By Norman Lewis

Initially released in 1951, it's acknowledged Dragon obvious encouraged Graham Greene to visit Vietnam and write The Quiet American. Norman Lewis traveled in Indo-China in the course of the precarious final years of the French colonial regime. a lot of the appeal and grandeur of the traditional local civilizations survived until eventually the devastation of the Vietnam warfare. Lewis may perhaps nonetheless meet a King of Cambodia and an Emperor of Vietnam; within the hills he might remain within the stunning longhouses of the highlanders; at the plains he may be enchanted by means of a humans whom he came across ""gentle, tolerant and devoted to the pleasures and satisfactions of a discriminating sort.

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Additional resources for A Dragon Apparent: Travels in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam

Sample text

Part of the problem here is perhaps the intense competitiveness of life in these countries, which seems to breed fear and a deep sense of insecurity. An old Tibetan refugee who lived in India once told me about a trip he had made to see his daughter, in Zurich. It was a baffling experience. They went to visit friends, but everyone was too busy to stop and talk. Sometimes, you would go to someone’s house and they would not even invite you in to sit down, or offer you anything to eat. Children would spend their time addressing computer games rather than talking.

I liked this phrase. Everyone has a Tibet of the mind, a notion of a pure, distant land, a place of personal escape, the heart of lightness. For some, it may be glimpsed through music, or fasting, or drugs, or prayer, or excessive exercise, or perfect love. It is the imaginary paradise, the cool correlative of the desert island with palms, coconuts and Gauguin’s women. I searched for the phrase “the mind’s Tibet” in the writings of the patriotic British poet Henry Newbolt, zipping through lines on a database, but without success.

Aspects of Tibetan and Chinese conduct that I took to indicate ignorance, hostility or insipidity I see now to have been no more than automatic, conditioned fear, the responses of a society emerging from trauma, of people who have passed through terror and know that nothing will be gained from frankness, certainly when dealing with something as unstable as an outsider. I felt I was perceiving things more clearly when I spent the next summer living in the monastery at Tsechokling, near the headquarters of the Dalai Lama’s exiled government.

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