Posts Tagged With: Missionaries

This and that from re Thai r ment. June 26, 2010

I have returned from Paradise in the Mountains to Paradise by the Sea. That trip was a sad one for me. Hayden appears to be doing better. One can see the growing maturity on each visit. He was still cool towards me, the residue of his mother’s antipathy. Nevertheless, he appeared to warm up to me as our time together progressed although when I left, I could see another disappointment in his eyes.

His mother plans to take him to live in San Francisco in September and I assume with that, that chapter of my life will be closed. The house in Paradise in the Mountains is up for sale. Hayden tore down the “For Sale” sign twice and told his mother that is was his home, and asked where would he keep his toys.

On the other hand, the trip provided the occasion to visit with friends I made in Chiang Mai these last few months. I had dinner with an acquaintance from San Francisco who introduced me to a pretty good French Restaurant in downtown CM. My friend lives in CM and plays guitar in a band that performs in a club called “Guitar Man” located near the French Restaurant. And of course it is always great to visit with the principal at Hayden’s School and her husband and son. The son, Leo, is Hayden’s best friend. Gerry, the husband, is from New Zealand and my source for all things about Northern Thailand, Music and Old Movies. The Missionaries who befriended me in the vain hope of saving my soul are off in India for a month or so saving souls for the “nailed god” and the Southern Baptist Convention. I was also introduced to a retired DOJ agent who lives with his Thai wife in Paradise in the Mountains. I sometimes amuse myself contemplating what a DOJ agent in a foreign country actually does.

Back in Paradise by the Sea, nothing much changes. The condo now offers, for charge, connection to the internet in the units. The free internet connection in the lobby where I am writing this remains.

Since I have returned, I spend some of my time listening to “Old Time Radio” thanks to cuzin Irwin who turned me onto the sites. I still feel a bit of the thrill of fear I felt as a child when the CBS Mystery Theater came on with the squeaking door and e.g. Marshall would, in his sepulchral voice, introduce the nights mystery. That is when I used to turn the radio off and hide under the covers. Now, I still hide under the covers, but I leave the radio…Computer audio…on.

I guess the news scares me more than Mystery Theater now. I have taken to turning off the TV when the news comes on and hiding under the covers.

Ciao…

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Categories: April 2010 through June 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and That from re Thai r ment. May 20, 2010

News from the frontlines:

Two days ago I travelled by bus to Bangkok to try to get some documents notarized and perhaps get a peek at the contending forces in the protest. When I arrived, I discovered that the US Consulate was closed and the Bangkok mass transit system shut down. So, that night I stayed at the house of a friend in one of the suburbs of the city. The next morning I returned to PSOMDROH. As the bus left the Mo Chit bus terminal and travelled along the elevated highways leaving the city I could she the black smoke of the burning tire fires spreading over the central portion of the city and smell its acrid stench.

(For purposes of comparison, everyone should understand that the protest here in Bangkok occupies a smaller area than the Rodney King riots in LA; that the protestors are far less heavily armed than the LA rioters; and, that the property damage is substantially less here.)

In my younger days, I could not have resisted the urge to get a close up look at things, but at my age, comfort is more compelling than sightseeing. I, however, did not know that day was to be the day of the great push of the military against the protesters. Had I known, I am sure curiosity would have gotten the better of my current need for comfort.

I used to attend all the riots and confrontations I could get to. Like the general in “Apocalypse Now” who loved “the smell of Napalm in the morning,” I guess I must love the smell of fear when the protestors first catch sight of police advancing on them. While in Italy during the 1968 turmoil, I tried to attend every march and protest I could. It did not matter whether the protestors were communists, fascists or whatever (In Italy at that time is was difficult to tell who was who). Once I marched with the Communists. I could tell they were Communists because they began their march in front of the Lateran Palace in Rome were the Communists usually begin their marches. They also carried a lot of big red flags. Anyway I took my son Jason with me to that march, wanting to get him an early education of protest and its futility. I ended shielding him with my body from a hail of rocks thrown at the protesters and limped home long before we arrived at the protestors destination.

Another time, also in Rome, I attended a protest by the Fascists against something they believed the government was doing wrong (At this time, 1968, all protests had something to do with the Viet Nam war). The Fascists were much better dressed than the Communists. They were all young men (the commies had a few women and old people along) with slicked back hair in the style of the time, designer pants and fashionable shirts. They had gathered in Piazza Venezia, fittingly the location of the balcony from which Mussolini would harangue the crowds.

The police in jeeps formed a round-about whereby they drove around the plaza in ever-widening circles forcing the protestors from the plaza and on to the sidewalks. One of the protest leaders, a tall burley man very expensively dressed, refused to move from the street. Instead he held his ground and shouted whatever it is that Fascists would shout at the police. One of the jeeps suddenly peeled off from the round about and headed directly at him. As he ran, the jeep followed him across the sidewalk and up some steps where it caught him, ran over him, backed up over him again and returned to the anonymity of the round-about leaving him bloody and broken not five feet from where I was standing. Later that same evening, I had the great pleasure of saving myself from a police beating by shouting “Don’t hit me I’m a Canadian”.

