Tales From The Village
– Winky Spills Her Guts
When I wrote last time I mentioned that my dogs had been poisoned. All survived, but Winky, the German Shepard, was pregnant at the time. When her time came there was a stinking black discharge, but no puppies. So take along to the vet who confirms that there’s a dead puppy in there and gives her a couple of shots to induce labour. Nothing happens so it’s back to the vet the next day for an operation to remove the dead puppies. And yes they died as a result of the poisoning.
So Winky comes home with a fashionable bucket on her head, to stop her tearing her stitches. After a week she’s in high spirits so I let her off the chain and she’s fine for a couple of days, until she smashes the bucket and uses the sharp edges to remove the stitches.
We were just going out and the wife notices that Winky has blood on her. Poor dog, she’s ripped out the stitches and there’s blood everywhere and a great lump of guts is sticking out through the hole. A German Shepard is a big dog and if they panic can go absolutely ape-shit. So I hold Winky and talk to her to keep her calm, while the wife backs up the pickup truck and we load the dog onto the tray. Then it’s off to the vet with me cradling Winky on her back between my legs and one of the boys from the village holding her back legs so she can’t turn over. By the time we got to the vet my legs were covered in blood but we managed to keep the dog calm for the whole trip.
This time when Winky came home she had a smaller bucket, having destroyed the vet's stock of big ones. It wasn’t big enough and she opened up the hole again. So at present she’s staying at the vets until the hole is healed and the stitches removed. She’ll have a lovely scar to tell stories about, but unfortunately she’ll never have any puppies to tell the storey to.
We were at the newly refurbished pavilion of the village god for the annual ceremony to pay respect to him. While there the previous village leader (pooyai bahn) invited us to lunch at his place. So there we were sitting around drinking beers and eating greasy pork dipped in chili. It was interesting to sit there with 3 generations of his family. He’s 68 years old and has a full set of teeth in really good condition, same for his daughter (mid 30s). However her son (11) has a mouth full of smashed teeth after a motosai accident. It was really noticeable and mirrors the situation in my family where the older generations have good teeth, but my 7 year old nephew has a mouth full of black stumps after living on far too much coke for far too long.
– Bangkok After 4 Years
Was down in Bangkok to organise a retirement visa. Apart from passing through the airport it’s about 4 years since I’ve been to Bangkok. Didn’t get to try-out the underground system, but apart from it nothing seems to have changed in Bangkok from since we lived there. Went up to Patpong to check out changes there. Was surprised how quiet the night market was. We were looking to buy a cast statue and saw a miniature of what we wanted, so talked with the seller who said he had the large one in his storage, would we wait while he went to get it.
We were outside a music bar so sat down to wait and were going to have a beer. It was still early so no band was playing, so the asking price of 120 baht for a beer just totally floored me. No music; No naked chicks; 120 baht; No thanks. We’ll just be dry while we wait, and have a drink after. So after waiting for a while the bloke turns up with a bigger copy of the statue, but still half the size of the one we want. We were outside Queens Castle (I think) and one fella had a sign advertising happy hour drinks at 60 baht. I told the wife that I didn’t reckon the advertised price would have any effect once inside, so was pleasantly surprised when the chit that went into our cup only charged the 60 baht.
There were a good number of women on hand, but apart from one stunner and 2 reasonable lookers the remainder were either fat or old, or both. Most of them were dancing naked, which basically wasn’t a pretty sight. One old broad doing the shows (blowing out candles) must have been edging 50. Another of the girls was real fat, with a kid rumpled stomach and a scar across her abdomen that even Winky couldn’t match.
– The Kamnan’s Party
A new Kamnan had recently been elected and was throwing a party to celebrate. Both the current Pooyai Bahn and the previous one asked us to sit at their table. We try to stay out of politics and to treat everyone in a similar manner; we don’t want to be identified with any particular faction. The previous Pooyai Bahn was in the same political party as the new Kamnan so was given the job of filling the 3 tables allocated to our village. I love Thailand – the crafty sod sold a table to the wife for 1500 baht. It wasn’t until we actually got to the party that she found out that all the tables were free and she had been cheated. I told her not to say anything; someone else was sure to say all that was required.
