Side Effects of Tourism and Globalization

From my jaunts around the world, I have noticed that cultural boundaries are becoming a thing of the past. Regardless whether I am in the Himalayan mountains or deep in the Amazon or on a Safari in Africa – it requires no effort for me to find a man wearing T-shirt and jeans. On the contrary, the chances of seeing a local resident dressed in traditional, local attire are pretty slim, in most cases. Gone, are the days of partial nudism in the name of modesty, conformity – women are bound by restrictive bras and loincloths are things of the past.

Due to the power and spread of technology, mass media, western idealism, and “The American Dream” – more and more cultural groups around the world are allowing their cultural identity to diminish. Many reserve their traditional attire for special occasions or performances. In turn, tourists try on local attire for photos or buy them as a souvenir or as a novelty item.

Why is there judgement when someone wants to emphasize their individuality or their ethnicity?

Is surrendering one’s identity worth the price?

Is forfeiting your cultural identity as a group truly progressive?

When I visited Bhutan in 2011, I learned that their King imposed a national dress code. It is stipulated that local men are to wear the traditional gho and kira for local women for school and while visiting monasteries, government and local administrative offices. Some may view this as “backward” thinking and not being progressive with the global society – however, I see this as a preservation of their traditional culture.

Students in Bhutan wearing traditional Gho, a knee-length robe  tied at the waist by a traditional belt known as Kera

Students in Bhutan wearing traditional Gho, a knee-length robe tied at the waist by a traditional belt known as Kera

It is the same reasoning for my friends to teach their children their maternal or paternal mother tongue in their early years, as we all know the kids will learn to speak English or the country’s official language(s) at school. Educating the future generation about their root, their ancestry is far more challenging in this day and age.

Then in the same sense on a global scale, even within western society – why is it so prevalent that each individual human being is looking at the next person and rather be more like them??

Is the grass always greener on the other side?

Personally, I do not think so. As I have no idea the troubles the other person suffer from. I believe the phrase “Keeping up with the Joneses” – has created a massive percentage of people who are living in debt. Within the last few decades, materialism has spread like a wildfire. Rarely do people wait for their electronics to breakdown completely, before buying a replacement. People line up for days and nights to hand over their hard earned cash or go into debt to obtain the latest model of mobile phones. Heck, manufacturers designs their products with built-in obsolescence. Electronics breakdown when the warranty expires.

If each of us is not sufficient with our own being – happy and satisfied, we will never leave the hamster wheel. We will always be part of the rat race.

Where will this mentality lead us all?

I would much prefer to live in a much simpler time.

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3 thoughts on “Side Effects of Tourism and Globalization

  1. Pingback: Market life in Lhasa, Tibet | Single Woman Travels!

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