Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Academic dating

Despite evidence to the contrary, it’s still claimed that light travels in straight lines. In nature are there actually any truly straight lines? I don’t think so. Everything curves. We have spirals, especially Fibonacci spirals; we have orbits, epicycles including moon orbits; there is turbulence and a variety of forms of flow. We have maps and mathematics and want them to represent “reality” better than they do.
Regardless of one’s opinion of Big Bang Theory, it is naïve to expect all to be moving straight away from a center, instead of swirling in increasing loops. When astronomers and astrophysicists calculate distance to stars that sent out light we are aware of them by, do they take this into account? I think not. It’s simply too complex, and the values that must be used for acceptability anachronistic as academia self-corrects but at painfully slow rates, in order to maintain what esteem academicians pretend to. Reputations are at stake! Priorities, priorities!
We’ve known for a century that light bends traveling around celestial objects, and for almost as long that mathematics is inconsistent, incomplete, and basically hypothetical. There is no demonstrable true unity, nullity, indivisibility or incontrovertible truth. We have approximations, some awareness of patterns, theories and postulates, but no tangible “space-time” or real “string theory” – we are limited by context, limited in perception, constrained by circumstance and tested by our strange desires.
But nevermind, let’s continue to charge a fortune for “education”! Schooling is the best dating service we know.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

"Dog Radical"

Taking no credit for authorship, I'd like to present somethingI found

back in the 1700s some European decided the first king of Ayudhaya was Chinese. I think not

From Wikipedia
Dog radical
As described above, the "dog", "beast", or "quadruped" radical 犭 is especially common among graphic pejoratives for Chinese exonyms. The Dutch sinologist Robert Van Gulik describes this practice as "the unkind Chinese habit of writing the names of the 'barbarians' surrounding their territory with the classifier 'quadruped'".[13] The German anthropologist Karl Jettmar [de] explains that calling outsiders "wild beasts, jackals, and wolves" linguistically justified using brutality against them.[14]
Language reforms initiated in the Republic of China in the late 1930s and continued in the People's Republic of China in the 1950s replaced "dog" radical ethnonyms of minority peoples with more positive characters.[citation needed]
The Yao people's exonym changed twice from (犭 "dog radical" and yao 䍃 phonetic) yao 猺 "jackal; the Yao", to (亻"human radical") yao 傜 "the Yao", and then to (玉 "jade radical") yao 瑤 "precious jade; green jasper; the Yao". Chinese dictionaries first defined yao 猺 as the "name of a wild animal" (11th-century Jiyun: 獸名), and later as the "tribe of southern barbarians" (17th-century Zhengzitong: 蠻屬).[citation needed] The Chinese-English dictionary of Robert Henry Mathews records traditional Chinese prejudice about the Yao, "the books describe them as being very wild; they are said to have a short tail; and the skin on the soles of their feet is spoken of as being more than one inch in thickness".[15][page needed]
The Zhuang people (an ethnic minority primarily living in Guangxi) are currently written with the character for zhuang 壮 "strong; robust", but Zhuang was initially transcribed with the character for tong 獞 "a dog name", and then with tong 僮 ("human" radical) "child; boy servant". The late American sinologist and lexicographer John DeFrancis described how the People's Republic of China removed the graphic pejoration.
Sometimes the use of one radical or another can have a special significance, as in the case of removing an ethnic slur from the name of the Zhuang minority in southwest China, which used to be written with the dog radical but after 1949 was first written with the human radical and was later changed to a completely different character with the respectable meaning "sturdy":
獞 Zhuàng (with the dog radical)
僮 Zhuàng (with the human radical)
壮 Zhuàng ("sturdy")[16]
This 1949 change to Zhuang 僮 was made after the Chinese civil war, and the change to Zhuang 壮 was made during the 1965 standardization of simplified Chinese characters.[citation needed]
The Yi people or Lolo, whose current Chinese exonym is yi 彝 "sacrificial wine vessel; Yi peoples", used to be condescendingly called the Luoluo 猓猓, giving a new luo reading to ("dog" radical and guo 果 phonetic) guo 猓 "proboscis monkey". The first replacement was ("human" radical) luo 倮, already used as a graphic variant character for ("clothing radical") luo 裸 "naked"; the second was luo 罗 "bird net; gauze".[citation needed]
The Lahu people were written Luohei 猓黑, with this same simian luo 猓 and 黑 "black". Their modern exonym is Lahu 拉祜, transcribing with la 拉 "pull; drag" and hu 祜 "favor or protection from heaven".[citation needed]
The Bouyei people in southern China and Vietnam are called Zhongjia 仲家, written with the "human radical" term zhong 仲 "second; middle (of three months or brothers)". The earlier ethnonym Zhongjia 狆家 used the "dog radical" term zhong 狆 "lap dog; pug", which now usually refers to the Japanese Chin (from Japanese language chin 狆).[citation needed]
The modern Chinese transcription for the Gelao people is Gelaozu 仡佬族 with the "human radical", and Gelao was previously written 犵狫 with the "dog radical" and the same phonetic elements. The word liao 獠 originally meant "night hunting; long, protruding teeth", and beginning during the Wei-Jin period (266–420) was also pronounced lao 獠 meaning "an aboriginal tribe in southwest China 😊 lao 狫); ugly". This Laoren 僚人, from earlier 狫人 or 獠人, is the modern name for the Rau peoples (including Zhuang, Buyei, and Tay–Nùng).[citation needed]
Additional "dog" radical examples of exonyms include the ancient Quanrong 犬戎 "dog barbarians" or "dog belligerents" and Xianyun 獫狁 (written with xian 獫 or 玁 "long-snouted dog; black dog with a yellow face"). Feng Li, a Columbia University historian of early China, suggests a close semantic relation, noting that "It is very probable that when the term Xianyun came to be written with the two characters 獫狁, the notion of 'dog' associated with the character xian thus gave rise to the term Quanrong 犬戎, or the 'Dog Barbarians'."[17]

