Tanveer Ahmed on Occidentalism: Why Can’t Rissoles Be Exotic?

Tanveer Ahmed on Occidentalism: Why Can't Rissoles Be Exotic?

For centuries, it has been Europe and its offshoots that have marvelled at the mysteries, aura and exoticism of the East – the spices, spirituality and customs and the appearance of the people. Now, as Asia rises, it is the West’s turn to be dissected by the Other and, occasionally, looked down upon too.

On his Lunchbox/Soapbox, Dr Tanveer Ahmed – psychiatrist, Sydney Morning Herald columnist and author of The Exotic Rissole – looks at the history of occidentalism, from Japan in World War II to modern terrorism, and relates it to his own life growing up and lusting for the unreachable delights of mainstream Australian life.

And the rissole? “The exotic discourse is one of desire and for me, that desire is encapsulated by the rissole,” he explains.


Portrait of Tanveer Ahmed

Tanveer Ahmed

Dr Tanveer Ahmed is a psychiatrist and opinion columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald

Listen to Tanveer Ahmed on Occidentalism: Why Can't Rissoles Be Exotic?