Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Vienna winter impressions

Some impressions from this December, around Vienna with family.  

Trainstation Naschmarkt

My father spent a few days in Vienna at the beginning of December. Arriving by train, leaving by train. Being at train stations, I am always tempted to board a train and be off to some far-away place.

Classes at the university finished almost one week before Christmas, and my sister and father came visiting by car. We spent some nice days enjoying the snow and Christmas mood in the city.

Strolling on Naschmarkt in search for tonka beans, enjoying the magic of the inner city after delicious Kaiserschmarren with friends or freezing to death on the impressive central cemetery.

Sister and Father

Now I’m in Germany, sitting in the living room with the fire crackling nicely next to me and the garden full of snow (though it has rather been in melt-freeze-mode today). Enjoy the holidays!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

preview of the porn project

Lately, I have begun to paint with watercolours again. Again means, in this context, since school many years ago. Mostly in the late evenings when I’m too tired to concentrate on more important things, I sit at my desk and occupy myself with these things while the scent of watercolours brings me a happy and peaceful state of mind.

Thus, I have carried on something that began with a few sketches and by now has already taken quite concrete form in my head. Now, I have finished the first 4 pieces of this series and though I don’t have a scanner, I have put together a little preview.

This series, the porn project, deals with scenes of pornographic media. Rather than morally criticising or trying to imbue these with more abstract meanings, the porn project simply provides different renditions of the given subject. Considering how big a role pornography plays in modern life, both hidden and visible, I don’t find it necessary to discuss taboos or moral points of view. Quite simply, I playfully explore this topic, which plays a significant role in my day to day life.

The images shot04, shot05, shot07 and shot08 mark the first stage of this project. Later stages will differ by varying degrees and incorporate other ideas. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


"Das Wirbeltier schaut sich unvermittelt um und sieht im retrospektiven Bild der Lichtjahrsnacht den rätselhaften Schwanz der Sippe.

Erst jetzt hat der geheimnisvolle Weg sein Ziel erreicht, und das Ziel ist das Bewusstsein um den langen Weg zum Ziel.

Wir können nur in die Hände klatschen, Extremitäten, die wir dem Konto für den Erbschatz der Sippe gutschreiben können."

Jostein Gaarder: Maya. Das Manifest, Karo 6

Vor langer langer Zeit habe ich mit einer Freundin aus mythischer Vorzeit begonnen diese 52 Sprüche auswendig zu lernen. Leider bin ich nie über die Hälfte hinaus gekommen, und sie musste schon früher aufgeben. Doch schon mit der Hälfte an Sprüchen hat das Aufsagen beim Patiencelegen viel Spaß gemacht.

Ich vermisse oft die Vergangenheit, und frage mich fast genauso oft, ob ich das tun sollte. Denn die Vergangenheit, zumindest diese Vergangenheit, hatte (entgegen āryadevas Behauptung) ein wirkliches Ende. Es gibt einen Punkt, an dem sich genügend Beteiligte einer Vergangenheit genügend stark verändert haben damit diese Vergangenheit zu einem Ende kommt. Und doch bleibt sie weiter an mir haften und ich frage mich, wie es für die anderen Beteiligten ist.

अतिक्रांतस्य नास्त्यादिरंतो 'नागतस्य च।
केन ते दृ*श्यते योगो वियोगश्च चिरापि न।।

”Es gibt keinen Anfang der Vergangenheit und kein Ende der Zukunft,
warum schaust du auf das Beisammensein und nicht auf die Trennung, auch wenn sie lang ist?”

āryadeva: catuḥśataka, Kapitel 1, Vers 21 nach Karen Lane mit möglicher Rekonstruktion der zweiten Strophe durch Anne MacDonald

Friday, November 13, 2009


As I was leaving the institute, today, a young woman approached me on the corridor. She explained making short interviews for a Chinese newspaper (her being an Austrian) and had come to our institute because of the question being: “Tibet: Independence yes or no?”. …She probably couldn’t have chosen a more difficult question to answer just like that, standing on the corridor. Even pramana (Buddhist logic) might have been a subject easier to explain.

Tibetan independence is, in fact, a topic hardly discussed at our institute (at least not in classes) but obviously of high interest to anybody occupied with the subject of tibetology (and a number of sinologists too, for that matter).

So, what are my thoughts on Tibetan independence; what is my point in this ongoing and politically heated discussion? It is a subject I have been thinking about and reviewing quite a lot recently. Partly because of my growing interest in Tibet’s historical situation during the first half of the 20th century (along with interesting figures such as dge ‘dun chos ‘phel) and partly because of my advance into sinology and thus the history of China in the 20th century. That is not to say the older Tibetan (and Chinese) history isn’t as important in the whole discussion, of course.

As I biked home after giving my little statement on the topic, a million things came to my mind and I wish I had asked for her name and email address, so I could write them to her (and correct some of my mistakes… it is friday after all). So now I’m writing some thoughts here, to get them off my mind.

