What is Basic Aid & Basic Human Needs?

Basic Human Needs Group Photo

What is The Basic Aid and Basic Human Needs (BHN) project?

It all started when our friends Jess and Dan Ship left a comfortable life teaching English in Taiwan to work in the trenches of  the poverty stricken part of Varanasi to help street kids. Through BHN, they provide shelter, food, medical treatment, education and of course love to these children… and have been doing it for over a decade.

It hasn’t been an easy road, but it has been fulfilling.

BHN is a nonprofit organization in Varanasi, India, that has been giving hope to underprivileged children through their school and hostel (Jeevan School).

Every year, Jess comes back to raise money for their school. As she was a musician that we had all done shows with, jammed with or just sat around a campfire and sang songs on beat up guitars with, we decided to put on little festivals to help out and Basic Aid was born.

Though Basic Aid has also been there to help raise money and send supplies to typhoon stricken areas of Taiwan, the main focus has been to raise money to send to the Jeevan School or to buy things BHN needs: musical instruments, blankets, clothes, food and much more.

 
You can also get a bit more understanding and see some of the work they are doing in these videos:
 
Basic Human Needs’ Jeevan School:
 
 
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oo93DC-8kCk

You can find out more about this project and donate here:

http://www.basichumanneeds.org

Our next Event will be August 27 2016. You can find out more about this here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/576570342541013/

******************************************************************

You can Follow the Militant Hippi/Boston Paul on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/BostonPaul
or
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MilitantHippi


Art, Music, Taiwan & The Refuge Community for GuanXi Magazine

“Music is the universal language of mankind.”  – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

                       Art, Music, Taiwan & The Refuge Community

DSC00078 (3)

(This article was originally written for Guanxi Magazine Spring Issue/2016)

It was the year 2000 and spring was swaddling Taiwan as we moved into our new house on a dead-end street. Little did we know how that move – over the next sixteen years – would affect people’s lives – and moreover how much our own lives would change in that time.

We had worked out a pretty good deal on rent as it had only been a few months after the big devastating earthquake in the autumn of 1999. The house was a bit farther away from the city, and had a good sized yard. Perfect.

Friends began visiting from the city. They would lay in the grass, look up at a sunny sky while birds were chirping and exclaim… what a refuge!

Hearing this so many times and from so many different people we all started referring to our home as The Refuge. People brought their art, art supplies, instruments, food and ideas on the weekends. Together we would make art, music and share food and ideas. 

A Community was being built without us realizing it at first and it grew exponentially. There was no other place like it that we knew of in Taichung and at the time, no one was doing what we were doing. It was revolutionary.

Because of my love for music and art – and the whole birds of a feather concept – Our ‘refuge’ attracted artists, musicians, thinkers and supporters from all walks. Many Taiwanese frequented our place of course but there were also people coming from all around our beautiful island paradise – and the world. Then we started doing small events… some that grew into big events.

The Refuge has gone through many changes since the early 2000s and will keep changing with the times and the environment.  But one things is certain: The Refuge is all about the Art and Music Community.

154774_10150090670481405_508206404_7885193_5137568_n

In the spring of 2011, the mayor of Taichung shutdown all the bars and music venues after a popular bar (that featured live music) burned down in Taichung, The Refuge Community defiantly stayed open. We felt it was worth the constant risk of being raided and fined just to keep the music scene alive. We had just relocated The Refuge to an old amusement park and because of the fire and subsequent shutdown of venues, we were the only venue (opened past 10PM) in Taichung where bands could play… and play they did!

Unfortunately, the land where that Refuge was for three years has since been sold to a big corporation and we have moved back to our original location. But we still have events and we still support aspiring musicians and artists.  We still have an eye out for another awesome venue, but to date, we haven’t found anything as special as when we were at that old amusement park. We’ll keep looking though!

Speaking of aspiring musicians and artists… after spending some time going to The Refuge events, and meeting the movers & shakers and supporters of The Refuge Community, many have discovered the artist within themselves. Surrounded by experienced and talented artisans from around the world, aspiring artists and musicians get the encouragement they need to go for it. The Refuge has seen thousands come through its doors.  And what a high it is to see people discover their talent or develop skills they never knew they had. What a high it is to see someone with skills and finally getting the opportunity to see those skills manifest. The Refuge Community gives people that necessary encouragement to grow. And that is beautiful.

And it’s that high and that beauty that keeps us doing what we do.

IMAG7074

The Refuge acts as a nerve center for charitable and cultural activities and puts on a variety of large and small events. Some of these events include: LUVstock (Music/Art Festival), Basic Aid (Fundraising/Charitable Organization), Hobo Happiness (Folk Fest featuring Scott Cook and other Local Musicians), Luna-C (Full Moon Events with Bands & DJs) as well as helping and promoting others and their events around the Island. LUVstock for example grew from a house party with one stage, a few bands and fifty or sixty guests –  to moving to a bigger location with three stages, fifty bands, twelve DJs, vendors, camping and over 2000 guests getting their groove on for the weekend… and without ever selling out to The Man.

There is so much more The Refuge does or is part of, but this article has a word limit, so be sure to find us by looking at the links at the end of this piece.


The Refuge has an eclectic collection of art, music, doodads, trinkets, musical instruments. The Refuge boasts over a terabyte of music from around the world and over two terabytes of local music and shows that we have recorded over the years. And we have a pretty damn good sound system to listen to it all on, too! The Refuge is a friendly inviting place that is always – as many of you know – morphing into something different, new and interesting. People come from all over the Island with their ideas, and artistic know-how.

IMAG1030

This is what keeps The Refuge relevant, growing and fun.

Come be part of a Refuge Jam, a drum circle… come to an event (we usually have events at least once a month – look below for links!).  The Refuge is still one of very few places in Taichung that continues to have Live Music in a very chill environment.

Look at the links below to see how you can be part of The Refuge Community and be up to date for Refuge Happenings!

Come be part of what we do.

 
The Refuge is an icon in Taichung as it continues to provide Creative Outlets for Artists, Musicians, Bohemians & Truth Seekers. Come explore, create & make new connections with others.

                                           A Strong Community Makes a World of Change.

If you would like to get in touch and find out more about Boston Paul & The Refuge Community, check out the links below:

*https://www.facebook.com/BostonPaul
*https://twitter.com/MilitantHippi
*https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheRefugeCommunity
*https://www.facebook.com/TheRefugeCommunity
*https://bostonpaul.wordpress.com

*************************************************************************

You can Follow the Militant Hippi/Boston Paul on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/BostonPaul
or
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MilitantHippi

You Might also like to read some other short stories by Boston Paul AKA The Militant Hippi:

  1. About a Great Grandfather and his Great Grandson:My Great Grandfather: When Cultures Clash. Ass kicking, long hair and Hard Knocks

2.  This is my weapon and this is my Gun, based on real life events, a young man finds himself in Central America:

https://bostonpaul.wordpress.com/2016/01/12/this-is-my-weapon-and-this-is-my-gun/

3. Hate waiting in line?  This is for you:

https://bostonpaul.wordpress.com/2011/02/11/the-express-lane-10-items-or-less/

4. The Would Be Patriot:

https://bostonpaul.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/a-good-young-man-or-lockes-socks-the-would-be-patriot/

5. A bit of Horror and suspense… never blow this guy’s candle out!

https://bostonpaul.wordpress.com/2010/07/24/short-story-the-flame-that-softly-danced/

6. Getting Stoned at The Fair

https://bostonpaul.wordpress.com/2010/01/17/short-story-stoned-at-the-fair/

 

Boston Paul & The Refuge – Click-Bait? Our Response to an Odious Blog Post

“Hell hath no fury like a Dakeng Hippie criticized…”

~ Titus Pants

Recently, it was brought to my attention by friends and supporters that someone had written a not very flattering piece on The Refuge, a Refuge event called Hobo Happiness, and specifically me – whom many of you know as Boston Paul.

