Image Credit - Original Image © Marvel Studios' Black Panther
The following article contains spoilers from the Black Panther film. You have been warned!
Marvel Studio’s Black Panther has been making waves online for its empowering representation of a futuristic, ethnic hybrid of pan-African culture and civilisation that is Wakanda. Fans all over the world have been raving over the beauty and significance of all sorts of details in the film. So, we're taking a look at 6 features of Wakanda's technology, fashion, nature, culture and diplomacy that you can actually experience in real life.
Agent Ross: These...these train things, that’s magnetic levitation, right?
Agent Ross: Obviously? I’ve never seen it this...efficient. The light panels, what are they?
Shuri: Sonic stabilisers
Agent Ross: Sonic what?
Shuri: In its raw form, Vibranium is too dangerous to be transported at that speed, so I developed a way to temporarily deactivate it.
Agent Ross: There’s Vibranium on those trains?
Shuri: There’s Vibranium all around us. That’s how I healed you.
While we may not have Vibranium, Magnetic Levitation (Maglev) trains actually exist in real life! There are only three countries in the world right now that have them: China, South Korea and Japan, and while they don’t have sonic stabilisers to temporarily disable raw Vibranium at high speeds, these trains can move pretty fast! Maglev trains average over 300km/h, and have clocked in maximum speeds of above 500km/h. Some trains, like the ones in China, also have an LED signboard to tell you how fast they’re going, so it could be an Instagram-worthy moment to capture if you ever find yourself in the Far East.
Right now, the Maglev trains in South Korea and China are relatively new compared to Japan’s, so they might be better for those who just want to experience a shorter ride, exploring the attractions around Shanghai or Incheon. China’s Shanghai Maglev train can take you from Pudong International Airport to Longyang Road Station, while South Korea’s Ecobee can take you from Incheon International Airport to Yongyu, 6 stops away.
For those who crave longer journeys, you can get yourself a Japan Rail Pass to get train tickets at discounted rates. The Shinkasen, Japan’s Maglev, runs through pretty much the whole country, so you’d be able to visit Mount Fuji in Shizuoka, go shopping in Kagoshima and relax at an Onsen in Semboku City, even if you were travelling for just a few days.
Dubai is upping the tech ante by working with Elon Musk to build the Hyperloop, its own Vactrain; a Maglev train that operates within a vacuum tunnel. Without any air resistance, it can reach speeds of up to 1200km/h (theoretically!) A prototype is slated for completion by 2020, the route connecting Dubai to Abu Dhabi. Right now, it takes slightly over 1 hour 30 minutes by car, and 1 hour 40 minutes by metro. With the Hyperloop, the estimated travel time is an incredible 12 minutes, which would be great for locals and tourists alike, so there'll be much more opportunities to explore both Abu Dhabi and Dubai!
In Black Panther, we see Shuri remotely driving a car while T’Challa battles the baddies, and Agent Ross pilots a Wakandan aircraft remotely from Shuri’s lab. While we’re still some way from remote-piloted cars being commercially available, you can content yourself with remote-piloting a remote control (RC) drone with a camera.
As for riding a vehicle without actually driving it, the closest thing we have right now are probably self-driving vehicles, like the electric pods in London, at the London Heathrow Airport.
If being on the ground isn’t exciting enough for you, you can place your hopes in Dubai, where they've pilot-tested self-flying taxis to be rolled out some time in 2021.
Picture Credit - Still from © Marvel Studios' Black Panther
Black Panther featured an ethnically inspired fashion from all over Africa, which is great for its unique, colourful and fresh perspective it gave the fashion industry. In Indonesia, some have commented on how life imitates art...
...and how art imitates life.
Besides ethnically inspired African fashion, Modest fashion also happens to be facing a similar trend in rising interest as a distinct philosophy and design attitude. More and more big names in fashion have been releasing modest fashion lines in their endeavours to capture a slice of the Muslim market, the most recent one being Macy’s. Stylist.co.uk's Ramona Aly reports that, “according to a recent report from Thomson Reuters and Dinar Standard globally, Muslims spent £185 billion on clothing and footwear in 2013. That tops the total fashion spend of Japan and Italy combined.” With so much potential from the Muslim travel and fashion markets, dignified beautification is, in sha Allah, fast becoming the next big thing in the fashion world.
