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Middle Kingdom Podcasts (2005-2017)

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The Language Company
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Unspoken Excuses


Lhasa and provincial turmoil continues. People expect massive retaliation. A news blackout, ghettos, death and more exiles streaming away, remembering. Suffering.

Here, the woman studying, holding the paper on the metro was amazing and sad, at the same time.

How it was her eternal, endless source of concern, how her Eastern far village distant eyebrows thick and black like furrows in frozen fields narrowed when she opened the paper to read the numbers.

She knew how to count and read. She was about forty with two kids and an unemployed husband. She worked as a cleaner and the man observing her was hidden behind dark glasses, old silent whispers - he could tell her immediate destiny was there, spit out by a bank machine after a teller pressed a series of buttons on a keyboard labelled "distractions" and "debits."

She hoped, by folding the single sheet into thirds it would change the numbers, the stone cold reality but it didn't work that way. She looked at it. She folded it. She opened it and looked at it again. She kept repeating the folding and staring, folding and staring.

Once, when she unfolded it her eyes dropped into a swimming ocean where letters and numerals intermarried, forming new spoken and written languages filled with word-pictures and the longer she stared, the deeper her heart and mind realized how futile her effort had been was. Everything before and after her life was on that single piece of paper.




Friends in Lhasa


"What I do today is important because I am paying a day of my life for it. What I accomplish must be worthwhile because the price is high."

I'm sitting here in Asia Minor wondering how friends in Lhasa are coping with their new reality. The news blackout makes it difficult to know the extent of destruction and suffering. I have changed their names to protect their identity.

Tsering, a gentle young man living and working with his mother and sisters; shopkeepers in the Barkhor. Remembering how we walked the kora, the circle of prayer around and around, talking as he shared his dreams of returning to Amdo and being a teacher. We were surrounded by peaceful, devout pilgrims making offerings. How he led me into the Chinese owned and managed concrete mini-plaza where Tibetan women offered coral and turquoise stones. How we haggled, enjoyed their company, laughed and continued on our way.

We met again one day during Losar, the Tibetan New Year, at Deprung Monastery outside Lhasa. They'd climbed through the series of temples, making offerings, saying their prayers. We shared butter tea with his mother and her friends overlooking the Lhasa valley.

I remember Shalu, a young Muslim girl studying English, also dreaming of being a teacher. Having been to her home for a meal and conversation with her family I feel she is safe from the chaos.

Her friend, Dorje, is a doctor at a Tibetan hospital. I imagine she is taking care of her patients with loving kindness and working under extreme stress.

A Tibetan photographer and his Chinese wife, a painter, and their young daughter I met climbing the mountain above Drepung to release our prayer flags during Losar. How they graciously invited me to their home for fruit, tea and conversation.

I remember all the kind compassionate people in Lhasa.

May all of them be well. Light a candle.


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Lhasa locked down - demonstrations spread


Lhasa remains locked down. Informers are offered rewards. Fear and money and paranoia are great motivators. Reports indicate demonstrations in Gansu and Sichuan.

A young Tibetan monk was less circumspect about government restrictions on the proposed march from India to Tibet. After all, said Tenzin Damchoe, the Indian-born child of Tibetan refugees, Tibetans had learned the art of the peaceful protest march from Gandhi. “It’s a little bit disgrace,” Mr. Damchoe, 30, said.

As for the revolt inside Tibet, he said he could only imagine the worst. “They crushed their own people,” he said of the Chinese response to the Tianemen Square pro-democracy protests in 1989. “There’s no doubt they will crush the Tibetan people.”

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Demonstrations, some peaceful, others violent, against the brutal repressive Chinese regime continue around the world. They blame separatists and outside influences. They blame the Dalai Lama.

He said he was aware that the Chinese government blamed him for fomenting rebellion. “I’m happy they found some scapegoat,” he said, in half-jest, and then described what he said were deep-rooted grievances.

“Whether the Chinese government admits it or not, there is a problem. The problem is a nation with ancient cultural heritage is actually facing serious dangers,” he said. “Whether intentionally or unintentionally, some kind of cultural genocide is taking place.” (NYT linked below for full story)

The Drapchi prison outside of Lhasa will be overflowing with newly incarcerated monks, nuns and civilians. They will be tortured and some will die. New refugees will flee across the Himalayas.

Light a candle.

Practice nonviolence.


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Riots in Lhasa


It is with a heavy heart I am reading and hearing about riots and loss of life in Lhasa.

It began on March 10th when monks were arrested following a peaceful protest of the 49th anniversary of a failed uprising. On the 11th, police used tear gas to break up peaceful rallies. Police sealed off key Lhasa monasteries on the 12th - Drepung, Sera and Ganden. Rioting started on the 14th.

Reports coming out of the capital indicate that monks from the Rampoche monastery, about 1/2 mile from central Lhasa making a peaceful march were confronted by the Chinese People's Army.

Reports indicate that young Tibetans may have been involved in torching a tourist bus and looting and burning Chinese owned businesses. Their frustration over the heavy handed Chinese military and secret police presence, ongoing deterioration of religious freedom and proliferation of Chinese business - an insidious economic genocide - especially in the central Barkhor area has turned violent.

Restricted religious freedom in monasteries, mass arrests and torture have been a way of life for Tibetans since 1959. 1.2 million Tibetans have died. Thousands fled over the Himalayas.

Tibetans continue peaceful rallies and speaking out against the oppression in Nepal, India and other countries around the world.

You can hear about my experiences in Tibet in Middle Kingdom podcasts #20 and #24.


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BBC - Lhasa report


#9 Extorts


Welcome to the Explorers Club. You are client #9 and I charge a cool $1,000 an hour to write and read this. The large print giveth and the small print taketh away.

So, it's like this, I am a Diamond Writer and work for a writing extort, escort biz, honey.

I admit, up front that I had a difficult childhood; you know, filled with neglect, abuse, broken pencils, jammed typewriters and such. Parchment was hard to get a hold of, rather like the angle of this piece of sensational sleaze.

I survived, changed my name from Sleazy to Pleasy and signed up, signed on and signed off on a lucrative pay-as-you-go dream job, although, to be honest, music is my first love.

My first single was...
My second single was...
My next single is singing for the grand jury. Finally, I have an audience of more than one.


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