Dec 25, 2010
Oct 16, 2010
Nach fast zwei Jahren Arbeit (v.a. für die HerausgeberInnen) ist es nun endlich soweit und mein Artikel über die Geschichte der Leipziger Buddhisten -- welche 1903 den ersten buddhistischen Verein Europas gründeten -- im deutschen Kaiserreich ist in dem Pionierwerk zur lokalen urbanen Religions- und Kulturgeschichte "Von Aposteln bis Zionisten: Religiöse Kultur im Leipzig des Kaiserreichs" erschienen. Herausgegeben wurde das Buch von Iris Edenheiser im Auftrag des re.form Leipzig e.V. im diagonal-Verlag Marburg (2010), http://www.diagonal-verlag.de/14n-buch.html. Inhaltsverzeichnis, Vorwort und eine Leseprobe finden sich auf der Seite rechts oben.
Mein Artikel hört auf den Titel: "'Einst suchte ich in der Welt das Glück...' - Buddhisten in Leipzig 1903 bis 1921. Im Buch finden sich ca. 20 populärwissenschaftlich gehaltene Artikel über interessante Gruppen jener Zeit, von Atheisten über Abstinenzler, Zeugen Jehovas, Völkische, Mormonen, Okkultisten, Naturheilkundler, Theosophen uvm.
Bei Interesse an dem Artikel kann sich bei mir gemeldet werden.
It took almost two years, but finally my essay on Leipzig's Buddhists during the late imperial period -- in 1903 they founded the first Buddhist association in all of Europe -- got published in a book on "religious culture in imperial Leipzig", a pioneering work of research on local religious history in a modern urban context. The book was edited by Iris Edenheiser, a doctoral graduate from my institute at Leipzig University, and got published through diagonal Publishing House. All information on the publisher's website is in German only, as is the entire book. It features numerous articles on different deviant social and religious groups, such as Atheists, Jehova's Witnesses, Mormons, Theosophs, Occultists, Friends of Nature and many more.
Sep 4, 2010
In order to avoid becoming a subdued colonised dependent again -- this time the PRC's -- Taiwan might have to develop nationalism first to become a post-national society in the future. Where there's no (internationally recognised) nation, there can be no post-nationalist structure. By developing a post-nationalist attitude transcending conventional politics and replacing the political sphere with "entertainment", "culture", or "economic gain", the Taiwanese would risk their political independence and freedom. This would not be selling out, rather would it be incredibly naive.
Aug 29, 2010
and we were still sticking to past mistakes
running past the same images in our minds
spinning over and over again
Would we keep our mouths shut
eyes taped, arms bound
forever doomed to the same story
told at night, but still - a convenient truth
for we are left to tell
Only - we know, it's all but a lie
and the people are bound in motion pictures
or concentrated in camps
the animals were taking over
Corpses washing down the river
the ground soaked in black and green blood
breathing a sole grievance
and everywhere the towers are growing into the sky
tongues twist as people divide
We follow the footsteps to a new home
and a bright future ahead
where distraction will keep us from
aiming clearsighted and thus is to be eliminated
outdated, the inferior falling to our furor
childish naïveté mating mature brute
this house is burning
and the dancefloor explodes in light
(written somewhat around 2008/09, inspired by visited Rwandan sites)
Aug 16, 2010
So, while the fact that it is a Hollywood produced flick surely has its advantages (concerning mostly the movie's outreach), there come a number of flaws with it. (I won't complain about Dawson's Creek ex teen idol Van der Beek starring the lead role.) Unfortunately, the acting is not very convicting since director Adam Kane was mostly relying on American actors with Asian background. Of course, their English is perfect, while there is only little Chinese in the movie and even less use of the Taiwanese language (except for the Kaohsiung demonstration). How police officer Chen was stumbling his few sentences in Mandarin - hurt. Even the most committed actor in this movie - Will Tiao - had an unmistakable American accent to his Chinese. This seriously made the film's atmosphere suffer. Another point of critique has to be its being shot in Thailand, which also means that the entire extra cast was Thai - and I would maintain that you can actually tell Taiwanese apart from Thai. The extra cast in a weird way did not feel involved in the film at all, most strikingly in the demonstration scene in Kaohsiung. I have seldom seen an agitated crowd acting less agitated. Even when security police was marching on, people hardly seemed to take notice and adjust their behaviour. The pictures of streets and houses had a certain artificial feel to them, like you could tell they were studio-made. I don't really buy into Thai studios being able to resemble Taiwan in the 80s more than parts of Taiwan today. Sure, the costs would have been higher, but if wanted there would have been some way...