Tuesday, September 28, 2021


เมื่อหลายพันปีก่อน ฮ่องเต้ (หวงตี้) จักรพรรดิเหลืองได้รวมเผ่าที่ราบภาคกลางของจีนไว้ด้วยกัน กษัตริย์ ชิยูโอะ และเผ่า แม้ว (ม้ง) ของเขาทางทิศใต้ใช้หมอกเป็นอาวุธป้องกันอย่างมีประสิทธิภาพเพื่อต่อต้านการควบรวมกิจการ แต่ หวงตี้ ได้ออกแบบรถม้าเข็มทิศด้วยเสานิ้วซึ่งชี้ไปทางใต้เสมอ และด้วยความช่วยเหลือตามตำนานกล่าวว่าได้ทำให้สิ่งที่กลายเป็นจีนสงบลงได้สำเร็จ
อย่างไรก็ตาม ทางทิศตะวันตก ชนเผ่าที่ไม่ใช่ชาวจีนยังคงแข็งแกร่ง และการค้าขายอย่างมืออาชีพในมณฑลกวางตุ้งแทบไม่ถูกมองว่าถูกดูหมิ่นอย่างแพร่หลายในหมู่ชาวจีนฮั่น บริเวณโดยรอบประเทศจีนทุกที่ ยกเว้นทางตะวันออกของมหาสมุทรคือภูเขาและทะเลทรายสุดขั้ว ชาวมองโกเลีย แมนจูเรีย เกาหลี ไต้หวัน ญี่ปุ่น และฟิลิปปินส์ ที่อาจมีเหตุผลน่าสงสัย แทบจะไม่ได้รับการพิสูจน์ว่าเป็นคู่ค้ารายใหญ่ ทางใต้มีแต่งาช้าง ไม้เนื้อแข็ง ดีบุก หนังสัตว์ ปลาแห้ง และสินค้าอื่นๆ เพื่อการค้า
ในเอเชียตะวันออกเฉียงใต้ เรือมีความจำเป็น ข้าวได้รับการปลูกฝัง แต่ป่าไม้ไม่เพียงแต่หนาและสูงเท่านั้น แต่เต็มไปด้วยเสือโคร่ง จระเข้ตัวใหญ่ ยุงเป็นฝูงหนาทึบ ชะนีที่น่ารังเกียจและงูที่น่าสยดสยอง แม่น้ำเป็นถนนสายเดียว มีคนป่าและด้วยเหตุนี้ผลิตผลจากป่าเพื่อการค้า แต่มีความเข้มแข็งเพียงเล็กน้อย ชายหาดหายากเมื่อเทียบกับป่าชายเลน
เทือกเขาหิมาลัย เช่นเดียวกับภูเขาอัลไต ทำให้ผู้คนแข็งแกร่งกว่าที่ราบและพื้นที่ชายฝั่งทะเลมาก แข็งแกร่งมากพอที่พวกเขาจะลงมาเป็นระยะเพื่อยึดครอง รวมถึงการควบคุมประชากร ที่ดินไม่ใช่ปัญหา – คนงานเป็น บางครั้งคนงานเหล่านี้จะทำหน้าที่เป็นผู้พิทักษ์ กองคาราวาน ทหาร การเมืองใหม่ไม่ใช่ประเทศอย่างที่เรารู้จักหรือรัฐในเมือง แต่เป็นบางอย่างที่อยู่ระหว่างนั้น ไร้พรมแดน เป็นแค่พันธมิตร พื้นที่ที่มีอิทธิพล ลูกน้อง และเจ้าเหนือหัว บางทีคนเหล่านี้อาจสืบเชื้อสายมาจากที่ราบสูงทิเบตและกลายเป็นชาวพม่า จากเทือกเขาหิมาลัยทางตะวันออกสู่มหาสมุทรมีชาวภูเขาจำนวนมาก ในขณะที่ตามชายฝั่งทางตอนใต้ของเอเชียตะวันออกเฉียงใต้ และในหมู่เกาะ มีคนเตี้ยกว่า ผอมลง มีผมหยิกหรือหยักศก ซึ่งตอนนี้หายไปแล้วส่วนใหญ่ น่าจะเป็นโรคระบาดที่ทำให้เกิดการหายสาบสูญนี้ แต่ 'การเกณฑ์ทหาร' เข้าสู่กองกำลังทหารและการทำสงคราม ช่วยได้อย่างแน่นอน