I’ve broken My Ranty Rebuttal down for you so that those of you that are part of the Refuge Community or personal friends (actual friends – more on that later) can scroll to parts that you want to read and skip other parts you already know.

You’re welcome.

Here are the Titillating Tasty Tidbits – broken down for you:

1. Why I’m Writing This Piece
2. My First (and only) meeting DBT

3. The Refuge History
4. The Hobo Happiness Event
5. The Food & The Bonfire
6. The Bits about Boston Paul
7. My Thoughts

8. The DBT Article Reposted for your reading (dis)pleasure.
9. (NEW) I Re-Wrote DBT’s Article
https://bostonpaul.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/odious-scathing-blog-post-rewritten/
10. COMMENTS ON DBT’s  POST FROM SOCIAL MEDIA

 

1. Why I’m Writing This Piece

I managed to read the article after the link was sent to me by a few people. I was a bit surprised by the piece and especially by the author whom I had just recently met in person – though briefly – at The Refuge.

The piece seems to have upset quite a few people and a flood of cell texts and messages filled my PM box. Friends even came to see me personally. The outpouring of love and concern has touched my heart.

Being the hard-ass that I am however… I was just set to ignore it. This is not the first time I have been the center of gossip, controversy, and the angst of others. When you are a well-known person in the community, these things happen. One has to accept not only the pros of being well known, but the cons as well. Either that or become a hermit… and I’m not quite ready to do that yet!

Unless there is a situation/conflict that would put my family and friends in harm’s way, the Militant side of Militant Hippi – my alter ego moniker – would take care of things pronto. Otherwise, I just let stuff like this roll off my back. I have more important things that need my attention.

But Alas, here I am in my cold studio, my freezing fingers reluctantly banging out words on the keyboard, addressing a blog post and setting the record straight for those who need balance.

2. My First (and only) meeting DBT

I will call this gentleman by his initials only. The reason being that if his article was meant for click-bait for his blog, I will not help him get those hits. I am very supportive of free speech and of the community, but will not be manipulated or used to garner attention. Had his article been well written, thoughtful, well researched and had asked me a few follow up questions thus making his article factual, I would use his name, and he would get my full support and by default the hundreds if not thousands of people I am connected to around the world.

Oops.

The only contact I have ever had with Mr. DBT the “blogger” was allowing his blog posts to be published on The Refuge Wall when other pages on social media refused to post his blog links as they were deemed “irrelevant” or “scathing” or not fact based i.e. opinionated drivel. He subsequently thanked me for publishing his pieces. He then came to one of our events – Hobo Happiness IV to be precise – found me as he was leaving and introduced himself. Interestingly, he chose not to publish this particular piece on The Refuge Wall.

He seemed like a friendly enough man. He made no mention of the things that ailed him at our event. He made no mention of wanting an interview with me concerning The Refuge, our events or me personally (as many in the past have done). Just two minutes of exchanging names, a hand shake, a minute of small talk, me welcoming him to our community, and one more handshake before I dashed off back to the soundboard to keep the Musicians sounding good.

That’s it. That was the extent of our contact.

Thus, it is baffling – and many of you agree me-thinks – why he would write this piece – and with such ‘authority’? He obviously took time out (apparently not enough time as there are many factual errors) to go to my blog and ‘research’ me… I guess that is flattering. However, it looks like he merely cherry-picked bits in the name of ‘research’ and used some of those pickings in his meandering, opinionated report.

First, just so DBT understands what we do… a brief Refuge History:

3. The Refuge History

We moved to our house, which became our home, almost 16 years ago – a few months after the big devastating 1999 earthquake. The house was a bit farther away from the city, was on a dead end street and had a good sized yard. Perfect.

The house had been empty for years and to be fair, it was a bit dilapidated. We rent – just so everyone knows – and we pay about the same amount of rent as those living in the city except we get a lot more for our money.

There was a lot of work to do on this house. Indeed, as DBT mentions, once upon a time this house was beautiful – snobbishly beautiful – as most of the neighborhood houses were owned by executives from the Renault Car Corporation in a time when Taiwan was still not quite one of the four economic dragons in Asia.

It’s not snobbishly beautiful anymore of course as DBT so eloquently points out in his diatribe. But it does have character. We keep it clean (though we should dust a bit more!) and it is always a work in progress.

The Refuge has an eclectic collection of art, doodads, trinkets, musical instruments and a pretty damn good sound system. It is a friendly inviting place that is always – as many of you know –morphing into something different, new and interesting. People come from all over the Island with their ideas, and artistic know-how.

DBT bases his perception on one short visit. He did not go upstairs where our home is – nor will he as we block that part off and keep it separate from the first floor Refuge. The second floor is our beautiful home. Carpeted, comfortable and cozy with a library, three bedrooms, a living room, two bathrooms and three balconies. We keep this private as many of you can understand. We are pretty public/social people, but we still need a private place to escape to now and then.

He also did not visit our third floor (which we use for storage.) I mention the third floor because he mistakenly called our home a “what must have been a beautiful, western-style, two story cement tiled home on a cul-de-sac…”

ANYWAY, the first time we saw this private dwelling at the end of a cul-de-sac, we were excited that we could entertain many of our friends – which we love to do – who lived in the city and needed to get away.

Soon other friends – artists, musicians, intellectuals and one hell of a carpenter (who still lives across the street!) moved into other empty houses in the neighborhood… the beginnings of The Refuge Community were born.

Friends from the city would visit, lay in the grass, look up at a sunny sky while birds were chirping and exclaim… what a refuge!
Hearing this so many times and from so many different people we all started referring to our home as The Refuge. There was no other place like it that we knew of in Taichung and at the time, no one was doing what we were doing… yes, it was a bit revolutionary.

Because of my love of music and art – and the whole birds of a feather concept – Our ‘refuge’ attracted artists, musicians, thinkers and supporters from all walks: Many Taiwanese frequented our place of course but there were also people coming from all around our beautiful island paradise – and the world.

Since then, almost every single expat I know – even if they haven’t directly added to The Refuge charm – has certainly been touched by The Refuge Community in some way. The Refuge influence has spread all around the Island.

When the mayor of Taichung shut all the bars and music venues down in Taichung a few years ago, The Refuge Community stayed open defiantly and at a risk. It has been said many times that we saved the music scene in Taichung as we were THE ONLY venue in Taichung where bands could play. That is one helluva bit to put on our resume I would say. The Refuge Community saved the Taichung music scene.

You’re welcome.

I have been fortunate to be able to live this kind of life. A life that most people can only dream of. Have there been risks? Yes. Have there been sacrifices? Indeed. I used to make a lot of money running three English schools that I opened by myself starting in 1995. I gave that up to pursue a life in art, music and community and we now live on whatever we make from events, sound engineering gigs, recording bands, playing shows and a few private classes.

