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Podcast 2019
Middle Kingdom Podcasts (2005-2017)

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The Language Company
Timothy M. Leonard's books on Goodreads
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Entries in street photography (2)


Ice Girl

  Red dust Banlung town turned windy.

Swirling quality gem stone particles and degrees of indifference spiraled through air.

Redwood slats covered open sewer drains.

  Locals watched Leo with curiosity and suspicion.

They stared from a deep vacuum.

When he made eye contact they glanced away with fear, uncertainty and doubt.

They didn’t see many strangers here.

They listened at 49% or less saying yeah, yeah with panache.

  Leo's questions were constantly repeated.

  Questions grew tired of repeating themselves.

This is so fucking boring, said one question.

We are abused. We are manipulated and rendered mute. Useless.

It's a test, said another question. Patience is our great teacher.

I’ll try, said another question.

Yes, said a question, these non-listeners

have a distinct tendency to say more

and say it louder when they’re leaving,

when their back’s turned away from eye contact and potential real communication.

I’ve seen that too, said a question, who, until this moment had remained silent.

My theory is that it’s because of the genocide and fear. It’s also a delicate mixture of stupidity or indifference, said another question. Why is the most dangerous quest-ion, said one.

  Can you explain, asked a question.

Sure, people ran away to survive. People started running and others would ask them a question like

why are you running, who’s chasing you, where are you going

or what’s the matter or when

did you become afraid or why don’t you

stay longer and the one running would keep going

trailing abstract question words behind them

like memories or disembodied spirits or molecules of indifferent breath.

I see, said a question.

That explains it. Yes, said a question. Being correct is never the point. Tell me why oh my.

Ice Girl in Banlung



The Chunchiet animist people bury their dead in the jungle. Life is a sacred jungle.

  Animists believe in the universal inherent power of nature world. The Tompoun and Jarai, among animist world tribes have sacred burial sites. 

  The Kachon village cemetery is one hour by boat on the Tonle Srepok River from Voen Sai near Banlung. It is deep in the jungle. You need permission from the village chief to visit.

  I was there.

  The departed stays in the family home for five days before burial. Once a month family members make ritual sacrifices at the site.

  The village shaman dreams the departed will go to hell. In their spirit story dream the shaman meets LOTH, Leader of the Hell who asks for an animal sacrifice. The animist belief says sacrificing a buffalo and making statues of the departed will satisfy LOTH. It will renew the spirit and return it to the family.

  After a year family members remove old structures, add two carved effigies, carve wooden elephant tusks, create new decorated roofs and sacrifice a buffalo at the grave during a festive week-long celebration with food and rice wine for the entire village. 

  New tombs have cement bases and carved effigies with cell phones and sunglasses. Never out of touch.

  See your local long distance carrier for plans and coverage in your area. The future looks brighter than a day in a sacred jungle.

  Fascinating, said Leo, a shaman monk from Tibet.

  Walking is the best form of travel, said Rita. Take your time quickly. How did you get here?

  Leo said: By walking. The paved road from Pakse, Laos to NE Cambodia is for tourist buses.

Grow Your Soul