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Archive for September, 2010

Tibetan Karaoke

China is a land of a billion people and by western standards, a place of questionable social policies and social control. Venturing through China’s expansive southwest province of Yunnan, we encountered China’s most culturally diverse area in terms of number of minority groups, or people of non-Han Chinese origin. Many of the minorities we met offered us their ethnic identity as to distinguish themselves from the Han Chinese, displaying an evident division. A couple young men even described how they had recently been beaten up by groups of Han Chinese men.

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What could possibly be noteworthy about yet another bus journey? Surely, I must be running out of things to say. Indeed, that is my own hope as I embark on the 24 hour journey from Pleiku, Vietnam near the Cambodia border, to Hanoi. A boring and restful trip would be perfect. Things are looking promising: AC works and the seats recline surprisingly far. So far in fact that I could quite comfortably pluck the eyebrows of the man seated in front of me as he reclines into my lap for a mid-morning nap. This closeness feels a touch too familial.

Instead I take the chance to investigate his long thumbnail.

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