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Doc Journal: March 2007 (Discovery Channel scout trip)

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  • Doc Journal: March 2007 (Discovery Channel scout trip)

    March 13, 2007



    "He's back..."

    Yes, the comment referred to me, as I have just returned to China for the seventeenth time. And no, it wasn't spoken by the FengYuan hotel massage girls, the Shaolin monks, Shi Decheng's students, or the waitresses at the nearby restaurants that I have terrorized in the past.

    It was spoken by Yongxin's "eyes". And, the big guy wasn't even here in Dengfeng. He's in Beijing, at a national representative meeting.

    It was during a long conversation, with a very good and close friend of mine, a senior Shaolin monk who shall remain nameless for obvious reasons, that I discovered that the Yongxin gang knew I had arrived in Dengfeng. And surprisingly, it seems, within an hour of my entrance into the beloved Fengyuan hotel, where I have spent the better part of over a year, during the previous decade. And those "eyes", those people that Yongxin has throughout Dengfeng, notified him in Beijing that I was back. As if any of these people should really care. I found it quite comical, as did my long term friend. As we sat shivering in the office of his gong fu school, we both laughed at the thought of it.

    Imagine. Yongxin has a network, a veritable slew of people, who watch. They're put in a position, to watch. And, even today, when I was greeted at the entrance to the new Shaolin temple grounds, escorted through the Disneyesque pass and ticket areas by some young monk who claimed to have known me but whom I couldn't remember, commenting that I have gotten bigger and stronger over the past few years, I was being watched. As was my well known and long term monk friend. Little did I know at the time, that that young monk, was a spy, placed not to watch me, but also, to keep an eye on my dear friend. He told me later that there were a few of Yongxin's disciples, who were planted in his school as his assistants and pretend to be disciples, to help keep an eye on what was going on in the temple area and beyond. We had our discussion away from the temple grounds, after getting rid of my monk friend's faux assistant.

    So it was his school office that we sat, shivering against the cold, drinking tea, and talking not only about his life, the things that were happening locally, but also about this project that I got involved in. For it was only three weeks ago or so, that a production studio for the Discovery Channel contacted me about a documentary that they were planning on doing in Shaolin. And, they needed help. They found me after doing research on the internet, and after contacting some of the various major players in the field. They thought I could help them best, with this second of a series of martial arts documentaries, this one, on Shaolin gong fu. I knew the place, knew the people, and more importantly, had contacts. But, one thing had also become obvious in this process.

    I had enemies. And they were enemies, because of this very website.

    It was made clear to me via my contacts in Shaolin, that it would be important that Yongxin not know I was involved in this video production. The senior monk I was speaking to had informed me through friends that I had to keep a low profile during the scout trip here to Dengfeng; had Yongxin discovered that I was in any way associated with this television event, he would find a way to kabash it. So, I had made it clear to the production team that more than likely, I would end up being a liability to them. They wanted me anyway.

    So, here I am. In Dengfeng. And, Shi Yongxin knew about it, relatively soon after I entered the beloved, remodeled, and still smelly, FengYuan.

    But, it's been three days, we're almost done, I've used my fairly small but powerful network of people here to set up their show, and all seems to be on track, with nary a burp. Navigating the political minefields has been interesting, dealing with Chinese culture, methods, mentality, and procedures has been a little agonizing, but I've directed the team through it. One more day and I'm back to Beijing, and thereafter, onward to Thailand, to a girlfriend who doesn't understand why I showed up for three days, and then left again.

    A lot has changed. Shaolin has really evolved. As I've discussed before, the entire place is organized to funnel people to the tourist attractions within. In much the same way Disney organizes their theme parks, so has the local Chinese government done here. The new highway, from Zhengzhou to the Shaolin area that few people use, because of the exorbitant ten dollar toll fee. The new roads from Dengfeng to the Shaolin area. The large outdoor parking lot, which then funnels people into a well organized shopping center / ticket area, eventually dumps them out to the thankfully non dragon designed tram cars. A road then drifts down through the old village which has been largely removed, to the main gateway of the Shaolin area and the wushu guan. Well manicured and disgustingly perfect landscaping adorn the entire area.

