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I have always lusted after the Wild Man of Borneo.
Tobias Schneebaum relates his insights on culture, society and relationships between men in the far reaches of the Westerner's notion of the world, while simultaneously relating a journey into the self. An enlightened trail for anyone to explore.
Wild Man by Tobias Schneebaum, part autobiographical journal, part social-historical novel, tracks Schneebaum's fascinating and almost epic life story from his earliest contemplations of homoerotic desire and his first exposure to what he would later term The Wild Man of Borneo to his travels through Borneo, Southeast Asia and beyond. The author offers his first hand experiences in an exposed and often almost awkwardly honest recounting of his travels, insights and relationships in the cultures and communities that he became so immediately a part of.
and had breakfasted by six. When I arrived at the ashram, a long line of Tibetan men and women were waiting outside. Several monks stood together, all wearing brown robes over mustard-colored sleeveless shirts. They all looked between the ages of seventeen and twenty-five. Other, older men were in 86 Copyrighted Material WILD MAN darker robes, with winged or sheepskin hats on their heads and prayer beads around their necks or wrists. The hair of most was uncombed, while others had shaved
against. No one wants us any longer. I have to live on baksheesh." "Baksheesh?" "Yes, there is no other way for me to make money, and my father does not earn enough to feed the whole family. I have nine brothers and sisters and I am the oldest. We do not know when I will be able to find a job." Somanada's eyes were black and bright; they sloped toward his ears and were touched with sadness, as if he were burdened with past incarnations. I looked into that blackness and saw remoteness and
character he was portraying. The long monologue and comic episodes entranced the audience, even though, or because, they knew it all by heart. The play lasted over an hour and was followed by other dances that went on through most of the night. When there were no festivities in Ubud or in the neighborhood, I went out walking. I sketched in temples, balanced myself along the edge of dikes, watched the men and women harvesting or plowing in the paddy fields and the bullocks in the sawahs sitting in
sarongs, always generous and gentle to me, but on this day different, all wearing shirts and trousers or shorts, which gave them a completely different aspect. There was another look in their eyes, in the expression of their faces, in the way they carried themselves. It was as if they were an entirely different race, not the people among whom I'd been living all these weeks. They had come in by the truckload from all around, shouting slogans and lifting their arms in a fist salute. Loudspeakers
too frightened of the leyaks. They eat the blood of pregnant women and the babies inside them too, so she would never go out at night." Oka nodded his head, assuring himself that this must be true. "We met in school, you know, Made and I. We liked each other and we were friends for a long time when we left school. Made's father said to me, 'Why don't you take Made to her room and talk to her?' and we went. We were both without experience but Made knew how to stand and wash herself out when we