Uno University Recent Califor

In order to complete this discussion assignment, select a news article from one of the sites offered in the instruction page for this assignment. Check with me if you’d like to use another site since the sites do need to be news related.

Include in your discussion post a copy of your news article, the name of the news source, and a paragraph explaining how the news article relates to course material. If you find it difficult to relate the news event to course material, reference your textbook! In addition to your post, you must also respond to at least one of your classmates’ posts.


Survivors of Tsunami Live on Close Terms With Sea


Published: January 23, 2005 by

SOUTH SURIN ISLAND, Thailand, Jan. 16 – They call it “wave that eats people,” but the Moken sea gypsies, who have lived in isolation here for decades, emerged from the tsunami almost unscathed.

A community of about 200 Moken was living on South Surin Island, 40 miles from the Thai mainland, when the wave hit on Dec. 26 as it was barreling toward the coast. The Moken’s village of thatched huts on stilts was on the beach, but when the water crashed over it, the Moken – including wizened old women and parents with babies on their backs – had already run to the hills.

The Moken know the mysteries of the ocean better than most Thais, having roamed it for centuries as fishermen and divers. They used to live half the year in houseboats on the Andaman Sea, wandering between Thailand and Myanmar, formerly Burma, and while less itinerant now, they remain closely attuned to the water. They are animists who believe that the sea, their island and all objects have spirits, and the Moken use totem poles to communicate with them.

Salama Klathalay, chief of the Moken here, said his elders taught him to expect a people-eating wave whenever the tide receded far and fast. So when he witnessed such a sight on the morning of Dec. 26, he started running and shouting.

“I had never seen such a low tide,” said Mr. Salama, a lively white-haired man who said he was at least 60 but unsure of his exact age. “I started telling people that a wave was coming.”

One member of the community, a disabled man who could not run, was left behind in the panic, Mr. Salama said, sitting in one of the tents in which the Moken are living while they build a new village. The man died, and to avoid bad luck, Mr. Salama said, they were rebuilding on a different beach. They could avoid future tsunamis by moving to the hills, he said, but they fear the snakes that live there.

The Moken’s eyesight under water is so sharp that researchers have studied it. Many cannot read or write, passing lore and knowledge down through the generations orally. They have their own language, though many younger Moken now speak Thai. Some go to the mainland to live and find work, but Mr. Salama said many return.

“They’re not used to it over there,” he said. “They’re used to working on the sea, and there, they have to work in a factory or something.”

The Moken have been little more than an oddity for tourist guidebooks and a nuisance for the Thai government, which has chastised them for fishing and foraging on environmentally sensitive water and land. But now, because of their agile escape from the tsunami, these people who live without electricity or schooling are a cause célèbre. The Thai news media has painted them as heroes, and politicians have called for preserving their way of life and spreading their long-held wisdom.


(example commentary on how this article relates to Geography)

“This article is about Geography because it is about how a human culture relates to the physical world. We discussed in class and I read in the textbook about human cultures and the physical world. It spotlights a unique human culture that was able to survive a tremendous physical tragedy. The article talks about how the Moken’s were able to survive the Tsunami because they were so closely attuned to the water. Their human culture is an example of how important it can be for humans to stay aware of the physical or natural world around them. “

I expect more than a word or two on how the article relates to Geography. I am not looking for a specific geographical phrase rather I am looking for how you see Geography in the newspaper article. I will comment and take points off if you do not clearly identify the geographical elements that you see in the article. Please be aware that vague words such as political geography, economic geography, and religious geography are not enough. You need to clarify how you see the geography in the politics, economics or religious elements in the newspaper article. Remember that Geography is about place and space. Feel free to contact me if it is not clear how to relate news articles to Geography and I will seek to clarify what I am looking for.

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