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你好 from Taiwan - Putuo on a sweet potato in the South Sea and full of Eastern Promise

Taiwan declares itself Green, Feminist, Anti-Imperialist and Anti-Fascist.
LinkThe best time to plant a tree was 25 years ago LinkThe next best time is now.

"If those who support aggressive war had seen a fraction of what I've seen, if they'd watched children fry to death from Napalm and bleed to death from a cluster bomb, they might not utter the claptrap they do." - John Pilger
LinkOne moon shows in every pool, in every pool Linkthe one moon.

捨己為人 普度眾生

To fascists/imperialists/capitalists: May you live in interesting times.


  1. 5

    Daodejing 道德經

    FactbookOverview by Pirate Pete . 74 reads.

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    Zhuangzi 莊子

    FactbookOverview by Pirate Pete . 52 reads.

  3. 3

    The Noble Eightfold Path

    FactbookOverview by Dharmadatu . 105 reads.

  4. 3

    10 Ox-Herding Pictures 十牛

    FactbookReligion by Huang Po . 46 reads.

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    Hui Hai 百丈懷海

    FactbookOverview by San Te . 8 reads.

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    Huang Po 黄檗希運

    FactbookOverview by San Te . 8 reads.

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    Can dialectics break bricks? (Film)

    FactbookOverview by San Te . 14 reads.

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Taiwan contains 9 nations, the 1,897th most in the world.


Today's World Census Report

The Highest Drug Use in Taiwan

World Census experts sampled many cakes of dubious content to determine which nations' citizens consume the most recreational drugs.

As a region, Taiwan is ranked 5,411th in the world for Highest Drug Use.

NationWA CategoryMotto
1.The Wrath of HayagrivaLeft-wing Utopia“Om Benzra Krodha Haya Griwa”
2.The Most Serene Republic of Keep Your Eyes OpenIron Fist Socialists“Fkd up, got ambushed, zipped in”
3.The Community of Shi HouLeft-wing Utopia“🐒 This Monkey's gone to heaven 🐵”
4.The 36th Chamber of Shaolin of San TeLeft-wing Utopia“Light the lantern of mind. Keep it bright every day.”
5.The Republic of TheanlandLeft-wing Utopia“出頭天”
6.The Secluded Shore Shrine of SerpentsLeft-wing Utopia“Attempts to enslave may result in severe burns”
7.The Bamboo Palace of Kuan YinLeft-wing Utopia“Namo Gwan Shi Yin Pu Sa”
8.The Matriarchy of Xiao MeimeiMother Knows Best State“Lao pung yo, nee can chi lai hun yo jing shen.”
9.The Republic of FrimonNew York Times Democracy“Peace and Justice”

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The 36th Chamber of Shaolin of San Te

Blessed 春節!


The Bamboo Palace of Kuan Yin

“We often think of peace as the absence of war, that if powerful countries would reduce their weapon arsenals, we could have peace. But if we look deeply into the weapons, we see our own minds- our own prejudices, fears and ignorance. Even if we transport all the bombs to the moon, the roots of war and the roots of bombs are still there, in our hearts and minds, and sooner or later we will make new bombs. To work for peace is to uproot war from ourselves and from the hearts of men and women. To prepare for war, to give millions of men and women the opportunity to practice killing day and night in their hearts, is to plant millions of seeds of violence, anger, frustration, and fear that will be passed on for generations to come. ”

- Thích Nhất Hạnh


15 Bad Ukraine Narratives


FEBRUARY 28, 2022


Especially when deepened by the fog of war, stupidity comes in many mutually reinforcing forms. Let’s examine and get past some stupid thinking on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But first, let’s proclaim some basic principles. The Ukraine Crisis is a good focus for pracisting the art of detesting two things at the same time. Just as one can hate both the neoliberal-capitalist Democratic Party and (imagine) the neofascist-capitalist Republican Party at the same time, one can simultaneously abhor both supremely dangerous US-led Western imperialism and the less powerful but nonetheless criminal, imperialist, and supremely dangerous Vladimir Putin regime. While highly unequal (except perhaps in their capacity to plunge the planet into Nuclear Winter), both sides are capitalist, racist, sexist, imperialist, plutocratic, undemocratic, fasci-genic, nuclear-exterminist,and (last but hardly least) fossil-capitalist/eco-exterminist.

Who should you oppose? All of the above. People of the West, fight your own capitalist-imperialist governments and social orders. People of Russia, resist your own capitalist-imperialist government and social order. People of the world: struggle against capitalism-imperialism, which is leading human civilization to literal ruin through war, poverty, and ecocide. When and where did we ever ask for all this dehumanizing madness and depravity? Do not lose sight of the real enemy: the ruling classes and their chaotic, parasitic, and exterminist world capitalist system, in whose darkening shadow we live.

More: https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/02/28/fifteen-bad-ukraine-narratives/

The Bamboo Palace of Kuan Yin

“Your true home is in the here and the now. It is not limited by time, space, nationality, or race. Your true home is not an abstract idea. It is something you can touch and live in every moment.”

- Thích Nhất Hạnh

Post by Westhercegovina suppressed by a moderator.

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin of San Te

Ros Serey Sothea was a Cambodian singer and actress and survivor of domestic abuse who was famous among Cambodians, and then the wider world.
When the Khmer Rogue seized power in Cambodia in 1975, it resulted in the deaths of 1.5-2 million people, nearly a quarter of Cambodia's population of 7.8 million.

