Thursday, December 29, 2005

30 December 2005 The Daily Dosage

From ‘The Ballad of Mulan,’ a Chinese poem (6th Century AD):

The last nine lines of a fifty-line poem:

“She went to the mirror and fastened her yellow combs.
She left the house and met her messmates in the road;
Her messmates were startled out of their wits,
As they had marched with her for twelve years of war,
And never knew that Mulan was a girl!
For the male hare sits with his legs tucked in,
And the female hare is known for her bleary eye;
But set them both scampering side by side,
And who so wise could tell you ‘This is he?’”

We put too much emphasis on sexual differentiation!

We put too much emphasis on distinction!

We put too much emphasis on boundaries, and separation!

We put too much emphasis on this and that!

And why…? The Ego ‘I!’

All of this separation symbolized in the ‘Garden of Eden’ myth (in the Christian Bible). At the time God lamented as ‘he understood what trouble this would cause.’ You see, animals don’t know if they’re male or female. They ‘mate’ out of instinct (unconscious hormonal/physical ‘need’).

Humans don’t know any better, conditioned to believe that they’re male and female, and never the twain shall meet! And thus all the trouble.

We don’t understand about wholeness, oneness, or union, except as we can keep our identity (the ego ‘I’). We’ve been indoctrinated by capitalism (and religion) to believe that distinction is best! We’re manipulated to fear/desire ‘the other!’

The Taoists say, ‘By expanding the ‘individual’ (ego) to the ‘collective’ (all egos), the ‘individual’ may become one with the entire cosmos. In the course of awakening to the ‘collective’ the ‘individual,’ in other words selfish desire, is restrained.

This is where the solution is ultimately, wholeness! Coming together, not separating. Not, we’ve over ‘hear’ and you’re over ‘their,’ and we’re ‘good,’ and you’re ‘bad!’ We’re all the same underneath. Yes, between male and female some physical differences, but the same desires, wants and needs.

How could a woman travel with men for 12 years of war and never be discovered? Either sex didn’t care, as what was ultimately important was performance, not the fact that they were men and Mulan was a woman!

When referring to such I now use the pronoun, ‘s/he’ to connote.

I just learned that my ‘little’ niece, Amber, is flying a ‘Black Hawk’ helicopter in Iraq! This is a modern ‘Mulan!’ Suppose the men in her crew care…? Only as to ‘her’ performance!

Thank God that sexual stereotypes are beginning to blur! In the next one thousand years (if humanity survives) they will become blurred to the point of either not caring.

We’re coming together! Everything and everybody everywhere! We’re coming together!

The solution!

P.S. We’re writing a novel in which the characters have no names, no distinction and no fear of each other!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

28 December 2005 The Daily Dosage

Times flies when you’re having fun! Here it is 2006, and I’m 66-years old or young, depending on how you look at it.

In 1969, I sat in the Radio City Music Hall theater (in New York City) and watched a movie entitled, ‘2001,’ and I thought that would never come! Now, we’re five years beyond that!

Today, talking with an old friend in the U.S. he wanted to know the day and time in China. I told him ‘you’re a day behind!’ to which he responded… ‘Just goes to show you it’s all relative!’ and he made my point!

But, most people are too caught up in what’s in front of their noses to understand anything beyond.

I sometimes wonder how and why I’m still alive…? What is the point I ‘wander’…?
Most people don’t have a clue, going through the motions until the grave! But, ‘oh grave where is thy sting, or death where is thy victory?’

Why are we ‘hear?’ I suppose that’s to be answered by each of us separately, as my old colleague (another named David) once said, ‘there are no universal truths!’ Which means there’s no such thing as objectivity! As George said, ‘It’s all relative!’ And even the word ‘relative’ is up for grabs!

So what’s the point? I once asked a man who’d just past his 100th birthday his secret to long life. He responded as a typical old American farmer might, ‘Keep breathing!’ he said laconically. I thought how stupid until I pondered his two words for a time… I now think it’s a very profound answer, Taoist in nature. ‘Keep breathing!’ What else can we do? What else can we know? The smart ones think they ‘no!’ The wise ones say as little as possible!

In the past five years I had trouble doing just that, breathing… I now pray for those who can’t breathe easily. It’s a horrible torture not to be able to, but I went through a four-year cycle of having trouble with some kind of congestion which I never really figured out. But, I now believe it had to do with industrial air pollution (over the span of two countries). So, if you can breathe easily, trust me, you’re blessed! Many people can’t!

It’s the little things in life that are profound, not the grand! Two simple words for example, ‘Keep breathing!’

Tonight in a taxi, coming back to where I’m staying in the heart of the second largest populated city in the world (Shang Hai), we got caught in some horrible traffic! But, thank God that it had a television set tuned into the latest. While the meter was running, and me coughing from automobile exhaust, I was pounded with messages to buy many things!

