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Longshan Temple

Appropriately, we then went to spectacularly opulent Longshan Temple to see people engaging in games of chance to tell their fortunes. 

 

 

I’m interested in the complexities of this. How can someone believe that the future is already determined and yet believe that they can do something about it by knowing what it will be?  If they can do nothing why go to the trouble of finding out?  If they can do something about it then it is obviously not yet determined and therefore unknowable.  I’ve discussed this at length elsewhere on this website.

The day ended back at our hotel but not before we had some dinner at the night markets - Not quite Wendy paradise but heading in that direction.

 


Two of our party across the road - not inconspicuous - Clint's photo

 

Both at lunch and in the night markets we were something of a novelty.  There are few Europeans about.   But the people were universally friendly and didn’t mind at all big white people sitting in their little restaurants gobbling down their delicacies.  Smiles all round.

The Hotel was fine, if a little out of the way and we could walk a few hundred yards past car parts places and other semi-industrial businesses, to the local 7Eleven to buy some wine, coffee and real milk.  I considered buying a bike racing-suite and helmet, like the ‘Stig’ in Top Gear, from a shop that also had a Porsche parked inside, but decided that it would be ostentatious on the Number 30 bus from Mosman.

Rather strangely in this land of electronics, the Wi-Fi in the hotel was terrible and I was unable to send a simple e-mail.

The following day we arose early, prepared for a long drive South to the centre of the island. We were fully refreshed by the comfortable bed and fine shower and ample towels but I was disappointed by a breakfast making no concessions to European traditions.  I foolishly tried the cornflakes only to find them, like all the cereal, coated in sugar – inedible.  OK, congee and stir-fry it had to be.  

 

 


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Travel

Cambodia and Vietnam

 

 

 In April 2010 we travelled to the previous French territories of Cambodia and Vietnam: ‘French Indochina’, as they had been called when I started school; until 1954. Since then many things have changed.  But of course, this has been a region of change for tens of thousands of years. Our trip ‘filled in’ areas of the map between our previous trips to India and China and did not disappoint.  There is certainly a sense in which Indochina is a blend of China and India; with differences tangential to both. Both have recovered from recent conflicts of which there is still evidence everywhere, like the smell of gunpowder after fireworks.

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Fiction, Recollections & News

The Book of Mormon

 

 

 

 

Back in the mid 1960's when I was at university and still living at home with my parents in Thornleigh, two dark suited, white shirted, dark tied, earnest young men, fresh from the United States, appeared at our door.

Having discovered that they weren't from IBM my mother was all for shooing them away.  But I was taking an interest in philosophy and psychology and here were two interesting examples of religious fervour.

As I often have with similar missionaries (see: Daniel, the Jehovah’s Witness in Easter on this Website), I invited them in and they were very pleased to tell me about their book.  I remember them poised on the front of our couch, not daring or willing to sit back in comfort, as they eagerly told me about their revelation.  

And so it came to pass that a week ago when we travelled to Melbourne to stay with my step-son Lachlan and his family and to see the musical: The Book of Mormon I was immediately taken back to 1964.

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Opinions and Philosophy

Jihad

  

 

In my novella The Cloud I have given one of the characters an opinion about 'goodness' in which he dismisses 'original sin' as a cause of evil and suffering and proposes instead 'original goodness'.

Most sane people want to 'do good', in other words to follow that ethical system they were taught at their proverbial 'mother's knee' (all those family and extended influences that form our childhood world view).

That's the reason we now have jihadists raging, seemingly out of control, across areas of Syria and Iraq and threatening the entire Middle East with their version of 'goodness'. 

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