As Ros Serey Sothea disappeared around the time the Khmer Rogue took power, it is sadly believed she was one of them, presumably imprisoned, possibly tortured, before being murdered.

Here is Ros Serey Sothea, with Jam 10 Kai Thiet (Wait 10 More Months).


The Bamboo Palace of Kuan Yin

Climate Change is Killing Trees

APRIL 18, 2022


A long time ago in the Milky Way galaxy on a planet named Earth the trees died. It only happened once in the planet’s history. It was during the Permian-Triassic 252 million years ago.

Henk Visscher, PhD, Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University makes a living studying exposed fossil beds of the transitional period of the Permian to Triassic era, aka: “The Great Dying.” Significantly, layers of fossils prior to the great extinction event contain lots of pollen, typical of a healthy conifer forest. But, in the Permo-Triassic boundary the pollen is replaced by strands of fossilized fungi, representing an exploding population of nature’s scavengers feasting on dead trees.

“Visscher and his colleagues have found elevated levels of fungal remains in Permo-Triassic rocks from all over the world. They call it a ‘fungal spike.’ The same rocks yield few tree pollen grains. Visscher’s conclusion: Nearly all the world’s trees died en masse.” (Source: The Permian Extinction – When Life Nearly Came to an End, National Geographic, June 6, 2019)

A dreaded repeat performance of tree deaths of 252 million years ago may be starting to re-appear. Throughout the world trees are dying en masse. It’s troubling. Scientists are studying this strange phenomenon in the context of a rugged past event of 252 million years ago.

“The upshot, scientists figured out in just the past decade, is that many trees in most landscapes, from the hot, rainy Amazon to cold, dry Alberta, are operating at the limits of their hydraulic systems, even under normal conditions, with little safety margin. That means a hot drought can push them over the threshold. The 2002 drought in the Southwest did exactly that: Tree-ring records would later show it was the driest and worst year for growth in a millennium. No other year even came close.” (Source: The Future of Forests, National Geographic, April 14, 2022)

“From the Amazon to the Arctic, wildfires are getting bigger, hotter, and more frequent as the climate changes… In many places, forests are no longer regenerating. Some of the world’s most significant stands are instead transitioning to something new. Some will never be the same. Others may not come back at all,” Ibid.

Trees throughout the world are vulnerable to excessive heat. A warmer atmosphere sucks more moisture from plants and soil. During droughts, trees close pores in leaves, called stomata, or shed leaves entirely, which limits CO2 uptake, leaving trees both hungry and parched all at once.

When soil gets dry enough, trees can no longer maintain pressure in the internal conduits that carry water up to their leaves. Air bubbles interrupt the flow, causing fatal embolisms (obstructions).

Even though the planet has 3, 000,000,000,000 (3T) trees and 10,000,000,000 (10B) acres of forests, scientists are increasingly concerned with the quickening pulse of extreme climate events that essentially prevent forest regeneration such as fire, extraordinarily powerful storms, insect infestations, and most notably, severe heat and drought, all unique to today’s climate change environment.

Trees throughout the world are vulnerable to excessive heat. A warmer atmosphere sucks more moisture from plants and soil. During droughts, trees close pores in leaves, called stomata, or shed leaves entirely, which limits CO2 uptake, leaving trees both hungry and parched all at once.

When soil gets dry enough, trees can no longer maintain pressure in the internal conduits that carry water up to their leaves. Air bubbles interrupt the flow, causing fatal embolisms (obstructions).

Even though the planet has 3, 000,000,000,000 (3T) trees and 10,000,000,000 (10B) acres of forests, scientists are increasingly concerned with the quickening pulse of extreme climate events that essentially prevent forest regeneration such as fire, extraordinarily powerful storms, insect infestations, and most notably, severe heat and drought, all unique to today’s climate change environment.

Climate change undercuts trees in various ways, for example, yellow cedars in Alaska are freezing to death because of early snow melt due to global warming. As the trees lose their snow-cover warming blanket, recurring cold snaps kill them by the thousands. At Africa’s Sahel (SW Morocco) heat and drought has killed 20% of the trees. And, according to the most recent IPCC report, 5-out of-8 of the most abundant tree species in America’s West have significantly declined since 2000.

Camille Stevens-Rumann, a forest ecologist at Colorado State University, examined 1,485 sites from 52 fires in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Washington. The number of burned sites that didn’t recover jumped from 19% before 2000 to 32% thereafter. “And by ‘not recovering,’ I mean not a single tree—not one,” Ibid.

Craig Allen, a landscape ecologist, has been warning of danger to trees for the past 20 years: “All this awakened Allen to what he now sees as a grave global threat. ‘Seeing the transformation of this landscape that I’d studied my whole adult life … climate change wasn’t theoretical anymore’… He started tracking the mass mortality events elsewhere. Over the next two decades, heat and drought would kill billions of trees directly and indirectly—in Spain, in South Korea, throughout Australia. In central Siberia, Russia lost two million acres of firs. In Texas in 2011, drought killed more than 300 million trees—one out of every 16 in the state,” Ibid.

Tree deaths skyrocketed when the worst drought in 500 years hit central Europe in 2018. Summer temperatures hit nearly 6°F above average. Additionally, from 2018 to 2020 in Germany 750,000 acres of forest died because of excessive heat.

Majestic sequoias in the Far West that have stood the test of time as far back as Julius Caesar’s reign (100-44BC) are under attack. For eons the giants withstood every type of disaster until the Castle fire in August-December 2020 tore through Sequoia National Park, igniting one crown after another. Forest ecologists had never seen anything like it. Up to 14% of large sequoias in the Sierra Nevada were killed or mortally wounded.

Why did the majestic sequoias succumb to a disaster for the first time in centuries? Climate change/global warming was clearly the protagonist. A severe dry spell in the surrounding area had previously killed millions of sugar pines, incense cedars, and white firs in densely packed forests nearby the sequoias where the Castle fire started, which erupted into an inferno like nobody had ever experienced.

A second fire hit a year later in 2021: “The 2021 fires claimed another 3 to 5 percent of large sequoias. Up to 19 percent of these magnificent trees—trees that had weathered everything for a millennium or more—had been lost in just two years,” Ibid.

Regarding land temperature impact on tree death, it should be noted, according to James Hansen’s (Earth Institute, Columbia University) “March Temperature Update” as of April 15, 2022: “Note that monthly temperature anomalies on land now commonly exceed +2°C (+3.6°F), with the Arctic anomaly often exceeding +5°C (+9°F).”

Hansen expects 2022 to be substantially warmer than 2021. March 2021 registered 1.3°C warmer than the average for March 1880-1920… “ due to surging growth rates of GHGs (greenhouse gases), etc.”

In that regard, it’s well known that surging growth rates of CO2 and Ch4 are preventable but politically foreordained.

Alert: If monthly temperature anomalies on land (1/3rd of the planet) “commonly exceed +2°C,” as explained by Dr. Hansen, isn’t that the red flashing light danger zone described in IPCC reports, meaning more deadly climate-related disasters come into play much sooner than predicted in climate models?


Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at rlhunziker@gmail.com.

Source: https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/04/18/climate-change-is-killing-trees/


The China “Threat” and the Solomon Islands

APRIL 18, 2022


Rarely has the Solomon Islands had as much attention as this. Despite being in caretaker mode as it battles the federal election, the government of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison still had room to politicise its anti-China twitch. The person given the task of doing so was the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Zed Seselja.

In a quick visit to Honiara to have discussions with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, Seselja stated that Australia remained dedicated to supporting the security needs of the Solomon Islands, and would do so “swiftly, transparently and with full respect for its sovereignty”. The Pacific country remained a friend, part of the “Pacific family”.

While not specifically condemning the waywardness of the Sogavare government in forging closer ties with Beijing, Seselja explicitly mentions that discussions included “the proposed Solomon Islands-China security agreement.” Using the familiar talking point of pushing regional familial ties, the Minister insisted that “the Pacific family will always meet the security needs of our region.” In a tone suggesting both plea and clenched fist, Seselja went on to claim that Solomon Islands had been “respectfully” asked to reject the pact and “consult the Pacific family in the spirit of regional openness and transparency, consistent with our region’s security frameworks.”

The origins of this badgering stem from the Sino-Solomon Islands draft security agreement published online by an adviser to the disgruntled Malaita Provincial Government of Premier Derek Suidani. That, in of itself, was telling of local domestic tussles, given Suidani’s opposition to increasing influence from Beijing and his own tilt towards Taiwan.

According to Article 1 of the draft, the Solomon Islands may request China to “send police, police military personnel and other law enforcement and armed forces” for reasons of maintaining social order, protecting lives and property, providing humanitarian assistance, carrying out disaster response, or “providing assistance on other tasks agreed upon by the Parties”.

With the consent of Honiara, China may also “make ship visits to, carry out logistical replenishment in, and have stopover and transition in Solomon Islands”. Chinese personnel may also be used in protecting Chinese personnel and projects on the islands.

Amongst Australia’s talking heads and hacks was a sense of horror. Greg Sheridan, writing for The Australian, saw parallels with Japan’s aims during the Second World War “to isolate Australia from the US by occupying Pacific territories, specifically Guadalcanal in what is now the Solomons.” The same paper described the deal as “a nightmare in paradise.”

Canberra and Washington are also concerned by what is seen as a lack of candour on the part of Beijing, a tad rich coming from powers that mischievously formed the AUKUS pact in conditions of total secrecy. Article 5 expressly notes that “neither party shall disclose the cooperation information to a third party” without written consent of the other party, which has been taken to mean that citizens of the Solomon Islands are not to know the content of the agreement. That would put them in a similar position to Australians who have an incomplete picture on the role played by US military installations such as Pine Gap, or the broader expectations of AUKUS.

The extent Sogavare and his ministers are being badgered by Australian dignitaries is notable. Their message: We acknowledge your independence as long as it is exercised in our national (read US) interest. This was the theme of the visit earlier this month from Paul Symon, chief of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, and Andrew Shearer, Director-General of the Office of National Intelligence.

According to a note from Sogavare’s office, the visitors discussed “Australia’s core security concerns” about a potential Chinese military presence in the country. Both Symon and Shearer were told that Honiara’s “security concerns are domestically focused and complements [the] current bilateral Agreement with Australia and the regional security architecture.”

This view is unlikely to have swayed officials tone deaf to local concerns. The Biden administration, playing tag team to Australia’s efforts, has given Kurt Campbell, the US National Security Council Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, the task of changing Sogavare’s mind. He promises to visit the Pacific state along with Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Daniel Kritenbrink, later this month.

US lawmakers are also keen to hold the fort against Chinese influence in the Pacific and are excited about the prospects of using Australian soil to do so. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham sees the garrisoning of Australia with US troops as an answer. “I see an opening in this part of the world to push back on China in a way that would fundamentally change the fear that you have of a very bad neighbour,” he told Sky News Australia on April 13.

The proposed Honiara-Beijing pact shows how neither Australia, nor the US, can hope to buy Honiara’s unqualified allegiance to its own policies. It worried Australian Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews, who responded to the news of the draft by claiming that, “This is our neighbourhood and we are very concerned of any activity that is taking place in the Pacific Islands.”

To date, Solomon Islands has been treated as a failed state, a security risk in need of pacification, and a country distinctly incapable of exercising plenary power. Australia has adopted an infantilising, charity-based approach, shovelling billions into the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI). Australian High Commissioner Lachlan Strahan was quick to reassure Sogavare that Canberra would be extending the mission till December 2023, while also providing $AU21.5 million in budget support, a second patrol boat outpost and a national radio network.

None of these ongoing factors have prevented discussions between Honiara and Beijing on security issues. Chinese police officers were sent to the Solomon Islands in February, forming the People’s Republic of China Public Security Bureau’s Solomon Islands Policing Advisory Group. Their mission: aiding the local police force in improving their “anti-riot capabilities”.

Local politics, deeply divisive as they are, will have to eventually dictate the extent with which various powers are permitted influence. Solomon Islands Opposition Leader Matthew Wale is very much against the gravitational pull of China. Last year, he attempted to convince Australian officials, including the High Commissioner, that the draft was a serious possibility. With the prospect of further jockeying between Washington, Canberra and Beijing, Honiara promises to be a very interesting place. Along the way, it might actually prove to its meddlesome sceptics that sovereignty is possible.

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

Source: https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/04/18/the-china-threat-and-the-solomon


In search of Taiwan’s lost clouded leopards, anthropology uncovers more than camera traps (commentary)

by Yu Shih-Hsuan on 23 November 2021

Indigenous folklore says that the Taiwan’s — likely extinct — clouded leopard species led two human brothers to a heavenly place 600 years ago.

While biologists have searched extensively for the animal in recent years using camera traps and other modern means, better clues to this enigmatic creature can perhaps be found by consulting Taiwan’s Indigenous people.

Whether Taiwan’s clouded leopards are extinct or not, its forests could support a population of up to 600 individuals if reintroduced from elsewhere in the region.

This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily of Mongabay.

Have you heard the Taiwanese Indigenous folklore about the island’s clouded leopard species — Lrikulaw — who led two human brothers to a heavenly place 600 years ago? While biologists have searched extensively for the animal in recent years using camera traps and other modern technology, better clues to this elusive and enigmatic creature can be found by searching for information among Taiwan’s Indigenous people.

I had a chance to talk to Pastor Kainungan Madalralepe, a respected linguist from Kucapugane Village in Vedai, Pingtung County in southern Taiwan. He explained the term ‘lrikulaw’ to me, emphasizing that the term has two parts: lri- and -kulaw. While the first part lri- indicates a future action, “(someone) is going to (do) something,” -kulaw means the action of “drawing with black-color coal.” Semantically, the pastor said, it means “something gets painted (with coal), which indirectly refers to the coat of the beautiful cat, the Formosan clouded leopard.” The pastor also pointed out that the actual animal in the Lrikulaw legend could be a dog (which are roughly the same size as a clouded leopard), and the name is to glorify its important role as a human companion.

For Kucapugane and its satellite villages, it is common knowledge that Lrikulaw means “guardianship, honor, and glory,” as quoted by the chairman of Ngudradrekai Council, Lavuras Abaliwsu. I also read about it before, in many published materials, that Lrikulaw is a cultural symbol for the Ngudradrekai people. Surely, the animal not only represents an endangered (or extinct) biological species, but also an entity of moral positives that unites the human descendants of Kucapugane Village. Lrikulaw, therefore, works as a symbol both culturally and ethically. Without a doubt, I know how this beautiful forest feline has been societally important in Ngudradrekai’s cultural life, while I still have difficulties relating Lrikulaw cultural beliefs and the depressing reality of the species’ conservation crisis — and likely extinction — today.

Many sources show that certain human communities continue to cherish the animal by treasuring its tales, skin, and fangs; they are Ngudradrekai and Paiwan tribes in Taiwan (who did so until at least a couple of decades ago), while in Indonesia, there are the many sub-communities of Dayak people from Borneo who do the same to this day. Several questions pop up: Did people hunt the animal down so they could harvest the skin? Was it easy to find the animal? Why do they want the skin? Was this need for the pelt eventually what made the animal endangered? Can we directly conclude that the communities drove the creature to extinction?

The reality seems to be far more complex and slippery than my questions.

Before jumping to any conclusions, we should review the diverse roles that humans have played with wild cats. Since the beginning of European activities along the Indochinese Peninsula, a bounty system introduced by the British in the 19th century (according to tiger historian Peter Boomgaard) seems to be a deeper reason for the organized wildcat hunting that impacted the entire cat family in European and later British colonies amongst the Southeast Asian archipelagos. As to manage the human-carnivore conflicts that took place very often on their subject lands, where a common idea for tiger was “cattle/man-eater,” there was even a proposal for a “Society for the Extermination of Tigers” in Java (Boomgaard 2018), which sadly became a reality some time in the 1980s, after the colonizers had left. Something very similar is likely to have happened with the Formosan clouded leopard during the 50-year Japanese occupation of Taiwan, when Indigenous hunters were paid bounties by their Japanese masters to head into the mountains and fetch clouded leopard pelts (the closest thing to a tiger that Taiwan has, or had) for decorative and egotistical purposes.

