Sunday, March 28, 2004 :::
Below is the copy of a blogg which Ken Parish removed from Troppo Armidillo without my permission or knowledge. I believe it to be a fair response to a blogg which mentioned intimated details of his and my long standing relationship.
An example of Courtship N.T. Style.
Very amusing to read Ken Parish's ramblings on gender relations. Particulary hillarious to hear that he considers he had a "crack" at courting myself, the very Suzy Kruhse mentioned in the blog.
Must have been in between the $20 night out where he came to my place 2 weeks later and asked to be compensated for half in cash while saying what he really needed was "a f..." and his efforts to bed a woman friend ( the new romantic interest also mentioned in the blog) a friend of mine whom I had introduced him to. I have always had the impression that it was bad manner for a man to kiss and tell, if that is what we could call it on the world wide web.
Seems Ken has indeed been out of circulation a long time if he considers the above to constitute a serious effort at renewing an old love affair or for that matter nurturing the dear friendship he writes about.
Posted by Suzy Kruhse at February 13, 2004 02:06 AM | TrackBack
::: posted by suzy at 11:45 AM
The districk of Bang Kolaem, a maze of concrete pathways and sagging planks of timber suspended over the filthy, festering klong, and I am thankful that the dust and fumes have long since clogged my sinuses and I can't smell a thing.
Mangy dogs, most looking to be straight dingo, roam about in their thousands living on the charity off these people and their few scraps of left-over rice. And all night they bark and roam about to keep the Poe Poe at bay. Those horrible monsters with big eyes and long hair that Sumlee tells me about. The terrors one can come across in dark alleys. Or even lurking on roof tops.
The whole scene reminiscent of an Aboriginal settlement. Few of the huts have kitchens or refrigeration, most prefering the communal life. Eating and drinking tea in the tiny sagging timber and iron houses and Lean toos turned over to that purpose. But each meagre hut has a TV set in a place of honour, and Sumlee urges me to poke my head into one to take a look. Although the owners are out to work and we are in charge of their little one, a beautiful tiny girl they call Roelin and Sumlee explains it is the fashion now to give kids Farang names. Her Mum must think it is Rayleen they have called her.
Anyway, as in the west, the TV is becoming an important child minder since it keeps the kids passive and sitting in one place. And our kids are in a huddle mesmerised. Jurassic Park is playing, dubbed in a sing song Thai. No school for Oi and the others although she has finished elementary and in between glances at the Tv takes out much prized school books from a small sache to show me. The Thai alphabet has 44 characters and she has mastered the lot and can do all the exercises, although she does not officially exist. Sumlee and I go to the school and after a long discussion with the principal turns up the fact. The problem with Oi is that, without a birth certificate, she can never gain the documents to graduate so she spends her days looking after the little ones. Her mother is so poor and overworked and the new step father such a nasty drunken idiot that the poor women can not spare the time to travel back to the family village to talk to the head man. Then, no doubt, fork out a bribe to the police to finalise the paper work.
What ever will become of Oi??
::: posted by suzy at 11:44 AM
Between the battered timber floor boards I can see the plastic bottles and dross drowning in the klong a few feet below us. Sumlee's house in the slumbs on the edge of Bangkok. He pays 60 bart = $2 per month in rent for this 10ft square of corrugated iron home with an unlined ceiling so low we can barely stand up. His few belonging hang on hooks on the wall and his clothes on a line running from corner to corner. The floor is mostly covered in mattresses and Sumlee proudly tells of the day he found them for 50 bart rolled them up and somehow managed to bring them home in a tuk tuk, a sort of passager carridge pulled by a small motor bike.
The door hangs crooked and a shaft of early morning light lets me see the 3 kids, still sleeping amongst the old blankets and rags that are the bedding. Oi, an engaging 7 year old, she is the eldest. And the others 4 and 5 year old boys with big brown eyes, reminding me of my own kids around the same age look like agels now. But when they're awake they box and wrestle and to amuse me do the beautiful movement of Thai dance. Sombre faces and curling fingers in the classical pose. The kids of a street-vendor mum and their dad a Khamere from the north who was killed by a bus while out looking for plastic to recycle. They used to sleep on the sidewalk beside their mothers cart until Sumlee took them in.
Fifteen year a munk. Sumlee is just another poor buy determined to better his mind with an education and even now he still lives a monastic life. No smoking or drinking like all the others. Instead he does good deeds, chants like his father, a very devout Buddhist, had taught him as a boy, and makes sure to show a smiling face to the world. For a pittance Sumlee massages the Thai boxers and acts as spiritual guide to these champions. Many foregetting to pay him from their winnings after the bout.
This morning Sumlee is happy to have a Forang to introduce around and we go with a trail of kids to drink coffee and have the kids dished up a sort of rice porride with little meat balls floating on top. Steaming hot. Many have never felt the skin of a Forang before and he says to offer my hand and I do saying sawadee and the old lady bows politely and sit beside her and the 2 black poodles and we ear rice, a curry of bamboo and tiny sausages dipped in chilly with little fish first dried then fried up chrispy.
More on the village soon......
This morning Sumlee is
::: posted by suzy at 11:43 AM
In an alley behind the stone wall of the watt just off Kowasan Road.
Amongst the laundries and the big wicker baskets for sorting plastic rubbish, old men, with faded Thai tatoos promising majic protection against evil, sit on a bamboo platform chatting and threading small white dumplings on scures. And too skinny cats with bobbed tails stroll about or laze in the shade. Slim young dreadlock boys play cards with the pettite Thai girls who sit laughing on a swinging chair, and the boxing place has opened for business. Seriously tough Thai men with bull- necks officiate over wirey, boy-boxers dancing on bandage wrapped toes, kneeing and kicking till they are breathless and the sweat runs and their eyes blaze fire.
I walk on through to the back of Travellers Connection for the Israelies, where the internet is free for 30 minute, and past the girls sweating in the kitchen. There are the handsome young Jews. The boys with golden, gleaming skin and clear brown eyes watching and smoking. The elegant girls with hair in strands of tiny plaits, golden and with beads, the proportions of models, sitting cooly speaking Yiddish and knowing they are beautiful.
