In today’s episode about technology, we’ll talk about going down the never-ending rabbit hole that is the internet. Have you ever found yourself on a site or a video where you read a comment or you think to yourself, “How the hell did I end up here?” The depths of YouTube, some call it. It also happens when you’re browsing Wikipedia or TVTropes. It’s not something new. I’m sure everybody has been down that road at least once in their lives. I think it’s been prevalent ever since the dawn of the internet. Just that these days, our internet speeds are so fast that it becomes trivial clicking on a link because you don’t have to wait for anything to load. My trip today took me to some interesting places.
I was doing some research on Indonesia for work today, and found out that the country was known for having birds of paradise. I decided to then look up if there were any cartoons featuring birds of paradise. I entered it into Google and a few links to the same animation pops up. Oh cool, there’s one cartoon about the topic. I decided to check it out. While watching the intro to the animation, I started reading the description of the video. Nothing out of the ordinary, except that it was attributed to a story by “Supreme Master Ching Hai”. That piqued my interest. I mean, come on – who wouldn’t want to look up information about someone called the Supreme Master?
And that’s where the rabbit hole begin. It started from me reading a Wikipedia entry about this person, putting their name in Google, looking up some Reddit threads and watching some YouTube videos. So, today I learned about the Supreme Master Ching Hai, her story, her mission, and her chain of restaurants around the world. I’d do a write-up about her, but Phoenix New Times already has a well-written piece on her that covers everything you need to know and how I feel about it, and there’s nothing else I can add with my limited knowledge on the subject. I quote from the article:
“In one such setting, Hai informed her supporters that crop circles are a kind of alien road sign through which extraterrestrials leave messages for each other. In another, she contended that the pyramids are meant to act as lighthouses for UFOs, showing them where to land safely.”
However, I learned something from today’s little adventure: while I (and a lot of other people) may find it easy to make fun of or laugh at an outrageous religion, it’s only because I know so little about it. Not that I’m an expert on other religions, but the fact that it is new compared to other religions, it hasn’t had enough time to settle in the world as something that’s accepted worldwide. Just like Scientology, except that the Quan Yin followers don’t seem intent on doing horrible things to its members or other people in society. They’re just vegans who are fanatic about their Supreme Master. Maybe one day they’ll turn violent and start terrorizing people, but for now they seem like a pretty chill bunch. Maybe in the year 5000, those religions will still be around and they’ll be as accepted as Christianity or Islam, who knows?
Start a religion so you can sell merchandise and stay exempt from taxes (the Supreme Master has her own line of jewelry and artwork available). Seems like a pretty good business model. Anyway, if you spend your money on such things, you probably deserve to have that money taken from you.
Other interesting things I discovered going down the rabbit hole today: she actually has a sizable following here in Malaysia. There’s a Loving Hut outlet in Malaysia (which I’m keen on checking out, even if it means supporting her), and last year there was a screening of one of her musicals in KL. Today I experienced the same feeling I did when I discovered that there were Mormons and Scientologists here in our country. I don’t even know why I was surprised. Anyway, like my favorite saying goes: you learn something new everyday.
If you’re keen on learning more about the Supreme Master and her teachings – there’s the Supreme Master TV channel streaming her content 24 hours a day: