Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Leaving KL

Yesterday touching party for Katrinka and me at the school here in Kuala Lumpur where we stay. The theme was congratulating us for getting married and included looking at our wedding photos and videos (See Wedding label on the right) and cookies and cupcakes. Evening at Wai and Vidyas with food, puerh tea, sparkling grape juice toast, and music. Amrita and I played songs on the guitar and Wai played Chopin and son Arian played an amazing fierce piece from the soundtract of an anime film. Sam can play too but just did a little background with a yuke. Vidya was on drums in his office when we arrived. Such great people including Grandpa Brother and Granma Nancy. Laura and kids here at the school (Tuesday through Friday). We will miss them.

Leaving KL and this great fast fiber optic connection today. Got till noon to keep uploading. Getting the cuke video page with Youtube mirror upgraded and expanded would have taken so much longer in Bali.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Just working in KL

One day to go in KL. Have been working long hours here on the video section of Shunryu Suzuki dot com because the wifi is so fast here. This would take much longer in Bali. It's so fast, uploading doesn't even hold me up. Holiday is over. Kids are back. I'm sitting here in the main room typing and touch padding while they run around. - dc

Monday, September 28, 2015

Brother

Puerh tea. That was a highlight last night. Brother poured one me one cup, small cup, after another. Rich, dark, and valuable. Katrinka had a couple but it'd keep her up so that was it. I'd never noticed the tea collection staring at us on the shelves in the corner.  It's massive and priceless. Wheels of puerh from a few inches to like a foot. Boxes, a whole shelf full of small round containers he said are now ten years old and worth a hundred bucks each. He won't sell.


We all had dinner at his house last night - his wife Nancy, the kids - Amrita is 18 or so, Sam (girl) maybe 14, boy - name name name - is 12? Katrinka and me, Wai picked up Vidya at the airport and got there late. The kids had been lighting candles outside on the tree and sidewalk. It was the Moon Festival for the princess of the moon. Big deal for Chinese. Amrita said it's one day kids can play with fire, said they used to pile leaves on the street but can't now because the air is already too smokey.

Still in KL. Staying in the house cum school. Next door Vidya's father, grandpa. I call him brother. That's what he suggested. Don't know his name but Vidya is Soon so it's Brother Soon I'm sure. Except it's not like soon I'll be home, more like so on and so on. Before dinner we sat in front of the big hi def TV and watched golf near Munich. He has golf trophies. Talked about his wife's cancer and how she's doing, doing okay now but has a cot in the living room. She's quiet. Vegetarian dinner. We eat a lot of vegetarian food with this family - organic veg restaurant in a giant mall the other night. Noodles, rice, cabbage stew, peanuts and shallots plus in a dish, apple slices, eggs in yellow sauce - ok, so they're ovo veg. Moon cakes for desert - sweet bean paste filling.

Brother told about being in India in 62, working for a Malaysian company in Calcutta. Had to work with Hindus and Muslims. They didn't work together or talk to each other. There was a border war going on with China and people would yell at him on the street and he'd say, "I'm Malaysian" or, better, "I'm Japanese." Even flying out immigration held him and his plane up for two hours grilling him. He was glad to get home. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Industrial farming is one of the worst crimes in history

From the guardian. Good for them. Thinking about this. I have not been helping. - dc

The fate of industrially farmed animals is one of the most pressing ethical questions of our time. Tens of billions of sentient beings, each with complex sensations and emotions, live and die on a production line

Smokey

So it's smokey here today in KL. Cut our walk short because didn't want to be inhaling all that smoke. First day we've noticed it - not as bad as last year though. Showed Katrinka the field above the tunnel. We walked into it a bit but that's as far as she wanted to go - not worried about snakes but about mosquitoes. Friend of Lai Moon went into the water at Ampang Park, got bit some, died within a week of Dengue - Dengue type 1 - the hemorrhaging kind.  The mosquitoes with the white stripes carry it.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Planting Zen in Siskiyou Square

and the May Sit & Indiegogo

That's Dharma Rain's new Sodo

Here's a page for the new campus

Dharma Rain Facebook

Tea Talk

At the Petronas Towers the other day, waiting for Lai Moon, sat drinkng teh tarik (pull tea) and watched three cranes working on tearing down a building across the street and back a ways. One of them had a mega jackhammer. Like big monsters chewing on the concrete skeleton. Asked a waiter about the recent demonstrations asking the PM to step down. I told him that my Chinese Malay friend, CK, said that there were half a million demonstrating. I figured that would be like having five million in the US demanding the president resign.
The waiter said that they assembled nearby and wore yellow and that the government supporters wore red and there was some trouble from them. Lai Moon is a bit nervous about possible repercussions against the Chinese community here. She said that red shirts tried to storm Chinatown recently and were sent away by police. There's a US State Dept. suggestion not to go there now. CK said that the first day of the demonstration that it was mostly Chinese but on the second there were about forty percent indigenous Malay - Bumi Putra.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Moral Obsessions Conquered

