Sunday, April 16, 2006

Beautiful Bonsais and Gargantuan Gates

Bonsais at Thien Mu pagoda, Hue:-

One day, when I am old person with two much time on my hands, my own home and control of the weather (ie no drought), I will have bonsais. And they will be as mesmerising as these - even if it is only because I am competitive. Throughout Viet Nam's temples and pagodas were numerous delicately crafted bonsais (large and small). They are such meditative plants.


Something that is not meditative are these incredibly ornate gates in the imperial citadel. The splotch is a rain-drop - not me being a terrible photographer.

If only I were still an ancient historian - I could turn my hand to archaeology and assist the Vietnamese to restore their tourist attractions and historical monuments. Some gates were well-kept.

Others were not:-

There were also ancient paintings hailing from the 14th century that were just happily on display, close enough to be touched by all and sundry (except for the sundry short people) and photographed by everyone - except me. It was my ethical stance - my camera flash was not going to contribute to the further deterioration of the imperial paintings. It is not worship of material items - merely recognition of historical value. In the same way that we should tread softly in rainforests and areas that retain their pre-human beauty, so too should we preserve the precious endeavours of our forebears.

Of course, it all comes down to money - the tourists bring in the bucks but they also contribute to the destruction of the things they have come to see. Vicious, vicious cycle.

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