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My thoughts today.

26 May

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Today, May 25, 2015, the Surinamese people cast its vote. Me too.

I have experienced the the pre-election, and the election itself very consciously. Like  never  before.

I voted for change. I voted for a new person. Someone without a controversial past.

Now it is waiting for the results.

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It’s been different this time. Very painful were the reactions of my fellow countrymen. If they didn’t agree with the opinion of somebody, the attacks were getting personal or racist. So, why would I be proud of the ethnic and cultural diversity if one can’t stand each other. You want to show the world the different colors of your country, but the mind is very monochromatic?
Why should I talk about patriotism or nationalism as it is history itself? It does not surprise me if one is not respectful if the Surinamese flag is hoisted or the national anthem is sung. Because everything is already  history.

A generation which ignores history has no past: and no future.

Divali- Festival of Lights

22 Oct

October 2009

On the 26th of October, Divali (Deepavali) will be celebrated by every Hindu. Even I’m going to celebrate this day, but today, the shop where I work at, started selling Divali-items from India. All those Dia’s (oil lamps) in different models. But I won’t talk about what I sell in the store.

Divali, also known as Deepavali, is the festival for lights which has been celebrated for several reasons, occuring between mid October- mid November. For many Hindus, Divali’s the most important festival . Even in Suriname, Divali is one of the most important festivals. And last year, this day will be a national day for every Surinamese.

Lights!

Lights

Divali is also a day for preparing sweets (if you’re home) and eating vegetarian food on that day. We start eating vegetarian food 3 days before Divali, but some started with Navratrie (which is a month before Divali).

Since the last few years (5years), Divali’s been fun but I also get tired a lot. There’s a lot of work like cleaning the house and also working in the shop till the Divali day. But on every Divali, I make sure that some Divali-shots are taken. I really enjoy doing that! So, I’ll be sharing some of my Divali shots. I don’t have a lot Divali photos anymore, because last year, on Divali-day, my external harddrive crashed, so I lost every photo.  Luckily, I had my photos of that day, saved on my CF-card.

Because I’m really tired today, I have to leave you now, but keep enjoying my photos (and feel free to send me feedback).

Subh Divali (Happy Divali)

This is one of the photos I lost last year when I had a harddrive crash. But I had ;posted this one on of my personal profiles, so I'd save it.

!!!!

Lalla Rookh

5 Jun

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5th June 1873 was the day on which the  ship, Lalla Rookh, arrived with the first group of laborers from India. After the abolition of slavery in 1863, there was a shortage of cheap labor on the Surinamese plantations so therefore workers were brought from India. Their predecessors, the Chinese and Portuguese labors, did not meet the need. And, therefore, recruitment of settlers, targeting other countries, notably India. The recruitment center was the Indian city, Calcutta, and most of the immigrants were from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. False promised were made to the poor people. They were promised a golden future. But no, they came here as contractors, for 5 years, to work on the various plantations. On arrival in Suriname, the workers were spread throughout the plantations  over the whole country. The amount they earned was not much. They were underpaid. The contractors were often put to work on the sugar plantations and in agriculture field. Gradually, the Hindustani  managed to gain an important place in Suriname. During and after World War II  many of the British Indian immigrants moved to the capital, Paramaribo, for more opportunities to work and study.

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Culture
Former contract workers were called British Indians, but a descendantsis now called a Hindustani (Hindostani).
Today, the Hindustani are, second, to the largest ethnic groups in Suriname. Also there are approximately 50,000 of them who moved before the independence of the country in 1975, to the Netherlands. According to Wikipedia, there are about 120,000 living descendants of the Surinamese Hindustani in the Netherlands.

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The culture is largely preserved. The language, a mixture of Bhojpuri and dialects of Bihar, which is influenced by the Dutch, Sranan Tongo (Surinamese a local dialect) and even English, is called  Sarnami (Sarnami Hindustani). The religions practiced in the Hindustani, are Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. Hinduism has two groups: the Sanatan Dharma and the Arya Samadj. Most Muslims are Sunnis and Ahmediyyas. There are not many Christians among the Hindustanis, but many of them are Catholic and Moravians. Although traditional clothing is not worn everyday, people like to dress in the Indian clothing inspired by Bollywood, for traditional and cultural festivals. There is also a local song and dance form developed, Chutney and Bhaitak, but Bollywood songs are also a favorite. The most popular musical instruments are tabla, harmonium and dhol. Even the Hindustani cuisine is similar, but adjusted to the environment. Roti, rice and masala (curry) are still used, but in addition they have their own snacks. Roti is very popular among the Surinamese.