This of course is none of DBT’s business, but he seems to want to know who I am… so there you are.

3. The Hobo Happiness Event

DBT writes:

“The reason for my visit was to attend a Facebook advertised “4th Hobo Happiness,” with musical guest Jack Conqueroo, a Robert Johnson-styled electric blues guitarist, harp player, and singer from Canada. He was rather good, though his set was too short. The  act before him, of two drunken male guitarists singing Dylanesque songs, went on too long. Mojo and Sons, who came on after Cook, was a country folk trio of banjo, guitar, kazoo, clarinet, and great harmonies.

I’m glad we agree that Jack Conqueroo’s set was too short. Indeed.
The two drunken foreigners who played early in the day were excited to be part. They are both aspiring musicians, did the show without pay, were nervous to be sure and were appreciative of the opportunity given to them by their hosts.

In the comments to DBT’s article he responds to one of the many comments bashing his piece :

“You (DBT is the ‘You’ here) write an article with the vantage point of seeing hundreds of gatherings with thousands of folk singers over forty years, the best folk singers who started revolutions, not garden parties, and you will have a different perspective.”

Indeed, so DBT is a Folk Gatherings Slut… I’m all about that! Would love to hear some of his stories about other festivals he’s been to (spanning over 40 years!).

All folk singers start from somewhere though, don’t they? Bob Dylan – before he was called Bob Dylan – had a band in high-school called Danny & the Juniors. During a talent show performance the principal cut the microphone because the performance was ‘too loud’ and I suspect a bit too radical for the conservative audience. Though Dylan went on to be part of a revolution, please note that while he was at University, he performed in simple coffee houses.

The point is, that our ‘simple garden party’ is a place for many aspiring musicians to start and get support from the community.

I’ve seen musicians go from our ‘simple’ garden parties, to our very big festivals and then onto even bigger festivals not only here in Taiwan, but in other countries – and make a bit of a name for themselves.

Is DBT a musician? An artist? Does he know what goes into putting an event on? Writing a song? His statement here is ignorant at best.

DBT then writes:

I didn’t catch the name of the pedestrian folk singer who came on after the bluegrass trio and talked too much about himself; I left mid-set.”

 

I suspect DBT left mid-set of my friend and world traveler. The man whose name was on the event invitation – Scott Cook & The Refuge present – the man who got nominated for a folk singing award in Canada and made the top ten list on university radio stations. A man on the road most of the year. Good on you, DBT.

Though Scott’s been a musician since he was a kid, Taiwan is where he found himself and as he rises in the music world, he always makes an effort to come back and see his Extended Family here in Taiwan as we have always been there for him. You can ask Jack Conqueroo about him. Even Jack – the man DBT came to see – was happy to be part of Hobo Happiness IV and has played with Scott at other venues in Taiwan as well.

DBT was privy to a special gathering, and the opportunity flew right over his head in the name of click-bait and what seems to be a pompous self-worth. Based on the comments I’m not the only one, after reading his article, who feels this way.

5. The Food & The Bonfire

DBT then writes:

“The “Food by Rita’s Kitchen” was simple and no pizza did I see from Rocky’s Pizza from 4pm when I arrived until 7:30 pm when I left. Rita’s kitchen was vegetarian chili and burrito. Despite the “healthy” meatless cuisine, there was plenty of cigarette smoke and vape, beer and alcoholic drinks of which I had three whiskey-ginger ale’s for 100 NT each.  I thought perhaps someone would bring out the hamburgers and sausages when the bon fire was lit, but there was nary a marshmallow roasted over it. I left early, hungry.”

Rita’s kitchen is also a new thing… she’s still getting the hang of it. The food vendors decided to keep it vege as many of the guests do not eat meat. Meaters can always eat meatless cuisine, but it doesn’t work the other way around. No one else seemed to notice or care.

We did not advertise our event as ‘healthy’ as DBT seems to insinuate in his article. Where did these presumptions come from?

Rocky’s Pizza is the name of my friend Max’s place. However, if DBT had taken the time to read the menu, he would have seen what was on it. We wanted to keep it simple and fast.

The bonfire is a ritual at the Refuge. The fire was actually there to keep people warm, and when the music was over (DBT missed two awesome bands) we had an old fashion campfire jam.

DBT left early because he was hungry? There was good food there.

But because we did not serve meat, pizza or fucking marshmallows, DBT folded his arms across his chest, tossed his nose in the air and humphed humphed his way to the exit. Really?

DBT seems to think that because we did not serve dead animal at our event (note, I didn’t make the menu nor the suggestion, the vendors did that all on their own) and that he rode his bicycle to the event (commendable) while our guests took scooters (and quite a few took taxis and carpooled – but DBT didn’t bother to ask about that, eh?), that our guests smoked cigarettes, vaped and that we served alcohol, that somehow we are a bunch of hypocritical hippies and that somehow DBT is better than we are? Seriously?

Basically DBT is saying No meat/perceived hippie values VS other vices/pleasures – but this begs the question: what the fuck does have to do with how much hair you have on your testicles or the price of goat cheese?

If you come to another event, bring your marshmallows and roast them to your heart’s content. Don’t be a picky fucker with your preconceived notions and you will eat well. Delicious food made by competent vendors.

I’m really trying to give DBT the benefit of the doubt and find an actual point in his article. But nary a point do I see.

6. The Bits about Boston Paul

Then DBT turns his pen on me:

Paul D… is an interesting person, friendly and vivacious. He calls his blog “The Militant Hippi.” He is more the latter than the former. The only militarism I could find in his blog history was a stint in the voluntary U.S. army in the early 90’s, though he fancies himself at risk to the KMT police that took his picture when he played music at a “Wild Strawberry Movement” rally. In his blog writings, he celebrates his twentieth “Taiwanniversary” and reviews how he ended up living in Taichung, Taiwan. He says he had a good job back in Boston but doesn’t mention what he did, only that he considered becoming a police officer in Chinatown. He rants in articles against Gxd and religion and in favor of vegetarianism.”
What is this article really about? The Refuge? Hobo Happiness? Or me? I guess this is where the meandering comes in. The writing is not specific, not focused. If it’s supposed to be a critique, it is not done well, and where I do appreciate the compliments: an interesting person, friendly and vivacious. The rest of looks like cherry-picked, discombobulated, horseradish.

If he really wanted to write something about me, I would have been happy to give an interview. Cherry picking bits from my blog and sounding like he’s an authority on aspects of my life is unprofessional (if aspiring to be a writer is his goal) at best, and absolute bollocks at worst.

The oxymoron Militant Hippi seems to have flown right over his head and had DBT asked, he would know that Militant Hippi has a few special meanings for me – on top of being my Blogging Moniker.

But based on his writing style and content, he could give a shit less on what Militant Hippi actually means.

“He says he had a good job back in Boston but doesn’t mention what he did…”
It’s actually none of his fucking business what I did. There are some things I do not share on my blog. My friends know much about my previous life. Do you know why? Because they fucking asked me…

You know what polite people and good journalists do? They ask. Not guess and then put opinions out there like it actually means something.

“…though he fancies himself at risk to the KMT police that took his picture when he played music at a “Wild Strawberry Movement” rally…”

Again, another line of tripe. I did not ‘fancy myself’ at shit. We were told before we went to perform at this political rally that we could be arrested. The anti-government things I said in Mandarin were quite risky and everyone involved had their pictures taken by undercover and uniformed police. Nothing fancy about that. I have been quite active politically here in Taiwan as this Beautiful Island Paradise is my home… and I speak up for justice and liberty for all my fellow earthlings. But again, DBT could have asked me a few follow up questions and I would have enlightened him.