หลังจากหลายศตวรรษและหลายศตวรรษที่มีทหารและทาสจำนวนมากเข้ามาใกล้กัน โรคภัยได้ทำลายล้างประชากรของอาณาจักรขอม/เขมรซึ่งมีศูนย์กลางอยู่ที่นครวัด ไม่ต้องสงสัยเลยว่ามีการใช้ไม้มากเกินไป สัตว์รบกวนในบ้าน เช่น หนู หมัด แมลงวัน และสัตว์รบกวนอื่นๆ ก็เจริญเติบโตได้อย่างแน่นอน ความตึงเครียดระหว่างบุคคลก็เช่นกัน
ได้ตัดสินใจเริ่มต้นใหม่ ณ สถานที่ที่เอื้อต่อการค้าขาย มีการเลือกแม่น้ำที่บรรจบกันใกล้ละโว้ (ลพบุรี) อยุธยากลายเป็นศูนย์กลางการค้าที่ยิ่งใหญ่ กับประเพณีของดนตรี การเต้นรำ การแต่งงาน การอวยพร และพระราชพิธีในวัง ที่รักษาและเก็บไว้จากเมืองอังกอร์ ชาวเปอร์เซีย ชาวกษัตริยา พราหมณ์ และไวษยะ จากสุลต่านแห่งเดลีและจักรวรรดิวิชัยนครแห่งเจนไน (คุชราต มัทราส บนชายฝั่งตะวันออกเฉียงใต้ของอินเดีย) จามส์จากที่ตอนนี้คือเวียดนาม ชาวมาเลย์ มอญ และกวางตุ้ง (พ่อค้าจากกวางโจว/กวางเชา) ได้สร้างท่าเรือที่เป็นอิสระจากอำนาจของไคเฟิงและซ่างฟู่ในจีน เบงกอล หรือชวาอินโดนีเซีย สำหรับกษัตริย์ พวกเขาเลือกราชวงศ์ของชาวฉาน ('ภูเขา') และภายในสองศตวรรษเป็นหนึ่งในเมืองที่มีประชากรมากที่สุดในโลก

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Depopulated Lanna area

At the group "Siamese Memories" on Facebook is a post about the Shan Rebellion in Phrae,
and another about the Hmong
both of which I found interesting.
The Hmong as Mongolian? I doubt it! Hmong are also called Meo or Miao and go way back in Chinese history. If Mongolian and Hmong shamanism are related, as claimed, might that not be due to Bon religion from Tibet? Hmong people do not look Mongolian to me.
(I have a next door neighbor who is Hmong.)

