Sunday, March 30, 2008


As told by Markus Tong:

"I was guiding a group of people through the Tibetan highlands near Lhasa. we stopped at a village and walked around. We met a young boy, who was selling a piece of paper with Buddhist script and paintings on it. He asked for Y20, I got him down to Y14. We gave him the only bill we had, a Y100. He said he had to roll out to get change. We said ok, and hung out in the village. Half an hour later, we figured he had ditched us, so we got in the bus and prepared to leave. As we were about to pull away, another young boy ran up and stopped us. He gave us Y86. Then he said his friend had been hit by a car crossing the road and had begged him to take the money back us."

Markus got emotional toward the end and almost broke down and cried. The group of German tour operators he had been guiding through Chengdu were moved. All but two, who basically ignored the story, their minds on the logistics of the next day. In case you're wondering, Markus is as Han Chinese as they get.

Who knows?

Earlier, Tibetans from Kham and Aba were trading golden Buddhas and daggers for cash-money and other needful things in the antique market. Their customers are gringos and chinese. All was good. In the Tibetan district there are still popo on the block, but monks stroll by in red robes, fingerin beads, checkin out monk gear. On the ride home tonight, the cabbie went off on the government. Diggin into his pocket, pissin him off. Wants a multiparty system. The tv spits out lies all day.


Finally headed home after eight days of "power tourism." Yeah i had dreams of leading people through the wilds for a second there, but the experience singed me. I am down to take my peoples, don't get me wrong. And even absolute strangers if they exhibit hobo sensibilities, craftsmanship, ingenuity or any other sort of clever behavior. Radiant behaviour. Warming and above all a curious nature. all comedians are allowed. Bards get a free pass, as do those with bottomless pouches.

But failing to display characteristics of the above persuasions or failing to introduce to me new and exciting ones ... and ... you know, sorry. naw. can't do it. Not long term anyway.

Its just draining. But it is interesting how close people get when they travel together for a while, even if they come from very different parts of the social web. I made good friends on this trip. At least when we left each other at the airport, the feelings and emotions were sincere. We had "did it together." I felt the same thing when i left the cannery, football team and those brothers who shivered with me in Thailand ... my main men, johnny and ryan ... aka blacktoe and the doc. Repeatedly burning at the stake with people ... burn once yer connected, burn twice your bound, burn thrice your brothers, burn again your immortal.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

hong kong feet

as of yesterday, China has adopted US-like security measures for all flights. I had to take my shoes off and they took my bottles of liquid. I tried to crack some jokes to keep their minds off of my stankin ass feet. Supposedly the measures have been implemented nationwide. China is very good at campaigns that involve every town and village in the country. Dictates come from on high, meetings are held the next morning, party members are exhorted to carry out the important new policy and the populace learns of it as they watch their plane fly away, shoe-less and arguing to keep their cologne.

More in a few days. Beat. This tour guide shit is for the birds.

Friday, March 28, 2008

the young tibetan diaspora

like i be sayin:

you can't stop the youth


I am just a few short miles from Aba, where the Tibetans burned down a police station last week. Since that incident it has been mostly quiet. This is a big tourist area and the troubles do not seem to have affected business much. Busloads of Cantonese rumble through daily, honking, yapping and taking funny pictures. The Tibetans in this region -- Jiarong Tibetans, supposedly the oldest of the many groups --are considered a rather passive lot compared with their cousins in Kham and Amdo. Many of them are more Sinofied then their cousins as well -- they may or may not speak Tibetan, but they sure as hell speak Chinese.

Aba is a bit more accessible then Kham and has Jiu Zhai Gou, a World Heritage Site that brings in 3 million tourists a year. Hard to remain warlike and pissed when the tourism money flows in.

Ironically, the police rounded up hundreds of poor Han Chinese peasant-laborers here without ID cards and sent them back to wherever they came from. The Tibetans treat the laborers with disdain and there is a clear racial issue between them.

A large group of journalists tried to sneak into Tibet proper here recently but were caught at the border and sent back to Beijing after heavy questioning. As with the Tibetan District in Chengdu, there is a large police presence on many of the roads in Aba and they routinely pull over foreigners and hassle them. They take pictures of rowdy Tibetans and spread the Party message of anti-splittism and solidarity with the Motherland. The police rely on a heavy hand and constant barrage of propaganda to keep the peace.

My gong fu master has been hired as security for the torch relay, so it will be interesting to hear what he has to say about the Tibet issue. He is a very open-minded and thoughtful man with no racist tendencies and a strong sense of honor. I think he is one of the best choices for security. He is able to talk with Tibetans. I just hope he gets the chance to talk before they start lobbing stones at him for being a member of the "oppressing race of Han."

I am really tired and this past week I have been dealing with crafty, maneuvering Chinese and battered, stressed out, shell-shocked Germans. I stand in the middle and because of that I am considered to have a more important position than I actually do have. The Germans look to me for solutions and the Chinese are trying to suss me out and get an advantage.

I just wanna head back to my crib, smell flowers, drink tea and think up cool stuff to write about.

Peace to Big Daddy Jake.

Hi Mom!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Aint nothin special bout me

i walked back to my house tonight around 2am and i live near the Tibetan district of town. there were police cars on every block with running motors and flashing lights. the entire neighborhood is surrounded and infiltrated. the only things moving were the cops fingers typing out a lazy message to his girl and the swirl of red and blue bulbs.

thanks to all my people asking about Tibet and sending me news and messages ... it is on everyone's lips here in China as well and i am finding that discussions are not as demented as they could be.

