Communal Capitalism and my friend Nancy Siy

My friend, Nancy, whom I met at a Beijing Social Club dinner, and who I wrote about in my Saipan Tribune column, sent me this email.

Hi Walt,

Hope you are well! Since that time that we shared a meal, a lot has happened. I have discovered what I truly want to do- teach Jivamukti yoga. Not coincidentally, Jivamukti emphasizes nonviolence via ethical veganism…so it’s really a good fit! ūüôā Thank you so much for your thought-provoking questions. And the article you wrote, I reread it when I feel the pain of animal cruelty.

I’d like to ask you to please visit the page below. I am hoping to raise funds for my yoga education and yoga community service project! Your help in any way, through donation or posting it at your newsletters or sites, would be much appreciated ūüôā

Namaste,
Nancy
Click here to read and help

I’ve received several such requests for support of passion-centered ventures. One friend of mine, in particular, was able to exceed his goal and is now somewhere in Ecuador living his dream!

Through sites like Gofundme.com, a person with a passion-centered business or project posts his/her idea and seeks the financial support of the public. I thought about this trend, and how to name it, and came up with the phrase “communal capitalism!” So, I did what any self-respecting, self-conscious entrepreneur with a penchant for coining new phrases would do: I googled it, and sure enough, I’m not the first to come up with the concept. (Maybe I ought to read more!)

In any event, I found this quote….…what CNN called ‚Äúcommunal capitalism,‚ÄĚ demonstrates that even in this difficult economy and with no clear profit potential, people are willing to invest in entities about which they care and in entities that they believe will have a positive impact on their community.”

Once you read Nancy’s promise and proposal, you’ll see how she intends to make that positive impact on the community.

Please help any way you can!


Nancy to my left and members of the Beijing Social Club last year

p.s. To read some of the ideas Nancy and I talked about over dinner, check out
Turn Your Passion into Profit

People Google the Darndest Things! (Narcissism alert!)

Okay, so I’m mad at Google. In the past, I’ve been elated when someone searched for “I want to date a Jamaican in China.” That was cool. But, yesterday, someone googled “a picture of a healthy Jamaican middle age man” and my blog showed up. What the—?!! I mean, come on!


See? Click to see the tracker evidence!

Now, as you know, I never reveal my age, (That’s one of the rules of “How to Reverse Aging,” and the few people who know my earthly calendar age, have been, um….taken care of…..but, really now…Do I LOOK like a middle aged man??? Ahem…


I’ll have you know, Google, I have the body of a 26-year old!!……um, it’s in my basement. Please don’t tell the authorities.

Xishuangbanna Summer Afternoon

Sounds like the name of a song, doesn’t it? Here’s how I spent many a sunny, summer afternoon while I was in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan Province, People’s Republic of China. I would visit one of the jade shops on the main thoroughfare and hang out with my friend, Rohanna. Rohanna is from Myanmar, and he introduced me to some great music including the track playing in the background. It’s entitled “Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna,” which means Never Say Goodbye, from a famous Bollywood film. I love that song! Now, every time I hear it, it sends me back in time to those sweet Xishuangbanna Summer days! It’s just a video of me and Rohanna and friend sitting around the shop…pretty laid back…

P.S. My external hard drive crashed shortly after returning from China, so I never got around to editing and compiling the videos I shot while there. I got an intuitive urge to plug one of them in and see if I could fix it, and lo and behold, after working a little magic, I was able to access one of the drives and locate a few videos. There are still more videos on the other hard drive, but until I get that one fixed, please enjoy this video trip down memory lane!

[youtube http://youtu.be/MSbGN6qjWbs&w=520&h=292]

The Real World

OBSERVATION:

Yesterday, I looked out my apartment window, and saw a woman sitting in her car. She had just parked in order to visit someone in the building, and as she sat preparing to exit her auto for a visit, she was pounced upon by a marshal and a tow truck operator who proceeded to seize her car.

The way it works is that the marshals drive around the city punching in license plate numbers into their computers, and when they find someone who owes unpaid fines above a certain threshold, they pull up along with a tow truck operator, plaster a sticker on the window of the vehicle, and simply tow it away. To retrieve your car, you’ll have to pay the Marshal fee, tow truck fee, as well as the fines owed.