To be honest, I was disappointed by the movie's overall artisanry. Like I said, this is an important movie, for it also depicts historical material (background on Chiang Kai-shek, the US and Red China etc.), but it will have a hard time attracting people solely for its entertainment value. This being said, I wish the film could be seen by more Taiwanese kids. Perhaps they will like the movie for its handsome lead actor and thus subtly internalise the messages delivered in the movie which present an alternative to mainstream KMT-imposed amnesia on its shady past. For this matter, it is definitely good news that Formosa Betrayed was showed to members of US Congress, too.
The film's title alluding to George Kerr's legendary journalist account of suppressed and abused Taiwan (1965) is a bit misleading, for at least I would expect a work more equivalent in content and quality to wear this book's name.
Citing film critic Roger Ebert on the movie:
As a result, "Formosa Betrayed" begins rather awkwardly, but ends by making a statement that explains a great many things. One question left unasked: Why did we promise to defend Taiwan with nuclear weapons but refuse to recognize it as a sovereign nation?Review and presentation with more pictures in Chinese.
The Boston Globe has a review of the movie, and says the following of the acting:
Tiao is a passable actor at best, but he’s infinitely more genuine than Van Der Beek, who continues to be the same limited performer he was on TV’s “Dawson’s Creek,’’ just older, and, in this case, sweatier.
As a political thriller, “Formosa Betrayed’’ has enough suspense and intrigue to pull viewers along willingly. It doesn’t try too hard, which is refreshing. John Heard plays a veteran FBI colleague of Kelly’s; in another thriller he might be a double agent, but here he’s every bit as average as he seems.
And as a history lesson, the film is a decent primer. It will enlighten those who may not know much about the post-World War II era of Chinese rule over the island the Dutch named Formosa, a.k.a. Taiwan.
Along comes the trailer:
Jun 4, 2010
What the people of Taiwan do in their communal construction and discussion of identity, I do according to my own calling and self-understanding as a young “scholar” doing research: support for/legitimation of their constructive efforts via scientific backing (delivering “facts”). Give them a voice in “rational” “objective” scientific discourse which makes for the internationally recognised forum/parliament of debating legitimate decision-making based selectively on terms of orthodoxy and heterodoxy (“rational” vs. “irratonal”), reflecting well-hidden (or taken for granted) power structures which exercise scientific discourse to a point where certain assumptions become consent. Thus, science ultimately serves as legitimising agency and advisory committee to the political executive. Science is neither innocent nor independent. Everyone choses which side they are on. Ideally, I view it as an imperative for any influential intellectual/scholar to not act on their own behalf or blindly bear existing structures of power, but to illuminate and side with the weak, the oppressed, the unheard, to – after objective-as-possible assessment of their situation and overall environment –work towards amelioration of society according to our conscience and scientific ideals of objectivity and impartiality. I believe we should do so along our adopted standards many of which are “Western” in nature (democracy, human rights) but which should nevertheless not be withheld from anybody outside their reach who choses to embrace them. I call for political activity by intellectuals! It is us who need to be outspoken and deliver factual and reasonable arguments in public debate, but we should not be confined by the class many of us feel part of. Instead, we need to include and enhance those voices which are not heard through their own efforts. We need to remember society of the relativity of many of its ideas and convictions, but on stable ground. For albeit constructed or imagined, we chose certain convictions, one way or the other. We would even chose to “transcend” (or deconstruct, or destroy) any idea available. Thus, we need to stay alert about the consequences of our thinking. So my conviction is we shall always think through alternative views, keep in mind our own relativity, but firmly chose our grounding, for we cannot stand without firm ground. Paradoxically, although I am convinced that my belief is relative at best, I am still able to believe. I believe what I believe in, and since I know this is me only and totally irrelevant (or relative) to the bigger picture, of course I must accept what others believe in. But I accept it as equally relative, so that still leaves me a chance to try and convince them of what I believe in. However, I can do so only through word and persuasion, by means legitimable in light of my accepting their opinion.
Talking about cultural differences, there is no “universal nature” in “human rights”, but we who enjoy their liberties and freedom are to opt for supporting those who freely chose to lead lives along similar lines, even if that means opposing reigning power in a foreign context. We have to do so to ensure the longevity of these our very ideals against an all-encompassing relativism, and we can do so only by acknowledging the historically constructed nature and not given “nature” of liberal democracy, offering it to everybody as one political philosophy among many – the superiority of which we believe in – and support those who decide for themselves to follow it. Since it is a singular political doctrine with absolute claim we propagate, does that justify military operations to safeguard its proliferation and endurance in other countries? Can we morally justify the suffering and even killing of innocent people with the outlook of achieving a better or more just society for them, a view not necessarily shared by the ones so “rescued”? In any case, understanding Western liberal democracy and human rights as one political doctrine competing for power with other, structurally similar doctrines, at least allows for the implementation of military might for a better end – social peace, multiculturalism. In contrast, perceiving them as naturally (or genetically) endowed with the human condition would inextricably lead to a moral dilemma of undermining the end – the state so to be achieved – with the means employed to reach it, and so making it virtually impossible to convince people to convert to the alleged higher moral state innate to liberal values.
