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by Rick Green

Cao Dai Nuns Awaiting Noon PrayersEntering the foyer of the Cao Dai Holy See, I scanned the scene for suitable photos to take, not that they were hard to find. Colourful priests and white-robed practitioners were milling about, waiting for the signal to begin noon prayers. It was more a matter of choosing a subject, looking for good lighting, and framing the shot than having to search for something interesting. Then I saw it.

There, on the wall above a group of cross-legged nuns, was a mural I was familiar with. Depicted were three men with golden haloes, standing on a mountain top before a radiating tablet, hovering before them on a backdrop of blue sky and puffy white clouds. On the right, was a bearded, white-haired Asian man wearing the blue silk robe and cap of a Chinese scholar official. He was finishing writing with a calligraphy brush in red ink, the last of four characters on the tablet that read, Bó'ài Gōngpíng (Universal Brotherhood and Justice). To the left of the tablet, stood a European wearing a bicorn hat and the uniform of a 19th century military officer or official. With a quill pen, he was completing writing, Dieu et Humanité. Amour et Justice" (God and Humanity. Love and Justice). Beside him was another Asian dressed in a Chinese-style cap and changshan, holding an ink tablet.

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by Rick Green

Fresh durian, Mekong delta, Vietnam

Durian is the fruit of a tree belonging to the Durio genus in the Malvaceae family. Native to the island of Borneo, it is cultivated in tropical areas with a mean daily temperature above 22 °C. Its name comes from the Malay duri, meaning "thorn". Thailand is the leading producer, followed by Malaysia and Indonesia. Chantaburi hosts the annual World Durian Festival.

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