The nest of the bird

October 10, 2010

Since my last post I have been trying to rest, I’ve been spending time with friends who have been helping me to laugh more. This has helped me more than I could have ever imagined and has allowed me to dive back into my work.

On Thursday I met a new friend “SP” he is a tuc-tuc driver but also a Cambodia who wishes to help his people in some way. I told him what I was trying to do and he agreed to take me to a place referred to by the residents as “the nest of the bird” a small shanty town on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

SP told me, when the land in the city was sold for development the people who lived there had to be moved. The people where relocated to this area out of the way on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Not many people knew about this place, even less people would want to come here. This was sounding more and more like the place I had to be.

As we travelled by tuc-tuc I passed a large housing development. These houses sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars to foreigners and the wealthy.

What I didn’t realise was this development would set a harsh contrast for the reality of life a mere 5 minutes away.

A local woman told us the only way in to the shanty town was to wade through the filthy water and sewage. She warned that it wouldn’t’ be good for us as the water causes skin problems, itching and illness. SP looked at me and asked what I wanted like to do. I kinda figured we had come this far, plus the residents here had no choice but to live like this every day, the least i could do is experience just a little of what they have to endure.

We rolled up our trousers and started to wade through the foul water. In places the water was up to my knees, however had it been raining it would easily have been waist high. I was thankful for the clear skies.

As we entered the shanty town we where greeted by residents who where clearly surprised to see this long haired tattooed white man making his way through the sewage. The people here where of the friendliest I have met, I was half expecting constant begging, but none of them did. SP said that the people in this town where very proud people and would do anything instead of beg for money. Many would make small recycled toys, or collect snails from the fields to sell. We where invited into homes to meet the families.

Every time we met people the story was the same, they had skin problems, rashes, hives, insect bites and worms. Illness was extremely common due to the filthy conditions and lack of sanitation. I could hear myself repeating the same thing over and over “this is not right”, “how can people live like this”.

The truth is, seeing people like this, these men, women and children. Seeing them forced to live in conditions you wouldn’t place an animals in, well it was very emotional to say the least. I wanted to cry, I wanted all of the feeling surging through my body to be out in the open. The problem was I could’t, I was unable too cry. I felt as though I was looking through someones else’s eyes, like it wasn’t quite real, if only that was true. I knew it was real, it was more real than anything I had seen before, I just couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing.

We continued through the town, stopping constantly and speaking to the people we met. The parents would show us the cuts and infections on their children, they would explain about the water levels and lack of sanitation, they explained about the illnesses and the fact that there weren’t any doctors or hospital nearby.

I dont think my photos will ever be able to truly show the unbelievable horror of the situation here. The smile’s and kindness of the people make you almost forget where you are. Here in this place is a community struggling simply to survive, any pre-conceptions I may have had where completely blown away.

In one home I met a woman feeding her infant child, they where approximately a foot from the contaminated water all around them. They had to sit on their beds as the water was constantly inside of their home.

I asked one of the men what they did when the water rose. He told me very casually that all of the family had to sleep in the bed that was the highest off the ground and pointed to a small bed an extra couple of feet higher.

As we continued wading through the town we came upon a sewage pipe than ran through with homes on either side. There was no sanitation here though as the pipe was open, and what ever used to flow through it was now a part of homes and play area’s of the children. The residents used the pipe to stay above the water level where possible.

The people here are truly in need of help. They where so happy to see me, they asked for nothing, except that I take lots of photos and show others. They simply want more people to visit their homes in the hope that it will bring about change.

I have decided to postpone my trip to the golden triangle so that I can spend some more time with the people here. I wish to find out what organisations are in the area and how they are helping. If any one reading this would like to donate then I will provide details of the NGO’s (none government organisations that try and support these people). I only wish there was more that I could do.

After being in this place I felt so much sadness, I knew I had pull myself away from these feeling otherwise my emotions could quite easily consume me. SP told me it is was Pchum Ben Festival in Cambodia and everyone in the city would be heading back to their villages to be with family. He said he was leaving tonight for the 2 hour bike trip to his small village and if I wanted I was welcome to come and stay with his family. Of course I agreed immediately, as I had instant trust and respect for SP and I know we will continue to be friends. (details of this trip will be in my next blog).

For now, wishing you all peace & love always,

dan


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Need to start moving

August 30, 2010

So its Monday, I’ve been trying not to think at all. Today I visited a family who want to give their children away as they can’t afford to keep them. When we got their the boyfriend was passed out on the floor drunk.

Now its very easy to judge, but what I saw was a man who was broken, completely lost, a poor soul who didn’t know what else to do. I can empathize with that.

But I can’t show pictures of this visit as there are rules and procedures to protect the families, which of course is understandable. Only this is not the journey I want to take… I want to share everything I see and experience.

So I’ve come to a decision, and I have kind of rough plan, well as long as anything else doesn’t present its self. I realize now that the only way to truly find myself is to first completely loose myself. I’ve decided to ride my bike north, through Vietnam, China and onto Mongolia. The rough plan is to find the Shamanistic Mongolian tribes and spend time with them. It seems as good a plan as any for getting up in the morning.

I don’t want any of these tours you can do, no, I will simply rely upon the the human word, communication with people I meet and just head in a direction. I want to be asking my self each day “will I make it through today, why did I do this, where on earth am I?” I need to feel like every day could be my last, i need to feel alive. If I don’t then what’s the point of taking this journey.

To change your life, you have to do something life changing.
I will of course finish my work at SSF, then start the next part of my journey. I just need to find a reason for living. The search continues….

Peace & love

dx

Clarity from Chaos

August 28, 2010

Well the past week has been a struggle for me, I guess I’d lost sight of my path, in fact I had completely lost my path. I was looking at those safe alternatives, still conforming to that belief system I had worked so hard to escape.

My mind has been full of chaos, i’ve spent days trying to answer circular questions that just spiral out of control. The truth is that it got so bad that I turned to alcohol to numb it down (anything was better than the thoughts in my head). I went out and sat in a bar, I sat there numbly speaking with strangers who where either as drunk or at least as stoned as I was. I’ve been here many times before, in a foggy numbness, my mind slow and the chaos simply a murmur, a slight reprieve from the constant thundering noise within my head. I sat there listening to my new friends who suddenly seemed to be making sense.

You see clarity can come in many forms, its just something that awakens part of you, it can be so subtile that it can be easy to miss, it can be and event of nature, or maybe the words from a complete stranger, but when it happens you know, the realisation hits you.

So there I was, sat there starring at the world, listening to the words of a complete stranger, no thoughts, no questions, no wants, nothing at all. Just that drunken, glazed, half vacant shell. However through this altered state I started to get some clarity, some understanding, I guess I started to hear what I wanted to her, started to hear myself. I’m realised I was still holding onto to something, still hiding behind some fears. This journey is about letting go, letting go of everything, about believing there is something more.

Well That’s where I was Thursday night. Today I went for a walk in the rain, I took my camera, the streets where flooded and I felt at peace, I took photos while I walked, my pace slow and relaxed.

peace & love

dan


23rd August 2010

August 23, 2010

Well I don’t know whats going on in my head right now, where is all of this noise coming from. Maybe i’m just struggling because I haven’t established any sort of routine. Or maybe i’ve just lived alone for so long that I need to cling onto a feeling of freedom, reminding myself that I am responsible for exactly where I am now.

I really don’t know where my feelings come from, all I can do is follow them and do what I feel is right at that moment in time. Of course I often wish I could change my decisions, but where did wishing ever get anyone. I try and remind myself that its all part of my experience, my perception and understanding of perception that creates and binds, emotions to actions, installing routines and subroutines into my subconscious mind. I definitely think too much…..

I need to reconnect to that peace, I need balance in myself again.

Peace & love

dx


Im am writing todays blog on Sunday the 15/08/2010, it will soon become clear as to why.

I travelled to Phnom Penh on Friday, after immediately finishing my last class, I had to get my bike to the garage early and wanted to take some photos at a place called Lakeside, I was also meeting Tory, a friend I met on the site Travbuddy.

I Made it to Phnom Penh without incident, dropped the bike off at the garage, then checked onto my hotel (Fairlyland Guest house). Seconds later the heavens opened, feet of rain fell in moments. It was an impressive sight, I made the decision not to venture out.

Once the rain had stopped I got a Tuc-Tuc to lakeside where I was meeting Tory. I really didn’t like Lakeside at all, It was very westernised and I cringed at every bar I looked at. When Tory arrived I suggested that we leave and go to the river-front instead. We sat for a drink and chatted. (Tory was catching a bus to Vietnam that night so we only had a few hours), during our conversation I discovered Tory was a student of philosophy. Philosophy is something that I study and hold in high regard, as a tool to help me understand my journey and path. We got on so well that Tory agreed to get the bus to Vietnam the next day, allowing us to chat into the night.

I believe there is a reason for all things, you simply have to know it. Sometime you meet a complete stranger at a time that you really need it in your life, Tory was that stranger. We shared stories, life experiences and our own perception of the world. In doing so she helped me to re-attach to my core belief system and my reason for life. A truly amazing friend who I will keep in contact with.