Before the mid-19th century, colonial and Indigenous states had already come up with a reward method – bounties – to regulate tiger-caused social problems. In that time, showing the pelt of a tiger could return the hunter a great deal of reward (up to 45 British Pounds, approximately $6,843 today), says Boomgaard. Tiger capturers could bring skins of non-tigers such as leopards and clouded leopard, labeled as “small” or “young tigers” in the official reports, which would not be differentiated from “real tigers,” and still won a good deal of reward.

The bounty system went on and off in different regions of Indonesia and Indochina, by both the British and the Dutch, since it continued to bring enormous incomes for both locals and Westerners. In 1888-1889, there was even a record count of 200 pounds (approximately $30,414) in a place called Caringin for rewarding a tiger kill. Boomgaard mentions that tigers’ rarity came as a new notion only from the year 1975 onwards, which was unfortunately pretty late for the species. In Boomgaard’s research, it shows how a century-long hunt for tigers and tiger-like wildcats was promoted, encouraged, institutionalized, and how it eventually rationalized their slaughter, which led to the extinctions of both the Bali and Javan sub-species of tigers, and greatly reduced numbers of tigers and wildcats elsewhere in Southeast and South Asia. Who to blame, then?

Where did the pelts come from?

Indeed, the human-wildcat relation was not always pleasant, and the Paiwan people of Taiwan must have an unknown or mystical relationship with the Formosan clouded leopard, made evident by their love for clouded-leopard-skin vests and headwear made with fangs. Many non-Paiwan authors suggest Paiwan chieftains wore these pelts to show their bravery and strength because Paiwan hunters could prove their skill by killing a “ljikuljau” (in Paiwan spelling), but this explanation can’t persuade me due to its roughness and a slight sense of outsider imagination among those unfamiliar with Paiwan culture and Taiwan in general.

If not, what do the pelts actually mean to the Paiwans? What purpose did they serve? As far as I was told through some private contacts, in the last 50 years, a great deal of clouded leopard pelts from Yunnan Province, People’s Republic of China had been taken to Taiwan and sold “very well” in many Indigenous villages in southern Taiwan. That contact, also an Indigenous villager, told us that the number of the pelts was ‘enormous’ and a good fortune was earned. This anecdote explains at least two things; first, a lot of pelts here in Taiwan were imported from southern China; second, the Indigenous villages of various groups do have a strong feeling for clouded leopards. I never heard any Han person treasuring the pelt of a clouded leopard.

There’s much more to tell beside smuggled pelts

Many written observations by Japanese authors in early 20th century mentioned “exorcism ritual for accidental killing of a clouded leopard” in both Ngudradrekai and Paiwan villages. These documents describe the situation and outcome of accidental killings of the animal. Furthermore, if an accidental killing happened (for instance, if a clouded leopard stepped into a trap laid for a deer or boar), they explain how the shaman (pulring’au in Paiwan) led a ritual to “beg for forgiveness of Lrikulaw spirit” in order to dispel bad fortune that might fall to the household, or the whole village. The possible bad fortune includes infertile land or human death, and the exorcism ritual was specifically performed to avoid such problems. In other documents, however, the shaman talks to the spirit of Lrikulaw, inviting more of its siblings to come to the village. What was the reason of such an invitation? The author didn’t reveal more, but perhaps it was to reconcile the killing.

In Taitung County in southeastern Taiwan, I met the leaders of Taromak, a thriving Ngudradrekai village whose history closely bonds with the area surrounding the scenic Twin-Ghost Lakes (Dalupalringi and Taidrengere in Ngudradrekai). There, the chairman of the Taromak Community Association shared with me what he heard from Taromak elders. He explained that one should do certain things if a Lrikulaw was found in a trap. “The owner of the trap cannot enter the village as his fate has changed for the worse. He is bringing potential bad luck. He has to ask the shaman to perform the exorcism ritual so as to calm down the anger of Lrikulaw spirit, asking for forgiveness. Lrikulaw is not from our world, it belongs to heaven, and we are only humans. We must hold great respect, and even fear for it, especially when handling its body. As the old saying goes, “Gift the village leader the skin because only the leader deserves such heavenly love from God, and bury the body with the ceremony as if it was an unfortunate human infant…”

Burying the body of a clouded leopard as if it was a human infant. This analogy is powerful for me, and it is also weirdly beautiful.

n Pingtung, assistant professor Dr. Wu Shin-Ju, a community-based conservation biologist who spent more than 20 years amongst Austronesian communities in the country, introduced me to the chairwoman of a Paiwan village called Calasiv. Ljavaus Rairai is the chairwoman of the village, and her name reveals her special status in the influential chieftain clan of the Rairai Family. Ms. Rairai told me, through a private Facebook messenger call after we canceled our meeting due to the recent Covid-19 outbreak, that the Ljikuljau Vuvu have been always very dear to the people of Calasiv. Ljikuljau Vuvu, translated as Ancestor the Clouded Leopard, is one of many respected ancestors in the Calasiv animist tradition. “The Ljikuljau Vuvu, like other ancestors, have an intimate relation with us. They speak to us. They choose a certain village elder from us to deliver messages and advice. There have been many times that the elders received their words on the village matters. We obey their will and make decisions accordingly, once they reveal themselves to us through dreams or in a trance state.”

