TagAsia

Central Asia is already “Post-Apocalyptic”

post apocalyptic

Asher Kohn writes:

You don’t need burnt pastures, bleached bones, and a trickle of muddy water in order to understand the apocalypse, as much as it may help. The apocalypse, after all, is more than the destruction of an environment. The apocalypse is the destruction of not only the world, but of the worldview. The apocalypse is the disassembly of the subconscious and the dramatic unwinding of all of those subconscious preconceptions we use to even get out of bed in the morning. Living in a post-apocalyptic world is living in time beyond God.[…]

Central Asia is, both defiantly and tragically, a land without a narrative. The region, defined by Slavs + Tatars as “an area east of the former Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China known as Eurasia,” has been home to a series of axis-tilting events, and has the history to prove it. The history of Central Asia is in many ways a history of eschatologies; not a graveyard of empires but perhaps a graveyard of belief systems. The Volga Huns of course produced Attila, who annihilated Europe west of the Danube. Less than a millenium later, Hulagu Khan laid waste to Baghdad, and Tatar rulers towered over Kiev and Moscow. If Tamerlane is included in this lineup, one could say that for most of the Earth’s time since Christ, Central Asia has produced armies that have taken on an eschatological meaning in others’ narratives. Michael Hancock Parmer notes the use of a common nickname of these empire builders, remarking that a “‘Scourge of God’ is a tool of divine punishment, an atoning skin-flaying from the Lord. Apocryphally, Temujin (Genghis Khan) claimed the title for himself at the sack of Bukhara, the legend of which lives on in Uzbekistan.”

Full Story: The State: A Pleasant Post-Apocalypse

See also: Why Humans Will Survive the Next World-Ending Catastrophe

How to Do Asian Steampunk Right

Zheng Yi Sao, 19th centry female pirate
Zheng Yi Sao, 19th centry female pirate

Jess Nevins wrote an article on “the problem with Asian steampunk.” Nevins points out that most people default to ninjas, samurai and geishas when they try to do Asian steampunk, but there’s a much richer world of possibilities. “Pirates, submarine captains, hard-boiled reporters, female private detectives… these are all part of east Asian history and popular culture in the steampunk era. Steampunk writers and cosplayers, expand your horizons!”

Here are some examples:

  • Zeppelin pirates are a staple of steampunk, but nautical pirates were a reality in the waters of Southeast Asia. Notable among these were the female pirates, from Zheng Yi Sao and Cai Qian in the beginning of the 19th century to Lo Hon Cho and Lai Choi San in the early part of the 20th century. These women were captains and admirals, commanding dozens of ships and leading them into battle from the front, gaining reputations as fierce fighters. According to a contemporary Chinese account Cai Qian Ma even commanded ships with crews of niangzijun, “women warriors.”
  • The hardboiled, crime-solving reporter was a part of Western mystery fiction from the 1880s, but in real life there were large numbers of reporters just like that in China, especially Shanghai, where the competition between newspapers was intense and reporters and editors did anything they could for a hot scoop. These newspapers were modeled on American and English newspapers, and though many of them were aimed at the Europeans in China, some were written by Chinese for Chinese.
  • Roguish treasure-hunters need not automatically be white. Since the 11th century there has been a tradition among Nyingma Buddhists in Bhutan and Tibet of a special class of lamas, the gter-ston or “treasure hunters,” who “discover” gter-ma (scriptural treasures) which have supposedly been hidden away during the Buddha’s lifetime so that they can be found and revealed to the world at a foreordained time. The gter-ston were active through the 19th century, and while some were genuine many were fraudulent.

TOR: The Problem With “Asian Steampunk”

China 2013: the Controversial Novel Rocking China’s Intelligentsia

The Gilded Age: China 2013

The novel, first published in Hong Kong in late 2009, caused quite a stir on Chinese websites early this year. For instance, Hecaitou, one of the most influential bloggers in the country, wrote in January that the book “once and for fall settles the majority of Internet quarrels” on what China’s tomorrow will be like. At the time, the book was only available in Hong Kong. But after interest grew apace in Chinese cyberspace, the author himself “pirated” his rights from his own publisher in Hong Kong to let Chinese mainlanders read it online for free. Since February, numerous digital versions of the novel have circulated and sparked heated discussions on the Chinese Internet.

Foreign Policy: China 2013

(via Chris Arkenberg)

With Asian Industry Astir, More Job-Seekers Go East

Hong Kong Central

In Hong Kong, the recruiting firm Ambition estimates that the number of résumés arriving from the United States and Europe has risen 20 to 30 percent since 2008. These now make up about two-thirds of the more than 600 résumés its Hong Kong office gets every month, said Matthew Hill, Ambition’s managing director for the city. Similarly, at eFinancialCareers, an online job site, applications for positions based in Singapore and Hong Kong have jumped nearly 50 percent in the last year, its Asia-Pacific chief, George McFerran, said.

