nature · Politics · relationships


An Opinion Piece By Mark Obama Ndesandjo:  As  I write and seek to express myself well, much of I want to say remains in a locked room in the back of my mind. These thoughts have clear outlines, but as I explore them they become muggy and confusing. It is as though I do not want to speak, even though doing so would be an act of freedom, perhaps bravery. For example, although there is so much wrong in the world, to declare that a certain man is evil, weak or dangerous is to become a party to the struggles of factions and nations. However, silence is also a form of acquiescence, and sometimes one must say what is on one’s mind. I am aware of the power of words to sway others or be misused, and therefore I use the following strong words only after much thought.

First, I share nine principles that I believe in:

Be kind and compassionate to those in need

Be strong enough to be modest

Listen and be prepared to change one’s mind

Support the arts and democracy

Treasure Mother Earth

Be tolerant of different religions and cultures

Make a difference individually or in groups, and do not rely on politicians and even nations.

Always examine one’s anger as though it were a stranger, but also a family member

Avoid needless violence

That said, wake up America!  Since the presidential election, quite a few people have asked me my opinion on the results, and I kept quiet…I had voted and felt that was enough. Disappointed, I would not read the news for three months. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for those living stateside and seeing the subversion of modern America.

I am an American, proud of it, and my multicultural journey is as American as it gets. And that’s the crux. What does it mean to be an American, or to be free? Part of it, I believe is the ability to criticize the most powerful man in the world, whoever he is, even if he is a brother (no pun intended)! Yesterday a Chinese friend sent me a wechat video skit of someone resembling Donald Trump having a tantrum in a nursery. I wish it were that simple to describe him. No man is simple. He is shrewd, smart, and calculating.  I once believed that Americans voted for presidents based on their character, not just their opinions and ideas. The man in the Oval office is tenacious, without empathy, and will do anything to stay in power, and that means subverting, with the help of many in the GOP,  what’s left of America’s democracy.  The institution of the presidency is strong indeed, but is this something that we need to test? Even oil tankers sink in stormy seas.

I suspect there is a fear that lurks in Trump. It is very deep, like an ulcer, and has been with him throughout his life, and left a hole in his heart. When he smiles at a fan, he smirks. When he smiles at a shooting victim, he has sharp teeth. His world is a world of him against everyone else, and loyalty is to be demanded, without any guarantee of returning the favor. This is the definition of a god or a king (but gods more than anything else). Loyalty and submission are required of subjects, Those who strategize with him have in effect decided to ride a tiger, and will pay their dues when it is too late.

Through the next several months, we will be fortunate (but I am skeptical) if we can avoid a major, possibly nuclear, war, a gutting of individual rights that the next Supreme Court judicial nominee will help ensure, as well as a hardening of the hearts of millions of Americans. They will wake up into a hostile, gray, smoky, and uncompassionate world.   The Republican party has become an extreme nationalist party, although many within it have blinkers on. Democrats lack the vision to respond (fear is not enough for hope is stronger). America’s friends and partners will move away from us, making America weaker, and less able to influence distant events that will have consequences close to home.

Let us be very clear. There is a war on between hope and fear, and the past and the future. The battles ahead should be peaceful, but we are engaging a canny adversary who will shout in the east while attacking in the west. He will remain focused on his goals – no matter what he says.  He will not change.

短顾何由遂,  duǎn;duān gù hé yóu suì,

迟光且莫惊。  chí guāng qiě mò jīng。

莺能歌子夜,  yīng néng gē  zǐ yè,

蝶解舞宫城。  dié jiě wǔ gōng chéng。

柳讶眉双浅,  liǔ yà méi shuāng qiǎn,

桃猜粉太轻。  táo cāi fěn tài qīng。

年华有情状,  nián huá  yǒu qíng zhuàng,

吾岂怯平生。  wú qǐ qiè  píng shēng。


Looking quickly around, I ask whence the right path?

In this evening light, all seems serene

At midnight the warbler can sing

Set free, the palace butterflies dance

The willow’s eyebrows are both startled at the smallest slight

The blush on the peaches[1] is a little too light

As long as time presents me with each condition

I won’t be cowardly when it comes to life’s mission!


Limerick: Recited by Mark Obama Ndesandjo

Chopin Impromptu No. 4: Performed by Mark Obama Ndesandjo

 A marvelous teacher once said this piece evokes leaves shivering in the breeze. I see it as an expression of anguish represented by the cross rhythms and darting right hand, interrupted by a peaceful interlude in which secret thoughts are shared. Published after Chopin’s death, it was unfinished. The composer would likely have had it destroyed posthumously, rather than have it published. For once, he was wrong!

[1] LSY here seems to be referring obliquely to palace concubines

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