“He rants in articles against Gxd and religion and in favor of vegetarianism.”

So this question is directly for DBT as I know he is reading this.

Do my rants against religion (not just god per-se) and the fact that I do not eat meat offend you? It’s the only reason I can think of for this line of BS.

“Paul D…. mentions getting his “degrees” at UMass but doesn’t mention what his “degrees” were in”. I most certainly do. You should have dug a little bit deeper. Frankly, while I am flattered that you felt the need to write about me, I am equally appalled you did not dig a little deeper. If you are that interested in me, you can read about my ‘degrees’ and what I did before I came to Taiwan here:

https://bostonpaul.wordpress.com/2010/02/14/boston-paul-short-historyresume/

Please do a bit more research so in the future you don’t look so much like an ass. And I say that with all due respect.

“For his Bruce Lee fetish and martial arts  interest (he opened a school once in Boston) and Mandarin study, it is clear that Paul D… loves Chinese culture and Taiwan. 
Where, in any of my writings, did you see a Bruce Lee fetish? Seriously, where are you pulling this shit out from?
For the record, I have been a martial artist from about 6 years old.

UPDATE (Dec 24):  I popped over to DBT’s page to get a picture of him for another blog post I’m writing (actually I’m re-writing his!) and found this –

DBT Bruce LeeThat is DBT in Hong Kong posing next to Bruce Lee.  Who has the fetish?

     “Paul Davies doesn’t mention his family background growing up in Boston in the blog, which he says has gotten fifty thousand visits.”
Again, my family background is none of your fucking business. And the fifty thousand visits are counted by the WordPress Blog Site.., not me… and why mention this at all? WTF does it have to do with how much you weigh or the price of horse shit used for fertilizer?

I went into my stats and clipped this for you. Thank you WordPress.

Views on my blog

He is no working class stiff and not a union man.”  Huh?     Wait….      Huh??

The house that he has since 2008 in Da-keng, I have lived in this house since 2000. Where did you get 2008? and the 30,000 ping space he rented at the old Dongshan Paradise theme park (that had been destroyed in the 1999 earthquake) Dongshan Paradise was not destroyed in the earthquake and was a helluva lot bigger than 30,000 ping. RESEARCH DBT! RESEARCH! …must have been paid for by someone, perhaps by the volunteers and friends who come and go and float with him. What is your meaning here? What are you insinuating? Research! Ask Questions! This is why your article is getting ripped apart by people that actually know what is going on. By painting me in a crappy light, you yourself look like a Bumbling Buffoon.

” ‘It’s financially self-sufficient,’ Paul said in an interview in 2011.” An interview! Yes! WHAT A GREAT IDEA! YOU should try that DBT! Perhaps then your article would not be one big piece of meandering, pointless, scathing Suck.

LUVstock was a three-day musical party, held at Dongshan Paradise yearly, until he left his lease in 2013 and moved it back to his property.”

LUVstock has been happening in one form or another since about 2003. We had LUVstock at Dongshan Paradise while The Refuge was there (we were there for three years exactly). When they SOLD THE LAND, we moved The Refuge back to our place.  We did not leave our lease.
We have been looking for a place to open a new venue, but in the meantime, we will make do with what we got.

“Whatever one wants to think about Paul D…, the “4th Hobo Happiness,” “LUVstock,” and other events he has organized are not about him, per se, but about getting Taiwan’s English-speaking ex-pats together as a community and for fun.”
“Whatever one wants to think about Paul D…” Why open the paragraph with this statement? You don’t know me, DBT. Whatever you think about Paul D…. Huh?

The events I organize are about bringing people together, not just expats. They’re about giving people opportunities, to be part of something – and for me – to feel like I’m doing my small part to make the world a better place. What, DBT, have YOU done to try to make the world a better place besides writing inflammatory articles about shit you have no idea about?

7. My Thoughts

DBT wrote this piece with scant evidence, preconceived notions and cherry picked data from my blog. My blog, where I choose to keep some things confidential but will generally provide information when asked. I was never interviewed for his piece. Did not know he was going to write a piece and treated him the same as I would any other guest at The Refuge or my home: Courteous and respectful.

However, as many of you who actually know me as a person can attest, do not mistake my friendly demeanor, charisma, peace n love hippie lifestyle (and let’s not forget “vivaciousness”!) for weakness. There are some that have learned the hard way there. If push comes to shove, I’m a fucking truck.

What prompted DBT to write in this way? Was it a low self esteem? Perhaps he was bullied in school and now the Pen is his Sword? Do I remind DBT of the bullies that used to pick on him?  Is it because I am from Boston and he’s from New York and is propagating this childish rivalry? Is he jealous of what we do here in Taiwan? I’m now beginning  to understand why others do not want to publish his articles on their pages.  The way he writes things leaves a lot to be desired.

In the comments to your post, DBT writes: I am friends with Paul and I have no reason to believe our friendship and mutual admiration won’t grow.
DBT, Facebook says we are friends as you have recently added me (and then apparently Unfriended me when you started getting heat for your article). However, if you want to know what I think a friend is… I wrote about it here (Sorry DBT, you don’t quite qualify. We are acquaintances only):

https://bostonpaul.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/who-what-is-a-friend-really/

For someone who wants to be friends with me, you have a strange way of showing it, DBT.

You are getting a lot of heat for your article. Think about that. Are all those people wrong with their assessment of your scathing report? Or are you? Rather than trying to defend yourself and what you wrote from the people that are not happy with your report – me included – perhaps you should look inward. Ask yourself what was your real intent writing that article?

I expect criticisms and suggestions and generally welcome them. Critiques and suggestions are acknowledged and help us to do better next time. What was surprising of course – and perhaps it is my fault as I naively expect everyone who comes to our events to be like-minded i.e. wants a good time, wants to support the community, and wants to do something different – is that upon meeting you, I wrongly surmised that you were seeking to be part of our community. 95% of the people I meet – and there are new people every week, do make it a point to be part of our community in some way. You sir, I suspect, are the other 5%. No worries, what we do is not everyone’s cup of tea… but at least the other 5% do not write inflammatory, meandering, opinionated tripe then blog it for all the world to see.

If you would like a proper interview DBT, so that you can write a factual, thoughtful piece on what we do here in Taichung, you know where to find me.

In the meantime, Peace be with you.

8. The DBT Article Reposted for your reading (dis)pleasure.

The Happy Hobo’s Refuge in Taichung

12-13-15

I went to The Refuge for the first time yesterday. It is right up Dong-Shan Road to the right of the little traffic circle on Buzi Road, but I got lost anyway; ended up doing a loop up and down the Da-keng mountain slope and back to the 7-11 on the corner of Buzi Road. After I got straight, the place was remote but easy to find. Around sixty guests paid 300 NT each to get in to the “4th Hobo Happiness.”

The Refuge is in what must have been a beautiful, western-style, two story cement tiled home on a cul-de-sac, with walled entrance and a large patio and private backyard. It is not beautiful anymore. If it were made of wood and not cement, it would be rotting apart. They may have gotten it cheaply after the 1999 earthquake affected the zone which it is in. The grounds are in shambles. Things are makeshift in the public area.