There is an understanding that something must be wrong in Tibet. locals themselves are under no illusions about their government. prices are rising all the time -- for meat, school and gas -- and the brazen bosses toss money, women and fat cars around like rice at a wedding. They know they are being lied to. Every time a campaign like this comes around from the gov, bullshit piles up and the stank carries far and wide. People here know this. But its never easy to hear a foreigner talk smack ... in a single conversation it can go from dirty stinkin tibetans to the lying, thieving Party to loudmouthed, hypocritical long-noses (Westerners). Life is tough for everybody out here -- we're all Lao Bai Xing just trying to get by

"Just keep your hands offa my stack"

Beijing is much more worried about what goes on in the minds and hearts of its own people than anything else. the chinese gov has no choice but to crack down hard on the tibetans to show the rest of the populace -- taxi drivers, turks, mafiosos, farmers -- that ass can be kicked at any time, anywhere. the Party wants to remain in control of this good thing they are building and reap the benefits of chinese capitalists unleashed in perpetuity.

(Beijing-gov-Party ...)

Cuz even if Sarkozy does boycott the opening ceremonies of the olympics, french businessmen will still go to beijing on their knees offering to build nuclear plants and begging for more containers, more tourists, more consumers to feed. the chinese will be the real indispensable nation and as such, jealous haters who refuse to come to the party now, will grovel for a chance to press noses to glass later.

I consider my motives for supporting Tibet:
I admire and love Tibetans and their Tibetanish ways. They're cool. Han Chinese not so much. They're religious ... and their religion is cooler than islam or christianity. i naturally tend to side with the underdog. Political oppression, cultural dilution and fast paced, ruthless economic development are not my bag.

two views on the issue, here at and here at

Consider the history of the West and ask if we have the right to raise our voices anywhere -- Yugolsavia burned in Europe's backyard.

Consider the onus of guilt placed on a newborn for the crimes of his grandfather and ask if we have the duty to raise our voices everywhere -- so our grandchildren may enter the world unstained.

Monday, March 24, 2008

my revolution

Today was a very hectic day. i got up early and shaved my scruff and pinned back my hair like a girl, cuz its just long enough, just a bit too short. i went to the airport and welcomed 10 german tour operators to chengdu. i was quite nervous, because my german is spottier than it should be and i was expecting a barrage of questions that require answers fortified with cold hard facts. a conundrum for me. instead, i found they knew little or nothing about china and i am basically dealing with tourists. this, i can handle. The chinese were tiptoeing through the ceremonial minefield while the germans were fiddling with chopsticks.

I also got to hang out with an acclaimed author from England and a literary analyst who drops knowledge on wannabe writers like me. I submitted a story I'll paste here at some point. Anyway she dug it and said yeah kid keep scribbling. Me and the author got along real well ... he was real and chilled out, insightful and human. so it was smooth. Aside from feeding my insatiable ego, I got some wisdom placed in front of me. It is real hard to hold in my arrogant ass, the screaming id, the gibbering in my head.

its late as all hell and i need to be up and at em in 3hrs. rollin through the panda reserve and up the largest buddha in the world and one of the four great buddhist mountains in china. its all good ya'll.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

pear blossoms and rapeseed

i went walking through the orchards yesterday, but the people i guided there were uninterested in fairy-watching or pollen-passing, so i stowed away my plans and wait patiently for another day, hopefully soon, when i can walk the orchards again and drift off watching bees hop.

will it be the same with the pack of German bosses i guide through Chengdu over the next seven days?

I go today to present Chengdu to travel agency bosses: O Blarney, coat my tongue with your essence, as you have generously done so many times before for you servant Chach! Remember, Lord of Blatherdom, that this time around we should be tuned to the key of Deutsch. Amen.

orange seeds in the ashtray

Yet another of the three peeps peepin this blog, who refuses to answer me in this blog. Of course, copy and paste is my faithful slave.

"re: your words: "i was talking with some homies yesterday about what the most fantastic future imaginable would be. I said it would be the actual fruition of a next-era society that has gone through a natural progression from industrial to technological to service to hi-tech service and to a green society.

i will be interested to talk to you about this topic once you get to p-town and you see the wonderful bubble we live in here. it's great because you see the environmental ideas in action, and get to know people who really care about this stuff enough to do more than pontificate. on the other hand -- living in a bubble does have its drawbacks. when the president (lower case "p") was elected the first time, we here in oregon thought there was no fucking way it was going to happen. but the rest of the country is slower in acting and reacting to change/atrocities... and sometimes you forget to look backward -- when you are at the head of the pack. also, there are issues with apathy that arise here, because again, when you live in world where "green" was a buzzword long before it was made into a marketing brand by cnn and the rest... you sometimes forget that more work needs to be done. you begin to ease into a life of riding bike and munching on your homegrown food (& other green treats), buying into the sustainable power grid to fuel your computer addiction... thinking that everyone else is doing the same. you forget for perhaps a minute that to exact real change in this world you must continue to push the envelope -- so the spectrum gets wide enough that the middle has pulled over toward your side a little bit more. if fact, you might forget that there is a middle at all. (i think i just thought of another topic for my own blog, thank you!) but we are so blessed here, in so many ways. we are showing the world what is possible, and i will love to share it with you when you arrive."

you've lost your smile

well it seems the media blockade is working or I just have not been keeping my ears open. Here a response to my last blog from Big Daddy Villar:

"I'm in a bit of a rush and really only had time to look at about two paragraphs of your blog. But from what I've read it goes to show that an informative guy like yourself has had the blinds put on him. On NPR they are constantly, at least two days ago, talking about the fact that the DL has threatened to step down if people in India don't stop doing things like burning Chinese flags in protest.

