Thursday, May 05, 2011

loose ends and goose shins

the movie kept moving as planned

Yes, I am back in the land of heart attacks and hamburgers. I went to the hamburger garage twice within two days. My flight back involved 4 planes over the course of 24 hours. Since I have left China for good or maybe for only the time being, I have loved telling people I'm homeless when they ask where I live. When I told Jackie from HSN and Aging Backwards, she laughed and said 'Me Too!'. Moments later, she boarded the plane with the other first class passengers. I didn't. More on that later maybe. the movie kept moving as planned...

In Thailand, during my month holiday, I met several people who seemed to be professional travelers with no detectable employment. A man who once worked for a global cosmetics company told me that he had just planned to visit Thailand but had stayed. He was a Brit. An American told me an identical story and I asked him what he did for employment. 'This and that,' was his answer. A Frenchman I met on the night train from Chiang Mai had become a professional traveler. Sometimes he scouts out locations for documentaries. A German on a bus told of travels in India where he traveled for two months and felt it was not nearly long enough.

The Shan came into my life in more ways than one during my visit to Thailand. Sadness and brutality have marked them.
The Shan whom I met were sweet people who have been exploited by everyone. They are Burmese natives who have been abused by the militaristic Burmese government. Entire families raped and butchered by the Burmese army. Atrocities continue. No one notices really. What I learned by being around them is that the Shan have beautiful souls. How can we help them? Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi was put under house arrest because of her continued involvement with helping the Shan.

The Shan emigrate to Thailand where they are given jobs that no one else will do. The Thais don't like them because 300 years ago the Thai and the Shan warred. Thus the Thai do not embrace them and are less than cordial to them.

This is maybe a general assessment. Obviously every Thai is not prejudice against the Shan. However, the general climate from my perspective seems to be cat and dog.

In my hometown, the place that I have eaten since I was able to eat solid adult food has seemed to decline in quality. The recipe is different or has been altered on the restaurant's most heralded dish. The quality of the meat is no longer top quality. Yes, there is a sadness to this. But, can I really be so shallow as to lament the end of a classic dish at a family restaurant when across the globe and around the globe there is butchering on a wholesale scale? Perspective. Give me my hamburger. Let them eat goose shins.

At the same time, I am not a political writer and I am not really an activist but I did witness something or found out about something disturbing that should have attention drawn to it. Or perhaps the sand is getting crowded because of all of the other heads that are buried in it.

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