Category Archives: traditions

are traditions obstructive?

Some of you might know that I’m an visual artist besides my work for the International Feelgood Academy.
I like too share a problem with you. 
I have made an art work called ‘defending traditions Qatar’, in contradiction I want to make an artwork ‘obstructive traditions Qatar’, as I was/am convinced that traditions are obstructing and restricting.

But I’m stuck. very STUCK.
What are traditions obstructing? Growth? Development? I can’t find any visual prove of that.

A tradition is retaining to a habit, custom a ritual thats being past on from generation to generation. 
Traditions are important for a cultural/national unity, as it’s rituals/rules are known to people it’s helps to identify with a group. It maintains a social stability.
Because traditions are been passed from generation to generation it seems very conservative and conservatism is obstructing growth and progress. But as generations change also the customs and rituals change and renew constantly.
It’s the compulsion of confirming to group-behaviour that’s been associated with traditions that obstructs personal freedom and individuality. That is something different then supposing that traditions are obstructing growth and development.

Here comes another thought, out written.
Traditions confirm a social identity, confirm a group/society, who are holding on to certain ways, certain customs. People belong to that group or don’t.
Not everybody feels connected or is included in certain traditions and related groups. 
The stronger people hold on to certain traditions the more they obstruct new input/ possibilities of change/of growth that comes with other people. They’re telling that when you don’t join in, you’re left out, you’re rejected. And that’s exactly what I’m trying to visualise!

So, “wham bham thank you mem” I’ve got the solution for my art work. It’s not going to be called, obstructive traditions but, rejecting traditions

I hope you were able to follow my thoughts.
Writting all the mixed up thoughts and trying to make sense really helped me. 
Please enjoy the artwork and I will share ‘rejecting traditions as soon as it’s finished.



Necessarity of routines

3 Months ago we had to move house, to a different part of the city. Even it was a move in the a city I already knew, it’s only now that I can say that I’m getting used to my new surroundings. After 3 months I can drive home without thinking about how and when the easiest route to come home. I can look around again, check- and enjoy my surroundings.
(Although it’s in the city this area must have been an agricultural area as there’re sheep and camels around the corner!)

My drive home has become a routine!

Routine is doing tasks without -much- thinking/ without taking much energy (i.e. brain energy). 
People need a routine to forfill their duties comfortably. It gives time and energy for more fun things or for tasks that require more energy.
Our morningrush is under control and that means we can have a quiet breakfast, we can even have a chat about instead of ticking of the list of duties for everyone and running to get to school/work in time.
The routine makes the start of the day a lot less complicated and us function better the rest of the day.

In a couple of weeks though the comfortable routine will become TOO much of a routine and turns to become a habit or custom; A regular tendency of practice or procedures, especially ones that are hard to give up (wikipedia).
Everything in live which is “TOO” is not good. A habit can turn into an addiction, which we can’t do without. 
TOO much of the routine means we lose the flexibility to react on changes without being knocked out of our comfortzone, it’s killing our problem solving skills.
Can you imagine the stress it will cause when there are roadworks on the familiar route!?!?


Time or clock?

From a cultural perspective, time is a very interesting phenomenon. Because it depends in which culture and where you’ve been raised how you live with time.

“You’ve got the clock, we’ve got time”

Is an african saying. And like most sayings there’s some truth in that.

In most cities in Europe you’ve got clock- or bell towers (mostly in church towers) with a clock to show the time and a bell to ring every hour. 
For ages -since the clock was invented- people who lived in cities have a routine based on the clock.

In my family that was; wake up at 7, work starts at 9, coffee break at 11, lunch 12.30, tea break 15.00, 17.00 home, 18.00 diner, 20.00 coffee, 22.00 nightcap, 23.00 bedtime.

Mealtimes and sleep were more regulated by the clock then by hunger or fatigue. 
Even without a clock this routine is in my system.
I’ve got most energy to work in the morning, by 18.00 I’m starving and at 23.00hr. my personal light goes off.

With a clock divided in 12 hours and everywhere available people can be very effective using time in every hour. You can plan a task, how long does a task take and what can you do with the rest of the time. Or how long does it take to get somewhere and be in time for an appointment. Sometimes it is literally a race against the clock, to make all those plans and routines work.
In some cultural groups there might be -a not official- rule to be a fashionable late with 15-30 minutes, but that is still based on time.

The battery of my watch stopped. (and at the moment I haven’t got the time and energy to find out, if, where and how to replace watch-batteries here in Qatar, Middle East) 
As an independent/freelancer I’m not dictated by the regulated times of an office or school. working home here I find that I’m more depending on the call for prayer. I’ve got my lunch around midday prayer and start diner around 17.00. In the meantime I eat and drink when I’m hungry or thirsty.