From what I've gathered the DL has also told, when in face to face talks with major leaders of the world, that he believes that Tibet and China need to be as one, yet that the Chinese must allow the people of Tibet certain born with rights.

I also listened to an interview with a chinese man on the street. He was very pro chinese and what they were doing in the situation dealing with Tibet. Once the reporter told him the numbers of dead Tibetens Tibet had been reporting his tone, still strong Chinese, changed in his voice. The talk of the waves nw is how will the corporate sponsers of the Olympic games be viewed. The long distance champion of the world in running refuses to run in the games because of the polution. Reports are already coming out of how the government is shuting down companies just so that they pass certain environmental regulations. It's interesting."

Friday, March 21, 2008

gettin paid

i should be putting this down for an article for or somebody else, but events move to fast and I enjoy the freedom of this blog. But hell, ninja needs to get paid.

Last night I was interviewd by KBOO in P-Town about the Tibet protests. I was caught a little off guard by the questions and so I was not able to say all of the wonderful insights I have gathered over the years and days. When the interviewer asked if I had anything to say, I was like ... naw .. a little shook and I didn't want to mess anything up further with more random statements.

I was asked about Western nations advocating boycotts, which I haven't read anywhere. Mentioning them yes, advocating them no. I read a blog entry that suggested using yellow armbands and scarfs in the Opening ceremony to send a message of solidarity with struggles worldwide. What has a greater impact? A black fist in the sky atop the golden podium, or the grumbling of the nation that didn't come to play?

I was asked about the Dalai Lama declaring to step down. This is also news to me and actually, I don't have to look to hard to know its utter nonsense that he is considering stepping down. The interviewer was probably referring to the DL's declaration that he can reincarnate anywhere he wants. This is a very important political and spiritual statement. Normally, the monasteries get together and through arcane methods divine the whereabouts of the next DL. Usually in Tibet proper. Given the Chinese stranglehold on the Himalayas and willingness to brazenly corrupt the selection process, the DL's statement secures his successor a place to grow.

I was also asked about the possibility for sustained protests in Tibet and China. I said impossible, given the wrath of the army, police and populace. Imagine a popular uprising by the KKK in the south. How long would they be able to sustain it these days? Such is the image of the DL and his followers in the minds of Chinese.

Nancy Pelosi gave the Tibetan movement a boost and probably scared the shit out of Beijing with her visit to Dharamsala. That visit was planned before, but lord did it come at the right time. Makes one wonder what was planned and what wasn't ...

Here in China, the media have been taking advantage of years and years of brainwashing in the school system to ratchet up the anger against Tibet and also Taiwan. There were threats of war if Taiwan did anything, declarations of international support for the suppression of criminal Tibetan rioters and various stories detailing the burning and pillaging of innocents by the rampaging rioters. What is truth?

A billion plus people believe what Xinhua and the China Daily tells them ... I suppose in a metaphysical sense there is no real argument for the truth of either side -- ours or theirs.

Ours or theirs ...

Bill Richardson will endorse Obama in the next few days and it seems as if the collective breath we all held in while the storm of race broke over the campaign is being slowly let out. It was the Battle of the Bulge for Clinton ... and the cavalry held the flanks.

The jazz band just packed up and I am gonna end this and head to a safe house to get some R&R.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

the spikeman mule

so yo Obama hit back with a speech that was exactly what I had been thinking and arguing in a few forums and blogs. The NYT seems to be helping out as much as possible. we shall see.

i was talking with some homies yesterday about what the most fantastic future imaginable would be. I said it would be the actual fruition of a next-era society that has gone through a natural progression from industrial to technological to service to hi-tech service and to a green society.

By green society i mean a society that focuses on a standard of living that emphasizes longevity. So food, water and housing would be geared towards the natural and sustainable. the environment would be a community cause of high priority. Next generation fuel sources would be commonplace.

Now this wouldn't be some elven utopia with misty forests, but I think in the US we are in a good position to try it out. The first thing to happen would be the full scale support of alternative energy sources in terms of capital investment in alternative energy companies and startups. I believe this is already beginning. when these projects eventually start spitting out good, profitable marketable ideas, the ball really gets rolling.

A good fuel source will most likely come from the industry (oil, auto) that we have now, so i believe one of the requirements would be seamless integration -- or easy integration -- with existing fuel distribution and so on ... but it would begin to happen and once it took hold as a viable, and for the bankers profitable, alternative ("it" being "alternative fuel source X" ... feel free to spice up this blog with facts) to oil and gas, the rest of the world would eventually need the technology, or at the very least the product, themselves. Until they created their own better versions. I am sure the Germans are thinking up something now with their partners in Tokyo.

This technological breakthrough would usher in a new renaissance. just as radio, tv and the computer did. and the clock i suppose and other important things like the compass and the gatling gun.

a clean renewable alternative energy source would solve many many conflicts right off of the bat. well, i am sure the powers with AFS-X would naturally play power games with those that do not, but if AFS-X is renewable ... well ... maybe you are getting the picture.

