A sweeping view of Asia and the Pacific through a series of literary essays written by Australian Russell Darnley, who earned an OAM for services he provided after the Bali Bombings.
Malaria, cockfights and magic are confronting realities in the Asia-Pacific region, yet beyond these more remains unseen and misunderstood. These cultures also exert an unacknowledged influence far beyond their borders.
Inspired by one family's experience over three generations these tales are cradled in real events. Frailty of memory, the natural passing of people and the need to protect others, has rendered some into fiction.
Central to this work is the idea that interactions with people from outside our culture challenge our expectations. Meanings and understandings must often be negotiated in intangible, non-rational and unseen ways. Foucault's notion of the third space has influenced this work, as has the Balinese belief that reality is an interaction of Sekala (the Seen) and Niskala (the Unseen).
The unseen also has a political dimension here: "the elephant in the room". Choosing not to see, comforted by one's own culture alone, is to ignore that regional and global events are unfettered by such introspection.
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