A Prisoner in Paradise

This is a story of being caught in a period of uncertainty between three SE Asian countries during the pandemic. The people are kind and friendly, the scenery is gorgeous, but inner turmoil and perhaps isolation keep the mind a prisoner. In March 2019, Virginia and I posted an account of her teaching experience at one of the most prestigious high schools in China. Basically, she credited her students with giving her the most rewarding teaching experience she’d ever had, but she liked little else about the job or China. (Link) Virginia and I spoke over Facebook Messenger when she …

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A Monk’s Tale, Re-posted for Difficult times

It is January, 1986. You are sitting on a porch near the meditation hall of a Buddhist monastery on Hong Kong’s outlying island of Lantao. It is February, 1986. Around you are grassy hills, and two islands lie light blue in the distance. It is difficult to imagine anything more peaceful. The man sitting beside you is a Chan [Zen] Buddhist monk, a soft-spoken Englishman with a strong Cockney accent. He is dressed in traditional monk’s garb, a long tunic with Chinese fasteners and baggy trousers pulled tight at the bottom. The sleeves aren’t long enough to cover the heavy covering of paisley …

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A Trainer’s View of the Drug Problem in the Philippines

A few months ago I interviewed a drug rehabilitation counselor on his experience with various facilities, including the traditional therapeutic community rehabs and those based on the 12 steps. (Link) This current interview with Rechi Christobal of the Family Wellness Center describes his work training counselors for the Department of Health and other organizations. It includes his thoughts on the drug war and a slide show of the latest official statistics. Thanks to Rechi for the photo and the Power Point.  I do some work for the Department of Health as a resource person, specifically for training in addiction counseling …

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