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Today, the 138 years Hindustani Immigration is celebrated. Over these 138 years they have reached a high level. I am one of the descendants of the British Indian immigrants. India is the country where my ancestors come from, but there are now differences in customs and cultural experience. And since I was born and raised in Suriname, I see myself as one … a Surinamese with the Hindustani background.

You must be thinking why I named this blog Lalla Rookh? This, because with the arrival of this ship, the story of the Hindustanis began.

Note: The photos used in this blog are not mine but adapted from Wikipedia

Drag Race Suriname

20 May

Racing on Highway

Two weeks ago, I finally experienced drag racing in Suriname.

Many friends have been there and obviously had many good things to say about the drag races. The race was held on the Highway of Suriname and the road was closed that day.

I didn’t see the real race cars that used to be used in foreign races,  but I was proud of the Surinamese racers.  And yes, I did see the beautiful sport cars. There should always be a start and more will come. I especially  loved the race of the motorcycles. There were two girls, participating in this race.

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Motorbike racer 

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The Foundation for the promotion of Motorsport in Suriname (MOTOSUR), founded in 2006, organizes activities on a regular basis. The Motorsport has grown so much over the past few years and even sometimes  there are foreigners who participate. Motorsport in Suriname isn’t a sport where you can earn lots of money, but a hobby for the participants and also another attraction for us in Suriname. Even a place to meet people you didn’t meet in a while..my friends and I were together after a year (check the next picture). After high school we choose to do different courses in different colleges. So being together after a while, made us feel good.  That are the drag races for….

My friends and me...from left to right: Marilyn, Nisha, Janice and me/ Photographer: Irvin Ngariman

There is no real racetrack in Suriname, but the first one’s is already on its way. But as yet I continue to enjoy the drag racing along the road under a large, colorful umbrella!

People watching the dragrace

This is their style

A day to Paramaribo Zoo

2 Sep

 

Parbo Zoo

Suriname’s only zoo, De Paramaribo Zoo, was opened in 1972 by the former premier J. Pengel. Most of the animals then were from his private zoo. In the eighties, the zoo lost many of its animals and its value by bad maintenance. During my childhood we visited the zoo once a year. The snakes were most fascinating. I remember the  Cobra snake, which was to  me the most feared snake. I think I’ve seen this snake only once. The cage of the lion, Boris, and tiger, Biga, were one of the favorites also. I so loved them! The caimans’ and crocodiles were  too great. But that’s years ago. A recent visit to the zoo after years has disappointed me. There were no Biga and Boris and I didn’t see any caimans and crocodiles. The birds were  my favorite. I saw a leopard and a sleeping tiger. Not many  interesting things. Too bad, but the newly built monkey island is really interesting. Due to lack of finances and poor management, the zoo has known bad days but now there are links established with international zoos to help it improve. There are two ape-islands where you can spot monkeys. I kept taking photos of them and it’s like the monkeys were posing for me.  The park is well kept and I even enjoyed the activities for children.But more can be done to the sanitation especially when kids are around. Below is a small report of my visit to the Paramaribo Zoo.

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Saoto Soup in tha house!

3 Jul

saoto

It was just a few Sundays ago that I made the well known “ Saoto soup” myself. Two weeks in advance I prepared to really make this dish! I went on the internet to look for information, I went over cookbooks and asked experts for their ”special” recipes. As I am not too familiar with cooking – as yet – , this was a great challenge to try and prepare this delicious dish.. Mom never helped me out – although she can be easily called ‘the expert’, so I was really on my own with this!
Well…, after a great Saturday night I woke up this Sunday morning, all enthusiastic to just…GO for it and prepare this… –d e l i c i o u s – soup…

 

For those who don’t know what’s Saoto Soup: Its original name is Soto Ayam which is a chicken – soup dish originally from Java, Indonesia, but with a typical Surinamese touch; it is served in every warung (Indonesian restaurant) in Suriname.  According to taste, Saoto is usually served with some other dishes liked shredded potatoes, fried Chinese vermicelli. Soato is as any other Surinamese dish, tangy and spicy and if you like, add the sambal (very hot Cayenne – pepper condiment); but only for those who dare!

I have to say.. my very own version tasted well!! I almost spent two hours in the kitchen making my Saoto soup, and it was mom who helped me after all baking all the ingredients. She just can’t trust me having me around in her kitchen.. that is!! She had to help me looking for the right the herbs as I’m not an Kitchen- Herbalist (every Surinamese cook is an herbalist to me!) . I did prepare the soup, the greatest challenge of this dish, on my own! Finally, I was done with my very first Saoto soup.. Yummy! Did I miss something? Oh yes, the m u s t, – a boiled egg- !