March 6, 2011

Radio Shangri-La by Lisa Napoli

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:57 pm by lbrosch

Author Lisa Napoli accepts an opportunity to travel to Bhutan, a little known third world country tucked into the Himalayas between India and China. She is hired as a volunteer to train students in the newly established radio station of Kuzoo FM. Bhutan allows only a very restricted number of outside visitors and travel there is available on one small airline at a considerable cost with a daily tariff added for tourists. One of the more unusual aspects of this country’s governing philosophy is the notion of GNH or Gross National Happiness which means that quality of life is to take precedence over any attempt at financial gain. Many of the country’s residents live on very little and there is assistance from the government. Lisa found that families live together with adult children living at home for long periods of their lives. The most appealing part of this book for me was the exposure to the lifestyle, dreams and accomplishments of the citizens of this country which has attempted to remain isolated from the damaging influences of the Western world, especially internet and media control. However, over the course of Lisa’s visits over the several years covered in the story we come to learn that even tiny Bhutan is undergoing modernization due to the unavoidable exposure to television, internet and media attention. Another aspect of the story which is very unique is the experience of the Bhutanese when they come to the United States and discover unimaginable wealth and material goods. The effects of their exposure to our culture prove to be both good and bad. I found this book to be a pleasurable read which provides the reader with a chance to become immersed in the life and culture of real Bhutanese citizens and experience the wonder of an innocent people in a place that can truly be called the last Shangri-La.

For more information on this book and author: www.lisanapoli.com