And so to the blunt rounded nub:

Americans who fear the end of the American Century should consider the lessons of history. Change is the only solution for their woes. Obama does not wave a wand and solve problems, but it is the symbolic power of an historic change that invigorates and empowers regular everyday normal guys like me. A motivated nation can put men on the moon -- these neo-cons don't realize the nationalist potential latent in the placard waving Obama supporter with dreads and rizlas. If they really want to fulfill the Project for a New American Century, they should ignore the oil of the Arabs and focus on AFS-X, the super tech waiting to be found in the weedy minds of their own American youth.

Lord if they only remembered what they (they being They) have in the people of the USA. A vast pool. And these fools are letting our pool get all scummy and neglected, with three-legged plastic chairs and mold on the walls, and running off other to peoples' pools and peeing in em. Thinking that if they pee enough, the people will let them swim there forever. Shit aint right.

You know the US could be MUCH cooler. Imagine like a bomb tourism industry focused on vast regions of natural beauty, adventure travel and so on. There aren't too many int'l backpackers making it to the US. We need more exposure.

Subsidize trans-oceanic flights, not gun factories!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

China censors

It might be hard for an American to imagine what life would be like under a dictatorship of the proletariat. What happens, among many other things, is that news is completely censored as are your modes of communication.

My gmail account is spotty and has been for weeks. But since the protests I can barely be online for more than 10 minutes without the bastards shutting me down. I can access most sites through a proxy, but my communication is hampered slightly. And I am annoyed, growing furious actually. I am so proud to be an American, because fury at the suppression of my freedom is natural and accepted and encouraged. My response to censorship is in-born, as I am human, yet also cultivated by the values of the society I spent the most time in.

I think with this thing in Tibet going down, we should direct our attentions to the things at home that we can alter, improve or at the very least think about.

The candidate I support is currently experiencing a backlash by people in the US that frustrates me as much as the young girl who fails to empathize with Tibetans. There will be no solution in Tibet until girls like the one I described begin to diversify their viewpoints on life.

In America, a grand nation with every creed and color, still suffers from the exact same sickness as this girl. Obama, who tries to walk a path of mediation and unity in a nation fractured, is pulled back into the mud of racial politics by his enemies, who see him as an empty suit harboring secret anti-American Black Nationalist views.

Typically, the establishment cannot fathom a black man with rounded views: he has to be Cosby or Malcolm. In fact, the issues Obama rides on are change and hope and a new century for America, whereas his critics hope to paint him black into a corner, scaring the shit out of white people and opening the door for the status quo to return to business as normal.

We as a nation are big economic problems as well as the militarization of our foreign policy. Historically, this situation has been seen before with falling Empires. They often resort to violence and suppression to maintain what they have built. The Establishment invariably fils to understand that change, in the form of a new president for example, will not only reviatalize the nation, but give the people hope and energy.

The status quo does not change, actually, if Obama wins. All that changes is the attitudes of their charges (us) and the focus of our energies. We need a kick in the ass, not another old white man with Imperialist tendencies or a bitter, power-hungry woman with an interfering, interventionist, lying-ass husband.

The diaspora

yesterday i got a message from a young girl -- 21 yrs old -- and a reporter for the Chengdu Economic Daily. In our society, a young girl will be the bleedingest heart you'll find. and if she's smart enough to be a crack reporter, she will most likely be passionate and serious about her causes. Not in China people. She tolerates my support of Tibet with the patient understanding of an old woman with her grandchild. funnily enough, she fits the old Churchill quote:

"if you are young and conservative you are heartless, if you are old and liberal you are foolish"

Well China has skipped and altered many things on her path toward riches and this particular sentiment is one of them. The young Chinese are as hardline on Tibet as any cadre. Here is what she sent me, in response to me equating blacks (whom she supports at every turn in their struggle against .. well, me) with Tibetans.

"The Tibetan killed an immaculate citizen near the Huaxi Hospital"

This is of course doublespeak emanating from the boardrooms of her paper, where the Party sets the agenda. Seems to be over her head, this small fact.

Anyway. There was supposedly a bombing of the 78 bus line yesterday which passes the Southwest Minority University, but the circumstances are unclear and it doesn't make much sense. If a rebellion is reported i the news as isolated seemingly unconnected acts of random violence, my first reaction is to think "staged for effect" by the government. For this 21 yr old little girl, she sees clear and concise evidence of the Dalai's corrupting influence over the naiive Tibetan youth.

But the point of this blog is to declare that any protests and violence in China is doomed and the Dalai appears ineffectual. It will be up to the young to carry on the fight and make Tibet a burning flame in their hearts. Like Cubans, Afghanis and Palestinians. Burmans and Haitians ... etc ...

Communism, in its worldly manifestation outside of the books and theories of old men, is the most horrible system of governance the world has ever thought up ... well ok theocracies and slave states suck worse ...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Qiangba Puncog must hang

The day after the deadline and people here in China are talking about the protests, both my Laowai homies and my Chinese homies. It is safe to say that foreigners and Chinese disagree 100% on the Tibet issue.

An article in the NYT today talks about the long simmering hatred that has finally boiled over. This is something the Chinese have no understanding of. No toleration of any such criticism. I would say it is just intellectual and could be dealt with in a discussion, but Chinese are very passionate about the issue and refuse to believe that the same government they routinely harangue for being overtly, arrogantly corrupt could possibly be oppressing dirty stinking backward half-barbarians in the mountains.

