The Squeaky Robot

A Meddling Robot in a Human's World

Posts tagged “Southeast Asia

The Spring of Magical Thinking

Posted on October 28, 2014

I began with translations. My friend Phuong and I would sit in the Manager’s office discussing the nuances of our ancient text and which English words would be the best to communicate them. “Around the mountain of Hong Linh, silver clouds disperse. The Lam River is formed by two flowing branches, one transparent, one opaque. Night falls on the river, lie and listen to the sloshing of the waves.” The scripts were replete with such prose, heavy on folkloric scenery and the most noble occasions in Vietnamese history – battles won, maidens saved, lands conquered. Always a lotus in a distant mist, forever a drum ringing through still mountains. Consuming these banal narratives for hours on end, it was not difficult to see why…

Travel is Minimalism

Posted on September 9, 2013

To pack for a trip. The light-headedness of an anticipated reality coming to life. The beast stirs. To pack is to leave. You’re standing in your bedroom, but you are not there. You think of all the things you need, the layers, layers, layers with the cautious expectation of varied weather; the mini-everything: shampoo, deodorant, and notebook to scrawl vague but wise incoherencies that seem important in the moment; all the tech stuff you’ll want – beware! Everything has a charger. And so you’re not there. To pack is to empathize so deeply with a place that your vision is skewed and you’re suddenly on a foreign cobblestoned or muddy path, lemongrass nearby, needing a new memory card for a shot of the ancient…