New York City Marshals are public officials, appointed by the Mayor, but they are not paid employees of the City of New York. They earn income by performing certain tasks in Civil Court cases, including the enforcement of judgments. City marshals charge fees for their services and receive a percentage of the money they collect. (from the NYC.gov website)
 

This woman had to suffer the embarrassment of having her car towed away while she frantically searched the trunk, the back seats, and the glove compartment to make sure she had all of her valuables. People stopped and stared, traffic was held up, cars’ horns were blaring for the approximately 20 minutes it took for the whole scene to play itself out, leaving her car-less, with her shopping bags stranded on the street.

An on-looking tenant in the building I’m in, commented, “That’s how things are in the real world.”

I thought about that, and later had a conversation with the doorman who had witnessed the whole scene, and we talked about people being evicted from their homes, pawn shops, repossessions, law suits, exploiting others’ ignorance and weaknesses for cash, and the mercenary nature of those who prey and survive on the misfortunes of others, and I thought to myself, “I don’t want to live in a world like this.”

Sure, regarding the scene in front of my building, you can justify it anyway you wish–yes, there was money owed; Yes, we all can’t keep shirking our obligations, people have to pay for their utilities, rents, etc., or the whole system crumbles. I know. However, I’m taking a step back, and looking at the bigger picture. There’s just a certain inhumanity and lack of compassion in the way the officials/agents treat other humans in situations like this, in addition to how the entire system is constructed to begin with. There’s a whole perverse, mercenary nature to how things are organized in our money-makes-the-world-go-round society that is disturbing to me. Where’s the compassion? Where’s the courtesy? Where’s the humanity?

 

CONVERSATION:

Earlier in the week, I spoke with a friend who is feeling the stress of her life and feels like making some major life changes. She is feeling a bit overwhelmed by what she feels is her inability to cope; she’s worried that her desire to make changes will be seen and judged by others as “merely” a mid-life crisis. I reminded her that what we’re all doing here in our society–particularly in big cities like New York–is trying to live a natural, normal and sane life in an unnatural, abnormal and insane bizarre world. The normal things you want to do–raise kids, sustain a relationship, survive and thrive–are actually thwarted and made more challenging by the abnormal things you have to do–work away from home and children every day, live in polluted environments, conform to arbitrary societal expectations.

And all the things we’ve come to accept and call “real” are so totally out of alignment with who we truly are, and what is truly normal that it’s no wonder we get stressed out. It’s no wonder we feel like escaping. It’s no wonder we have “crises.” I suggested to her, that while society’s label of “mid-life crisis” implies that one’s actions are irresponsible or flighty, that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with aligning your thoughts, feelings and actions and doing the things you think and feel will make you happy. Rather than being flighty and ill- advised, honoring those desires may actually be the most sane thing you’ll ever do!

 

COMMENT:

Finally, a friend of mine, who has lived all of his life in South Asia as well as the Pacific, and who raised his now three teen-aged children there, is now visiting New York.

As I was giving my newly-arrived friend a tour of New York, I had to help him make sense of the isolation, the lack of eye contact, lack of camaraderie and lack of compassion he’d already noticed just by being here in New York for only 14 days. At the same time, and for that very reason, he commented that he wants his kids to come to America and live in New York so they can experience “the real world.”

I commented to him that I, personally, wouldn’t call this “the real world.” I suggested to him, “Just because a portion of the planet has fallen for the deception of competition and cutthroat, doesn’t mean it is better, advantageous, or more real than the compassion and camaraderie you’ve left behind in your homeland. It’s common, but it’s not natural. It’s accepted, but it’s not normal. It is now ingrained, but it is not real.”

Empires rise and fall. The time to follow Rome is on the way up,
not on the way down.

 

Don’t mistake devolution for progress. What’s needed is NOT for you to join the madness and to participate in the fall, but to see it for what it is, and most of all, don’t let it change you.

The Real World?

