From a Comment (plus extemporising rant)

... in response to a button-pressing comment here: -

Having said all that, after a few beers here, I am so totally over cruising into 3rd world countries AS A TOURIST and expecting to see something cute and primitive in the 'noble savage' tradition that will in some way 'entertain' me.

To live the poor life as the locals do in India or Vietnam or rural China is to do it really tough, tough beyond a modern Westerner tourists ability to conceive... Everyday has be met and overcome again, this is not a temporarily roughing-it, back-packer thing for them.

So enjoy the excellent coffee (ask for white - it will still be black) enjoys the mainstream restaurants and climb down in the tunnels, etc... and laugh with the locals who are so very friendly and yeah don't give to the beggars, they really are run by guys in big black Mercedes.


In fact, obviously I am so conflicted about Asia that I don't know WHAT the fuck to advise, what to recommend, what to do... It's just this huge fucking unfair mess of repression and poverty and exploitation. In a tropical setting...

As my ex-flat mate called his book on Asia (based on his New Yorker articles from the late 90's) - Lands of Charm and Cruelty...

OK one thing to strongly recommend about SEA...


Every dollar you spend there supports one of the nastiest regimes around. (Also DO NOT CALL IT MYANMAR - even though it is just a different way of spelling of the word, it was coined by the regime.)



So sure, I am happy to stay in the best possible hotels that they will pay for WHEN I AM ON BUSINESS... ones that have Vegemite at breakfast preferably. Somehow, and I may be severely mistaken, I may have my dumb head right up my huge insensitive arse, somehow I feel that this is less hypocritical, less offensive, less damaging.

I am not pretending to be anything other than a "business man" on these business trips - I was the only guy in the Mekong with a tie on this week.. .

As a tourist, OK I prefer the term "foreign vacationer", depending upon where I am, I try to go low-medium places, and not just because it's my money...

In fact no I don't. I don't like being a tourist or whatever you call it, at all any more.

I'm going to stay at home, hide my head under the sheets and cry myself to sleep.

I'm too confused to have an opinion, too lost to go anywhere, too sensitive to feel anything but pain for the world, for the poor people in Vietnam, in Thailand, in Burma for who have to suffocate in containers in the search for a salary of less than $10 a day.



Posted by: expat@large on Apr 13, 08 | 1:06 am | Profile


There is no balance in the world, and it is a result of human nature or communism would not have been a failed experiment and run by dictators like Kim Jong in basically every example you can see. We do it to ourselves

Back to the home front, how are the feet? Was all the pain worth it for an improvement or not?

Posted by: sino man on Apr 13, 08 | 6:36 am

Why? Because humans tend to aggregate themselves into groups of castes or classes or races or religions or tribes - which creates a sense of "the other". Then they persecute, exploit or bully those "others" in order to gain advantage in status or income or employment or power. And propaganda feeds it and other groups people stand aside and watch it happen and do nothing for fear of losing membership or status of the group THEY are in. The small steps from mere bullying once you get a hint of power over somebody to exploitation, discrimination and even genocide can be appreciated.

Communism - in the ideal - was the closest thing to a fair society, in that all people are workers and all workers are a part of the one large group. It attempted to be classless - but of course in its abysmally atrocious applications (including Vietnam! even though the Vietcong were the only ones in the world to go in to stop the Cambodian genocide), other groupings or classes occured and the sense of "us" and "the others" just moved in amongst those new definitons.


Nice attempted deflection Sino, start me on my still painful feet to try and cheer me up! Ha, I see your game!

In answer, they have their moments. If I forget to take the painkillers, or walk too far, they have their moments big-time. However once I lie down the pain goes away, unlike before the operation where the pain was 24/7, so at least I get trouble-free sleep.

Posted by: expat@large on Apr 13, 08 | 11:39 am

I have to say I agree with you totally on Myanmar. Or Burma. I don't even know what you call it officially. And whether you're a tourist, or in Myanmar on business, you get that "what the f*** am I even here" kind of feeling.

Posted by: PeranakanDude on Apr 13, 08 | 12:45 pm

Expat, I agree with you about our failings as a species.

However I think that has been bubbling inside you waiting to be published as I did not intend to push any kind of button with my words.

I understand your thoughts in communism as i came up with the same idea aged 8 at primary school and my teacher said it already existed but probably did not really work.
The trouble is that we are animals fighting to have our genetic material continue so we survive. The result is that competitive drive the causes a rainbow of results depending on the person and not all of them good.

We are getting into heavy topics here

Posted by: sino man on Apr 13, 08 | 4:14 pm

I agree Sino Man,

the people of Vietnam and Laos - they've been to Hell and back.
- Clothes pale into insignificance.

Some good points there E@L, and no, let's not go to Burma!

(see how tactful I can be?)

Posted by: Sister on Apr 14, 08 | 12:54 am

We are flawed. I've been saying it for years.

Posted by: Dick on Apr 14, 08 | 1:30 am

Sino, problem is this balance issue you mentioned - forming into self-protecting tribes is what dragged us this far along the evolutionary path and in acts which protect those in our tribe our noble altruism and heroism rises to the fore...

So good and bad all mixed up together, like a good roast turtle!

Mariah: very tactful.

Dick: we are all of us in the gutter, and a lot of us are doing just nicely there.

Posted by: expat@large on Apr 14, 08 | 2:26 am


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