September 26th, 2011

lagoon dreams week #1

Wild beach at Yap island, Micronesia

Nikon D300 + Nikkor 12-24mm, Circular PL

this image is not cropped, color and contrast enhanced in Lightroom

Location on Google Maps

Wikipedia Reference

It is Monday already in Hong Kong and it's time to start new theme week - "lagoon dreams week" ! No underwater shots this time, just places dreamy and beautiful from around the world. Today is the picture of wild beach at the Yap Island. Yap is the most traditional place in Micronesia. There are no big tourism developments - all accommodation is in the form of small family run hotels or cozy diving resorts like my favorite "Manta Ray Bay". All land belongs to the tribes and all big decisions in the country are made by chiefs of these tribes. Yap people still use famous stone money for ritual purchases of land and for wedding related transactions among others. All these makes this place very cultural and unspoiled. To get to this beach for instance we had to ask permission from the chief of the tribe owning that land - but usually such permission is happily granted without problem. Another thing which contributes at Yap to the paradise feeling - many local women still walking around bare breasted - as tradition dictates :-) Oh, yes, and diving is really, really good - Yap is known as the world's Manta Ray capital.

I wanted to write in this post about my Google+ experiences of the last week - BTW if you are on Google+ - feel free to circle my profile. But events of yesterday changed my intent. Instead I want to do some politics related rant.

For the last 10+ years I live abroad I always had little bit of doubt if my choice is right. "Russia is obviously growing economically, and maybe my place is in my own country, and I should be contributing to this growth, and capitalizing on it too" - was my thinking. "Having successful and constructive life in the place where I was born and where I belong ethnically does not sound like bad idea" - this was the source of my doubt for several years. It became strongest about 6-7 years ago - but it faded a lot during last couple of years - during this time politically things in Russia started to take very ugly shape.

Ultimately yesterday was the day when all this doubt was finally put to the rest. I did right choice. And I'm not as ashamed and disgusted with Putin and Medvedev as with majority of Russian public. People just don't care about direction where their country goes. Yes, we have a lot of thinking people in the Russian internet community, and navalny is great leader for these people, but this is such a small portion of the population, what it won't have any serious effect on the state of the things at all.

These days Russians have very different values - like this famous epitome of smug dumbness ("Помидорка" would be elegant definition in Russian). In Russia we like to take a laugh at Americans, at ignorance they sometimes display by mixing up Sweden with Switzerland and other innocent things. Well, 99.9% Americans I know are very good in understanding and taking personally political things at home. Because they know what their well being and freedom depends on their right to make influence on the way their country works. In Russia we don't have such spiritual differential.

These days in Russia it's cool to be someone with little imagination and education. It's cool to run primitive business of reselling things. It's cool to indulge into status consumption by buying expensive stuff from the pages of the glossy magazines just to show off. It's cool to have blog for publishing photos of checks from restaurants and accounts of drinking expensive konjac in France - pretending being sophisticated enough to understand something about it. All at the same time of not understanding simple things about home politics and about direction everything goes. And judging by preferences of the masses - these values and this way of thinking became characteristic for big sector of Russian public. This is the image of new Russian middle class. Consumption oriented vegetables with very little independent thinking and spirit.

So hopes of seeing Russia free and prosperous in my lifetime are fading away now. We just were thrown back to the Brezhnev era, if not beyond. But there is still some time for people to wake up and get rid of all corrupt scumbags running the country while there is the chance to do it in legitimate, civilized way. But I think it's not going to happen. For the reasons that nobody in Russia actually cares about it - at least 90% of population, if not more. So we, Russians, probably deserve that we are going to get anyway. 20+ years of relative freedom did little to change our slavish mentality...

It's good time for Russians to be emigrants again. Just like 30 years ago.