I wouldn’t call it real, my friend
there’s danger in that thought
Accept it and fall victim
to this madness we’ve been taught

We’re taught to seek advantage
at another man’s expense
and build a wall of wealth
to serve as comfort and defense

Pit one against another
in a struggle to survive?
It doesn’t have to be like this
My friend, it’s all contrived

Yes, think of what we suffer
in the playing of this game:
the fear, and the suspicion,
and the anger and the shame

No please, no smiles, no thank you
for the nice are seen as weak
No one is made to answer
for the havoc that they wreak

Or, think of what you gain
in this mad scramble and pretense
You trade your soul for salary
and hope that it makes cents

And what shall be the outcome
of such madness left unchecked?
The loss of what is human
with no way to reconnect

The time to follow Rome’s
not in the fall, but in the rise
It’s time to change our hearts
and see the world through different eyes

© 2012 Walt F.J. Goodridge

Please let me know what you think of my first life rhyme in 6 years! Should I do like Sylvester Stallone and keep making comebacks?

HISTORICAL NOTE:
Starting back in 1997, and every Friday for nine straight years thereafter, I wrote and emailed my own brand of motivational poem I call a “life rhyme” to the 10,000+ subscribers to my Walt’s Friday Inspiration newsletter. After a very exciting and fulfilling run, I wrote and sent the last official life rhyme just about the same time I escaped from America in 2006. The full archives are here at LifeRhymes.com and if you want it in book form, you can order here or on Amazon.com

Jamaican in China….town!

Great things can happen when you have a famous actor turned producer as a friend. When we were at lunch a few weeks ago, my cool friend, Dan Shor, offered to shoot a few clips of me here in New York for me to use on my blog and to post on Youtube. Well, true to his word, Dan, fellow filmmaker Eric Norcross and I spent a few hours in Chinatown, New York City filming and freezing! Here’s the first Shodavision production of Jamaican in China(town)! Now, ¬†my friends in China can see what Chinatown, New York looks like!

Youtube isn’t accessible from within China, so if you share this post, direct your Chinese friends to the video on my site ¬†http://www.jamaicaninchina.com/video/jamaicaninchina_mar10_2012.mp4

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=br9MxRZzxdc&w=520&h=292]

Listen to a live interview with Walt Goodridge this Sunday, March 18, 2012 on BlogTalkRadio’s The Ripple Effect

Success in life is often a ripple effect. The little drops of thought and action that fall into the river you’re traveling on cause an ever-expanding wave of influence that has untold consequences further on. That’s the underlying theme of my friend Lisa Bullard’s “A Ripple Effect” radio program on www.blogtalkradio.com. She’s invited me to come on the air ¬†live and talk about just about anything our conversation makes its way to! Nothing is scripted, and her invitation phone call to me was about 10 seconds long–something she does to make sure her guests are completely spontaneous when the interview happens! So, I wish I could tell you what Lisa is going to ask me, and what, therefore, I’ll be talking about, but I have absolutely no idea!

If you’d like to join in the fun, visit¬†http://www.blogtalkradio.com/arippleeffect/2012/03/18/a-ripple-effect

The interview will be on Sunday, March 18, 2012 12NOON Eastern Daylight Time

The call-in number will be (347) 857-4650

Visit the site and sign up for a reminder email or reminder text message by clicking on the clock icon next to the date of the event.

If you’re not familiar with blogtalkradio, it’s simply radio on the internet! Listen in on your computer, or any mobile device with internet access! It’s going to be great….um, I hope! (Be gentle with me, Lisa!)

Bangladeshi in Jamaica!!….um….

So, I’m walking down the street in Queens, New York, minding my own business….whistling a happy tune. I was on my way back from paying my utility bill. Usually, I would pay my bill online to avoid the lines, but decided to do things differently this time. So, like I said, here I am on a random street in New York City, a city I hadn’t planned on spending too much time in, a city that is home to 9 million people and other forms of interesting life, strolling at a random hour in the middle of the day, 8 thousand miles away from a little Pacific island I’ve called home for the past 6 years, and when I reach the corner of the block close to my apartment, I look up, and lo and behold, whom should I see walking perpendicular to my path, but Rabby Syed!

Who’s Rabby Syed, you ask? Why, shame on you! Rabby Syed is a business owner, activist and all-around nice guy who lives on Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands! I did a Saipan Tribune¬†interview with Rabby a few months back when I was on Saipan.

We documented our fateful, fortuitous and fascinating meeting at the corner of 89th avenue, walked around town introducing him to things New York, and even took him to my favorite health food store, Queens Health Emporium where he encountered mock meats for the first time!