To me, the topic of Tibetan independence is clearest the farther you go back in time. In the times of the great Tibetan empire under the rule of kings, the country did not only reach its biggest expansion but also quite probably had the most active contact (be it in war, trade, or else) with it’s neighbours. A glance at Silk Road history in the region of today’s 新疆 (Xinjiang), most of all roughly in Tang Dynasty times, shows clearly how much influence the Tibetan kings waged on those far away lands and kingdoms, Khotan, Miran, Loulan, Dunhuang… the list is long. Heather Stoddard, among others, speaks of the "Doring” (rdo ring) in discussing dge ‘dun chos ‘phel. These “long stones” seem to have existed not only in Tibet (specifically Lhasa) but also Chang’an. The famous doring of Lhasa, standing in front of the Jhokhang temple’s main entrance is engraved bilingually in Tibetan and Chinese with the 821-822 peace treaty between Tibet and China. Not that this treaty had any long-lasting effect, but nevertheless it shows the active political relations between two countries. Also, in discussion about dge ‘dun chos ‘phel, I stumpled about the mchod rten dkar po, “white Chörtens (Stupas)” that were set up as markers of the Tibetan borders (to Bhutan, India, Nepal, but also China and others) and found, for example, at the Kokonor.

But after the fall of the rule of kings, the topic of Tibetan independence seems to get more and more difficult to answer clearly. Over the course of time, Chinese influence in Tibet grew (for example with the post and influence of the ambans). From the Chinese point of view, Tibet (successively) albeit slowly became part of the emperor’s influence and thus, theoretically, a tributary state. The Tibetan view of this was, of course, different and over time it is clear that the Chinese influence gradually diminished again until it had almost faded by the beginning of the 20th century.

The beginning of the 20th century truly was a period of great hope and chance for Tibet. The 13th, and afterwards even the 14th Dalai Lama had great plans for reformation and renewal of the country, organisations were forming in and without connection to movements in China, and so forth. In 1910, Chinese troops made their way to Lhasa but were defeated (the 13th Dalai Lama had taken temporary refuge in India). In 1911/12, the Qing Dynasty fell and together with that many of it’s more remote or tributary provinces declared independence. In 1912, the 13th Dalai Lama proclaimed Tibet’s independence (as did Mongolia; just recently the original of a document has been found in which Mongolia and Tibet assure each other’s independence as states having freed themselves from the oppression of the Qing Dynasty) which sadly was hardly recognise by other states around the world.

The reactions to 1911/12 over the whole of China and it’s periphery are very interesting, in themselves. As was typical for the end of Chinese Dynasties, tributary and remote provinces and countries declared their independence from the court, which in turn further weakened the court’s power and caused it fall. Throughout Chinese history, this has happened times and times again, but it must be clear, too, that this was always followed by a new dynasty arising and incorporating those far regions, again. Thus, a proclamation of independence from 1912 is difficult to judge, considering the overall political situation and dynamics in east Asia at that time.

1927, after the establishing of the Nanjing government, 蔣介石 (Chiang Kai-shek) proposed the separation of Tibet into three regions (Amdo and Kham had already been largely unconnected to the Lhasa-governed central Tibet for a longer time) which was administratively completed by 1936 with the establishing of the regions Xikang (parts of Kham) and Qinghai (Amdo).

Even after that, though, there were still strong Tibetan movements for reform, for independence or for cooperation with the Chinese (communists). The Tibetan Improvement Party, for example, was formed 1939 in Kalimpong, India, or the world’s first Tibetan Newspaper, the Melong, based in Kalimpong, kept trying to shake Tibet out of it’s long and blind slumber of conservative ignorance.

Finally, the conservative system resisted change and closed its eyes to the danger approaching swiftly. It was Tibetans, finally, who built roads for the “liberating” Chinese tanks…

In conclusion, I have no side in this discussion. Tibetan independence keeps being an incredibly difficult subject, partly caused by the fact that there still is too little scientific discussion of new Tibetan history that would have to take account of all the surrounding factors and influences. What is clear, though, is how incredibly political this whole issue has become. The Chinese (CCP) on the one hand and the (exile) Tibetans on the other both almost always approach this from a very subjective perspective. A Tibetan not wishing for Tibetan independence would be “betraying his cultural heritage”, a Chinese not following the party’s (hard)line on Tibet will be silenced with the same charges – betrayal of the motherland, political splittism.

One thing, though, must be noted without doubt: the situation as it is now, in Tibet, is wrong. Without discussing independence of real autonomy, the every day violations of human rights, martial law and cultural genocide planned on a large scale are delicts that many future generations will have to take responsibility and find answers for, either way.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

University woes

This semester, I’m attending a class on a subject I’m very interested in: The Silk Road. And even though the course’s scope is formally limited to the “Western Regions” (西域), the area largely confined to the Tarim Basin and today’s Xinjiang, all the other parts of the Silk Road and the countries it bound together can hardly be left unmentioned.

This great “highway” of cultural, economical, spiritual and linguistic exchange connecting places as far from each other as Nara, in Japan, and Damascus at the Mediterranean sea fascinates me greatly. The lecture’s title is “A journey to the Western Regions. Art and Archeology of the Silk Road”, it is being held by Erika Forte of the department of art history Vienna and mainly focuses on the time of greatest activity along the Silk Road in that region, being between Han and Tang Dynasty times (roughly 3rd – 8th cent. a.d.).

When in the first lecture miss Forte explained she means her course to be, apart from two introductory lessons, be held on the basis of student presentations, my heart sank. Student presentations are something I don’t hold in much high regard since we all are merely striving for knowledge, while the teacher most often has so much more knowledge to give.

Also, student presentations are a time when the unprofessional and often unscientific behaviour and methodology of students gets exposed maybe the most easily. Thus, our first lesson of student presentations has left me quite disappointed and a little annoyed.

