Goodbye to the Snake

UF has been especially quiet recently, because I’m in Cambodia, drifting through flaky connectivity. Trying to maintain Internet activity through a tablet — which seems to disdain even elementary cursor control (no links, no cut-and-paste, nightmare editing) — exacerbates the problem. Right now I’m hogging a real computer at the lodge where I’m staying, and it’s possible to appreciate how wired Cambodia has already become.

Cambodia is an extraordinarily attractive country, and the perfect place to say goodbye to the year of the snake. It has an abundance of (highly venomous) reptiles, although they are unlikely to be encountered outside the rainy season (late summer). Also, and no doubt to some considerable extent consequentially, it has a remarkably rich serpent mythology, organized around the naga. Nagas saturate the glorious ruins of the ancient Angkor Kingdom, as temple guardians, narrative elements of bas reliefs, and hoods for (more recent) meditating Buddhas. The subtle but multifarious evocations of hooding suggest that cobras and nagas are involved in a complex exchange of associations. This is incontestably snake country.

For Urban Future the Year of the Snake has been a time of hooded transition. ‘This’ blog has wandered across three different platforms during snake time. After deleting 500 spam comments due to hosting issues over the last few days, it’s hard to say that the present platform is exactly settled, but the principal spade work is done. The infrastructural situation has certainly never been better.

The Horse Year is supposed to be industrial, which means using what you have to get things done. For this blog, the main task is to ignite a self-sustaining discussion about Chinese Modernity, reaching back into history and forwards into disciplined speculation, in order to consolidate an understanding of Shanghai as the singular philosophical topic (of profound global significance) that it was always destined to be. By the end of the first Horse month, this rough ambition should be looking more like a credible program.

I’ll try to post Chunjie greetings from Phnom Penh (you’re interested in how the celebrations proceed there, right?).

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