Where I come from in Scotland, there’s a strong rivalry between the two border towns of Galashiels and Hawick. Both were textile powerhouses in their day, and had rugby teams that viciously competed against each other.
There was an old oft-repeated put-down that went “I’d rather be a lamppost in Galashiels, than the mayor of Hawick!”
The lampposts in this part of rural China are not something you’d want to be however!
I’ve been in different parts of rural China over the years; the level of Party influence seems to vary. In this area, we are in a rural leisure park. The Dragon bay has a lake and beautifully curved mountains behind. In Feng Shi terms, it’s a perfect “horse-shoe” setting where the Energy naturally pools to the centre, where we are staying.
The land seems to be privately owned, in so far as anything can be in China. I believe that the government owns everything but offers 30 year leases to the public – which, rather alarmingly can be terminated at any time.. You need a lot of faith to build a business!
This beautiful space has a grand gate at the Reception, and standing two meters away from the gate is a shouty Chinese lamppost!
It has three friends stationed round the estate – these seem to have been placed exactly on the boundary of the leisure area, so that it’s not possible to be anywhere on the grounds, and be out of earshot of one of the shouty lampposts!

Having talked to one of our translators, all I could get was that the content of the messages was “useful information” – such as warnings about forest fires and the likes..
I have my doubts.
On certain days about 8:30am the lamppost set off on something that could only be an address from a high up member of state.. these can go on for up to an hour.
Often messages are preceded by a five or six note musical interlude to get your attention; then a sweet, yet insistent ladies voice..
These have no doubt been perfected over years to get your complete attention. When I hear the jingle, I’m already listening out for her voice, even though I’m unable to understand what she’s saying..
The Chinese as a nation have grown used to this kind of thing, I think during the Mao era, every village had loudspeakers, broadcasting the Party message.
Round the peaceful lake, there are several points that also have fantastic sound systems, that the Notting Hill Carnival, of Glastonbury would be proud of..
Often there will be several hours of operatic Chinese Karaoke in the evenings, as some gentleman of stature impresses his buddies, or maybe the ladies, with his deep and unending baritone rendition of a local classic..
Driving is an interestingly noisy experience here also.
Most trucks and busses are fitted with large air-horns, strong enough to exorcise a demon from your body!
They use their horns to alert other drivers to their presence.
It seems that nobody is trained to use the old maxim “Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre” in China, and that all rear-facing mirrors are seen as superfluous ..
People seem to arrive at a junction, and then pull out without bothering to check if there’s anything coming, leading to the noisy culture of horn blowing at every vehicle!

Just expect that nobody knows you are there, and that everybody is about to pull out in front of you, so keep your hand near the horn!
Incidentally, the white lines down the middle of the road seem a bit superfluous too..
Picture a reasonable empty four lane highway. There’s a slightly slow moving vehicle ahead of us, and a sleeping policeman across most of the road, but crucially, not the hard shoulders.
In order to overtake the slow vehicle, our bus driver crossed into the opposite two lanes, and then into the hard shoulder on the other side of the road (to avoid the speedbumps) and then gracefully arced back across five lanes to arrive ahead of the slow vehicle..
Quite beautiful, and balletic, but seriously hair-raising for a European driver!

I want to take nothing away from the lovely natural beauty. We have a stunning ancient Buddhist temple, buried in the hill behind us.. (Which oddly doesn’t seem to have a Shouty lamppost)
This is an amazing retreat centre, and a fantastic retreat.
My teachers Lu and Ling have curated a beautiful, supportive space, and are leading a peerless course of life change.

I’ve personally melted down several times (to be expected..) and have been forced to look at my patterns through several “dark nights of the Soul”
These changes only serve to make is stronger and healthier, as uncomfortable as they might be.
Every “story” left unexamined is a banana skin waiting to trip us up.
In cartoons, the fall is funny and harmless, in life the fall can be anything from a lifechanging broken hip, to a deep diagnosis of some chronic illness.

Nobody is asking us to take responsibility.
Nobody will force you to look for your patterns.
You can happily go to the grave having made no significant changes.

Unfortunately, one class a week is just the same as taking up a sport.
It’s undoubtedly good for you, but doesn’t really make a dent into the big stuff of life..

If you are inspired to start or carry on the journey there’s one opportunity left to work with Lu and Ling this year.
We are going to France on retreat for two weeks in September.
This is the link – but be aware there are only about 6 places left. Book now or miss out.

Hao La..

I can promise that none of the lampposts will be shouting at you in France…


Published by Jeremy

Jeremy is a Qigong student of over 30 years, and a Qigong Teacher of over 20 years. Jeremy offers online classes, and One to one sessions on Zoom. Jeremy offers physical classes and therapies in Bath, UK

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