I tell you all this in compensation for the fact that I avoided the action yesterday and returned home to my apartment so I have nothing exciting to report.

Today, the country is pretty much shut down, the banks are closed and what is more interesting all the atm machines are shut down, probably to try to mitigate any run on the baht. Also this morning they shut down the internet so I do not know when I will be able to post this. I assume the shut down of the internet was intended to make it more difficult for “Thaksin the omnipresent” to contact his followers. The Thai TV channels all show the same pictures of waving Thai flags and martial music.

It appears that the hard-line military is in firm control of the government. “Abisit the clueless,” the current prime minister is back into hiding and will be brought out by the military at an appropriate time. I would expect we would see several of the protest leaders who were taken into custody yesterday, “disappear”.

Meanwhile here in POSOMROH it remains as though everything happened in another country.

More whenever….

Categories: April 2010 through June 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. March 31, 2010

I last wrote on Friday waiting for the plane to take us to BKK. Today is Wednesday March 31 in Thailand. I am sitting in a restaurant in Jomtien Beach across the road from the sand and water and in front of the condo in which I have rented a studio for the next six months.

When I arrived in BKK from CM on Friday, I had a little boy who loved me and who I loved in return and had a large house in Paradise. When I left BKK Tuesday for Pattaya I had none of them. His mother (SWMBAAAC) decided to take him on to Italy and then the US and was not planning on returning anytime in the foreseeable future.

In my life, I have lost a child to SIDS, two children to domestic turmoil. Eventually the two returned, one after eight months surrendered by his mother who could no longer cope and the other years later returned through an act of courage and self-awareness far beyond that usually found in an eight year old. And now an innocent little boy wanting little more than security and stability is wrenched away from his home back into aimless wandering from place to place and sudden abandonment. With each loss the pain is deeper but the mourning shorter.

I have moved from Paradise in CM to Pattaya that some say is more than half way to Hell. Jomtien Beach is considered the quiet side of Pattaya, but it still sits squarely on the road to damnation.

No more the well-tended lawns of Paradise in the Mountains or the panting missionaries out to save my soul; the quiet nights broken by the moans and screams as the rodents, snakes and feral cats play out the drama of life and death that rise from the wild lands surrounding the walled gardens of that Paradise. No more the bird songs and flowering trees. I realised Paradise without the screams and squeals of children playing is dull indeed. No more, the tall blond uniformed children on the manicured playing fields dreaming of a world of a Jesus whose only demands on them are to believe in him and to vote Republican. Instead I now reside somewhere on the road to hell, peopled by boney nosed tattooed pot-bellied men worshiping the goddess “poon-tang” and slight pretty women dreaming of their salvation from the poverty and penury of their lives by the wealth extracted from those tattooed pot-bellied devotees.

As irony would have it my apartment is located in the Jomtien Paradise Condominiums. At night I can look out from my balcony towards the lights of Hell (Yes you can see Hell from Paradise.) In my mind’s eye I see neon reflecting like jewels from the dragon’s fire on the beads of sweat spawned by the desperation of desire. And do you know something, for the first time in three months I feel like I can breathe.

_____________________________________________
FROM MY JOURNAL PRIOR TO POST:

FRIDAY MARCH 26, 2010 2AM

Well, it took only 12 hours for the arrangements to change again, for the worse. Now Hayden is going with his mother directly to Italy. He will stay with Nikki for a week and then with Nikki and Natalie for a week in Zürich. Nikki of course, again, he suggested this alternative to Natalie, even after we rejected it a few days ago. I fear for Hayden, that he will be taken to the US and the cycle of loneliness and insecurity will begin again. Or is it my ego feeling threatened, that I lost again.

I am unable to sleep and I tear up when I think of losing him, of never seeing him again. Or, am I just deluding myself, covering up for the assault on my ego. What is this desperate need to “save” the child when my relationship with the mother goes sour. First Jason then Jessica, in neither case was I much of a savior. Now Haden. Maybe I cannot stand the truth. What is the truth?

7 PM

Flew to BKK. Said goodbye to Hayden. Cried. Took taxi to SWAN. Slept from 2PM to 5PM. Had dinner at Macs. Tai at hospital with mother for mother’s tests. I do not feel well.

11 PM

Tai arrived at about 9 PM. Her mom needs more tests tomorrow and Aslon gets vaccinated on Sunday so beach trip off until Sunday night. She told me that if I go back to Chiang Mai she will leave me. I pointed out the difficulty of my position. Cried, pleaded but she remained firm. What to do. Options, choose Hayden and risk losing Hayden and her. Choose her than abandon Hayden should he return. I cannot do that. And if I choose the first option and lose both, what then?

First thing is to delay. Second to negotiate a permanent situation with N. and N regarding CM.

Need to return Nikki’s call. Ask Irwin for advice?