I wrote about both matters in "Enticing Siam" and a Japanese friend had that stuff posted on the net for a decade or so, but due to difficulties transferring money to pay for his URL took it down, and I have left that book unavailable through the net. I still have about a hundred copies and there may well also be that many for sale at Wat Doi Suthep gift shop in Chiang Mai. For all I know there are also a few at Cabbages and Condoms, WiangPaPao, ChiangRai but they didn't respond when I wrote to ask.

Anyway, about depopulation of the Lanna area after a quarter millennia of Burmese rule here:,28804,2027479_2027486_2027498,00.html

ChiangMai City somehow maintained without great population loss. but the area now in Thailand and north of there was very sparcely populated at the time of Dr Briggs, with purportedly only 70 or so "dacoits" in Chiang Saen.
I would like to know about the population of Nan back then, and how that might have impacted on French seizure of some of its territory.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Genotypes and Covid

As we continue to come to terms with Covid, reflection on the effects of past pandemics might help at least give sense of context.
The Spanish flu (aka the 1918 influenza pandemic, a virus of avian origin), the much more recent Avian Influenza (bird flu), Bubonic Plague, septicemic plague… polio, smallpox, malaria… these have affected human history more than war. They have even affected the human genotype.
A genotype, an organism’s complete set of genetic material, is adaptive, as recent studies in epigenetics have shown. So are human choices (at least sometimes).
Written records from outside the eastern Mediterranean and Fertile Crescent of Iraq areas from over 1000 years ago being rather rare, remnant stone carvings afford great value to investigations of social roots; those of far southeast SE Asia often depict quite Negroid heads which we can assume were meant to depict or at least represent rulers. (see and
But as happened elsewhere, rulers got replaced by new ones of a bit different genotype. Changes happened in the lower classes too. Kinky hair remains, but has clearly become less common. In about 1000 CE the continental coast of SE Asia was largely malarial mangrove swamp. We know there were inhabitants because we know there was shipping trade, but we still know very little about who they were. It was thought that south Burma was Mon Dvaravati, but that’s been shown incorrect. It’s also clear that more northern, mountain peoples on occasion found necessity of refuge from invaders in said mangrove swamps.
Draught followed by heavy rains and flooding surely aggravated disease, as also did warfare, malnutrition from other factors, unintentional results of foreign trade, and man’s inhumanity to man, especially in terms of class conflict. War was much more about taking captive slaves than land, and removal and resettlement was surely unsettling and undermining of health. Attractive slaves were taken for use by the elite, and many of the less fortunate surely found it difficult to successfully breed. Seizing slaves from elsewhere may well have been seen as more efficient that “breeding”…
At any rate, over time the overall appearance of general populations changed, be it more from natural selection, coercion, or migrations. Genocidal activity hardly seems to have been rare, but also the health of the elite ALWAYS had advantages over that of the ruled. Local understandings among the ruled surely were often of help to them, but forced relocations put limits to that!
Surely our newly homeless will prove more susceptible to Covid than those less stressed and more protected.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021


