In Search Of Enlightenment

In the new Tibet, all nuns must have a diploma in Chinese. I’m sure that is not the only condition. They must also be politically correct. Outsiders and tourists may not see anything wrong, but the real Tibetan teachings and practices are slowly but surely being wiped away. Those who insist on enlightenment have to find a different path in pragmatic, result-oriented China.

It’s an interesting irony that in spite of all the discouragement and disincentives, many Han Chinese people have grown to embrace Buddhist philosophy and contribute monetarily to the preservation of Tibetan culture and traditions. But as the system demands greater integration and “unification”, that situation might be forced to change.

You can see footage of a sky burial in the video. Yes, those were human bones freshly stripped of flesh. The amazing documentary shows a Tibet that tourists will probably never see. Annie was determined to find the convent that teaches the secret yoga and as the rinpoche at Tiger’s Nest revealed (only after making an effort to discourage Annie) that there really is such a place.

“If you are looking for “freedom” in this world, then you better learn Chinese. If you want freedom from this world, then go sit (and meditate) in a cave”.

I’m not so sure about the “mad saint”. Notice that he walked barefooted on snow and sat naked under a cascade of glacial melt. Could he have prostrated all the way to Lhasa?

She finally found the “temple” which would be better described as a field nunnery. The nuns here practised some form of asceticism and the abbess claimed to have witnessed a senior member vanish in a flash of light upon death. Could it be a case of spontaneous combustion?

It’s a very interesting documentary. I wish I could do this trek some day.

Dewdrop Books – Fiction and non-fiction with a focus on the colourful and exotic Asian realm. Check out our titles.

James Wong’s SARS Concert

Born in Guangdong in 1941, James Wong migrated to Hong Kong with his family in 1949. Known for his lewd humour and vulgar works, James Wong was actually a well-educated and talented man. He completed his secondary education at La Salle College. In 1963, he graduated from the Chinese Department, Faculty of Arts of the University of Hong Kong. Wong received an MPhil degree from the University of Hong Kong in 1983 for his study in Cantonese opera. In May 2003, in the midst of his fight with lung cancer, he obtained a PhD degree from the Department of Sociology, University of Hong Kong. The title of his thesis was “The Rise and Decline of Cantopop : A Study of Hong Kong Popular Music (1949–1997)”.

Beginning from the 1960s, James Wong was the lyricist for over 2,000 songs, collaborating with composer Joseph Koo on many popular TVB TV drama theme songs, many of which have become classics of the genre. His works pushed the development of Cantopop to unprecedented popularity.

This concert was held about a year before he died in 2004. Hong Kong survived SARS. The former colony even survived Covid. Sadly, it won’t survive 国安法. Colourful characters like James Wong, even if they emerged in future, will no longer have an opportunity to express themselves.

Dewdrop Books – Fiction and non-fiction with a focus on the colourful and exotic Asian realm. Check out our titles.

Long Live The Emperor

This TV series (made in China) features Ming Dynasty’s founding emperor Zhu Yuan Zhang 朱元璋 as a no-nonsense ruler who rooted out corruption to a tee. But as with all MIC productions in recent years, this one had to be “educational” and “politically correct”. What better way than to portray a corruption-fighting Chinese emperor lifting the country from the gutter created by the Yuan Dynasty? Do watch it. It’s really quite entertaining.

Apparently, Justice Bao was not impactful enough. Why Zhu Yuan Zhang? Well, the real Zhu Yuan Zhang is known to be a control freak who employed draconian measures to force migration to depopulated regions. He also ruthlessly rooted out corruption and disloyalty, ordering massacres of communities that refused to submit.

Paranoid about uprisings and power struggles, Zhu created China’s first secret police, the 锦衣卫 to spy on his subjects. Suspects were treated mercilessly. Over 1,000 offences were punishable by death. Zhu also confiscated land and redistributed it to the peasants. China then was a strictly regimented and self-sufficient society with its doors closed to all barbarians at its borders. Trade was discouraged, merchants and traders were despised while farmers were supported with massive agricultural projects. The audience is persuaded to accept Zhu Yuan Zhang’s way as the best way to cure the country of its ills.

I didn’t watch the entire series, but they probably didn’t mention that Zhu also promoted Islam (China had more Muslims during the Ming Dynasty than any other dynasty) and he had 30,000 people executed because one man plotted against him. He also wanted all his consorts to be buried alive with him when he died. Emperors will be emperors. May China never suffer from imperial rule again.

Dewdrop Books – Fiction and non-fiction with a focus on the colourful and exotic Asian realm. Check out our titles.