It is also difficult for Chinese to believe that racism or a deep condescending sense of superiority might have something to do with it, but for Tibetans, it is a matter of course. When they speak with Chinese, they get complimented on their excellent language skills, when they achieve, they are a "particularly clever little Tibetan" and their religion -- the cornerstone of life in a nation still spiritual after all these years -- is co-opted and corrupted by the Chinese, who themselves are still searching for a God to replace the Emperor, Communism and now Cash-Money.

For the Chinese, the Tibetans are rowdy, ungrateful splittists, led by a devious and sinister fake monk with a strong case of megalomania. A couple articles in the Asia Times -- although not as visceral as these Xinhua stories -- hint that the Dalai Lama is a scallywag at heart. Their history books teach that Tibet was always part of China and loved it. The arrival of this monk and his political brand of Buddhism spoiled centuries of brotherhood and ruined the efforts of the Communist Party to develop and liberate the Tibetan people.

Chinese believe as strongly as we do in their convictions. There is no discussion. Naturally, there exists a counter-culture here that disagrees with the mainstream views on Tibet, but the counter-culture will never betray China for the sake of Tibetans. They might criticize from a safe distance or take trips to the affected areas to do documentary film work and such, but there is no movement for Tibet in China that crosses ethnic boundaries. And there is a knee jerk reaction to a foreigner saying anything about China.

The Tibetans are alone on this one. All they got here are some Laowai like me, writing perhaps, maybe arguing passionately in a bar. We endanger the movement as much as we give it life and hope. If I am seen with a Tibetan in the next few days, publicly, that guy might just be hauled in for questioning, or worse. At the same time, the questions he may have answered could lead to a story that will reach a few thousand people.

The deadline has come and gone and Chengdu is quiet. Soldiers came to patrol the underground bars last night to see if we was up to no good. I scowled at em and thought up lines to write.

When i fight for my freedom one day, will there be cameras? Will I yell to them to pick up a gun, or stop to give an interview?

Hold a Fist Up for Tibet

Yesterday I talked with my editor Katherine about Tibet and she asked what was going on. I said well, if people in Kham and Amdo rise up too, then things will get real serious. And today my girl Nicole sends me an Ap story describing protests in Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan Provinces. So perhaps things are serious.

Sichuan is home to mostly Khampa Tibetans in the prefectures of Aba and Kham. Qinghai and Gansu are home to Amdo Tibetans, for the most part, in Xiahe and around Labrang Monastery.

Back in the 1950s when the rebellion first began, the Dalai Lama decided to leave Lhasa for exile in Northern India. The Tibetans in and around Lhasa did not offer up too much resistance. The rebels retreated to India where they staged hit and run tactics over the border. The Dalai Lama is a strict Buddhist and is opposed to violence. And exile allowed him to survive free and able to continue the rebellion as best he can. Staying would have meant death, in one form or another.

So the center of the resistance shifted to Kham, in what is now Sichuan Province. The towns of Kangding, Litang, Ganzi and Dege and the valleys that connected them on the steppes became the battleground in Tibet's fight for independence. There are stories of heroes, like Rara Gyata, who were trained in Colorado by the US and parachuted back into Tibet with radios, maps, some guns and big brass balls to carry on the fight. They moved in large caravans of yaks and tents and jangling brass bells. They fought behind the crumbling walls of old monasteries. They ambushed trucks from unassailable heights. But in the end, as my man 10z once told me

"There are only a few million Tibetans."

The rebellion has never really ended in Kham or Amdo. Chinese police get beaten up every now and then. Shots are fired and homes burnt. Monks are imprisoned routinely for going to India, brash men are pummeled into idiocy. They stop me in the streets, pull out a medallion with the Dalai's picture on it and say: I am Tibetan, we love the Dalai Lama.

Khampas will break your face, my man. They roll through town with long manes and gold teeth, cowboy hats with feathers and big daddy shades. They got rings and chains and all manner of Buddha bling, coral and silver, ivory and gold. They carry daggers with gilded hilts in the folds of a chupa -- the pimp cloak of the Himalayas. These ninjas aint gonna have anybody say anything to them.

A scuffle in some town in Aba is not a revolution. But I cannot imagine that the Khampas that fought when Lhasa had already capitulated and the Dalai was on the run would sit and watch this time around.

The role of the Dalai is crucial. He used the phrase "cultural genocide" to describe the situation in Tibet. The Dalai won't live much longer and he knows that Beijing has already been preparing for his eventual death. His successor would command the loyalty of all Tibetans, if he manages to be found, spirited away to a safe place and allowed to grow. He is the spirit of the Dalai in a new body. What better chance to prove that reincarnation exists than to have the soul change bodies in the middle of a crisis. Tibet will need such a miracle, as the DL himself admitted to the press.

Because the rumors are true: the Chinese are going to breed the Tibetans out. Every day more Chinese migrants show up, with little or no concern for whom they are displacing. They themselves are uprooted and surviving. China has a Manifest Destiny with its own countless Trails of Tears, but today in 2008, with a billion people on the move. The DL has had several talks with the authorities that have led to nothing. The Chinese do not have any incentive to negotiate. When the DL dies, thats it, the problem will fizzle, so they think. With money, power, leisure and lust the new order replaces Tibetans with a new Underclass.

So the crucial question for Tibetans would be is this part of a sustained effort according to a premeditated plan or an unorganized outburst of anger?

In the NYT i read an account in which the Dalai Lama appeared powerless. When asked how he felt, he described being anxious and sad because he could do nothing. He rejected independence and called for the Chinese to show restraint and respect the Tibetans right to protests peacefully. But he stopped short of taking a stand and throwing up a fist -- in his own way as a devout Buddhist.