 Jack Conqueroo
Jack Conqueroo https://youtu.be/NjEHzR9fGc0
performs at the 4th Hobo Happiness

The reason for my visit was to attend a Facebook advertised “4th Hobo Happiness,” with musical guest Jack Conqueroo, a Robert Johnson-styled electric blues guitarist, harp player, and singer from Canada. He was rather good, though his set was too short. The  act before him, of two drunken male guitarists singing Dylanesque songs, went on too long. Mojo and Sons, who came on after Cook, was a country folk trio of banjo, guitar, kazoo, clarinet, and great harmonies. I didn’t catch the name of the pedestrian folk singer who came on after the bluegrass trio and talked too much about himself; I left mid-set.

Before I left, I made sure to thank Paul D… in person for publishing my radical articles on the Refuge Facebook page. Most of the time, Paul was marching around doing things to make the mostly thirty-five-year-old guests happy. At first, I had mistaken Paul for a man named Mitch (Militant Hippi Note: The Man’s name was DAVE not MITCH and he’s an awesome guy), a dried up slender oldster with a patch on his left ear sitting with a younger Asian woman (Militant Hippi Note: That younger Asian Woman was HIS WIFE and she’s awesome, too). He told Paul I was looking for him early on and I left it at that. The only person I recognized there was the guitar accompanist (Militant Hippi Note: His name was also DAVE) of a local blues singer that holds open-mic at PJ’s. I met and spoke with other nice people who had come from all over Taiwan to this event.

 Mojo and sons
Mojo and Sons https://youtu.be/UORTH2Xtwuk
perform at 4th Hobo Happiness

The “Food by Rita’s Kitchen” was simple and no pizza did I see from Rocky’s Pizza from 4pm when I arrived until 7:30 pm when I left. Rita’s kitchen was vegetarian chili and burrito. Despite the “healthy” meatless cuisine, there was plenty of cigarette smoke and vape, beer and alcoholic drinks of which I had three whiskey-ginger ale’s for 100 NT each.  I thought perhaps someone would bring out the hamburgers and sausages when the bon fire was lit, but there was nary a marshmallow roasted over it. I left early, hungry. On the way out, the street was clogged with motorcycles and cars of party-goers. Mine was the only bicycle I saw parked outside.

Paul Davies is an interesting person, friendly and vivacious. He calls his blog “The Militant Hippi.” He is more the latter than the former. The only militarism I could find in his blog history was a stint in the voluntary U.S. army in the early 90’s, though he fancies himself at risk to the KMT police that took his picture when he played music at a “Wild Strawberry Movement” rally. In his blog writings, he celebrates his twentieth “Taiwanniversary” and reviews how he ended up living in Taichung, Taiwan. He says he had a good job back in Boston but doesn’t mention what he did, only that he considered becoming a police officer in Chinatown. He rants in articles against Gxd and religion and in favor of vegetarianism.

 The Refuge 7 years ago
Guests enjoy the Tiki-bar atmosphere  at The Refuge

(Militant Hippi Note: this picture he uses above was taken 7 years ago)

Paul Davies mentions getting his “degrees” at UMass but doesn’t mention what his “degrees” were in. He is affiliated with Donghai University here in Taichung, originally as a student, and met a number of intellectual ex-pat friends there. For his Bruce Lee fetish and martial arts  interest (he opened a school once in Boston) and Mandarin study, it is clear that Paul Davies loves Chinese culture and Taiwan.
Paul Davies doesn’t mention his family background growing up in Boston in the blog, which he says has gotten fifty thousand visits. He is no working class stiff and not a union man. The house that he has since 2008 in Da-keng, and the 30,000 ping space he rented at the old Dongshan Paradise theme park (that had been destroyed in the 1999 earthquake) must have been paid for by someone, perhaps by the volunteers and friends who come and go and float with him. “It’s financially self-sufficient,” Paul said in an interview in 2011.

 The Frog II
Paul Davies (right) makes music in The Refuge sound studio

MILITANT HIPPI NOTE: The picture above is from The Frog II not from The Refuge Studios. RESEARCH!.

LUVstock was a three-day musical party, held at Dongshan Paradise yearly, until he left his lease in 2013 and moved it back to his property. Though his musical aspirations never left him, he managed to settle down enough to marry and even raise a child. There is certainly a lot of sharing what he has with others and a new age spirit glow; donations accepted.
Whatever one wants to think about Paul Davies, the “4th Hobo Happiness,” “LUVstock,” and other events he has organized are not about him, per se, but about getting Taiwan’s English-speaking ex-pats together as a community and for fun. Music and art predominate in his home and a volunteer spirit permeates the grounds.

https://www.facebook.com/TheRefugeCommunity/

Militant Hippi Note:  If you would like to read a more accurate report of The Refuge you can go here:

http://www.taiwanfun.com/central/taichung/nightlife/1007/1007TheRefuge.htm

and

http://www.thewildeast.net/2011/01/the-wonder-that-is-the-refuge-taichung/
(The second link talks about when we were at Dong Shan Paradise, but most of the facts are right)

9. (NEW) The Militant Hippi AKA Boston Paul Re-Wrote DBT’s Article

I couldn’t resist! It didn’t take long. I just renamed his article, then focused the premise. I then cut out anything irrelevant or scathing.

Check it out here:

https://bostonpaul.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/odious-scathing-blog-post-rewritten/

10. COMMENTS ON DBT’s FROM SOCIAL MEDIA

Titus Pance What is the point of the introductory (dis)qualification?….rhetorical question, please do not answer.
DBT I’m not sure what you mean. Thanks for your comment though

 

 

Timothy Tucker “two drunken guitarists singing Dylanesque songs”

Fuck yeah. We’re hanging out, getting drunk and folksy. You bet your ass we’re gonna be drinking and enjoying the community. I don’t think they were even drunk when they played yet, but I can’t be sure.

“the pedestrian folk singer who came on after the bluegrass trio […] talked too much about himself; I left mid-set.”

Pedestrian. I’m trying to figure out how you intended this adjective to come off. Did you use it because he seemed common and banal? He’s nothing special? He’s just one of the people you might see while driving or walking? Maybe it was because you saw him walking at some point during the night in an area where there were motor vehicles also active. Here’s something to put in your notes to avoid further embarrassment; using the adjectives “pedestrian” and “folk” in the same sentence is redundant. The set that you walked out on half-way through was the set that the whole event was put on for. The pedestrian folk singer that you walked out on was the act that the other acts were giddy about opening for. He’s the guy that people across Canada, Taiwan, and whatever other countries he’s traveled to sit by their Facebook feed and refresh his website to see when he might be coming back through their little town.

My non-rhetorical question for you is: why did you come to the event?

You clearly don’t appreciate what folk music is for. Maybe you were past your deadline for your blog. That’s fine. I understand pressure. Maybe I could suggest that next time you take your notepad to the local club or the local lounge bar. You might find more of what you’re looking for and perhaps more what your blog readers are more interested in.

If you understand within a year that events and music can be the glue that melds a community, I hope that you can make it to the Hobo event next year and I’ll be shaking your hand with a sincere smile.
Mikey James That’s the best review of those 2 drunken guitarists! I wonder who they are hahaha

Greg Niederhaus Very good points here. Extremely well said.

Mikey James Yeah! Tim is always on point!
Shaun Armstrong Nailed it

 

DBT You write an article with the vantage point of seeing hundreds of gatherings with thousands of folk singers over forty years, the best folk singers who started revolutions, not garden parties, and you will have a different perspective. Until then, happy Mondays.
Greg Niederhaus That certainly had nothing to do with me. I write about industry. Get your facts straight.

 

Timothy Tucker You didn’t answer my question.
DBT I went to do the same thing you did. Why did you go?
Rachel McPhail Todd Blackhurst: does this post belong in this group? It looks like it’s a promo for a clickbait blog site and not necessarily “information”.

On another note, thanks to all the admins of this group. Dealing with 5000+ members can’t be easy.

Todd Blackhurst Rachel McPhail – we have discussed this type of blog and although many people might feel the same as you, our guidelines do allow blogs that convey information about Taichung to be shared in this group. In that sense, it is welcome here. Now, whether or not this is accepted by the members, agreed with or whatever – that is for you the individual to decide. Click, comment or disregard. As long as the comments also fall within our guidelines, we will leave it alone.
DBT Thank you for protecting discourse
Rachel McPhail Thanks for the prompt response.
Rachel McPhail Discourse? Clickbait.
DBT I wrote an article for you to read. It comes from my blog. You are welcome to read it.

 

Greg Niederhaus I am amused. This guy David has the gift of the gab with no insight. His gab has grammatical errors He got blow-worthy drunk and rode his bicycle. That is illegal . He knows nothing about Paul, who he criticizes. Paul has degrees in Literature and Philosophy. This critical man David Barry Temple seems to Know more.He did not know that. He knows zero about a school through which Paul trained policemen in self defense. Nothing about Kungfu with a Master at the age of 6. David belittles military service when the man para-dropped into South America. I know Paul. Thoroughly. I know our community. Whoever you are, David. You are a big talker. You now have an opponent. You go try and build this, and come back with self criticism. Your rant is bull shit. Who are you? I see David as a negative foreigner in Taiwan who misrepresents those of us who really laid down the groundwork. David should leave. He misrepresents the ones of us who love Taiwan. And by the way, Where is his original 1500 word rant?
DBT You told me what I didn’t know and asked. I thank you. You have a big filthy mouth for insulting me. You will not have that chance again.
Cousin Avi You hear that, Greg? YOU have “a big filthy mouth.”   I was gonna add something but it appears I am too gentle and refined for such “discourse.”

Richard Wright Better than a purdy mouth. Luckily “you will not have that chance again.”
Creepy.

Greg Niederhaus I looked up “purdy”. (American short story teller. I suppose that was directed towards this original critic. For this David guy to come out and rip into what Paul and many others do to bring community together with minimal resources is asinine. Yes, we survive, yet, contribute to community… is the endeavor bad because the dude did not get Pizza? I enjoyed the samosas, pasta salad and fries. Cook’s show is not about himself. It is about the bridge-crossing between cultures he lives by, through music and travel. .Side note- The homes here are indestructible and prove so through nearly minimal earthquake damage. Wherever my filthy mouth appears here escapes me. This demented dude is a disgrace to the foreigner community in Taiwan.

Greg Niederhaus DBT de-friended me. Excellent. He cannot answer up. Down the rabbit hole he goes.

 

Kevin Diamond I was half-expecting some “then I blinked a few times…” and “I noticed that I swallowed more in the Dakeng area than usual” type sentences while I was reading this aimless, meandering rubbish.

Whoever told you at some point in your life that you ought to write a blog lied to you.

DBT You put your foot in your mouth defending a man I didn’t insult. How dare you?

DBT I am friends with Paul and I have no reason to believe our friendship and mutual admiration won’t grow.

Kevin Diamond I suspect there are a plethora of things you have no reason to believe.

Paul Davies For the record, I am not friends with people I have just met. Acquaintance is the better word.

Read more on ‘Friends’ here:

https://bostonpaul.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/who-what-is-a-friend-really/

 

 

 

Greg Niederhaus “Purdy” as I looked up its meaning, means “American short story teller”. Dunno if that is directed at me or the author who tried to whinge about a community builder, struggling vendors, musicians

Anew Calling Hi David. Great article. You really captured the harmony and friendship involved in the Refuge gatherings. I bet you are looking forward to ‘Hobo Happiness V – Return of the pedestrian’. Your skill at writing has blown my mind – never have sentences felt so soul-less. What a wonderful pastiche. And the photography – absolutely everything out of focus – really develops a simpleton persona worthy of the greatest of parody writers. I love the character you created – a bumbling buffoon that would drink three whiskeys and forget to watch the act he came to review, whilst reviewing everything else. Genius. I am a writer too and I have tried to capture this idiocy before, but never as well as you. Keep up the good work.

Anew Calling https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncQsBzI-JHc

 

Queen Bicycle Race (Live 1978)

 

DBT I read your insulting comment and I had to smile. I refuse to believe your back-biting is reflective of “harmony and friendship” at Hobo Happiness 4.

John Davies i think everyone is entitled to an opinion…i don’t think one person should like something, or enjoy something, or feel a way about something because everyone else does….It is obvious this guy David, is ignorant of what paul, the refuge, and the community, that he and his lovely wife sandra, and of course all those people who take time out of their day to contribute, is all about…Im guessing David certainly isn’t on the gathering list. I also don’t think that a place needs to look like the ritz in order to have a fun time there…if that were the case, i would have had a terrible childhood, as i spent most my time in garbage cans looking for toys people threw away, cos dad couldn’t afford to buy them…However, everyone hates a critic, more so, because critics are usually those people who are good a finding faults in the things that others do, yet are almost completely incapable of producing anything of value….That being said, constructive criticism is different thing….constructive criticism, ought teach people where to improve….Unlike this David guy, whose criticism to me seems, very destructive, annoying, somewhat foot stompingly childlike in its delivery, and apparently adds nothing good to the community that all you REFUGEE’s work so hard in providing…Thank you to paul, sandra and everyone else who aids in my simple little pleasures… BEAR HUGs

DBT Despite the negative energy displayed by some of you, I never said I didn’t like the Refuge, the 4 Hobo Happiness, or Paul Davies; as I said in my blog, I left early because was hungry.

DBT In the Militant Hippi, no types of degrees were written. The singer you refer is my opinion. There was a small choice of meatless food. I didn’t see any bicycles. As for my writing style, if you don’t like it, don’t read it. Why are you trying to vilify me?!

 

 

Cousin AviDBT: You put Paul’s “degrees” in quotation marks, creating the implication that he has not studied or does not hold the degrees he claims.
You described the headline act as “Pedestrian” even while admitting you didn’t stay to see the show.
You shat on the performance of amateurs as a couple of drunks – rather a stark rejection of any notion of community or support for same.
You bitched about the food, for fuck sake.
You complained about the PARKING (Note to Paul – valets, motherfucker…valets!).
The foregoing notwithstanding, the article itself is a disjointed jumble of run-on, stream-of-consciousness sentences barely connected to the subject matter of the paragraph in which they’re imprisoned or each other.
Then, when people remark on your weak command of the language and condescending attitude, you retract everything you wrote and insist that you enjoyed the event and that you and Paul enjoy some great degree of mutual admiration…and, of course, everyone who remarks on the self-important, facile opinions you posted in public deserves to be insulted.
Negative energy, indeed. When you stop condescendingly shitting on an event you barely attended, didn’t understand, and stop holding yourself out as the preeminent judge of what constitutes good folk music, you may find the “energy” you get back a little more positive.
As it stands, perhaps you should stick to blogging. Posting reviews in a public forum like this – which is to invite response – doesn’t seem to be your strong suit when people don’t like what you write.

