Readers' Submissions

Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 311

  • Written by Dana
  • January 21st, 2012
  • 6 min read


Hello Dana fans, ceiling fans (love that joke), and Stickmanites:

Roses are red.
Violets are blue
Today not one story,
But two.

Who loves you baby?
Dana does.

P.S. Stay away from Fa.
______________

WEIRDEST THING

What is the weirdest thing I have ever seen in Thailand? How about weird/disturbing? Very disturbing. Read on. And you probably better sit down. If you are standing up on the boardwalk in Pattaya reading this on your laptop you should probably sit down on the seawall. If you are standing up in front of the Royal Garden Plaza mall across the street then you should probably sit on the steps next to the carved motorcycles. If you are in Chiang Rai or you are in Hat Yai . . . wait a minute, why aren't you in Pattaya? Anyway, read on.

It was the year the new airport opened. The airport had been in the planning stages for decades. Finally it opened and it was spectacular. There were not enough 'outside-the-building' signs for the separate airlines, and the existing signs were not big enough. The bathrooms were hard to find. The interior traffic directory signs were mostly missing. It was (and still is) hard to figure out how to exit on the street to get a taxi. This task completely defeated my brain. There were no information booths with happy smiling faces like at Narita airport in Japan. But it was all, hopefully, small stuff. The airport was spectacular.

And hopeful. Everyone, Thai and foreigner was united and hopeful in the thought that the new airport was a symbol. A harbinger of the future. A future of modernity for the Kingdom. The airport was seized upon by everyone as a hopeful sign that maybe in fifty years Thailand would no longer be a developing nation, but a modern nation. A happy generous subterranean thought we all shared.

Then I saw it. The weirdest thing I have ever seen in Thailand. On one of the curved wooden benches were two women and a girl. The women were adults, and the girl was about seven years old. Can't guess? Remember this is Thailand. Throw the dice. What is the most stupid weird disturbing thing you can think of?

The seven year old girl was lying on her back on the bench and completely naked. A more public place you could not imagine and the girl was naked. Not a woman but not a baby. Complete your own brain picture. I did a double take. Could not believe my eyes. Then I looked again to verify the image my eyes had sent to my brain. Then I hurried to get away. Too weird, and my basic 'paranoid-in-Thailand' reflexes kicked in. Whatever this was I did not want to be the farang caught looking. I moved away with speed and never looked back.

Questions: What kind of people were these people? What kind of culture is this culture? What kind of country is this? Why do I have to feel so frightened on what is supposed to be a vacation? Why wasn't someone connected with the administration of the airport doing something about this? What would have happened to me if I had reported this? Yes, what would have happened to me if I had reported this?

Time to go. Go home to Boston. An urban jungle but never like this. So, will Thailand, as symbolized by the new airport go from developing nation status to modern country status in fifty years? Maybe it will take one hundred years. You don't see this kind of idiocy in German Neanderthal cave art, or Egyptian hieroglyphics, or wall graffiti in Pompeii. You do not see this in other countries. You do not even see this in your mind. You have to go to Thailand to see this. And later on I had this thought. Suvarnabhumi is not an airport just for foreigners. Didn't any Thai travellers with high standards who love their country see this? Why didn't they do something? What kind of screwed up, unreflective, primitive culture is this? I wish I hadn't seen what I saw. Thailand disappointed me again. It's hard to love a broken toy.


And now, story number two titled:

TO START OVER

I got the call from the local hospital. There had been an accident. Both people in the car had been instantly killed. A drunk driver had crossed over the median strip and . . . . the combined speed of the colliding vehicles was over one hundred miles per hour.

My Thai wife had been driving. In the back seat was our daughter Nim, aged six. They had been to 'dance' class. All girls go through a stage where they want to dance. Every town has some mother who plays music in the living room and little girls dance. If, as the father, you go to pick up your daughter you are stunned by how cute and innocent it all is. You may forget a lot of things in your life as a man, but you will never forget your little girl's earnest face as she dances.

"Look Daddy, I'm dancing."

Another stage that all girls go through is the 'horse' stage. Little girls are mesmerized and hypnotized and just taken over by the idea of horses. Lately. Nim had been talking about ponies:

"Can we get a pony Daddy?"
"We could get a pony."
"I'd like a pony."
"Other people have ponies."
"If we had a pony everyone could ride it."
"I'll bet there is a pony that wants to live here."
"Can we get a pony Daddy?"

Then she would take a breath and hit me again:

"I want a pony."
"Mom could knit the pony a hat with holes for his ears."
"He could live in the garage."
"I would name him Happy."
"I want a pony Daddy."

One morning I was being silly and imaginative with my daughter. She wanted to know if we were going to do something the next day and I said no–I would be sailing to Tahiti.

Nim: Why are you going to sail to Tahiti Daddy?
Me: I'm going to see the ponies.
Nim: What ponies?
Me: Tahiti is covered with ponies. They are everywhere. From the beaches to the valleys to the mountains there are thousands and thousands of running and jumping happy ponies. In fact, Tahiti is a French word that means Land of the Ponies.

My daughter paused, looked me straight in the face, and with big Daddy trusting eyes said:

"I'd like to go to the Land of the Ponies."

There was no family except my wife Lek and myself and my daughter. I took care of everything after the automobile accident including designing the gravestones for my wife and for my child. My daughter's gravestone read:

NIM

Born: June 4, 1983
Died: July 18, 1989

Here lies Nim. Daughter of Dana and daughter of Lek. Loved by her father and loved by her mother.

"I'd like to go to the Land of the Ponies."


One year after installing the gravestones of my wife and of my daughter I flew to Thailand. To start over.