I remember then my first trip to Thailand in 72. My long honey coloured hair causing such a stir. Locals stareing. Mothers with little ones on hips following in an excited gagge and scaring the kids with threats they would feed them to the Farang. Shower times with young boys climbing the walls to take a peak at this strange white woman and a shop keeper getting so annoyed he tossed a dish of soapy water on the lot to chase them away from his shop. Today the boys who sell me software call me Mamma and the brightest, Grandma from Australia, and I am reminded once again, a lifetime has passed on by.
::: posted by suzy at 11:41 AM
A real luxuary. A Pommy IT buff and I have managed to wrangle, for the total price of$11 the entire back seat of the clapped out camry taxi. All to ourselves to stretch outand enjoy. While 2 locals, one claiming to be a tour guide, a smart young guy about 5 stone ring wet who goes by the name of Dad, and his mate, for a fraction of the price, squeeze into the busket seat up front. The alternative was to pay $3 and be shoved in until no body else would fit. We are all set then for a 2 hour hammering on dusty roads through the last Khamere Rouge strong hold past buffalo wallows and huts made of palm leaves on the way to Kampot. Once famous for its pepper.
The big new in Kampot that night is that sunlight and pepsodent have come to town to launch a promotion. The sweetener is a team of Khamere boy dancers on a big stage in the middle of town with lots of loud music and piles of talking in animated Kahamer. Thery get into a form of Khamere breakdancing to the latest hit to amused the girls. Then guys dressed up as teeth get attacked by others being the black germs of tooth decay and the rhetoric goes up a notch or two with lots of yelling and getting excited. While all around are stalls selling the products in small enough quantities anyone could afford them.
The real point of going to Kampot is to visit the Bokor national park and the old hill station built by the French and we are off again, up hill steeply through the jungle for hours over a dirt road with remnants of bitumen which feel like land mines as we hit each one and are launched to crash down again in time for the next. Great fun for a couple of hours to the top and the decaying, multistoried hotel mansion of the colonials and across from that the stone Catholic church where opposing forces played off shelling one another for months during the 1970's war. Spooky, derelict, with every glass window tile smashed out. It is covered in an impressive red lichen toadd to the effect. Much cooler up here out of a climate like Darwin in the build up with the monsoon due in the next month or two. Great view all the way to the coast and to islands floating in the clouds like we are somehow lost in time. The only thing to spoil the scareyness is the Korean film crew who are busy sandbagging the place, putting in munician boxes and oil drums, dabbing on false war grime and hanging up windows and grand red draps pre-scorched and riddled with bullet holes ready to make a movie.
ON THE ROAD TO PHNOM PENH
Four adults, 3 kids and me are loaded and we are off weaving at break neck speed through bullock drays, past motor bikes pulling trailers laden with produce and up to 20 farm hands, and treasured pigs who take their time crossing the road. The driver is in his element chatting loudly to everyone. Or engroced, thanks to Miobilenet, in long conversations which require lots of explanantion where he guisticulates wildly enough to scare me with only one hand on the wheel.
The three kids peak shyly at me and are georgeous and never complain or say a word although one has to squeeze his tiny self into a tiny space between the two front seats. Everything is quite harmonious until we get closer to our destination and I discover that I am the only adult not to have a mobile. They all go off continuously with exotic Khamere musical rings and I am sandwiched between 4 loud conversations. The young married man, with his bright wedding band and the long nail on his little finger as is the fashion of anyone who does not work the land, is in an amourous mood with his bride and I get to hear it all since he is almost sitting in my lap.
Phnom Penh equates with pandamonium as as we near the place the traffic gets crazy churning the soil to a choaking haze of white dust till we near the centre and the driver, at some place he chose at random, simply cruises into the curb, gets out nonchalantly and strolls off without a word. I was a bit stunned till everyone got out and I noticed the boot was flicked open and I grabbed my bag quick before it disappeared.
Like blowflies the moto drives buzz in for the kill and try bargaining in US dollars. But I am wiser than that and walk off till one who wanted the work mentioned 2000 reil ,(50 cents) and I was in for the ride of my life. He, somehow balancing the luggage between his knees. I hope I am not on the road to nowhere and he understood what I said. But for now I am in shock. Either side of the road seems to be bedlam and we shoot along, no helmets, into the thick of the traffic. Bikes and cars coming straight at us till we make it into the stream headed down the road on the right up alleys and around corners, cutting across hoards of bikes coming the other way to the famous No 9. a hang out on the lake. A pall of gunja, rega music and bull shit permeate the place and I am back in the 1970's but with pool tables and even more trendies who spend their time drinking and looking cool.
::: posted by suzy at 11:40 AM
Here I am in Phnem Penh, the capital of Cambodia in a shop where water seaps through the ceiling at times, but no one takes any notice. Outside one of the motor bike boys sits on the bike and sings beautiful songs in Kamere, enjoying the good acoustics of the overhanging building in our alley. Heading off to Ankor Watt tomorrow on the fast boat, still an 8 hour trip but at least no bumps.
I am quite a bit behind with my stories so here goes. I has written everything this morning but the computer was turned off by mistake and guess what.??
What is going on here in Pattaya??
I've found a second magician, one Fran Berry a 59 year old American with a shock of white hair and a funny grin. Turns out Fran is a retired uni lecturer from the USA who taught photography and music and travels with a guitar he built himself. He carries a bag of majic tricks and plays anywhere he lands, including for the AIDS afflicted orphans, when even the locals just don't want to know.
I can't believe my luck and take him by the hand and walk him up the road to Monty's. But Monty is shy. Bustling about with the Lady boys he is busy preparing lunch and refuses to engage till Fran's card games and rope trick and folding a 20 bart note till in turns into 1000 and such get him in. Monty hauls out his prize. A real majic coat of black sequens, a find in a flea market and with all the secret pocket for flowers and the rabbit. The coat was made in Japan and has the name of the guy still embroidered inside. We are in for a treat and the two majicians wow me and the few flea bitten daggy old men down for a late breakfast after spending their night with the boys, with one trick after another till I leave them to their disgussipn of the politics of the majic circle and go off to find Brian.
