TODAY FROM THAILAND:
Following the usual interminable and uncomfortable plane ride, I arrived back in Bangkok. The sky was overcast, but the temperature was a welcome change from the weeks of cold and rain I had experienced in California. When I got to my apartment, I discovered that the Little Masseuse had also been ill. She was suffering from some form of sciatica that radiated down one of her legs leaving painful blisters. I keep hoping that somewhere I can find a place where I can revel in my own misery without discovering someone close to me who has it worse.
The next day, after sleeping off the jet lag, I went to the gym and tried to drive the crud from my lungs with a roasting in the sauna.
When not coughing and lying baking in the sauna, I continue to work on the business plan I am helping my sister prepare.
With the clearing of the skies, the “Mad Dog” days are upon us making it unfit to spend much time too far away from air conditioning. I sat by the pool today and did not go in for a swim. I reasoned I was already too wet from sweat so I took a cold shower instead.
I spoke by telephone with Hayden, he is with SWAC and they plan to drive to San Francisco for the weekend. Given her recent emotional breakdown and medication regime, I am somewhat troubled by it all.
B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:
1. The Land of Smiles: I do not know if anyone has noticed this, but I have the impression that since the Thais have gotten into remedial orthodonture procedures in a big way they smile a lot less.
2. There is something about a man in uniform: In the study of Semiotics (Umberto Eco et al.) the worthy dons waxed eloquent over the language of fashion. Recently, as I walked back to my apartment from the gym and I passed several of BKK’s finest standing on the corner, I got to thinking about the message in the way cops wear their uniforms.
In the US, the policeman’s generally slovenly outfit and arbitrary arrangement of paraphernalia about their body always signified to me the image of an overweight enraged redneck on the verge of violence. On the other hand the Thai cop is rather elegantly turned out in his starched and tailored uniform, shiny helmet without scratch or dent, shoes or boots polished to perfection while his accessories shined and arranged just so hang in a well-organized arrangement from the unblemished belt tightly binding his slim waist (as opposed to the layers of adipose that decorate their American counterpart’s mid-section). I tried to understand the semiotic message I was receiving from their particular way of wearing their uniform. As I walked on by Nana Plaza I noticed other individuals in different but also equally well turned out attire; hair shiny and perfectly laid out, de collage arranged to provide their precise message to the passers-by. Could it be these ladies and ladyboys of the day and night and our guardians of law and order were sending somewhat the same message?
On the other hand (thanks to the ever observant Gary), in Thailand female cops look like this:
Now don’t you all feel like driving safer?
3. There are no terrorists here: When I left BKK a few months ago, the Thai military, after indignantly denying terrorists could be at work in peaceful Thailand, were embarrassed by police discoveries of caches of explosives. This was followed by a series of bomb explosions over the next few months. In the south of Thailand where this sort of thing has been going on for twenty years or more, there was a succession of explosions last week that rocked the southern Thai city of Hat Yai. This city interestingly enough lies about 100 miles north of those provinces where the muslim majority has spawned a violent resistance movement. It is also a tourist center servicing primarily muslim tourists from Malaysia and residents of Singapore fleeing those more staid locales for the fleshy entrepots of Thailand.
In typical Thai style, the military announced the almost immediate arrest of the supposed miscreants. You see, in Thailand no crime goes unsolved. If a crime makes the news, within a day or two someone will be dragged before the cameras confessing his guilt and demonstrating exactly how he did the deed. In Hat Yai one of the accused terrorists was identified from a video cam showing him driving a car in traffic somewhat behind the van carrying the terrorists. In addition, a mysterious pair of pants that the accused denied were his were discovered in his house. They looked suspiciously like the pair worn by one of the terrorists (not the accused) caught on another video tape.
The General in charge announced that it is inconceivable to him that there could be additional terrorist activity in the city and that the tourists should feel comfortable and safe in returning to enjoy the sordid pleasures of that rather run down but always fascinating metropolis.
The restaurants in Hat Yai feature the regions best birds nest soup made from the nests of tiny birds who roost in the caves on some of the islands in the nearby Andaman Sea. Maybe the tourists come for the soup.
If someone enquires, I will be happy to describe the process of obtaining the nests in my next post,
MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES, THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES and JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:
PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:
I am not sure what this chart means, but don’t you think that is an awful lot of money spent on electing people most of us would not want deciding things on our behalf (or for that matter invite into our homes) had we really a choice? I am sure most of these people would not be spending this much money unless they hope to get something in return. What would that be? I do not think the answer is good government.
1. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
Both parties are at fault.
2. Imagine, today Reagan would be considered a liberal to his party.
3. Department of abasement, apology and correction:
a. Fashion accessories: Before leaving for the US a few months ago with my suitcase filled with wool scarves knitted by the Little Masseuse, I commented that I questioned that Thai’s would even know what to do with a wool scarf given the Thai tropical climate. Imagine my surprise when after my return when turning on the television I was presented with the image of almost every television personality sporting, you guessed it, a wool scarf. So I apologize to the fashion industry for underestimating their ability turn discomfort into a fashion statement.
b. Economists: In my last post I posted a chart and commented to the effect that economists seem to consistently get their predictions wrong or at least as often wrong as right. Alas, I was reminded that David Frum and other pundits have pointed out that Nobel Laureate in economics Paul Krugman consistently gets things right, but like Cassandra no one ever believes him. So to Professor Krugman, even though I am sure he couldn’t care less, I apologize.
Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/
Not only is evil banal but it is often frighteningly realistic and practical.