Friend Gram at Holidarity, a journalist for a decade in Asia, encounters an one of his first interview subjects in the region:
Massage Boy!!!! The freelance male masseur/ prostitute now turned part-time transvestite and low-grade pimp!!!! Dumbstruck, I broke off a conversation, gave him an unsure hug, and couldn’t manage more than a stunned: “[His real name], oh my God it’s you!”
I hadn’t seen Massage Boy in years, maybe six or seven, certainly five at least, and when thoughts of him and his disfigured yet cherubic smile did come to mind, I’d usually turn my eyes down to the sidewalk and with a small shrug of guilt - for neglecting a friend, or something like that - and imagine he was in an HIV/AIDS hospice somewhere, or dead. I mean, what other fate are you supposed to imagine for a guy who solicits sex with international hotel guests for money? Especially once he’d stopped hanging out in nightclubs.
It turns out he’d disappeared into a clutch of Tibetan Lamas, one of the several Tibetan Buddhism Centers in Taipei. “I was hanging around there from 8 in the morning till 5 or 6 at night. All day. Sometimes, every day. Yeah, I was chanting sutras, you know, meditating, lots of things.”
Then a moment of hestitation, and a contemplative look gave way to a giggle: “Oh my God, what was I thinking! What a waste of time!”
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Mao: The Unknown Story - by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday:
A controversial and damning biography of the Helmsman.
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