TODAY FROM THAILAND:
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:
1. Waiting for the Queen
Last week Thailand celebrated the Buddha’s enlightenment (or perhaps it was the King’s birthday or Buddha’s, I never did catch which). In addition to celebrations scheduled throughout the country, a ceremony was planned for the large park area in front of the palace compound in BKK. LM persuaded me to accompany her to watch it.
After the almost one hour ride on the inexpensive but non-air-conditioned number 2 bus, we arrived at the site with thousand’s of others. We found a place alongside a large open area surrounded by temporary pavilions where we thought we would have a good view of the proceedings. In the center of the enclosed open space in front of us, a large stepped pyramid structure, all red and gold, had been constructed. LM said we were waiting for the Queen.
Facing the pyramid was a gold throne that I assumed was there for the Queen to sit in during the usually interminably long official buddhist ceremonies. Although the various pavilions had chairs in them, there were no others in the enclosure. Neither were there chairs for the spectators. Most people kneeled or sat on the ground. I don’t do kneeling or sitting on the ground, so I stood at the back of the crowd in front of one of the pavilions. The general public was not allowed into the pavilions.
Although there were a few people in suits and uniforms with mobile phones pressed to their ears scurrying around within the enclosure, the first organized group to arrive were a few dozen or so military or police, all spiffy in their brown starched and pressed uniforms. Each had hand guns by their side. They took up positions around the periphery of the open space facing the crowd. They soon were followed by a lot of people in white uniforms, many of which sported gold braid. These people milled about aimlessly, now and then bowing and weiing to each other. Then the band arrived, they had white uniforms also, only the conductor had braid, however. It was red. They marched around a bit but did not play music. Their instruments were all silver, unlike American bands that often mix gold and silver-colored ones.
Next to arrive was a squad of soldiers dressed in white wearing white metal helmets with gold spikes rising out of the top. They carried rifles. You know that it is a serious ceremony when guys with gold spikes rising from the tops or their head arrive carrying guns. Their job seemed to require them to be placed by their officers around the grounds in teams of two and to remain standing there without moving a muscle no matter what happens. Their fortitude was demonstrated when one or another of their officers would march up close behind each trooper and goose him. The statue soldiers did not flinch. I watched this in amazement for a while, until I realized that they were not goosing them but grasping the bottom of the troopers jacket and pulling it down to remove wrinkles.
I never understood why many of the worlds militaries maintain squads of similar types of statute soldiers. If anything happens are they still required to stand immobile? Why not use real statues?
After this, every few minutes or so, a limousine would drive up and disgorge a white uniformed person with lots and lots of gold braid. From among them, Princess LuckyGirl the current Prime Minister and sister to the deposed, exiled, fugitive Prime Minister Thaksin the Terrible, with her entourage emerged to a smattering of applause. She also had a white uniform, but I did not see any gold braid. She is not really a Princess and her name is not LuckyGirl. I just call her Princess because she is the sister of the man who actually runs the country from exile. Her real name is Yingluck. Ying in Thai refers to a young person, usually female and luck is well,…luck, and after all, she could be considered very lucky being born rich and then elected Prime Minister without ever holding a real job before.
She appears to be a tall woman towering over most of the men clustered around her. Either that or she just likes to be surrounded by short men. Better to see what is going on; probably a good idea for a Prime Minister, especially in Thailand.
After about 10 limousines let out their passengers, we stood waiting for the Queen and watched as thunderstorms moved across Bangkok toward where we were assembled. The thunderstorms arrived before the Queen and pelted us with their fury. Many spectators wisely brought umbrellas. I had not. Along with several other of the unprepared, I sought refuge beneath the banner attached to the side of the nearest pavilion.
When the rains let up a bit, the Queen arrived in a large gold limousine that seemed to be a cross between a sedan and a SUV. Following her vehicle were about 10 bright red limos. I do not know why they followed her, who was in them or why they were all red. Since the rain prompted the removal of the outdoor chair or throne, they ignored the pyramid and drove directly to a pavilion at the back of the enclosure and stopped. There then seemed to be a lot of rushing about and bowing and more weiing. Apparently, the Queen, unseen to me and most of the other spectators, disappeared into the pavilion and out of the rain.