Another day in Kuala Lumpur. Went to Indonesian Embassy yesterday - took a couple of hours, two trains and two taxis. One train was so stuffed we were all pushed up against each other. But people here are so polite and gentle - even more than Japan. No problem. After the embassy walked through a park to the Petronas Towers, no longer the tallest. Walked around outside and in with six stories of malls, seemingly endless
Met our friend Lai Moon and munched on Japanese food fair assortments. Katrinka went off with her for the night. They're at a waterfall somewhere now. I met a nice young guy on the first train who offered to drive me home. His place was a hundred feet from the station where we got off. Most kind of him.  It's Muslim Haj, pilgrimage holiday today. Walked to the mall near where we're staying and nothing was open that early except for McDonalds. I pride myself on never eating anything there - say it's not food. So I had breakfast there to rid myself of moral obsessions (that's how Gene Genet justified eating some money he was considering the right way to use). It was ok, probably better than Gene's money. Next Starbucks where I've been now for three hours drinking tea. Ate lunch here. Getting a lot of work done. On the way walking here this morning decided to find out what's above the tunnel we walk under to get here. Found a way up. It was a vast field, fifty yards wide stretching into the distance both directions. Walked calf deep in grass and growth for half an hour hoping I didn't disturb any cobras and hoping they too practiced ahimsa. Tomorrow dim sum across the street for breakfast. Back to the grind.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Militant Monks and Misnomers

The Tanah Melayu title of yesterday's post came from this line on the Malaysia Wikipedia page: 'Before the onset of European colonisation, the Malay Peninsula was known natively as "Tanah Melayu" ("Malay Land").'


Last night late late spent a delightful hour with our hosts Vidya and Wai in their home - after Katrinka and I attended a wonderful party at a neighborhood kids' resource place with lots of great food and fun games to watch. It's a holiday time. Met Vidya and Wai through Alan Senauke. It's a Buddhist Peace Fellowship connection. Mainly we see Wai when we're here because Vidya is so busy. Right now he's heading a Dengue fighting program for the government. He's flying out tomorrow to Bangkok to meet with a key militant monk. He's met with militant monks in Sri Lanka and Burma - that I know of. I don't know what he'll do but I see it as him encouraging peace and so forth. See this article on that subject. He's coming back Sunday so maybe will have time to get more out of him on that.

Anyway, he said that Tanah Melayu is not a pre colonial name. It was all separate kingdoms or whatever and that Tanah Melayu was a British creation to facilitate their extracting all the wealth they can from this part of the world. So I guess I was a colonialist dupe.

Have written periodically about Vidya and Wai and their school where we stay. Need to get that all under one roof here. - dc 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Trouble in Tanah Melayu

We're in Kuala Lumpur for nine days to get new visas for Indonesia and the Malaysia PM scandel big in the news now, but for lots of people here, especially the Chinese, the autocratic fundamentalist religious moves of the government are more threatening and have led to some very large demonstrations The PM and his party are accusing them of being unpatriotic and attempting to overthrow the government.  

Monday, September 21, 2015

Haze

Arrived in KL, Kuala Lumpur, for a nine day stay. Here to get new visas for Indonesia. The big thing here is the haze. We were here six months ago and a year ago. A year ago same thing. It was worse last year. There were fires along the freeway coming in from the airport. But usually and mainly I think it's from uncontrolled slash burning. That photo is from ten years ago. It's an Asia wide problem, world wide consequences. We walked to dinner tonight and didn't seem so bad. It's subsided here a bit from some rain.

