I discover Mongolian rock!

Well not really. It already existed before I came around, and its cultural roots long before that. But first: there are two Mongolias. The country Mongolia has a population of just 3.5 million.  Inner Mongolia (内蒙古) is an Autonomous Region of China, with a population of 25 million. Mongolia once dominated China.

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That’s a Persian painting of  Genghis Khan in 1213-14. We’ve all heard of him, but most of  us know very little about him, despite his creating one of the most extensive world empires ever.  The Mongolian rock group The Hu certainly remember him. 5,156,745 views — premiered Aug 23, 2019! (The band is from non-Chinese Mongolia. Look again at the population! They tour a lot, in fact were stuck in Sydney because of the pandemic.)

 

That is one impressive song and video!

In Chinese Mongolia one finds Hang Gai:

 

Also impressive. YouTube, by the way, warns us that CCTV-3 is “funded in whole or in part by the Chinese government.”  Um, I suspect I kind of  knew that, but it was the music I was interested in.

Another artist of Chinese Mongolian origin is Tengger. This video is part of a competition,  Singer 2018, which an English woman ended up winning. And this brings me to how I ended up watching all this.

Yesterday I posted on Facebook:

When you see comments like these — “One of the greatest artists alive and to have ever lived!” and “Appreciation and respect from USA. What a great singer!” — you sit up and take notice. Immediately I see the horse-head fiddle and know this is Mongolian, but in this case Inner Mongolia — that is in China. He [Tengger] really is AMAZING!

(The video below is the song that attracted those comments.)

And this is how I encountered Mongolian music just over a week ago, thanks to Michael Xu who posted some items from the modern Chinese music shows that appear on CCTV-3. (Trump never watches them. Xu Jinping probably does….) Then it just took YouTube’s algorithms to steer me to such as The Hu (Mongolian) and Hanggai (Chinese Mongolian), after which I told Chris Turner who was hooked, and yesterday Colin and Adam at Diggers. Overnight an ex-SBHS student said very nice things about one of my postings: “I doubt I would have ever come across that in any other way, as I have no connection to that culture or history and live in the philistine island oasis that is Australia.”

 

Now go back to 2011 and the London Proms:

 

Blogging the 2010s — 11 — January 2018

Christos Tsiolkas speaks my mind…

In conversations with friends I have in recent months expressed some disquiet about the series of accusations of sexual harassment, bullying,  and/or sexual assault that have so dominated the media, social and traditional. Part of me keeps harking back to those terrifying scenes in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. You know the ones.

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Today we have the news that Rugby League legend Graham Langlands has died. I did not know him, but a friend here in Wollongong, where Langlands came from, was a lifelong friend. We have been talking over the accusations made against Langlands, as you might expect. It troubles me that so often accusation seems to become fact, even when it is untested. In the case of Langlands it never will be now. Today’s piece by Andrew Webster is, based on what I know from Langlands’s childhood friend, accurate enough.

…many of [Langlands’s friends]  are convinced the St George icon died in his sleep over the weekend at the age of 76 unaware of the serious sexual assault allegations levelled at him in November last year.

Langlands was charged with six counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16 on the Gold Coast, which was related to one alleged event in 1982 between the March 25 and June 30…

Now, the allegations just hang in the air; a sad full stop on his muddled life after football.

Now to Christos Tsiolkas last Saturday. It is a long essay, very much worth reading. An extract:

We don’t suspect that there are reds under the bed any more but maybe we believe that there is a ped, a paedophile, under every third or fourth one. Or if not a paedophile, possibly a white supremacist. In the 21st century these have become our monsters. Of course, our rage and hatred of the child sexual abuser, of the rapist, of the violent racist, all makes sense. I have experienced a glee at watching Harvey Weinstein come undone. I did not know of his sexual crimes but I had hated him for years, because of how he had destroyed careers and reputations in the film industry for decades, and how he had purchased films to never release them so that his own productions would saturate the market and that the labour of love of some poor filmmaker went unseen.

The revealing of the long history of abuse in the Catholic Church has been one of the momentous political moments of the past 25 years. The exposing of sexual harassment across media, business and politics is long overdue…

But I can’t forget the lessons I learnt reading about Joe McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover. I subscribe to a few left-wing news sites that come out of the US and straight after the riots in Charlottesville over the removal of a Confederate statue I read with increasing unease the comments pages, where people gleefully boasted of having found the names of racists who marched in support of retaining the statues, revealed them to employers as white racists, got them sacked from their jobs….

I am nervous of writing this. Of course I am. I don’t want to be seen as excusing harassment or sexual and racist violence. But I think it is fundamental to a functioning and democratic civil society that perpetrators of sexual and racial violence are indicted in the law courts, not on social media. And I don’t think an opinion equates to an action. That is what McCarthy and Hoover believed. I think in that conflation something truly monstrous is born.

I don’t understand those whose righteousness and conviction makes them believe they have the right to play God with people’s lives and reputations. The criminal needs to be held to account and to be punished and also, crucially, to be given the opportunity for rehabilitation. But those so pure that they believe they have the right to toss the first stone, those so certain that they see any doubt as vacillation or compromise, those so furious that they abhor dialogue as co-option and condemn mercy as weakness, I don’t trust them at all. They believe they have the right to play God. I just see them as another form of monster.

Christos Tsiolkas has perfectly captured my own gnawing unease.

Slight hiatus, maybe….

Am currently in a coffee shop in Chinatown, Sydney. They have wi-fi but it sucks, rather…

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May be out of the Gong and my favourite free wi-fi sources later this week, as I believe Sirdan will be visiting from Queensland.

Today, soon, is yum cha at Zilver with M.

Really another post about my ongoing senescence

Or Google, which is apparently 20 years old! Mind you that puts it around eighteen months ahead of my own getting on the Internet, which still terrified me twenty years ago, though I had by then mastered a Brother Word Processor in pseudo laptop form. I do recall that in my early Internet days — dial-up of course — there were heaps of search engines. My colleague Tony Hannon was an early advocate of Google as the pick of the crop, and it still is. Bing doesn’t really cut it, does it?

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Happens that twenty years ago I was in the last term of my Graduate Certificate TESOL at UTS, part of which was with this man. He much praised my work too: see Looking back 20 years: the Japanese surfer. I was doing the Grad Cert — it has a longer name these days — because my work increasingly between 1996 and 2005 centred on ESL at Sydney Boys High. I liked the impressive row of letters in the staff directory too — this one from 2002:

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But 20 years! I can’t believe it! And I felt old then, being back at — but enjoying — university. Thanks too to M who made it all possible at the time by enabling me to avoid a HECS debt.