Friday, October 31, 2008

Public Policy in Tibet

Public Policy in Tibet, circa. pre "liberation"

We all wonder. Before China sent the People's Liberation Army to occupy, excuse me, sometimes I forget my newspeak, I mean liberate Tibet, how did the Tibetan Government spend its time? There are only so many picnics a Kudak* can attend in a season. Well I found this nice bit of information in Charles Bell's "The People of Tibet." One thing government officials did to occupy their time was issue a development policy. Yes, a written proclamation known as Tsa-Tsik (Root Word) was circulated to all the Mayors of all the towns.

This proclamation proclaimed:
During that portion of the summer in which there is scarcity of rain (i.e. May and June) no one is allowed to construct any building.**

Because, you know, builders make offerings and pray for dry skies. Obviously if these prayers were answered, farmers who pray for rainfall get screwed.

*A civil servant who through service to the government received land grants and titles and became an aristocrat. This process was a little bit like the bureaucratizing of Japanese samurai, except there was no wimpy sheathing of cool samurai swords.
**Bell, C., The People of Tibet, Delhi, Book Faith India, 1998

Monday, October 27, 2008

My tentative attempt at technology and timepass

Yuthok Lane

This is how it will be.
We will take a walk on concrete, not blue tiles.
You will pretend to be disappointed.
This will have the quality of a ritual.

In the morning the sun will fall from the sky,
We will protect ourselves against its fire.
It is not so unbearable but
We have learnt to be wary of arrivals from the east.

We are unbeautiful here.
Our stay in the plains has made us so.
But whispers now carry endearments.
And we would not have it any other way.

Outside the chapel we will collect ourselves,
Then enter the bowels of its benign shell.
Nothing in here threatens us.

We will pull out our offerings, crisp and new.
This time they will go where they are intended.
The pilgrims are less urgent now
And slowly, the shadow of the deity gains its substance.

In the temple's deep
I will speak my name for you.