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Old 15th December 2004, 01:16 PM   #1
Mark
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Post What makes a dha a dha

Per a request in another thread, I will try and set this out briefly, and in one place, and I hope others will elaborate and correct me, and fill in stuff I forgot, so that I don't look too foolish.

"Dha" is a Burmese term that simply means "blade." We in the West use it to refer to a variety of sword-and dagger-length weapons that are used by a variety of people in continental Southeast Asia (which means present-day Burma/Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam). The use of what we call a dha also extends into the extreme northeast of India, in the Assam and Naga hills, and into southern China in what is today Yunnan Province.

Swords: A sword dha, called a dha lwe in Burmese and a darb or daab in Thai, is any sword with a single-edged blade that generally widens progressively toward the tip, but not more than to a length/tip width ratio of perhaps about 5/1 or 6/1 (blades with very wide tips are called dha ma - choppers - in Burma). The cut-off is sort of subjective, at least for me. Spines are rounded, flat, peaked or various combinations. Rarely there is a groove in the spine. False edges are not uncommon. Blades are often engraved or decorated with koftgari or inlay, on the flat and spine, some very elaborately. They are often of laminated or inserted-edge construction, and often have a hardened edge. Tangs are usually very short, and "blind," i.e., inserted into the handle and held by pressure or adhesive. I have never seen a pinned tang.

The tip can be upswept, angled (forward or reverse), square, round, convex, spear-shaped or "sheep's foot" (where the spine curves down toward the edge). There are specific names for each of these tips in Thai (see the Glossary page at The Dha Research Index).

Handles are almost always of a round cross section, and can vary in length from about hand-width to about equal in length with the blade. A pommel may or may not be present, and is either spherical, a sort of flattened cone, top-shaped or lotus-shaped (there is a variation of this that looks sort of like a conch shell). Sometimes it is just a simple cap on the handle. I have never seen a disk-shaped pommel, though some round ones approach a lense shape (wide axis perpendicular to the handle). There is generally no guard, though the ferrule often flares toward the blade; some Thai darb have a small tsuba-style guard, and some "montagnard" dha have a diamond-shaped guard that is almost more of a spacer as it barely exceeds the diameter of the handle. "Village" dha often have neither pommel nor ferrule.

Scabbards are generally wood, often with metal bands, or partial or complete metal sheathing. "Village" dha tend to have braided cord or rattan bands. Scabbards usually start with a round cross-section equal in diameter with the ferrule, and progressively transition to a flat cross-section, either square-ended, rounded or more rarely up-swept. In Burmese dha, the scabbard is usually suspended from a cord baldric hung from one shoulder; in Thailand the scabbard can be hung from the shoulder, across the back, or as a crossed pair on the back (this might be the case in other parts of SEA, but I just don't know).

Daggers: Daggers are called dha hmyaung in Burma (not to be confused with a simple utility knife, which is called a dha mauk). I don't know what they are called in Thailand and other parts of SEA. They basically resemble miniature dha lwe, with a single edge and either upswept of spear-shaped tip. Like the swords they can have laminated or inserted edge construction, and hardened edges. Handles are sized to fit the hand, and in style follow those found in swords. Scabbards again are smaller versions of those of sword-length dha, though there is a style of dagger scabbard that has a round cross-section. There is another type of knife used in SEA that has a down-ward curved blade, similar to a yatagan or piha ketta, which we Westerners call a "priest knife" because, surprise, it is used by priests.

Here are a few examples of swords:




A couple daggers:


And a priest knife:


More can be found by searching "dha" on this and the old forum, and at the link above.
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Old 15th December 2004, 03:18 PM   #2
Jens Nordlunde
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Hi Mark,

It is a very nice collection you show .
You wont get many mails on this thread - I think , but then, I am 'only' on Indian stuff.

Jens
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Old 16th December 2004, 10:20 PM   #3
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A good description of what we call a dha, Thanks Mark. I still refer to the notes from your talk in MD but this one goes further than that with some of the new information that has come to light since then
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Old 17th December 2004, 07:03 AM   #4
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Mark,
Excellent concise explainations. Thanks for putting all this down in one place.
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Old 20th December 2004, 12:28 AM   #5
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I'm still gonna raise a voice over the validity of excluding the short wide workswords of the rural people; dha mauk? which sounds similar to mak, which is the name of the tanged axe that mounts through an angled root-ball at the end of a stick.
In my experience the tangs tend to be around 2 1/2 inches (about 7 cm), which seems short to the modern/western conception, but is fairly typical of such tangs, and quite solid when well-fitted and well-fixed.
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Old 20th December 2004, 02:58 AM   #6
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I've been giving this some thought since we last discussed it, Tom. I'm drifting away from this line of reasoning.

