Chasing Mirages

Archive for January, 2013

Sanniangwan garbage mystery – partially solved

by on Jan.31, 2013, under Posts

Remember all the garbage that washed up on the beaches of Sanniangwan after the last typhoon?  That was an extreme example, but the truth is that regular tides bring in enough trash to litter the beaches every day.  We often speculated on the source of all this garbage – How much of it came from Sanniangwan locals?  How much washed in from shores far away?  Sanniangwaners insisted that it washed down from the rivers feeding the estuary, namely Dafengjiang (大風江) and Luerhuanjiang (鹿耳環江).

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Mothers have dreams too

by on Jan.26, 2013, under Posts

A friend of mine has dreamed of  visiting Antarctica for as long as she can remember. When she became a mother, she dove head-first into mommy-land, leaving her own dreams to drown in the morass.

Several years ago, she met Robert Swan, the first explorer to reach both poles on foot, and he invited her to join his annual Antarctic expedition.  Although she was happy about the invitation, her knee-jerk reaction was “No way”.

Robert Swan responded to her chain of excuses with “so what?”  after “so what?” and eventually,  she realized that all of her fears had been self-generated –  In fact, her kids were old enough to be taken care of by her husband for a couple of weeks.  In fact, she could arrange for someone to temporarily take over her duties at work.  In fact, her poor eyesight would not impede her ability to have an enriching experience.  She saw that her worries were immaterial and that she was responsible for living a meaningful life beyond her identity as a mother.  And now she’s on her way to achieving her Antarctic Dream.

My friend’s story reminded me of an epiphany I had almost 2 years ago at a 10-day meditation retreat.  As usual, the retreat was kicking my ass.  For hours a day, I cursed the unbearable pain in my legs and back.  Despite not really “doing anything”, I was exhausted, both physically and mentally.

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The captivity dilemma

by on Jan.12, 2013, under Posts

Happy new year!  I’ve made a resolution to post at least three times a month, even if each post is just a photo or a thought.  Let’s see how long this lasts!

A while back, one of the undergrads told us that the nearby Nanning Zoo keeps a Chinese white dolphin.  We had some concerns and suspicions about the dolphin:  that it was being kept in poor conditions; that it had been purchased on the black market in Thailand; that it wasn’t a Chinese white dolphin at all.  We finally had the chance to take a look for ourselves.

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