All About Coloured Shirts
Lurchai runs into Somchai at the Democracy monument. Somchai is wearing a red shirt and carrying a placard.
Hey Somchai, didn't I see you wearing a yellow shirt last year marching to Suvarnaphumi Airport?
Yes you did.
So what gives?
It's a fashion statement, this year the colour is red.
Come on now, stop kidding.
Ok Lurchai, if you must know; the daily pay here was irresistible, double that of last year at the airport. Mind you, over there they had air-con and proper toilets, here we have to rough it.
I see, makes sense, get paid according to conditions. So how's it going?
Well, we did a special gig here, gave some blood to splash around, a kind of rehearsal for Songkran then rode around in tuktuks and songtaews because we were too weak to walk in the heat and we're going to regroup on Sunday for a chicken BBQ and somtam near the Parliament House.
Sounds like good fun Somchai, where can I sign up?
Well, that's debatable at the moment. It all depends on the organisers' budget. Apparently they're waiting for recapitalisation from abroad.
What do you mean?
You know, our sponsor from Montenegro is a busy guy. He's in the middle of a refurbishment of a castle over there and it's costing him an arm and a leg. Still better than being here in leg chains hence the need for us to do his bidding. In any case, we don't mind because his intentions coincide with our class struggle.
What's a class struggle, Somchai ?
I really don't know. It's just a catch cry, I guess. They didn't tell us about it, just said that if we shout this at the top of our lungs we'll get a little bonus. The trouble is that some of us got laryngitis and had to lubricate our throats with a bit of home brew. Hic.. It's ok, what's a little sore throat for a good cause? They then told us we may have to sacrifice our lives for our leader. When we asked about a bonus for that they replied that we can't use currency in heaven but we got more free home brew so we can go happy to Nippan. I hope this party goes on a bit longer as our crop is likely to fail this year due to drought. Then how can we survive? We've run out of daughters.
I know what you mean. My wife is so useless, keeps producing male babies.
Hey, don't blame the wife, it's your sperm not her eggs.
Not so, my sperm produced a couple of boys with the mia noi.
Well, boys are good too. They make great soldiers. Some of them are actually facing us down as we speak. The thing is, most of them are Isaan boys, our offspring and it's highly unlikely that they gonna shoot at their own brethren.
Don't bank on that Somchai, they're very obedient, like all soldiers.
You think so, Lurchai? They weren't obedient when they lived at home. I told them not to play around with their sisters and look what happened.
You need to ask? Why do you think we all have extended families in the village?
Ah, I see what you mean; so what, it's been like that for generations.
Yeah and that's why we have to have this change we're fighting for. No more bastards!!
You mean the elite?
They're not bastards Lurchai, they're our benefactors.
Now I'm confused. So it's us who are the bastards and not them?
It doesn't matter who the bastards are Lurchai, it's all about a daily wage. The paymasters are not bastards, ours is a paternal society.
Wow Somchai, you're so smart and learned. What school did you go to?
The school of hard knocks, Lurchai. In Nakorn Somewhere. How about you?
I didn't go to school, Somchai. I worked in construction then some agents sent me to Saudi to work building a hotel for the Sheiks. First it took me 2 years to pay off the agency commission then due to boredom and lack of grog we started gambling and I lost everything I earned. So here I'm back again looking to do something. Please get me a job on the ramparts, please Somchai.
Ok Lurchai, what are friends for. I'll see what I can do for you. How about being in the front row when we storm the brown shirts?
What are you talking about? Are we changing colour again?
No dummy, the brown shirts are the cops, remember?
Ah yeah. Mind you I'm colour-blind from the hot sun while I toiled in the Gulf States.
You poor bastard, I wondered why you were so much darker than the rest of us. Not that we're not dark enough for the elite. We can't afford the whitening creams for sale in the Emporium. Come to think of it, we should ransack that place next. That'll teach the elite not to mess with us!
A very humorous parody indeed!