Still coughing.

SUNDAY MARCH 28 2010 1PM

Still in BKK. Still no word from N. or Nikki regarding Haden. No contact with Tai since Friday night. Since no beach vacation also, decided to try the pool even with my cold water phobia. Went to Robinson’s bought black trunks, black sandals (not flip-flops, another phobia, things between my toes) and some medicine for athlete’s foot and returned to the Swan. Changed into trunks and sandals and went to the pool. After adequate procrastination, I sat at the edge of the pool and tested the water temperature with the traditional toe-touch. It was not that freezing shock that usually felt to me like being stuck with a hot poker. It was pleasant. Jumped in, swam my new nautical exercise regime. 5 or more breast strokes, same number of crawl, then back strokes, then side. Eventually got bored, exited the pool and wrote this while I decide to go back to my room and nap or eat lunch. Nap is winning. No nipple girls today. It’s Sunday after all.

Well just received a telephone call from Nat. who handed the phone to Hayden and we talked about Zinky-do for a while and he hug up. Am I supposed to ask what’s that all about??? Called back. No answer.

Still undecided. Nap or lunch. Two slender blond women wearing different colored bathing suits of the same design and looking like fraternal twins have been lying in the sun since I got up this morning. Except for occasional dips in the pool they lie motionless. One could think they were dead. That cannot be good for them, lying in the sun this long that is, not being dead.

It has been decided, nap wins of course.

6 PM

See emails. Blond women just left the pool.

Nat called. Taking Hayden to US. Sad and Hurt. Bye-bye Hayden. Set up with Oo. See emails. Spoke with Tai. Mom very sick. In hospital so she says. Offered to go to Hosp. She said she will come here

11PM

Went to dinner with Tai at an expensive place (1000 baht). She was not very warm to me. Said she was tired. In taxi home asked for 8000 baht for baby vaccination. I gave her three.

MONDAY MARCH 29 2010 9AM

Did not sleep much last night. Played with the computer. Having trouble holding it together. Now I think I know what that means. I feel if I do not keep it all in and if I avoid focusing on it, I can get through the day. That it is, my frustration with being unable to get what I want; my humiliation at being bested by N. and having to explain all to my email readers and others (Mom?); my doubts about Tai; my grief over losing Hayden; my anxiety regarding my finances and domicile; my fear I will not succeed in revenge and obtaining tranquility and so on. I have reached that place where the excitement of the new day is overwhelmed by the despair leaking in from the old.

I guess the first thing I need to do is eat breakfast. Even that produces a mild sense of dread in that yesterday I may or may not have gotten a free breakfast and fear I will be discovered today. (Guests in the hotel on the American Plan have Bkfst included. I do not know if I am also on that plan.) Writing this is good. The absurdity of it amuses me and exposes its irrelevance. So off you go Joey and greet the day. Simple steps will not get you far but will get you out of bed and fed. The rest can wait at least that long. But can my mind avoid its turmoil for that long also??

Decided against breakfast right now. Need to research place to stay.

TUESDAY MARCH 30 2010 6 PM

I am sitting in a restaurant in Jomtien Beach across the road from the sand and water and in front of the condo in which I have rented a studio for the next six months.

10 PM

Another night I cannot sleep. The heat, although not oppressive feels heavy on my skin while my mind whirls in grief and desperation. My skin itches.

Categories: January 2010 through March 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from Thailand. January 27,2010

Yesterday, I drove to and returned safely from the mall. Just before braving the “real” Thai streets, I practiced driving around the subdivision in order to get my turns straight and condition myself for driving on the right side of the street that here is the left. That’s another problem. Not only do I have to remember the rules of the road but I have a semantic problem as well, so I do not know what I am talking about. Did you know the test for a driver’s license in Thailand, in most jurisdictions, consists solely of a depth perception test?

I learned yesterday that they (whoever “they” are) have prohibited the construction of new commercial structures in the subdivision. Turning part of your home into a shop or restaurant is apparently excepted.

The fundamentalist Christian missionaries, that I mentioned in a previous post, who were sent here to convert the little brown Buddhists to the pleasures of hellfire and brimstone, are being criticized for acting as though they are exempt from Thai law and treating the locals like they do not exist. The huge Christian high school, filled with tall blond blue-eyed teenagers and containing endless sports fields, has been willy-nilly throwing up three and four-story classroom and “dormitory” buildings in the subdivision. It also forces native Thais and not people of european descent to pay a fee if they want to attend their charity garage sales. In addition, the school charges the residents a fee for using the subdivision’s own health club because it is located on the School’s leased land. What this demonstrates to me is that the politics of HOA’s are the same everywhere.

On Friday I get to leave this island of western pretensions and travel to Mae Rim and see the elephants, tigers, monkeys, snakes and whatever.

Joe…

Today’s photo: the view from the covered patio towards the “Sala”. During the day when I am not napping, I can usually be found in either the patio or Sala.

Categories: January 2010 through March 2010 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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