Om mani padme hum. I am now a Buddhist, having made the conscious decision to follow the Noble Eightfold Path, believing wholeheartedly in the truth encapsulated in the the Four Noble Truths. Twice daily meditation sessions involving intense concentration and 'one-pointedness' of mind, focusing on my breathing. But one thing I refuse to do (at this point in my life), is respect a fish's right to live. I will not stop eating fish. No way. I will stop eating pork, as it is widely known that (as shown by George Orwell), pigs are incredibly intelligent animals, if a little crazy about power, and therefore deserve to be shown love and compassion. As do all cows, apart from cows hailing from Argentina and Japan. They're too damned tasty to be shown compassion. Although eventually I would like to wean myself off even the tastiest beef.
It is imperative, therefore, that I live somewhere which has fish in abundance. Up in smoke go my plans to live in Chad. The swines. I dare to say that so far you are very confused and in doubt as to the meaning and truth of my words. Well, most of what I have said is very true. I am precipitously close to commencing my Path to Enlightenment. Be not worried that I shall turn into a religious fascist though. Buddhism is a philosophy. The religious aspects of that philosophy are completely inessential. In the words of a famous Buddhist commentator, temples, rituals, incense burning etc. are for those who are less intellectually developed and need help in moving along the Path...and also for travel photographers and ignorant tourists.
Being (a serious) Buddhist involves non-consumption of intoxicating drinks, due to the fact that one should constantly be practising 'mindfulness'. This is something I have a feeling I may struggle with. Brian thought so too, as we chatted over a few pints. But in Xiamen, I'll embark on a vigorous new spiritual regime. Up at dawn. Balcony meditation. Contemplating the sunrise. Tai Chi on the beach. Teaching English to Fillipino children. Yes, that's right. I am 'negotiating' the terms and conditions of a teaching position at Manila Xiamen International School. The only school in Xiamen with a crazy golf course, a bonsai garden, and a two-storey man-made waterfall. There I intend to teach, to learn, to swim in their outdoor pool, and to become the Tiger Woods of Crazy Golf.
Bring. It. On.