Rachel McPhail Kudos.

Titus Pance Hell hath no fury like a Daken hippie criticised. I nominate this thread for most ironic of 2015.

 

Paul Davies Hell hath no fury like a Daken hippie criticised…

Awesome.

Stay tuned.

Steve George I remember this guy – he’s the same one that wrote in his blog about how horrible it was that nobody bothered the Indonesian people that were chilling in the park.

DBT You’re the same
DBT You still can’t read.

THE MILITANT HIPPI:  I want to note that not everyone is going to like what we do at The Refuge, and we can certainly take criticisms/critiques. What most people are upset about – we at The Refuge Community included –  was that the ‘facts’ in this article were not facts, the information was not accurate, the writing style was amateur and the focus of the article was… well there didn’t seem to be any focus. It was also heavily opinionated and obviously not well researched.  I may re-write his article myself. you know, just for fun.

*******************************************************

You can Follow the Militant Hippi/Boston Paul on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/BostonPaul
or
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MilitantHippi

You Might also like to read:

What is a Friend?  https://bostonpaul.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/who-what-is-a-friend-really/

Published in: on December 22, 2015 at 12:36 PM  Comments (8)  
Tags: , , , ,

What is a Friend… Really?

Family Love Friend

 

UPON GRADUATING FROM UNIVERSITY WHERE they saw it fit to award me with degrees & certificates, my Journey Path brought me to a Wonderful Island Paradise.

New Country. New People. New Culture.  Taiwan is rife with friendly people – several of whom would eventually become my friends.

Within a few hours of stepping onto Taiwanese Soil, I secured employment in a very Taiwanese bar with a very American name called 9th Street Pub. It had a 30 foot Masonic Statue of Liberty out front that looked down on its Guests as they sauntered through the entrance.

My days working at The Pub are a bit of a blur, but a few synapses have fired up and I bring you these Reflections armed with hindsight & thought.

I was the only foreigner working at this disco pub. My duties consisted of dancing, drinking, occasionally mixing drinks behind the bar, and door person.

For most of the time, I was kept quite busy drinking with the patrons.

A diminutive but significant parley happened with a particular patron one evening, that after a considerable amount of consideration, I’ve realized greatly influenced the way I look at words in my Mother Tongue – particularly how the word friend is used.

That evening, after a few drinks with a group of business men, the loudest of them (with limited English skills) – surrounded by satellite sycophants – put his arm around my neck in passive aggressive fashion and introduced me to newcomers at our table.

My new friend!” he exclaimed.

While I sat there (my neck fixed in the crux of his forearm and bicep, suffering the tugs & jerks in rhythm to his repeated use of new friend) it dawned on me that the meaning of the word friend had lost its significance.

Growing up, I believed a friend meant extended Family. A friend was family without the blood ties… someone you could depend on any hour of the day – or night. Someone who got your back. Someone quick with advice or at least a little bit of sympathy or better yet empathy.

I asked my new acquaintance to lend me $1000 dollars.

He stopped jerking my neck and released me.

Said he, “1000 dollah? Why?”

Said I, “We are friends. Friends help each other in need. I also need a ride home when I get off work at 4AM. Can you wait for me?”

Said he, “But I leave soon. My wife want me home by 3!”

Said I, “Could you call your wife and tell her you are helping out a friend?”

Said he, “But she do not know who are you!”

Said I, “I am your friend! I need your help. Friends help friends.”

Said he, “But first time just meeting you!”

Said I, “Ahhh, so we are not friends then?”

Said he, “More whiskey!”

The terms Friend & Acquaintance are as confusing as the words Love & Infatuation. Interestingly, as I will explain in a moment, the words love and friend are related.

But I am obliged to digress a moment and offer a cursory meaning of Love.

Specifically:

Love At First Sight (LAFS)

We hear of people having LAFS all the time.

In one’s Lifetime, is it possible to have a few LAFSs?

My Answer is a simple but resounding NO.

Without delving too deeply into the semantics of love… no one loves anyone at first sight. It may feel that way, but often words are not a good medium to describe feelings… are they?

Indeed, when Paths cross and one encounters someone new, one may initially like what they perceive. After all, almost everyone exhibits their most favorable side – especially when a First Impression is involved.

Presented is the new acquaintance’s utmost politeness, wittiness, and even tastes in clothing – perhaps flouting their plume not unlike a peacock. We are attracted to the pretty wrapping on the gift-box. A good First Impression, after all, is of the essence in a first meeting, isn’t it?

When such charms are flaunted, it is no wonder we like what we first observe, but it is hardly love.

When Mammalian Urges & Impulses are ablaze, however, and those three words (those three words!) are uttered (often in the heat of passion) what is being experienced is not love, but infatuation.

Infatuation may fade as Love is nurtured, just as fat withers as a regularly used muscle develops.

When homo-sapiens meet for the first time and ‘make love’ how is there real love involved? Aren’t they just have a mammalian f*ck? Merely Copulating? Having a Mating Moment? How then is a joyous one night stand defined?

We don’t fall in love in those early moments, we fall in like. We are infatuated…or maybe just horny.

But we humans need words to convey our feelings. We search for words in our heads and often blurt out what we think we feel in that moment – often without considering how what we say is perceived by the listener.

When engaged in wonderful conversation, a first outing, sexual congress or chance meeting, who hasn’t felt Passion Fascination, Obsession, Fixation, Ardor, Excitement, Delight, Enchantment, Pleasure, Amusement, Delight (did I say delight already?), Enjoyment, Gratification… and so on?

With that in mind, I don’t believe in friends at first sight either.

 Which brings me to the use of:

Friend

 

Etymologically, a friend is literally a lover. The relationship between Latin amīcus “friend” and amō “I love” is unmistakable, as is the correlation between Greek philos “friend” and phileō  “I love.”

In English though, we have to go back about a thousand years before we see the verb related to friend.

As most of us know English has some of its roots in the Germanic.

The word frēond, is the Old English word for ‘friend’ and was simply the present participle of the verb frēon – to love.

The Germanic root of the verb was ‘fri-’ which meant ‘to love, or be affectionate to’.

We can still see the remnants of this verb one day of the seven day week- Friday or ‘day of Frigg’ is devoted to the Germanic goddess of love – Frigg.

Friendship is one mind in two bodies.  ~Mencius

Why is the term friend becoming a nonspecific word used simply for someone another may be acquainted with? What has caused the decline of the original meaning?

 One of the culprits is indeed any one of these social networking sites on the internet. I propose that these sites – though they have their advantages – have turned the word friend into a generic expression that is becoming ever more ambiguous.

The word friend is now tossed and bumped around the social networking lexicon and used without much thought about where the word comes from and how for a millennia has enjoyed quite a meaningful status… until now.

 

 

I read a comment on a more popular networking site that asked, “who de-friended me?”

I’ve heard statements like, “I’m going to unfriend him because he doesn’t like my posts..”

I would have LOLed if it wasn’t so painfully pitiful.

I’ve also heard it said that ‘so & so is a bad friend!’

Bad Friend?  What is that?