Sitting on the wooden bench in the twiligiht swatting mozzies, eating sugar bananas and chatting to Noi. A Khamere of 24 whose father is a judge in the capital, and supplies him with land and an allowance just to keep him out of trouble and indulge his fantasy of being a farmer. He is a typical spoiled boy with a perfect nose and lips like that of an Angkor statue. Lips he has wrapped around the biggest fattest gunjar joint ever seen on earth and he never offers to share. He tells me he hardly ever goes out to the chicken farm, the place where hundreds of girls are on offer for no more than 100 bart or $3, amd all this in a town where nothing else happens. Instead he offers to take me for a spin on his friend's bike and we hare along through the dark in a town reminiscent of outback QLD in the 1950's. Same sense of boredom and ramshackeled, multcoloured weatherboard houses unloved and surrounded by rubbish. Down dusty road with pot holes of muddy water so big you could almost drown in one. The bike has a dicky light so most of the time we are passing the ghoasts of pedestrians and push bike riders in the gloom, not knowning if we dreamed them. A few laps of town past the rows of little karoke places where 2 or three girls wait outside each one to entertain you for a pittance. A quick feed of cold noodle soup and a pudding of beans and stick rice a bit the texture of clag gloo and not much more delicious. But the big thrill is to sit on the grass and look at the 2km bridge recently constructed by the military, although Noi insists that the casino boss paid for it and has a 25 year lease at about $1.5 per car. Probably nearer to the truth. Turns out the right to ticket Ankor Watt has been sold off in the same way to a Japanese oil company who levy a heft $40 US to see the place for 3 days. Not much goes for the upkeep unfortunately and corruption is rife here. The saying goes that little people require small bribes and big people big bribes. Cute.
Brian and I are not the only foreign blow-ins and I sip local beer at the cafe down the road in a place where the Mamasan runs 30 girls as young as 13. There is Andre an insurance and realestate guy from Pattaya whom we shared a taxi with from the border. And he sits large, and blue bug eyed from the booze, cigarettes and sadness of his life at a table with a couple of girls and his mate Barry a Vietnam vet here to entertain the young ladies", all scrauny with a grey Ned Kelly beard. Barry is intent on telling me to watch ot for the tricks pulled by the locals. But Andre is too sad to care about that and tells me how he was happily married to a beautiful Thai girl ,who fauned on him happily and was pleasant even when she was in a bad mood, for 2 years. Everything was great till they went to visit her grandma and the night they stayed in the house the old lady died. Superstition meant that they had to be thrown out of the village pronto, for bringing such bad luck. The wife disappeared with her clothes, his money and his kitchen so to get even he wont divorce to stop her leaving the country.
Ämongst the plastic bags trampled into the dirt fighting cocks and thier girlfriends take a stroll oblivious to the killing of their relatives in neighbouring countries. And now I have a flu myself but am philosphical they wont have me put down as a health risk. Why knows?
A big pink markee half way blocks the road in the main street across from where the men squat welding and sharpening maschetties. The locals tell me it is a wedding which is causing all this racket of khamere music, and we get to see a glimpse of the handsome happy couple dressed beautifully at their party in the dusty street.
A 4 hour boat trip to Shianokville and we are well and trully on the travellers track, mostly English and French although I meet a couple more Belgians and the even the Fionna the Irish girl who was wwoofing at our place last year. Very frustrating to be out of touch with the locals who arre so poor the only way you can make contact is with those who are begging or trying to sell you things. It feels like Bali 20 years ago although there is a certain pleasure in trading stories with fellow travellers. The best story came from a pommy guy who tell us he met an American Cannibal with tatoos down his nose and who has been in jail endless for visa violation. His story is that he live in a cemetery with sardos in India and helped himself to the entrails. What next. Amnyway a friend has just tapped me on the should and asked would I like to go for a drink.
::: posted by suzy at 11:39 AM
Hello again from Pattaya and Brian and I are living the high life in a grotty dive used for r and r during the Vietnamese war. We are in the grotty part of the gay end of town way away from the right places to be seen but not far from Mr. Sings the old Indian tailor with his green and gold turban, teeth missing and coal black to highlight his eyes. I am going to have a copy of my favourite dress made in raw Thai silk if I can bare to pay the $25. Headed for Cambodian border on Monday.
CATCHING UP WITH BRIAN.
Brian, brown and much leaner than he was and dressed in perfect white. Arms outstretched to plant kisses on my cheek.
Familiar banter of trips survived and funny campy stories of waking wooded planks in lairy sarongs with elephants and of impecable white sandshoes in the mud of the Meekong in Laos.
He makes me cry with stories of the lot of these patient, smiling people. A boy awakes to find cheap but oh so precious yellow sandals stolen and mourns Yellow Yellow skywards in his anguish. Never mind and Brian lends his large white sandles for keeping face that day at school and it's off to buy new ones and make it all right.
He is haunted by the little kid balanced all day in a corner on a tin, uncomplaining. While the cramped little utility/ bus rushes and lurches and pulls it's human cargo over barely made roads. All valuable lessons in life.
I SIT WITH THE PLACID CAT.
I lounge back. Bare feet on the edge of the polished maroone tiles we are relaxing together in the alley beside Madam's tiny resthouse, me and the ginger mother cat.
Me writing poetry in the shade wrapped in the stillness, the cooling breeze and my brown and gold sarong.
She the matronly feline watching sideways as the red fish glide around. Their own world of water trapped in the earthen bowl, carved and weathered and mossy green with time.
PATPONG NIGHT OUT
And the Bangkok boys are on stage rything to the beat.
Golden, toasted skin overlayed by hot pink, orange, red and yellow taffida. They are ancient Thai kings now, the tinsel of their spired head dresses no match for the flash of perfect brown eyes.