2015 Southeast Asian haze - on the causes

Saturday, September 19, 2015

tennis

Playing tennis again. Got out of the habit at end of June when went to the retreat then married, honeymoon. Had gotten tired of the doubles game. Played a few times recently with marathon man Ian. He's 74. I'm 70. He doesn't get tired. Go to the Clay courts near here - just down the street into the Bali Beach Inna Grand Hotel - next to their golf course. There was an outdoor rock concert there today - nothing on a big scale but well amplified accompaniment. Today we played doubles with a couple of Indonesian guys who work there, one in the sports shop. I call him when we want to play and he comes and unlocks it. We played for a little over an hour. Three games then change partner so that each of us played with the other three in rotation. They're younger but it was pretty evenly matched. Kept the ball in play pretty well. Most pleasant. They don't speak much English at all so learned how to score in Indonesian.





love      = nol (zero)
fifteen  = lima belas (15)
thirty    = tiga puluh (30)
forty     = empat puluh (40)
duece    = sama (same)
advantage in, ad in = in
advantage out, ad out = aut (pronounced like out in English)
game    = lima puluh (50) - that was cool. It took a while for me to believe it.
set        = set
match   = they thought maybe there was no word
in and aut are also used when the ball's in or out of the court on a shot including for "fault."
footfault = ?
net = net
serve = serv
court - lapangan

Hunting for an image on the Internet to use with this, came up with this photo of tennis within the Kerobokan prison about an hour away. This is Scott Rush, one of the Bali Nine, a low level drug mule who is serving a life sentence.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Pedobaptism

St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church
Katrinka and I went to Kuta for the baptism of almost five month old Mary, daughter of  blind Philip and sighted Rini next door. Rode in a van with the family following a bus load of Rini's friends and relatives from the western side of the island.  Philip had been given the runaround for a month from the even larger Catholic church near us in the Renon section of Denpasar. He had a little problem with his last marriage and divorce.
No longer being a church goer but he's got a sense of tradition or something. He went to this church yesterday, talked to Father Hubert, from Java, and it was set for this morning. Rini made a call to her village at 4pm and there were about 30 of them here this morning by 8:00. The godmother who had to be Catholic is the nun who helped - she wasn't dressed like a nun to me.  Great feast afterwords at the sports bar down the street where he tends to spend some time everyday with his assistant, Nyoman.

Here's inside. Photos off Internet.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Lunch

There's this tiny warung, eating place, across the street that popped up during the Sanur Festival also across the street last month. It's got wheels and woman puts out a little table. Work going on here, Katrinka out, so walked over there and said "Sejara" meaning up to you and got nasi campur - rice with this and that mixed in. Just right - not too much. Ten thousand rupiah - sixty-nine yesterday.
The dollar is even higher. Photo above is of a couple of them back to side in Jakarta. - Here's the one where I ate below.


Zig Zag Zen returns

Zig Zag Zen is being re-released by Synergetic Press. There's a piece in it by yours truly, DC, named Psychoactivism which emphasizes the harm caused by the war on drugs as my preferred focus for Buddhists on this subject.

Here's a link to a the unedited version on cuke.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tukang Kayu


That means carpenter, skilled worker - wood. Two of them have been at it here - third day today. They're installing screens and windows and a screen door. They built them all from camphor which they call grade two wood, grade one being teak. Built them from scratch sitting on the cement carport. Very little use of power tools.

Tried to get the landlords to do it but they wouldn't even let us until our neighbor Philip did on his house and they relented. Philip's Balinese wife wouldn't let anything be open because she feared for their baby - mosquitoes. We want screens to keep mosquitoes out too and also to increase air flow.

That's Kadino in the photo, their motorbikes to his right. Philip's car. Our wall.
 
We've had to run fans a lot because, except for a high screened opening in the bathroom, the back windows are just permanent glass. They're replacing the glass with screens and installing windows that open to the side. The bedroom has windows that open out on the front and they're installing screens that open in. And a screen door here in the living room - only way to the outside unless I'm locked out and a bedroom window are unlocked.

There are very few mosquitoes around here because of the sea breeze, especially in the dry season - but there are some even now. And people get dengue. So for a year we've been shutting down at the start of dusk and turning on the air conditioning till morning. As soon as they put in the back screens yesterday afternoon, the place cooled off.

Bali traditionally had wide open homes made of wood and bamboo and thatch. It still has those but cement buildings with too few windows and poor circulation dominate. They're painting now final coat after installing - no drop cloths.

So far I'm keeping an eye on all details because there's so much shoddy work here. But there's good work too and so far these guys are good. I know them and their work because they've done a lot of work for the landlord around here. From Java - Jogjakarta. Are quiet - no chatting at all like Jesuits, like Zennies are supposed to. They eat squatting rice, veggies, some chicken or tempeh wrapped in paper. Drink only bottled water. I refill their water because we filter ours, don't buy it. They might boil theirs and just refill the bottle. They've probably got a couple more days.