The next day I called my friend Sovann to make arrangements to get Tory on her bus to Vietnam. Once done, my next mission was to find an aromatherapy shop, pickup some natural oils to assist in preventing insect bites. Now this is where things start to go a little funky!

I had just gone back to the hotel to quickly collect my camera, on my way down stairs I had a sudden pain in my abdomen and left side of my chest. It was agony but quickly subsided, I decided not to make a big deal of it and jumped in Sovann’s Tuc-Tuc and head to the shops (and of course take some photos). We had gone only a few streets when I got the same pain again, however it was getting worse. I immediately asked Sovann to take me back to the hotel so I could lie down, this was maybe about 14:00.

While in my room I started to get excruciation pain, It wasn’t a good sign, but I believe in fate and a reason for all things.

I woke constantly through the day and night in pain, finally at 22:00 it had become so bad the breathing was difficult and I was feeling dizzy. The truth is, the thought had gone through my head that this could be it, however I wasn’t afraid nor was I really worried, I was however in a lot of pain. I made the decision to contact Sovann again, he came straight over and too me to a local clinic.

As soon as I got to the clinic I explained the best i could what was wrong, it was difficult now as I was gasping for breath. They immediately put me on a drip, pushed needles in my arm, abdomen, groin, took blood, and pumped drugs into me. (this continued the entire night).

Things got a lot worse through-out the night. While rolling around in agony, I asked Sovann to pass me my camera. I decided that my blog was to be about my complete experience, this is something that I had to share. All of us have weaknesses because all of us are fragile humans, we try and project strength all the time and feel as though our weaknesses should be hidden (i refuse to believe this) this was my opportunity show another side of me, and to me this is the most important thing in my life.

I apologise in advance for the poor quality of photos taken.

I stayed at the clinic until about 15:00 today, i have now checked myself out. I am sill in pain but its not as intense, I am planing on heading to another hospital tonight, but its important for me to update my blog. It cost me approximately $350 at the clinic I was at. What about all these people who don’t have money?

To my friends I say don’t worry about me, you know I am responsible for my actions, I live my life free, without fear but with love and peace in my heart. I am truly thankful for the experiences I have i life.

dxx

Update as of 21:00
I will visit an english speaking doctor tomorrow, i must sleep now, i’m tired and ache.


Reality

June 17, 2010

I’ve been pondering the meaning of reality for some time now, try to think of a way I could articulate the way I perceive it.

Reality is the projection of consciousness viewing reality from a subjective perspective.

peace & love


Sickness of Society

April 7, 2010



Since being diagnosed in January with bi-polar disorder, I have been asking many questions. The doctors say I have a chemical imbalance in my brain resulting in a rapid shifting in mood, the way to stabilise this is to medicate, re-establishing the correct balance of chemicals thus allowing me to lead a normal life.

Ok so just a few questions?

If I have a chemical imbalance in my brain, then what causes the imbalance?
And what exactly is a normal life?

Working in IT for many years I learnt that if you only fix the manifestation of a problems you’re only delaying the invariable failure of the entire system, you need to fix the root cause of it.

Why where my moods changing so much, and why was it getting progressively worse? Was I unhappy / manic due to a chemical imbalance in my brain, or did I have a chemical imbalance in my brain due to me being unhappy / manic? To me this seemed like a pretty important question, yet no-one could provide an answer.

And just what what is a normal life?
No one knows what the the route cause of the chemical imbalance is, yet doctors seemed to know what a normal lifestyle is. Where did this model for a normal lifestyle come from? Who set the baseline? The only conclusion I can come to is that a normal lifestyle must allow me to function within the society that I live. A normal lifestyle for me then, would be based upon the principles of a capitalist social system with class divisions, inequality and a profit driven goals.

I’m used to looking at the bigger picture when dealing with technical problems, so why not do the same in this case. Is it possible that the society within which I live, is in its-self a sickness, and the bi-polar disorder being my manifestation of that sickness?

If this was the case then I could either remove the route cause (ie remove myself from the society) or remove the manifestation of the problem (ie remove the unhappiness and mental anxieties by changing my natural bodies chemicals).

Before I was diagnosed with bi-polar i had lived with it for many years, I didn’t understand my condition so didn’t feel as though I had any options. I simply decided to remove myself from society. This was through a number of suicide attempts (not the best idea i’ve had) however it was only through my constant thought of death and wanting to die that I finally found the strength to live. By accepting my death I was able to break free of the fear I had for life. I realised that I don’t need the TV, car, status, money, etc. I don’t need any of these things as none of them define who I really am.