    It's created to move as many people as possible in and out of the temple. It's horribly commercialized. It's expensive, at 100 Yuan (twelve USD) per admission. It appears to be remotely associated with anything religious. Performance teams give gaudy gong fu shows three times a day at the wushu guan, which, itself has been completely renovated.

    And, it's all beautiful.

    I have to admit, the big guy ended up doing something decent here. Even though it has lost its original flavor, which, in the past, had its good and bad points.

    The temple itself has been finished, with the front pavillion buildings redone to pre 1928 specifications, or, so they say. There are a few more stone tablets erected here and there, and the museum area now has a medicine pavillion, in place of the gaudy gong fu show area that I talked viciously about in journals about two years back. They most certainly have gotten away from the gong fu exhibition nonsense of two years ago, moving the temple back towards a more Buddhist approach, which works much better. Yongxin still owns some gong fu school in neighboring Dengfeng, so he's not out of the business so to speak; he pulls his best students from those schools and creates the traveling "monk" tours that travel the world. The Bamboo garden area is still under renovation, and they've torn down all the housing that was on the east side of the temple area, including Decheng's (and Su Yuan's) old rooms. By the way, Decheng is not too happy about that, and, for some reason, I got the sense that he's become "persona non grata" at Shaolin. Even he has to pay to enter the area. My senior monk friend, who still lives in the temple, and at his school, had me merrily whisked through all the ticket areas, without any problem. My shifu, Decheng, had to wait outside. I thought it all, a little bizarre.

    The politics of the area seemed to have changed a bit. Yongxin is still in control, but, from my impressions with people, he is not the supreme commander of the area that we all once thought him to be. It seems that there are people above, in the Zhengzhou government, that are now pulling the strings. They have an incredible cash cow at Shaolin, with a few million visitors a year (at twelve bucks a head), so you can imagine the monies being shifted around. In fact, the Zhengzhou airport has been completely renovated; it is now one incredibly beautiful and effective structure that puts any of our airports in the US to complete and utter shame. I'm really overwhelmed by the amount of money that I see being spent in this area. And to think, that a mere twelve years ago, when I first came, the Zhengzhou airport had dirt floors located within it. That small non-descript building, which I had wished I had taken photos of, has turned into a facility that LAX would be envious of. It seems to be pretty clear, from the constant evolution, and, rapidly increasing prices in the area, that Zhengzhou / Dengfeng is evolving rapidly into a large commercial center.

    The nearby schools in Dengfeng are becoming far too numerous to count. And, they're all expanding. New buildings are everywhere; Tagou, the largest most monstrous facility I've ever seen, is still expanding. With over ten thousand students, if they can even count them at this time, and the use of the huge old facility still in Shaolin village, it is an overwhelming place. Sending students to train there is anathema to me, as all I can imagine is a few little white guys getting drowned in this sea of sweat suited domestic Chinese students. It's all just too incredible. Having risen through some large and prestigious US university systems does not prepare me for what I see at Tagou and Epo.

    More to come. I'm exhausted, after traveling from the US, to Bangkok, to Phuket, to Beijing, and now, to Dengfeng. A place that was once referred to as my "second home".
    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

    "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

    (more comments in my User Profile)
    russbo.com



  • #2
    nice to see some more doc tales
    i was just thinking when would we get to read more
    on doc's travels


    mad4dos

    Comment


    • #3
      Doc, I don't think you got enemies. I just think that they feel insecure in the face of your "counter-spin" factor.

      It seems that Decheng is vicariously affected by their wariness of you in the way that they are isolating him. I've never heard of any of the warriors not being allowed access to the Temple (they can all get round the ticket office).

      I hate to say it, but it doesn't take much to work out what is coming next, should they still see your head above the parapet, I recon they will start publicly discreditating you.

      Shucks I'm sorry about this. It doesn't look good.

      Chicken

      Comment


      • #4
        As far as the price increase, I have a lonely planet from 2005 that said the prices were 60 rmb to get in and an additional 20 to watch the show. I was amazed to see that the price was actually 100 rmb. Even the nearby Longmen Caves are priced at 80 rmb but, in my opinion, a lot more impressive !

        Ah well, if people still pay the price, then why not jack it up ? It was sort of a shock to be paying 15 to 30 rmb at other temples and then have to pay 100 to enter Shaolin which turned out to be not much more than another Buddhist temple...