Big cat researcher Dr. Gregory McCann, Assistant Professor at Chang Gung University here in Taiwan, has made similar observations among the Batak people of Sumatra, Indonesia. While Muslim on the surface, old animist beliefs die hard, and in most villages around Lake Toba reside shamans who can interpret the evening calls of tigers, the roars of which are said to be advice being handed down from the big cats to the villagers.

While I was writing this article, I was not sure what gender or sex should I use for the Ljikuljau Vuvu, because the Paiwan term Vuvu is used for both grandmother and grandfather, so kids in the village will address elders by calling all elders Vuvu. So, I texted and asked Ms. Rairai about this. I thought she would answer with no hesitation, and I guessed Ljikuljau Vuvu is a he/him. But she paused for a few seconds, and said, “There are two elder females Vuvu, in our experiences so far. The ones that recently talk to us were all females.” What a surprise! And her answer made me realize just how complex, deep, and rich a relationship Taiwan’s Indigenous past/culture/civilization have with the Formosan clouded leopard.

They are also natural disaster victims

After knowing our clouded leopard ancestors are females, I became truly intrigued by Taiwan’s non-Han society, also often known as the Indigenous Formosan, or more correctly, the Austronesians. Although the Austronesian populations have been largely influenced by the mainstream Han Taiwanese society, they do have much richer, unique and irreplaceable connections with the heavily forested mountains and the wildlife that it shelters, compared to those of Han people (like mine). Currently, there are more than 720 communities registered as Indigenous villages, and Kucapugane, Taromak, and Calasiv are among them. The people of Kucapugane speak the language of Ngudradrekai, which was originally located in a valley near the North Da-Wu Mountain Peak. In the past two centuries, the village had been relocated several times, majorly due to the government’s population control (between 1900 and the 1970s) and post-disaster management, such as Typhoon Morakat (2011), a most devastating one in recent decades.

From the original location of the village to its most recent settlement in Majia Township, the villagers might enjoy more opportunities in cities, but behind the scenes, there is a painful history of displacement. Ngudradrekai anthropologist Dr. Taiban Sasala, Professor at Sun Yat-Sen University in Taiwan, says that the analogy of the displaced Ngudradrekai people and the lost clouded leopard species from the country must be taken together seriously. They both lost the way home in deep forest and their future fate are definitely intertwined. This means a successful future of the species on the island is the successful future of the Ngudradrekai life.

We need a predator for ecosystem conservation

There are some who argue that there is simply not enough Formosan clouded leopard (quite possibly a sub-species called Neofelis nebulosa brachyura) specimens to confirm that the species ever existed all. I personally agree with zoologist Dr. Chiang Po-Jen, that the Formosan clouded leopard was not a taxonomically distinctive subspecies, as many studies demonstrate. Or let me put it another way; it would be far more important to believe the species was part of Taiwan’s ecosystem, so it can be easier for future conservationists to consider the continental clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) as a reintroduction candidate that extends from both mainland and maritime Southeast Asia. The belief in subspecies may do no good for ecosystem conservation actions due to unnecessary levels of concerns for genetic compatibility.

Also, for Austronesian scholars, Taiwan’s Indigenous communities are considered the origin of Austronesians, including the peoples in both continental and archipelago Southeast Asia. Because islands in Indonesia have more than one kind of clouded leopard, and some places there also using the term lrikulaw or kulau referring to clouded leopard, I cannot stop thinking that early Taiwanese definitely had lived side by side with the mild-tempered wildcat and slowly exported the term to maritime Southeast Asia, during the very long history of Austronesians’ maritime trade, long before Arabs controlled the sea routes from the seventh century onwards.

Japanese official documents on Taiwan’s clouded leopard

Many people are not convinced that clouded leopards did exist in the dense forest of Taiwan, nor do they believe the stories from Indigenous groups. But several records from the Japanese era (from 1895 to 1945), actually provide rather neutral evidence of the animals’ presence back then. The Japanese had set up exchange stations (蕃產交易所) at certain places to be closer to products or goods from Indigenous villages. In the records of these exchanges, between columns of items’ names and prices paid, among varieties of deer parts, pangolin skins or leopard cat pelt, we find the name of “leopard” that was distinctively listed beside leopard cats. Maybe the Japanese had not called the species “clouded leopard” yet, but they surely knew the animal was not a leopard cat, a much smaller species here. Also, from the photographs by Japanese naturalists, clouded leopards were unquestionably part of the local faunas in the exotic, tropical colony they wanted to learn and manage. Was the former government (i.e. Japan) aware of the species? I think they were, and more so than many of us today.

What made the Taiwan population regionally extinct, and can they come back?

Formosan clouded leopard numbers were probably never extremely high, and a combination of traditional hunting, then hunting on bounties or orders from the Japanese (much like what the British and Dutch did in Indonesia, India, and elsewhere) drove the species to the brink of extinction. Any stragglers who survived the onslaught of the Japanese period were likely wiped out by modern snare-hunting techniques, which, though set for wild deer and pigs, are still bountiful in Taiwan, indiscriminately trapping anything.

While a wild pig can live for up to a week while snared, clouded leopards panic and dehydrate fast, as has been observed in Cambodia — according to McCann and a recent case handled by the wildlife conservation group Wildlife Alliance — and in their attempts to escape inflict terrible snare wounds which soon kill them. Among all of this, state-driven, systematic deforestation in search of lucrative camphor trees had been drastically degrading the quality of habitats throughout Taiwan; in the 200 years of selling camphor worldwide, the Lrikulau died off and faded away with their homeland.