The category "dha" covers a broad range of weapons from an area large in both geography as well as culture. Uniting the weapons we think of as "dha" are elements lacking in the knives you refer to. They are, in my mind, too wide and lack the cylindrical handle common to dha.

Also, while I'm sure they make fine weapons (so do kitchen cleavers) I believe them to be tools first. Dha are usually weapons first, with the line blurring especially when one starts to consider the machete-like dhas of the kachin and "Montagnards".

What do you think. I've got a few of these (including a cool mak I got from you, thanks ) and they remind me of the old yard tools I've got from my grandfather in Pennsylvania.
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Old 25th December 2004, 02:05 AM   #7
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I suppose that's just the crux of the biscuit; I tend to view the dha as a sword of worklike capabilities and intent; I don't see any sharp division in intent between the warrior's sword that might be used for work and the farmer's sword which is certainly intended for self-defence, among other uses. I also don't see any sharp division in design or construction. The handles on the farm swords actually are often cylindrical, often with a front and back ferule, and the other common form to my experience is nearly cylindrical, with a trailing rear tip that reminds me of the tip of a whale's tooth. There does seem to be a division of width somewhat along the lines of what is being divided off at the edge of the word "dha", but I'm not sure what the real meaning of that division is, or whether it would not be more valid to think of it as a division within an overall class, rather than two truly distinct types of sword.

Last edited by tom hyle : 25th December 2004 at 02:07 AM. Reason: adding/clarifying
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Old 25th December 2004, 04:53 AM   #8
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All valid points. The existence of common characteristics ("familial", even?) does support your argument. However, such things are to be expected I think, given the environmental factors.

We're just speculating unnecessarily, really. Someone local could easily confirm if these knives are considered to be "dha", or in the same family of weapons/tools we generally use the term to refer to.




Any thoughts, Dan?
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Old 5th January 2005, 03:01 AM   #9
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Default Some pre-1889 working dhas from Burma

In case anyone is interested. Not terribly high quality photo, I'm afraid; unfamiliar camera, dark museum, and they were mounted on a wall overhead in a stairway.

These are in the Pitt-Rivers Museum in Oxford. The label reads "Varieties of the Burmese da for various uses. Pres[ente]d by Capt. R.C. Temple R.E., 1889."

I have some shots of Naga daos and spears and some other Asian miscellany from the same museum, if anyone is interested.
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Old 5th January 2005, 03:04 AM   #10
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dennee,

all swords are welcome! please feel free to post your other pics. looking forward to seeing it...
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Old 5th January 2005, 03:24 AM   #11
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nice pic, and interesting. Thanks. That one looks really panabassy, don't it?
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Old 5th January 2005, 03:35 AM   #12
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Dennee:

Please do post more pictures.

Like many museum collections, mislabeling is quite common. In the photo you show from the Pitt-Rivers, the bottom one on the right is a form of tool, similar to a heavy knife still used for splitting coconuts. The bottom one on the right is also a heavy utility knife.

The second from bottom on the left is a pisau raut (rattan knife), used for splitting rattan into strips. This style is common today in northern Thailand/Cambodia -- the long hilt is rested against the chest and the blade lies on a flat surface, with the rattan being drawn along the cutting edge towards the cutter who is seated. The second from bottom on the left appears to be a heavier bladed variant of the same.

The rest are knives and short swords, some of which are probably Burmese, but a couple of the longer hilted ones could be Thai. Hard to make out the detail of the hilts. Interesting collection of blades.

Thanks for showing these.

Ian.
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Old 5th January 2005, 07:43 AM   #13
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Lightbulb Knife or sword

This is a great thread y'all have really made me think and I even sucked my wife into this discussion to clarify some points on language usage.

Excellent points Tom and Andrew, actually the photo that Dennee supplied illustrates this discussion extremely well. As Ian has already correctly identified these I'll talk about the terms in the Thai language used to identify these blades. "meed" is the term used to identify cutting blades in Thai while it can be translated as knife "cutting blade" is more accurate in actual usage. "meed darb" or shortened to just "darb" specifically refers to swords as does the term dha I believe unless modified by a second word.

