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Kai
Kai Chang is a software developer and renegade writer: wenkaimc at gmail dot com
Interests: Meditation, martial arts, nature, counterculture, boxing, basketball, fine food and drink, elegant technology, politics, literature, cheesy music and bad flicks, sublime music and transcendent cinema, philosophy that lives in your heart and gut not your head.</p> <p><b>Zuky</b> comes from the Japanese word <i>zuki</i> meaning "punch" or "hand strike".</p> <p> This blog was launched on Monday, May 24, 2004 (<a href="http://www.zuky.net/2004/05/welcome.html">Blog Genesis</a>). The archives are being backfilled with previously created content.</p>
Recent Activity
Kai is now following The Typepad Team
Mar 15, 2010
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When I was in graduate school at Northwestern, there was a funny T-shirt that said: “Three years ago, I cudn’t spel ingineer, now I is one.” I can now seriously say: “Three months ago I couldn’t spell Trabzon, now I am writing about it.” Deep in the mountains southwest of Trabzon, over a high cliff, perches Sumela Monastery, a Christian sanctuary founded in the 4th century. It has stood there through the Byzantine period, the Seljuk period, the Ottoman period and the Turkish Republic period, occasionally vandalized but usually under protection, in disrepair but never ruined. The complex was renovated... Continue reading
Posted Dec 25, 2009 at H.K. Chang
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Edirne is 250 km northwest of Istanbul, bordering both Greece and Bulgaria. A major Greek city known as Adrianople since the 2nd century, it was taken by the Ottomans in 1361 and became their capital until 1453 when a much bigger prize, Constantinople, fell in their hands. At this point, the Ottoman Sultan formed an elite army with Christian captives from Adrianople, the Janissary corps, under his direct command. Every member a personal slave of the Sultan, the Janissary corps was the first standing army in Europe and responsible for many victories of the Ottomans for more than 400 years.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 25, 2009 at H.K. Chang
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Today is the 86th birthday of Republic of Turkey. But my mood is somewhat somber, perhaps influenced by the overcast Istanbul sky. So I am staying home, solitary and pensive. With the Ottoman capitulations abolished through the Treaty of Lausanne, Republic of Turkey was proclaimed on 29 October 1923. According to the blueprint drawn by the national hero and its founding father, Mustafa Kemal Attaturk, the new republic was to be a secular and gradually democratic nation state. In its first 15 years, under the stewardship of Attaturk, the new republic figuratively and literally shed the Ottoman garment and put... Continue reading
Posted Dec 25, 2009 at H.K. Chang
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My fascination with Istanbul goes back many years. But my romance with her started only in late January 2004, when Min-min and I made a 5-day visit during the Chinese New Year holidays. I had read “My Name Is Red” by Orhan Pamuk and decided I would like to see the scene of the fanciful story and the author of the captivating book. We ran into the worst snow storm Istanbul had seen in years and at the same time I experienced a very aggravating back pain. Neither of the problems deterred us from visiting the famous tourist sites; we... Continue reading
Posted Dec 25, 2009 at H.K. Chang
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When one thinks of Istanbul, one is prone to conjure up an image of gigantic mosques with thin and tall minarets protruding into the sky; a huge covered bazaar filled with merchandise of all kinds, the most colorful and exotic of which being spices shipped in from many lands; women clad in head-to-toe dark robes scurrying in the streets near the bazaar; men with moustache sipping mud-thick Turkish coffee and playing baggamon at the ubiquitous coffee houses or just on the sidewalks. This is definitely an image of “Orientalism”. But it could still be seen in the section of the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 25, 2009 at H.K. Chang
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After a delay due first to the Turkish bureaucracy and then to the Chinese National Day, Min-min and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 25, 2009 at H.K. Chang
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Kai is now following Metric
Sep 24, 2009
Law and order -- for whom? Exactly. That's the whole problem. What some people call "law and order" means chaos, dehumanization, and brutality for others. Thanks as always for the kind words, NPK. :-)
Toggle Commented Jul 27, 2009 on Rejecting the Language of the Leviathan at Zuky
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Yeah this is one of my all-time favorites too! The Linda Ronstadt version was one of the first pop songs I really fell in love with as a kid, I remember listening to it over and over on a cassette of her greatest hits. Nobody will ever come close to Linda Ronstadt in my book but I must say Susanna Hoffs does a great job of it here!
Toggle Commented Jul 27, 2009 on Music — Susanna Hoffs, "Different Drum" at Zuky
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Exactly. You can't "get over" something when you're still in denial about the very thing you're trying to get over. That doesn't work. That's just called, still being in denial and demanding that others join you in this denial.
Toggle Commented Jul 27, 2009 on Boston at Zuky
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Ayaaa, sorry to hear it, Lauren. *shakes fist* Damn you, O corn-destroyer nemesis!
Toggle Commented Jul 10, 2009 on Two Sisters at Zuky
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Thanks, Kathy. Grace Lee Boggs is one of our greatest heroes. And yeah, I really like Jimmy too, so many middle-class liberals these days seem to completely overlook the rich tradition of working-class intellectuals which he embodies.
Toggle Commented Jul 10, 2009 on In Honor of Grace Lee Boggs' 94th Birthday at Zuky
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Thanks, Nightprowlkitty. I agree, either we believe in human rights for all, or we don't believe in human rights. You'd be surprised how difficult it is even for most "progressives" to grasp this fundamental principle.
