Phase 3: Interpreting Information
Background Information (From Phase 1):
Due to my limited knowledge in this area, I had to research and talk to different people. I first started off with talking to Mr. T and read some past inquiry projects about my topic, which really helped me get a good foundation. Although the students who did my topic were scarce, I still got a lot of information out of it. It was a huge help because they wrote from a student's angle, and was a great introduction to my topic. However, in order to further my understanding, I had to do some research online. I knew that most of the population was made of the Bai people, so I decided to approach my research from that angle. Mr. T and the inquiry projects all warned me to not go too in depth into the religion of Xizhou, due to its complexity. Because of that, I decided to research the most famous/important Bai Minority myths (which are probably still told in Xizhou). After researching, I found out that the most important myth in the Bai minority was the story of the "Creation of the world". The myth was split into three different parts- the Primordial times, the creation of the world, and the creation of man. During the Primordial Times, humans did not exist. Instead, the trees and rocks were able to move freely, and every animal could communicate and talk. The second section told the story of Panggu and Pangsheng, who created the world. The last section recounted the story of how Guanyin, the Buddhist goddess of mercy created Man Guanyin hid a couple of brothers and sisters inside a golden drum, who created humans after the flood.
Only a few people did my topic, so I tried to get as much information as I could out of the two inquiry projects. Hillary C, from the Revival trip, provided a great description of her experiences in the village. She also wrote down some quick background knowledge, which allowed me to learn a bit more about my topic .
My main focus for my topic is ficus trees. Ficus trees, or ficus benjamina is a tree that can grow up to 30m if grown naturally. It is native to Asia and Australia, and is also the official tree of the Bangkok. It is very popular houseplant due to its durability under harsh conditions and is easy to take care of. However, I believe that the ficus trees we will see will be extremely different than the ones we see in houses. However, the roots grow extremely fast-- which causes many problems for cities and residential neighborhoods. Apparently, when the locals started cutting down trees in the mountain, they always left the ficus trees alone. Although the ficus trees were a lot closer to them, they always avoided them and went further up the mountain to collect their materials. Apparently, ficus trees are also considered as a symbol of thrivingness, which could be a reason why the trees are so sacred is. However, they serve an even greater purpose- ficus trees are an important part of burial rituals. When a person passes away, the brother and the wife carry the casket around the city square and then sets it next to the ficus tree. Then, the people in charge of burying the dead bring the coffin up the mountain and buries it there. When I heard this, I was extremely interested and wanted to learn a bit more. Since I will be using photography to help document my final project, I needed to know some background information. I talked to my dad, who is a huge photography enthusiast. He taught me some basic things, so I do have some background knowledge in that aspect.
Information from 3-to-5's:
Information from Local Contacts:
Answers to Previous Questions (from Phase 1):