Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Advent of Korean Wave in Africa: Cultural Connection or Fascination about Material Modernity?

Out here in rural Africa, cinemas are non-existent and TV access require expensive satellite dishes that few people can afford.  To entertain themselves during their free time, locals tend to buy cheap pirated DVDs for computer gaming, or more commonly, drama series and movies.  Carts and shops selling these DVDs exist not just in market towns but even some bigger villages, allowing common people to access some of the latest visual entertainment from the outside world at quite affordable prices (if not the best of quality).

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Enigma of "Kichina"

In Tanzania, the locals have a habit of referring to any poor-quality product as "kichina," which roughly translates to "a thing of China."  Whenever something they use break or gets damaged when they think the product should not be, they just shrug and casually blurt out, "well, it's kichina."  It is not particularly targeted toward Chinese products though; in fact, the saying is used for all products, whether or not the product is from China.  The connotation, however, is pretty clear: it goes without saying that Chinese products, as they have elsewhere, acquired a negative reputation in Tanzania.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

歴史はいつまで記憶に残るのか

昨日であの当時日本在住だったの皆さんの人生を変えた事件から五年になる。マスコミの報道を見ると、福島の復活や被害者の「第二人生」を描く楽観的なストーリーがあれば、被害地の人口が6%減るとか、現地の経済が完全に国の支援だけでまわされているなど、悲観的な指摘も少なくはない。だが、これらの報道に一つ残念なことがあるとしたら、たぶん「量」である。前年度に比べると、この記念すべき一日は人々の注目を浴びなくなっている。各報道局はこの傾向を認知しているのに違いない。

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Developmental "Double Standards" and Africa's Cultural Image Problem

As the NGO industry expands, the broad all-inclusive term "development" has become more and more vague over time.  Anything that remotely suggest provision of additional resources for betterment of people's lives have now fallen under the category of "development."  The methodologies f implementation and assessments have only become more and more varied as a wider and wider spectrum of ideas and personnel have involved themselves in the industry.  Thankfully, the central goal of an NGO is still clear: the job is to ultimately make people's living standards higher.