Can this be true? If so then the rebellion will be crushed summarily, the news reports will trickle to a halt and the world will tune into to CCTV this August.

There have been no declarations, no announcements, no demands from the Tibetan side as of now that I have read about. That is an unfortunate sign as it leads one to believe this is just an outburst that will settle down once enough people have been shot or imprisoned.

The Chinese gave the people time to surrender. They did not name names, did not provide a list. Just asked for those responsible to turn them in my midnight tonight or else. Very smart. Imagine the sweat thats pouring now throughout Tibet.

I have heard people with long experience in Tibet lament the inevitable destruction of the Tibetan culture. Anyone who has traveled in Tibet knows what he is seeing to be cultural genocide, plain and simple. It starts from the outside, but then assumes control of its host, growing from the inside as well, accelerating the decay. The fact that the majority of Tibetans I have met have been absolutely sure of their identity as a Tibetan speaks to the strength of their society and culture.

And of course so do these protests against a determined and unwavering enemy. The only thing that can possibly aid Tibet now is international outcry. In Burma the world did nothing while monks marched in silence and were beaten down by police. Nothing was done. Nothing has changed. If anything the regime in Burma is stronger for having demonstrated its willingness to whip ass on protesters.

Will there be any difference with Tibet? That depends entirely on the plan the Tibetan leadership has come up with. Does it include the celebrities that are calling for China to re-think its relationship with the Sudan? Are there any heads of state that were notified of this before hand? What will they do? Condoleeza Rice is the one doing the talking for the US right now, calling for restraint and the release of prisoners.

Is there even a plan? The NYT interview with DL does not point to a plan. I have heard one NGO worker who tried to set up a yak milk dairy farm describe working with Tibetans as "like herding cats." They are notoriously independent minded. Strong willed and stubborn. And many other things as well .. being an ancient people.

Before the Americans would contribute troops to help fight the Japanese in China, Chiang Kai Shek had to convince them that it was worth it. He defended Shanghai for two months against the Japanese. When he finally withdrew, the Americans agreed to send Stillwell over to help fight. The Chinese army, finally broken after all that fighting, fled in a rout, passing Nanjing along the way. When the Japanese entered Nanjing, they raped and murdered.

Before the Americans decide to help the Tibetans fight the Chinese, the Tibetans have to prove that it is worth it. They have to bleed all over the streets and have their women dragged away in front of cameras. They have to wail to the heavens and carry their dead children up to journalists and beg for an answer. The Dalai Lama has to become the last king of a dying nation and charge into the fray. They have to make the last stand and lie bleeding in piles before the West will show up and help sort the bodies.

In Linda Polman's book, We Did Nothing, the UN and US efforts to keep the peace all over the world are revealed to be empty and ineffectual at best, ridiculous and incredibly tragic at worst. Carpetbaggers follow Special Forces legends around and sell steaks and beer, rent out living space and showers. Refugees are slaughtered, nations pillaged and the UN acts as a witness more than an actor. Picking up the pieces, filing reports. In Norway, I believe or Sweden, they have a project to collect a sample of all the world's plants and create a seed bank for the future.

If the international community, with a bad track record of witnessing genocides more often than stopping them, can do little to help Tibet, then what is to be done when a people stand up and call for release from oppression? I don't believe one can argue that the Tibetans and Burmese are not being oppressed. I suppose as a white man described the Native kid at church with his hair slicked back, so can the Chinese also defend their Tibet policy.

Individual and small group action can help keep the spirit alive for as long as possible. The diaspora, young strong and vigorous, can always keep the homeland in their hearts. This is truly the only way for Tibet if the DL does not lead his people toward head-on conflict now. Tibetan culture is as strong as any in the world, and stronger than many. There is no reason Tibet cannot live on in the young as tales and memories and dreams that become lyrics and books -- and with them the will to not only survive, but flourish.

The Jews did it for generations. It is true that the Chinese in San Francisco are more traditional than the Chinese in Chengdu. Quebecois speak French like they used to before the English won the war. The DL, if unwilling to go toe to toe right now, must be thinking about his legacy about now. He is 72. Who will be next? How long will the child live before Chinese spies get a hold of him? How will the monks find him in Occupied Tibet. Will he be a great leader or will he be the Last Emperor, oblivious as Tibet falls around him, dying in dissolution, unsure of who he is till the very end?

We who can see the future of Tibet in the eyes of the Sioux should already know what to do. But sadly we don't. It seems a law of history that if a nation wants something it has to take it, or suffer a Holocaust before it will be given.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

gou re de

Today i spent the whole day with my man Liu Yuan running from one massive development project to another, extolling the virtues of Chengdu's real estate situation. I was interviewed a few times for the TV and all the girls in the house were giggling. the older women too. they would roll up on me and be like: so yeah i have a daughter that needs to go abroad and so on. most of the attendees have fat pockets. they were very impressed with my language abilities and outlook on life. its cuz they don't have the chance to meet anyone who isn't rich and Sichuanese like them, so it was interesting for them. for me it was once again my ego that got blown all day. he loved it. and a few contacts were made. lord knows.

it was a good day. especially seeing as i slept but 30 minutes the night before and my man Liu Yuan gave me half a pill of ecstasy for the trip. yeah betchu didn't know chinese be all over the drug scene didja? these ninjaz are manufacturing drugs we aint even heard of yet. anyway. made the day E-Z.