        As you mentioned though, Shaolin does now look like a regular Buddhist temple, for the most part. It's a shame I couldn't have seen the Shaolin of two years ago, or even better the Shaolin of 10 years ago. Then I too could compare and be blown away. But what I saw was a very Diseny land'ish Buddhist temple.

        I got to thank you Doc, for the footage you did take and put up of the various schools in the Dengfeng area. It was wild to, after seeing the Dengfeng and Shaolin of 2007, to see what it had looked like when some of the mammouth schools at the east enterance were still being built. (Songshan Shaolin Wushu Xuexiao). Thanks for that.

        And on your latest trip did you see what I refered to as the "second Shaolin village" ? The strip mall of Wushu accessory shops that are directly across the street from the Er Po school... That was wild to see too. No where in the world exists a place where shop after shop, an entire mall full, all you can buy is weapons, training supplies, etc. It was sad and beautiful at the same time.

        Again, I know all I have to compare it to are stories of the older days, but, for the most part, I love the Shaolin / Dengfeng of 2007. It's an awesome site to behold. The mecca of martial arts / gongfu / wushu that you expect. Modern in some ways and typicaly Chinese at the same time. With the temple,,,, beautiful, surrounded by nothing but farmland, fields, and oddly shaped mountains. Serine and Beautiful.

        Notice I said nothing of the politics as I've never experienced any of that first hand. Thankfully I'm void of the bad taste the monk politics could leave in your mouth, such as being spied on.

        Nobody had a clue I was there as I hopped the wall behind the Pagoda Forest and proceeded to get lost in the farmland behind the temple. A pitiful attempt at trying to walk all the way to the Damo cave without following the road. Twas fun !
        "Winners turn to losers, losers are forgotten..." - A Tribe Called Quest

        Comment


        • #5
          E Tickets in Whoreland

          March 14, 2007



          E Tickets in Whoreland


          I noticed it as soon as I walked in. Something was missing. Something small, inconsequential, yet, terribly important, was gone.

          It was the shampoo.

          My first night entering the FengYuan, and off I went to the hair salon, which also in the past ten years, doubled as a legitimate massage parlor. Wooden tables were kept in the back rooms where massages, of varying qualities, could be had for about ten bucks. But what I was more interested in, was whether or not my old Chinese girlfriend, Purlple Snow, was still working there. Her sister ran the place as the manager, and she had kept one hell of a tight ship. It had taken me a good year or two before I could get Purple Snow to stay with me in my room upstairs at the FengYuan; any massages in the hotel rooms had to be done with a matronly older bitch as an accompaniment, in some occasions. Rarely, I could get a girl upstairs for a massage, and a massage only. The whores inhabited the sixth floor karaoke area, and even then, it was all a very hush hush, and relatively dangerous deal, especially for foreigners.

          Back then, getting whores was a risky proposition. For the working girls in the karaoke bar upstairs, were in cahoots with the local police. In fact, some of the larger, and very legitimate massage places in Dengfeng, were in reality, nondescript and secretive whore houses, all owned and run by the local police. Well, the girls in the karaoke bar upstairs occasionally "worked" with the men of the law, such that, after bringing a foreigner down to his hotel room, after about a half hour of activity, a knock would be heard on the door. The police would have been notified, and of course, would show up to "arrest" the poor unfortunate individual. A bribe of a thousand dollars would be paid to the police, and they would return your passport and let you go. The girl not only made her fee, but took a cut from the local police for setting it all up. Back then, China was one big whore house, that essentially lived behind a wall of smoke and mirrors. It was there, it could be found, but it was risky. For me, maneuvering my little massage girl, Purple Snow, years ago, into the official doc girlfriend, was the easy way to avoid the entire issue.

          My trip back to the FengYuan hair salon was full of memories, memories of Purple Snow, of ten or so massage girls, of people getting their hair and nails down, of foot and body massages being given in the back rooms. The memories vanished as I entered the place, to be greeted by two things that really struck me.

          No shampoo. Not a hair item to be seen.

          And, three young, and fairly attractive Chinese girls, all, quite comically, gazing at themselves in the mirror, fixing every little bit of hair and clothing. I think they call it primping. Birds do it. Whores do it.

