2010.05.18 19:00 - Conflict

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Calvino Rabeni. The comments are by Calvino Rabeni.

    Calvino Rabeni: Good evening, stevenaia :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: hi Cal, jsut making sure the pillows were covered
    Pema Pera: Hi Cal & Steve!
    Calvino Rabeni: Hi, Pema
    Pema Pera: Thanks, Calvino!
    stevenaia Michinaga: hi Pema
    Pema Pera: (you're standing in for Eos, right, tonight?)
    stevenaia Michinaga: I think it was a whoever gets there 1st , gets to claim the log
    stevenaia Michinaga: are you in Japan Pema?
    Pema Pera: yes, in Kyoto today
    Pema Pera: 11 am here
    stevenaia Michinaga: nice
    Pema Pera: yes, I always enjoy coming back here -- I'm so lucky to be able to come here for my work.
    Pema Pera: Calvino, when we talked about Thailand the other day, you didn't get to talk about your impression of the political situation
    Calvino Rabeni: I remember
    Calvino Rabeni: BTW, there were real monkeys by Kwan Yin, maybe I'll note that in the log :)
    Pema Pera: monks and monkeys!
    Calvino Rabeni: These were the small cute kind, not the scary ones
    Calvino Rabeni: They'd steal things if you set them down and turned away
    Calvino Rabeni: At this other temple the bigger ones would sometimes take things from the visitors by force...
    Calvino Rabeni: They were known as Mafia Monkeys
    (Fairly or not, "mafia" seems a world generic world for organized crime. Threre was a visible organization to that troupe, with the Big Boss monkey, the henchmen, the "molls", and so on, like a 40's gangster movie, with the substitution of Bananas for Alchohol.)
    Calvino Rabeni: The politics is interesting, I've been watching it over the last 9 years
    Meaning the Thai political situation, not the monkeys.  And just as a simple-minded American, I might add.
    Calvino Rabeni: I have a lot of impresions of it overall
    Calvino Rabeni: Mainly as it contradicts a lot of assumptions I suppose I had
    Calvino Rabeni: Was there something you were wondering about it?
    Pema Pera: no, just curious in general
    Calvino Rabeni: The Christian Science Monitor did a good summary overview
    Pema Pera: (and I'm losing some sentences, it seems; didn't see the end of the break, for example; bad internet connection; so if I don't respond, please ask again!)
    Calvino Rabeni: OK
    Pema Pera: btw, can you give me the URL of your blog again?
    Calvino Rabeni: I don't have one, but have a few photos on picasaweb
    Pema Pera: ah, I thought you mentioned a "blog"
    Pema Pera: about your travels
    Calvino Rabeni: No, I mentioned the Christian Science Monitor
    Pema Pera: ah, okay
    stevenaia Michinaga: do you have a link to the CSM?
    Pema Pera: I'm just wondering whether there will be a way out of the violence, or whether they are basically stuck
    Calvino Rabeni: It's a good idea, I could type up my travel notes into a blog
    Pema Pera: yes please, Steve
    stevenaia Michinaga: I do not, I was asking Calvinao
    Pema Pera: haha, okay!
    stevenaia Michinaga: A client of mine travels to Thailand, has is own impressions,
    Calvino Rabeni: Well, it's an expression of a long term situation that seems pretty stable overall
    stevenaia Michinaga: *his
    Pema Pera wonders about the meaning of "stable" . . .
    Calvino Rabeni: It isn't a form of terrorism, or a form of ideological conflict really
    Calvino Rabeni: The one varying factor is the influence of the monarchy
    Calvino Rabeni: The Army is a big defacto part of the government
    Calvino Rabeni: As is the monarchy, as a moderating moral force
    Calvino Rabeni: The country is basically buddhist
    Calvino Rabeni: the Army kind of steps in when things get out of hand
    Calvino Rabeni: but they dont seem to seek power for its own sake
    Calvino Rabeni: the main conflict there is a class conflict
    Calvino Rabeni: Americans are a little blind to class conflict due to their ideology
    Calvino Rabeni: So a lot of the cultural factors are different
    Calvino Rabeni: Although you could draw parallels
    Pema Pera: (is this the article, Calvino? http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Global-Viewpoint/2010/0517/Thailand-has-a-chance-if-Prime-Minister-Abhisit-Vejjajiva-can-stop-the-killings)
    Calvino Rabeni: I'll find it in a minute :)