Be it the young Chinese boasting in his booming voice about how Xuan Zang was the greatest of the Chinese Buddhist Pilgrims who went over the Silk Road to India, solely basing his presentation on information gathered from Buddhist sources and publications, taking every myth and religious exaggeration for unquestioned truth, or the apparent Inability of people not specifically studying Indology to at least more or less correctly pronounce words like Sanskrit or Nālandā Vihār. Thus teachers can almost ruin a very interesting topic by almost completely giving it into the hands of the students.

Of course, I know I am being harsh in my judgement and high in my expectations, but this is, after all, the university. And that is another thing that has been on my mind of late. These days, the university of Vienna is “burning”, meaning student protests have erupted, auditoriums occupied, and the like. Students in other parts of Austria have joined in and even in Berlin students are talking about joining out of solidarity.

While I do not oppose protesting, and agree with a number of the issues being discussed (like gender equality, anti-discrimination, better funding of institutes and personnel, etc), I find some of the most loudly voiced slogans of these protests rather ridiculous. It isn’t very clever or educated protesting against the re-establishing of student fees with slogans like “Education is a basic human right”, living in a very developed country with a very thorough school system. University education must be seen for what it is: an exclusive science. Certainly, this cannot be called a “basic human right” and thus be demanded as available freely to anyone – in a country, where you pay for your child’s kindergarden! Where is the “basic”, there?

A feeling that has grown inside me over the course of my studies is that so many people at the university in fact would be better off not being students. With that, I don’t want to label them inferior in any way, but everyone has own talents and abilities and let’s face it, university is and should be tough learning. These people are at the university studying something they might or might not be interested in because both expectations of their family and our culture are forcing them to. Doing an apprenticeship is regarded the lower choice and studying the key to every high and well paid job.

This unrealistic and ridiculous trend shows itself well in the recent adoption of the so called “Bologna System” by all European universities. This system, being essentially the bachelor-master system, seems heavily dictated by the economy, streamlined to churn out people with easily classifiable skills, unified for the international market. The curricula, now rigidly structured, dictate the student what he or she has to study and leave very little freedom of pursuing own interests and finding a field of specialisation. Selecting one of five available masters at our institute doesn’t quite seem like specialising, does it?

Parallel, introductory phases have been introduced. These, most often limited to the first semester, mean you have a certain number of classes you must all pass in order to be allowed to go on studying in the following semester. Should you fail any of the required classes, you’ll have to wait and try again in the next round (note that most of those classes have 2 or 3 successive exams, giving you lots of chance to better your marks). Similarly, the new university law (which was the cause of the current protests) also gives institutes the possibility of filtering the students admitted to their studies in any way they find suitable (that might be exams, grade point average, etc). With courses like journalism, law or medicine sometimes being overrun by foreign students (mostly Germans fleeing from the grad point average limited universities at home) this seems rather realistic and badly needed than unfair and evil. Testing the fresh students’ dedication for a subject and their overall ability of studying also seems rather beneficial to them, in my opinion. Better to find out you might not be so ideally qualified for a subject in the first semester than somehow dragging along for years until you finally abandon it or fail.

Maybe, if students were un-trendy and anti-social individuals again, all these problems would be solved easily.

Monday, October 19, 2009

More Music

A glance into the media section of my homepage (the navigation is on the right-hand side of the blog) reveals that I have just added three new songs, embedded as Youtube videos. These songs are own compositions, fairytale and ostinato being from 2008 and movement & repetition from 2006 and recently re-recorded.

There are actually some more songs among those I did several years ago (when I began making songs) which I am thinking about uploading these days. As with everything released publicly, one is afraid of it being neglected or rejected. Therefore, I’ll ponder a little longer.

Otherwise, I’m busy being back at the university, studying and working. Among my classes this semester is a very interesting one about the Silk Road in Chinese territory (the so called 西域 western regions), another one about the life and works of dge ‘dun chos ‘phel and one about Rahul Sankrityana’s travels to Tibet (reading his travel diaries मेरी जीवन यात्रा).

And now, without further ado, have a listen.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Back from India

After six weeks of heat, cold, height, humidity, crowds, emptiness, sun, snow, good and bad I’ve returned from India. My laundry hangs outside to dry in the sun, my face is shaved and my body washed. Things from my journey, both old and new, are scattered around and just as, it seems, the threads left here to be picked up.

The pictures (1690) have been transferred to my computer and await being looked through and sorted out. The black book I carried and wrote in, my India Book and one of the most important accessories of my days, has been used and filled, bruised and enriched. Therein lie the days that passed with writing for each, and the cities and languages, maps and notes. Out of those, other things I wrote and every little thing stored in my head I will write a retrospective, though it will take time.

There is so much to do – there is so little time!

Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen,
Mit der ich sonst viele Zeit verdorben,
Sie hat so lange nichts von mir vernommen,
Sie mag wohl glauben, ich sei gestorben!

Es ist mir auch gar nichts daran gelegen,
Ob sie mich für gestorben hält,
Ich kann auch gar nichts sagen dagegen,
Denn wirklich bin ich gestorben der Welt.

