Welcome to JP Melville's review, experience, and statement on foreign aid and the international development industry. A conservative faith in family. A love affair riding the riotous tensions between money, personal freedom, the majestic travesty of our specie's ecological footprint, and economic politics. Selected writing of both prose and poetry, anecdotal travel log to rhetorical essay, dating back from the 1980's to the present. Enjoy!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Collected Notes #2 - Cultural Recesses of Our Minds

Vague Notes from a Disorganized Desk

Canadian documents, scraps, letters:

The Executive Director’s memo to anyone who has local language words and English translation for dictionary project.  A lonely colleague’s scrawled missive expressing relief in having had a firm bowel movement.  A Canadian volunteer’s telegram, dismay at my publication of an idea, she writes, “How on earth could  you suggest that financial accounts are cultural?”

From my desk, I observe Thai real time theatre:

Pochai, a new arrival to the office, discretely distributes cash loans from desk to desk a week before paycheques.  Lisa, the girl in the market, comes to the office door with vegetables to sell to the foreigner (me), with a smile that belies the ardour in her eyes.  The women office workers turn their eyes to her, away, then to me moments later.  A United Nations World Food Programme electrolyte packet, intended for malnourished children, is pulled deftly from a desk drawer, torn at a corner with polished nails, and mixed into Nuanyung’s iced water.  Ah, the office meeting call: office boy clicking fingers, side jerk of head toward office manager’s closed door, a terse breathless calling of name: Patung!  Patung grates from his chair, sweat already breaking on his brow.

My brain: always wondering what motivates individuals, brain waves and synapses that ignite the cultural recesses of our minds.

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