To another topic, which will grace these pages for the last time:

What did i expect?

Anything but nothing.

Monday, March 10, 2008

childhood trauma

there are two songs which i feel may have traumatized me for life:

a lil jingle sung by good ole Goofy in the one about the ship they had just built, that falls apart when they smack a bottle over the hull. Goofy sings:

"Ohhhh, the world owes me a livin"

Shit stuck with me. Incidentally, when i was small, the whole bottle across the hull and Daisy Duck's aggressive sexuality scared me. The other jingle, well I am not the only one to suffer repeated intrusions into my psyche from this one here:

"I dont wanna grow up, I'm a toys'r'us kid, there's a million toys at toys'r'us that I can play with"

I still sing these jingles to myself softly when taking a shower, walking down the street or waiting in line for something.

late bloomers

i think i represent the peter pan element in all generations. there are many of us. and we are generally smiled upon from on high by those who have escaped never never land and found the path that leads them toward fulfillment.

Was peter fulfilled? He had an enemy, his crew, a fairy mistress and he was a prince with no king in a land of eternal adventure. There was no reason for Peter to grow up. He was a prince, much more than a mere man, and he was exultant and impetuous, yet reasoned enough to provide for his and keep the pirates at bay.

We will not mention the freak invasion of humanity into his world and the consequences -- let us just remember that Peter was pleased with himself and loved by his people for many eons, before mortality stole him away.

Although my choices were supposedly made long ago, it annoys me to realize that each day is a new and clean slate to make choices that radically change life and ultimately, memories are ours to do with as we wish. Old choices are playthings for our imagination, with no mooring in reality, but that which we give them. Choice rejoices, sending her people door to door, daily, flooding my mailbox with brochures and coupons.

So i find myself under siege, a soft siege, like monks with rose petals. This siege never breaks. The besiegers have no standard. It flutters for each wind, rises anew and mysterious with each sun. Perhaps my greatest mistake is to actually place put defenders on the walls. If i notice the monks, well then I am noticing the monks and something must be done about these monks! and their roses? where should they go?

Those that smile down upon me offer cohorts of ridalin, like US military and UN mercenary peacekeepers and the carpetbaggers that follow them. I naturally refuse. This is a domestic affair and I will tolerate no infringement upon my sovereignty. Besides, I have my own mercenaries that I employ.

I have only one true weapon. An electromagnetic pulse that eases the pressure for a moment, until the fluid builds up and i have to pop my knuckles again. It has taken me so long to develop this weapon. It is even now in its infancy and the scientists are unsure of themselves, checking and re-checking, seeking the advice of foreign experts who have developed the technology on their own -- to the eternal chagrin of the pols that sit in the back of my mind, runnin shit.

I bloom late like China, which has bloomed before.

How many times did peter escape back to never never land? after a tedious sojourn into a world with gravity but no Hook, smog but no fairies.

I refuse their mercenaries and i stubbornly persist in my belief in pirates (i've seen em) and fairies (i've chased em)!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Greasy Hair

my hair is getting long again. it is my last hurrah before baldness forces me to shave what's left in order to be "bald, but skin-bald" which is cooler than fuzzy or crown bald. anyway. i have a few years of long hair left in me before its all over and i have to go to the Asian countryside to find a woman willing to marry me.

Till then, i will stay naked. the other day i was standing at a bus stop and all of a sudden this girl runs up to me and is like "omigod omigod omigod! Are you Ma Shan?" And i was like "Oh hell yes girl, whatchu think" and she was like "omigod omigod OMIGOD!"turns out she watched me whip my homie 10z's ass in chess one day and since then has been madly in love. she is younger than my little sister. jesus lord. anyway she calls me "The General" cuz of the way I acted while i was playing chess. She was like "you always seem to know the right thing to do and just always have a plan and (sigh) omigod..." this girl has NO clue.

She saw me once, at a coffeshop for 10 minutes, in which we exchanged 20 words, 5 years ago when she was 15! fell for my BS and now, age 20, after seeing me at the bus stop, man i dont know. maybe she thinks the stars have all fallen down around her and she is surrounded by dancing lights and jesus i dont know what little girls be thinking anymore. i'm goin bald for God's sake. so she came over to the crib with her best friend today and her hound, a crazy golden retriever. we chilled in the sun of my supa-dope courtyard and sipped tea. we watched my cats watch her dog.

Her friend said "nice to meet you" then was like "so yo, which would you rather give up, your soul or your self-respect?" I was like "uhhhhhh" and i knew what the deal was so i corrected her. Her man is out messin around, i figured, which turned out to be true. But she LOVES him so what to do? I said "Girl, it aint yer soul yer tradin, that is above all of this petty man-woman tomfoolery -- you want to choose between your heart's desire and your self-respect" she was like "oooooooooooooooh" and i was like "so yo, put like that whatchu gonna do" and she was like "fuck that fool!"

so i cockblocked some dude i guess. or freed some girl. whatever. my widow's peaks reach back to my ass. I got a job with Lonely Planet, looks like. I suppose they'll give me an assignment sometime this year. That would be dope. And i am working on a project for the gov, putting together a collection of essays.

I just talked to an old squeeze in the US. (hey girl!) and ... well we had a nice reunion a while back, but i think we have both realized that we aint the One for each other. Kinda sad i guess. I rolled through the planet a few times the past couple of years and the last few times i was checkin out old squeezes to see what the deal is. this particular girl, well i thought maybe maybe. shit. me and Scott Baio nookin for nub

now i know that i haven't met her yet.

