Assignment Asia

Challenging Gender Norms

Steeped in tradition, many Asian cultures have tightly conservative gender norms. But in some places, people are daring to challenge them. In Turkey, male belly dancing is making a comeback after generations of being kept in the background. It's an art usually associated with femininity. But in Istanbul, men are grabbing the spotlight and breaking stereotypes by swaying their bodies. As Reporter Natalie Carney reports, they are also raising the profile of Turkey's marginalized gay community. Although they are common in other parts of the world, female security guards are a relatively new concept in the rural town of Hubli in India. It's a patriarchal society that discourages women from working, and frowns upon those who do. But as Reporter Jyothy Karat shows, some women there are empowering themselves and breaking the norms they were born into by becoming security guards.

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Xinjiang: The Pains and Gains of Development

China is developing rapidly, fueled by decades of economic growth. But perhaps nowhere in the country is the process more complicated than in the far northwester region of Xinjiang, where the changes have affected people's long-held beliefs and traditions. Reporter Han Bin puts the spotlight on Xinjiang, where people are experiencing both the pains and the gains of development.

Festivals

From the mountains of northern Pakistan to rodeo arenas in the central Philippines, this edition features festivals in Asia that are gaining popularity. With a history of terrorism and instability, Pakistan's northern region used to be an unlikely place for festivities. Today, however, an equestrian festival is attracting thousands of tourists ever year and exposing the region's natural beauty. Reporter Danial Khan traveled to Shandur, the so-called "roof of the world", to witness how polo is not only boosting tourism but also helping the region shed its troubled past.

  • 2019-10-24T19:30:00-07:00
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Art, Tradition, and Identity

Art serves different purposes, from expressing one's emotions and identity to portraying daily life and recording history. During the Ottoman era in Turkey, artists depicted reality and kept a record of events through a painting style with Islamic and Chinese influences. Although miniature painting has survived to this day, the art form is slowly dying and fewer people are patronizing it. In Istanbul, reporter Natalie Carney meets artists working hard to keep Ottoman miniature art alive and relevant.