowledge Must had the opportunity to interview the distinguished Swiss interculturalist Hans Durrer, author of articles and books, teacher and coach, theoretician as well as practitioner. His pioneering works on intercultural and visual communication offer a very innovative approach to the study of culture. One particular field of interest for him is photography. According to Durrer photographs are nothing else than shattered fragments of the broken mirror of reality, which force the viewer to reconstruct their meaning. Depending on the upbringing, interests, and also the mood of the viewer, the photographs’ meaning will be read very differently.

(c) by Blazenka Kostolna

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The Dutch Monarchy and the Day the Netherlands Turn Orange

Posted by Anne Rhebergen • Tuesday, March 8. 2011 • Category: People and Places
Interaction with people from different cultures is next to the obvious change in landscapes the most striking thing while going abroad. You talk about cultural issues that are different like eating habits or local traditions. So of course it was also one of the things I talked about a lot while being abroad and it was at this time that I discovered how odd foreign people find Queen’s Day, which is maybe the biggest Dutch-specific public holiday. People find this odd because how are people partying everywhere and dressed up like crazy in orange be related to the Queen of the Netherlands?

By Tosca Weiler

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Culture Shock: Arriving for the First Time in India

Posted by Helena Trapero • Friday, February 18. 2011 • Category: Crossing Cultures
When I first applied for an internship in India all I could think of was: chaos, dust, traffic jams, smells, and millions of poor people. That was my preconceived image of India. Much of what I had in mind was basically negative, but at the same time all the people I know that have been to India told me that India is an amazing country, that I will enjoy it a lot and that making an internship there will change my life. I did not understand that completely, but as I like my life to be uncertain, as I love not to know what is going to happen tomorrow and as I truly believe in CARPE DIEM: I thought I should just do it.

By John Haslam

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Indian Spirituality – When Seers Turn Blind

Posted by Heiko Pfeiffer • Wednesday, December 29. 2010 • Category: People and Places
To many European and North American visitors to India, Indian spirituality is one of the most fascinating aspects of Indian culture and reason for many to come. Visiting the ancient spiritual temples that abound all over India with their magnificent display of Hindu mythology, pilgrims who make colourful flower and fruit offerings to their preferred deity, entire families standing in line for hours just to take a quick bath under the sprinkling waters of some ancient holy source, with the ever present odour of sweet incense filling the spiritually-laden air – all these are impressions that many visitors of India seek and that have vividly enriched the memories of many travellers to India before.

By Niyam Bhushan

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Worshipping Lord Bahubali - The Jain Pilgrimage Site at Shravanabelagola

Posted by Susanne Kuhn • Monday, November 15. 2010 • Category: People and Places
The ascent of the 660 rock-cut steps, all of them polished smooth by uncounted bare feet of humble worshippers seeking to perform Darshan (“the beholding of a deity”) at Shravanabelagola, one of the oldest and most important Jain pilgrimage sites in the world, is truly worth each drop of sweat shed. The gigantic 18 meters tall and blindingly white gleaming statue of Lord Bahubali carved from a single piece of granite stone and located on the summit of the Indragiri Hill can be seen even from as much as 24 km afar and is considered to be the world's largest monolithic stone statue. Each day thousands of Jain pilgrims as well as curious visitors make their way up, passing the numerous smaller shrines. Even elderly or handicapped people get the chance to take a closer glimpse at the towering statue on top, as there is a palanquin transport service available to avoid the strenuous hike.

By albany_tim

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Bombay Boogie Night: Desi Beats Go Germany

Posted by Stefan Heil • Tuesday, October 19. 2010 • Category: Arts and Beyond
In Europe, with the exception of the UK, the popularity of Indian music (and especially clubbing on Indian music) is a very recent phenomenon. Nevertheless, even years before Bollywood and the music from the movies reached European mainstream pop culture, two young and talented Germans of Indian origin started an event series dedicated to Desi beats, which since grew bigger and bigger and is today by far the most successful and popular Indian music event series in Germany and known well beyond its borders – the Bombay Boogie Night (BBN). We had the chance to interview BBN’s Sherry Kizhukandayil (DJ Keralaboy) when BBN collaborated with Culture Must’s project “Sound Tamasha” for a gig in Berlin last September.
© Bombay Boogie Night

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Indian and European Artists Release the First Electronic Music Compilation of Its Kind

Posted by Peter Braun • Monday, October 11. 2010 • Category: Crossing Cultures
In Delhi friends of the arts, music and entertainment have marked 16.10.2010 to celebrate an interplay of artistic diversity. At Max Mueller Bhavan (how the Goethe-Institut is known in India), followed by an after show party around the corner at Aqua (in The Park Hotel New Delhi), the Sound Tamasha family will release the first of its kind electronic music compilation of Indo European artist collaborations: Sound Tamasha – Spectaculicious House (Creative Commons Only).

Invite for the Record Release Party

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Love Beyond All Barriers

Posted by Kate Strathmann • Monday, September 6. 2010 • Category: Crossing Cultures
I recently read an article in the New York Times entitled “In India, Castes, Honor and Killings Intertwine”. Over the six years or so since I made my first journey to India, I have recounted to friends and acquaintances at home some of the anecdotes (I wince to use this word – as if abuse of women should ever be relegated to a mere anecdote) I have encountered in first, second, or third person regarding the ways in which women are abused, maimed, or sometimes killed, as in the case of the young girl in the aforementioned article. I always want to defend or make excuses for the country that I love. It’s true, there hasn’t been a case of sati [immolation of widows on their husband’s funeral pyre] in years (though I hasten to point out, there has been in my lifetime), but I recall reading of daily “kitchen fires” in the police blotter in the Bangalore newspaper years ago; and discovering that this was a twisted and polite allusion to an intentional act of violence often resulting in homicide, not an indication that the country needed to examine safety standards of stovetop ranges.

