If you're a Deadhead in Asia, here's your new clubhouse... Welcome, and make yourselves at home!
At the holiest shrine for Buddhists in Nepal, the Boudha Stupa in the Boudha district of Nepal, another Tibetan has self-immolated. Deadheads who are not Buddhists might recognize the Seeva foundation's symbol of the eyes. These eyes are actually representations of the Buddha's eyes that are painted on this famous monument of the Buddha's enlightenment in the 4 directions of the dome-shaped monument (with a square top) to the Buddha's enlightenment.
At this famous World Heritage Site on August 6th, the following was reported in The Himalayan Times:
"A 38-year old monk called Karma Ngedon Gyatso died after setting himself on fire at the Boudha stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal, yesterday (August 6). Karma Ngedon Gyatso, who was unable to walk due to a severe disability, had arrived in exile from Tibet in October, 2011. Tibetans who knew him describe him as deeply religious. It is the second fatal self-immolation by a Tibetan monk in Kathmandu this year after Drupchen Tsering set himself on fire in February, also at the Boudha stupa.
Although I was there in Boudha at the time I was busy moving from my hotel to my relative's home a few miles away. Many of my relatives own shops selling religious paintings around the stupa and I usually do my kora (circumambulation of the stupa) every morning around this time.
The Government of Nepal had announced a few days earlier that is had finished setting up surveillance cameras in the area aftere the first Tibetan self-immolation at the stupa. From what I could see two cameras were visible that only covered the main internal entrance to the monument. I'm sure that will change. The Nepali government is under tremendous pressure from the Chinese Government (who have ruled over and subjugated the Tibetan people since about 1950, driving the Dalai Lama into exile in 1959). It is not too strong a statement to say the Chinese are trying to assimilate the Tibetan culture and failing that will finish the job with genocide.
The afternoon of the fifth I found a Free Tibet sticker in my suitcase and stuck it in a window in one of the monasteries that form the circle surrounding the ancient monument. I came back a few hours later with some tape to make sure it stuck there. Somebody had already taken it down.
The Boudha monument has become a focal point for Freet Tibet demonstrations in Nepal. The shopkeepers want to keep it a tourist area and World Heritage Site so they can continue to profit from the many tourists who visit every year. The Nepali government wants to keep the aid roiling in from the Chinese who don't like Free Tibet demonstrations, never mind control the Nepali government to such a degree they don't even allow the The Dalai Lama to visit.
Well, it was a sad end to a beautiful visit and I yet again am reminded of places in this world where people will do anything to flee authoritarian governments where the oppression is unimaginable.
Unimaginable means that the people are willing to self-immolate in protest because they have no other method to reach the rest of the world with their message. This pathos is too much to bear. Will it end when there are no Tibetans left as a separate ethnic identity?
If yu've been to Asia then you know this story:
A poor person wants to do some menial service for you like shine your shoes for what amounts to a few cents. They speak English more or less and invite you to their home. Their home is down an alleyway and across a street and down another twisting road through a rice paddy until you reach a slum of such unbelievable proportion it makes you want to break down and cry right then and there. The whole slum is built from plastic and sticks laid out in squares like a former UN refugee camp. But these people have been living there for years.
Of course, you had to be courageous enough to believe nobody was going to waylay you. But all you encountered were smiling people greeting you warmly in the middle of this squalor.
So you pull what amounts to ten dollars out of your pocket and give it to the guy and his family and you cry for humanity all the way back to your air-conditioned hotel. His wife smiles tears of gratitude as she holds their baby.
Life is too real some times...
It is hot, and then it rain, and then there are rainbows. In an endless pattern as old as the earth itself and now being changed by global warming.
Strange trip it's been!
The Tibetans are tense at their main place in the Kathmandu Valley (Never mind being tense in Tibet). It seems as if there is a plan afoot to wipe them out of Nepal, though they still throw some weight because of capital infusion from Westerners (Buddhists, tourists mostly) who visit them.
There are now surveillance cameras at the Boudhanath Stupa. They don't want anymore self-immolations by Tibetans.
We should thank Snowden for cluing us in. Besides the Utah NSA facility there is one in Britain, 5 in Australia and 1 in New Zealand. This is the corporate Anglos getting ready to "contain" China, along with the rest of us.
WAKE UP EVERYBODY!
You know me, I'll give a bit of travelogue to anybody who cares to read a serial.
In this here concrete jungle called Kathmandu the Hindus rule the Mongolians. The Mongolians have been making a revolution since around 1990. They got rid of the King and monarchy in 2006 and Maoists (Maoists! Can you believe it?) came to power a few years after. The mainline democrat and republican establishment Hindu parties and the government bureaucracy (composed of 90% Hindus) went into total noncooperation.
The mood is grim here. The old Maoist government was finally toppled by changing the Constitution, which hasn't even been written yet. The Chief Supreme Court Justice now runs an interim government until new elections can be held, which a large minority don't see as fair.
The US and other European countries, of course, want elections. Including the Carter Centre who wants to monitor them for fairness. Fairness? In a place where most of the people are illiterate and there are hardly any roads in most of the country. People can't even register to vote.
This morning I woke up in a room where a young man had left his country to pursue his engineering degree. His parents had to get him out because he was part of the revolution. Next to a picture of him on the wall was a screened drawing of Che Guevara. Che! Goodnight Che! Good morning Che!
The Mongolian Nepali descent people here are like niggers in America. They will not stop until they have equal rights, resources and representation. And I don't blame them.
we'll be glad to hear your reports from the field. And the summit.
Ka-ka-ka-ka-Kathmandu! ...as the old song goes.
It's monsoon, the mood is grim in this city of the concrete jungle (Jungle!)
family to see, things to do.
I would especially appreciate ANY deadheads here in the Valley to PM me.
Lots of temples to see!
If you've been here before you know this is a beautifully landscaped city near the equator. The people are very jolly and the easily laughing sort. Singapore is extremely neat and orderly. But not in the German sense. You don't even jaywalk here. Litter or spitting on the sidewalk results in a few lashes with the cane fine. I ain't kidding. We're talking draconian!.
Well, it's nice to see a place you've never been before.
Well, I'm here. Singaporeans are a delightful people, but it is hot! How hot? Damn Hot! & humid too.
Can't imagine there are deadheads here but in the strangest of places -- I know down under and \I ain\t far from there...
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