by dr ngo (posted by liberal japonicus who will quickly get his grubby fingers out of dr ngo's prose as soon as we can sort out the typepad shtuff)
Let me introduce myself with some important disclaimers:
First, I am not Hilzoy. That's OK, because no one else is. On the other hand, some denizens of Obsidian Wings cling to the hope the next front-pager will be the second coming of Hilzoy. Not me. (In both senses: I am not the second coming, and I've given up hoping.)
Second, I am not Gary Farber, or Doctor Science, or Slacktivist http://http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/
Each of them does an admirable job of following current events and providing many useful links to, as well as engaging commentary upon, these events. Not me. Such writing would imply a level of commitment to – and awareness of – What's Happening in the World that I couldn't muster even when I was younger. I became a historian to escape the present, not to explain it.
So if you want the qualities represented by either of these alternatives, don't bother to read my contributions. Or if you do read them, and I persist in being neither Hilzoy nor timely and link-friendly, don't complain. You have been warned.
Who I am is “dr ngo” - lurker and occasional commentator here for about a decade – a retired professor of Asian history, now living in a Blue Blotch on a Red State. I've never blogged before, though I've contributed a couple of guest posts here and there, but I come from a verbal, not so say verbose, family. My son (Anarch) will also be joining the front page here; my daughter (Magistra) has a blog of her own http://magistraetmater.blog.co.uk/ (Where history, religion and motherhood meet and have a long intellectual conversation) as does my sister (A Musing Amma) http://www.patheos.com/blogs/amusingamma/ . They don't speak for me, and I certainly don't speak for them, but there's a lot of verbiage going around.
I expect that most of my posts will be drawn from my life and readings, and will probably feature two aspects of my life: age and Asia. I am now in my 70th year, which places me well above the ObWi average, I believe, and that fact has become central to much of my consciousness. A lot of this has to do with health – the betrayal of the body – but I will try to spare you the details, because no one really wants to know. (Even I don't want to know, but I can't avoid it.) There are other aspects of aging, however, that may prove fruitful to discuss. And you're all going to get old, eventually – consider the alternative.
I have studied Asia for more than fifty years, written and published about it for more than forty, taught about it for more than thirty, and lived there for more than twenty years, so it's a big part of who I am and what I know. It's also REALLY big – more people there than in all the rest of the world put together – so I don't kid myself that I know more than a small fraction of what there is to know, but even that small fraction puts me well ahead of most non-Asians. As noted above, I don't try to keep up on current events much, so I won't be trying to tell you what the Asian Century looks like this week, but I may be able to provide some longer term perspective.
Beyond that, who knows? I'm interested in music (especially vocal: choral and opera), theatre, travel (now in the past: Don't Get Around Much Any More), and spectator sports. With regard to the last of these, I once said that if it moved and they kept score, I'd watch it. I've been to a Rose Bowl game, seen Major League Baseball in BOTH Wrigley Fields (bonus points for anyone who can identify the non-Chicago one), watched Gary Sobers hit a century at Lords and Greg Chappell hit one at the Sydney Cricket Ground, saw the first (legal) seven-foot high jump and what is now the oldest (juiced) track record still extant, and enjoyed many Duke basketball games – women's, and some men's – at historic Cameron Indoor Stadium, but I'm not sure any of this qualifies me to say anything significant or new about sports. On the other hand, this is the Internet, so what difference does it make?
Let the revels commence.