No matter what, the historic photos of Indigenous hunters wearing their pelts, the museum pieces in Osaka, and the abundance of Indigenous folklore surrounding this enigmatic species — which is still not well understood even where it is extant — lend sufficient credibility to the Formosan clouded leopard’s previous existence in Taiwan, and quite possibly make the argument for its reintroduction into the wild here.

Given that clouded leopards lived here in the past, their reintroduction to an island that has a substantial (and in terms of macaques, a possibly out-of-control) prey base, should be seriously considered. Macaques are so overabundant that many farmers consider them pests, and as they have no natural predators aside from the majority Han People (who are forbidden by law to kill them), their population will continue to expand and their role as pest will only increase.

The Tawu Mountains of Taitung County in southeastern Taiwan encompass 480 km² of thickly forested mountains, prime clouded leopard habitat. The prey base in this region and across the island in general is excellent. Back in 1988, Alan Rabinowitz (1953~2018, one of the founders of cat conservation group Panthera), was here with Taiwanese scientists to help the local government to establish Tawu Mountains Natural Reserve.

Whatever happens in the future with the Formosan clouded leopard, Taiwan’s Indigenous communities will play a vital role; they know its past, and they can point the way to its future. Just before the 2020 global outbreak of COVID-19, Chiang and I had the privilege to welcome the then CEO of Panthera, Dr. Frederic Launay, to Taiwan, through our mutual friend, Dr. Mohamed Kashoggi, who is very enthusiastic for Taiwan as well as for wildlife conservation. We met some enterprising Ngudradrekai youths, toured the hills of Karamemedisane village, and presented in Kucapugane our attempt to cooperate with Ngudradrekai people in reintroducing the clouded leopard to their traditional lands.

Yu Shih–Hsuan is a conservation anthropologist and community coordinator for Clouded Leopard Association of Taiwan, and a doctoral student studying under environmental anthropologist Michael Bollig at University of Cologne.

More (Very interesting article in full, from the source) : https://news.mongabay.com/2021/11/in-search-of-taiwans-lost-clouded-leopards-anthropol

Including related listening from Mongabay’s podcast: A discussion of the important role of Indigenous peoples in biodiversity conservation


San Te, The monkey god, and Shi Hou

via Pink Lotus

The Theocracy of Guan Shi Yin

It is good to be connected to our friends in Taiwan. We will work together to develop and maintain peace and harmony throughout the NationStates world.

You are more than welcome to visit us anytime.


The Bamboo Palace of Kuan Yin

Guan Shi Yin wrote:It is good to be connected to our friends in Taiwan. We will work together to develop and maintain peace and harmony throughout the NationStates world.

You are more than welcome to visit us anytime.


Thank you Pink Lotus! Likewise, you are more than welcome to visit us any time.



Stirring Up Trouble on a Second Front: US Honchos Alight in Taiwan

Source: https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/03/11/stirring-up-trouble-on-a-second-front-us-honchos-alight-in-taiwan/

MARCH 11, 2022


Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, with the world teetering on the rim of nuclear annihilation, the geniuses in the Biden administration decide to beat the war drums and provoke China. Because there aren’t enough dangers besetting the globe already. So why not stir the pot by dispatching a slew of Washington notables to Taiwan to show that the U.S. is ready to cook up the same curdled ragout it contributed to in Ukraine?

This surprise visit of retired generals and others manages to insult and threaten China simultaneously. So I guess it’s a twofer for the virtuosos of idiot foreign policy in the Biden administration. The visit demonstrates support for Taiwan’s secessionist Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). For the majority of Americans only passingly familiar with these potentially earth-exploding details, it’s a bit as if a group of eminent retired generals from the People’s Liberation Army visited Puerto Rico to boost the fighting spirit of violent separatists wanting to smash their link to the U.S. Except of course that Washington has never regarded Puerto Rico as a renegade, breakaway part of the mainland, since it never was. Unlike Taiwan, whose people are and speak Chinese, Puerto Rico has always maintained its own different language and culture.

Making matters worse – because that’s our government’s modus operandi, right? – on March 2, South Korea’s Hankyoreh headlined that “Washington resurrects talk of two-war doctrine in nod to China.” Just in case Beijing thinks that a nuclear holocaust between Russia and NATO would tie our military’s hands, our kamikaze warriors’ message is “nope, we’ll fight a radioactive hot one over Taiwan too.” It kind of makes you wonder about the gray matter between the ears of the people in charge of our weapons of mass destruction.

So who were the American luminaries who plopped down on Taiwan March 1? Well, former joint chiefs chairman Mike Mullen led the gang. Along also came Meghan O’Sullivan, a Bush national security adviser and Michele Flournoy, former undersecretary of defense under Obama and Biden’s runner up for top defense warlord. Two other former nat sec bigwigs tagged along as well. So the conclave had a decidedly martial tinge. That was the point. Or as a U.S. official told Reuters, these sachems’ arrival underlines “our continued robust support for Taiwan.” I suppose that’s a nice way of saying, we’ve armed Taiwan to the teeth and will continue to do so.

You can bet China knows exactly what form that “robust support” will take and it ain’t trade in truffles and student exchange programs. After all, the pentagon wouldn’t want Beijing to think moves on Taiwan will merely occasion the sort of total propaganda war and total economic war unleashed on Russia over Ukraine. No. The message is clear. China will get the full military treatment in addition to the two other aforementioned assaults, should it attempt to do what it has told the world, for decades, that it intends to do – namely reunite with Taiwan.