And all around in the gloom forang lounge and young men drape about. The tiny, tight lycra shorts glowing too white and seductively revealing under irridescent lights.
THE DRAG QUEEN OF PATTAYA
Brian can't stop smiling as she holds him fast in the knowingness of her gaze.
He with his white hair, up front of the stage.
She with slender beautiful arms extended lythly to heaven, while her boys' body cleverly disguised, slinks and glides, draped in elegant female finery. Her perfect red mouth caresses the words of the song belted out on the system and we are entranced. Hardly noticing the boredom and blank faces of the glamourous boys in the chorus line spinning and dipping and marching in line.
MONTY'S MAJIC SHOW.
The lights of this seedier end of town glinging across the surface of torquise won't disturb the trance of the white rabbit called Ginny.
Upside down in his gentle hands she closes her red eyes and drift off on the edge of the plastic table. Little doves and the puppies, one after the other relaxing to the touch of this bar keeper from down under who lives under a bamboo shelter beside the pool.
This cooker of superb roast lamb dinners served with refinement and hot on the pavement. His classic music drowned out by the dyn of bikes and the racket from the place across the road. While boy/girls and gogo boys drift past seductive and alone but at home here in this street of dreams.
::: posted by suzy at 11:37 AM
KEVIN AT THE AIRPORT (16/2/04)
Why am I dazzled by the shyness of his smile?
That thumping in my chest surprising.
Sweet man. Kind and gentle as a boy.
That night was wonderful he tells me simply.
I thought so, and the years of aloneness fall away to reveal myself cradled in the warmth of this afterglow.
We have the ticket now miss, she breaks in,..
and we wake to where we are.
Did I disturb a romantic moment, she asks smiling and we shake ourselves apart, eyes wide with dreamy new awareness.
BANGKOK PATRICK 19/2/04
Back streets of Bangkok on the back of Patrick's bike.
Gentle energy takes us with the flow of traffic. Taxis and trucks and around them we glide only just avoiding bumps and cracks in the road.
Soi Cowboy red light district and the lyth young girls slide and slither on the silver rails while I sip beer and Patrick water, in his new found karmic journey.
6.30 in the morning and we are grounded to this mother earth. Feet apart and sturdy with knees bend and back straight. Our shugung in the park surrounded by highrise in the haze of blue grey smog.
Patient Patrick. Vulnerable but brave.
A life of exploration of the self. Too much heavy drinking , endless women and the lot till sanity prevailed.
A wise woman once said that if we are not living on the edge we take up too much room.
Instinctively he knows this truth and and finds his path now calmly through life's chaos. Living the life of a write. Solitary and monastic way off the earth in downtown Bangkok. The murky, littered klong down below us. A highway for barges and boats. The racket drifts up and we sip thick coffee, eating yogurt and red pawpa on the tiny verandah crowded with Vietnames roses and sticks of dry bamboo.
FIRST MASSAGE IN BANGKOK 19/2/04
Tiny woman's hands kneed and press me against the firmness of the hard white mattress.
While he snores, content and anonymous right through the curtain in the relaxed gloom of Madams Spa.
Manicure, pedicure, Thai massage. Very goood. Strong foot massage to please you.
Anxieties are no more. Tensions ebbed and smoothed away.
::: posted by suzy at 11:34 AM
Sunday, April 20, 2003 :::
Just came home from Cambodia and will post blogs of the trip one by one. Enjoy
::: posted by suzy at 7:25 PM
Thursday, April 17, 2003 :::
MORE INFO ON WEST PAPUA
REFER TO MY FIRST BLOG POST
::: posted by suzy at 11:55 AM
A LITTLE BIT OF WISHFUL THINKING
First to introduce myself. I am Suzy a 49 years old Phd in urban anthropology. I have long dark blond hair and brown eyes, 5'6" and I love to swim long distance, cycle and garden to keep in shape.
My heritage is Latvian and I spent 6 weeks living in Riga last summer to connect with the part of me which, up till then, I never knew. Hence, I have discovered a love of homeland and a deep spiritual and cultural connection with the second oldest Indo-European culture in existence, compete with tree hugging, karma and laima (cause and effect).
Much of my time is taken up in running 9 communes in Darwin and sharing the 8 bedroom house I live in with 5 women and 2 young men. I also like to spend a few months of each year in travel.
I am into rainforest regeneration and organic gardening and my art is lead lighting. I am in the middle of writing two books but currently in a lazy mood. My interest in tantra has come about since, for the last 22 years, I have taught tantric sex and given tantric massage in the course of my work. My doctoral thesis was on the topic of male sexuality and gender politics and so I have an ongoing and deep intellectual and interest in these issues.
My personal circumstances are that I am single and wishing to find my soul mate. A friend of mine suggested that I prepare a list of the criteria important to me in a man and I did so a year or so
ago in the hope of attracting such a person.
My perfect mate will be above all admirable, that is innovative and courageous in all areas of his life. I would like him to be mature, cheerful, financially independent, physically fit, a non-smoker and moderate or non-drinker, ready to travel or be involved in interesting projects, loyal, practical, optimistic and to enjoy laughing and telling stories in bed. A man who is larger than life will not daunt me. If this sounds like you mayby I have found my long awaited soul mate.
Dr Suzy Kruhse-MountBurton
::: posted by suzy at 11:40 AM
A ltlle bit about my Latvian heritage.
Did you know that the ancient Latvians, like the Scots, had bagpipes? or that weaving patterns in Scottish tartans have great similarities to ancient Latvian plaids? Some examples of Latvian plaid is nearly identical to an ancient Tocharian plaid - ancient European mummies of which have been found in China. Did these ancient peoples share a common origin? [For the linguistic tartans compare Latvian terpins, dim. for terps meaning "tartan", all probably derived from a term similar to Latvian dariba, darina (drana), darita, daritins meaning "worked (product)"), whence Latvian drebes "cloth" and English drapes. The Scottish kilt compares to Latvian kleita ("dress").]