Things can still get difficult for me at times, as breaking a routine of 34 years can be tough. This is why I made the decision to leave and travel, I am removing myself from society, but this time in a way that I am responsible for. People always ask me how I can do what I doing, to leave everything I have and own. The reason is pretty simple really, I just want to live, and die as a free human being, to follow what feels right in my heart, and to try and make just a small difference in this wold.

Peace & love

Dx


Fear: Friday 26th March

March 27, 2010

As a child I watched a lot of TV, resulting in me having many nightmares, I would wake up terrified, with images in my head tormenting me. I would hide under my duvet, closes my eyes and try to force the images away, trying to pretend they weren’t there. Having a active mind this never really worked.

What I never realised though is that I would have my eyes closed for the rest of my life, always pretending that the world was just fine, that those in charge would protect me just like my duvet did.

Looking back, I know there was no need to be afraid, that my duvet offered no protection, in fact it only added to my state, my mind would still be active, fearing the unknown.

I see the world like this today, our minds subjected to fear through the excess of media, with the governments (our duvet) capitalising on it. Its so easy to control a person in this state, you simply acknowledge their fear and tell them you can protect against it. Wether it be protection from terrorism, war, health, or the fear of loosing all of the possessions that we believe define’s us, you simply feed the fear.

To grow as humans we need to open our eyes and face our fears, only then can we see the world as it truly should be.

Peace, love & without fear.

Dx


World conspiracy or not?

March 19, 2010

So whats going in in the world, is there a world conspiracy against the working class, is there plan for world domination and globalisation? Before I dive into this minefield of a subject, let me first share a little bit of background information about me.

Some people may see me as a bit of a hippy, Im spiritual in the sense that I listen to myself and simply follow what feels right, I don’t wear sandals (its too cold in scotland for them) I do believe in peace and love, I don’t have a beard and I don’t hug trees (although climbing them is still fun).

On the flip side, I come from a highly technical background, with over 10 years experience as a subject matter expert in both IT security and IT security audit, mainly within the banking arena. As well as providing advice to clients all over the world, I’ve also done work as an ethical hacker, computer investigations, network design, hardware and software support, telephony design and support, data recovery and various other IT related jobs.

What Im getting at here is that I don’t just believe what i’m told. I analyse everything and process the information, i test the data and the results and make the most informed decision I can.

So….. conspiracy’s

From the information i’ve looked at and what i’ve experienced here is what I know:-

1) War does not bring peace.
2) Every human has a right to be on this planet.
3) Debt is slavery.

War does not bring peace
Lets face it, if you are an intelligent person you know that violence only bring s more violence. The only thing that brings peace is peace, its that simple, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work it out… So with that in mind you really have to start to question why are we at war? Why question it, well quite simply it affect every single part of our life’s. Im not here to provide answers though, i think each person has to come to their own conclusion, these are simply my ramblings.

Every human has a right to be on this planet
Some may question my logic here but I stand by it. Every single creature, plant, organism has a right to be here, i know this because we are here. Again its pretty simple, your not going to need a PhD to follow this.

If everyone has a right to be here, then I would also be bold enough to say that everyone also has an equal right to the planet and resources that it has. (hey thats just my view) What gives someone the right to take a natural resource form the planet and either sell it to others or restrict the amount others can have? (i’ve not figured that out yet)

Debt is slavery
Ok here is one of the controversial ones, but again lets keep it simple (more for me rather that anyone reading)

If you have a society that only functions with currency, which is pretty much the entire world, it doesn’t take long to realise that if you are the sole producer of it and you control it, you can pretty much control anything that operates using it. But lets back up a second, our governments control our money supply don’t they? No not quiet, the world banks control the supply of money and they’re a private bank. :-O

In the IT security arena we would have a massive problem with this, it would be classed as a conflict of interest, you have a single entity controlling a core component that can affect the operation and function of the entire process. Money is such a powerful tool, and has such an influence on every single aspect of our life’s that I have to question how feasible it is to trust a private entity with the control, supply and production of it. As an auditor I would have to know what check and balance is in place to ensure that is it not misused. The problem is that those controls are not in place, there are regulations for banks, but a bank is different from the world bank who actually produces the money.

Anyone forced to operate within a system lacking these fundamental controls and without the option of an alternative choice is in a form of modern day slavery.

So i’ve rambled on a little here, and my head feels a bit more at ease, conspiracy or not, there is something fundamentally wrong with the way things currently are. I hope we can all agree on that. What you do about it is completely up too you, but either way you shouldn’t pay any heed to my rambling, ill keep analysing things and formulating my own views based upon how I understand the world. If Im not sure about something or I have questions, ill use my basic human instincts and not simply take for granted what others tell me.

peace & love

dx