Oct 222012
 

Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Joshua Leo.
Voice 2

And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand – no matter where in the world they live.

[audio:http://spotlightradio.net/media/audio/lo/se-5311m.mp3|titles=Spotlight – The Houses of Parliament]

Voice 1

Leon and Loralee Wright were walking by the sea in Streaky Bay, Australia. Then, they saw something strange. A big grey object was lying by the sea. What was it? It looked a bit like a stone. But it felt like hard fat. Loralee decided to take the object to scientists. They told her she had found ambergris.
Voice 2

Ambergris is waste material from the inside of a whale. These huge animals live in the ocean. Whales expel the ambergris from their mouths. At first it smells very bad. But once the ambergris is in the sea it changes. The salt water and the sun make the ambergris smooth and hard. Its smell changes too – it smells sweet! Ambergris is worth a lot of money. The piece the Wrights found was worth around 300,000 US dollars. People use ambergris to make costly perfumes. Today’s Spotlight is on good smelling perfume.
Voice 1

Put a little perfume on your wrist. The liquid quickly disappears. But a wonderful smell remains. People around the world wear perfumes of different kinds. But wearing perfume is not a modern idea. People have been using perfume for thousands of years.
Voice 2

The word perfume comes from the Latin: per – fume, meaning ‘through smoke’. This is because some of the first perfumes came from burning things. People used good smelling oils and plants. They burned them in religious ceremonies. The smoke carried the smell through the air.
Voice 1

In many cultures people use perfume in religious and cultural celebrations. For example, people burn perfumed sticks. Their powerful smell fills the air.
Voice 2

In the Hindu celebration of Phagwah, liquid perfume is important. The Phagwah holiday celebrates good winning against evil. People throw perfume and water over family and friends in celebration. When people leave the ceremony they smell of the sweet oils. But liquid perfume did not originate in India. Many experts believe that perfume for the body first developed in Egypt.
Voice 1

The temple of Edfu in Egypt was built thousands of years ago. Inside the temple there are many pictures carved into stone walls. These pictures show people making perfume from a special flower – a white Lily. Ancient Egyptian priests first used perfume for religious purposes only. But soon many people covered their bodies with sweet smelling perfumes. This protected their skin. Bathing with perfume became a large part of Egyptian social life.
Voice 2

Alexander the Great brought perfumes from Egypt to Greece. Perfume became important for Greek communities as well. And the Greeks played an important part in the science of perfume. They separated the different perfumes – depending on the part of the plant they came from. And they wrote down lists of the different kinds.
Voice 1

An Arabian doctor helped perfume take its modern, liquid form. Dr. Avicenna found a way to distill perfume. This was a process of removing the oils from flowers. Dr. Avicenna used the sweet smelling rose flower. Soon, rose water became part of Arabian culture. People put drops of rose water on their visitors. This showed that they valued them highly.
Voice 2

Honouring visitors is an important part of Middle Eastern culture. The Christian Bible is one place where this custom is recorded. The Bible tells us that people offered their visitors water to wash their dusty feet. They also put a few drops of perfumed oil on their visitors’ heads. The Bible tells an interesting story about perfume. This happened over 2000 years ago in the Middle East:
Voice 3

Jesus was at the home of an important man. A woman from the town came with a special container of costly perfume. She cried at Jesus’ feet. She kissed them and poured perfume on them. The important man knew this woman. People said she was a sinner – that she did wrong things. He wondered why Jesus would let her put this perfume on him. But Jesus said:
Voice 4

“When I came into your house you did not give me any water to wash my feet. She wet my feet with her tears. You did not give me a kiss. But this woman has not stopped kissing my feet since I came in. You did not put any oil on my head. But she has poured perfume on my feet. So I tell you this – her many sins have been forgiven.”
[Luke 7:36-50]
Voice 1

The woman had paid a large amount of money for the perfume. But in this story the perfume is more than good smelling oil. The woman made many sacrifices to give Jesus the perfume. She knew that she needed forgiveness. And she knew that Jesus had the power to forgive her.
Voice 2

Most people do not have such a big result from their perfume. But smells can be very important. Like the ancient Egyptians, modern people spend a lot of time and money on perfume. The perfume industry is big business. The country of France sells 60 million dollars of perfume every year!
Voice 1

Modern perfume is usually made with oil or alcohol. Perfume makers add different things to make special smells. These are often plant products such as fruits, roots, flowers and leaves. Perfume can also include a few animal products such as ambergris from whales. People have also invented chemical smells for perfumes.
Voice 2

Different products make different smells – there are thousands of kinds of perfume. But they all have similar purposes: to produce a good smell. This smell can be important for cultural and religious events. Perfume can be a way for people to smell different. They can show that they are independent by smelling different. Perfume can also express belonging. People in a community often enjoy similar smells.
Voice 1

Perfumes can even have a result on a person’s health. Some smells help people to be calm and quiet. Other smells give people energy. Smell can affect a person’s body, emotions and brain.
Voice 2

Perfumes have many uses but they can cost a lot of money. People often give perfumes as a gift, such as in the story we heard from the Bible. However, the woman who gave the perfume to Jesus got a greater gift in return. The perfume was a symbol that the woman wanted to change her life. Jesus understood. He said to her ‘Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace’. And those words were even sweeter than perfume.
Voice 1

The writers of this program were Elizabeth Lickiss, Marina Santee and Rena Dam. The producer of this program was Rena Dam. The voices you heard were from United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted and voiced by Spotlight. You can find our programs on the internet at http://www.radioenglish.net This .program is called ‘Perfume: Making a Good Smell’.
Voice 2

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

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