May 25, 2010
(A Reaction to a planned ECFA (on the bus from Taichung to Taipei, Dec. 23, 2009):
Who is going to carry on the spirit and accomplishments of the generation of those now 50 to 70 years old? It lies with you… I love you, and in this very moment I am still wondering if I love you enough to forgive you when you surrender and succumb to the solely monetary temptation of unification. At least I wish you to fight and not give up before it is all over! You still hold the power in your own hands, and the key to Taiwan’s future is yours still, and it does not lie in a Free Trade Agreement with China. It will only break the door trying to open it for a way out towards someplace labeled future.
Look beyond this narrow Taiwan Strait: Taiwan is part of the ocean, grown from the sea, comparted by an imaginary line named Tropic of Cancer, neckbone of a spinal island arc, in geoterritorial confrontation between the Eurasian and the Philippine Sea Plates which through a cruel jest of fate mirror in geopolitical terms. The sea will take you to places afar, you are an open nation, as sea farers tend to be open-minded, you are people of the south where pleasant temperatures enflame people’s hearts, you are not spatially bound to the Chinese continent, your perspective is the horizon! The ocean connects you with all places, free as fish. Open you eyes, look at yourselves and look up, let your eyes carry you over the oceans, do not be afraid, lift up your voices, be confident and proud, like I were be proud to be one of you!
I would also be so afraid, because I cannot look into your hearts sometimes, I cannot tell what you want, and whether it is the same thing we are striving for. Why do I want more for you than you do? Why don’t you think you can have it all? All at once, power and democracy, and economic success?
Everybody needs a basis, and so do you.
Your democracy, result of decades of dedicated people’s unending efforts, of your blood, sweat, and tears, it does not come by itself, it comes at a cost. You need to work for it, on it, and you need to need it to stay the people you are, the people I love. I can support you in that, and I will, but I cannot do it for you.
This my be my dream, and I didn’t stay here long enough to know what it truly is like to suffer, but for you this is but real. You cannot escape it, this is your country, your home, and you have a responsibility to protect it. For future generations; And you owe it to the ones who sacrificed so much to enable you to live that way you live now. This is the greatest opportunity, the justest cause, of your lifetime!, and it is also a mission, an assignment. Something you started. You gave me this promise of a free land full of beautiful, caring, friendly people, and now I would like you to only keep this promise.
I’m a big fan of yours, and I love you, so I beg you: Please, don’t leave my love letters unanswered.
I hope for you, I fear for you, I cry for you, I weep for you, I speak out for you. So much would I love to be with you, or be one of you, that it completely occupies my mind. I feel I can’t live without you! So I urge you, please do this for me, if you dare to accept my love, do this with all your might, and I know you can achieve everything if you only really want to. I have learned what you were able to accomlish in the past, but can you still feel it? It is not all that long ago, and it ain’t a myth. All of it is real! You are living freely through past sacrifice. Those responsible for it are your fathers and mothers, your grandfathers and grandmothers. You can still ask them about it. You are their descendants, their blood runs through your veins, which makes me know for certain you have what it takes!
May 9, 2010
Mix May 2010 Party by foolproofsound
- Dune - Last Dinosaur
- Against Me! - The Disco Before the Breakdown
- Rancid - Old Friend
- Modest Mouse - Float On
- Jenny Wilson - Let My Shoes Lead Me Forward
- Zoot Woman - Holiday Home
- MGMT - Kids
- Console - Suck and Run
- The Robocop Kraus - Nihil Disco
- The Hives - A Little More for Little You
- Head Automatica - Brooklyn is Burning
- Queens of the Stone Age - First it Giveth
- Fu Manchu - Freedom of Choice
- The Strokes - Reptilia
- Rufio - Above Me
- Thrice - Deadbolt
- The Sound of Animals Fighting - Act IV: You Don't Need a Witness
- Aaltra Soundtrack - Sunny
- Coco Freeman Feat. Franz Ferdinand - The Dark of the Matinee
- Beirut - Prenzlaurberg
- Ska Cubano - No Me Desesperes
- Fanfare Ciocarlia - Godzilla
- Ray Barretto - La Cuna
- Gotan Project - Diferente
- Rosalia De Souza - Maria Moita
- Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros - Mondo Bongo
- Elliott Smith - Say Yes
- Jan Johansson - Visa från Utanmyra
Das Ganze wie gehabt zusammengestellt mit dem Pacemaker. Hoffe, es gefällt.