I signaled to LM that it was time to go. Since the ceremony would be hidden from view, I believed there was no more to see and besides I was wet and tired. We made our way through the throng to the exit only to find it gated and guarded by some of the sidearm wielding, brown shirted soldiers who told us we could not leave until after the Queen does.
This upset me very much. Here I was drenched, 72 years old, exhausted from standing with nowhere to rest and trapped like a member of the band on the deck of the Titanic. I began to panic. LM recognizing my distress, dragged me back to where we had spent the last hour in the rain and tried to calm me down by suggesting that I sit on the sopping wet ground until I felt better. Meanwhile a very short Thai woman sidled up to me and attempted to pick my pocket and one of the brown shirts insisted that I remove my hat out of respect to the Queen who I could not see and now was convinced had never arrived. (To be continued, perhaps)
SWAC said that Hayden arrives in Thailand for summer holidays on June 12. After that I am not sure about the schedule except that at the end of July or early August I am planning to accompany Hayden to Italy and then back to the US. I hope to be able to stop off on the East Coast for a few days to see my daughter and go for a ride on Terry’s sailboat.
Since I wrote the above paragraph, Hayden arrived in BKK and I reprised my nanny duties. After one day, despite the apparent success of my exercise regime in restoring some sense of vigor to my aging body, I was exhausted. SWAC agreed to relieve me and keep him with her for the evening at AVA. I am sure it will be more interesting for him, music, noise, pretty, sweet-smelling young women hugging him whenever he walks by. It could be worse.
My current travel schedule is to depart for Italy about July 15 and remain there for two weeks. SWAC and LM if she decides to travel with me will go to Sacile and Tamil just north of Venice at stay at the farm where Hayden and I spent a month together. Nikki, Hayden and I plan to travel to Naples and then by boat to Sicily for a week; I to visit relatives in Cannicatti outside of Agrigento and Nikki friends in Catania. None of this will probably happen but I like to write about it anyway.
B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:
1. Gaga over Rolex:
During her stay in Thailand for a performance, Lady Gaga tweeted that she, “Might buy a fake Rolex.” The Thai agency in charge of dealing with counterfeit goods, demanded an apology and threatened to launch a campaign against her appearance for insulting Thailand and interfering with their effectiveness in their fight against piracy. They also logged an official complaint with the US government.
When faced with almost universal ridicule based on the common knowledge that fake Rolex’s and just about any other brand of anything are blatantly sold by Thai’s on every main street in BKK, the agency proved that their effectiveness battling the illicit trade by promptly and publicly busting a dealer who openly sold fake watches for over 5 years. As expected, the dealer was a foreigner. The thousands of Thai purveyors in counterfeit products continue on without fear of official interference.
2. Your morning coffee:
In Singapore, a maid mixed her menstrual blood into her employers morning coffee in hopes that it would make him treat her better. When the employer discovered this, he had the maid arrested for assault.
(I do not see what he is complaining about, all that extra iron I am sure made him feel better. It was free too.)
3. So Gay:
Also in Singapore a man named Gay was accused of sexually harassing a woman.
This passes for news in Singapore.
4. It may or may not be difficult to comprehend:
In Thailand applicants for an entry-level job with the police department paying all of $250 per month, paid up to$10,000 each to a gang to provide them with the answers on the entrance exam.
According to the news reports, the exam takers received the answers relayed from gang members to radio receivers hidden “deep” within their private parts.
I still do not understand either why or how. Perhaps the East is even more inscrutable than we ever imagined.
Every once in a while I believe it is worth returning to contemplate Tomyris and the Massegetae.
“Now listen to me and I will advise you for your good: give me back my son and get out of my country with your forces intact, and be content with your triumph over one-third of the Massagetae. If you refuse, I swear by the sun our master to give you more blood than you can drink, for all your gluttony.”