          It kind of took me by surprise, but I continued with my quest. Purple Snow was nowhere to be seen, and as I had discovered later, she had in the past, retreated to her home village, unmarried, doing whatever girls of that age do when they're alone. There were no clients, no paraphenalia of any sort that made any sort of reference to hair styling or anything associated with that activity, and no massage girls. Just three, kind of cute and harsh looking 19 year old Chinese girls.

          In my horrible Mandarin, I asked if massages were still being offered there. The response was quick, direct, and to the point: massage or special service? Massage was 100 Yuan, for one hour, in your room, special service was 300 Yuan for 45 minutes, also, of course, in your room.

          I was amazed. And, a bit taken aback. Getting a whore was now a shopping event with a meter attached. Now I had been told by a Chinese girlfriend in Beijing that Chinese men are kind of direct when it comes to that sort of thing, with lovemaking not really involving any sort of foreplay, and the entire event lasting about two minutes. It was kind of like a Disney E ticket ride; pay your price, jump on, ride, get off, get on your way to the next one. And, as I was to observe with Jin Jin the following night, that was exactly what happened.

          Jin Jin was this rather cute little 19 year old, who, upon our first meeting, told me that she would love me forever, if I would love and take care of her. Well, that was direct; you usually don't get that sort of communication with American girls. But I knew from the start that she was not the 100 Y massage girl; she was of the 300 Y variety, which, essentially caused me to ignore her. I was there that night for a massage and nothing else. But she played those girlfriend eyes of showing real genuine loving interest, which I knew, would end at the 46th minute. I found the event quite comical, and one night, as I sat in the business center working through the forum on a very slow Chinese computer, I watched Jin Jin walk by, on her way to a room upstairs.

          She was back within a half hour. Poor bastard must have gotten his ticket, enjoyed the ride, and left the park without even getting a kiss.

          And then, five minutes later, there she was, again, walking by on her way to the hotel rooms upstairs. This time, she was back down within 35 minutes, totally nonplussed, without any sort of expression or personality showing. A half hour later, up she went, yet again.

          The whore kingdom was in full swing. The machine was working, moving along with nary a snag, as women went by, up to the rooms, back down to the shampoo less hair salon base. Talk about overt. Just completely out in the open and readily available.

          I had to learn more. So a return trip to the hair salon found me face to face with the previous owner, Purple Snow's sister, who used to manage the hair styling part of the hotel. She was now managing a tribe of women, some of whom, the 100 Y girls, who only gave massages, and some of whom, the 300 Y girls, who only did special services. Getting a 300 Y girl to do a massage was just as impossible as getting a 100 Y girl to give you a goodnight kiss. Her tribe consisted of about twenty or thirty girls, which she spread out over two hotels, the FengYuan, and the Shaolin International, who I later discovered was managed by my old manager friend of previous FengYuan times. The girls would run back and forth, depending upon the demand placed by either hotel. Gone were the days of the whores hiding in the shadows of the karaoke bars; gone were the days of singing for a while, drinking, getting to know each other, talking, negotiating, and banging. Now, you got on a phone, called in your request, and a few minutes later, a knock appeared on your door. ****ing becomes big business.

          Impressive.

          Purple Snow's sister was just a local manager of a small tribe of girls however. There was a big boss, some sort of mafia type guy, who ran a whole slew of these women managers, each of whom managed about twenty to forty girls. The big boss was in cahoots with the local police, and everyone made money. Dengfeng was a happy, profitable, efficient place. The girls were the ones that did all the work; each 300 Y girl gave out about ten E tickets for rides each day, her day starting at 1 PM and ending at 1 AM. She, as well as the 100 Y girl, kept only thirty percent of what she made, the other seventy percent being shared between the woman manager, the big boss, and the police.