It is perhaps not without reason that Paul Dunbavin, in his book Picts and Ancient Britons: An Exploration of Pictish Origins, suggests on the basis of still further evidence, "that the Picts were ... immigrants from the Baltic." Looking back even further in time, archaeology and a study of ancient skull types clearly shows similar Mesolithic humans (ca. 8000 BC) among the Magdalenians (the cave painters of Lascaux, France), the ancient people of Normandy, Scandinavia, the middle European lowland and Latvia. See Raisa Denisova, The Most Ancient Population of Latvia and Ilze Loze, Indo-Europeans in the Eastern Baltic in the View of an Archaeologist.
Hence, the culture and traditions of the Baltic peoples take on a greater importance for those who wish to study the origins of the cultures of the British Isles and of Western Civilization.
One of the important remnants of ancient Baltic culture is formed by the DAINAS. The word "DAINAS" in Latvian is pronounced exactly like the English "DYNAS" in DYNASTY. The Dainas are unique ancient Latvian "folksongs in verse form - originally intended to be sung". The Dainas relate epic, mythical, astronomical and cultural information. One such verse or "Daina" generally consists of four lines of unrhymed trochaic text (one long syllable followed by one short syllable, etc.).
The Dainas have been passed down over the millennia by oral tradition and cover all aspects of ancient Baltic life, mythology and astronomy. Dainas are called Dainos in Lithuania - where they are far less frequent. In Latvia, the Dainas are most frequent in the highlands. Comparables to the Dainas outside the Baltic are perhaps only found in ancient Mesopotamia in the most ancient Sumerian and Akkadian pantheon. An example is the Agushaya Hymn (Agushaya possibly = Latvian Augšaja "(on) the highest"), an ancient song text which was the dissertation subject of Orientalist Wolfram von Soden, who at that time could not have been aware of any possible Baltic connection. A number of lines in the Sumerian-Akkadian Agushaya Hymn bear strong similarity to texts STILL found nearly unaltered in the Latvian Dainas.
As noted by Hans Rychener, in his book "...und Estland, Lettland, Litauen?", Herbert Lang, Berlin, 1975, p. 24: "The myths of the Lithuanians and Latvians...remind one of the belief systems of the ancient Hindus and Greeks."
Robert Payne, in "The Green Linden, Selected Lithuanian Folk-songs", Voyages Press, N.Y., 1964, writes: "The dainos...represent a form of poetry as ancient as anything on this earth.... They have a beauty and pure primitive splendor above anything I know in Western literature, except the early songs of the Greek Islanders. They seem to have been written at the morning of the world, and the dew is still on them."
Hermanis Rathfelders, in his many writings in Acta Baltica, wrote that the Latvian Dainas were extremely ancient, preceding the milling of grain, so that the mythological and astronomical Dainas may reach back many thousands of years in time.
Oral Tradition and the Dainas
The Dainas as ancient verses were handed down through oral tradition from generation to generation in Latvia, often at great cost.
During one stage of German occupation of Latvia in the 16th century, women caught reciting the Dainas were burned at the stake as witches, which only solidified the cultural resistance more than ever.
In the 18th century the famous German writers Johann Gottfried von Herder and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe devoted serious attention to the Latvian Dainas, which surely helped to generate Herder's interest in his later "Essay on the Origin of Language", as well as "Oldest Records of the Human Race" and his collection of Folk Songs ("Volkslieder").
Through his contact with the Latvian Dainas, Herder may also have developed his theory that the poetry of legend was the "soul of history" - or, as written in the Encyclopaedia Britannica "[Herder] considered poetry to spring from the natural and historical environment" of man. At the end of his life, Herder was thus a great opponent of the modern developing "classical movement" in German literature, which estranged poetry from its place as a historical record, leading to a modern misinterpretation of antique sources which has persisted down to the present day, not just in Mesopotamia, but also in the misinterpretation of the Dainas.
Krišjanis Barons and the Dainas
In 1878 a group of Latvian intellectuals in Moscow decided to collect and publish the "best" of the Latvian Dainas, not fully realizing the immensity of the task before them. They had no idea that so many Dainas existed. The last volume of their collection, Latvju Dainas, was thus in fact published in St. Petersburg only 40 years later. [See Archives of Latvian Folklore]
The best known of the three initial "collectors" of Dainas is Krišjanis Barons, who was the main coordinator of the project to collect, classify and publish the Dainas. Barons was born on October 31, 1835 in Latvia. He attended schools in Dundaga (German Dondangen), Kurzeme (German Kurland viz. Courland), Ventspils (German Windau) and Jelgava (German Mitau). From 1856 to 1860 he studied mathematics and astronomy in Tartu (German Dorpat), Estonia (German Estland). When Barons passed away on March 8, 1923, he was celebrated by thousands as a national hero, for having collected 35,800 Dainas, including 182,000 variants, for a total of 217,800 verses.
But this was not the end of the matter. Collection of Dainas continued through the 20th century, and there are now a total of ca. 2,000,000 (two million) collected verses, counting variants. As written by Vilmos Voigt, it is the greatest such collection of ancient folksongs in the world - and yet the population of Latvians in Latvia has never exceeded 2,000,000 people, so this must be a very old tradition.
Barons dealt with the Dainas over decades and thus began to understand their essence. He wisely organized the Dainas according to the events of the mythical, astronomical and agricultural year - to which their content is in fact well suited and from which they surely originated. One of the Dainas even speaks of "ice hills" - perhaps glaciers of the most recent glacial period - so that the Dainas may be among the oldest human records.
The DAINAS presented here are selected from and adapted from the 12-volume Latviešu Tautas Dziesmas (Chansons Populaires Lettonnes), Imanta Publishers, Copenhagen, 1952-1956, ed. A. Švabe, K. Straubergs and E. Hauzenberga-Šturma. These volumes followed the Barons system of classification for the Dainas. Dainas were grouped by assigned subject matter and each "basic unique" Daina was assigned a number starting with 1 and today reaching about 60,000, not counting the variants, which bring the total to well over 2,000,000. This classification system is retained on this web site.
