Saturday, 5 April 2008

Karma. Sliding pound. Buying a wife.

Karma

I don't subscribe to any religions but I've been dwelling on karma recently. I like the idea of it. I think of it as a spiritual means of fairly distributing justice. A process beyond the abilities of mere humans. You can commit a crime and escape human justice but I like to think you can't escape karma.

You can measure your cholesterol levels but can you measure your karma? And if you could, what would yours be? I ask because I reckon my karma received a boost yesterday. Why?

I was reading the news yesterday when Zi Ting asked me to come outside. A recently hatched bird had fallen from its nest. She looked at me with eyes that required no translation. I gently picked up the tiny life form pushed him back inside his nest. Zi Ting's smile made me happy.

High or low

Have I increased my karma with this benevolent act? I rationalise that any gain would be nullified by having this selfish thought. Also, I have to ask myself if I would have saved the bird of my own volition? I doubt it. So that would mitigate my karma further still. I ended up believing the act of saving the chick had, in fact, lowered my karma.

I went to bed confused. My conclusion is not to linger over these concepts for too long. Your head will start hurting. Far better to keep a vacuous brain in your skull.

Money

Next, I would like to applaud the Bank of England, Chancellor of the Exchequer and anyone else responsible for this:

chart.pngThis chart displays the pound's slide against the Taiwan dollar since November. There's talk of a further interest rate cut, falling house prices, increasing borrowing costs and slowing economic growth. Not the rosiest of pictures is it? I would suggest the good times are over and tough times lie ahead. It will be interesting to see how the UK public respond to having to tighten their belts. Suddenly those extravagent credit card purchases were not such a good idea. Some people are even whispering the word recession under their breath.

I reckon the USD and GBP have a lot further to slide before we reach an equilibrium.

I was going to go to the Penghu Islands today but I'm full of cold (Wo you ganmao). I might go tomorrow. These islands are an undeveloped archipeligo between Taiwan and China. Could be nice, could be crap. I've no idea.

zaijian

Buy a wife

In Taiwan it's acceptable to buy a wife from Indonesia or, more popularly, Vietnam. In fact any poor Asian country can supply a wife for you. It'll cost you about £4000 to buy your sweetheart through an agency. This is going on all over Taiwan and nobody bats an eyelid. I query the love angle. Obviously, you have to assume this woman can not love you in the Western sense of the way we think of love. Everything has a price in Asia and love seems to be no exception.

However, I'm left with unanswered questions. How much does the bride get from the £4000? Does the man have to pay her every month? I don't know what to make of it. It seems a popular option here. What's wrong with Taiwanese women and conventional courtship? I keep asking Zi Ting if I can buy her but she says no.

Free love? Not in Asia. In Asia's poorer countries a man's age and looks mean absolutely zilch. A thick wallet's the important thing.

But is the West any different? Everything's more open and accepted in Asia. Look at Heather Mills. £24M for four years of marriage to Paul the Beatle. That's like winning four lotteries! She must be the Mother of all whores. In the West women collect cash and prizes during divorce.

This is a complex topic.

Whistling.

I was chastised last night for whistling. Nobody whistles in Taiwan. If you whistle during the hours of darkness you'll invoke a ghost's presence. People are terrified! People look at you in a funny way when you whistle here - even during the day. You forget how much people whistle back in Blighty.

Staring

People staring at you is normal here in the Taiwanese sticks. I have people gawping at me all the time. Kids shouting "Mama, waigouren waigouren!" People blatantly staring takes a little getting used to. It still unsettles me sometimes.

Hot

Taiwan is boiling right now. I received an email from my brother telling me how he has snow in the back garden. I can only dream of snow as I cycle to work in barmy sunshine.

Maiden flight

CebuPacificAir has started flying from Kaohsiung to Manila. Good news since Kaoshiung is a lot closer than Taoyuan. This saves me 4hrs and £17 on a bus on monthly visa runs. I've already paid for the maiden KHH to MNL flight on the 7th June. Cool or what? I reckon this is up there with been on the first ever Concorde flight!

Philippines

For my 5th trip to the Philippines, Don and I have planned a visit to Boracay. Although having said that, once we find a good enough bar closer to Don's house.

再见

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