Friday, May 9, 2014

LA "gangs" spread to Buddhist Thailand (video)

Pfc. Sandoval, Ashley Wells, Dhr. Seven, Crystal Quintero, Wisdom Quarterly; co-hosts A Martinez, Alex Cohen; Leo Duran, photographer Zanya Tanantpapat (Take Two/
"LA" Los Angeles gang hand sign or mudra by Thai fake neo-cholos (

(Coconuts TV) A curious phenomenon - Mexican-style gang motifs and monikers rise up in the most Theravada Buddhist country in the world.
We graffiti and no one knows what we're doin'!
For anyone who has visited Los Angeles, cholos are a welcome sight -- bald, in white tee shirts and prison-issue baggy pants, sporting corporate logos of all their favorite shoe brands and sports teams, the Raiders in particular.

Wait till Cypress Hill* arrives in music stores
It's a menacing sight, like riding through a wildlife park. We snap photos and speed away. These lions mean no harm to drivers, but the park rangers -- gun happy Sheriff deputies and LAPD Crash Squad -- will not tolerate gangsters or wannabes. Looking a certain way will daily get you harassed, arrested, and accused of felonious acts. And if you have a face tattoo, it's even worse.

The ink is real, the meaning completely lost
We're talking to you, Mara/MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha Trece, the El Salvadoran version of exported L.A. culture; see "Sin Nombre" (Spanish, literally "Without Name," figuratively "Without Hope") for one of the scariest portrayals of gang life that viewers will have to interpret as pure fiction but it's real. Buddhists will certainly see the influence of the ancient demon MARA, the gang's nickname). Now imagine that same look, that very ethos, that barrio creation in Buddhist Thailand.

We continue the exposé below, but first let's talk about the two cities in which this phenom is spreading.

Wait, is this bustling Los Angeles or busy Bangkok? (Gift-of-Light/
There are similarities between Los Angeles and Bangkok (although lately Bangkok is bloodier and more dangerous for tourists), two places most of the world is likely to visit at one time or other.

For one, they have the same name, "City of Angels" (Spanish, Los Angeles, Thai Krung Thep).
Both are built along polluted rivers close to world-famous beaches -- Santa Monica for L.A. and Pattaya for Bangkok. And both are getting to be like Mexico City -- three hot megalopolises, endless expanses of breaking concrete, conspicuous consumption alongside shantytown blight.
Now each has costumed (uniformed) "gangstas" of the same stripe. They are hot Latin "thugs" envied by boys, admired by girls. Cypress Hill seems much to blame for this typecasting and American export. The cities are getting to be a lot like chaotic Calcutta in India (Kolkata on the Hooghly) that was old when the colonial British arrived as immortalized by Rudyard Kipling:

A Tale of Two Cities
[T]he midday halt of Charnock -- more's the pity!
    Grew a City.
As the fungus sprouts chaotic from its bed,
    So it spread --
Chance-directed, chance-erected, laid and built
    On the silt --
Palace, byre, hovel -- poverty and pride --
    Side by side;
And, above the packed and pestilential town,
    Death looked down.
But the Rulers in that City by the Sea...
Bhumibol Bridge in beautiful Buddhist Bangkok, like the City of Los Angeles by the bridge over our concrete-lined and graffiti-ridden Los Angeles River (HappySUN/

