Monday, April 10, 2006


As usual, Mike made coffee for me. I complimented on her talents as a hostess. She graciously accepted my compliment. I cannot display a table with flair. How do they do these things?

Even as a child, I picked flowers from their natural and their not-so-natural arrangement in my parents' garden. Then I rearranged them in a vase. Gathered and displayed this way, the flowers took on a new beauty. And yet, one could still see in each the individual beauty that had drawn me into plucking it from its bed. The arrangement gave me a new, yet familiar, pleasure.

On the M66 crosstown bus over to Mike's
today, I was thinking that my work these days has to do with rearranging. Perhaps a variation of remapping, I thought. For it was not merely showing my friends Manipur, but showing my Manipur, that was my intention during that wonderful, engendering field trip a year ago. But now it is more than that. I turned to Richard during the meeting and responded to his query about 24/7 security for our coaching program in November. The people will protect, I said. The leikais will protect, if we build our baseball project from the ground up. The same leikais, I say to Richard, that we discussed with Peter. And what I am urging Bidisha now to make the lynchpin of her public health model for us. The leikais are there and have been there all along. But now we will use them.

So, as with baseball, as with leikais, I will pick and choose what I like from my Manipur, to make a new arrangement.

Jim called in from Tokyo for the conference call. MLB International is on board. I must travel to Manipur soon.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Major League Baseball will send 2, maybe 4, coaches for the coaching workshop in November. This may be the turning point for the project on a long and winding road, both back and in front of us.

Monday, April 03, 2006


If there is a theme that I have explored in all my work, especially now with the Manipur projects, it is cultural framing. It is why I do my baseball project without the least bit of interest in the sport. So I have been following the framing discussion in the political debate here, led by the linguistics guy at Berkeley. Lakoff is his name if I recall.

I recently read Paul Vitello, a NYT journalist, who wrote: “There is an almost magical power in naming things. To give a person, an act or a group its name is to define it, assert a measure of control over how it is perceived.”

Framing is core to my remapping explorations with their focus on the need to re-fashion a role and future of smaller, politically minor cultural traditions.

I have encountered the issue of naming literally, as in my use of Eastern Himalayas and Tibeto-Burman.

But it reaches into other areas as well. Just this past weekend I told Gary, apropos his desire to volunteer for a gay marriage organization, that the straight world would understand better, and we would be better served if we defined "gayness" not as sexual orientation but as affectional orientation. Being gay is about who you love, not merely about who you have sex with. It is about who you are emotionally and psychologically able to love; the sexual act is merely an expression of that.

I think this framing would raise less hackles, be more true and respectful of cultural history and conditioning, more accurate and therefore more useful.

In a similar vein, I mentioned to Gerard, I thought our perception of the political spectrum is muddied by terms like Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal. We need definitions that would put W. and Hillary in the same group.

Taking a leaf from Emerson, I suggested Establishment and Progressive. But would a Progessive not become the Establishment upon election to office and power, he asked? Well, so be it. There will always be new Progressives even as some in their ranks join the Establishment.

I'd like to think of a fluid and dynamic categorization with good and bad people in both and not about damning one side or the other.