A new edition of the Dainas is being prepared by linguists in Latvia according to a new system of classification [See LTK, "Das bäuerliche Jahr im Volkslied", Deutsche Tagespost, No. 85, p. 10, July 16, 1985]. If the new system departs from the ancient scheme of calendric feasts and astronomical events in favor of "modern" views of poetry (such as Herder correctly opposed) - the new compilation may well be less "authentic" than the older versions, and thus less useful for historical study. But we shall see.
All English translations and interpretations of the Dainas on this site, unless otherwise noted, are by Andis Kaulins, J.D. Stanford University; FFA Lecturer emeritus, University of Trier, Germany; Author, Langenscheidt Fachverlag.
Most of these translations and interpretations are new and suggest a more modern understanding of the ancient mythology, astronomy and culture of the Baltic peoples, who, according to the recently published History of the Baltic Countries (a book subsidized by the European Union) trace their origins back to the Magdalenians, the cave painters of Lascaux... which is e.g. surely why French tu es is the same as Latvian tu esi or French a'dieu may find itself in ar dievu in Latvian. Accordingly, the most ancient Dainas may trace clear back to the earliest origins of modern human civilization.
::: posted by suzy at 10:28 AM
King relates that Gould told him the following when he started reporting:
"When you write a story, you're telling yourself the story.... When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story."
More on this later. I am fascinated with the process and art of writing.
::: posted by suzy at 10:16 AM
Sunday, April 13, 2003 :::
High functioning adult autists. Could this be a description of both my husbands.
::: posted by suzy at 9:17 PM
Tuesday, April 08, 2003 :::
Sadam rises from the ashes.
::: posted by suzy at 8:55 PM
Thursday, April 03, 2003 :::
Close To The Bone.
Author: Suzy Kruhse-MountBurton (PhD.)
In the labour ward next to my mother, who’s only twenty and still has me curled up tight in her belly an Aboriginal girl, not much more than a child herself writhes in agony.
She’s slipping away and there’s nothing I can do, the doctor tells matron, ringing his hands at the sight of the girl - a touch of helplessness in his manly, young voice.
A warm sea breeze wafts through the louvred windows of the old hospital in Cairns, that little town on the mud flats in North Australia, to drown the delicate scent of frangipanni in the reek of phenol antiseptic and death. It’s a fine day on the 15th of August 1953 and outside in the yard the bright tropical sunlight glances off the wings of blue-green dragonflies hovering amongst the fiery reds of bougainvillaea and poinciana. But inside it’s drab, floors of grey rubber, the metal beds chipped and yellowed with use - hard, thin mattresses tightly bound with crisp, white sheets.
The black girl’s dark eyes roll back to show the whites - shot through with blood, her full-lipped mouth dry and gasping. A dusky mermaid flung out of her natural habitat, left in this strange place to die.
There isn’t a thing wrong with the girl; the doctor is frowning now at such a blatant defiance of medical fact. But the matron standing behind him, stiff in her uniform and starched veil has seen such deaths before and she shakes her head and looks away. There is no help to be offered the girl and the old nurse knows it. Matron would say something to the young doctor about their heathen ways, but it’s not her place to speak up. She keeps her peace, pulls the calico screen around, and knows in her heart that there’s nothing, not even the skills of this smart young doctor, can help the girl now.
The old nurse knows of love magic. She knows what happens when a man steals a girl away, and how the girl will follow the magic even when it means her death. Matron knows about the promise. That the girl belongs to an old man, the husband her mother’s people chose for her even before she was born, and how the love magic has made her break the law to run off with her sweetheart and bear his child.
The girls’ people have lived in this land some 40,000 years or more, twenty times longer than the last sighting of Christ. And the old woman knows enough of The ways of the people to feel it in her soul. They are witness to an ancient justice; that of old black men, daubed in blood and feathers in their secret place. The keepers of the law who pointed the bone at the girl, a curse guaranteed to kill, and that no white-man’s magic can ever put things right.
In her delirium the girl tries to speak, but her tribal tongue is gibberish to the nurse, busy wrapping the small dead baby in a strip of cotton sheeting. The girl sighs a last sigh and drops back against the starched, white pillow to drift back to the dream time.
A believer in reincarnation might suspect that being so near to such tragic goings-on...the karma of my family might be shook and knocked about by the shock waves, the beauty and the pain of that love magic might settle down on all of us. The story about to be told is at once a history, a journey of self-discovery, and a bitter-sweet whimsy of how the love magic goes on casting its ripples on the surface of my own small pond of time.
::: posted by suzy at 9:43 PM
GET TO READ SOME OF THE THINGS I HAVE WRITTEN
::: posted by suzy at 9:34 PM
GET TO KNOW ME
See Tantric Affair
::: posted by suzy at 8:24 PM
Monday, March 31, 2003 :::
BUDDHA' S HIDEAWAY. FIRST MESSAGE TO THE WORLD.
IRIAN JIAH - LAST WEEK
Estalina, her skin as fine and lovely as a black rose petal,
but with a wit as sharp as the arrows Asmat tribesmen fashion from hardwood.
A beautiful face, something of the feature of the New Guinean, sloping forward to large sensuous red lips and perfect pearls for teeth.
She tells how trouble between Muslims and Christians forced her move from the island of Ambon, still too unsafe, even years later, to consider going home.
Twenty seven years of age, and now with a little boy to support, both parents dead already and her husband, a soldier, shot last year by the police.
Most of the 60,000 or so people here in Timika are immigrants, and Estalina is one of the lucky ones. She started work at the Sheraton as a golf caddy and worked her way up. Lots of lucrative tips from cashed up Yankee expats in Irian Jiah to work the mine, make life easier for her.
Now she is taking me to the market, nothing too much trouble for a friend of Umpa Larry’s (grandpa), a tribute to the kindness of this man who has worked here more than ten years. Ibu Suzy she calls me (Mrs.), then later reverts to Mummy, her arm protective around me as she saves me from being flattened crossing the road.
This may be West Papua but it could easily be taken for any other place in Indonesia. The same easy-going pace of life, amongst a sort of colourful chaos.
