Among the oldest of all recorded tales, the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh recounts how the heroes Gilgamesh and Enkidu travelled to the Cedar Forest to fight the monsters there and be the first to cut down its trees. ASIAN Geographic travels to the original place in Lebanon that inspired this grand tale.
BY YD BAR-NESS
Sinbad the Sailor
From the world-famous collection of tales One Thousand and One Nights comes the adventures of “Sinbad the Sailor” and his seven voyages. An old manuscript indicates that the appearance of this narrative on the Arab-Islamic culture scene probably took place shortly before the advent of the ninth or even the eighth centuries. ASIAN Geographic lays out the realities that informed this momentous story.
BY HASAN EL-SHAMY
A Mynah Thing
Just as “Old-timers reminisced about the days when they were young” in Mele da Mynah’s Noisy ‘Ohana, we too remember the days when the Bali mynah flourished on the island. Today, its close-to-extinction status has left a bitter taste and conservationists are struggling to keep this stunningly beautiful starling flying high.
BY STEPHAN M FUNK
Yann Martel’s Life of Pi
Life of Pi is faction, a genuine combination of fact and fiction, inspired by real experiences the writer had in a coffee shop in Pondicherry, India. It is in this furnace of sweltering temperatures and exotic smells – unfamiliar to the story’s Canadian author – that an Indian boy named Piscine, a Bengal tiger called Richard Parker, a carnivorous island and an army of meerkats were forged in the creation of the greatest fantasy adventure novel in recent memory.
BY DR MURALI SIVARAMAKRISHNAN
David and Goliath
The biblical story pitting a towering giant against a red-headed shepherd, the future king of Israel, has become a mainstay of Jewish and Christian folklore. Yet the Valley of Elah, near Jerusalem, where the battle took place, may be visited today, and it’s easy to picture the standoff between Israelites and the warmongering Philistines. So how much truth is there to this epic legend?
BY DR RACHEL EINAV
World’s Most Famous Old World Monkey
ASIAN Geographic looks at the two major original stories of this irreverent monkey, in ancient India and ancient China, and sees how these stories resemble each other. We look at how the Monkey King has thrived to this day – his story told in new forms throughout the world.
BY YD BAR-NESS