Last Friday there was the opening of ďIdentity versus GlobalisationĒ at
the Chiangmai Art Museum. An impressive act of organization, done by the
Heinrich Boell Foundation. Giving artists from Asia (10 countries) a chance
to show their thoughts and feelings to the world. Definitely an exhibition
to look at.
But: The word globalisation is very fashionable and was
mentioned often at the opening. I overheard some conversations, condemning
globalisation as a killer of individuality by saying it is coming close to
the idea of communism.
But arenít we all craving for a nice place to live in
peace, running water and sanitary facilities?
How can I explain my good friend, who lives on the island
Koh Phangan, who grew up in poverty selling coconut shells, burned for
charcoal with his family. The fact that he is losing himself now, making
millions in his restaurant at the beach? To tell him not to adapt to his
foreign costumers, not to treasure his stereo and his big car would be an
outrage for him, he will think I am crazy. Do I live in a hut without
Donít we all who are living in a western societal
system profit from globalisation.
There is tradition around me. Children are brought up as
usual on rice and curry, eating the same as they are used to. Temples are
still visited, families supported, individual values are high and every one
has the choice to choose between right and wrong, we are supposedly living
in a free world. We must strive and fight for this freedom and not get
tangled up in unsolvable problems; just to get the proof that globalisation
Not just McDonald is profiting from globalisation, but
also other cuisines are spreading around the globe. You have many Thai
restaurants abroad and these trends are expanding.
Donít you love to sit in Chiang Mai, drinking your
coffee, eating an apple strudel and at the same time you can order a dom
To me globalisation means a blend of cultures, ideas and
Of course we must stay in touch with our senses, and
avoid being overpowered by strong forces that use this network only for
themselves and to their own ends, misusing their strength, not to help, but
only to gain.
To stop this trend, which is only one part of
globalisation, it should be that leaders concerned keep values and morals
alive in a free and liberal society.
Globalisation is happening here and around the globe,
itís an irreversible process. It does not help to mourn old times or past
We have no right, sitting in a comfortable chair, to
force the hill tribe villager to stay simple as before and not to crave for
a TV set in order to be really sincere.
If we are valuable examples every day, we might find that
globalisation is bringing us together. I do witness that each country on
this globe still values its tradition and cultures although modernisation
has taken place. Let globalisation be the springboard for a brighter future.
An artist living and working in Chiang Mai