SONGSOPTOK: We would like to start this interview with your opinion on the theme of our current issue. Do you think that cultural heritage has a role to play in modern society? Why?

DENNIS JOHN FERADO:  Cultural heritage plays an important role in all of our lives. It is a part who we are and who we are destined to become.  In most affluent  societies it is a major influence on a child’s life.  The child is impacted by its parents, siblings, surroundings  and the society it grows in

SONGSOPTOK:  How would you define cultural heritage? In your opinion, is it something tangible or intangible? Or is it a combination of both? If so, in what way?

DENNIS JOHN FERADO: I think it is a combination of both; the arts, architecture,   technologies are all part of our touchable culture.  Science, literature, philosophy and our mythologies are part of the intangible cultural heritage of each society.  Together they work their influence on the children of all societies.

SONGSOPTOK:  In the country and the society you live in, do you think culture and cultural heritage are important? In what way?

DENNIS JOHN FERADO:  I believe culture and cultural heritage are important to the individual in giving them a sense of who they are (and who and where   they come from) but I don’t know if it is good for a country as a whole. This tends to lock people into small groups (which can create prejudice and fear of others)  that are only concerned with their our religions and their own cultures and keeps them from experiencing more of the whole of humanity.  

SONGSOPTOK:  What, if any, are the outward manifestations of this heritage in the day to day life of the society you live in?

DENNIS JOHN FERADO:  In my society it can be seen in entire neighborhoods consisting of all Korean, Italian, Chinese, Russian, Irish, Islamic, Jewish, German, etc, etc, where one language is spoken, one food is eaten one type of entertainment is seen.  However, this makes for a colorful, exciting, and unique society where a child can learn much about the world and its multifaceted  inhabitants 

SONGSOPTOK:  Do you believe that culture, in its different components, is taught or learnt? Should it, for example, be taught to children? Or is there a different way of transmission of cultural values to future generations?

DENNIS JOHN FERADO: “Culture, noun 1.  the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively, and a refined understanding or appreciation  of it.  The customs, arts, social institutions and achievements  of a particular nation, people or other social group.”
It we take the word (culture) and its meaning from the dictionary, as written above, then my answer is yes.  It is taught, it is learned  and it is automatically absorbed by every child who grows in that specific society and its future generations.

SONGSOPTOK:  In your opinion, can culture be equated to tradition? Or do you believe culture is actually a living thing that tends to evolve over time?

DENNIS JOHN FERADO: There are many aspects to culture which include; morals, customs, laws, belief system, the arts—literature, dance, painting, music, religion and rituals, etc.  These are all part of a society’s heritage which tends to continue and evolve and grow with each generation. So I believe culture has both aspects; it is to be equated with tradition and it continues to evolve.

SONGSOPTOK:  Do you think that the increasing importance of technology and mechanization of the modern society play a significant role as far as cultural heritage is concerned? Does the word ‘heritage’ have any relevance to the society you live in? Can you please give us some examples to illustrate your answer?

DENNIS JOHN FERADO:   I think technology and mechanization of modern society plays a significant role in cultural heritage because it can act as a tool to supply us with worldwide information at our fingertips. Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artifacts  that is inherited like a piece of furniture or a ring of gold.  Cultural heritage is also intangible attributes inherited from a group or society of people who came before us.  They include tradition, myths, language, knowledge and folklore.

SONGSOPTOK:  What, if any, are the impacts of your own cultural heritage in your very personal sphere? If you live in a multicultural society, how would you analyze the interaction between different cultures?

DENNIS JOHN FERADO: I grew up in a neighborhood filled boasted every nationality from around the world and was definitely multicultural and included Asians and Muslims although mainly European immigrants of every language and shade.   I can honestly say that the interaction between cultures, although, naturally, sometimes misunderstandings would happen, was like a league of nations who helped one another in times of stress or family misfortune neighbors would lend a hand. No matter religion or country of origin or color of skin we always helped our neighbors through bad times.  

SONGSOPTOK:  Do you believe that you have to stop being traditional – that is, give up some of your beliefs and practices in order to be ‘modern’? Or do you think that there is no incompatibility between the two? What is your personal experience?

DENNIS JOHN FERADO:  Understanding is the key word, ignorance begets fear and fear begets violence. Once we get to know our neighbor and we understand where they are coming from there is no longer ignorance of him and his beliefs but an understanding and fear will wither away and friendship will saturate one’s being.  An understanding of out fellow human beings will help us understand that we are all the same beneath our outer skins and our souls  seek the same things in this world; Love and Peace.  We can keep our cherished traditions and be modernized  and find compatibility between the two and with our neighbors, all at the same time.

SONGSOPTOK:  Do you believe in ‘cultural imperialism’? What is your personal experience? In this context, do you believe that the world is increasingly becoming mono cultural based on the principles of the modern society?

DENNIS JOHN FERADO:  I do not believe in ‘cultural imperialism’ in any form in any way.  My experience is growing up in New York City where all cultures exist and thrive. My dad was Italian and my mom was Irish so I started off with a multi-cultural beginning.  I believe eventually we will all be living in a multi-cultural society because the world is getting smaller and people are growing closer (not governments but the people) and we are  getting a better understanding of one another through the internet and social media.


We sincerely thank you for your time and hope we shall have your continued support.
Aparajita Sen

(Editor: Songsoptok)


No comments:

Blogger Widgets
Powered by Blogger.