Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The ruins around Bang Melea,

This was what Angkor Wat was like before it was discovered. The jungle just fills in all the spaces and the fig vine pulls even the mighty down . The window columns are stereotypic of the whole Wat system
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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

An article of good insight

While in Bangkok I read this article and in light of our experiences in Thailand and Cambodia found it to be pertainent. So what is the response to be?

Capitalism headed for disaster unless there is a shift in focus

Benjamin R Barber Los Ange!es Times

The crisis in sub-prime mortgages betrays a deeper predicament fac­ing consumer capitalism tri­umphant: the "Protestant ethos" of hard work and deferred gratification has been replaced by an infantilism ethos of easy credit and impulsive consumption that puts democracy and the market system at risk.
Capitalism's core, virtue is that it mar­ries altruism and self-interest. In produc­ing goods and services that answer real consumer needs, it secures a profit for producers. Doing good for others turns out to entail doing well for yourself
Capitalism's success. however, has meant that core wants in the developed world are now mostly met and that too many goods are now' chasing too few needs. Yet capitalism requires us to "need" all that it produces in order to sur­vive. So it busies itself manufacturing needs for the wealthy while ignoring the wants of the truly needy. Global inequali­ty means that while the wealthy have too few needs the needy haw too little wealth. .
Capitalism is stymied, courting long-term disaster. We still work hard, but only so that we can pay and play. In order to turn reluctant consumers with few unsatisfied core needs into permanent shoppers, producers must dumb down consumers. shape their wants. take over their life worlds, encourage impulse buy­ing, cultivate shopoholism and invent new needs. At the same time, they empower kids as shoppers by legitimising their unformed tastes and mercurial wants and detaching them from their gatekeeper mothers and fathers and teachers and pastors. The-kids include toddlers who recognize brand logos before thev can talk and commodity minded baby Einsteins who learn to shop before they can walk.
Consumerism needs this infantilist ethos because it favors laxity and leisure over discipline and denial. values childish impetuosity and juvenile narcissism over adult order and enlightened self-interest, and prefers consumption-directed play to spontaneous recreation. The ethos feeds a private-market logic ("What I want is what society needs!") and combats the public logic fashioned by democracy ("What society needs is what I want to want!"). .
This is capitalism's all-too-Logical way of solving the problem of too many goods chasing too few needs. It makes consum­ing ubiquitous and omnipresent, turning shopping into an addiction facilitated by easy credit.
Compare any traditional town square with a modern suburban mall. In the square, you'll find a school, town hall, library, general store, park, movie house, church, art gallery and homes - a true neighborhood exhibiting our human diversity as beings who do more than simply consume. But our new town malls are all shopping, all the time.
When we see politics permeate every sector of life, we call it totalitarianism. When religion rules all, we call it theocra­cy. But when commerce dominates every­thing, we call it liberty. Can we redirect capitalism to its proper end: the satisfac­tion of real human needs? Well, why not?
The world teems with elemental wants and is peopled by billions who are needy. They do not need iPods, but they do need potable water, not colas but inexpensive medicines, not MTV but their ABCs. They need mortgages they can afford, not funny-money easy credit.
To serve such needs, however, capital­ism must once again learn to defer profits and empower the needy as customers. Entrepreneurs wanted!
With micro-credit, villagers can con­struct hand pumps and water filters from the clay under their feet. Pharmaceutical companies ought to be thinking about how to sell inexpensive retro-virals to Africans with HIV instead of pushing Botox to the "forever young" customers they are trying to manufacture here. And parents can refuse to relinquish their gate keeping roles and let marketers know they won't allow their kids to be targeted anymore.
'To do this, we will require the assis­tance of democratic institutions and an adult ethos. Public citizens must be restored to their proper place as masters of their private choices. To sustain itself; capitalism will once again have to respond to real needs instead of trying to fabricate synthetic ones - or risk con­suming itself

Benjamin R Barber is a professor at the University of Maryland

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Offf to the tailor

Tailoring in Bangkok is one of the things that IS DONE. They can have a suit ready in a day. So off Stephen and I went to Jessie and Victor's Tailor shop. Wonderful except he is tailor to our beloved Pres. and Tom Ridge and Reagan and all the good old boys in DC. I am sorry for what you will see next. Posted by Picasa

I am so sorry about this

Yes this is Jessie my tailor and dubya...I ask Jessie if he could make the next suit so the arm would fall off when he tried to salute. Jessie said it would be bad for business. Oh well. Posted by Picasa

I am in with only the best???

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Transportation Cambodian style 1

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Transportation Cambodian style

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Just so you know where we were

Many more later but here is a start...the trip was life changing Posted by Picasa

Tears and tears but...

All over the temples are little girls and boys who know they are photogenic and if they see you taking pictures they will ask for money. This little girl got "Taken" before she knew I was there.
They will ask for money or hang on to you or ask "Where you from" If you answer they will never stop so with a heavy heart you must walk on and not respond except for " No Thank You" They are beautiful but so full of tragedy. Truly victims of the war, their country and the world's blind eye. Posted by Picasa

But you can't

Every place you go the officials tell you NOT to give to the children on the street or in the temples because they will then never come to the public agencies where long term help is available. The effort is to get them off the street. Posted by Picasa

Keepers of the temple

A monk in his temple ruins Posted by Picasa

Carol Croft...Tomb Raider

Yes this is the site where Laura Croft Tomb Raider was filmed...Carol is cooler! Posted by Picasa
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More of the moat and fishing

This used to be (in 890 AD) a moat around the temple. Now? Posted by Picasa

The sign is REAL

In cambodia, there is a whole generation that just does not exist. Any person over 35 is RARE..they were all killed by Pol Pot or the government. Of the rest of the population, a high percentage are missing limbs because of land mines. The land around the Wats was especially mined so one is always advised to stay on the path ways just in case. The red sign says DANGER MINEFIELD with the water buffalo in the background. Posted by Picasa

A cambodian homestead

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Fishing hole Cambodian style

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Fish snails and other squirmy things that the kids got

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Much more to come but..

Hello all..there will be moutains of new information and pictures coming but I just wanted to post a couple of pictures that are so close to my heart. We just got back from Bangkok (teachers convention+) and Siem Reap Cambodia site of the Angkor Wat temples. Cambodia captured our minds with what cannot be put in words but we will try. The children are "fishing" in the muddy slim of what used to be a moat for Bang Meala, a Wat that has not been recovered from the jungle. We cry for them and pray for them.
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