The timing of this visit bespoke American politics: the Biden emissaries scheduled their confab with president Tsai Ing-wen for the same day former Trump henchman Mike “We Lied, We Cheated, We Stole” Pompeo touched down on the island and promptly announced, with one eye firmly fixed on his presidential run, that the U.S. should recognize “free” Taiwan. I guess we know what happens if Pompeo ever becomes the big cheese in Washington: extermination of humanity via World War III. The same doubtless holds true for all other GOP candidates. Preppers: time to head to Costco to stock up for the end of the world, cause Biden’s poll numbers don’t look too good. Not that he’s done a competent job with Ukraine’s neutrality status. On that he failed. But at least he nixed U.S. army boots on the ground in Kiev, thus sparing the world atomic obliteration.

So with both wings of the U.S. bipartisan war party flapping loudly and like mad over Taiwan those first days in March, China got the memo: American politicos will make hay over the island no matter who’s in charge in Washington. In fact, U.S. big-shots fall all over each other to make promises to Taiwan they either won’t keep or will start nuclear Armageddon over, take your pick. Either way the irresponsibility shoots off the charts into the stratosphere of, well, mushroom-cloud insanity.

China promptly denounced these little tourist stops. But that was predictable. It was, in fact, desired. To show that proud American warriors are standing up – until either they don’t or all of us glow in the dark – for Taiwan. (Pompeo, meanwhile, received the epithet “despicable” from the Chinese government.) Washington deliberately stepped on Beijing’s toes, just three days after an American warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait. Gee, I wonder how Washington would react if a Chinese naval vessel sailed between Key West and Cuba? Would it label the action “provocative” like China did or would American torpedoes sink that ship? Just an idle question from a member of the peanut gallery, puzzled by the application of Washington’s exceptional, vaunted, so-called “rules-based international order.”

The much-ballyhooed purpose of these stopovers in Taiwan? To proclaim that the U.S. will stand by the island come what may. What may is an atomic apocalypse. For if the U.S. injects itself further into this dispute, there is one outcome: war. And war between the U.S. and China involves a terminus for the human species that even neo-con meatheads without IQs may be able to envisage. Disappointing is the understatement of human history for the fact that Biden has packed his administration, particularly the state department, with such imbeciles.

On day two of the U.S. delegation’s tour, another story of imperial overreach landed on the front page of China’s Global Times, crowding out Washington’s military pomp in Taiwan. The new offense involved NSA cyberattacks on China, “with Chinese government departments, high-tech companies and military-related institutes among the key targets,” Global Times reported. It really never stops. When it comes to pushing boundaries, to see how far it can go before igniting catastrophe, the U.S. empire never sleeps.

And then Donald “I’m Still Really the President,” Trump weighed in. On March 2 he announced on a Fox business show that in the wake of the Russia/Ukraine war, “Taiwan is next.” He proclaimed that this Chinese attack on Taiwan would happen soon. Surprising no one, he did not reveal his source. Maybe it was a Ouija board or a QAnon sanhedrin. Stranger things have happened. After all, way back in the 1980s, Nancy Reagan’s astrologer was said to sway white house policy.

Also in Trump-mode was the head of the U.S. Pacific Air Forces. This mucky-muck, general Kenneth Wilsbach, proclaimed on March 3 that surveillance of Chinese president Xi Jinping was so intense, that in fact, Wilsbach was “watching him like a hawk” in case Xi planned any funny-business in Taiwan. “I haven’t seen anything so far, but that doesn’t mean…that they won’t try something,” Wilsbach told an Air Force Association conference. Some may find it reassuring that an air force pooh-bah monitors Xi’s every breath, but I am not among them. It smacks of alarming brinksmanship, the chance of mistakes and pouncing on China at the drop of a hat. But with a bit of luck we can still hope that a U.S./Chinese conflagration is a few years away. That gives us all a little time to install our bomb shelters.

That is, if the clock hasn’t already run out. The way things are going between Russia and NATO these days, nuclear winter could be upon us before spring. The folly of our rulers knows no bounds, and it might even, in a moment of despair, appear a darkly humorous spectacle – with the emphasis on dark.

Eve Ottenberg is a novelist and journalist. Her latest book is Hope Deferred. She can be reached at her website.

More: https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/03/11/stirring-up-trouble-on-a-second-front-us-honchos-alight-in-taiwan/


via Pink Lotus

The Theocracy of Guan Shi Yin

Hello everyone! 🤗

Your leader Kuan Yin invited me to share with you all a bit about my Buddhist Meditation Retreat that I just completed today.

It was a small, silent mediative retreat that is organized by my local temple.

How long did it last: 4 weeks

How many people participated: Around 20

Hardest part: Being away from my family

Best part: Being away from my family

What tradition do I practice: Chan Buddhism, but I also have a particular affinity for Guanshiyin/Kuanshiyin and maintain an altar to her and Buddha. ☺️🙏

What did I learn: Impermanence is not something that is easy to accept, but by gradually learning there is nothing permanent one slowly loses their ego and is another step closer to Nirvana.

Feel free to respond to this post or telegram me if you have any questions or want to be friends!

With joined palms,
GSY (Pink Lotus Founder)

The Bamboo Palace of Kuan Yin

Thank you sharing your experiences with us, GSY!

Impermanence is everywhere, in everything and everyone, enjoy the now, this moment.

Just to let you know, I have changed the flag to more reflect our green, environmentalist and anarchist outlook. I hope you like it!


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