Ich bin gestorben dem Weltgetümmel,
Und ruh' in einem stillen Gebiet!
Ich leb' allein in meinem Himmel,
In meinem Lieben, in meinem Lied!
- Friedrich Rückert

Thursday, August 13, 2009

leaving on a jet plane

Off to India
have a wonderful summer everyone 
– I’ll be back in autumn. Until then
take care.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Thoughts on a beautiful morning

The call of my father woke me in the morning, and I, still half in the world of dreams, replied in Hindi. Rising and wiping the sleep out of my eyes, the most beautiful fresh morning was streaming in through the open windows. Last night, late and already the next day in fact, he had picked me up from the platform after my many hours on the train, where I had watched the light illuminate brightly the beautiful landscapes passing outside and then to draw away again with the setting sun, casting the veil of dusk on the land until the darkness left me only staring at reflections in the glass.
Our morning so clear and bright, we had our breakfast outside looking into the garden with all flowers and plants ablaze in bloom and light with that sunlight of a fresh clean morning, not tainted by the hustle of the day and the air still fresh and scented from the night. A million crystals of dew hidden in the grass and plants, the mighty trees swaying gently in the breeze and us on the terrace, talking and eating, sipping tea and awaking with all things around us.

Soon thereafter, my father left to work and I resumed my position on the terrace with my tea and bread and all the beauty of the world. Little birds, busy with their routine that had already began hours ago, rushing through the gardens catching this, gathering that. So I sat in utter peace and beauty and enjoyed a morning so fair it made the world and life therein seem utterly and act of pure aesthetics.

Not, however, was my silent peace long lasting. A short while after I had sat there alone, one man and another trotted over from the next garden and the one adjunct to occupy themselves with business for the old lady living on the left, who I hold very dear and close to my heart. Trees, they said, were they to be cut, and so had brought all kind of gear and tool. And as is the way with older men retired from work, like children busy with their fascinations I saw the beauty of the morning was utterly unseen by them. For they, the two of them, soon stirred the most exquisite of noise and stirrup with their chainsaws and their great business.

So I watched them and not much later greeted my dear neighbour, who came out and much excused herself of having slept too long and them to start without her – which in the light of her old age and great compassion all, of course, instantly forgave. Collecting fallen apples from her garden and exchanging smiles about the busy men, we watched and listened how, with much noise and attention as it pleases them, they wrought down an old an mossy apple tree and went about their business of cutting it up into small pieces and, I am sure, already making plans to split the loot for their fireplaces in the winter.

Thus I watched and thus I sit here, as the sun has crept higher in the sky of pure blue and the change of light has changed the world, as my beautiful morning has quietly (and noisily) faded into the auspicious and merry beginning of what seems to become a lovely day. My stomach filled and the tea consumed I cannot yet make myself get up and leave this observatory of the fine and busy, happy life of mornings in these dearest gardens.


I spent all yesterday on the train reading Kim, which I finished in the one day, drawing me far into the mesmerizing beauty of colonial India and the language of Rudyard Kipling. Enchantment after enchantment, and not far ahead lies my journey the those very same places, not Lahore but Delhi, Benares, the mountains of Himachal Pradesh. Oh, beauty awaits and wonder, I daresay.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


With the sound of incredible heat and the thoughts of busy holiday life, I returned from Budapest to Vienna today. On my table, right where we left it, was waiting a little piece of paper filled with lines in two hand writings, alternating. The other poem I carried in my notebook, for we wrote it in the Budapest metro. These are two poems Cecilie and I wrote together, line by line by turns:

like the lid of a sunbed, the morning descends on me
as memories, birds, out of the shadow of an eye
lying next to me, still closed
and flocking grains of light, remnant-like
calmly caught in a sunbeam
all the while, next to me, and slowly
rising to the light, two half-eyes

Bright lights flashing, grainy air, dusty wind
the sound of an ambulance crying
feet brushing the ground, warm gusts of air
and in the eye of the storm, your face, serene
smiling from a myriad of screens, ceaselessly
repeating my name and pointing to
that fragile pocket of time, our mingled breath
when we whispered together
and drifted, as leaves bustle, so silently
across the shifting floor of a club
people, as emotions, brushing by
while we turn to nothing and each other

Monday, July 6, 2009


I have not been tending this virtual garden for such a very long time. First and foremost, the busy life of study and exam got so in the way that everything else seemed utterly obstructed and out of reach. Now however, those woes lie behind me (along with the satisfaction gathered in the process) and though one might think the outlook on three long months of summer holidays seems vast and relaxing, many plans are keeping me busy.
Right now, I’m spending time together with dear Cecilie, visiting from Denmark. She arrived in Vienna, where we walked and talked until the bus carried us to Budapest, where we now walk and talk as a group of three, together with the my dear count.

All my recent days are accompanied by the strangest moods of weather. First, while the semester drew to its demanding close, the monsoon seemed to have gotten hold of Vienna (and Budapest). A never ending stream of thick drops pouring out of the sky while the temperatures and rivers climbed. These days, the monsoon seems to have exhausted itself and made way to days of humid heat with burning sunshine and at least one apocalyptical rainstorm per day.

One just never knows when to carry that fragile paper parasol…

A very regrettable symptom of my life during the semester is the fact I hardly read other books. Not caused by a lack of interest, I simply cannot get myself to read something for pleasure after having to read and work with written materials all day. Therefore, I have carried a rather large amount of books with me to the count’s residence and hope to finally finish a few and begin some more.
Currently, I mostly read in a collection of chinese short stories (in German translation) called new dreams from the red chamber (another book I have yet to finish). These at times a little bewildering but always fascinating stories cast an interesting light onto modern China and the small and big people living therein.