All crammed into mini buses, motor bikes weaving in amongst the trucks and three wheel bicycle taxis.
Make-shift houses on the edge of a fast-dwindling pristine jungle and plastic rubbish in piles everywhere. Three hundred or so inches of rain each year, so the ground in the market place is sticky black with stepping stones to keep us out of the muck. Everything your heart could desire, fish, vegies, clothes, pots and pans, umbrellas, cds and tapes. Perfect yellow bananas decorate the edges, salak fruit with their snake-skin, piles of bright red chillies, cinnamon and other spices and herbs of mysterious kinds.
Tribesmen carry heavy burdens of sago, a starchy ooze axed from the palm. Slurried, drained, then set to dry in cones of woven bamboo and palm leaves about 4 feet high.
Last night I tried fish soup and sago for dinner. A glutinous mass close to the consistency of an extra sticky glue, which has the advantage of being tasteless and close to transparent. So it is interesting now to see the raw product for sale, a staple for the locals which goes well with the strong flavour of fish and spices.
Long thin finger of some sort of green fruit, and Estalina urges that I take a bite. Bitter till she shows me how to thrust the thing into the newspaper wrapped around a white powder which I take to be lime. Without swallowing now, pop in a hard green beetle nut, looking like a hard green date, then chew down hard.
My mouth instantly fills with disgusting brown fluid, or so I discover when Estalina shows to spit to one side. I find out later that chewing beetle is supposed be a sort of mild narcotic, but I must admit that there was no way I could stick to it long enough to get a lift. Those who chew it for years I notice end up with stained teeth, ranging from red to black.
My shopping trip.
Boudekas, penis gourds, the traditional garb of the Irianese man, painted daintily and topped with a fine wish of cassowary feathers. So look out boys I might try to talk you into modelling them. P.S. I bought the biggest size of course.
The geological history of Irian Jiah “The Victorious Hot Land”.
According to the experts, 10 million years ago or more, the Australian tectonic plate moving north collided with that moving south to push up this spectacular mountain chain.
So within an hours drive along a road with endless military check points we go from sea level up through the clouds to the Freeport mining town of Tembagapura at 7,000 feet. On the way passing the spot where 3 American and Aussie teachers were shot dead. Seven suffered horrific injuries, one woman lying there for near an hour with her intestines hanging out, another sheltering a 6 year old girl to keep her safe while they shook with terror watching the soldiers feet walk past their 4 wheel drive. This “incident” happened only last August and all agree was probably the work of the military.
Side-stepping the politics of the region, the most exciting thing about this place from the point of view of geology is that such upheavels of the crust mean that some of the magma oozes out to the surface to give rise to the most spectacular surface copper, gold and nickel deposits found in the world. A miracle really that it was discovered at all, and it only happened thanks to those intrepid Dutchmen. Climbers who, back in the 1920, found a gigantic boulder which seemed to be almost solid copper way up in the most inhospitable, head-hunter land on earth. (As recently as 1974 four Dutch families were killed and eaten, a fact which did not seem to put explorers off, not when there is likely to be gold “up there in them there hills”.)
The second world war put a stop to any serious mining ventures, even after a more thorough survey which resulted in a formal report. But it was a Yale graduate by the name of Forbes Wilson who had the guts and determination to make it happen, struggling through the jungle for 17 days to check for himself, and then negotiating a deal with the Indonesians, slowly but surely throughout the sixties.
The result is one of the richest mines on earth, today employing 17,000 men in total so Larry Lobdell, Vice President of Construction and Engineering, tells me as we labour slowly uphill in the 4 wheel drive towards the mine.
Spectacular views all the way to the coast glimpsed in between the clouds.
Two thousand feet higher to 9,000 ft and there is the mill, reducing 280,000 tons on ore to 10,000 tons of concentrate, the tailing slushing down the river towards the levee on the coast, one the way mixing with organic matter to form new soil which is promptly revegetated by the jungle.
The clouds rolls in now, so visibility is not too good.
And there is the crusher looming like a ship through the fog. Several stories high it is trundled from one place to another on the back of a giant computerised caterpillar tractor known effectionately as “the crawler”.
Now we are headed into a tunnel, 70km of which honeycomb the two mountains of the mine. Larry drives along as confident as though were out on a Sunday outing through the dank and the dark. Although, I suppose he has done so every day of his 10 years or so on the job. He isn’t worried, stopping only to tug on the rope to switch the lights and avoid a collision. Water pours down from the stone roof, and in places the road runs with water. I feel claustrophobic and a sort of terror of being buried alive, but it doesn’t seem polite to go into a panic right now.
Out into the daylight again, and we surge on higher to 14,000 ft, right to the edge of the open cut pit a place where 2,700 or so men are employed. Unfortunately, invisible at the moment, hidden by the densest of cloud. When the visibility get as low as 50 metres the giant trucks must stop work because of stringent safety regulations.
Larry tells how the highest peak, Punchak Jaya, at 16,000 feet was misrepresented on the old maps as being only 11,000ft., a mistake which, with such cloud cover, has resulted in many plane crashes. Several during the war, and it is only in recent years that the bodies were retrieved for burial. Larry points out where the glacier should be, but we can hardly see our own noses today. Not good for sightseeing, and I hope for a clearer day before head back to Darwin.
Caroline Cook. American anthropologist. She has been here for more than 20 years, speaks Bahasa and several of the tribal tongues. Arrived from Illinois with her husband and kids as a housewife, but when they moved on she stayed put, making trips away only for studies, to write her dissertation on the local people, and more recently, to go to Ecuador to study under a Sharman and his Indian musician helpers and healers, pursuing her spiritual path. She tells me of the remarkable expat women who live here in the township. A bit about their drumming group and that, although some are conventional, there are a few pagans and witches.
Caroline kindly takes me under her wing that day I discover her with her table full of greens. A business and training venture for local people, selling lovely fresh spinach, herbs and fresh-ground coffee, (an ancient variety introduced here by the Dutch hundreds of years ago, never been genetically engineered, and organically grown on the edge of the jungle.)The project, these days is funded by the mine. Action anthropology, in line with the local’s wish to enter the cash economy.
