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A Glimpse into the Lives of Colonial Asians

China in Those Days by Thomas Brandt. (Goasia Verlag, 2008)
by admin
24 September 2010

MUMBAI, August 6, 2010 - In a visual presentation, Asia in Those Days, collector and author Thomas Brandt provided a fascinating glimpse into colonial Asian
life using pictures, lithographs, and metal engravings from colonial Asia.
These were accompanied by extracts from historical travel reports and clippings from the first English-language
newspapers published by Europeans in Asia.

Brandt revealed much about the
interactions and relationships between Europeans and Asians during colonial
times. Where others focus on large historical events and trends, Brandt's
lighter approach provided insights into daily lives of people from all places
and sections of society in Asia.

He explained how Europeans and
Asians alike reacted to the changes brought by colonialism, and how they
sometimes amusingly refused to adapt. As people travelled and
encountered outsiders in their own lands, Brandt showed the lengths they went
to in order to maintain customs that bolstered them, and to subvert ones that
disparaged them.

His research shed light on a
range of aspects of peoples' lives, including their food, hygiene issues,
social interactions, transportation, accomodations, entertainment, languages,
and business strategies. Brandt's depictions of how people struggled with poverty
and the contingencies of the weather, businesses, and fortune reminded the
audience of the luxuries that modern technologies and discoveries have allowed.

Brandt's unique lens into colonial life in Asia provided a refreshing and
informative glance into life in those days, providing a captivating perspective
into the degree of globalization prevalent at the turn of the last century, and the many responses to it.