The soothing summer morning is getting old, and I should concentrate on my morning tea until the flat gets too warm for it to be enjoyable. Whilst I sip this gentle morning’s kiss (as my dear Mexican put it), the sounds of the city, rather different from the Viennese ones I’ve grown used to, drift to my interested ears.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

these are the things

Here is a poem I wrote in December 2008. Conveniently, both the English and Sablung versions are given along with a few notes.

titābaudīt mil.

phūjhutain isu

ūt prachtaine khānī
lhaplheīt. rōṣ, fahuch.

nāhau rōroṅaras,
ho mikus haplim.

 I might do a recording, until then watch the others for a feeling of Sablung’s sound

the shirt you slept in
now hugs me in your

the towel that you used
is there to caress, like you

the dust you touched is
settling slow, a residue or

these are the things you
left, these are the things i

While both versions are structured in 4 verses, the Sablung is of a noticeably more condensed character. Drawing a sentence into one composite word is a prominent feature of Sablung, and even more so of its poetry. For this the language has several means, including the possibility to substitute pronouns with postfixes. Similarly, the 8 cases of Sablung (which are normally indicated by conjugation) can be replaced by prefixes.
While these features are also widely used in all forms of Sablung writing, poetry furthermore has its own set of linguistic devices. One of those is the contraction of verbs into a single syllable, a root syllable if you will (though Sablung does not have a system of root syllables as founding and developed as languages like Sanskrit, for example). The monosyllabic form lacks person and number, though tense and aspect are (/can) still be indicated. Mostly, this feature applies to widely used verbs.

A scientific translation of the Sablung version would read:

sleep-shirt-your / fromyou-embraces forme / /
towel-your here / byyou-like(/as if)from-caresses / /
dust touch-byyou slow(ly) / lands. remnant, breath. / /
thing-the(plural) (you)left / the(plural) things (i)have. / /

…but that wouldn’t be very nice to read, would it?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What I mean when I talk of ‘writing’

In my daily life, I deal with four different writing systems.

Firstly, of course, I use the latin writing with its modifications and oddities for writing my mother tongue and those others which use it and for transcribing the other languages i deal with. The character set as we use it nowadays, enhanced with a plethora of diacritic signs, proves to be the most versatile for correctly and adaptively rendering basically any language. Of course, due to being used by so many different languages natively, the utterance of its characters is a huge discussion in itself (which makes me understand and sympathise with the dream that gave life to the phonetic alphabet).

Secondly, I use the Devanagari script for reading and writing Sanskrit and, in its slightly modified form, for Hindi. Apart from marvelling at its age and history, I particularly like this script’s quite unified appearance. As one of my Hindi teachers once explained:

your script is slender and fine-lined,
looking good and elegant in italic.
our script, on the other hand, needs
its curves and voluptuous writing.

In that moment, I realised how beautifully this description also fitted the difference of appearance between us Europeans and her, being from Nepal.
(Later, I dedicated her a poem. That, though, speaks rather of her reciting poetry.)

one of Devangari’s main characteristics is the connective top-line

Thirdly, I use the Tibetan dbu can script for reading and writing both classical and modern Tibetan. About this script, I particularly like the calligraphic style of each individual character. Also, it is always cool to show your friends a writing system that seems to resemble Klingon writing, to the untrained eye.

the dbu can script was derived from the Indian Gupta writing

And finally, the fourth writing system I use are the Chinese characters. Since beginning to study Mandarin last Oktober, each week between 15 and 30 new characters are being (or should be) cramped into my head. With hanzi, I obviously love their pictographic character and, beyond all, their calligraphic possibilities.

sometimes I start thinking pictographically even about other scripts…

Apart from learning some of the world’s fascinating languages and slowly accessing the literary traditions they hold, I myself create an own language. Sablung, which also is the origin of this blog’s title, is a project that has been beautifully growing since quite some time now. My dictionary as well as the grammatical compendium are filling with content, and slowly but surely some organic elements are appearing in the language. While the talk about its nature would fill another post, the thing that concerns me here is my seemingly endless strive for an appropriate script.

When creating an own language, it goes without saying that one would also want to create an own script for it. Since my childhood, I have been creating and using new scripts.
For Sablung, though, none of these are even remotely suitable or good enough. Firstly, Sablung’s alphabet is wide and different from the latin alphabet for which I created scripts in my younger years. Secondly, having learned my share of other writing systems, I don’t just want to recreate latin script with differently shaped characters. A script being a writing system, I want the new script to be an own system. And thirdly, I want it to please me, aesthetically. That means being both effective (in using space, the ability to be written in small size [my handwriting is very small] and readability) and artistic.

Over the time I’ve spent with Sablung, I have created several scripts, all of which were quickly discarded. Aesthetically, there are several existing scripts I’d want my script to be influenced by (among them Persian/Arabic writing and Tolkien’s Tengwar).
After so many failed attempts, I’m left to wonder if I’ll ever be able to create something which will please me so much I’d want to stick to it possibly for the rest of my life. Would that require the own genius to be more genial than itself?

So for now, I’ll go on trying and trying. Maybe one fine day, the perfect (perfect for me, that is) pattern will reveal itself in the face of a rose or the ripples of a moonlit pond.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

spring beats

recently, when watching a video i won’t post here, i was absolutely captivated by its music. as title and artist weren’t indicated anywhere,
it wasn’t quite that easy finding out about that song. finally, i did:

ah, that slow and heavy base line, the blue picking and dreamy sounds… i could listen to this for a long long time.

