He discusses when a bunch of mementoes evolve from random "stuff" and becomes something more organised and important to the owner - a "collection". He wonders why Freud collected, and what psychological drives might relate to mankind's personal desire to acquire things with meaning.
He considers whether quantity suffices for a collection or should each piece have some intrinsic meaning or beauty.
The presentation is based on his new book: Searching for Ganesha: Collecting Images of the Sweet-Loving Elephant-Headed Hindu Deity Everybody Admires. Paul shows museum-quality photographs of some 80 statues, carvings and amulets from his 150-piece collection. He also shares personal Ganesha-related adventures in infrequently-explored corners of Asia.
Paul Sochaczewski first went to Southeast Asia in 1969 with the United States Peace Corps, where he was assigned to assist rural teachers in the state of Sarawak, in Borneo. He subsequently lived in Southeast Asia for some 20 years, working in advertising and journalism, and those experiences have informed his writing on a wide variety of Asian-themed topics and quests.
Paul has worked in some 85 countries and written 16 books and some 600 articles for publications including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, South China Morning Post, Bangkok Post, BBC Wildlife, Travel and Leisure and Reader's Digest. His latest book, Searching for Ganesha, has been published to generous reviews. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and spoke to RGS-HK in 2013 about the achievements Alfred Russel Wallace in Southeast Asia leading to the famous "Wallace's Line".
The opinions expressed in this talk are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of the Royal Geographical Society - Hong Kong.