29 August 2009

Skin




In a land of silky hair and smooth skin, where people were white thanks to the Chinese whose sperm and eggs spread like the dingo in a large island, lived a group of brown skinned natives in conflict with the outside world. That they survived the attack from the most voracious breeders in the world is credit to their will and discipline.

While the rest of the country thrives on vices, the natives are a peculiar, sober bunch. Contradict : The entire community wipes out 3 days on toddy when someone dies. Like celebrating the life more than mourning the death.

They live in houses not too different from before the Chinese sperm and eggs first arrived over a thousand years ago, unaffected by changes elsewhere is education, healthcare, farming methods… entering the village is like visiting a live museum.

The man invites us into his wooden house on stilts, spreads a mattress and we sit down. There is one room with a small partition for his eldest son and his young wife. He has a little farm full of coffee, grown and sold at whatever price the only middleman visiting the village offers. Lack of choice makes life simpler. Fewer things to decide. Fewer decisions to regret.

The rain came like an angry ghost. Water sprinkled on us from top, and he apologized. He also apologized for not having drinking water to serve at that time. His little children sat next to the burning wood as dinner was being cooked and played with corn in the fire.

One of the Chinese descendents in our group of three is encouraged to light up even though nobody in that house smoked. No ashtray is necessary since the wooden flooring has gaps providing a large tray for the ash.

The different skins live in close proximity, share the same society. The rest of the country finds no use for the dark-skinned. They’re primitive and uneducated, and treated like the American government would treat an aspiring egalitarian society in a cave rich with oil.

The white-skinned shower contempt and hatred is rarely not reciprocated. They fought and spilled blood and bullets some years back. Contradict: In my factory the white-skinned refuse to work with the dark-skinned, not vice versa. Elitist behaviour and caste struggles don’t die in the face of socialism. It’s in our sperm and eggs.

Back to our farmer, who goes to work on a farm pulling out weed for less than a dollar a day. He has seven kids to feed, clothe and raise. Death is not uncommon, so they learn quickly and well to deal with it. There is so much uncertainty in life that they truly live in the moment. The warmth was genuine, the happiness honest and overwhelming. Truly, happiness is poorly correlated to things outside our mind.

Before we left I wondered what he thought of us. My capitalist roots won’t have much interest in his town for they don’t have any resources that can be plundered and passed on so you can drink and piss out.

Maybe the outside world isn’t a happier place.

22 August 2009

Fast Runner

As kids, Fast Runner and Joker were inseparable. Joker envied Fast Runner for how fast he could run. In Joker’s eyes it gave Fast Runner unmatched power in this world. Like a caste system. How fast one could run was determined at birth, and stuck like caste.

During competitions in school, Joker would cheer madly for Fast Runner, even if the bigger boys often outran his friend. Fast Runner couldn’t charm the teachers or the girls. Running was his thing.

Joker, Fast Runner and their gang of kids would eagerly await the end of the day in school. The shoes slowed them down, so they were kept in a heap and played China Town - an exotic chasing game with rules nobody outside the kids knew. Till dusk they ran. Chasing and being chased. Like a video game, Chinatown had traps like railings and parapets, which were designed to favor the most athletic, who invariably sucked inside the classroom. Those 3 hours of sun after school was the only time they were elite and acknowledged suitably. So they waited, through the insults and reprimands from teachers through the day for the evening bell, like bird for air. Sports Day was even better than Birthday, because for the only time in the year, the fast runners earned the applause. Everybody got cheered on their birthdays.

As people's brains grew older and seemingly bigger, running was overpowered by exam scores. Fast Runner was no longer celebrated or envied like before. Joker, steadily average inside the classroom, scraped through. Fast Runner’s run stopped. They went to different schools, became older, and shed the innocence that once served as oil for their fry.