This was Tomyris Warrior Queen of the Massegetae’s response to Cyrus the Great, Emperor of Persia, conqueror of the greatest empire of the ancient world and leader of the largest and most technologically advanced army of the time, after he demanded that Tomyris and the Massegetae surrender to him. Cyrus refused Tomyris’ advice. So, she personally led the charge of her forces that destroyed his army. After her victory, she searched the battlefield herself until she found Cyrus’ body, then she cut off his head and made his skull into her favorite goblet.
This leads me to conclude that one should never mess with a woman named Tomyris, or for that matter a Massegetae who some ancient historians believe became the Huns. I heard that there is a biker gang in South Dakota named the Massegetae whose leader is a six-foot six-inch transsexual named Tomyris. One is well advised to avoid visiting Mt. Rushmore.
For those interested in learning more about the Massegetae, this is what the ancient Greek historian Herodotus had to say about them:
“In their dress and mode of living the Massagetae resemble the Scythians. They fight both on horseback and on foot, neither method is strange to them: they use bows and lances, but their favorite weapon is the battle-axe. Their arms are all either of gold or brass. For their spear-points, and arrow-heads, and for their battle-axes, they make use of brass; for head-gear, belts, and girdles, of gold. So too with the caparison of their horses, they give them breastplates of brass, but employ gold about the reins, the bit, and the cheek-plates. They use neither iron nor silver, having none in their country; but they have brass and gold in abundance.”
“The following are some of their customs; – Each man has but one wife, yet all the wives are held in common; for this is a custom of the Massagetae and not of the Scythians, as the Greeks wrongly say. Human life does not come to its natural close with this people; but when a man grows very old, all his kinsfolk collect together and offer him up in sacrifice; offering at the same time some cattle also. After the sacrifice they boil the flesh and feast on it; and those who thus end their days are reckoned the happiest. If a man dies of disease they do not eat him, but bury him in the ground, bewailing his ill-fortune that he did not come to be sacrificed. They sow no grain, but live on their herds, and on fish, of which there is great plenty in the Jaxartes. Milk is what they chiefly drink. The only god they worship is the sun, and to him they offer the horse in sacrifice; under the notion of giving to the swiftest of the gods the swiftest of all mortal creatures.”
I have a few concerns and questions about the Massegetae life-style:
1. How does one have one wife held in common? Does it mean that you can only sleep with one woman each night?
2. How old do you have to be before they come for you and boil you up with a cow or two? Brisket of Pookie?
3. How pissed off with your lot in life would you be if you were forced to live on beef, fish, sour milk and a grandfather or grandmother now and then? Enough to want to go and beat the shit out of someone, I would imagine.
A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
Graphic unavailable at this time.
After almost 100 years of fighting against the will of the people, the wealthy near their goal. Only Obama stands in their way. I doubt whether that will prove to be much of a barrier.
B. Terry Petrillo on her 94th birthday:
Terry accompanied by her daughter MaryAnn.
POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:
Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/
Your elected representatives at work for you:
For this you elect them and pay them too.
By the way, who started the rumor that Republicans opposed big government? Republicans seem mostly to want to get government out of the corporate board room and into the bedroom [not yours of course, I am sure you would never do anything to require them to go there].
“Free government cannot long endure if property is largely in a few hands and large masses of people are unable to earn homes, education, and a support in old age.”
Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President of the United States.
Hayes, a Nineteenth Century gentleman and Republican President of the United States, would be called a socialist today by FauxNews, Tea Party advocates and members of the current Republican Party. I guess you can include Hayes along with Reagan, Eisenhower, T. R. , and Lincoln as Republican Presidents that would be shocked at how far their Party has fallen from the path they believed they had set for it.
Q. What do woman want? A. How about being listened to once in a while.
Photograph of the Amazon the “Lungs of the Planet,” provided by Phillip who, bless his heart, has an eye for beauty despite his fervent belief that private enterprise has the inherent right to inflict black lung disease on the earth’s respiratory organs.
Note: look closely at the upper right side of the photograph. Is that a shadow or is a jaguar sitting on the rock?