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


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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. 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.

Lunchbox/Soapbox is a simple idea: an old-fashioned Speakers’ Corner in the middle of the city, in the middle of the day.

At the Wheeler Centre we’re keen to showcase our writers as thinkers and as artists, as people with passions and peccadilloes. So we’ve come up with Lunchbox/Soapbox: a weekly space for them to sound off on a topic of their choice. Think of it as a 20-minute piece of polemic to give lunching CBD folk something to chew on.



Tanveer Ahmed

Dr Tanveer Ahmed is a psychiatrist and opinion columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald He writes widely, sits on various Boards and has appeared in various media in both an entertainment and serious commentator capacity. He identifies as an agnostic, cultural Muslim and believes how to die will be a... Read more


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