Landing a position in Asia, though, is not just a matter of being willing to make a new life halfway around the world. Many employers prefer candidates who have track records in the region and who bring language skills and local contacts to the job.

Mike Game, chief executive in Asia for Hudson, an international recruitment agency, said the number of Westerners actually making the move was still fairly small. Many employers, he said, are more demanding than they were during the economic peak of 2007 and are “setting the bar very high in terms of what they want.”

New York Times: With Asian Industry Astir, More Job-Seekers Go East

(via Chris 23)

Photo by Jacksoncam (CC)

Draconian copyright laws in the States. Consider Canada?

Good ol' Bush Salute

In the context of all the good advancing copyright law can do for us as we move further into the twenty-first century (see “How creativity is being strangled by the law“), I almost shed a tear for Americans this afternoon because of these two bills being rushed into action:

House vote on illegal images sweeps in Wi-Fi, Web sites

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill saying that anyone offering an open Wi-Fi connection to the public must report illegal images including “obscene” cartoons and drawings–or face fines of up to $300,000.

That broad definition would cover individuals, coffee shops, libraries, hotels, and even some government agencies that provide Wi-Fi. It also sweeps in social-networking sites, domain name registrars, Internet service providers, and e-mail service providers such as Hotmail and Gmail, and it may require that the complete contents of the user’s account be retained for subsequent police inspection. [cont.]

Download A Song–Lose Your Loan

Page 411 of this 747-page bill is “Section 494(A): CAMPUS-BASED DIGITAL THEFT PREVENTION” wherein the bill’s meaning takes a serious detour from its title. To prevent college students from illegally accessing copyrighted material, the section says all schools shall (when you see the word “shall” in a law, it’s a requirement, not a suggestion):

1) Have “a plan for offering alternatives to illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property”
and
2) Have “a plan to explore technology based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity.”

The craziest thing about this is that noncompliant schools would lose all their federal funding, for all their students. No more Pell Grants. No more federal financial aid. No more student loans. This is not just draconian punishment for students who break the law, this punishes all students at that institution even if they did nothing!

Beyond that, both requirements actually work against the point of the bill itself–implementation would likely raise school fees. [cont.]

I won’t name names, but recently I helped out a friend occultist in California review Canadian cities to expatriate to. I sent him a bunch of info on crime, lifestyle, popular job markets, and some ethnic/religious backgrounds to the cities to help him decide which was more his flavour.

As we move into an era where identity exists more and more online, and who knows as more transhuman technologies become more mainstream over the next decade. Copyright, essentially communications in general, has become the quiet battleground in the American government. Because these Draconian laws benefit not only the corporations down there, but the right-wing zealous nuts who want the world safe for their Sears-inspired Christian regime, might I suggest you, too, look at moving abroad rather than putting up with the weird Fourth Reich that is bubbling and brewing.

For those of you not caring or fighting your government before it swelters and your personal freedoms are abandoned in favour of a “safe, secure Christian state,” please feel free to inquire with any of us Canadian occultists about which cities might be welcome to you. There’s always South America, Asia, or Europe if you’re thinking more exotic, and I have friends that are always flying down to South Africa to work.

For those of you that decide to fight on your native soil, kudos to you. To the rest of you, if you don’t feel it’s your battle, the world is your oyster. America is not the end-all, be-all of the human experience.

Just a friendly word from Fell. And if there is any interest, perhaps I should put together an Guide to Canada for American Counterculture Expats. Aforementioned Californian seemed to appreciate it and is checking out his city of choice this winter. And I know we’re not exactly 100% sovereign from the U.S.’s influence, but things are nowhere near the psycho state that is growing down there. =]

EDIT — A bit of a perception/context update for the SAFE Act, via the good boys at Ars Technica:

Despite hyperbole to the contrary, the SAFE Act that passed the House yesterday won’t force local coffee shops, libraries, and home users to monitor their network connections for child porn.

Will genetic research advances lead to a new era of racism?

At the same time, genetic information is slipping out of the laboratory and into everyday life, carrying with it the inescapable message that people of different races have different DNA. Ancestry tests tell customers what percentage of their genes are from Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas. The heart-disease drug BiDil is marketed exclusively to African-Americans, who seem genetically predisposed to respond to it. Jews are offered prenatal tests for genetic disorders rarely found in other ethnic groups.

[…]

But many geneticists, wary of fueling discrimination and worried that speaking openly about race could endanger support for their research, are loath to discuss the social implications of their findings. Still, some acknowledge that as their data and methods are extended to nonmedical traits, the field is at what one leading researcher recently called ‘a very delicate time, and a dangerous time.’

‘There are clear differences between people of different continental ancestries,’ said Marcus W. Feldman, a professor of biological sciences at Stanford University. ‘It’s not there yet for things like I.Q., but I can see it coming. And it has the potential to spark a new era of racism if we do not start explaining it better.’

Full Story: The New York Times.

(via Hit and Run).

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