Four years back Caroline wrestled a tract of land down by the river from the Indonesian Army. The weather-board barracks, now a shed for coffee seedlings and to teach basic literacy. The proposed shooting range turned into gardens, mushroom houses and a place to make compost. But none of the 13 locals on the project are on site this week, she tells me. The whole lot have cleared out back to the village because of the war. Not the idiotic high-tech war in the Gulf, but an Irianese variety to be fought the old fashioned way, with bow and arrows. The cause. Suspicion about the death of someone in the tribe. Seems that fears of bad magic are responsible for setting off the first major conflict since 1997. Back then a woman was thrown off the bridge to drown in the river and severed heads bobbed down stream. And here I am right in the middle of a war with 15 people in hospital already. An inter-clan war so Caroline explains, and tells, if I have it right, how the valley has two major groups the Amungme, the original inhabitants here and interlopers the Dani, with other language groups. The Dani interlopers have set up an illegal village, while the mine has provided good housing for the legit group, the source of much jealousy. The company thought they would solve the problem, building another village down stream to move the immigrant group back towards the coast. But they simply rent out their houses and sneak back up, living in huts of plastic to go back to panning for gold. They won’t leave until they are provided with another house and, without a proper census or way of identifying individuals, there is no way to stop the double dipping.
“You can hang out with me” Caroline tells me, and we are off first thing in the morning to fix the lock down at the garden, the seedling shed broken into overnight by someone mysterious. Caroline suspects the military since they are supposed to be guarding the place.
Walk on a wire foot bridge strung over a branch of the muddy river with Arnold, Caroline’s assistant, a gorgeous Indonesian guy with a degree in agriculture and lots of skills. A flying fox runs across beside us to carry supplies, and in the floods can rescue people. Caroline explains what it is that I am seeing, coffee seedlings, struck, potted, then planted out in a system of permaculture which would bring a smile to any follower of Bill Mollison. Coffee, interspersed with other shrubs, bushes and casuarina trees. Good for setting nitrogen in these thin, leached, tropical soils. Beds of spinach and herbs are the best cash crop, but Caroline is an innovator. She makes her own compost from cow manure from the lowlands and food scraps from the mess, has set up a shed for drying, roasting, grinding and packaging this special hand grown “Amungme coffee”. She grows bamboo for shot sticks to be used at the mine for poking charges of explosives up to hard-to-get-to niches high up in the rock. A form of pandanus for eating of the soft young hearts and the seeds. Mushrooms grown in 3 varieties, the spores imported from Jakarta, red, yellow and brown Asian types. This requires a complicated process of mixing sawdust with crushed egg shells etc to make a special brew which needs to be sterilised in 44 gallon drums over a fire for at least 8 hours to get rid of any mould impurities. Then the brew is stuffed into plastic cylinders with a loop to close it off and cotton wool to poke out one end, ready to be impregnated with the spores. The bags are then stacked on shelves in makeshift humidity huts constructed of timber sealed in with black plastic with clear plastic for the roof. If that isn’t ambitious enough she has also found a way to generate and stores hydro power from the fall of the river, the idea being to bring warm water to the shower block she has had constructed so the people can improve their hygiene. Her next project is to grow cambutcha mushroom for the famous tea. All the while she is showing me this she worries who it could be has broken in. Only military up here in the past few days with the war going on, and they are meant to be minding the place.
Next she takes me for a stroll to the bridge she had built over the main river, and we cross, finding branches placed carefully on it’s length, a sort of no-trespass signal which she says probably has something to do with the war. All the while young girls with string bags worn across their foreheads, the burden down on their backs, stroll along barefoot down the muddy track. On their way to their gardens high on the hill sides and to the illegal huts, those make-shift plastic covered shelters we can see on the edge of river. Home to those who come to pan that illegal gold from the murky, grey of the tailings laden river. About 20% of the gold is missed in the milling and the soldiers soon discovered that they could swap their Freeport lunch boxes for gold. Now the trade has developed so that the soldiers demand a cut of the gold by way of a tax, even though it is the army who are responsible for keeping anyone else from fossicking on the Freeport lease.
Lets take a slow drive down to the village and we pass a group of happy, fat pigs to come around the corner and confront a war party on the move. Thirty or so men with war paint, feathers and bunches of bows and arrows held high. Caroline turns our vehicle back to the gardens to be on the safe side, telling me that only last week they attacked and wrecked a 4 wheel drive in a fit of inter-tribal jealousy. We arrive back just as a load of soldiers climb out, machine guns at the ready and looking as though they mean business. Caroline is worried that Arnold is in the gardens all alone so we had better find out what it is all about. She comes back to report that the soldiers say they are to guard the Papuan mine workers here to fix the water pipe put in by the mine to bring unpolluted water down to the village. They also reckon that, all along the road we have just been driving on are armed tribesmen lurking in the grass. They tell us that the pipe was sabotaged during the night, maybe a strategy of someone involved in the war, one could easily speculate. The soldiers say the idea is to force a meeting. Caroline thinks this will be a confrontation designed to extract a price in pigs and so bring a settlement of the war. The problem is that some of the sub groups have tried to swing their own deals, thus scuttling the bigger bargains being negotiated by the larger clans. What a mess, almost as bad as the Sadam, Bush and little Johnny affair. We head back down to the village, Caroline warning to wind up the windows just in case, while wild men with faces blue and yellow, grim and determined looks, jog past us waving weapons. A land slip with a huge boulder tossed across the road and Caroline comments that such a fluke of nature often coincides with a war and that the tribesmen will likely take it as a sign that malevolent forces are indeed at the bottom of things.
On Thursday we will walk down to the village to take a closer look at things. Meanwhile, I am enjoying my self meeting the great people who live here, a real league of nations, great camaraderie, very friendly, well travelled, worldly and innovative. Lots of fabulous food and the best and hospitality from Larry.
::: posted by suzy at 9:31 PM