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Apologizing for My Absence

My previous post is dated September 7 and fittingly it builds from an experience in Turkey.

On September 13, I arrived in Istanbul for my second visit this year. The first visit was in January for one week. This visit was for two weeks. One purpose of the trip was to continue the search for the ghost of my great grandfather, Alexis Dieudonne SORLIN DORIGNY (see my 1 February 2023 post). A bit more evidence was found, but some more interesting evidence came after I left Istanbul from a source in France. To be described in a future post.

From Istanbul I flew to Yogyakarta, Indonesia, to visit one of my two “Indonesian families”. While there, I gave a talk to a small group of writers/artists about “The Role of the CIA in US Foreign Policy”. Next I flew to East Kalimantan (formerly Borneo) to witness the construction of a new capital city there (see my 2020 essay on this webpage:

For complicated reasons, I have promised not to write for public consumption a commentary on this project until after the inauguration of Indonesia’s next president due to occur in October 2024.

Next I flew to Jakarta where I had dinner with the CEO of a leading tech company who was a young co-author with me 15 years ago on a study of off-budget “foundations” affiliated with most of Indonesia’s government ministries. This study was published in English and Indonesian, but I haven’t gotten around to posting it on my website. I also had a sentimental visit with my other “Indonesian family”, which is Balinese. The couple at the head of this family are now 97 (him) and 94 (her) years old.

Next I flew to Singapore where I gave a talk to a small group of top researchers at the Institute of East Asian Studies (ISEAS) on China’s demographic future. I had lunch with a young Indonesian scholar at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technical University who writes about political Islam in Indonesia. And I met with the son of the “younger brother” from my “India family”. He is working in Singapore with a company that manages a fleet of more than 80 merchant ships.

Next I flew to Tokyo to visit friends. Part of this was pure serendipity: connecting an American, a French, and a Japanese friend who all happen to be living in Tokyo now but were meeting and re-connecting with each other for the first time there. Long story that I could fill with bridge imagery, but not one for my website. Sadly, I was unable to see my two oldest Japanese friends, whom I met in 1967 and 1970 respectively, because they are both fighting serious cancer outbreaks.

I flew back to my home in Washington DC on November 16, and still haven’t emerged from the pile of things that accumulated during my absence. The pieces of above-average interest mentioned above should appear in the course of the next 2-3 months. They included essays on China’s demographic future and the US Peace Corps and an update on Parami University (and the historic battle taking place to end military rule in Burma). I am also still involved in a small group of former US Treasury officials trying to help the Government of Ukraine deal with a set of challenging financial issues. This work brought me back to the Main Treasury Building next to the White House, my workplace for 18 years. The photo taken on this occasion shows me with the official portrait of Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady.

1 Comment

Nov 10, 2023

Well written and informative, as always, Lex.

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