Forgive the digression while I get Oxy-Moronic:

 How can anyone have a bad friend? .
A bad friend – is this a serious joke?  Or is this a real fantasy some people have? When I hear this, my brain bubbles with silent screams so deafening, I can’t hear myself think. It’s a sweet kind of sorrow having a bad friend – like having a friendly enemy or a Holy War! The concept is just simply complicated in its simplistic complexity.  Having a friend who is bad is like having a war that is civil… that’s Military Intelligence for you. The Simply Confused users of the term bad friend should be shot with a Peace Keeper Missile while eating Vegetarian Meatloaf. For the term belongs in a TRAGIC COMEDY!

 

Ahem… Moving right along…

And what about these websites that post how many friends you have? Has it become merely a popularity contest? Or a place to find like-minded game players?

These social/connecting sites have a variety of functions. Some use it to meet new people; others play the ridiculous time wasting games & quizzes; for others it is a simple networking or PR tool… but how many real friends do you have on these social networking sites?

 Something I find especially entertaining – and significant – is when an actual long time friend or a family member adds me to their friends list.

The website posts that we “…are now friends” on my Cyber-space corner for all to see.

What was our relationship before that then?

Can it be stated – tongue in cheek – that no one is a friend until the Corporate Entity ( AKA they) says so?

 On the flip side, if someone whom I find interesting and knows some of the same people I do, adds me to their friend list, we are now friends though we have never met in person – and perhaps never will.

What is our real relationship then?

Are the masses self-esteem so low that they look to a social site to give them that warm fuzzy feeling a true encounter with a real friend may have given them – had the opportunity presented itself?

Friends, friends, friends.

Who needs them then with all the politics involved?

Perhaps it is because of the murky meaning and the looseness of the usage that many of us do not see eye to eye with what a friend actually is.

Thus the confusion.

The Buddhist Monks may be right: shave your head, give up family & friends and go meditate in a cave… Unless… unless we take back this word and give it its meaning back.

What is a friend?  A single soul dwelling in two bodies.  ~Aristotle

 

What the hell is a New Friend then??

So if it is agreed that we should take the word friend and give it its original meaning back – what then exactly is a new friend?

When does a friend become a friend?

When do we make the cross over from acquaintance to friend?

Cultivating relationships takes time. Trust must be built. If one is first an acquaintance, when does one become a new friend?  Perhaps I should have put the word New Friend in the Oxymoron section of this essay, eh?

Food for Thought!

 

                                  Friendship in B.C.E. Rome

Cicero (January 3, 106 BCE – December 7, 43 BCE) had his own beliefs on friendship.

Cicero was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He is widely considered one of Rome’s greatest orators & prose stylists. He is now appreciated primarily for his humanism and philosophical & political writings.

Cicero believed that in order to share true friendship, one must have complete honesty & trust. Friends do things for each other without hope of remuneration. If one friend is about to make a mistake, the other should explain what is evil about the action, and help to do what is right.

 

Newspeak

The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.
Philip K. Dick

 Has the English usage of the word friend gone the Path of NewSpeak in Orwell’s 1984?

For those of you unfamiliar with Orwell’s Newspeak, instead of adding words to the lexicon, words were taken away or meant to mean several things but taking away from the original meaning. The objective of Newspeak was to remove all shades of meaning from language. In Newspeak they took pride in the Destruction & Elimination of Words. Synonyms & antonyms were at the outset expunged. Adjectives were also some of the first to be eliminated.

Bad becomes ungood.  Something really bad becomes double plus-ungood.

Thus in Newspeak nothing could be bad.

 The underlying theory of Newspeak is that if something can’t be thought then spoken; subsequently, it can’t be considered.

How can we communicate the need for Freedom or organize a Revolution if we don’t have the words for either?

“The limits of my language mean the limits to my world.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein

 

If we cannot think it – at the very least in our individual Reality Boxes in which we all individually reside –then it cannot be.

 This seems to be what is happening to the English language.

Inaccuracies abound because often our random thoughts are inattentive, careless and inconsiderate (Public Education may be the culprit for that) thus the lackadaisical route English has taken makes it easier for foolish thoughts to flourish.

One hopes that this careless process is reversible.

 A word is just a sound with no meaning until it is given a meaning through experience, association and a general agreement throughout the general population.

There’s lots of gray area there, and within that gray area, we are mired in semantic confusion.

Perhaps we should keep Newspeak in mind when talking about the meaning of the word friend.

 

Clarity

 The language of friendship is not words but meanings.
~Henry David Thoreau

 

Webster’s describes Friend as: a person whom one knows well and is fond of.

One can hardly describe a perchance brief interaction resulting in the beginning stages of a relationship – a real friend. Especially if one digs deeper than the dictionary.

The Meaning of Friend, Its Associates & Some New Acquaintances

I’ve listed the original meanings of words discussed in this essay. I have also constructed a few acronyms that may be useful in describing what relationships are and with hope that by using these acronyms we may keep the original meaning of our ancient, beloved words.

I propose we make good use of the these words in regards to relationships. I also propose that some of these social networking sites change their use of the word friend to one of the acronyms I have created.

But first –  the real meanings of Friend & Acquaintance:

Friend: A relationship with another person that may be best described as family without the blood-ties. An extended family member (which being an expat I know all too well).

Acquaintance: A relationship with someone that you may or may not eventually become friends with. You may know this person for years and are indeed acquainted with them, but still – hardly a friend.

 

And then the Other Terms:

Buddy:Someone you are affable with. A very good acquaintance. Someone you might participate in activities with. Examples: Golf Buddy. Fuck buddy.

Pal: 1680s, from Romany (English Gypsy) pal “brother, comrade,”

Mate: “companion, associate, fellow, comrade,” late 14c., from M.L.G. mate, gemate “one eating at the same table, messmate,”

 Frenemy: …Seriously?

Proposed Acronyms for The Internet:

 NetCon: Network Connection.  Relationships that have been formed on an internet networking site – this can be in the form of PR or your social site popularity contest; a relationship with another individual based on similar business interests that may not require the energy, time and devotion one would give for a friend.

InterBud: Internet Buddy. A relationship formed on the internet. You may meet sometimes, but most interaction is done via internet.

PIK: People I Know. This all inclusive acronym can be used for anything from Family Members to someone you met at a bar last night… I think I like this one best!

Should there be clear distinct definitions on how we define relationships in general? Family, Extended Family, Friends, Acquaintances? Buds? Pals?

What guidelines should we follow so that we know that we are all on the same sheet of music?

 

Finale

 

What gives value to a friendship is often the result of the friend – on a consistent basis – demonstrating the desire to do what they feel is best for the other. A friend, like a member of a Loving Family, shows sympathy, has empathy, is honest & truthful, even in situations where it may be difficult to be so. A friend then lovingly points out perceived faults with a willingness to discuss them so that they both may have the learning benefit from one’s folly; a true friend is not spiteful, and seeks mutual understanding.

 My hope is that one be careful how we use Words. Think about their meaning. Think about how others may perceive what you are saying. Though we all share a common accepted reality, still we are all wired slightly different and individually perceive reality slightly different than those around us.

What I might be feeling in my heart and understanding in my mind when I share a first kiss and express what I am feeling with someone is going to be slightly different than that of whom I am sharing that kiss.

 Life is so much better when there is Good Communication. Let’s bring the real meanings back to the words Friend & Love and save the World!

Peace and Love

You can FOLLOW Boston Paul at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BostonPaul

%d bloggers like this: