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    Memories of absence

    The Netherlands was placed under German occupation during the second World War after the  country was invaded by the Nazi Germany on the 10th of May, 1940, which continued till the German Surrender in 1945. Nearly seventy percent of the country's Jewish population was killed in Nazi concentration camps during these years. 

    Streets of Leiden

    The 1890 photograph of ‘laundry day’ shows people washing, bleaching and drying their clothes on the side of the canals of Leiden. According to our sources, the people in Leiden used the water that was centrally heated by the factories, once a week, to wash their clothes once a week. They needed the entire streets for the laundry process and used it as a community.

    Modernity with Tradition

    “Laken” means woollen fabric or cloth. Weaving became the main economy for Leiden in the 17th century and the city became the working center. The city was populated due to the availability of works in the weaving industry. During the Dutch Golden Age, Leiden cloth was imported via Amsterdam, made quality cloth, national uniforms and the process was carried out by people of all ages of the city, from as young as 4 years old to and old person. To secure the quality of products which was the prestige of the city, they built the Lakenhal in 1641.

    Saturday Market

    The setting of the Saturday Market is a completely different image from the other local shops during the weekdays. It opens twice a week - a small one on Wednesdays, and the main one on Saturdays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. It is full of products from local and as well as non-Ducth origin (e.g Mabroek). The uniqueness of the market makes people visit it and makes the experience worthwhile. People come not only to shop but also to relax, to enjoy their Saturdays with family and friends.

    The Keys of Heaven

    The keys are a symbol of Leiden and are found everywhere. As a first time visitor I found them odd. As we talked to different people we were told that these are the keys of Saint Peter. Like the coats of arms in Ghana that talks about the belief of the people and acts as a cultural symbol, the keys of Saint Peter have become a symbol that people identify themselves with.

    History frozen in Memory

    The Stadhuis Town Hall, in Leiden, was built in the 1600 in what is called the Renaissance style of architecture. Made of German sandstone, it is also the longest Town Hall building in the Netherlands. One February morning in 1929, a fire broke out in the Town Hall burning it to the ground as it was so cold that part of the water being used to extinguish the fire froze as soon as it hit the façade. It was then re-built in the old style using what material remained.

    Three terms that tell something about craft

    While visiting the craft beer brewery, Benjamin, one of the co-founders of the brewery, was the tour guide for our visit. I find three terms were used frequently in his talk: 'to be honest,' 'but' and 'the beauty is.' The image been built from these word choices breaks some stereotypes on craft in my mind, but also proves some imaginations I had. 

    Time in the craft

    “ Pronck” is one of the brewing company in Leiden, Netherlands, which was founded in 2014. Today we have Benjamin, one of the founder, who was a tax lawyer before guided us. His love and enthusiasm toward beer inspired him to start the brewery without the background of brewing ancestors, but with his university friends. 

    To image Blue through making : preparation vat of indigo in school

    Many of us may have seen or bought indigo products from market. Seldom do we have the privilege to explore the beauty and hardship of a craftsmanship, know the process and knowledge of it from school. For the semester of Sprin 2019, there is a course "Blue Across Boarders", which provided students a brief understanding of indigo, from plants, process of making indigo dye to dyeing, also provided them a chance to witness the process and experimented with dyeing by themselves in school. 

    Sub-Theme Discussion in the Course 'Blue Across Borders'

    As for the semester of Spring 2019, some changes were made such as the adoption of theme-based group discussion. The students were divided into four discussion groups on (1) language and memory, (2) landscape and place, (3) gender and labour, and (4) market and aesthetics. These four sub-themes were adopted in the HaB methodologies workshop in in October 2018. This new trial helped to open up viewpoints based on cultural and historical understandings acquired in the previous stage.

    Indigo: the Center of ‘Locality’

    Similar in many other places in the world, natural dyeing in Taiwan disappeared when the synthetic dye was widely distributed. Taiwan underwent fast modernization during the Japanese colonial period (1895-1945) that was also when Taiwanese indigo dye production and dyeing went down the lane. As a massive amount of Japanese machine-printed textiles entered the Taiwanese market, local dyeing workshops quickly shut down or turned into dealer shops of ready-made textiles. Since then, Taiwan indigo industry, once prevailing, now only existed in the memory of the elders.

     

    Walking the Naga Day

    Walking the Naga Day on 10 January is where memory and meaning meet for the contemporary Naga . It is also the first time that conscientious Nagas decided to create this event in a public forum to awaken every Naga's idea of home and the community. 

     

    It brings together  the voices, visions and many aspirations of the community as they straddle the borders of peace and conflict , of work and ethics, of construction and destruction, of harmony and violence as they go forth with the promise of a new year into a more stable future  .

     

    Reflection through learning body and environmental knowledge

    Traditional handicrafts are a kind of embodied local knowledge, so does indigo. On the course of "Blue Across Boarders", students had a chance to talk with artisan Tang Wen-chun (湯文君), who is also an educator, motivator and researcher on indigo. Tang introduced the plants of indigo which are harvested in her farm, the practice she was conducting on also the process and tips for harvesting plants of indigo. Students had a field visit to the farm that grows the plants of indigo dye.

    Rice Varieties

    One of the items on display at most of the local Autonomous Council sponsored/organized exhibitions at BTC areas of Assam is different varieties of rice seeds, including indigous and hybrid ones. The main target is to create awareness of hybrid varieties of rice but what it does is also make aundience realize the invisibility of indigenous varieties.

    Family and women: Leiden and Mali

    The family is a social institution. It is beautiful to see a mother and her children together because it reflects the natural love and the affectability that exists between her and her offsprings. In Leiden, the parental concept is very visible in the streets because it is found that the parents and their children are at the edge of a bicycle (the parents and their children: case where all drive together; the case where the mother also pilot alone). Education is one of the priorities of the population of this city of the Netherlands.

    A Tour to Bio Science Park

    Leiden Bio Science Park was founded in 1984 at the west of the Leiden Central Train Station which is the largest and fastest growing science assemblage in the Leiden. The 2km wide campus include housings, university, hospital, restaurants, sports center, business companies and many other more. In the photo, it mentions the model of Bio Science Park which is proposed to be set up as the lively campus.

    Comparing street markets: Myanmar and Leiden

    The Saturday Market opens every Saturday along the canals (Nieuwe Rijn, Vismarkt en Botermarkt) and a smaller one on Wednesdays. There are many makeshift stalls on Saturdays but fewer on Wednesdays. The stalls sell - flowers, bags, toys, foods/ drinks , accessories (bicycle, tailor, fashion etc), speciality food like Middle East cuisine/ ingredients, Dutch herring, chesses etc. The stalls are always busy.

    Meeting with the community members about trash

    We had a discussion with village leaders about putting trash systematically in our field visit. We gave them some dustbins to implement this. Our discussion focused on whether the villagers knew how to put trash systematically, and if we could get their permission to share our knowledge with the children of their village.

    Weaving luntaya acheik: Modernising traditional craft practice

    The Saunders Weaving and Vocational Institute (SWVI) is situated in Yay-twin-nyi-naung ward, Lay-su quarter, Amarapura Township, Mandalay Region on the side of Mandalay-Sagaing road.

    Till 1910, the local weavers used the hand throwing loom which could weave 24 inches only. When Mr. L. H. Saunders, Judicial Commissioner of Upper Burma, found that the technology of hand loom in Myanmar was old, he introduced in 1910, a fly shuttle loom used in England.

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