The Newsletter 57 Summer 2011

Seesawing between poverty and ignorance, prejudice and self-righteousness

Niels Mulder

Whittaker, Andrea (ed.). 2010. Abortion in Asia: local dilemmas, global politics. New York, Oxford: Berghahn Books, xii + 253 pages ISBN 978 1 84545 734 1 (hardback)

In the 1960s and 1970s in Thailand, I had the privilege of breaking out of the ivory tower sprung from my bourgeois roots and associate instead with monks recruited among the poor and intensely involved with women who had fallen to the bottom of the pile. In a steeply hierarchical society, they taught me to see life from the bottom up, and even as I could never participate in their experiences, I learned to sympathise with the logic of a hand-to-mouth existence in which my views didn’t hold.

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