Thursday, September 10, 2009
This little soiree went down in Erlian, China about 3 miles from the Mongolian border with a group of rugged folk from Ulaan Baatar, the Rome of the ceaseless, surrounding Mongolian steppe. All dirt tracks lead to it. The woman on my right is Tyyn, an originally pixily helpful sprite, and then, mysteriously disappearing skipping stone. She had made weird talk of introducing me to her school in the capital, but vaporized in a miasmic burst of damp morning mist at the train station across the border. I suspect that the travel-nervous, Eurotrashy Frenchmen-backpackers we picked up en route, with my snaggle-minded interpreting (as I had already become one with the ruggeds somehow---for I had drunk beer with them---even having had downing contests with the next guy I'll tell you about), may have confused her then auspicious perception of Westerners, thereby incriminating me, infecting me with the dreaded disease---the real "White Man's Burden." Of course, she knew I was a Jew, and so quite distinct, looking different and acting in no way alike; but nonetheless, I say, the damage was done, for I had sacrificed to lay myself down across the abyss as a bridge between the titan Mongols and the edgy Frenchman, so that we might all get across the border in one "peace".
So, back to "the next guy I'll tell you about": He went only by a brash sobriquet of the day, although to my knowledge Mongolians do not actually take this name in more sober nomination, viz., "in vain", "Chingghis Khan", we roared together, creating a monster between us, which means "Genghis Khan" in the Khalkh dialect, as I heard it. Of course, this idolatry had to be in pure fun, because THE Khan is accorded the respect of some status that is non-existent in non-"Transturkic" cultures. If I were any less sensitive to my own background, I would have said, G-D forbid, "a g*d"; but this it is not---in Mongolia, human honour has a level of sanctity that makes the heavens rub up against the skin like spring zephyrs. Clanmansship, valour, and family loyalty become as necessary acts of faith out on the unforgiving plain. The Secret History of the Mongols, an old record, perhaps cherished sacredly, of the exploits of the great khans, explains these phenomena. Such a humanism in a syncretic web with "The Higher", so authentically, without dustructive pretensions about gender control and a panentheistic way of going about one's daily chores on the open steppe, this makes one squinty-eyed, faced with the systems WITH pretensions about G-d. Perhaps the only other people with fewer pretensions are the Piraha People of the Brazilian Amazon. I am not saying such a way is Better, for I myself am of a people with pretensions about G-d, who strive NOT to have them. This very moral striving is what works for the world in our particular mission. The needs of the brokenness of the world call for sheer pluralism of action, and so we all have our own missions. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
This man, the new "Chingghis", was an obtuse slope of Naadam muscle, one eye cut out by a stray-handed shard of glass in a vodka brawl in the streets of Ulaan Baatar, years back. He and I became quick friends over the long day crossing the border. At the actual border, I had to use my best Putonghua to convince the Chinese guards to let him pass through into his own country. He was perfumed enough by this point to right blow up if I were to have lit a match within two kilometres of him. No less hopelessly plastered was he that he couldn't still embarassingly flirt with the unamused-looking Mao's poster child, or better yet, Mao's pin-up of a lady customs agent. Now, one might say alcohol was the "friendship" between us and the friendship was nothing if at all sober, but then one has never been to Mongolia; where even the nuclear moonshine of barbarous khans, can not ever intoxicate the sober ties of transsteppe fealty.
This was an early game I developed at Oumeida English Language Training Center in Manzhouli, China a few months ago, during a period in which, like any newcomer, I was undergoing a sort of professional "hazing" ritual. I was expected to take the blame for most anything that went wrong ever anyhow, but that soon ceased, when they saw I don't play such games. I make my own; and mine aren't to "break people in", but to "break people out".
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
This disastrous flop of work is from the hand of Amosh; Art Brut graphics as of a straight-jacketed patient unleashed on a poor, unsuspecting early version of Microsoft Paint. The Kanji is pathetically ungrammatical and Ad-Libbish, like the trendy faux-AZN tattoos of so many illiterate inkers, whose tats read in surreal, mangled
characters mantras like: "Crazy Diarrhoea" and "Particularly Troublesome Lard Noodle".
We are grateful for Masha's talent here at Amoshimasha Artistries Group.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
From the crow’s nest of my unicycle seat I could see the sparkling, grey road unravel Tohu vaVohu and topsy-turvy before me, disappearing into valleys, and resuming up the verdant hills, like a long stretch of yarn unrolling from a highspeed yarnball, and in the queer sunset, the sun perched right above it looking ready to pounce, like a silly-eyed, smug, sunburst, fat Cheshire cat.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
This is Manzhouli at its most Gothic. It is unusual in this way for a Chinese city. Incorporating, both Han and Russo-Siberian conventions in architecture, its emotional decor including greater Mongol and Inner Mongolian Man Ethnic Group influences. This is the city I live in, a compact blot of recent buildings and old wooden houses in the Chiberian steppelands, appearing to be a city for a few blocks, but then abruptly ceasing and giving out to endless pastures and rolling hills on every side. This might have been what Rod Serling was thinking when he thought up The Twilight Zone.
This place is that weird.
As of September 8th, 2009, 19 Elul 5769, I will have lived in China for 9 months----a date only 6 days away. Certainly, enough time for a child to be conceived and birthed---and, yes, in a sense one has been.
My being here has been a screaming, shrieking baby in the womb the whole while, and when it comes into the light of day in a placental outburst, crying for a very first hit of oxygen, maybe I will be overwhelmed with motherly achievement in a recumbent sweat, a sense of real human doing, of mounting a milestone to be seen up close and from a distance in modest and headstrong reverence. I will say, “That is one thing I have done” and be satisfied. Of course, no such sojourn can compare, really, to the blessing of a true organic birth. Such which is a masterpiece of biology and something more.
Come December of 2009, as my contract here ends, at Oumeida English Language Training Center, in Manzhouli, China, where I have led a long and twisted carrière en miniature in this lovably loathsome locale of tragicomic horrors of the streets; and sad, clownish wranglings for a future from Maoism, even in subtly dedicational deference to its paternal punch, I will disengage this banal and yet amazing little city, and head for the High Seas of Unicycling from Vietnam to al-Quds. It will be a long and entangling road of macadam and dirt, pebbles and hurt, tyre puntures and bursts, flirtations with wildom and wily, wild flirts, for a better way to sanctity, to human righteousness, that we may be judged by our virtue and not our vice,
when vice becomes as close as we can humanly come to virtue, straggling and struggling after a morsel of Right.
To be practical, the day is coming when I depart in full heart, beating, red and ready to tear and part, from excitement; I will take off on one wheel, and stay that way, until the world too, is a little more One.
This is Amosh of Amoshimasha. Out.