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Middle Kingdom Podcasts (2005-2017)

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Mr.Tuk Tuk

A metallic Cambodian loudspeaker spoke, Now here this, The tuk-tuk is leaving in five minutes, Departing for points unknown, A massive short celestial event known as YOUR LIFE will depart in five minutes. 

You are advised to assemble all the necessary documents, certified seals of approval, water, invisible guide books, sunscreen, funny money and so will visit the Mind-At-Large on your short, fast, easy tour.

Bring your life with you, And a glossy greasy Laughing Planet guidebook with heavily creased pages. If you attempt to read while moving at the speed of light or 186,000 miles per second you will discover a new sense of perspective.

You may be surprised or traumatized depending on your perception to realize your experience at Angkor is not about seeing the temples. You will DO Angkor. Get the t-shirt. Check it off your list. Less is more.

Please conclude all private and group discussions, disagreements or arguments with your fellow travelers to ascertain your destination. Talking time is finished. 

The tuk-tuk driver has his helmet and vest. His vest has a green four-digit number. If he tries to bring you into Angkor without the vest he faces massive surprises. For starters he will lose his job and have to return to his small distant isolated village where he will plant rice and provoke white cows with socialist Marxist production tools to pull the plow through mud.

The biggest dream for many young Cambodian men is to become a tuk-tuk driver. If he loses his tuk-tuk job his family will starve to death. This is a common problem here. Death by starvation. If you survive you win. 

If he dies you will be held in escrow. (Old French; a scrap, a roll of parchment)

A tuk-tuk river driver has an easy job. An easy life. He drives you to a temple and crashes out. You feed him. He takes you back where you started. He makes $15-20 for the day. 

The average Cambodian’s daily wage is $2.03.

Not a single woman in Siem Reap is a tuk-tuk driver. There are 3-4 women tuk-tuk drivers in Phnom Penh. They are as rare as clean drinking water, sanitation, hospitals and schools. Women work in massage parlors, restaurants and guest houses. They are the guest and you are the house. 

Your house has many symbolic rooms. The basement is where your unconscious lives breaths-laughs and dances, where it reveals inner vision. Clean all your rooms. Take out the garbage. Explore your diverse rooms. 

Don’t sweat the small stuff, it’s all small stuff. You are the housekeeper of perception, sensation, form, symbols and nothing.

A woman doesn't work as a tuk-tuk driver because: 

-it's too dangerous

-it's inappropriate

-it's foolish

-they lack the education, intelligence, drive, initiative

-they haven't broken free of deeply ingrained social and cultural stereotypes: a woman's place is in the home, producing offspring, taking care of kids and the elderly, washing, cleaning, and cooking

-their family will kill them with love and affection

Thirty years ago a Cambodian woman was lucky to finish 9th grade. She married and stayed at home. She produced children in assembly line operations with the highest quality control standards known to modern medicine and umbilical chords.

It will take another generation before women become tuk-tuk drivers. Tisk, tisk, tuk, tuk.

Your mother was appointed to have you.


Papa Neutrino


Mr. Neutrino floated away on his raft. Before sailing away he left some instructions. He believed in human potential, joy, creativity and freedom. 



1. If you could only do one more thing before you die, what would it be? In order to answer this, you must set aside all considerations of whether you think you CAN do it or not, how much time it would take, what kind of efforts or money would be needed, etc., and especially what anyone else would think. Simply assume for the purpose of this MENTAL exercise, that you WILL be able to do whatever it is you name, but that as soon as you've completed it, your life is over. It's the ONLY thing you're going to do. Write your answer down, with the date. 

2. Now, by special grace, and because you are moving toward the one thing you want most, you are going to get to do a second thing, in addition. What would it be? Write that down, as number 2.

3. And, finally, you are given an opportunity for a third and last thing, in addition to your first and second choices. Write it down as well.

OK, now you've found your top three desires in life, at least for now. Don't worry if the answers are different tomorrow, the important thing right now is just to ask and answer from as deep a place as possible.

Next, you are going to rate your seven levels. You might want to print out the Seven Levels description for easy reference.


This process is going to give your unconscious mind information about your own personal evaluation of how your life is going for you on each of your seven levels. You are going to rate each level as it is now, today, based on a scale of 1-10.

