Readers' Submissions

Sepia Memories

  • Written by Thai Ties
  • January 28th, 2006
  • 6 min read


Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok

Guy I know, different country, widely travelled, tries to make sense of the lunacy of the human condition – finally his government gave him permission to marry his Thai lady in his country. And good for him. He’s a good guy and she’s a good lady.

Wenbo mailed from China today – she’s pregnant. Now that is going to be a daughter and a half, I am working to be named as a godfather. After all, I can teach her how to be really horrible. Really, really, horrible and surely daughters are allowed to be horrible, horrible creatures?

But, all in the future.

Someone mentioned sepia coloured memories to me due to a previous essay.

The beauty of instant communications.



I don’t know if it was a dig, I don’t know if it was humorous. But here’s the rub.
It is all very well to see Thailand as a place for secour in the arms of whores; It is also very well as a place to sit on a beach whilst ignoring the total and absolute corruption that allows you to sit on a beach and enjoy the yaa E, yaa Baa, yaa Kanga ; It is also a great place to ride on an elephant that has been brutalised, tortured and made to work in an alien environment.

It is a great place if you don’t open your eyes. It’s part of the planet.

Sepia memories are great. No colour.

Yes, I was back in December briefly and have to be back again shortly. It’s nice to be wanted.

But do I want to be wanted?

Here’s a good idea for adventure tourists. Right, you are on Ko Phi Phi remembering that awful book ‘The beach’ – what a joke. Did anyone actually go and see the movie? Did they get a refund? Did they sue?

Here’s what we do ; You give me a sum of money. I let you go with my friends for three weeks.

You get to walk a lot in hot weather. You also get to carry 20 Kg. Plus a gun.

Just to make it exciting the Brits, French, U.S., Cambodians and Thais have been laying land mines where you are walking for the past 63 years.

Some are wooden, some are plastic, some are steel. Some are decayed. All are anti personnel mines.

You see, it rains heavily in S.E. Asia and over time the soil moves, tsk, tsk, flooding don’t ya know, and no-one actually knows where these things are any more. Discussing tap dancing skills is not really an option.

Ideal adventure holiday:- U.S. former super grunts need not apply – no subtlety whatsoever, and they do complain ever so much when someone has the impertinence to shoot at them.

To be honest, I never quite got that facet at all but that is perhaps just me.

Sepia memories?

Once in January 1999 I got back to our place in Pratunam. Pla and I had only been there since the previous November and we were truly enjoying being together. In Scotland we say that people, ‘Click’ – and we had clicked. We were lucky, often things did not need be said, we understood.

Pla got to know the mob that I worked with – and I am sure that she still through gritted teeth would admit that she never ever met a farang like me, ever.

The company paid the rent and utilities, why, they even gave me money. Pla had her job.
To quote an old song, or not, “We wuz happy."

Sepia memory : A Sunday evening, it was the race season and that night was the 500cc from Spain. Two large bottles of Chang, the security guy had coughed with a herbal Isaan cigarette, and waiting for the, “Off..”

Pla said, “Abe will win."

I said, “Pla, he falls off every race – it’s the Japanese kamikaze way."

“But he’s handsome."

I laughed, “Pla, he crashes every race – what exactly has handsome got to do with it?."

She said, “He’s handsome – in Thailand he would win."

I said, “Pla, why do you think the formula 500 is not held in Thailand?."

She gave me that funny look.

Race starts, open beer, light up, Abe is off in spectacular fashion after six laps.

I say, “See, told you."

She said, “Lucky."

Here’s the logic: Lucky? Who? For what?

I said, “Yes Sweetpea."

Sometimes it is best not to pursue a subject with Thais – digging your own grave is probably more fruitful and takes less time.

Sepia memory: Got back to the Soi one time. I was filthy. I was rank. I wanted to beat the first person who gave me some crap about military shit.

I was filthy in mind. I was rank in body.

Here we go – and truthfully – some people might not like me – but no-one ever called me a liar.

I legged it. Eight days had been enough. Many eight days before then.

We got back to a place near Mukdahan the guys got their gear off. Baw was waiting for me and expecting the usual ‘get the weight off’ piss up with the boys.

I made Baw drive me back to the Soi – 700k’s or thereabouts, overnight.

Sepia memory: I sat looking at a bottle of Mekhong, didn’t even want to buy some coke and Da put her head around the door. She looked, then she looked some more. Then she left and came back with Daeng. I put my face in her shoulder and wept. Just wept. Simple, easy, brain pain relief. Daeng stayed that evening, she knew that I would not sleep – she knew that if I went out and got drunk that I would harm someone and in doing that I would harm myself.

Remember that, all you Buddhist wannabe type people. It was a lesson. Truly a lesson.
And to all the guys who have ever treated Daeng as no more than a whore : She knows. She knows about sadness.

Daeng and I talked a little with Da that night. I don’t mind adults shooting each other, really I don’t. Carry the weapon – expect it back. It was the kid shot six times with a hand gun that got me.

The masturbatory cowboys who idolise guns forget something in their peculiar existence.
And that is.

Parts of that child are removed when four grammes of lead at nine hundred and ninety feet per second strike that child. From one metre.

Sepia memory: Pla telling me that guns are bad. Then her dad, (A Doctor) shows me his collection.

“Look at the river boy, don’t mean nuthin’…."

Thai Ties


Stickman's thoughts:

Thais and guns – now that really is a scary combination.