Beautiful Patterns, Common Threads
A Request for Critiques and Support
I am keenly aware that a single person's perspective is limited on ANY topic, and that with limited time only this trip I can only present at best a very superficial perspective on what a place is like. On top of that, there's the natural sub-conscious tendency to conclude that if things are presented in a certain proportion in a report like this, that's the same proportion you'd find there, and if things aren't in there it's because they're not there at all. For example, if I travel mostly to urban areas and take most of my pictures there, people may well gain the mistaken impression that most people live in those areas and that most of what's "important" resides in urban areas, too.
My own bent towards "budget" travel, my focus on historical sites, the limitations on seeing certain forms of cultural expression as an "outsider" (especially where I don't speak the language), and the inevitable fact that I'll be attracted to meeting certain types of people and certain types of people will be attracted to talking to me, all mean that whatever balance I strike in my presentation will be peculiar to me. There's also a sort of "Heisenberg Principle" in effect, in that I will affect the people and events I observe by the mere act of observing them. My presentation thus cannot be taken to reflect a comprehensive vision of the places I visit, hard as I may try to have rich and varied experiences and to draw connections between my experiences in order to bring life to each place. I will try to point out the contradictions, paradoxes, incongruities and complexities in what I see, but it's still just a start.
There are some remedies to these problems -- and they require YOUR PARTICPATION!! Here are two:
--ADD RICHNESS: by others writing of their own experiences, OR adding basic background information (such as statistics that lend a dose of reality to my musings -- or even photos!) about topics in which they have expertise, OR even criticizing my personal perspectives, such richness can be added
--ASK AND ANSWER QUESTIONS: by using interactive sections of the site, broaden the discussion or lend your own perspectives to it
PLEASE PARTICIPATE!!! Who KNOWS where this CAN go and what service it CAN provide to people interested in the site?
You may also have suggestions of other remedies to these problems; PLEASE tell us!!
If nothing else, Southeast Asia ia a place where COMMUNITY is key. Hopefully, this web site will reflect that sentiment.
Also, please write to tell me what you like the most or the least in my writing, what you find most or least valuable, what you want to see more of or less of, etc. Do you want more stories and anecdotes? More interviews? More information on early history? LET US KNOW!!!
And: thanks for helping make this site as good as it can be!!