Search Results: Mauritius

  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The meaning of cake

    • Bernard Appassamy
    • 17 August 2018
    7 Comments

    Standing and waiting in a crowd at peak hour outside Newtown train station at the pedestrian crossing. A crossdresser wearing a one piece orange swimsuit, a tiny matching frilly skirt and platform shoes pushes through. The sound of a communal inbreath as she runs dangerously through the traffic to the other side.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Barbers of Mauritius and inner Sydney

    • Bernard Appassamy
    • 30 January 2017
    3 Comments

    I grew up terrified of my father's barber, Andre. He announced his arrival by ringing the bell of his black Raleigh bicycle at our gate. I was dragged to the chair where the towel was passed on to me. Andre did his best to keep his calm with me. I must have tested his nerves to a limit when he told me of the day he so badly severed one ear of a young boy who wouldn't sit still that a pig's ear had to be stitched on in replacement. 'I don't believe you,' I replied, but sat frozen from thereon.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Broken porcelain illuminates destructive Dutch colonial legacy

    • Bernard Appassamy
    • 16 September 2015
    4 Comments

    400 years ago, when Mauritius was still uninhabited, a cyclone thrust three tall ships of the Dutch East India Company against the coral reef. As the ships were ripped apart and thousands of Ming porcelain pieces on board smashed, the crew fought for their lives, but 75 men including the fleet commander Admiral Pieter Both, drowned. I picture that Sunday afternoon in the 1980s when my mother and I were wading in the water close to a familiar beach and found washed up shards of the porcelain. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The masala stone

    • Bernard Appassamy
    • 12 November 2014
    19 Comments

    Families, like mine, that are born from migration are reborn punctually through the scent of their cuisine. It's the 1970s and a grinding rhythm from the garden is audible through my window. Leaning over the ros kari, Jessie, our family cook, is crushing spices for the evening curry. With her two hands, she holds flat a cylindrical stone, the baba, and rolls it with her wrists back and forth, on its large rectangular base.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Hyphenated migrant's homeland homage

    • Bernard Appassamy
    • 01 November 2013
    7 Comments

    Leaving Mauritius for Australia changed everything and nothing. While I am now liberated from a suffocating horizon, I only need to step outside to sense the presence of a different horizon, one that sits instead as a formidable continent behind me. My understanding of home has also evolved. As a hyphenated migrant, my home does not have a main entry, but a few side doors.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Tintin's rocket and Mauritian moon memories

    • Bernard Appassamy
    • 12 December 2012
    11 Comments

    I saw the toy shop out of the corner of my eye and glazed over rows of plastic toys behind the window display. They looked cheap, mass-produced and sad, seemingly anticipating a more vibrant future than gathering dust. One item practically screamed at me and stopped me in my tracks.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Across the purgatory sea to Botany Bay

    • Maria Takolander
    • 17 July 2012
    3 Comments

    Sophie, a Malagay slave in Mauritius, torched a barn housing a collection of leather straps — the flames soaring like the sounds of the black horses inside — and was packed off in a ship-sized crate to New South Wales.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    The truth about China the climate scapegoat

    • Sean McDonagh
    • 14 December 2011
    12 Comments

    Countries including the US, Russia and Japan refuse to sign any binding treaty to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions unless China does the same. Their simplistic argument that China is now the number one emitter in the world overlooks important data.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Remembering Hassan

    • Bernard Appassamy
    • 21 May 2008
    6 Comments

    Before the advent of imported ready-to-wear in the late '70s, Mauritians had all their clothes and furnishings custom-made. Hassan's was the oldest fabric shop on the island and, in its heyday, the biggest. Hassan was a mountain-like figure, always on my horizon

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