TAASA Review Issues

June 1992

Vol: 1 Issue: 3
Editors: Heleanor Feltham & Christina Sumner

Cover Photo
‘Kneeling Woman’ Bayon Angkor Thom Angkor (Siem Reap) Angkor Vat Style c. 1150-1175. Bronze, height 30.1cm.

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Editorial

Heleanor Feltham

In this issue I am very happy to include two very important features – our first published List of Members and the text of Alison Broinowski’s recent talk The Butterfly Syndrome, based on a key theme of her book, The Yellow Lady. For reasons of space, our first Members’ List is being printed as an inclusion.

TAASA was delighted to be involved in the recent Sydney launch of this seminal and most fascinating investigation into the Australian perception of Asia as projected by our writers, painters, film-makers and other artists. Given our current preoccupation with a definition, or redefinition, of ourselves, culturally, economically and geographically, Alison Broinowski’ s book comes at the psychologically right moment. No longer can we afford to dismiss our neighbours as “underdeveloped”, call for Australia to join the European Economic Community, or deculturise the countries of our region into an undifferentiated but threatening “yellow peril”. But before we can begin an appreciation of Asia and its cultures, we have to examine the whole baggage of myth, image, symbol, pseudo-history and exoticism which clouds our perception and influences our cultural judgments. Here The Yellow Lady can play an important role. This almost encyclopaedic survey reveals a plethora of “Cathays”, those Asia’s of the mind intellectual or erotic, philosophic kingdom or “heart of darkness”, which sit like a set of scrims between us and a rational perception of Asian nations. And only through the process of recognition and analysis can they lose their power of illusion.

Some we can dismiss easily, others demand that we look more deeply into our own psyche; and of them all the one we are perhaps least willing to recognize, least willing to admit or to dismiss, is the reification of Asian women which Alison Broinowski defines as The Butterfly Phenomenon, the title of her recent talk at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. It is a perception of Asia which fires the pursuit of Philippine brides or sex flights to Bangkok at its crudest, which inspires a Norman Lindsay or a Hugh McCrae, and which reflects a devaluation not only of the feminine principle, which Asia has often represented in the Western psyche, but of Asian cultures generally as exotically inferior and endlessly exploitable.

And on a different tack, but no less one of exploitation, the TAASA Committee is looking for members who are willing to form a functions task force, helping organize ticketing, ushering and refreshments for TAASA events. Less than sensible suggestions for a name for this group include The Drunken Buddhas and The Middy Dragons, so a title is needed as well. If you are interested in helping, please contact our President Carl Andrew, on [number excluded for privacy; members can download a version of this edition by logging into their Member’s account].

Table of contents

READERS LETTERS 

COMMENT – Carl Andrew

PROFILE: ROSS LANGLANDS – Heleanor Feltham

SILKS SAINTS AND SENMURVS – Ruth Norton

10  THE BUTTERFLY PHENOMENON – Alison Broinowski

12  THE JAPANANESE SWORD – Major Ian Brookes

14  AN INTRODUCTION TO TIBETAN CULTURE – David Templeman

18  REMINISCENCES OF HONG KONG’S MUSIC – Alan Dwight

20  IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN OBJECTS IN PUBLIC COLLECTIONS – Dick Richards: Art Gallery of South Australia

21  AROUND THE GALLERIES – Lynette Cunnington

21  THE BAZAAR – Members Advertisements

22  BOOKS
OJIME: MAGICAL JEWELS OF JAPAN – Major Ian Brookes
SARAWAK CULTURAL LEGACY: A LIVING TRADITION – Neil Manton

23  REVIEWS & PREVIEWS Items on SEMINARS, TOURS, EXHIBITIONS, LECTURES, EVENTS, PERFORMANCE & TV

28  MEMBERS DIARY – Jackie Menzies

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