Category Archives: Asia

NOTHING BETTER THAN PIZZA by Peter Nolan Smith

Back in 1995 I left the USA after the death of my younger brother. My plan was to visit the holiest places in Asia to expiate Michael’s sins. I was a non-believer, but felt this pilgrimage would help his soul on the other side. By late August I was residing in old Yunnan city of […]

APOCALYPSE NOW AND THEN by Peter Nolan Smith

I tried to enlist in the Marines soon after my 16th birthday. My mother wouldn’t sign the papers. The 1968 Tet offensive had dented her belief in the final outcome of the Vietnam Conflict. The dead were airlifted home in coffins. The wounded filled the VA hospitals. Discharged soldiers were portrayed as drug addicted monsters. […]

ZEN AND WISDOM OF LIFE

Many of expat westerners live in the Orient without fully understanding the spirituality of the East. We are trapped by the Ten Commandments or our own preconceived notions of life. All humans might have to pull down their pants to go the bathroom, but few farangs will stand on the toilet seat to take a […]

Bugis Street Selama-Lamanya

The Bugis people were great voyagers from Sulawesi. They sailed small crafts from Padang Padang to many ports of the Far East ranging from Burma to Northern Australia. Many practiced piracy and as Thomas Forrest wrote in A Voyage from Calcutta to the Mergui Archipelago, “The Buginese are a high-spirited people: they will not bear […]

The Unmagic of the BBC

Varanasi on the Ganges River is one of the oldest cities in the world and considered by many to be the spiritual center of India. Archaeologists date its origin to over three thousand years ago and Siddhartha formulated the tenets of Buddhism upstream at Sarnath in a sermon entitled ‘Turning the Wheel of Law’ in […]