The rattan knifes in Dennees picture are also called "meed wai", the coconut knifes are called "meed phraa" (chopping blade) now these terms may vary slightly according to region as may the shapes but they all carry the same connotation, that of a utility blade. They were made with a single usage in mind.

To be classified as a dha (darb) they must at least have a dual use as a fighting weapon (yes knives can be fighting weapons, but NOT a main battle weapon) or be designed solely as a fighting weapon. That means it must have the length to reach through an opponent's guard or past his/her shield. It must also have speed of manuveur. Heavy knives and shorter blades don't meet that criteria (and please don't argue fighting techniques - I'm discussing actual usage of the terms). The two on the right in Dennee's photo have that length and would would meet the minimal dual use criteria and the range criteria and would be referred to in Thai as darb or meed darb.

Tom, I think you should see some difference in intent, however I agree you won't see many differences in design or construction in most of the lower class swords as these were generally made by the same village smiths that made the knives. Only the higher grade swords would show that variance in design and construction, and that was usually directed by the person commissioning the blade. Additionally, as with most things, you have those that make the high-end stuff and those that have found their market niche in the low-end.

That top one looks more like a panabas to me - never seen one like it in Siam.
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Old 5th January 2005, 02:40 PM   #14
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When I cross-posted this "monograph" on Swordforum, Ruel, not unfairly, challenged the validity of the description because I had not defined what the limits of the term "dha" were, and hence made unclear what it was that I was describing. Though I think the totality of the original post at least tells one how to distinguish what we here call a "dha," I did eventually come up with a list of the essential criteria, and the assumption that underly our defining them as a single type of sword.

So, what I am talking about are those swords used by the peoples of mainland Southeast Asia, defined as present-day Burma, Thailand (exclusive of the Malay peninsula), Yunnan, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, and in places like Assam and Bengal, to the extend these people have migrated there. They share a few essential defining features that distinguish them from other weapons/tools used in this area (and when there are exceptions they are due to a limited external stylistic influence), which are: (a) a grip with a round cross-section, (b) a long, generally curved blade and (c) no cross-guard or knuckle-bow, and at most a very small tsuba-like guard.

There are four basic assumptions to the definition, which form the basis of the hypothesis which we are trying to disprove:

(1) These swords are used by the Tai and Tibeto-Burman ethnic groups of these areas, not by the Mon-Khmer and Viet.

(2) The people using them do not make distinction between them, viewing them as essentially a single type of sword with local stylistic variations.

(3) There is not real distinction between "working" swords which are used both as tools and as weapons by non-urbanized users, and strictly "martial" swords used only for warfare or ceremonial/status purposes

(4) They have essentially a common origin

My expectation is that assumptions (1)-(3) will hold true, but that assumption (4) will not, and that we will find at least two, and perhaps three "ancestors" which melded in various ways and in various regions, leading to some of the heterogeneity we see in the appearance of the sword.

We may or may not find a suitable name of these, and will likely end up calling the "swords" in the local languages (i.e., dha or darb, or some common root term).
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Old 6th January 2005, 11:25 PM   #15
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Tom, I think you should see some difference in intent, [/QUOTE]

'Fraid I don't. The farmer's short swords, especially when they have a point, are certainly intended for violence. They may have features which linguistically or even legally define them as knives (though in this case those characteristics are strictly limitted to shortness, width, and decoration level, all of which seem to me rather nebulous and perhaps irrelevant), but their intent and descent, as well of course as their shapes, are the same as of the "higher end" (and I object to the whole idea of attaching concepts of quality to social status, fanciness, or intended use, since it is an invalid and by no means constantly establishable connection) warrior(?) dhas. We have seen much this relationship very recently with an European sword excavated on Cyprus; clearly a working caste piece, with the flat tang, soft rivets, and layered hilt of a knife (plus peasanty crudity expressed in both the cross section and the lack of taper), but very clearly indeed intended to emulate and serve much as a soldierly sword. Such parrallel strands of folk-level vs. "high" (ie. rich/armigerous/high-caste) culture within the same societies are a thing I find interesting. Similarities; co-ancestralness; mutual copying; unities and dichotomies. The "high" culture perspective feels it neccessary to maintain a division, as this is part of a basis of certain claims and beliefs it enjoys......