So, this is modernity, darling…? You can have it, I’m ‘dying’ to get out of it, back to Kashgar, and beyond (way beyond), as even much smaller Kashgar (with a mere 350,000 people) is too big for me! It must be my age, or my Taoist sense!

Another Christmas has come and gone, Christmas 2005! This one I spent in China with my Chinese host family, the Zhaos.

Christmas Eve we drove to Hangzhou some 180Km / 110 miles west of Shang Hai. This to partake of Stephanie’s Christmas party, courtesy of her friends. It was held in one of China’s great eating halls, restaurants with hundreds of employees. The buffet food was good, but the program even better, as it was all about children, and love, and giving, filled with music and dance. I got to sing ‘Silent Night!’ I took two rolls of film and mostly of the Zhao family.

This is something I do for people, take photographs of them as they seem to like and I can do. I carry my 35MM film camera, heavy as it is, everywhere I go! Someday I’m going to get that ‘one exposure,’ that will sell for millions (like the Zapruder film of the JRK assassination). Just kidding actually, that’s not why I carry my camera around (I like to carry weight as it makes you stronger).

Driving in Mr. Zhao’s new expensive Japanese Nissan Passat is a ‘trip!’ (or something like it as I’m not into motor vehicles and don’t know the makes and names) You can program the computer screen and it, via a GPS satellite, follows (shows) the route. It’s accurate to 50 meters! He also has some very cool music on CD. So, it was as pleasant as a ride can be in a motor vehicle (I dislike riding in them!). It also has a video camera when you back up (go in reverse). I can only imagine what this cost Mr. Zhao? Enough to feed a family of four in Bangladesh for eons!

The following day was even better as we had Christmas dinner in a Korean Restaurant in Shang Hai. With two guests, friends of Mr. Zhao (his name: Zhao Xu Jian), it was a wonderful afternoon filling ourselves with delightful food and drink. I could only guess the conversation, but I’ve found that not understanding the language can be relaxing as you can ‘tune out!’ Stephanie, fluent in English interpreted, however. We were there at our table all afternoon! Then we drove somewhere and ate more.

No wonder I have chronic constipation in China, as I’m almost forced to eat (in these social situations)! If they only knew…

I look forward to the day I can get control of my diet and fast! At 66-years old I’ve eaten enough to last many lifetimes! People don’t realize but the way to long life (besides ‘keep breathing’) is to eat less! I’ve grown fond of that ‘empty feeling!’ I don’t want to eat, but people like Jewish mothers are always saying, ‘Eat darling, eat!’ all the time, ‘you must eat!’ People think eating is the cure for all things! Actually, just the reverse is true!

Speaking of eating, I ate ‘poluo’ (correct spelling) at the Uyghur restaurant across the street from where I’m staying (Mr. Zhao’s office)—my one meal per day. I’m amazed that there’s one in Shang Hai (never occurred to me until Bhuwan mentioned). I’m even more amazed that I discovered a Uyghur restaurant so near! Don’t tell me I’m not being watched over!

Now, it’s that week between Christmas and the western New Year, the last calendar week of the year. I noticed that everyone is selling calendars! What’s it all about? Selling of course! ‘Sell, sell, sell, everything you stand for!’ (from Alan Price, and a movie, ‘O Lucky Man’).

I found out today I may not have to travel to Hong Kong to get my visa renewed. Stephanie has discovered a company via the Internet, and I called them to get details. A Chinese guy named ‘Magic’ (he likes basketball) answered and explained. So, tomorrow I’m going to go visit this company and check out the possibility, as it will save me Yuan. To extend for five months costs only 1,060 Y versus 2K Yuan if I have to travel to Hong Kong. Don’t tell me I’m not being watched over!

I like travelling, but not to Hong Kong on the train to get a visa. I would have to rush down and back! It’s enough I have to travel all the way back to Kashgar (three days on a train)!

On the other hand, I’m missing my bicycle as I left it behind in Kashgar! Isn’t that strange? Most miss their spouses, or friends (of course I do), but I miss riding my bicycle! ‘Ms. Fiets’ by name! I also miss my new friends in Kashgar!

Additionally, I’ve had some kind of lung congestion and am coughing (feeling tired). Again, this must be the bad air, as in Kashgar I don’t have this congestion (breathing problem). In Uremqi, where this began, it’s the coal-burning exhaust, in Shang Hai it must be carbon monoxide. But, for as long as I can I will

‘Keep breathing!’

And you too wherever you are! Who knows but a big wave may come and sweep us away! Note, I’m now wearing a black ring on my index finger in memory of the 225,000 people who were ‘swept away’ December 26, 2004 (the Indonesian earthquake/tsunami disaster).

Happy western New Year! More in 2006! And who would have ever thought?

Hutch
Haqi
π˛ ∆‰

Monday, December 26, 2005

22 December 2005 The Daily Dosage (The Winter Solstice)

‘Disclaimer:’ ‘For you new readers of English (‘The Daily Dosage’), some of this is going to be hard to follow! Why? Because this is not only English, but ‘Hutch’s English!’