Protesters wave Thai flags in Bangkok
BANGKOK is a city of extremes and superlatives, a city one does not react to with indifference, says Thailand at a Glance. Recently declared the world's hottest city by the World Meteorological Organization, it also boasts the world's longest name: Krung-thep-maha-nakorn-boworn-ratana-kosin-mahintar-ayudhya-amaha-dilok-pop-nopa-ratana-rajthani-burirom-udom-rajniwes-mahasat-arn-amorn-pimarn-avatar-satit-sakattiya-visanukam. Not surprisingly, only a handful of Thais use that mouthful, preferring the abbreviated version: "Jeweled City of the deva Sakka (India's Indra)." However, most Thais refer to it simply as Krung Thep, "City of Angels." Bangkok wordsmith Theppitak Karoonboonyanan separates the words of K161t and translates them:
  • Bangkok temple, muddy river
    Krungthep mahanakorn
    The great city of angels,
  • amorn rattanakosin mahintara yutthaya mahadilok phop
    the supreme unconquerable land of the great immortal divinity (Indra/Sakka),
  • noparat rajathani burirom
    the royal capital of nine noble gems, the pleasant city,
  • udomrajaniwes mahasatharn
    with plenty of grand royal palaces,
  • amorn phimarn avatarnsathit
    and divine paradises for the reincarnated deity (Vishnu),
  • sakkatattiya visanukam prasit
    given by Sakka and created by the deva of crafting (Visnukarma).
"Latin Thugs" (South Gate to Hollywood)
*Gang-member/hip hop artists Cypress Hill are the USA's most famous "gangsta" rappers -- one Swedish, one Black, one Mexican -- from Los Angeles with more than 18 million in CD sales and many hits like "Insane in the Brain."

"Latin Thugs" featuring Tego Calderon
Spanish to English translation by Wisdom Quarterly editors
LYRICS: [WARNING: violent, graphically sexual, and gang-affiliated references! Bad karma.]
  • This song is slang, which is impossible to translate satisfactorily. But one gets the idea of extreme daily, run of the mill violence. These are the "teachings of the vicious" the Buddha warned about. People are4 getting caught up in endless reprisals and troubles, where hate is never able to end hate. All available lyric sites are incomplete and misleading, so we are depending on our own ears on what to translate the studio track
Don't be like, uh, a [stuck up] Cuban./ Be like in Rio, a real stoned [easygoing] pothead./ This kingpin ping-ping [gunshots]/ Swing is here with the force of a machete./ Kick mad lingo [slang] from Spain to Tijuana./ Real son of a b, homeboy; ask your momma./ I don't care [about] gunshots, my girl./ All I wanna know is, How good was it singing [sexing, seeing ya]?/ Don't be scared, get over here./ What's the play, dawg, homeboy [what's] goin' on?/ Ni**as, O.G., straight veteran[s of gang warfare]./ Master the Spanglish-style mad-crazy./ Y'all fools know that right here we don't play around./ Don't act a fool, and don't break the rules./ We [are] real crazy ass'sassins./ Get your guns ready; here comes danger!/

[Chorus: Tego Calderon] Come out [party] with Tego./ They've arrived, the main main ones./ Cuba, Borinquen [Puerto Rico], Mexico, all of Los Angeles./ It's like up-up, go on:/ Light up the weed, but what I want is *ss./Cypress with Tego,/We've arrived, the main main ones./ Cuba, Borinquen, Mexico, all of Los Angeles!

Racist neo-Nazi skinhead with US prison tattoos
[B-Real] They call me sweet daddy./ You know I'm pure [complete, refined, a fully "made" man, a Mafioso]./ I never fade away [I will never be forgotten]./ You see me comin, [better] get your *ss runnin./ I know you hate away./ Hit the take harder than most tough-guys you idolize./ Get it started quicker, and hit you before you try to hide!/

[Sen Dog] Latin thug, roll deep, gangster [gang member]/ Purely Los Angeles [style], southside [South Gate, the city next to Watts, their hometown] ghetto:/ Carpet, car black, and crazy [pet] dog./ Keep an eye on that fiend, because I will grab it for myself [pick it up, take it from you, steal it]./ A mofo [pinger, shooter], [you] slight little-girl,/ I will take out my ping [pistol] and [make it] sing [double entendre, make my ping sing is also make my beer (bottle) whistle; taking a shot is taking a swig]./ Can't get enough of them L.A. sluts [skunks, hoodrats, stinkers]./ Get a little wild and I eat [sex act] that [stuff]./ Listen up, good friend [companion, godfather], the big Cypress Hill/ [is] Still right here, and it still controls./ This ain't no Telemundo [Latin TV] special [spectacular]./ The homies that I roll with for real will come wet [bloody] you./[Chorus]

For anyone critical of our coverage exploring this "fringe" topic, we ask, How fringe could this violent song, this band, this movement be? Just look at it being performed live for non-Latinos.

