Education About Asia: Online Archives

Bhutan: Taking the Middle Path to Happiness

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DVD, 57 MINUTES, 2007

From the opening photos of an idyllic remote setting to friendly young monks to prayer flags whipping in the morning breeze carrying peace prayers, you know where to find Shangri La. That is the strength and weakness of this beautifully filmed video portrayal of Bhutan. The Exotic Other is colorfully on display, providing a feast for the eye and ear that is fine as far as it goes but is thinner on real world perspective than would make for good classroom discussion beyond the not-untruthful picture presented. Bhutan really does look like that, but missing are the omnipresent urban dogs, the red betel stains, issues with Nepali immigrants, and rural-to-urban migration problems. A bit more background information would also enrich the picture. For example, the back story on the popular song performed throughout the first part concerns a mule who suddenly informed his master that he is a reincarnation that was previously human too, and the master better treat him well or risk coming back a mule!

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