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Old 7th January 2005, 12:46 PM   #16
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Default Intended Use

"(though in this case those characteristics are strictly limitted to shortness, width, and decoration level, all of which seem to me rather nebulous and perhaps irrelevant)"

Tom, by this definition a screwdriver, a chisel, and silver chased table knife would all be of the same classification. They all have a one-hand handle, and a blade, however it is the variance of the design (length, width, decoration) for its intended purpose that put these in different catagories.

As for the quality aspect I'm not saying that the dual use utilitarian blades are of less quality some I'm sure are not, but as a generalization in this area of the world swords made for people of rank or status get more attention to detail. Whether I agree with the stratification or not it is a fact of life.
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Old 7th January 2005, 03:03 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom hyle
...and I object to the whole idea of attaching concepts of quality to social status, fanciness, or intended use, since it is an invalid and by no means constantly establishable connection...

......

The "high" culture perspective feels it neccessary to maintain a division, as this is part of a basis of certain claims and beliefs it enjoys......



Tom, you've lost me here. What are you saying? That high-quality doesn't necessarily equate to high class?

Perhaps, but it is difficult to ignore that better quality weapons, particularly those with extensive decoration with prescious metals and such are usually the property of the rich and/or powerful. With regard to dha, fancy usually equates to status and, although some excellent "workman-like" weapons exist in my collection, it is the higher-end weapons that exibit the better construction and quality. Aside from status, economics would logically dictate this to be so.

Am I misunderstanding your point?
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Old 7th January 2005, 06:00 PM   #18
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As a further comment, with regard to dha, at least in Burma and Thailand, it is not speculation but fact that the opulance and quality of decoration on a sword is a direct indication of social rank and status. In both countries permissible decoration for swords was carefully defined (so many bands meant one rank, more bands meant a higher rank, silver decoration was reserved for a certain level of rank, gold only for royal, etc.). There basically was a visual code which I know exists, but haven't deciphered yet. Its just a matter of collection primary sources, which I am working on.

The other issue is "quality" of the sword, and I agree that a humble-appearing sword can have a very high quality. A couple in my collection are this way -- they have simple fittings but really excellent and well-made blades.

So the issue of "quality" acting as a measure of social division really depends on what sort of quality you mean, because there are very real social divisions in SEA, and they definitely equate to an outward display of greater opulance. Leach writes in "Political Systems of Highland Burma" that among the Kachin hill tribes "Changes in social status such as these [reaching adulthood] are indicated mainly by change of dress. Boys not go through any form of ritual initiation ... As he gets older he will take increasing pride in his skill at handling his sword -- which is a general purpose tool serving equally well for felling trees and paring finger nails; elders of the community can usually be distinguished by the fact that they carry a sword of particularly fine quality." p. 134. It is noted in the "Cambridge History of Southeast Asia" ("CHSEA") that in 1454 king Trailok of Ayutthaya (Thailand) passed a law that determined the civil and military status of everyone inthe kingdom, listing various military titles and their appropriate weaponry. Vol. 1, part 1, p. 38. This law instituted a heirarchical numbering system that applied to everyone in the kingdom and fixed each person's status, and their rights and obligations under the law. CHSEA, vol.1, part 1, p. 171. "The Arts and Crafts of Thailand" (I forget the author and page -- I don't have the book in front of me) also says that the quality of ivory carving on the handle of a knife indicated social status.
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Old 7th January 2005, 06:25 PM   #19
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I thought that I would address the "tool" versus "weapon" issue in a separate post.

What we are talking about is not a strict division between blades that are tools and blades that are swords. Rather, there are dha that are intended for use, and routinely used, for both, and there are dha that are intended for use solely as weapons, at least from the symbolic/status point of view, and are never used as tools.

Then there are blades that are basically intended to be used as tools, though of course they can be used as weapons if needed. The shorter choppers (dha-mauk) fall into this category, as they are distinguished by the Burmese as a separate type of blade that is essentially utilitarian and not seen as a "sword." The villager of Southeast Asia will seldom be without the dual purpose blade, as it serves as jungle knife, hunting knife, butcher knife, and as a weapon of defense or offense (the jungle is a dangerous place). The single use "weapon" dha are usually more carefully made, more carefully finished (such as with polishing) and can be more elaborately decorated (such as with engraving, inlay, koftgari, etc.). They are not subject to the wear-and-tear of the duel-purpose blade and so the owner invests more in it. The tool/weapon dha are generally less finished (though often of very good workmanship and steel, with laminated construction and/or edge hardening), ususally just roughly ground with file/stone marks still visible, and fittings of simple material -- plain wood scabbard and handle, rattan wrappings, etc.