 

Rabby is actually here for serious business. Despite Newt Gingrich’s statements to the contrary regarding US policy when it comes to legal immigrants in the US, the contract workers on the island of Saipan are actually getting the short end of the stick as far as rights, and families are indeed being split apart by the recent takeover of Saipan’s immigration by the United States. Rabby is here–on his own limited funds and resources– to get the word out about what is happening on Saipan.

There are many terms and vocabulary related to status and permits that may not be familiar to those outside Saipan. However, those interested in understanding what is happening, may visit the Saipan Tribune website and search for the articles of lawyers Maya Kara and Bruce Mailman by searching for “lexmarianas.” You can start here: http://www.saipantribune.com/newsstory.aspx?cat=3&newsID=109219″ target=”_new”>

 

Meanwhile, Rabby, welcome to Jamaica….um, Queens!

My first visitor from the Faroe Islands!

There are approximately 189-196 countries on the planet–depending on whom you consult and what flags you recognize. ¬†Doing business on the internet is a great thing as I’ve had visitors from just about all of them. The list below is of 178 countries that have provided visitors to my¬†waltgoodridge.com and passionprofit.com sites since about December of last year. Well, today marked a milestone, as my tracker software notified me that I received my first website visitor from The Faroe Islands. So, I looked it up, and it has a lot of similarities to the Northern Mariana Islands: ¬†The Faroe Islands is a chain of 18 islands (Mariana Islands is 14) , volcanic just like the NMI, small population (48,000 to Saipan’s approximately 50,000), and beautiful scenery. So, will I be escaping there, too?

Well, it looks like a cool place for a visit, but, unlike Saipan, it’s in the Northern Atlantic, and the weather just not quite warm enough for me! ¬†However, I’d like to welcome my Faroe islander visitor, whoever you are!

Check out the wiki entry for the Faroe Islands as well as http://www.visitfaroeislands.com/

