and commercialized, it does not elicitnthe slightest feeling of the sacred, althoughnpilgrims swarm around it. Andnon the very steps where pilgrimsnapproach the Living Buddha, monkeysnare copulating.nThe Grand Hotel in Taipei is the firstnmajor object to leap to the eye—annenormous, red-columned building, 14nstories high, made to look even tallernas it stands on a hill. It has the elegantndouble roof of Chinese temples, and thenfacade is in all sorts of colors—blue,ngreen, yellow, with bright red dominating.nTo Western eyes it is a monster,nand the impression does not improveninside the lobby: as vast as TimesnSquare, with enormous engraved walls,na huge marble stairway, a carpet thatnwould cover the floor of St. Peter’s.nDay after day I stared at this ensemble,nand on the third or fourth day I found itnbeautiful; the massiveness became articulated,nthe colors began settling intonharmonious sequences, the vast dimensionsnyielded to graciousness. A weekndid not pass before I was fully captivated.nThen came the Japanese invasion, thatnis, the tourists. The Chinese are supplenand dignified; Nippon’s sons are rigidnand tumultuous. They carry camerasnthe way zebras have stripes: inseparably.nThe Grand Hotel, with which I was carryingnon a visual love affair, turned intona vast object for picture-taking, its gayndignity threatened by little men runningnaround in hordes who photographednincessantly. What do two, three, ten,nfifty Japanese photograph.” Each other.nThe background can be anything. Inimagine their photo albums at homenwith myriads of pictures inscribed: Inwith the Grand Hotel, we with the Corcovado,nshe with the Roman Forum,nhe with the Sydney Opera. I stayed twondays longer than these photographingnrobots, and the Grand Hotel regainednits proportion and charm.nIn Cyprus, since the Turks invadednand occupied the northern portion ofnthe island in 1974, the north is unvisit-nable, and life is concentrated in thensouth—where Aphrodite was born, thencrusading Lusignan barons ruled, andnArchbishop Makarios walked the tightropenbetween Greek, Turkish andnBritish ambitions. Fully one quarter ofnCyprus’s population became refugeesnovernight, fleeing the rampaging, pillagingnTurkish soldatesca. True, theirnfate is infinitely better than that ofnmost deportees, boat people and re-educatednclass enemies in gulags, but anspecial torture is reserved for them.nThe island is so small that the peasantsncan see their land across the U.N.-heldnAttila Line. The burghers of Famagustansee their apartment windows from Paralimni,nthe merchants of Nicosia seentheir abandoned stores across the street.nRefugees—in Cyprus, Palestine,nLebanon, Hong Kong—1 met themneverywhere. If Time magazine were tonplan an issue for the year 2000 aboutn”The Man of the Century,” he ought tonbe the Refugee, robbed, enslaved,ndrowned, raped, tortured. Yet, thenCypriot Greek refugee enjoys an exceptionalnstatus. Nowhere have I seen morenheroic efforts to house and feednrefugees, to give them back their physicalnand moral integrity, to give themnwork, status, a future. And life in thenTurkish zone is deteriorating—evennfor the Turks.nPapua New Guinea is one of the “lastnfrontiers” of touristland. Only Australiannvacationers and German conciergesncan afford to make the trip, the firstnbecause they live nearby, the second becausenthey are rich. The island is beautiful,nalthough only half of it is “visitable,”nthe other half is held by the Indonesiannarmy. Cannibalism is still practiced onnthe Highland, many people go aroundnnear-naked, and tribal vendettas end innterrible brawls, men fighting with poisonednarrows and hacking their enemiesnto pieces. All this does not prevent Londonnfrom including a Papua delegationnin the commission which will supervisenwhether the Rhodesian elections unfoldnin a truly democratic fashion.nThe lands where I traveled werennnmostly Islamic and Buddhist; Christianitynis present sporadically in Moslemncountries (the Copts in Egypt), in largernnumbers in Buddhist and Hindu lands.nFrom our one-dimensional Westernnperspective, we expect religions slowlynto be absorbed by prosperity, education,ntechnology. But much of the ThirdnWorld, while adoring this new holyntrinity, is not abandoning religious beliefs.nIn fact, it reacts to Western agnosticismnwith a fanatic reaffirmationnin some places, passive resistance innothers. Generally, however, ancestralnbeliefs can only weakly resist city life.nA young man in Pagun told me that hisngeneration does not believe in Buddha’sndivinity or in any sort of gods, only inn”good men” with ethical teachings. Yetnin Rangoon, in Sri Lanka, in Benares,nreligion is very much alive, althoughnalien to our way of thinking. In Taiwan,nat Chengchi University, the differencenwas best explained: “You Western peoplengo to church on Sunday, conductnscientific experiments on Monday, attendnpolitical meetings, devote yourselvesnto your family, admire art ornnature the following days. You have annindividualistic, analytic mentality, ablento cut itself up into segments and atoms.nThis we cannot accept; things fuse innour experience, the same principle mustnapply in all we do.”nThus East and West are likely nevernreally to meet. Although St. Paul wasnconverted on the Damascus Road, thenOmayyad mosque now standing nearnthat spot represents a world totallyndifferent from that of Christians ornJews. The main temple in Rangoonnseems more a bazaar than a place ofnworship. Hindu and Buddhist shrinesnare guarded by stone monsters, and thenfaithful make a frightful din on feastndays to scare away the evil spirits.n”Westernization” is only superficial,nand it will further recede as the Westnsurrenders its outposts and becomes annexclusively economic partner. The nextncentury may not bear the Westernnstamp. •nMarch April 1980n