NO MORE FAMILY DIVISION: ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP BY CONSENSUS IN GUJI
Prof. Yu Shuenn-Der
We meet Grandma on entering Guji Station. She is chanting her mantra and processing in a circle around the village’s white stupa. The eldest among her siblings, whose parents passed away when she was only nine years old, Grandma is now 78. She has remained single and spent decades taking care of her families. Now her great grand-nephew is of age to inherit the family responsibilities and she can finally retire. She spends most of her day time circling the white stupa, 250 rounds in the mornings and 200 in the afternoons; each session takes three to four hours.
HEADWATER OF THE CHINDWIN
Wong How Man
Momentarily a few leafs drifted down and floated on the stream where rattan and vine branches intertwined overhead. At another open bend of the river, half a dozen water buffaloes lay sunning themselves while as many white egrets stood on their backs. It was all so very romantic and simple; like childhood revisited, when simplicity reigned before the onslaught of gadgetry and other complexities. How could I not feel like a child when looking up at giant trees and forest?
The red spotted clouds before sunrise this morning seemed indicative of a special day. Bill’s boat was in front. I wasn’t sure if he felt the same, as he was turning 60 on this day, but then I was 65. It seemed strange that I was just made a grandfather for the first time and yet felt like a child. But many images, real or imagined, returned as if I was barely a few years old, maybe a boy of five. Perhaps that was what serenity really meant, to feel like a child again.
OPEN BOTEN: ELEPHANTS AND GLAMOUR ON THE LAO-CHINA BORDER
William Bleisch, PhD
Boten in Lao PDR and Xishuangbanna in China PRC
The fashion models towered over the watching crowd as they walked the red carpets dressed in mini-dresses or denim short shorts and low cut shirts. A troupe of talent brought in from Thailand expressly for the re-opening of the newly positioned Boten Commercial Complex, their curvy figures and slinky moves seemed somehow manufactured and out of place. It seemed doubly odd, because this was all happening deep in the middle of a rainforest.
Boten was once a tiny Lao jungle village surrounded by vast forests. Its location on the main road between China and Thailand right next to the Lao-Chinese border, however, turned it briefly into one of the fastest developing communities in Asia. An enormous casino-hotel complex was built there a few years ago, and it was wildly successful. Too wild by many reports. High rates of crime, including kidnapping and murder, some of which involved Chinese nationals, reportedly led to a request by the Chinese government to the Lao government to shut it down.
OBSERVATIONS OF BURMA; ECONOMIC AND OTHERWISE
Don R. Conlan
President (Retired) and former Chief Economist
The Capital Group Companies, Inc.
The mise en scéne is best set by a few quotes from an excellent book The River of Lost Footsteps: A Personal History of Burma by Thant Myint-U, the grandson of U Thant, the beloved former Secretary General of the U. N.:
(Morning: 19 July, 1947): “Aung San’s Executive Council - the interim government - was made up of many, if not all, of the country’s most promising new leaders. The Council...decided to meet at the Secretariat...The Secretariat is today surrounded by a high wall as well as an outer fence...but in 1947 there was no real protective barrier...the car that sped in...carrying men in army fatigues...was unchallenged by the sentries on duty. Three of them, armed with Sten guns, then raced up one of the stairways...opening fire immediately. Aung San...was shot first with a volley in the chest...Only three of those in the room survived. Aung San was dead.”