So there is at least a functional, and in many ways interesting, distinction between the two types of swords. What I find most interesting is the utilitarian aspect of what really appears to be a weapon. I guess a machete is a good analogy. Is it a weapon? Is it a tool? Hm ....
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Old 7th January 2005, 08:30 PM   #20
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You're killing me here, Mark. At least wait until next week to see what I've recently written about all this.
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Old 7th January 2005, 09:41 PM   #21
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I think Mark has more or less done a better job of explaining what I meant than I probably would have, while going into some other interesting things as well (these weapon varieties would indicate militia rank, as with Massai spears? Is that what I'm hearing?) I do think it neccessary to add that, decoration and polish aside, and across the cultures of the world I find no correlation between original expense and quality of weapons and tools. You might like to think it's otherwise, but it's not, and it never was; an expensive sword cannot be relied upon to be straighter, truer, better tempered, better balanced, stronger, better assembled (inside, where it counts), or better designed than a plain and relatively inexpensive piece. Furthermore, the focus on fancy pieces is often specifically on decoration, and often at the cost of function (ie. actual quality), as a rich man is often presumed either to have little utilitarian use for tools and weapons, or assumed to be owner of several for different purposes (ceremonial/dress vs. field/combat), while a work man can afford only one and must use it often, so this lack of co-relation only makes sense. There is an ancient Celtic myth about a young warrior later to be a great leader, who lay with a fay woman on an island. Since he'd impregnated her, her father wanted to reward him (hey, it was Faerie, so things were different, hee hee.....). He offered him his choic of a hoard of weapons; many gold-wrapped and jewelled, with etched and sculpted blades; the swords of dead kings and sea captains, but the youth, only after examining them all, chose a plain sword with a smooth blade and a black hilt, and it was the best of them all. A tale told of Arthur, but older, really; a lesson for warriors and kings.........
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Old 7th January 2005, 10:14 PM   #22
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Indeed. I have a couple swords where the blade just seems to be something to hold the fancy decoration together. They put all the effort and workmanship into the fittings, and little into the swordsmithing.

Sorry Andrew. I got carried away.
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Old 7th January 2005, 10:40 PM   #23
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Decoration and polish can often become the main part of the work on fancy stuff, even when it is of good basic structural quality too. I remember making fine custom furniture and doors, and the picking, lamminating, cutting and assembling could be like 1/4 of our time; the rest was polishing and finishing, and I'm not saying it's without value, but it doesn't make a table or door any stronger, nor a sword. Now, I'll climb off my low horse for a minute. Polish is a using value with swords, as smooth surfaces a less friction generating, and less liable to rust, but in practical everyday reality, a super-polish is more of an aesthetic thing. On the other hand, other forms of finishing, like etches, can have the real value of showing the user the inner nature of a sword. Also, of course, a valid/quality-oriented price differential can occur around the matter of materials; notably the steel/iron dichotomy, but even this can vary greatly with the ability of the workers, and (if no one's noticed) I haven't noticed human society being particularly effective in living up to its pretensions of meritocracy; the famous pricey craftsman may not be any more talented or skillful or in tune than the fiery new-comer, or the crazed hermit-artist, indeed, often with fame and financial success an artisan feels driven to "farm-out" and streamline his processes, in order to keep up with demand, with a concomitant tendency to lose some of the spirit and care......Quality is a complex issue; some aspects of it must be paid for in one way or another (for instance, quality steel can so,etimes be salvaged, bought for the labor, etc. rather than for money), but to me it has nothing to do with decoration and the trappings of wealth and status.

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Old 7th January 2005, 10:58 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilked aka Khun Deng
"(though in this case those characteristics are strictly limitted to shortness, width, and decoration level, all of which seem to me rather nebulous and perhaps irrelevant)"

Tom, by this definition a screwdriver, a chisel, and silver chased table knife would all be of the same classification. They all have a one-hand handle, and a blade, however it is the variance of the design (length, width, decoration) for its intended purpose that put these in different catagories......