          Dengfeng. The Happiest Place on Earth.
          Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

          "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

          (more comments in my User Profile)
          russbo.com


          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Chicken

            It seems that Decheng is vicariously affected by their wariness of you in the way that they are isolating him. I've never heard of any of the warriors not being allowed access to the Temple (they can all get round the ticket office).
            Chicken
            I'm not so sure about that. For one, if they don't live in the temple itself, they can have issues about getting in. There are actually major political differences between the performers who live in the wushu guan, and the monks that live in the temple. The ones that live in the temple, seem to be real monks; the ones in the wushu guan, are performers, much like many of the guys that have "left" China to open schools here and there. To Yongxin's credit, he's removed the performance nonsense from the temple grounds (I've discussed this two years ago, I think, in the Journals, or somewhere; it was an "issue"), and the guys that remain seem to be legitimate Buddhist monks. The performers from the wushu guan, and other places, do not seem to have easy free access to the temple grounds proper, though they can access Shaolin area through the main gate as they live in the wushu guan.

            As for Decheng, since his (and Su Yuan's) room and boarding area on the south east part of the temple have all been knocked down (I'm not sure what is going to go there), he no longer has living quarters in Shaolin temple. He does not seem to have free access to the temple, or, to the main Shaolin area anymore. I'm not exactly sure why; I also heard during this trip that he had some issues recently with his passport "being lost", or, confiscated, by the local government. Again, I don't know why. I'm not sure if he has personal issues with Yongxin, maybe because he refuses to become "Yongxin's disciple", as many people in the area have become (the leader of Tagou and other schools have become "Yongxin's disciples; talk about learning how to survive in Dengfeng), or, if it's because he's very close with me, or, maybe because of his success worldwide. He has become internationally reknowned, because of his incredible skills and teaching ability, and because of his affability. His exposure on this and many other websites, along with magazine exposure by Gene Ching, has helped that also.

            Some things have changed there politically. In some ways, Yongxin's politics have calmed down; in others, I still see some aspects of megalomania.
            Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

            "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

            (more comments in my User Profile)
            russbo.com


            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Doc
              I'm not so sure about that. For one, if they don't live in the temple itself, they can have issues about getting in. There are actually major political differences between the performers who live in the wushu guan, and the monks that live in the temple. The ones that live in the temple, seem to be real monks; the ones in the wushu guan, are performers, much like many of the guys that have "left" China to open schools here and there. To Yongxin's credit, he's removed the performance nonsense from the temple grounds (I've discussed this two years ago, I think, in the Journals, or somewhere; it was an "issue"), and the guys that remain seem to be legitimate Buddhist monks. The performers from the wushu guan, and other places, do not seem to have easy free access to the temple grounds proper, though they can access Shaolin area through the main gate as they live in the wushu guan.
              Where I'm coming from is, if you are a monk who has previously lived in the temple, are a well known, but "below the radar" face around Shaolin, getting yourself and whoever else you want to get through the door is a piece of p***. SHX worked the door as well as toured and performed, and he gets on with people, so he just bowls up, finds one of his buddies on the door, gives them some face whilst at the same time out-mirroring aloofness in the door-newbies and moves on in.

              Anyone who is personable and who is a "face" that "fits in" in the Temple gets this type of treatment. Its like a family member returning home, they welcome them back in and are interested to find out what they been up to. Before long its all "Hey, Miaoyu, come over here and meet cousin SHX, he's just back from UK" stuff. SHX then invites them all out to dinner (which foreign wife pays for) including Miaoyu, and so guanxi develops between Miaoyu and SHX. Next time SHX wants to get in he has another buddy on the door. Clearly this applies to Decheng... if he can't get through the door, then he's not below the radar, that's not Shaolin, implies there's politics going on and so he gets put on arms-length treatment by Yongxin and the door is mandated to not let him in without paying.

              So that is how I percieve the door works. The other thing is... well Shi DeCheng Wushu Guan as you have described it, seems a dramatic improvement on what the Temple is offering. And needless to say as a marketing department, you and Gene do a much better job than the Temple. So I think it is vicarious, and what's at the root of it all is that Decheng is now the main competitor for Shaolin's "Learn Shaolin Gongfu with us" $$$$.

              If I'm right Doc, you're now in the very difficult place, of not actually helping him but harming him...

              I hope I'm wrong Doc, but please don't put your head in the sand on this one.

              And thanks for the insight into the whoring industry. Did you know you can also buy Carnets of E-tickets at a greatly discounted rate, especially if you are not percieved to be a rich foreigner?