Looking around me, I can tell people have a different routine, more regulated by the call for prayer, because you don’t insult someone by leaving for the reason of prayer. People here plan their days more between those prayer times.
I can also see that in these regions -close to the equator- the daily routine is based on the sun. the day starts at dawn before the sunrise, when it’s not so hot because of the sun, Have food and a rest during the hottest hours of the day and live starts up again when the sun sets.

There is definitely a logic in planning the days duties and daily routine everywhere in the world, it might depend on the possibilities of money and/or resources what and how much you can plan.
In cultures where they live by the clock/hour the routines are planned very effectively.
Still, I’m still considered ‘lazy’ as I stop at 17.00hr when I think my tasks are done. Me on my turn had to get used to people sleeping and shops and services closed during daytime and have to get out after diner to do my shopping or …. to get my watch fixed.IFGAblogperson

The art of gifts and presents

Most people have got positive feelings by gifts and presents. In my case it makes me nervous.

The word gift, tells me that it’s about a thing you give without expecting something in return.
How the word ‘present’ actually is related to the gift is not really stated. My guess is that it has to do with the French word for ‘presence’ which means that you’re on that spot/that you’re there and to prove it ,you give something.

In a multi cultural live I find any occasion which involves presents/gifts very uncomfortable.
?What occasions are appropriate to give presents of gifts?

?How much do you (want to) spend on a present? Based on how close you are? based on financial situation? based on what you got before? 
?What’s the local custom? 

?Do you embarass somebody with a too small/big or too cheap/expensive present? 

?What can you give to who? Can a man give a present to a woman or visa versa?

?Do you give everybody the same value?
?Do you give something you think the other would appreciate?

?Do you give something you like and show something of your identity?
?Do you open presents or not?

?How much effort is the actual presentation/packing?

To be honest, I still don’t know, how to act cultural intelligent in these situations.

I can’t say to my 4 children that they can’t accept all the birthday party invitations because off the expenses of the presents? Can I? Or embarrass the birthday boy or -girl with a cheap present because I rather spend my money on a family diner in a nice restaurant?
What do I give my host? bring in a dish/a bottle of wine? (which might be insulting as if you expect there won’t be enough). Chocolates (was she not on a diet?) or again flowers, a bouquet or a roomfilling arrangement? Should I decorate my gift or not?

The best thing to do is ask arround what others do in those situations. But still……

Me as a receiver, I feel very uncomfortable receiving overpriced presents, which I can’t and won’t return.
On the other hand it also makes me Feel Good that I mean so much to somebody else.
I, also do love to give presents from which I’m sure it would make the other happy, even if they’re expensive. A GIFT, but that’s from the heart.
Actually this tells a lot about me; for me PRESENTS are a kind of trade. A trade of a good feeling/gratitude/happiness or a return present.
 That’s probably also the reason that I like to see when somebody is unwrapping my present. And exactly the reason why I very much understand people who rather don’t unwrap untill they’re alone in case they’re dissapointed.

This is my love and hate story with presents and gifts.
I’m very interested in other -juicy- stories and experiences from all over the world.IFGAblogperson

origins habits, traditions and rituals mini lecture

It’s that time of the year, that almost everywhere in the world a lot of festivities and traditions are being celebrated; Diwali, haloween/st. Martin/all souls day, Thanks giving, Sinterklaas, Christmas, Chanouka, new years eve/silvester/chinese new year, National days. Just to name a view.
A lot of these traditions do have it’s origins from long before the great religions.

Imagine, It’s 5000 years ago, it’s winter on the nothern hemisphere;(which does have the largest human settlement, -historicaly-. The southern hemisphere exists more out of water); It’s dark and it’s cold, no farming, gathering or hunting is possible; The weather can be scary; with mist, darkness, cold, snow; People stay together for warmth and safety. There’s time for stories, rituals and/or handicraft.

People were (and often are) afraid of the dark; nothing grows, you can’t see predators, you can’t see were you’re going, you can get lost. 

5000 years ago they didn’t had the knowledge that the sun, the light and the warmth would come back automatically as the worlds rotating. 
To cope with the fear, they thought of all kind off reasons and rituals to scare the dark away or attrack the sun again. 
Many of those rituals used light (= fire), to attrack the sun and/or make lots of noise/sing to scare the darkness away. Many of those rituals and ceremonies were hand over from generation to generation and became traditions. Think the bonfires, laterns, christmas lights, christmas crackers, fireworks, and traditional music and/or songs.

Multicultural wise it’s interesting to see how the same tradition developed in different rituals for everybody all around the world. Think about the darkness during winter. 
and how the same tradition/occasion (like christmas or ramadan) is been celebrated differently everywhere
. I can tell from experience that the christian celebrations of christmas in america is completely different then in the Philippines. Rituals concerning the christmas tree are depending on the availability of pine trees.IFGAblogperson

For everybody who’s celebrating.