The basic design of the implements you mention is quite different when they are properly made (the screwdriver is built to resist torsional force, a chisel to cut at the end and withstand lengthwise force, and the table knife to cut at the long edge and have fine finger control), and only bear a close resemblance in the crappiest variation of each (the too-flat or thin-tipped screwdriver; the thin flat, tanged chisel; the stamped flatware "knife", and while all occur in a tanged bolstered form this is, actually, indeed a close familial resemblance, with the others copying from this ancient chisel/arrow/spear feature), while these SE Asian peasant "knives" only differ from the "swords" ONLY in size, blade WIDTH *(no other feature of blade or handle design or construction), and decoration.

*hmmmm....is this just as defined relative to length? Because....lightbulb!....the actual width is the same....?! (between a full sized sword dha and a farmer's short sword of 1/2 the blade length, but otherwise similar shape)

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Old 7th January 2005, 11:26 PM   #25
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I think this falls mostly under "decoration", and is by no means cosntant, but there is the tiny guard and the flared, closed end-cap (rather than the plainer cilyndrical or cup shaped ferule). These two features are far from universal on the higher status dha, but I think are unseen on the rural style, which likewise is, in my experience, also otherwise plain.
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Old 8th January 2005, 12:11 AM   #26
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Default 'working' versus 'weapon'

Few people would look twice at a person carrying a few heavy-duty screwdrivers; yet they are among the best throwing knives made! so a 'working' piece can be a better weapon than a piece made for the purpose, such as the 'throwing knives' that are sold on ebay. Besides, a person bent on covert work can walk freely into many places carrying an electrician's tool kit holding several nicely sharpened screwdrivers, whereas even small swiss army knives may be confiscated; so in a certain way, the 'working' versus 'fighting' is moot.
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Old 8th January 2005, 01:32 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom hyle
I think this falls mostly under "decoration", and is by no means cosntant, but there is the tiny guard and the flared, closed end-cap (rather than the plainer cilyndrical or cup shaped ferule). These two features are far from universal on the higher status dha, but I think are unseen on the rural style, which likewise is, in my experience, also otherwise plain.



Sometimes, Tom, your brain moves fast. It's like watching a whirlwind.


One of the exceptions to your observation would be the "Montagnard" style dha. These, invariably, have small tsuba-like guards. Incongruous in many instances, given the often extremely long handles.

Otherwise, I think it's important to point out that the working dha of many hilltribes often have handles and scabbards quite elaborately decorated with silver, particularly those of the Kachin, Karen and Shan. Thus, the line blurrs further.
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Old 8th January 2005, 02:02 AM   #28
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Then there's those other times, when my brain's like a broken down old jallopy by the roadside of thought......

Last edited by tom hyle : 8th January 2005 at 02:12 AM.
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Old 8th January 2005, 05:20 AM   #29
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Tom, you continue to make me think and learn. You know so much about the actual construction of blades. Acknowledging that, let me ask you if this aspect is a substantial variance in construction; most of the SEA "swords" that I've seen have the base of the blade and the tang held in place with a form of pitch, even the ones from central Thailand, however most of the "dual-use blades" that I've seen have a brass or iron ferrule hammered down over the wood/rattan handle which holds the blade in place through friction and many have had shims hammered in to tighten them up. Is that a significant difference?

Montino, screwdrivers DO make excellent throwing knifes, as my Grandfather's garage door can attest to (my first experience at woodworking shortly followed)

Mark and Andrew, you've been holding out! Give up the bibliography or I'll hold National museum database hostage Which I finally received yesterday - unfortunately I leave tomorrow I'll try to pass a copy to Ian when I meet him in Manila (as yet untranslated though)

A final note on quality, as an old business teacher once told me "Quality is measured in the delightment of the consumer".
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Old 8th January 2005, 05:33 AM   #30
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[QUOTE=wilked aka Khun Deng]Mark and Andrew, you've been holding out! Give up the bibliography or I'll hold National museum database hostage Which I finally received yesterday - unfortunately I leave tomorrow I'll try to pass a copy to Ian when I meet him in Manila (as yet untranslated though)

[QUOTE]

Not holding out, Dan. Just procrastinating on some writing that should have been finished a year ago (well, I've been procrastinating anyway ). Give Ian my best, and have a safe trip.
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