              Chicken
              Last edited by Chicken; 03-22-2007, 04:43 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Yay!! A new Doc journal entry! Are there more to come? I can't wait to see this new discovery documentary. Are you going to be in it?

                kunoichi

                Comment


                • #9
                  Interesting reply Chicken. I'm looking forward to hearing how Doc feels about the Dengfeng "situation". I'm amazed, though I guess I shouldn't be, at how much politics have began to surround the temple since Yongxin took charge. And it just keeps escalating. WHo knows what's to be in the future. I forsee the whole of Shaolin and Dengfeng becoming a Diseny land like attraction, based around the comming and goings of foreigners and out of state Chinese, so to speak. I figure anyone who is not in leauge with Yongxin will get ran out of buisness, and out of Dengdeng, before all is said and done. But who knows.



                  As far as that other post of yours Doc. Here in Shouguang the whore situation is even more blatant. Instead of going to a hotel, you simply go upstairs with your girl. The prices are different too. 100 to 200 yuan for 30 to 45 min. depending on how buisness is going, and there is no chance for a massage. If you want a massage you go to the real rair cuttery. It's quite easy to tell the difference as, like you saw in Dengfeng, there is no shampoo or hair styling epuip. in "those" hair cutteries. Also if you go at night you will notice a major difference of normal white lighting in the real hair cutteries and a dubious red light being emitted from the whore houses. Of course, they are illegal here as well, but I'm sure it all goes the exact same as Dengfeng in that the "mama-san" runs the place and takes her cut sending the rest to a mafia type who runs most of the shops.

                  It's a major buisness here in Shouguang. I haven't seen the likes in any other city in China. I can count 20 places that all glow red at night. Three of which are located on the main street through the city, whereas most of the rest are located on three seperate streets that almost entirely cater to this buisness. One of those streets the other foriegn teachers and I dubbed "Vegas" on account of the glowing street signs that light up the street at night. It's the brightest street in Shouguang at night ! I don't know how exactly they get away with it. If a Govt. official came to our town on a supprise visit I'm sure he wouldn't be happy with how sleezy these areas are. But again, I don't know how these things playout here. Maybe the kick backs go all the way up the ladder.

                  Ahhh,,, the bin guan, ahhh,,,, the an mo! 宾馆 按摩
                  "Winners turn to losers, losers are forgotten..." - A Tribe Called Quest

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Chicken
                    Where I'm coming from is, if you are a monk who has previously lived in the temple, are a well known, but "below the radar" face around Shaolin, getting yourself and whoever else you want to get through the door is a piece of p***.
                    Not true.

                    Compared to most, including, probably those of the Heng generation, Decheng actually lived in the temple proper for many years. He's well known amongst the Buddhist monks that currently live there; I spent an afternoon with him strolling the temple grounds, saying hi to all of his old buddies. Decheng most definitely gets along well with everyone, at least, those that I've seen him interact with. Yet, he had to make some calls to monks within the temple to be able to get him (and us that day), through the front door.
                    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                    "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                    (more comments in my User Profile)
                    russbo.com


                    Comment


                    • #11
                      March 17, 2007


                      A ripple across the pond

                      We had an interesting snag in our production process. To think that events that occur on the other side of the world can impact what you do in China....

                      I've been working with the Discovery Channel team now for about three weeks, and today, Saturday, our last day in Dengfeng, the culmination of all our work is finally coming to fruition. I've made all the arrangements with my contacts so that their video shoot in two weeks is all arranged. Locations, characters, concepts, it's all in place. I can return to Thailand, and try to spend the next few weeks explaining to my suspicious Thai girlfriend what I've been doing in China.

                      The journalism visas for these guys was in process back in New York. My travel agent friend there was assisting them with this aspect of the whole production process. The invitation letter I got from Decheng was effective. All seemed to be moving ahead smoothly, without any sort of snags or issues. That is, until last night.

                      Decheng was a little agitated. He had received a phone call from a local Dengfeng government official, who, in turn had received a phone call from a Foreign Minister in Beijing, about these visas, and Decheng's invitation. Decheng had explained to this government official that I was a long term student of his, who had invited the Discovery Channel here to China to film a production that explored Chinese culture. Decheng was remarkably quick to put together a reasonable explanation for all of this, but I questioned his judgement when it came to invoking my name. I knew from the whole Yongxin thing in years past that the local government was not exactly ready to throw a parade for me, unless it was to a local Chinese prison. But it had turned out that the snag wasn't me.