Recent visitors to my site

1. United States 24,553 67.85%

2. United Kingdom 1,011 2.79%
3. Canada 867 2.40%
4. Northern Mariana Islands 858 2.37%
5. Jamaica 755 2.09%
6. Germany 666 1.84%
7. China 556 1.54%
8. Guam 476 1.32%
9. Japan 467 1.29%
10. Philippines 453 1.25%
11. Australia 346 0.96%
12. Russian Federation 325 0.90%
13. Singapore 258 0.71%
14. Kenya 240 0.66%
15. Korea, Republic of 234 0.65%
16. France 189 0.52%
17. Netherlands 186 0.51%
18. India 175 0.48%
19. Hungary 170 0.47%
20. Hong Kong 166 0.46%
21. Switzerland 126 0.35%
22. South Africa 114 0.32%
23. Italy 110 0.30%
24. Poland 103 0.28%
25. Taiwan 102 0.28%
26. Thailand 98 0.27%
27. Spain 95 0.26%
28. Malaysia 94 0.26%
29. Brazil 90 0.25%
30. Indonesia 85 0.23%
31. Sweden 80 0.22%
32. Israel 78 0.22%
33. Belgium 78 0.22%
34. New Zealand 76 0.21%
35. Ireland 71 0.20%
36. Norway 67 0.19%
37. Mexico 65 0.18%
38. Nigeria 61 0.17%
39. Austria 59 0.16%
40. Finland 57 0.16%
41. Bangladesh 51 0.14%
42. Ukraine 51 0.14%
43. Vietnam 50 0.14%
44. Denmark 47 0.13%
45. Turkey 46 0.13%
46. Trinidad and Tobago 45 0.12%
47. Saudi Arabia 44 0.12%
48. Slovakia 38 0.11%
49. Romania 38 0.11%
50. United Arab Emirates 36 0.10%
51. Peru 36 0.10%
52. Antigua and Barbuda 35 0.10%
53. Argentina 35 0.10%
54. Barbados 34 0.09%
55. Pakistan 32 0.09%
56. Cayman Islands 31 0.09%
57. Serbia 31 0.09%
58. Senegal 30 0.08%
59. Lao People’s Democratic Republic 27 0.07%
60. Lithuania 24 0.07%
61. Slovenia 24 0.07%
62. Puerto Rico 23 0.06%
63. Lebanon 23 0.06%
64. Satellite Provider 23 0.06%
65. Czech Republic 22 0.06%
66. Greece 22 0.06%
67. Portugal 20 0.06%
68. Croatia 20 0.06%
69. Estonia 18 0.05%
70. Bulgaria 18 0.05%
71. Bahamas 17 0.05%
72. Asia/Pacific Region 17 0.05%
73. Iran, Islamic Republic of 16 0.04%
74. Dominican Republic 16 0.04%
75. Ecuador 16 0.04%
76. Sri Lanka 16 0.04%
77. Anonymous Proxy 15 0.04%
78. Colombia 14 0.04%
79. Chile 14 0.04%
80. Macao 13 0.04%
81. Europe 13 0.04%
82. Qatar 13 0.04%
83. Kuwait 12 0.03%
84. Costa Rica 11 0.03%
85. Ghana 11 0.03%
86. Kazakhstan 10 0.03%
87. Cambodia 10 0.03%
88. Latvia 10 0.03%
89. Panama 9 0.02%
90. Venezuela 9 0.02%
91. Belarus 9 0.02%
92. Dominica 9 0.02%
93. Tanzania, United Republic of 8 0.02%
94. Grenada 8 0.02%
95. Egypt 7 0.02%
96. Myanmar 7 0.02%
97. Bermuda 7 0.02%
98. Bosnia and Herzegovina 7 0.02%
99. Mongolia 7 0.02%
100. Zimbabwe 7 0.02%
101. Uruguay 7 0.02%
102. Virgin Islands, U.S. 6 0.02%
103. Luxembourg 6 0.02%
104. Iraq 6 0.02%
105. Morocco 6 0.02%
106. Suriname 5 0.01%
107. Nepal 5 0.01%
108. Saint Lucia 5 0.01%
109. Jordan 5 0.01%
110. Oman 5 0.01%
111. Afghanistan 5 0.01%
112. Honduras 5 0.01%
113. Tunisia 4 0.01%
114. Zambia 4 0.01%
115. Unknown 4 0.01%
116. American Samoa 4 0.01%
117. Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of 4 0.01%
118. Albania 4 0.01%
119. Curacao 4 0.01%
120. Cyprus 4 0.01%
121. Swaziland 4 0.01%
122. Uzbekistan 4 0.01%
123. Maldives 4 0.01%
124. Namibia 4 0.01%
125. Guatemala 4 0.01%
126. Malta 4 0.01%
127. Guyana 4 0.01%
128. Belize 4 0.01%
129. Rwanda 3 0.01%
130. Botswana 3 0.01%
131. Iceland 3 0.01%
132. Nicaragua 3 0.01%
133. Martinique 3 0.01%
134. Brunei Darussalam 3 0.01%
135. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3 0.01%
136. Bahrain 3 0.01%
137. Ethiopia 3 0.01%
138. Micronesia, Federated States of 3 0.01%
139. Virgin Islands, British 3 0.01%
140. Cote D’Ivoire 2 0.01%
141. Paraguay 2 0.01%
142. Guadeloupe 2 0.01%
143. Madagascar 2 0.01%
144. Georgia 2 0.01%
145. Yemen 2 0.01%
146. Guernsey 2 0.01%
147. Anguilla 2 0.01%
148. Syrian Arab Republic 2 0.01%
149. Moldova, Republic of 2 0.01%
150. Montenegro 2 0.01%
151. Cameroon 2 0.01%
152. Bolivia 2 0.01%
153. Sudan 2 0.01%
154. Papua New Guinea 2 0.01%
155. Bhutan 1 0.00%
156. Faroe Islands 1 0.00%
157. Isle of Man 1 0.00%
158. Uganda 1 0.00%
159. Turks and Caicos Islands 1 0.00%
160. Fiji 1 0.00%
161. Mauritius 1 0.00%
162. Haiti 1 0.00%
163. Burundi 1 0.00%
164. Saint Kitts and Nevis 1 0.00%
165. Jersey 1 0.00%
166. Netherlands Antilles 1 0.00%
167. Azerbaijan 1 0.00%
168. Burkina Faso 1 0.00%
169. Marshall Islands 1 0.00%
170. Mozambique 1 0.00%
171. Aland Islands 1 0.00%
172. Togo 1 0.00%
173. French Guiana 1 0.00%
174. Solomon Islands 1 0.00%
175. Greenland 1 0.00%
176. Gambia 1 0.00%
177. Reunion 1 0.00%
178. Angola 1 0.00%
(And yes, Jersey–#165– is a country! Look it up!)