Picture Credit - Still from trailer, © Marvel Studio's Black Panther
Black Panther sure had a lot of impressive filming locations, and what better way to destress than to leave the hustle and bustle of the city, watch the sunset with a loved one, or gaze at the stars? Here, we look at four of the stunning natural scenes in this section: the ancestral plains, the mountains and the waterfalls.
When T’Challa is sent to the ancestral plane to meet his father, we see them set in a beautiful Savanna Grassland. For us at least, it's a good thing we don't have to go to the ancestral plane to experience this, in Africa!
Having bested Killmonger, we see T’Challa honour Kilmonger’s final request to see the Wakandan sun, set behind the mountains. Those mountains may have been in Wakanda, but if it’s just mountains you’re looking for, any mountain will do, right? The beauty and majesty of these natural formations never fail to inspire awe in their visitors, and the best part is, there are literally hundreds of mountains out there in every continent of the world.
1. View from Jerangkang waterfall, Pahang, Malaysia
Picture Credit - Still from © Marvel Studios' Black Panther
The landscape shots for the river district, where the proving rituals were done, was filmed in Iguazu Falls, Argentina (the close-up scenes were filmed in a studio set), but with so many waterfalls in the world, there’s something for everyone, no matter where you are.
2. Victoria Falls, Zambia-Zimbabwe border
3. Niagria Falls, Canada
4. Plitvice Falls, Croatia
5. Dua Warna Falls, Sibolangit, Sumatera Utara, Indonesia
6. Sri Gethuk Falls, Menggoran Beleberan Village, Playen, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
In the film, we see the Wakandans speaking English and Xhosa, (and Nakia apparently speaks Korean, too!) Learning to become a specialist in one or more languages might open your doors to more exciting opportunities, and in today’s fast-changing world, who knows how knowing a foreign language could come in handy? You can try taking up diplomatic work like Nakia does, or do business in new and emerging markets around the world.
Also, you may not necessarily have to learn a new language to understand one, and be understood. The Google Translate app lets you use your camera for instant text translation.
Google's other translation product, the Google Pixel Earbuds, can translate 40 spoken languages for you on the go. Paired with the Google Assistant, you can even ask it for directions to nearby amenities, making the wireless earbuds a potential, worthy travel companion to consider. Note that an Assistant-enabled Android device and a data connection is required for these features, though.
Picture Credit - Still from © Marvel Studio's Black Panther
“We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.” - T'Challa
T’Challa’s message to build bridges strongly resonates with the Muslim experience of the war on terror and Islamophobia. The constant reinforcement of terrorism and “Islamic” radicalisation in the media means that Muslims have to reach out to their neighbours, now more than ever, to promote peace and mutual understanding between peoples from all walks of life, no matter where they are in the world.
Hence, here are four initiatives that one can get involved in to build bridges.
The Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies
The Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies is an annual forum to address and diminish and hatred and clarify Islam’s position as a religion of peace and justice. The forum was responsible for convening the Marrakesh Declaration on the Rights of Religious Minorities together with the Moroccan government in Marrakesh, Morocco.
UN Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC)
The United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC) mentions in their Vision Statement that they work “toward a more peaceful, more socially inclusive world, by building mutual respect among peoples of different cultural and religious identities, and highlighting the will of the world’s majority to reject extremism and embrace diversity.” The Organisation hosts and sponsors an entire spectrum of initiatives to this end.
Study Peace Studies
Yes, you can actually become a scholar in peace studies! Peace studies programmes tend to be at the postgraduate level, so you won't have to worry if you've already got a degree in any field. In any case, what better way is there to prepare for the role of promoting peace, than by actually spending some time to study it? There are peace studies programmes found in literally every continent, so if you’re considering a career in diplomacy, scholarship or a career in an NGO, this might be a very possible path to pursue to build bridges.
Promote Inter-faith Relations
It might seem counter-intuitive for the adherent of one religion to study another religion, but according to Dr Marianne Moyaert, a professor at VU University Amsterdam, interfaith experiences can lead a person to become more committed to their own tradition, because understanding the other requires understanding the self. The process can cause individuals to become more rooted and more vast in their understanding as they encounter the depth and breadth of the landscape of human spirituality. Enjoining good neighbourly relations with the members of other communities also helps raise awareness about the true, upright character of Islam and dispels any misgivings that non-Muslims may have.
Wakanda's Spirit lives on...
Wakanda may not exist in real life, but if the film was inspired by real people, real places, real ideas and real practices, at least we know that the spirit of Wakanda is out there, and not just in Africa! So get up and get going, because Wakanda awaits!