(please listen to this via headphones in case you don’t have an appropriate sound system at your disposal; otherwise so much will be lost)

since one week, i’m back in my university life and already in need of holidays again. but the weather is heavenly. tomorrow, hopefully, i’ll go and spend time somewhere on the danube island. if i don’t, my head will probably explode.

being back in vienna, i’ve begun practicing a little chopin prelude:

prelude in b minor, op.28 no.6

my sister recommended me to play this, some months ago. only now have i gotten around the begin laying my fingers on this, and since then it has absolutely captured me.


Monday, April 13, 2009


i’m spending time in paradise.

in the mornings, mostly late mornings, i come down into the kitchen to make tea. while i boil the water and fill the tea filter, i open the rear door to let in the fresh morning air from the garden. usually, i put on music (usually the one cd i compiled and took here, this time); but not this time. this morning, i simply enjoyed the sound of distant bells ringing and ringing, busy with easter. the sound of bells i heard for so many years while i grew up here. their sound soothes me.

soon, i will start thinking about what to eat for lunch. then later, bike to a park with friends… after that, i might think about dinner, or we might cook something together. evenings are long when i’m here.

at times, i study or prepare things; but the semester, university, busy vienna life seems far far away. much rather, i spend time with family and friends here, see relatives i rarely meet these days. waffles seem to dominate my culinary agenda lately. wishing the time here would be longer.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


yesterday, i still saw people wearing winter caps, jackets, coats… the weather being rather greyish and still somewhat unpleasant. then today, somebody must have found the switch.

sun, blue sky, warmth. on the campus: masses of students spread out all over every patch of grass and ground. relaxing, hanging out, enjoying the sun and warmth.

it is amazing how city and university transform from one season to the other; and sometimes that seems to happen just one day.

बहुत सुन्दर बसंत ऋतु

Saturday, March 28, 2009

music in public transportation

friday, on my way to the vienna-budapest bus, i took the metro (which i only do on these occasions). open entering, i saw two men looking generally southasian and in the hope of being able to overhear some hindi, i sat next to them. it turned out they talked german, but the content of their conversation was really beautiful to me.

while they sat there talking, a guy had started playing the accordion and another was singing to it. the older one of the two men next to me, having a lighter shaded skin, asked the younger “do you still remember, the people back home on the buses? this is reminding me of them.”
the younger responded “hm, i only remember them from the buses in musoorie, in india”. the older smiled and went on “yes, and not only did we have music, but also story tellers on buses throughout pakistan. so even when you sat on a bus for many hours and had nothing to do, then still you learned so much and had such a great experience”…

they carried on reminiscencing about their home countries, pakistan and india, and i was touched by the beauty of the situation; a pakistani and an indian sitting in vienna, austria, talking about india and pakistan almost like one country, not the bloody enemies they have been and become.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


generally, i’m a person that tries to balance between a calmness of resting in oneself and expressing emotions as true and vivid as i feel them. there are, though, emotional abilities i lack, and one of them is to take something lightly or brush it off.
the specific thing i’m referring to, right now, is how much it occupies and nags me, busies my thoughts and makes me nuts, when out of some situation i see another person judging me wrongly.

this is exactly what happened today; somebody obviously thinking of me as rather superficial/superficially involved with something. this judgement was based on my reaction to something, and i see very well how it was easy to misinterpret it.

as i said above, i cannot just decide to not care about it any further or simply discard the thought from my mind. i am actually insulted, and the feeling remains circling in my mind (which reminds me of a tibetan verb for thoughts circling in your mind, which is constructed with the unvoluntary auxilliary construction, since it isn’t the person who voluntarily controls what his or her thoughts circle on about).

what nags me even more, though, is the fact i probably won’t be able to change this person’s opinion of me other than through my behaviour, which might keep being misinterpreted (even more so now that the person has formed some kind of an opinion about me according to which i am seen). i cannot just walk up to that person and explain why my reaction was superficial and uneducated…

Saturday, March 21, 2009

China’s brutality on video

The website recently posted an article about video footage released by the Tibetan Government in exile documenting the violence that occured after Tibetan protests in the TAR, China, in March 2008.
Please, dedicate 10 minutes right now to reading this article and after doing so, do not leave without watching the video (link at the end of their article, then click on China’s brutality in Tibet exposed).


I do not post about this in order to persuade people to engage, with whatever means, in some a fight for Tibetan independence. Neither is it my goal to spread prejudice and lies about China.
My simple reason for posting this is that I believe objective truths must be spread, with as much force as we can. The China-Tibet debate is long and full of bias, lies and false allegations. But by watching this footage, recorded on the spot, the viewer will be able to catch a rare glimpse behind the curtain of censorship and silence that is veiling this international wound of human rights.

So please, even if you have little time, or little engagement with the issue of Tibet, dedicate these few minutes to reading the article and watching the video; for the sake of the truth being spread.

Thank you.

Just today, a Tibetan monk (Tashi Sangpo, aged 28) from the Amdo Golok Ragya monastery, Qinghai, committed suicide by jumping into the Machu river after security forces claimed to have found political leaflets and a Tibetan national flag in his room.
The monastery has been locked down by Chinese forces since March 10th (50th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising) this year, when political leaflets were circulated and a huge Tibetan national flag raised above the monastery’s main prayer hall. Tashi sneaked past the security forces by pretending to go to the toilet; the river is in the direct proximity of the monastery.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

this spring

(play for moody music while reading)

最近开学,我很忙。 स्कूल शुरु किया और मैँ बहुत व्यस्त हूँ...

i’ve been filled with a strange new feeling, lately. stemming from the developments of my current situation at the university, i’ve come to reflect about the course of my studies and the fact that they might be finished already in the not-so-hazy-anymore future.
all so suddenly, writing my diploma-thesis might be just around the corner. all so suddenly, there seem to be topics waiting for me write it about.

last week, we booked our flights to india for this summer; and it turns out i might already use some of the there doing field research for my diploma. everything suddenly seems to be happening so fast. ideas and possible options suddenly become real possible futures, and that can be frightening at times, can’t it?

when i think about the me that writes his diploma and the me that i am right now, i don’t see those two matching just yet. on the one hand, i feel i still need to spend so much more time studying, just getting better at the things i do and absorbing more knowledge; on the other hand despise the thought of lagging around, being slow, growing tired of the things i do because i do the same thing for too long.

time, time… ah.

it’s bizarre. over the last few days the temperatures gently rose, tempting us all with spring, making us enjoy the first fine air on the institute’s terrace.
yesterday, i picked up my bike from the bike-doc on my way home from university and was happily looking forward to riding to uni again today, instead of being forced to take the bus again. so this morning, i get up and look outside only to find out that it is snowing. i repeat: SNOW. horribly wrong in so many ways.
finally, i took the bus since i’m lazy and felt somewhat sick these days. after arriving at the institute, the snow stopped. later, in the early afternoon, it came back for an hour or so, only to be swiftly followed by bright sunlight and rising temperatures.



Thursday, March 5, 2009

"End of the World"

ah yes, in case anyone hasn't treated their ears with this yet:
(still, everytime i listen to this my eyes get all watery and so on...)

blue tango

blue tango, blue tango, my tango
my tango, my tango, blue

ever so slowly, i'm trying to find my way back to the university. the semester has begun, classes are starting, and the institute slowly awakes from one month of half-slumber.

starting this semester, i've gotten two small jobs at the institute. one is being a tutor for the class of classical tibetan. that means having a 90 minute lesson per week where the students can come and ask questions, review what they have done, practice and have me help with their homework.
one of the good things about being a tutor is that it makes you review the topics of the class yourself, meaning i'll brush up my deep inside knowledge of classical tibetan grammar terminology.

there are times, when i realise what a small bubble i'm living my life in, here. since two and a half years i am living in vienna now, and haven't once gone out to party in the evenings... i'm so utterly uncool.
seriously though, i still get the holiday-vacation feeling when i'm in the centre of the city and not moving on the regular paths between my flat and the university.

also, i'm getting old. time passes so quickly, and though i have no care for the physical process of aging, i think much about getting older (growing up), mentally.
there are days when it seems the steps with which you get older (in the figurative sense of getting more experienced in life, etc) all seem to be made of something pure inside you getting tainted, stained or broken. i wrote a short poem about this, recently, but am too unhappy with it to share it here.
it isn't always only negative developments, though. yesterday, a friend told me "you've definitely had some development before you became this wise." and he began to describe me when he first saw me, in a lecture in my first semester. growing is multidimensional, after all.

blue tango, blue tango, my tango
my tango, my tango, blue

(Paolo Conte)

Monday, February 16, 2009

all ten still there

this month, i'm sucking up sleep like a desert-dry sponge. consequently, the first thing i did when i arrived in budapest last friday and put down my luggage, mister monsieur attending japanese class, was to curl up on the couch and sleep. just like that.

and in my sleep, i dreamt. it wasn't the most comfortable sleep and since the couch isn't really that huge, i woke up several times from half slipping off.
one of my dreams seemed to be set on a camping ground in some mountain area. there were caravans and i walked past one, observing it closer or something, and talking to the person who came out to see. then, as my fading memory remembers, the dream somehow changed and i was with my dear friend linlith. we walked uphill in a small village located in the proximity of the camping ground, with the mountains looming up ahead of us.

as we walked, we spoke about a variety of things. finally, she told me with a rather sudden surprise that she's expecting a baby. i was amazed (it not being her first) and the usual shade of happy for people that expect babies. we went on, and i asked her about wether she already knows some names and the gender of the child, as i absentmindedly put my left hand's index finger into my mouth.

the memory of her answer (if there was any) is gone, but what followed was: me exerting pressure (with my teeth) on my index finger (not wanting to use the word to bite) when, suddenly, the bone's resistance gave away and

i bit of the last digit of my left hand's index finger.

just like that. once i crushed the resistance of the bone, the insides of it revealed themselves to be very soft and somewhat grainy/dry... marrow (?).

after that: i remember only being very remotely aware of my friend's presence, as my dreaming mind fully focused on myself. surprisingly, my finger, now pulled out of my mouth, was hardly bloody. it had a tiny red stain, but apart from that it seemed almost already covered with uneven skin. the separated digit, though, as i took it out of my mouth, revealed itself to be utterly crushed and, as i quickly considered, probably unsuitable to be reattached. there was hardly pain; but the emotion that filled every corner of my mind was the simple horror of what i had done. i had just bitten of a part of my own finger; as simple as that. thoughts flashed through my mind, considering wether or not i'd still be able to play piano, and the like. having sunk on my knees, i was screaming not with pain but horror and the shock of not being able to repair this. what lasted in my mouth was the strong awareness of that soft/grainy/dry marrow/bone material sticking to my molar teeth.