Mitt Romney, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, Republicans and, um…me???

“Saipan??? 87 % of the votes for Republican Mitt Romney???¬†Isn’t that the place Walt Goodridge escaped¬†the rat race to? Isn’t that the paradise island for which he offers tours on his Discover Saipan website? Isn’t that the island where garment factories existed and about which Walt wrote in his groundbreaking book Chicken Feathers and Garlic Skin: Diary of a Chinese Garment Factory Girl on Saipan (co-authored with Chun Yu Wang)?? How can that be?” Yes, I can hear the questions coming.

Well, I know much better than to get into a political discussion. However, what I will say is that the word “republican” and even the word “democrat” don’t mean quite the same things as they do on the US mainland. Hard to understand, I know, so here’s what we’ll do. Ask your questions in the comment box below, and I promise you you’ll hear from Saipan residents and others who can explain what is actually happening here. Things are not always as clear cut as they may seem…

Question: “When did you realize you were a minimalist?”

Question: “Lady I” asked, “When did you realize you were a minimalist? I mean, I guess you’ve always been one, but when did you realize it?

My Answer:


Well, I can’t say I’ve always been a minimalist. Like anything else, I’ve had the capacity for it, but the fact is, I used to collect comic books when I was younger, and fancied having a huge collection. In addition, I collected vinyl records at one point–during my radio deejay years–and had about 3,000 of them I had to carry each time I moved. And, I had boxes containing 5,000 photographs taken throughout my life–the only things that can’t be replaced.

I’d say it’s been an evolution–a path. In the same way I believe that any true commitment to justice leads down the same path (Malcolm X reportedly said you can’t be anti-racism, and not eventually see the connection between capitalism and women’s rights, child labor, etc.), I believe, too, that any true commitment to health leads down the same path (veganism, raw food, anti-GMO, etc.) and any true commitment to freedom eventually leads to minimalism. You can’t truly be free attached to “stuff.”

In December of 2005, right after I had first heard about Saipan and decided to escape from America to that island, I had to make a decision about my comics and my records, and all the other “stuff” I had in my apartment. My comic books are in my friend Andrew’s garage somewhere in New York. My records found a home in New Jersey. (I guess, maybe it’s not true minimalism if I can reunite with them if I needed to, but I’m not actually responsible for them or lugging them around anymore as I explore the world.)¬†Eventually, on the day that I gave up my apartment in Harlem, I left a lot of stuff in there for the superintendent of the building to do with as he pleased.

So, to answer your question, my minimalism really became activated as a prelude to my escape. It’s a necessary part of maintaining my freedom.¬†The more stuff I have, the less free I am.


With albums digitized, and photographs scanned, the only thing I need is my laptop…..and a bottle of cayenne pepper! (taken in a hotel in China)

Now, at the same time, don’t mistake minimalism for scarcity or poverty. I still believe in abundance and prosperity. Someone once asked me how I can want a harem of femininity around me if I’m a minimalist? The two are not mutually exclusive. Minimalism is generally applied to the reduction of the accumulation of things, not relationships or experiences. (Stay tuned for a future post on the Freedom to Love Honestly!)

Hope that helps a bit.

Question: “If you’re in New York, why is it still ‘Jamaican in China’??? “

Actually, Andrea’s exact comment was:

“Hey, I love the look of your revised blog! More appealing.¬†I understand you’re in the US at present. Are you still keeping the Jamaican in China headline because you’re planning to return there??”

My reply was:
Thanks! I thought about that. I can’t keep changing the blog title¬†for every place I visit. So, whether it’s Laos, Singapore, Czech Republic¬†or Italy, the blog will probably always be “Jamaican in China” for¬†marketing reasons as well. It’s got a nice ring to it, and creates more¬†of a compelling contrast to attract people’s attention.¬†And yes, I definitely plan to go back as soon as possible¬†and resume the adventure!