To all my friends in Xinjiang Province, and beyond, greetings from Shanghai!

I arrived safely just this afternoon, after an arduous 48-hour train ride from Uremqi (after a 24-hour train ride from Kashgar and two days in Uremqi). The train rides were challenging for only one reason… too many people, and too many people talking, eating, and everything else that goes with too many people! I want less of the ‘masses!’ I desire peace and quiet, a sure sign of old age!

I apologize for this group message (as a ‘The Daily Dose’) , but if I don’t send something now it will take days, and my life goes at such a whirlwind pace, I can’t keep up with it anymore.

I’m way behind on writing ‘The Daily Dose,’ and haven’t even uploaded the photographs from our ‘Annual Xinjiang Bicycle Rally,’ in October! But, Mercury and Mars have now gone ‘direct,’ so things will now progress easier!

I had two days in Uremqi courtesy of my friends there, particularly Dilmurat Qusain, whose bed I slept in while he slept on the floor! Thanks, Murat!

I met his ‘boss,’ a Mr. Glenn King from Australia, who he works for at the Red Cross in Xinjiang. I learned, much to my surprise, the Red Cross wasn’t started by ‘Florence Nightingale,’ or the U.S., but by a man in Switzerland, and that the Red Cross ‘flag/symbol is a reverse of the Swiss flag!

I left part of ‘Ms. Fiets ’ (the rear wheel) at the Giant Bicycle Shop to be repaired, walked around in –15C. temperatures, and ate ‘polo’ (‘zhua fan’) at the computer center (restaurant outside). Otherwise, Uremqi in the winter reminds me of Pittsburgh in 1890—this because of the coal smoke (developed a raspy throat in just two days there). Uremqi, in the winter, an unhealthy place to breathe! It took Pittsburgh one hundred years to clean up its ‘act,’ I wonder how long for, Uremqi?

I’m now staying on the 23rd floor at Mr. Zhao’s Gong Ming office (Yue ’s father) in the throbbing, pulsating heart of the ‘Pearl of the Orient,’ or the ‘Paris of the East,’ Shanghai has both been called. It has more people (22 million) than live in the entire country of Australia. Thus, this news makes me think about living Australia. If Australia had mountains, I would have moved there years ago! In the meantime, I dodge every moving thing (including donkeys), close my ears to slurping, spitting, snoring, and honking and try to maintain in the world’s most populous country (India closing in).

Now, the ‘not-so-good’ news… In the first few hours here, I have found out that I’m going to have to travel to Hong Kong to get my visa renewed for six months. Another train ride, oh boy I can hardly wait!

So, Rodney Guan, and Kishor Bajracharya standby, I’m headed your way! If I don’t do this quickly and travel to Hong Kong, I’m going to get caught of in the ‘Spring Festival’ travelling masses. And God forbid this should happen to me!

So, a quick note from ‘ha qi*,’ news from the East. Already I’m missing my friends in Xinjiang, and especially at Indy’s Café, particularly ‘Indy ’ herself, Hu, Xhao Xu, and Payzullah! Of course, Dilmurat in Uremqi. I’ll return to Xinjiang as soon as I can—Allah willing and the creeks don’t rise!

In the meantime, blessings to all!

Hutch
π˛∆Ê*

P.S. In Shanghai only hours I ate wonderful ‘northern-styled,’ Chinese food (including corn bread), and got a two-hour ‘drip’ (injection) of Chinese herbs (while watching CCTV 9/English). From TV, I’m up to date on the ‘bar scene’ in eastern China!

16 December 2005 The Daily Dosage

This day should be entitled, ‘Never go to a Chinese RR ticket office during the full moon!’

Ah, changes, adapting, adjusting, solving the challenges that come up in modern (sucks) society—when departing on a trip. Even in Kashgar.

Especially in Kashgar, where they’re coming out of the 1st Millennium and into the 3rd all in a few years! I mean people (mostly Uyghur) still walk in the middle of a busy street, like it was their living room! ‘Dut !’ Oh well, people on foot were here first (and I like the idea to a degree).

So, I start out this critical day by calling X.X., to find out about two major things happening; one, when we go to the ticket office to purchase my ticket to Shanghai, and two, when to move my things from Seman Hotel to his apartment storage room. He’s says 1100 in the morning to meet at the ticket office, and 1700 hours (Beijing Time – you always have to clarify when mentioning a time in Kashgar) to move my things. Fine, I have to go to the Bank of China first, to withdraw more money, and this works out fine. We will meet at the Bank of China at 1030.

I head out on Ms. Fiets, it being a little chilly at 0930 (Beijing Time). It’s just barely light, and the town is ‘hard starting,’ in these cold and dark days just preceding the Winter Solstice (in one week). It’s dark by 1800 hours (Xinjiang Time) in the evening . Thus, there’s a frenzy of activity just before when it’s relatively warm and still light (about 1600 hours Xinjiang or ‘local’ time).

There’s hardly any customers in the Bank, and I’ve done my business by 1000. So, I sit down in the lobby, and observe Kashgarians scarring about—I have 30 minutes to wait. I have to urinate, but where? I decide to wait it out (a big mistake).

Chinese men, smoking and throwing the butts on the floor! Ugh! They’re all hard of hearing, as yelling all the time! I’m going to have made, ‘Silence is Golden!’ T-shirts. They love noise! On the otherhand, I clip my nails while waiting the results on the floor (who am I to criticize?). My kidneys begin to talk to me, but I suppress the need. Finally, I see X.X. approaching out the window, so I go out to meet him before he can park and pay.

We crank off to the ticket office, opposite the Ida Kah Mosque, maybe 2 kilometers. But, when we get there the line is out the door. X.X. appraises the situation and says, we need to wait thirty minutes. We go next door to wait and sit in a warm bank lobby (it’s all of –5C. outside). Ah, a perfect time to ‘relieve’ myself. I ask him if there might be a toilet in the area. He asks, and all that I deduce is some gesturing around the corner.

I head out in earnest as my kidneys are now ‘yelling’ at me! I walk into the ‘Old City,’ with the bicycle helmet on and get many looks. I walk down a street where I think one might be (not out for a Sunday stroll), but there’ s none I can determine I walk back to the main street and in the other direction. I decide to go into a restaurant, as they usually have and don’t refuse an old white man. I’m gestured to one at the end of a long dining room (they’re always far away), and out a door, and up (some steps) into a toilet. And just in the nick of time! Ah, it’s the small things in life that are a joy (especially when older). But, joy one instant, disaster the next!

I’m out the door and going down the stairs when my feet come out from under me and I fall hard on some concrete steps (lucky only three to the bottom). But, I hit on my back side, and am stunned. Luckily I had ‘James B. Feeney’ on my head, and the helmet protected any head injury. I lie there trying to access, as always, if anything is broken. I struggle to get up, and am immediately assisted by several employees who realize I’m hurt. But, it doesn’t appear that anything is broken . I’ve fallen primarily on my left hip and right elbow. I gather my things together and limp to the dining room to reorganize. I’m all grimace, but happy I’m able to walk out of there.

Back at the bank X.X. is glad to see me as he’s been looking. I tell him I’ve fallen, but hardly any response (they don’t know how to respond in English). We take another look at the situation in the ticket office and decide to return in the afternoon. Now, I’m to move my things to X.X.’s flat apartment in the morning. Oh, but I haven’t packed speaking of adjusting to the situation. I tell him it will take from one to two hours. Fine, he’ll wait in his apartment.

Off I go on Ms. Fiets (still working wonderfully well) to the hotel.

Up in 411, I work frantically to organize and pack. Luckily I worked organizing things the day prior . Sometimes I’m so efficient, it’s frightened. I have everything ready in one hour. Two bags packed, and only Ms. Fiets to deal with.

I ride Ms. Fiets to X.X.’s (Xiao Xu) apartment only 1 kilometer away. I knock on #341, his apartment door, but no answer (he’s sleeping). I bang loudly now, with Ms. Fiets unlocked below (don’t want to be away too long). X.X. finally comes to the door, and we go downstairs to the basement where he has a locker.

He opens the several locked doors, the place reminding me of a dungeon. Inside his locker I recoil from the mess! But, free is free, and what can I say… Generally speaking young men, whether Chinese or American, are not much on cleanliness. I flip Ms. Fiets over and remove the rear wheel.

Now, back to Seman Hotel to get the two bags. X.X. tells me to gesture to the taxi driver on how to return (I’m thinking this a bit tricky). I was hoping he would accompany me. Nope.

On the way back I have the wheel washed for 2 kwai (Yuan).

No one in the lobby of the Hotel, or on my floor offers to help so I lug both bags downstairs in one trip. I’ll be damned if I’ll let old age slow me down. Plus, who needs ‘em! I carry my bags, after a short rest, out to the street.

Somehow I manage to direct a taxi driver to X.X.’s building (#3)—but a short distance from Seman Hotel. But, to do this we have to drive on the sidewalk during lunch hour (hordes of people). After the Uyghur driver unloads, he takes (I was going to give anyway) ten kwai (normal fare 5).

Back up many flights of stairs. This time there is an immediate report behind the door and X.X. appears to help with ‘phase two.’ We carry the bags down to the basement and stash in his locker. I remember to leave ‘James B. Feeney ,’ to watch over.

Now, we’re to meet at 1530 hours when the RR ticket office reopens. Great, perfect timing as it’s now 1430 hours (230P.M. Beijing Time) and enough time to have lunch. I just happen to be near Eversun’s Coffee (my favorite restaurant).

There, amongst the Christmas decorations, I have my usual ‘zhau fan’ (fried rice).

Afterwards in the ‘He’s’ room I hear Randy Newman (on the speakers) sing, ‘Louisiana, they’re going to wash it away!’ (Note: How prophetic this song, some twenty-years old, turned out to be!). I’m amazed because I’m in Kashgar, Xinjiang Province, China, not exactly L.A. (thank God)! But from this serenity (joy) I return to more chaos in the ticket office, this ‘jumpcut ’ twice in one day!

Don’t tell me I don’t lead an interesting life, good, bad or ugly! It may be challenging, but it’s never boring!

I walk to the ticket office, this through a part of the ‘Old City,’ and see many Moslems praying on their rugs. I realize it’s Friday their ‘holy day.’ Certainly Marx was right… It’s the ‘opiate of the masses!’ On the other hand, if it gives them a moment to reflect, a moment to shift their thinking about the material to the spiritual, good!

At the ticket office the madness hasn’t abated, in fact it’s worst. Since I was a bit late (unusual for me) X.X. is already in line. I try to suggest alternative plans. He’s explains that it never gets better! Now there’s pushing and yelling.

This scene is one out of a movie, the ‘too many rats in a cage syndrome,’ the title. Worse, I realize it’s a full moon and the reason tempers are fraying to the ‘max!’ The problem… One ticket seller for a hundred purchasers. Secondly, people push right up to the front and the poor woman selling, trying to circumscribe waiting. This causes a fight at one point between two Chinese men, one punch being thrown. Worse of all, there’s only one policeman and he’s too frightened to do much.

I think I describe the scene as ‘insanity,’ to my two new Japanese friends (also there to purchase a ticket). I’m told it isn’t this way in Japan! Wow! I get the idea to move there, although it’s expensive like the U.S. I guess you get what you can afford!

We wait and wait, alternately standing in line while the other rests in a chair. Finally, X.X., no doubt tired of waiting (after more than one hour), pushes his way to the window and executes a ‘coup.’ Somehow with my passport and 700 Yuan / $90 U.S., he returns with a ticket stub (Uremqi to Shanghai). I’m grateful. But even better we’re ‘released’ from this ‘hell!’ Never again will I do this! Never! I’d rather walk, or fly! Or at least, pay a fee for a travel agency to do this.

There’s too many people in China! There’s too many people in Asia! There’s too many people on the earth! People (particularly in the U.S.) don’t realize!

Now, I have to pick up my painting my little Chinese ‘sweetheart’ gave to me for my birthday! This I had framed at the Digital Photo Express. I walk there, now having walked or cranked much in the last three days.

These ‘deadline days,’ always challenging with so much to do, and particularly during this rising Sagittarius moon!

But, it turns out that the framing job has been wonderfully done! They’ve managed to press the rice paper flat, and the matte offsets it wonderfully well. I’m happy to pay the man 150 kwai (Yuan) / $20 U.S. (which would have cost $100 in the U.S.). But, there’s no way to carry to where I need to store it while in ‘Shanghigh,’ as he has nothing to wrap it in. Finally, after much discussion, he sends one of his girls to carry. I’ve managed to explain I’m only taking it as far as Indy’s Café some 500 meters away. Safely at Indy’s Café I give the girl 20 Yuan for not dropping it on the way!

When I finally get back to 411 at the Seman Hotel, this after going to China Post, and picking up my laundry, I’ve got a sore ass from the fall earlier in the day. But, ‘we’ve’ managed to accomplish all of the tasks, I’ve got the tickets I need. Mission accomplished!

Gosh, life in the ‘crazy lane,’ of Kashgar’s full-moon insanity. This Friday, December 16th 2005!

But, during this wild hustling and bustling, I managed to give away some money to beggars on the street, talk to a young man about helping him to learn English, and stop a child from crying (with a piece of candy). All the disadvantaged and children are mine!

As for the adults… I remember the Japanese guy saying, when referring to the madness at the ticket office, that what’s needed is education! Yes, education no doubt, but more important with education, a rise in consciousness!

Yes, Jim it all has to do with consciousness! Bill Gates has an education, and a bunch of money, but little ‘consciousness!’ Trust me!

On the way to Uremqi and Shanghai (‘flying happily’),

Hutchie
π˛∆Ê

P.S. Thank God I have some homeopathic remedies. When I got back to 411, I took both Rutox and Arnica for the swelling on my left hip and right elbow. I’ll live, and maybe a little smarter for falling. I need to be more careful when going to the toilet! Life can be ‘slippery business!’

Thursday, December 08, 2005

05 December 2005

My birth month, and coming: winter, Christmas, and the Western New Year… ‘Oh, there’s no place like China for the holidays, no matter wherever we may roam…’

I’ve discovered they celebrate Christmas in China now . But, guess why? Of course, another chance to sell things! My new Chinese ‘daughter,’ Judy,’ told me that on Christmas Eve Malls stay open all night long! Ah, the modern Santa Claus! So much for the myth of, our imaginations dancing like sugar plums! Now, ‘it’s sell, sell, sell, everything you stand for!’

You can’t tell me that Capitalism isn’t ‘eating our lunch!’ I know it is! I see it everyday here in Xinjiang, where everyone is selling something, their bodies, their children… Anything for an SUV! There are more stores, hawkers, bicycle vendors (people who sell from), blanket sellers (people who spread ‘tarps’ out on the ground, and their wares on it), street markets, bazaars, stores, malls, shopping areas, per capita (think about that as there is 1.2 billion people alive in China), than anywhere I’ve been in the world!

Capitalism is ‘new’ here in China (only thirty-years old ), and why such a fervor! I’ve never seen such a plethora of goods! ‘Mountains,’ of everything imaginable! Only the very unusual, or made in America, you can’t get here. Odd things like AF Betafood, or bulbs for my mini Mag flashlight. But, there are a hundred other kinds of flashlights to purchase, and herbs for the liver, vitamins, leather clothing, silk. The ingenuity of wo/man (to survive) amazes me!

You should see how ‘hip,’ the Chinese women dress here. They could have just come out of a haute couture store in Milano, for all I know. Then you have the contrast of the veiled Uyghur women in more traditional clothes (in Xinjiang Province).

But, beware buying whatever, as there is absolutely no consumer protection in China (Asia). It’s ‘Caveat Emptor,’ 10X! And you better like what you buy, or make sure it fits, as there’s no such thing as returning it, to trade, or get a refund. Most times you don’t even get a receipt.

I learned this the hard way in Uremqi, when I bought a book by mistake and wanted to get my money back, for an item I hadn’t even taken out of the store. Tough shit! I had to get the manager and make a scene, this embarrassing all the locals. I was told, ‘This is China!’ where we ‘bend over, and here it comes again, all day long!’

Don’t people realize what’s happening everywhere in the world (in every country including the ol’ U.S. of A.)? You’re ‘bending over,’ for one group, ‘the owners!’ I call them. This is the ‘power structure,’ combining government, ‘religions,’ with the rich and famous! And that’s any kind of government, anywhere (name it what you want). It’s all the same, just one ‘minority,’ controlling the majority for fun and profit! For example, ‘democracy,’ gives the illusion of freedom! Let them think they ‘participate!’ With other forms of government, the control is more obvious!

I don’t suppose there’s anything new here, about this, just my own realization, what’s really going on (consciousness raised)! Most people are so distracted, they don’t have time (or want) to even think about it! This is what ‘they’ want: keep ‘em busy, distracted and placated! Most of all, keep them working, buying; spending!

Depending on the system, control them anyway you can… With guns or ‘butter’ (TV, jeans, and the latest). Inculcate you to desire things, a ‘better way of life!’ Make them work hard so they can try to buy what we have already purchased (with their money).

And then a leader comes along, speaks up for the masses, the masses revolt throw out the old regime/system, install the leader, who becomes corrupted him/herself (ultimately living like royalty)—human nature . I can cite example after example!

Study history, and you’ll understand! ‘Those who do not know history, are condemned to repeat it! And boy do we! The Iraq War, a ‘carbon copy’ of Viet Nam, the only difference, desert fatigues versus jungle. But, the same stupidity, young men dying for ‘the owners’ (all in the name of a ‘good cause’)!

Thus, there are only two solutions for humanity, and these ideally (not possible)! Yet, we can’t live with hope… So, give them ‘hope!’

One, a ‘savior,’ to come down from the ‘sky,’ to save us. Thus, all the savior mythology, and resultant religions (which ultimately ‘prey’ on the unconscious masses).

Second, some kind of exponential rise in consciousness, where suddenly everyone cares about everyone else, and shares what s/he has! This, the idea of ‘heaven,’ ‘Nirvana,’ or ‘perfection!’

I’m afraid I don’t see either one happening, certainly, not in my lifetime. ‘There is infinite hope, but not for us!’ someone said!

So, what to do, while you have your small body of consciousness…? Live the best you can! One does what s/he can! But, most importantly, educate yourself and your children, not just to one thing, but to everything (all over the world). Travel if you can, expose yourself to all! Be open to all! Read, observe, observe nature, for here are the lasting solutions. Most important! Stop watching television! Form you own opinions!

We must find a way to reduce world population, or destroy ourselves (by consuming the earth in the process ). This so evident to me. One only has to travel in Asia to see the hordes, like festering termites, or swarming bees, to see that we’re out of control.

It’s no surprise to me that there is an increasing number of ‘natural disasters!’ This is nature’s way of responding to the ‘crisis.’ While humanity ‘buries its head in the sand!’

Capitalism is based on ‘growth,’ so they (capitalists), of course, are pro creation! Every year we gotta have more of everything, until there isn’t anything left at all! Put the bad news off to the future!

Even ‘W.’ and ‘the boys’ (the G8) are finally being forced to accept the idea that ‘global warming’ is a threat. Of course, when ‘they’re’ threatened they act, you watch… Now, there will be a serious discussion about what to do. Yes Jim, it all has to do with consciousness! The environmentalists (conscious people) have been saying there’s a problem for years! The ‘owners,’ who would rather make money (have power) that live, have ignored such warnings!

So, on that ‘shopping list,’ this Christmas add one item, a reminder to, ‘buy less, and conserve more!’ Recycle! Stop, and spend a few quiet moments! Think for yourself! Don’t accept things, just because…

Most importantly, try to honor the real reason ‘Christ’ mythology was ‘born!’ That ultimately ‘love’ overcomes even evil! Even money! Even power! Even ourselves!

Most of all ‘me!’ ‘We have met the enemy and he is us!’


Love,
Hutch
Christmas, 2005, Kashgar, Xinjiang Province, China

Monday, December 05, 2005

3 December 2005* ‘The Daily Dosage’ www.cyclingpeace.org

What a wonderful day! I couldn’t have had a better Christmas present! It should be entitled, ‘Santa Claus, death, and a wedding!’

Saturday* I was privileged to accompany a group of 12 kind-hearted Chinese people, who gave of their money and time to play ‘Santa Claus,’ to a group of poor Uyghur children. This because I know Xhao Xu, who introduced me to ‘Indy,’ and her Café (an amazingly place)--for the past several weeks, one of ‘Santa’s workshops!’

Indy’s Café is also where I met ‘Judy,’ a young Chinese woman from Hubei Province (near Beijing). ‘Judy’ has been teaching English at Kashgar Teacher’s College, this part of her Master’s Program in ‘Comparative Linguistics.’ A young Chinese woman, she is as fluent in English as I am (lucky for me)!

The first time I was at ‘Indy’s Café’ one week ago, I noticed backpacks and boxes stacked in one locale, but I didn’t realize what this was… Now, I know. As they were gathering donated items to take to the children. The ‘idea’ of ‘Santa Claus,’ (Virginia) really does exist in the hearts of people! This in China, as well as Germany and America! In fact everywhere in the world!

Thus preplanned, we all met Saturday morning at Indy’s Café at 0730, for this was the day to ‘come down the chimney!’ It had been explained to me (via ‘Judy’) we would be taking a bus some 70 KM southwest of Kashgar to a Uyghur village. I was so pleased to be a part of this, as this group of Chinese people, a version of our ‘Loving Kindness Group’ Fund.

The first thing we did was stop for ‘breakfast,’ in a town called, ‘Shula.’ This town I am familiar with having cycled through it twice before, once on our recent trip to Opal. Here we had ‘polo’ (zhau fan), and the best ‘polo’ I’ve had in some time! Here we also acquired some local people, our Uyghur guides, one a lovely woman, and a TV journalist (complete with Sony camcorder).

Next stop was at the local village government building where we met the ‘Mayor,’ a young Chinese man. He shook my hand and said, ‘Welcome to China!’ in English! On the building it reads in Chinese, ‘Serving the People.’

Then on to the ‘elementary’ school, a long drive down a bumpy dirt road passing donkey carts bouncing up and down, people on foot, motorbikes honking, bicycles, and flocks of sheep .

It all blends together in one color in this part of China this time of year, an ‘adobe’ brown, the sky, the land, the leave-less poplar trees, the houses. The people some relief, the men in their dark clothing and fur hats, and the women in fancy skirts (under which they wear ‘trousers’ or woolen stockings), and on their heads, scarves. The kids, dressed in ‘hand-me-downs,’ shivered in the cold! There was some snow on the ground.

We left the bus, and walked the last fifty meters or so, watching a group of young boys ‘hoe’ the hard ground, and other ‘duos’ (girls) carrying water in buckets on a pole.

In front of the school building the children (grades 1 to 6) had been gathered where they sung the Chinese National Anthem in Uyghur. While they went through their regular morning ‘drill’ (‘roll,’ etc.) ‘Santa’s elves’ (our Chinese group) unloaded the bus and laid out all the gifts. These ranged from practical school items like pencils and paper, crayons, paint sets, to clothing, to musical instruments (flutes) and other toys!

Gosh, the Uyghur children need clothing and shoes! I took one photograph of one boy wearing some over-sized and taped-together canvas ‘shoes.’ See this in the ‘Gallery’ at www.cyclingpeace.org

Then it came time to pass out all the items, each grade filing up, and receiving their gifts. So excited the children were! I passed out some pencils! I touched their heads covered with hats, honored to make them happy, if not forever, at least for one moment in time !

We passed out candy! We took many photographs, ‘shot’ video while the TV journalist ‘shot’ video of us!

At one point I wandered into a room to warm my hands. Here they had a coal burning stove. I took a photograph of something I hadn’t seen anywhere in China, a picture (painting) of Karl Marx next to a photograph of Mao (which is standard).