The 10 is your own personal best that you have ever experienced in each level, whether it was a single peak experience or a particularly good and satisfying time period, whether it is now or at some time in the past. If this is the first time you have done this rating, you will need to think a little and name to yourself when that 10 was, picture it as fully as you can, so you know clearly what your 10 is in each level.

Then compare this to where you feel you are now in each level, and give your present status a number. Do not use any ideal or theoretical experiences as your 10, nothing you've read about or hoped for, only what you personally have actually experienced. From time to time you will have experiences that go beyond your present 10, creating a new benchmark for comparison.

Write down your present rating numbers for each level. 
1. Instinctive -
2. Sexual -
3. Imitative -
4. Emotional -
5. Intellectual -
6. Higher Emotional -
7. Higher Intellectual



Polyommatus Blue Butterflies


In a series of evolutionary waves over millions of years, Nabokov theorized they started in Asia, flew over the warm Bering Strait and down to Chile. It wasn't chilly in Chile. It was warm swarming with butterflies. 

His passion as a self-taught lepidopterist into their 10 million years flight has been vindicated by gene-sequencing scientists headed by Dr. Naomi Pierce, curator of lepidoptera at Harvard. She was captivated by his idea of butterflies coming from Asia. “It was an amazing, bold hypothesis,” she said. “And I thought, ‘Oh, my God, we could test this.’ ”

NYT,





china blue


Ah, what a great winter in China! I don't make much money as a university teacher you understand, so I use it carefully and wisely. Family is big deal here and to avoid relationship clashes of dynastic proportions, I shelled out roughly $200, or a third of my salary, for a round trip train ticket home.

After paying my totalitarian university an exorbitant rental fee for my drab, empty apartment plus electricity and water, I barely had enough left over for soggy onions, fresh spinach, tofu, rice and fruit.

Home is where, they say, the heart is. Well let me give you a little advice about that. I left my heart in San Francisco, ha. Singing, living and playing the blues, which is life's way of talking, I dutifully lugged my broken suitcase home to hearth and kin.

So much guilt, inherent DNA shame and Duty. I am overwhelmed by the heavy burden of my family's expectations.

After fulfilling all my academic responsibilities meaning pass all the students or face the dire consequences given to me by the University Authorities who, will for the sake of Social Stability and Harmonious Educational Reform Committees, remain faceless, nameless and totally obscure, I escaped from my prison.

It took twenty-two long, boring, tedious endless hours sitting in hard seat with three transfers before I reached my province near North Korea. Coltrane train stations were packed out with millions of homeless migrants, laborers and naked freezing prostitutes looking for a John and some of my favorite things like humans without a wing, hope, prayer or a lay text raincoat. The ancient Oracle predicted this reality.

Mothers and fathers formed concentric protective circles around their children to prevent thieves from stealing them. Stolen kids are a HUGE underground economy here as you may or may know. People will gladly pay large sums for a boy because they have a higher value in our free vibrant economy.

Human life is cheap here. Stealing, Selling, Trading and Buying children is how things work.

Speaking of work, I've gotta run because I must help mother with the cleaning, shopping and endless chores. If I don't perform my filial duties she may threaten to sell me. I'll be returning to my other life as a teacher after I report back for Duty and will file another report using a proxy to evade the Great Wall firewall gremlins and spies.



Chalk it up to experience in a Chinese classtomb.

Tarek Bouazizi


Tarek Bouazizi, 26, finally had enough of the endless cycle of bribery, threats, and corruption. He sold vegetables on the streets in the small town of Sidi Bouzid in Tunisia where the unemployment rate was 30%.

He loved poetry. He supported his mother, uncles, and five brothers and sisters at home.

He set himself on fire. He died. Tunisians grabbed their chance at freedom. The dictator of 23 years ran away. Middle Eastern and North African despots and autocratic dictators went into denial mode.

Oh no, we're next, they cried. Yemen, Libya, and Egypt gave the police and military more money to protect their intractable insatiable greed to maintain power and control. They decreased the price of food to temporarily appease hungry people.  

Protect us in our castles and mansions. Protect us from educated individuals demanding human rights, equality and an end to the charade, to our reign of economic terror. Protect us from desperate citizens setting themselves on fire. Protect us from the aftermath.

You have to sacrifice the peel to enjoy the fruit.


Read more, NYT.