It's going to cost about $150. Just asked the senior, Kadino, if he had a card. He told me get paper. I tried to hand him my little notepad but he said he didn't write - and this was only his name and phone number. He did recognize the numbers though.

Pakmin

49% down, 51 to go

Drop in marine life reaching the halfway point. However, the obvious goal of human beings to self destruct and destroy all marine life along the way is unattainable. We'll be gone before that could happen and it will come back strong too - once we're out of the way.

World Suicide Club

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Pulang

Pulang is a word in Indonesian that mean to return or go home. They use it a lot. When work was over today, a carpenter said just "Pulang." People ask you where you're going here a lot - just people you pass will call out and ask. The standard answer is jalan jalan which means going for a walk. Or ke pantai - going to the beach. All sorts of possibilities. But if you're going back home or homestay or hotel, you only need to know to say, "Pulang." It can also be used to mean to die in the right context and form. I think of the freedom song, Oh Freedom with its line, "Before I'd be a slave I'd be buried in my grave and go home to my Lord and be free."

Monday, September 14, 2015

Interfaith Dailogue

Exchange between my Catholic priest bud SF and me, DC.

DC: My drunken Brit blind Catholic neighbor is going through hoops try to get the Bishop or whomever here to let his baby be baptized. I told him to fly you in her to Denpasar but he's going to keep at it. Has to get proof of an annulment.


SF: Regarding your 'drunken Brit blind Catholic neighbor' a couple of pointers about Baptism:
1.  In an emergency, anybody can baptize.  Even an non-christian!  One would have to  intend the intentions of the Church- The Body of Christ.  One need only say "I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit," while making the sign of the cross over the child (or person).    Its better with the child's name.  Its better with clean, flowing water- even 'holy water.'
2.  But if the family w

ants the baptism recorded officially by the Church so that the child can go on to First Communion and Confirmation and later Marriage in the Church, then you have to do it through the local parish and /or Bishop.  Those clergy are probably pretty conservative.
3.  If they hit a dead end, tell them to write to Pope Francis.  Why should the Child be deprived of the Grace of Baptism because the parents are disorganized and the local church is hard-hearted and un sympathetic.  The Vatican might help.

DC: Just read that to Philip. He says thanks. I'm not sure it's his annulment. Now I think it's hers. He got his church to email his baptism proof and said that she wasn't Catholic and unlike Judaism, Catholicism is patrilineal and it shouldn't matter. I didn't ask for clarification at this time cause his drinking buddy attendant he said was at his farm drying out for today and didn't want to get caught up. He's standing in the pool leaning on the edge. His Bali wife brought him some coffee. They're like royalty. I've never seen her do anything for him. I almost never see her hold her baby - her helper does that and bottle feeds it. Incidentally, she had to become Catholic to marry him because there's a law in Indonesia that you have to both be the same religion and even Christianity is divided into Catholic and Protestant. Even the two of them can't get married without one changing. I know a man married to a Muslim woman here and asked him what he did and he said became a Muslim for a day.

SF: I'LL BE real interested to know what those Catholic clerics do with the 'Christian for a day concept'?  If your are married in the Church what's the problem? Seems to me, all the have to do is agree to raise and educate the child as a Catholic.  What actually happens is another thing maybe.  I once felt the 'breath of Shiva' that impressed me deeply.  But I don't tell that to Bishops or other hierarchs who feel defensive about whatever...

DC: Not Christian for a day - she has no problem being Christian because there's really nothing required of her but to register with the government. She'll be happy to go to church with him or whatever. Balinese see it all as the same. What they're really into is the local spirits. Even the Muslims here offer to the spirits. Like Japan where Shinto is in their hearts and Buddhism is for funerals and memorial services. But my Aussie friend who was Muslim for a day meant that. He had no interest in going back.

