August 29, 2010

050107 AFECT - 1

When travelling in a group, the cat usually has no idea where it is headed. The truck turned right off the Mae Fa Luang Rd & ended up somewhere in the Rimkok area instead of continuing straight to the bridge over the Kok river into Chiangrai town.

Because Dr. AFECT had to stop by his office:


Across from the office:


Bamboo version of the swing:

Video about the Swing Festival filmed in Ban Apa (in Thai with English subtitles) - shows how the swing is built, plus familiar faces like Big Mama & Nalisala

Ferris wheel without seats:

Video of an Akha ferris wheel in action

Spirit gate:


3 types of decorations [L-R] - chains of 'rings', a chain of what the cat calls 'fish shapes', & the asterisk-like ตาแหลว daa leow (a sort of 'do not touch' sign):


The human figurines that accompany such gates:


The Akha genealogy in print form:


All Akha men memorise the names of all their male ancestors all the way back to first Akha, Sum Mi O (written as Suml Mil Ol with tone marks):


Akha guys who meet for the first time in their lives can just recite their entire lineages from memory to compare & determine how closely or distantly they are related. The old chart above ends at generation #56-57. At present some lineages already have ~60 generations worth of names going back more than 1500 years in time. Everything was memorised as there was no written form of the Akha language. Most guys just have to remember their own lineage, but in every village, one guy (the pima) & his understudies (piya) serve as the village database, memorising the lineages of everyone(!!) + migration history of the village from the original location where their first ancestors initially settled up to the present village site + literature, songs & stuff to recite during rituals + just about everything else pertaining to the Akha way of life. Just imagine the number of digits of pi they would be able to handle...

The first time the cat listened to a recitation was during the 2004 trip to Ban Yafu, when Atee, the happy Apa, Jamu, one of Jamu's younger brothers, YK & the cat spent the night chatting about things Akha, & the happy Apa recited his lineage for us. MAG has filmed the recitations of village elders in Ban Apa & nearby Ban Phukhor - here are videos of Agong, Aya & Acha's dad (aka. the basket weaving master), & an Akha guy from the Muang Long area in northwestern Laos. For those interested, the Akha genealogy in depth by the late Leo Alting von Geusau, a co-founder of AFECT.

'Pac-Man maze' design shoulder bag - embellishments like the chicken feathers, chicken feather tassles & pompoms are not found in bags made for sale to tourists:


Made from 2 types of bamboo - smaller diameter for cups, larger diameter for bowls:


Banana flower buds:


The other cat:


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