Or perhaps i have. She just turned 18. and in 8 years i will be chillin in Kuala Lampur vacationing after a hard session of canoeing, when this girl will roll up and be like

"well well well ... never thought i'd see you again"

Saturday, March 1, 2008

When compatriots meet

I went to the restaurant Talk the other night, on recommendation from resident Baller Dave B. I borrowed some clothes from hakim because mine were wrinkly, as I had just returned from the road and hadn't got to cleaning clothes yet. I looked spiffy in a cashmere jacket and a pimp French shirt.

I roll to the spot and chill on nice soft couch made for lounging, but set in a space of solid clean objects and mirrors. So i get a bit antsy and order an Espresso. It arrives in a nice cup that someone thought about, not for utility, but uniqueness and was just about to take a sip when Jacky Maillard appears out of nowhere, breathless and jerky. He looks me up and down and says:

"Wot is zis? U will 'ave an Esspresso? we are to 'ave dinner, no?"

Uhh, uhhh, uhhhh ... He waves it off. I'm new and all it takes is a listening ear and Jacky will tell you all there is to know about Les Vin Rebelle and "The Love" and "The Passion" and his kids, who call him Baba or Susu or Lao Ba ... He runs this high class French spot for another super baller named Jackie Chan. No not the gong fu guy. But think about a super baller who would name himself Jackie Chan. What do you think he looks like? Skinny? Bad Teeth? Shifty nostrils? Glasses? Is this what you were thinking? Or were you thinking boisterous pudgy guy who drinks a lot, has a huge full head of black hair and a gold molar?

Anyway. Jackie Slim is the boss and Jacky Two Coats is the manager. Not wearing two coats, but two coats of cologne. He actually does not have two coats of cologne, he is perfectly perfumed. This is the point. Thats what Two Coats means. Perfectly. His coif bounces. His nose was specifically designed for testing his clients fare. His smile is passionate.

Oh brother we got down on on it. I was interviewing him for a story and he was Loving it. He told me about his obsession with detail and demonstrated it first through the exact measurements of the spot to the imported espresso cups and crystal wine glasses. The super low price he got for the gold linen and silk tablecloths. His staff put the first fare, faux gras pate, down with the pate facing away from me. Jacky frowns and shakes his finger slightly. He tells them off arrogantly, but like a father.

After the goose liver, which melted in my mouth, we had asparagus soup with hunks of creamy love and bread with garlic butter. By this time we had already finished the first wine, a white from Cali. Jacky admires Californian wine for their unique wet texture and aggressive sweetness. Taken together, these characteristics help make whites from Cali excellent to open the taste buds in preparation for good eats.

We switched to a rebellious red just as the soup ended. The first sip and I laughed out loud and began leaning into Jacky's words, letting them glide down my face as i swished the wine in my mouth for much longer than necessary. I imagined the world in slow motion, just so I could have more time to swish before the potion went down my throat and diffused throughout my body. When i opened my eyes, I was a different person in a different place. Jacky looked at me with a growing smile and his eyes stretched and searched me out. Like a wizard whose spell is beginning to take effect, he rose up and spread his cloak over me.

"There are four grapes in this wine, all from the region around Bourdeaux, near the Chateau Le Fet. The Earth, here is of course, the same Earth and this wine benifice from the same Earth and also close to the River and of course the Air and Wind are similar so this property can make a very special wine, but they do not have the voice, they are yelling for us to see them, but we cannot. Because they lack, you know all of these things, and so they are Vin Rebelle and this is what I Love. Les Vin Rebelle are somewhat of an obsession for me.

The four grapes are cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot and (pause) a miracle
grape. Yes (nodding at my unasked question) a miracle grape, it is (circle wave of hands) impossible to translate from the French. It is a miracle, maybe 4% in this wine. In other wines, maybe 5% if they are looking for this truly unique taste."

I smiled and dangled the glass in three fingahz, thinking how pimp a man can get, when my lamb shows up with three different purees, garlic tater, artichoke and eggplant. The lamb is breaded on the outside and barely done in the middle. Its presented in the pimp manner. I look up, our eyes meet in mutual understanding, and my smile grows. Jacky and I are of one mind. We are sensualists of a higher order. A meal such as this one takes us both to that special place where wisdom reigns and laughter is king.


A gong fu master was poor and starving and had only one possession left, his great sword. His belly rumbles and he know he must sell it, so he takes it down and walks into the market to sell it. He thinks to himself, if i meet a man who knows what this is, I will give it to him for free. I will sell it for 10 gold pieces to the first clown who walks up, even if he wants to use it as a shovel.

He sits in the streets all day and many yokels walk up and stare at his sword, but not comprehending what it is and seeing no use for it, walk on.

Toward evening another Gong Fu master is being driven through the market in a carriage. The last rays of the setting sun flash off the blade of the great sword and he bellows for the carriage to stop. He leaps out of the carriage and walks up to the master sitting on the ground with the sword before him.

What is this? says he. Who would try and sell a sword such as this one, obviously priceless and magicked?

I would, says the starving master. He rises up on his feet and the two peer at each other from beneath bushy brows. But for you, it is free.

Free!? I think not, answers the master. I will give you 100,000 gold pieces for it.

They stand with bottom lips thrusting staring at each other, than they burst into loud laughter and embrace like brothers.