Sunday, June 28, 2015

Trade Regimes of the White Ape and the Yellow Horde

"Today we will give a brief history lesson on the trade regimes of these rival empires, the deep crevasses between which we make our home. The White Ape unveiled their grand plan to link the economies of the eastern maritime front of their empire through a system they called the Trans Pacific Partnership, a kind of imaginary, invisible system of trading posts which dotted the map, which when joined together formed the image of a fence to contain the rising Yellow Horde who were consciously excluded from this great union. Though their exclusion was an act of commission rather than omission from their point of view, if you do not believe them capable of deliberate disingenuousness, since according to the laws which were written up by which membership could be granted, all were welcome through the Great Gates of the Eagle if they willingly abided by the ruling ideology of that kingdom, which they considered universal though others might claim were arbitrary and self-perpetuating. At first the Yellow Horde were vexed by this proposal, and insinuated various suspicious intrigues and plots behind the seemingly benign and magnanimous proposal though, being a pragmatic race they wasted no time in instituting a competing trade regime of their own which travelled across the far Western reaches to create 'one belt and one road' both earthen and liquid, and opened up their coffers to any tribe or polity which agreed to ally with them. Interestingly enough, the rapidity with which the Yellow Horde rolled out their trade regime, with its generous pecuniary benefits and no demand for sacrifice, tribute or the customary offerings of ones daughters, allowed them to bring in a much greater number of member states, institute their program and reap its rewards before the TPP had even been singed into effect."

"My daughters, listen carefully to the moral of this story; there was in fact an agenda to the trade regime of the White Ape, which they avowed in their rhetoric to visiting kingdoms with whom they wished to partner. It can be summarized thus;

'For many years, we have been the single dominant force for what is good and right, and we have been responsible for policing The Law which you all abide by. It is clear now that the Yellow Horde proffers a competing vision, which not only follows a different version of The Law, it also questions the axiomatic truth of The Law while they follow a rule 'by' The Law, rather than having a rule 'of' The Law. Join us, and together we can follow the path of what is good and right in unity against the Yellow Horde and walk together, hand in hand, towards the sunlight.'

"So the many kingdoms along the pacific rim agreed to follow, yet many still let themselves be courted by the Yellow Horde with its painted visions of bounteous riches which flowed from their economies of scale. The White Ape cannot contain the Yellow Horde with a ring of loyal kingdoms, because those kingdoms, from expedience, pledge their allegiance to both and neither."

A dark shadow hung over the school room from a low cloud in the late afternoon sky. If you looked hard enough, you might see a vision of battle in its fuzzy formations, of the White Ape holding the various kingdoms of this land to hostage with their mercenary armies of lawyers, who upheld the rights of The Law in the name of profit and forced their bogus medicine show on the unwitting members of its trade regime.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The lives of the cartographers

Purple was tidying the classroom at the end of the day, half watching a film about the outback, when a stranger approached her desk. The stranger was very young, but she was already over 6 and a half feet tall. She was very embarrassed about her height and often looked at the ground and walked with a stoop.

"Teacher, I would like to join your class. I grew up as an orphaned child in a village far away. My parents moved to the coast for work. One day I found an old book by a forgotten geographer that said the following:

Whoever wants to go to China must cross seven seas, each one with its own color and wind and fish and breeze, completely unlike the sea that lies beside it. The first of them is the Sea of Fars, which men sail setting out from Siraf. It ends at Ra's al-Jumha; it is a strait where pearls are fished. The second sea begins at Ra's al-Jumha and is called Larwi. It is a big sea, and in it is the Island of Waqwaq and others that belong to the Zanj. These islands have kings. One can only sail this sea by the stars. It contains huge fish, and in it are many wonders and things that pass description. The third sea is called Harkand, and in it lies the Island of Sarandib, in which are precious stones and rubies. Here are islands with kings, but there is one king over them. In the islands of this sea grow bamboo andrattan. The fourth sea is called Kalah and is shallow and filled with huge serpents. Sometimes they ride the wind and smash ships. Here are islands where the camphor tree grows. The fifth sea is called Salahit and is very large and filled with wonders. The sixth sea is called Kardanj; it is very rainy. The seventh sea is called the sea of Sanji, also known as Kanjli. It is the sea of China; one is driven by the south wind until one reaches a freshwater bay, along which are fortified places and cities, until one reaches Khanfu.

I did not know where this geographer had come from but I decided it would be a place much different from where I was. I followed the directions in reverse as best as I could and I have arrived here. I wish for you to help me to write a book, a biography of the great cartographers.


Thursday, June 4, 2015

An affair to remember

"Mother, I simply don't know how I am expected to share so many social events with Alison. Of course I don't mind her background, but its the way she holds herself that is so vile. Have you seen the way she sips her wine, and those trashy shoes that she wears? "

"Oh darling, you will find a way to cope. After all, we all make our little compromises in life to make it work."

"What about you and Daddy? What compromises did you have to make?" 

"Me and Daddy are perfectly happy, and you will be too, darling." 

But Mrs Dwynedowers did not do enough to calm Gretchen - was it a micro-expression or the tone of her voice that gave something away? One cannot hide a memory you see, for what the mind has forgotten, the body remembers. Even a glimmer of a past love, or a tinge of regret, will come to bear in the some way on the corner of one's mouth, or the quickening of one's breath, just as it might contort a minuscule synapse in the recesses of the brain. 

"Is a memory an object? " thought Mrs Dwynedowers, "well, so what if it is just a surge of electrical charge that passes from molecule to molecule, tracing a now-forgotten trail, blazed so brightly when it was learnt long ago.