SF: I think that's what I've come to. I understand the theologies I guess.  But I really believe in the 'genius loci.' Maybe I would like it there.  But not this year.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

One God

I've noticed there's a sort of rote line locals use when describing Hinduism here in Bali. They'll throw in that there's only one god. Seems to me to be a diplomatic thing to say considering the predominance of monotheists in Indonesia. Their Hinduism here is pretty full of spirits good and bad. Must be pre Hindu local shamanic stuff mixed in. I call it voodoo Hindu. There's some Buddhism in it too. - dc

Outrage over Killed Lion

I'm sorry that Cecil was shot by that dentist with a crossbow. Find the enormous amount of outrage most interesting. It reminds me of a scene in a disaster movie where zillions of people and animals are getting killed, the whole world threatened, and we the audience are for a time only concerned about the survival of one dog. I wish that same compassionate energy could be channeled into concern for the biosphere which we are collectively trashing but I guess survival of vertebrates is too abstract. - dc  

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ted Marshall needs help

The fundraising page for Ted - Our goal is to raise $50k in three months, and that’s still just a drop in the bucket.

Feel free to email that person directly or send me his or her name to follow up. And if you have any questions, please write to this address FriendsofTedandSharry@gmail.com.

Tailor

We have used several local tailors and leather workers with little hole in the wall places. They do good work cheaply. I have to get sandles with good arch support and have worn out two pair. Local leather guy fixes them for about 75 cents US and says he'll make me a new pair but he keeps putting that off. Have a small backpack for going to the morning market and it gets so weighted down have to get the straps fixed. Same price. We've bought sarongs and had them made into napkins for gifts to friends passing through. Mentioned to Katrinka I'd like another pair of linen pants like the one bought online in the US (for $90) before coming here that's wearing out.
She took my older one to the tailor on the corner with a nice shop who does suits and stuff - not for anyone I know. She also gave him, for shortening the legs because I walk on my pants cuffs, pants she'd gotten 2nd hand and some nice ones she got for our wedding and then opted for other pants for that. Yesterday picked up the new linen pants and the two others. Total cost about $32.  That photo is off the web.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Procession by the beach

Yesterday, as I finally got back to shore, somewhat exhausted by the struggle against the current, a procession went by. There must have been 500 people dressed almost entirely in white, women carrying offerings on their heads, men with parasols and flags of single colors - red, yellow, orange, one the holy checkered black and white, a long white banner running over the heads twenty or so people who held it up, gamalon chiming, and two with elaborate boxes that might have been ashes. I sat in the warm water and watched them go by. Photo off web. - dc

Monday, September 7, 2015

Struggle to get back

Swimming is known as an excellent, low impact exercise. I've only recently started thinking of swimming that way. The ocean in Sanur is perfect for that. It's calm - the waves are out by the reef a couple hundred yards out - but it's got a current that pulls to the side and out to a lesser extent depending on where. I can do a backstroke if there's even a foot of water by the shore. It gets deeper gradually.
I go out beyond the jetty to where the current is stronger, past the floating globes that I guess are to protect swimmers and waders from passing boats. Then try to get back in to the place on the shore from which I started. Its hard to do. If I fail, I'll just go to the side beyond the jetty, and have to walk back down the beach. Twenty minutes is enough and then back to the computer which I call work.  That photo grabbed from the web is the very place. - dc

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Is Total Surveillance Inevitable?


Jackfruit to you

Nangka, another fruit haven't seen in the US sort of frightened me at first because they look a little like the foul smelling and popular durian and they get even bigger. We've never bought one cause of their size but every now and then are served it raw or cooked and it's good, smooth, not challenging. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

A Sanur Cowboy Story

Blind Brit Philip next door plays Johnny Cash songs a lot. Sometimes I know his car, driven by Nyoman Mabuk (drunk), is approaching by the Ring of Fire. Philip says he met Johnny Cash when he was a teenager. He was working in an upscale London toy store when a man came in at about closing time and said he was interested in the model cowboy town in the display window. It was elaborate and expensive. Philip told him to come back the next day, went and checked out. The next day he arrived for work to learn he'd been fired for sending Johnny Cash away.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Green Bananas

Our favorite bananas here are green. They don't turn yellow. Took a while to realize that. At the morning market we pay about 1000 rupies each - little over 7 cents. The woman with the stall right inside the door charges three times that much. Took a while to realize that too.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Dungeon Diminishing

Best Time of Year

That average temperature chart shows there's not a big difference in the degrees but there is in how it feels. I guess it's the wind factor. 23C is 73F and 31C is 88F.
Kim who's been in Bali for twenty thirty years or so said yesterday that the August weather is what attracted her. It is nice. A little windy, cloudy sometimes. Ocean's cooler. Generally pretty nice. It's September but it's the same now - July's good too and June's not bad - winter weather here but no one says winter. It's the dry season. Actually it never seems too hot to me here - not like India or Texas in the summer. - dc