just then, i woke up. shocked and still half asleep i checked by fingers several times for missing digits. what lasted was that feeling of something stuck to my teeth (though i also checked there, several times), which lasted even as i (completely spaced out) answered the telephone and went out to meet sweetlurve infront of the grocery store.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

city in the desert

i have a recurring setting that my mind returns to. a city in a desert; middle eastern, arabian, or persian. the city lies surrounded by a desert mixed with washed out orange coloured cliffs and rocks. itself probably an oasis, palm trees green the city from a distance. a bustling conglomerate of houses, markets, towers (minarets and others), schools and palaces.

there are narrow streets and squares, and everything is toned in orange, yellow and ochre, bleached by the sun and spotted with patches of green.

various images of this, one each time, flash into my mind in the moment of an orgasm. though it doesn't happen every time, it happens often. the more intense the orgasm, the more vivid the flash, it seems.

usually, i view the area from above, floating high in the sky, overlooking the city and gazing into the desert that stretches away until it reaches the sun at the distant horizon. often, i'm floating upside down, as if turning over backwards in an incredibly slow speed. my head already looks back onto the ground while my chest still faces the sun above, and my legs form a perfect semi-circle. arms outstretched to both sides i rest in this position for the few seconds the moment lasts.

my latest view surprised me. it was a view of intricately detailed metal carvings and patterns adorning pillars and arches of a huge building, maybe a scholastic institution. i remember clearly the flashing of bronze and gold, as well as colours of blue and green.

a possible source of this particular setting is the game assassin's creed that i played for the first time more than a year ago, in november of 2007. one of the game's three cities is the bustling metropolis of damascus (dimashq) in the times of the third crusade, and the resemblance between ingame damascus and the images in my mind is high.

but wouldn't that be too flat and boring an explanation? and why, then, is this scenery so extraordinarily persistent in my mind? i should also note that the images didn't appear right after i played the game, but considerably later. besides, they are the first of this sort to bless my inner eye in these moments.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy New Year


Happy Chinese New Year! Welcome to the year of the Ox.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

the [new] smell of gas

over the last few months, vienna seems to have changed the perfume added to it's domestic gas. so it isn't anymore good old sweet [yes, literally] gas smell, but much rather some new rotten flavour smelling like old petroleum lamps. you know what i'm talking about? i hate this new aroma!

and as if that wasn't enough, since a few weeks my toaster has gotten into the habit of emitting the very same smell when it's on. don't ask me where it comes from, but every time i toast bread it smells like there is a gas leak somewhere in my kitchen! hideous!

i want my old gas smell back! now every time i cook and stir, bending over the pot and taking in a deep breath, my lungs are filled with this olfactory insult. ew!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

end of the wintersemester 08/09

time flies.
we've already stumbled quite far into the new year; i realise i've again painfully neglected my dear blog. sorry.

lately, i've been ill. an evil influenza is making it's rounds through europe, and seems to have gotten me, as well. now i'm already better, and almost my age again, but a few days ago i was still 200 years old, with my whole body aching and all that jazz. well, now it is better.

it is thursday evening, and soon there will only be one week left to this semester. that naturally also means there's a lot of exams in the immediate future... 3 chinese exams among them. this saturday, there's the first and biggest chinese exam: the written one. therefore 我很忙,学习汉语。

otherwise, i have new bookshelves since shortly before i became ill. nice wooden ikea ivar shelves. to them, i also moved my tv and hifi system, finally being able to kick out that old tv-bench-thingy those used to stand on, for years now.
it is good to see more of my books nicely put in the new shelves, even though it makes the flat a tad more student like. but yeah, maybe that is even a good thing.

ah, it is the end of the semester. that also means, planning begins for the next semester [which starts with the beginning of march]. apart from continuing being totally and utterly busy with my languages [modern tibetan, classical tibetan, hindi, sanskrit, chinese] there's a few other things i'll probably do.
a professor told us today about two interesting things that'll happen, actually not at our institute but on the sinology, where i need to do some things for my minor subject anyway, which is a) a guest professor holding a lecture about older tibetan history and b) another guest professor holding a lecture about recent socio-political developments between tibet and china in the 20th century. both topics obviously fascinate me a lot.
besides that, there is a wealth of interesting things at our institute. and i'll probably dabble into buddhist logic [pramana] again with another sanskrit text reading, even though i vowed to stay far far away from that topic. well, my teacher said it'd be quite acessible, at least language-wise. so maybe i have more luck this time; and will survive without a brain tumour.

for christmas, my sister gave me piano scores of dustin o'halloran [three of his very beautiful, often melancholic songs where featured on the marie antoinette soundtrack], of which i am currently practicing the second. first, i played opus17 which i now follow with opus23. you should take a look at this very beautiful and fitting video for the song: opus23 [clickyclickyclicky].

hmm, i had other things i wanted to write about, but i forgot those now. ah yes, go and check out: shunya's notes if you don't already. i read it regularly since some time, and it is truly one of the blogs that gives me the most inspiration for thought. another jewel in blog-form is the philosophic and poetic tang dynasty times.

that's it for now. frederik out.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009, the first good and the first bad

my first positive emotion of 2009:
the joy of seeing and hearing the beautiful fireworks all around me and all over the city, sending the old year off and away with much blast and noise and welcoming the new with symphonies of colour and light.

my first negative emotion of 2009:
the feeling of my feet, especially my toes, freezing off as i stood and watched the fireworks. sadly, that made me walk home sooner than i wanted, not even half an hour after midnight, while the night was still alight all around me.

how about you, care to share your first good and bad of 2009 with me?