PR rapper Tego Calderón
[Tego Calderon] Hey, who the f is that?/ Another black [dark] crazy, daddy [and nickel-plated]./ So hang one [wring his neck, give him a bad necklace a noose] of the bad-ducks [a "gay," the worst insult in Spanish in that those who hear it grow feathers and lay eggs on the spot]./ A lotta lotta shots for the rats [finks] to knock 'em out [cause to faint, make dizzy, make to lose heart, discourage]/ [So] That they die for sure, without fail./ I ain't never scared, you heard?/ Another idiot is harassing, I will control him [emasculated to a she]./ Go manly, go easy, stay alive./ However you want me to put it to you, what there is is punishment [castigation]./ I'm a lively Latin [double entendre, also a Latin who's still alive], [with] pistol, [and] knife/ To defend against enemies./ These are malignant; they don't have a ticket nor singing [sex],/ But they say so anyway./ You bet, the Tego, the one with the messed up [a]fro, that one who sure is a [horny] goat,/ A major [Jewish], blastin' all these mofos,/ Envious, toads and testes./ Aim for his head! If he goes, he won't be returning./ So his gang will know it [para que su pandilla lo sepa]./ Another one, by turning [what comes around goes around] there goes the father./ And I won't cry nor the mother [that is, I won't cry nor even when the mother goes, or I won't cry for him nor will his mother]./[Chorus]. More
I also like Star Trek; live long and prosper!
Well, no need to imagine. It's arrived. But as in Japan, which has a startling array of Americana (Harajuku-style as Gwen Stefani teaches us) from Marilyn Monroe to Marilyn Manson, it's only fashion, a style, an homage. These guys, cholos, straight up eastside gangsters, have never been to L.A. or U.S. prison.

They've never been jumped in (beaten in a hazing induction), they just look that way. And they're loving it. And where there are gangsters, oh yes, can gangsterettes be far behind? (One is show at far right of second photo above). Where are all the cholas? Betty Boop stickers and hairstyles will be skyrocketing on the streets of Bangkok -- once the Red Shirts and Yellow Shirts settle their differences, now that the radicals have deposed the corrupt government and the conservatives are licking their uber patriotic wounds. Take Two investigates.

Real Gangs (from El Salvador to L.A.)
THE REAL THING: MS-13. Fear, fear, be afraid, it's a human "virus" and we need a police state to protect us because what we give up when we give up civil liberties is everything. "Who trades liberty for security deserves neither," explained Ben Franklin.
Latinos leaving Catholic Church
It's an old All Boys Club of sexist clerics and old child molesters. What are the young to do?
Interestingly, Latinos are leaving the Catholic Church. There has been a 12% loss to the Vatican Corporation's numbers. Some have gone on to evangelical Christianity, but many have gone to that favorite category of Census takers "unaffiliated." That includes Buddhist or "spiritual but not religious," which often includes Buddhist meditative practices of mindfulness and loving-kindness (metta), compassion and insight (vipassana). 

Oh, there was that Spanish Inquisition
Attend a group meditation in your area and you are bound to see disaffected Catholics in large numbers. People need a spirituality the corrupt Church has simply not been able to provide. It's not that Catholic priests molested our children, no, we're not mad about that.

Dia de los Muertos making a comeback (npr)
We just could no longer relate to the official and hypocritical teachings of Imperial Holy Roman Catholicism.
If it were up to us, we would go Charismatic -- an authentic dance with "spirit" and speaking in tongues -- rather than remain in a backward, hypocritical gay child molesting factory.
And the Catholic Church knows it, at least in the Latin American community of L.A. because it allows the Charismatics to use its basements, and their numbers are growing as the numbers attending mass dwindle.

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