After the gift giving we took a group photograph, then the children were released to run and shout upstairs where, I’m sure, they examined what ‘Santa’ had brought them!

It’s at times like this, feeling so much, it’s all I have to do to prevent crying out, my heart in tears! If I’d had a magic wand, all the children would have all been transported instantly to warm and safe places filled with food, clothing, and the joy of ‘Christmas!’

We were then invited then to visit some of the poorest families in the area.

I think it was the first time ever inside a rural Uyghur house. This, an adobe compound shared with sheep and chickens, only one-rug lined room with coal heater where people lived (in any comfort).

Here the elder male, described his life of toil and hardship. All I could think to do was hand him the money I had in my pocket (some 7 Yuan). Then I was amazed as one young Chinese man, our ‘group leader,’ pulled out and handed him a 100-yuan note! This brought many smiling ‘Rackmets! ’ from this emaciated being, this thin face etched with years out in the fields. Maybe now, however, with some money he could buy some things he desperately needed!

The next Uyghur family, another 50 meters down the dusty road, was even worse off! The father had died, the mother lie dying, wrapped in blankets, the room filled with interlopers. I felt somewhat exploitive, although this mitigated as money was generously given here too, this time to the daughter, tears pouring down her cheeks.
I mean there are times when you just don’t know what to do! I staggered outside, away from ‘death.’

I remember looking around, at the squalor, an ancient bicycle turned upside down and decaying (wish I hadn’t run out of film). I thought to myself, the sheep are better off than these people. At least they ‘don’t know,’ and don’t suffer. They’re fed, and cared for, and then they give their lives so others might survive!

Oh, what man hath wrought!

We drove back to the village proper to partake of their Saturday ‘bazaar’ (huge open markets). And amazing to me, mostly the masses of people, bumping, and shoving, yelling, and selling!

A man sharpening an axe blade, from a spinning wheel spun by cranking bicycle pedals. Meat, parts of meat, innards, outwards, blood, guts, the stink, the twitching chicken dying on the ground, pantyhose, makeup, TV, knives, clothing, everything of man’s hand there to buy. I was overwhelmed! Candy made from wheat, donuts, kebab (of course) to buy, to eat, to wear, to use! One authentic donkey-cart, sad-eyed existence… The dead sheep, their heads hung from poles, smiled at us!

What has man wrought?

A Uyghur wedding! ‘Santa Claus, death, and a wedding,’ all in one day!

I hadn’t been to a Uyghur wedding. But, our Uyghur hostess, her nephew was getting married, and she invited us in for a moment. Here the adobe compound was filled with music and laughter.

The men danced, stuffing money in the young groom’s coat pocket. Other’s sprayed the dancers with chemical ‘confetti.’

This was the ‘men’s day,’ as these weddings are three days long, the first day the groom’s party, the bride no where to be seen. Then the bride appears on the second day! Then the third day the ‘couple,’ having had a Moslem ceremony goes to live in the groom’s parent’s house. Mind you there are only 22 and 17 years old!

You can imagine what it must be like for these ‘children!’ One day playing with their toys, and without a care, the next day all the responsibility of raising a family and taking care of their parents.

The Uyghurs, basically herders and farmers, are of a custom to marry young, beget as many children as possible to help with the hard work, and then the parents in their old age. Old customs ‘die’ very slowly, especially when the people are basically uneducated and unevolved.

Back on the bus, I suppose we were all happy we weren’t poor Uyghur farmers! It seems like a very difficult and unhappy existence, at least the ones we visited. We shared with each other what we’d all brought to eat, and it was a happy group returning from a successful trip to help some of those less fortunate than we.

I enjoyed sitting and talking with ‘Judy,’ my new Chinese friend. Such a lively, and positive woman. I learned much. She even told me a joke in English:

Seems George W. Bush needed a medical examination and went to the doctor. They took a brain scan. Seems ‘W.’s’ brain is no different than anyone else’s except, as the doctor explained, ‘There’s nothing right in your left brain, and there’s nothing left in your right brain! That’s what makes you different!’ I laughed, and told her I would pass this on to my friends in the U.S.

‘Judy,’ wants me to give her a new English name, one that is both ‘profound,’ and ‘beautiful!’ I’m working on it!

We arrived back at Indy’s Café about 1430 hours / 2:30 Xinjiang Time.

A meeting was held of all the participants, comments were noted, suggestions offered, what to do, how to help others, and how to sustain the group. Donations were taken to financially support. A name was decided upon: the ‘1,2,3’ group, as that Saturday was 12.3.5.

I can only say in conclusion, that I was so proud to have been there at the beginning, to share the experience and then write about it.

I’m wishing the group much success in the future, and I plan to support in whatever way I can!

To see the children smiling,
To hear them laugh and shout,
To experience ‘endings’ and ‘beginnings,’
This is what life is all about!

F.A. Hutchison
π˛ ∆‰
‘Flying (cycling) happily!’