PREFIXES> These shouldn’t, perhaps, be thought about much, early on, not until you’re used to hearing the language – to avoid unproductive confusion.
An example: Fruit is pon-la-mai (rising, high, high and meaning something like useful result of wood) but I hear no ‘n’ only “po-lamai” and feel sure that putting the n sound back would NOT help communication. Poe-la-mai. Forget the ‘wood’ part. Tomatoes are fruit too (ma-kheua-thet, h-r-r); ma-kheua is an eggplant and ‘thet’ means ‘not native’… as in, amazingly, Khruang thet, spices. Just a couple hundred years ago Thailand still had few (red peppers are an import from the “New World” also improperly called the “Americas” but hey nevermind).
Many, if not most, fruits’ names start with ma- as in manao (sounds like ‘come cold’ and means lemon or lime but the ma- there would be mid-tone instead of the high tone used for the first syllable of words for coconut, tamarind, mango, fig , a kind of plum, and a favorite of mine, ma-fai, which I have no English name for).
Pineapple, sapparoht, brings us to an interesting suffix, “sa-“! It’s first syllable ends in a –p, so isn’t at all the same as the suffix for money, to chisel out and extract, notebook, family lineage, station and several other words that show no commonality to explain the suffix they share. Satang, a diminutive for money, reminds me of Ka-tahng, kick-stand, which people often yell at me when I’m absent-minded on a motorcycle. “Ka” can also be a slave or a slave’s shackles… The ‘taang’ has a silent letter on the end so is not the same as ‘way’ (direction) or method (as in “mai mee taang! No way, it’s impossible!”).
Pra, ประ not พระ (monk), is a common suffix that can mean to add or affix. A door, insurance, an announcement or signboard, regular, a nation, the public, a committee meeting, elementary education, chairman, history and many more terms use this suffix but again I fail to see the commonality.
A tunnel, ooh-mong, uses a different ooh suffix than a car repair garage, ooh-roht with low tone (then high) and a longer ‘ooh’… For accidents, oo-bat-ti-het, use the first, while for a dock, ooh-rua, the second. Or use ta-rua.
“Ta” can be eye, father’s father, if, to rub in or paint… Sorry, just another example of why learning a language, even just picking it up without study, takes time, lots of time. A road, thanon, uses a different t-sound letter and doesn’t mean ‘way to get way over there’ although I like to think it could.
“Na” may be the most common suffix. Face, front, ahead, desirable… Ugly is na-gleit, hate-able, but I hear and say “nak-liet” and have for 30 years.
“Nak” indicates heavy (among other things, like occupation) but a nak-rong isn’t a fat singer but a professional one.
‘Man’, which is not part of lemon/lime manao (“it takes”) can be a sexless pronoun (for children and animals), any other ‘it’ or potato. Also, engaged (pen mahn), shiny (pen-mahn similarly but mid instead of falling tome)… or infertile, neutered or stable and secure.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Seventh grade history and social studies

At the start of 1999 I took an English teaching job at “the best school in the north” of Thailand, and after a couple months was asked to teach Thai social studies. The school, however, failed to provide me with any “curriculum” but only paid me to study up during hot season (April) break. I enjoyed the challenge but did have to adhere to some absurdities, like teaching that father of King Ramkamhaeng was a fisherman. When spouting that nonsense caused my current pharmacist to fall out of his chair laughing and I realized the general hilarity was undermining any authority I might hope to retain, I started teaching more in accordance with truth as I had been able to discover it. My boss, who liked to explain to the bright 12 and 13 year old students selected for my classes that she and I were the equivalent of their mother and father, without telling me had the students come in an hour early, every day, to continue being lied to. Soon I was fired and she was forced into early retirement. After a month of depression, I started writing “Chiangrai, Lanna” and working with an independent teacher to put it into Thai. I had 1000 copies or the dual language book printed and gave several hundred to the school for the kids.
Last night, depressed at incoming 2020 US election results and reading homework of my first son, now 12 and in 7th grade, about Ho Chi Minh, and about independence for Vietnam and the Philippines. I started reading his text and was impressed. There was even a picture of the namesake of my 2nd son! A map of Lanna extended it to the Andaman Sea (more credible than claims that Ramkamhaeng conquered the whole Malay Peninsula, but still outrageous) but overall I was really quite impressed. Nationalistic assertions of a “Thai race” were at least put into context, making excusable reference to migration down to here from Mongolia (mention of aboriginal forbears from 700,000 years ago I found quite less excusable).
Soon I was having thoughts of light-eyed Uigers and Berbers, of Normans, ‘crusader’ Roger of Sicily, of the Spanish Netherlands, of South Africa and Northern Ireland, of Brahmans of Indian descent but Siamese residence leading ceremonies for people indistinguishable from many Indonesians, Malays, Filipinos and others. Of ethnic and cultural differences between Thailand’s south, central plains, Isaan northeast and north (where those in MaeHongSon differ from those of Nan); of Burmese taking prisoners from Siam back home to work and breed, and Siamese similarly taking prisoners from all neighboring countries, of Khom from Angkor starting a new polity at Ayudhaya with asking a royal from Lanna to come serve as king...
The text mentioned blood-work showing close relation between Thais and Indonesians, but I guess the Brahmans didn’t count in that, as also didn’t the many many migrations of various Chinese over the last quarter millennia (and others before). Of the Kha aboriginals, the Suay, the Mon, Karen, and ethnic Lao of whom Thailand has many times as many as does Laos. But nevermind, the text is a HUGE improvement, and Maybe (just maybe) my efforts actually have had positive impact.