One of the tables was supposed to have been for the current Pooyai Bahn, but when he arrived he found that his adversary had also pulled a swifty on him. No table for the Pooyai Bahn and his group, and having nowhere to sit they all went back home. Big lose of face.
Of course these events don’t go unnoticed in the village, so there’s lots of talk. And one of the main spots where people meet to idle away the day and discuss the latest hot topics is the corner store. However the lady who runs the store was overheard to say that the wife of the ex-Pooyai Bahn was “a liar and a cheat”. In most countries the truth is usually a sufficient defence against slander, but this is Thailand so the impugned women has the store keeper down to the police station, demanding either 5,000 baht or send her to court.
The wife gets a call on the mobile so we head off to the police station, where she gives a fairly impartial rendering of the storey. It’s quite funny when even the policeman has a quiet aside to the wife and says “she really cheated you”. After lots of discussion and shouting the ex-Pooyai Bahn’s wife agrees to settle for 3,000. The prospect of going to court is really daunting for a village women, and the chance of her winning in court would be about zero. The charge is not exactly slander, it’s coached more in terms of “bringing disrespect” and would be virtually impossible to defend in court. So we lend the store keeper a couple of thousand and she’s able to pay up and avoid a court appearance. Now whenever I go into the store to pick up a beer I always get a big wai.
A few days later we bought a new 4WD pickup, and to demonstrate that we were above their pettiness we took it round to the ex-Pooyai Bahn’s restaurant to show it off and have lunch with them. Something that would never have happened back in Farangland. There if anyone ever shit on me they would have received loud abuse followed by cold shoulder. But in a small village where I intend to live the rest of my days it’s best to ignore any slights and get along with everyone.
– Korat Weather
The day started out absolutely beautiful; blue skies, bright sunshine and not even a brown smudge on the horizon. But slowly as the morning progressed the clouds started to build up. By lunch time the hill down by the highway had towering black clouds arching ominously over it. And then the thunder started; initially a few spasmodic crashes, but soon growing into a continuous rumble.
After about 40 minutes of lightning and thunder of increasing intensity the rain starts. And it’s not just rain but huge drops that splat into the ground. It’s then that we realise that some of the raindrops are bouncing. It’s hail. It’s funny as watching the kids running round picking up the falling ice. Even the wife’s little brother is out there gathering ice. At 30 years of age he’s never before seen hail and the look of wonderment and excitement on his face is just so lovely to watch.
– Village Politics
When the new Pooyai Bahn took over as village leader last year the previous incumbent’s family refused to hand over the village treasury. A really farcical situation, but they used some lovely Thai logic to explain the legitimacy of their actions. What with Taksin giving each village 1,000,000 baht and income from water rates etc, there is a fair bit of money involved. And with control of that sort of money it’s easy to spend it on projects that benefit your family more than the village.
To force the current Treasurer to pass on the treasury the village council had approached the Amphoe (district) office for help. So today was the day, the Amphoe had sent down a team to conduct an election for village treasuer. The whole village, or all who were interested, gathered at the wat in readiness for the election. And to ensure their eventual success the current Treasurer had trucked in a load of friends from the next village.
Once the Amphoe officials were made aware of the situation they organised a roll-call and everyone not called was told to go home. Seeing the end to their scam the family took their friends and off they went. They didn’t even bother to stay around to contest the election, which was won by the current Pooyai Bahn by 92 votes to 1.
Of course the books and bank accounts still have to be handed over and audited. The betting in the village is that it will require a huge chunk of Thai logic to provide a reasonable cover for the state of the books; probably something along the lines of “the dog ate the accounts”.
Always interesting to read the village tales.