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Yeah, the freckles bit was pretty unnecessary -- kinda seemed like a jab at a seemingly absurd component of Mexican culture to "balance" all that ripping on "American assholes" that had come before. Glad people are enjoying this on the whole, though! Hehe. Very silly.
Toggle Commented Jul 10, 2009 on From The Onion News Network at Zuky
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I'm only objecting to the notion that if Sa Dingding supported the Free Tibet movement that it'd be like supporting independence for Texas. But that's not what I wrote, which was: "She has been criticized in the West...for not advocating on behalf of the "Free Tibet" anti-communist movement (which is roughly equivalent to a US singer being criticized in China for not supporting the secession of Texas)." Do you see the problem with what you're doing here? You're inverting various elements of my logic and arguing against something I didn't say. That's grounds for getting banned around here. Please stop. Sa Dingding has been barred from performing at certain festivals and venues in the West for not being sufficiently behind the Free Tibet cause. That's the reality I was discussing. End of story.
Toggle Commented Jun 18, 2009 on The Neo-Classical Mysticism of Sa Dingding at Zuky
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Ansel, who is belittling or dismissing? Please read my post again to see where my arrows are aimed. You don't need to teach me about the Free Tibet movement, I assure you. I've studied Tibet all life and have actually been there. I was involved with Tibetan activists in neighboring Szechuan when I was a student in China, shortly after the June 4 demonstrations, and I got into real political trouble with the Chinese government for my activities. That's not what I'm criticizing here and I think that should be clear from what I've said, here and throughout the history of this blog. Let's keep it straight.
Toggle Commented Jun 18, 2009 on The Neo-Classical Mysticism of Sa Dingding at Zuky
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Kathy, yes it is hypnotizing, in a good way! And thanks for your comments on Tibet too. Ansel, no problem about derailing, I knew my parenthetical statement would be seen by some as inflammatory; but as you may know, I can't help myself. ;-) Anyway, you say that Tibet has a stronger case for independence than Texas; what is the basis for this assertion? The US invaded Mexico about a century ago and simply annexed the southwest. The complex relationship between Tibet and China goes back 2,000 years. During the Tang dynasty (8th century), Tibet invaded China and actually captured the Tang capital of Changan. During the Yuan dynasty (12th century), China and Tibet signed a formal suzereignty treaty which granted Tibet national autonomy under the umbrella of the Chinese empire, which many see as holding to this day. It was around that time that the Chinese throne conferred the title of Dalai Lama to the ruler of the Lhasa artistocracy. That happened 800 years ago. Seeing that the entirety of the US occupies land stolen via genocide, I'm not sure where US Americans think they draw moral standing to lecture anyone on the granting of indigenous self-determination. As for the modern Free Tibet movement, it most certainly has anti-communist foundations, emerging shortly after the Communists defeated the US-supported Nationalists in the Chinese civil war and Mao declared the People's Republic of China in 1949. The US specifically took up the cause of Tibetan independence in order to destabilize China. The CIA set up camps in Taiwan and Pakistan where it trained Tibetan fighters whom it smuggled in and out of Tibet. The CIA hustled the Dalai Lama out of Tibet and into India after the Lhasa uprising of 1959, air-dropping supplies to his travel party along the way. It doesn't take a genius to notice how differently various independence movements around the world are treated in the mainstream US depending on the ideological orientation of the parties involved. Anyway, there's a lot more to it than I have time to cover right now. I do understand that there are different legitimate perspectives on all this and I don't hold it against anyone if they come at it through a different lens than me. But I would offer that most US liberals who take up the Free Tibet cause have very little of the necessary historical and cultural understanding to astutely negotiate this terrain. Peace.
Toggle Commented Jun 16, 2009 on The Neo-Classical Mysticism of Sa Dingding at Zuky
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Oh believe me, Mamita, my gardening skills are limited, I'm just learning as I go. And kinda like you, I'm waging some kind of hidden guerilla war against raccoons. Damn thieves! ;-)
Toggle Commented Jun 6, 2009 on Three Sisters and Many Cousins at Zuky
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Thanks, Quin, link fixed. And yeah I haven't seen anything quite like this either. Seen movies about Japanese relationships with Chinese and Koreans, but that's another matter. Like, entirely.
Toggle Commented May 28, 2009 on The Hariyama Bridge at Zuky
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Kathy, mm, ZC, thank you!
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Julie, belledame, thanks for chiming in, appreciate the additional perspectives. Definitely agree that the Christocrats' aggressive propping up of the Israeli right-wing has nothing to do with some pro-Jewish affinity; it's naked imperialism
Toggle Commented May 15, 2009 on The Whiteness Problem at Zuky
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Yeah, agreed. She's an intriguing artist, of mixed Han-Mongolian ethnicity, a Mandarin-speaking Buddhist who taught herself Tibetan and Sanskrit and sings in all three languages. Her singing shows strong Central Asian folk influence, which she sets against the whole dance-lounge vibe beatbed. And it works!
Toggle Commented May 15, 2009 on Music — Sa Dingding at Zuky
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Well, I've written guest posts at The Unapologetic Mexican, Nezua and I are hermanos; but this particular post was a collaboration between Nezua, me, and other editors at The Sanctuary, intended to serve as a position paper on our collective view of this story. Yeah, that "immigration expert" in the article you linked was very helpful, right? "Oh it's just a freak incident of boys "wilding", let's not make this into a big deal..." Disgusting. Always appreciate your support, Kathy. :-)
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Kathy, you're far too kind but thank you. :-)
Toggle Commented May 2, 2009 on The Whiteness Problem at Zuky
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