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Tradition and Departure - Cultural Relations between India and Germany

Posted by Dr. Clemens Spiess • Tuesday, August 17. 2010 • Category: Crossing Cultures
As a result of stronger ties between Germany and India, cultural relations between the two countries have found new impetus drawn from a longer tradition of German-Indo cultural exchange. Foreign cultural policy experiences multiple incentives and support on both sides, which makes it useful to establish sustainable structures of cultural dialogue. However, a number of factors could be listed to shed light on the still asymmetrical nature that marks cultural relations between India and Germany. Among them are: different conceptions of foreign cultural policy, different stages of the respective art industry and cultural infrastructure, a historically determined imbalance of financial and infrastructural resources and the sheer ignorance in the way both countries have perceived the other.

Christian-Matthias Schlaga, Charge d'Affaires, German Embassy in India, together with Dr. Eckart Würzner, Lord Mayor of the City of Heidelberg, at a workshop of the University of Heidelberg's South Asia Institute that was organised by Knowledge Must in New Delhi

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DJ Sunny Singh: A True Legend amongst DJs in India

Posted by Peter Braun • Monday, August 16. 2010 • Category: Arts and Beyond
In my life I did many interviews. Sometimes with friends, people from public life or others who had a great story to tell. Today, after many years in India I got the confirmation that I would get the chance to talk to one my great idols in the Indian music industry – DJ Sunny Singh ( Despite being a true legend as a DJ in India, Sunny Singh is also the Guru of many other artists who followed his footsteps and by now rock the clubs from Delhi to Dubai to Singapore. In his own DJ school Sunny Singh has trained more than 750 young ambitioned talents and until today maintains a guru-gyan relationship with many of them. With shaking hands and a trembling voice I asked my questions to DJ Sunny Singh who has played a central role in spreading the popularity of Indian Disco Beats all over the world.

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Under a Northern Sky: Feeling “ich bin ein Berliner”

Posted by Gautam Chakrabarti • Thursday, August 5. 2010 • Category: People and Places
This is not an average travel narrative, replete with the wonders of a world that is truly wondrous: a jazzy world that, yet, has a large, welcoming heart. This is, perhaps, not an image run-of-the-mill Hollywood WW2/spy-flicks generate, immersed, as they seem to be, in anachronistic assumptions and the resultant antipathies. But, it is clear to this writer, Germany and Berlin define the new Gross European Cool, framed in terms of “Multi-Kulti” (multiculturalism, in colloquial German) and a Kalkbrennerian Zeitgeist.

A view of the city of Berlin by Henk de Boer

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Riding Wired Donkeys - Cycling Culture from Berlin to Delhi

Posted by Magali Mander • Saturday, July 24. 2010 • Category: Crossing Cultures
I used to be a passionate cyclist in Berlin – now I cycle in Delhi. People have told me that Delhi used to have separate lanes for cyclists. Back then when South Delhi was still a conglomeration of villages, cars were the more exceptional mode of transportation. Sometime back the space was taken over by cars and planning was taken over by those who thought a modern city needed wide streets for cars rather than lanes for its inhabitants to walk on, or ride on their bikes – often affectionately referred to by Germans as their “Drahtesel” (a ‘donkey made out of wire’ in German language).

Copyright © Knowledge Must

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Culture Must presents: Sound Tamasha

Posted by Stefan Heil • Monday, July 12. 2010 • Category: Arts and Beyond
Today we would like to introduce you to a project which a dedicated team from our division Culture Must has started almost two years ago: the Sound Tamasha. Some might have heard about it, some might have even been to an actual performance, but what exactly is Sound Tamasha? To find out, please visit the brand new Sound Tamasha Website, listen to all the former Sound Tamasha artists and have a look at the extravagant artwork Sound Tamasha is famous for. Enjoy!

Copyright © Enrico Fabian

Bangladeshis Take Culture Seriously

Posted by Maher Sattar • Saturday, May 15. 2010 • Category: People and Places
My mother once showed me an old newspaper photo of a man with his face thoroughly beaten into an unrecognizable pulp. Giggling, she told me that the man was my father.

I looked over at the portly clean-cut man sitting across the breakfast table, wearing a starched white shirt and a navy-blue blazer. He averted his gaze, managing to look sheepish, amused, and defiant all at once.

The story of how my father fell victim to the infamous Bangladeshi Gonopituni (public beating), briefly, is this. In the springtime of his life, Shafat Sattar went to see a performance of his favorite singer, Mitali Mukherjee, at BUET, a famous engineering institute in Dhaka (“Porir moto gola – she had the voice of an angel”, he comments wistfully). He was disappointed. The music, the tune, the beats, it was all wrong. The next day, fuming, he marched up to the composer responsible for this disaster to demand an explanation, an apology, some sort of penance. He was not satisfied with the answer, and promptly did what still, today, strikes him as the only thing he could have done.

He slapped the composer, a student of BUET – in the middle of the BUET cafeteria. What followed is fairly predictable. A minor scuffle ensued, which swiftly turned into the entire BUET campus attempting to deconstruct young Shafat Sattar’s face. “The bugger,” he observes now with an objective air, “deserved it”.

* * *

Robindronath Thakoor (RabindranathTagore)

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