Author's note: I'm starting to over-post and go in to competition with myself. If you haven't read it yet, please read two posts below as it contains much more vital and basic information on dealing with refugees and domestic violence that is difficult to obtain. This post is about half silly and half serious but contains very little useful information on domestic violence and refugees.
Good news! I got a call today and things are moving along much better in the domestic violence case that was eating me up. The worst behaviors are gone and the people are in place to straighten things out. Life is good. So I can stop acting like a crazy person.
(Hint: How to know Pete's upset. First, he overeats, then he smokes, then he pukes and coughs because he has no tolerance for cigarettes, then he lights up another one wondering why he is doing this because he really doesn't like cigarettes and they make him sick, and then he gets this hacking cough and pukes up his lunch because he coughed so much and then feels tired all the time because cigarettes also leave him drained. Yes, it's a subtle bunch of clues, but if you watch carefully you might note them during these rare periods.) So that's a good thing, a very good thing. If nothing else, I can stop puking, coughing and buying Marlboros at the incredible price of $8.00 a pack. (Actually I stopped doing this a week ago, but there was a period during this time when I did it.)
Which means that now it's time to sit back and relax a bit. And, sometimes, I relax by writing.
I mentioned earlier that in societies where arranged marriages and such are common, then often there is enough of a community and family structure that should domestic violence occur members of the community often intervene. As mentioned previously, I am an intellectual with a great deal of education and cross cultural knowledge. My depth and expertise in the intricacies of Asian cultures is superb.
And how did I get this vast knowledge? Well, in no small part by watching fine films like this one: "Shaolin Challenges Ninja" or "Heroes of the East." (should you click this link make sure you watch the last quarter of this lengthy film trailer. Its integral for understanding and getting the feel for what comes next.)
Although some say that Mr. and Mrs. Smith is the funniest domestic violence film ever made, my vote goes to this film. Should you wish more details check here or here. (As an aside, I have been told that it is possible for Burmese refugees sitting in refugee camps in Malaysia and Thailand to receive enough international media to actually keep up on the gossip about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. And some do. Scary isn't it?
What movies do refugees watch? Sometimes they watch these terrible Korean movies with the dialogue in Korean and the subtitles in Burmese. In another apartment I know, right smack dab in the midst of Albany's scariest neighborhood, live a Karen family and every time I visit the TV has on these Karen language, nationalist patriotic films. But if there's one movie that Burmese refugees seem to love it's Rambo 4, the latest installment in the Rambo series, this is the one where Rambo goes in to Burma and assists the Karen people and rescues an attractive missionary, destroying large elements of the Burmese army in the process. (In fact, the film set a record of sorts for sheer quantity of cinematic mayhem and has the most on-screen killing of people by the Rambo character of any film in this bloody series yet. And to make it even better, there's even a scene where our hero, John Rambo, taunts some Burmese soldiers in Burmese. Multiple refugees have told me it's great and I must see it. So far, I've avoided this social obligation, but I'm not sure how long I can hold out. Refugees have also told me that it is a criminal offense punishable by several years imprisonment to watch Rambo 4 in Burma (Myanmar.) (Some of them are also trying to find me a wife too. I resist this as well, as they often seem to wish to skip the getting-to-know-one-another-before-making-a-commitment part of the romance that us silly, crazy, sexually immoral Westerners find so important. I'm sorry, call me wacky, but I just don't believe in commitment before the first date. Actually, I'm not sure which is scarier --watching "Rambo 4" or getting married to a woman I barely know. Depends if she's cute, I guess.)
Which brings me back to "Shaolin Challenges Ninja" or "Heroes of the East."
The plot of this fine film begins with a Chinese man, a man who later turns out to be a kung fu master, hiding in bed. He is fearful because his father has arranged a marriage for him, today is his wedding day, the bride has arrived from Japan and he is fearful she could be quite ugly. Fortunately his friend scouts things out and tells him that the Japanese bride-to-be is actually quite beautiful so he stops faking illness and opts to attend his own wedding ceremony.
Married life works out for our hero, at least up until the rumors begin to fly that he is beating his wife. "But I never beat my wife!" he proclaims. But his father has come to visit, to lecture him on the evils of beating his wife, because it is said, everyone has heard him beating his wife. "But I don't," he says. "I really don't."
Turns out his wife has been practicing Japanese karate in the backyard and doing so rather loudly, making great yelling, crashing and screaming sounds in the backyard when our hero is not around. She also likes to karate chop the heads off of the stone statues in the backyard, each time screaming loudly as she does it.
"Stop it," he cries. "When you do this Japanese karate people think I beat you. You must do Chinese kung fu instead." And he demonstrates the flowing silent Chinese martial arts. "Japanese Karate is not lady-like and besides the Chinese martial arts really are superior to the Japanese ones anyway."
Ooops! Bad thing to say. Next thing you know she's trying to force him to prove it and chasing him all around the house trying to punch and kick him to prove her nation's karate can beat his nation's kung fun.
Well, he shows her, naturally, but then they have to decide which nation's sword arts are superior so they chase each other with swords. Then come the Chinese versus Japanese spear arts, all up and down the stairways with the lovely young newlyweds chasing each other, shouting, taunting and poking and swinging with their spears.
Then come bows and arrows,darts, other martial arts weapons and finally, still trying to one-up him in this contest, she booby traps the entire house to prove the superiority of Japanese ninjutsu over the Chinese martial arts. Well when our hero sets off a boobytrap in his own house and the spears on wires fly across the room, forcing him to narrowly dodge this deadly attack, while, his wife, dressed in a ninja suit, jumps out and giggles about how this is Japanese ninjutsu, he gets a mite upset and tells her, "We Chinese have a name for this too! We call it murder and we think it's dishonorable."
"Why I never," she cries. "You called me dishonorable! I'm going home to mother!" and she storms out of the house and goes back to Japan.
Of course, true love can overcome an obstacle like this. So our hero pines and mopes and tells all his friends how much he misses her. "What do I do?" he says. "I miss her. How do I get her back?"
"Well," they say "write her a letter. And in it tell her that Japanese martial arts are just cheap copies of the much older Chinese martial arts."
"Good idea," he cries, and starts writing.
Ooops! Plan backfires, wife shows up but also along for the ride are a group of Japanese martial arts masters intent on punishing him for this insult. As they say in the writing business, "complications ensue." Ultimately however, both true love and Chinese martial arts triumph over all obstacles.
It's really a great movie, and, as I stated, one of the funniest domestic violence films ever made. Probably even better than Rambo 4.
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