    Here it is: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2010/0504/The-fuel-behind-Thailand-red-shirt-protesters-fire


    Calvino Rabeni: The upshot was - who are the Yellow Shirts, the Red Shirts, why are they fighting, what do they want.
    Calvino Rabeni: Both sides are democracy movements
    stevenaia Michinaga: he feels it;s a form of corrupt politics by the former PM offering payoffs to the "redshirts" to protest and get him back into power, bit he (my client)sees all politics as corrupt, probebaly correct in many ways
    Calvino Rabeni: the Red Shirts are populists representing the countryside and the "peasantry"
    stevenaia Michinaga: He= a client of mine

    stevenaia Michinaga: meanwhile I wait for results of local elections
    Pema Pera: Sorry, RL calling, thanks for the conversation, Steve and Calvino!
    stevenaia Michinaga: bye Pema
    Pema Pera: bfn
    Calvino Rabeni: Be well Pema :)
    Calvino Rabeni: I don't really feel like "taking sides" in that conflict
    Calvino Rabeni: It kind of makes me question my values
    stevenaia Michinaga: nods
    Calvino Rabeni: I like the monarchy there
    stevenaia Michinaga: amazing how the middle road for politics works so well for so many...like here
    Calvino Rabeni: But you'd have to say, the yellow shirts are the traditionalists, trying to hold onto their economic advantages
    Calvino Rabeni: Where do you see the operation of "middle way" politics?
    Calvino Rabeni: There's been an increasing trend to polarization in the USA
    stevenaia Michinaga: not in any buddist sence, more of an acceptance
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes, but if that results in an election and chnage every 4 or so years, things seems to adjust over time
    stevenaia Michinaga: I've been feeling a pleasent lower pace to things lately and appriciating it
    stevenaia Michinaga: politics is similar, watching the senate move in a deliberitive way, etc
    stevenaia Michinaga: the compromising results of the system
    stevenaia Michinaga: not everyone happy, but no violence (usually) results
    stevenaia Michinaga: hard to please 300 million people by any action
    stevenaia Michinaga: to me, that;s the middle way here
    Calvino Rabeni: Hmmm
    Calvino Rabeni: I have mixed feelings
    Calvino Rabeni: the propaganda is more intense here
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes, the spin for self serving results
    Calvino Rabeni: the issues / conflicts seem more "honest" in thailand

    Calvino Rabeni: The definition of corruption is so subjective
    Calvino Rabeni: When powerful interests control the law, and structure things to their advantage, it's no longer called corruption
    stevenaia Michinaga: he was expressing his own judgement as I hear it
    Calvino Rabeni: That depends on the fictions of transparency and democratic access to change
    stevenaia Michinaga: one person's politics and anothers corruption
    stevenaia Michinaga: happens all the time here too
    Calvino Rabeni: I like the classic Taoists statements about it, basic as they are
    stevenaia Michinaga: which are?
    Calvino Rabeni: "A poor man steals a loaf of bread - he hangs. A warlord steals a whole country, he is called a great leader"
    Calvino Rabeni: It is a variation of "history is written by the victors."
    stevenaia Michinaga: nods
    Calvino Rabeni: It questions the whole approach to security
    Calvino Rabeni: If you have wealth, and lock it up in a storeroom, it is just a way to make a handy package for a strong enough thief to carry it all away
    Calvino Rabeni: I think it is also a parable about knowledge as well as power
    Calvino Rabeni: Maybe about putting all one's eggs in the same basket
    stevenaia Michinaga: I must be off, Calvino, thanks for filling in
    Calvino Rabeni: Indirectly a parable about wu-wei
    stevenaia Michinaga: :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Thanks for stopping by Stevenaia
    Calvino Rabeni: Take care, be well :)
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