                      It was Shi Guolin. In New York.

                      As the story evolved, I discovered that the government officials in Beijing were concerned that, because the production company originated in New York, and because the visas were being issued to journalists in New York, who, so happened to be desirous of doing a documentary in Shaolin, the documentary was going to be some sort of investigative venture that was looking into some aspect of Guolin's history. The entire embarassing event involving Hengshan's suicide and Guolin's response to it apparently was well known in Beijing. With the upcoming Olympics, and China's desire to improve its image in the world, the event apparently has raised some eyes in the Beijing government, and has apparently, from what I could observe, become a difficult issue to deal with.

                      What then occurred, was even more surprising. According to Decheng, after speaking with these local government officials, it appears that Guolin has yet another allegedly embarassing issue to deal with; something that has to do with a lot of money, a lot of money to the tune of approximately $350,000. It seems that some women in his area of New York are claiming that Guolin either borrowed or inappropriately managed a great deal of money that was meant for the "USA Shaolin Temple", a misnomer in my opinion. Some of these women are supposedly elderly, some of Chinese descent, and most seem to be associated with Guolin's "temple" in some fashion. From what I could make of the conversation, as it was passed onward, monies that were donated to the temple were misappropriated in some fashion. That may be a nice way of saying "stolen", which was another word which was mentioned during dinner. The entire Guolin conundrum of recent appears to be a sore spot with the Beijing government, to the point where it almost kabashed the Discovery Channel's chances of obtaining journalist visas.

                      As was also mentioned, this is not "new" news; apparently, it has been in some of the US Chinese newspapers.
                      Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                      "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                      (more comments in my User Profile)
                      russbo.com


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                      • #12
                        well that explains a lot.

                        Just wanted to say, its a good thing you are stringing this out. Doc, seems there's a lot going down at the moment.

                        Considering Guolin was tipped to be next in line to Abbotcy, well all of a sudden it looks like its up for grabs again.

                        s'gonna be interesting the next 18 months.

                        Chicken

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                        • #13
                          I think people have to exercise caution when they hear these things however; one never knows what the truth is, when allegations such as these are thrown about.

                          These claims of "misappropriation" and "theft" might all be due to a community response to Hengshan's death; anger sometimes has a strange way of manifesting itself. There may not have been any financial imbroglio, though some of the locals there may not be happy with how they percieved Guolin's actions of late.
                          Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                          "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                          (more comments in my User Profile)
                          russbo.com


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                          • #14
                            I'm with you Doc. Just two things

                            1) most believe there is no smoke without a fire,

                            2) somebody died.

                            Guolin has blood on his hands, and more to the point any people who were financing an operation that lead to the death of an innocent, know 1) and by implication also have blood on their hands. So its no wonder they're all calling in their investments, trying to disassociate themselves and trying to wash their hands of it, isn't it?

                            Regardless of what actually happened, I find it hard to see how Guolin can survive this catastrophy. As you know, suicides have a domino effect. Awful as that would be, I think you would find that the CCP will press for Yongxin's early forced retirement, and his successor will probably take this as a mandate to go the other way and return to more devout Chan values.

                            Doc, Yongxin is probably aware of this, and that it wouldn't even take another suicide to realise this, maybe only a Discovery Channel documentary going out in the run-up to Olympics...

                            With this in mind, I wouldn't turn up with anymore journalists or film crews in Dengfeng again for a very long while, unless that is you are prepared for seeing your China visa applications returned rejected soon after.

                            And why all of a sudden has the board suddenly gone very quiet?

                            Chicken

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                            • #15
                              The board has gone quiet because I'm back. I have this effect on people.

                              Just so you all know, the Discovery Channel documentary has NOTHING to do with Guolin, Yongxin, or anything to do with any martial arts training group in the US. It is not a journalistic endeavor; it has been purely designed around exploring Shaolin gong fu and culture, with some entertainment thrown in.

                              Guolin will survive, as will Yongxin. Yongxin will survive until the very end. Regardless of what people think of him, he's a brilliant individual. Very capable of learning...
                              Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                              "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                              (more comments in my User Profile)
                              russbo.com


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