Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 346
Dreamers who dream about going to Thailand permanently focus in their research on the differences between Thailand and wherever they are coming from. They forget one of the things that Thailand and wherever they are coming from have in common. Both countries have 24 hours in every day. What oh what are you going to do with all of that time?
and now . . .
Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes — Part 346
Dana Quote Contest #15
"So there you have it Stickmanites and Latin lovers and history hepcats. Young men are young men and pussy is pussy and glory-to-God, thank-you Jesus; Thailand is Thailand. Nothing has changed except traveling there in a silk pillowed litter stuffed with olives and dates and cheese and eggs and wine and baked ziti and calzone and about 300 cannoli accompanied by servants must have been a hell of a lot more comfortable than going economy on Northwest airlines."
Note: we have so far some Dana fans with perfect records regarding identifying Dana quotes. In answer to their questions: yes, a perfect score should go on your application to the Dana Fan Club.
and now the bonus quote:
" ,by attaching a stringent, mordant vocabulary to a series of precise and horrific events, a species of gallows humor which is a defeated man's last pride, the pride that he has, at least, not lost his bitterness. So it is the sort of humor which flourishes in prisons, in the Army, among junkies, race tracks and pool halls," (Norman Mailor)
And expat hangouts in Thailand. Ok, broken-down expats can be funny. They can be mordant — "biting and caustic in thought, manner, or style: incisive." (Webster's). Sift the bitterness and dashed dreams through the filter of wit, add some alcohol; and you are going to laugh until you think you will lose control of your bladder. The patina of barely suppressed depression is forgotten in the convivial bonding moment as two speakers of the same language trade stories. And it is not just silly story or clever joke laughing. It is the 'us against them' humor that makes you feel so smart, so superior. Laughter that feeds the ego and restores your pride and hope. You're a winner surrounded by losers and the proof is that you can be so witty and funny about it. But a little can go a long way. You wouldn't eat just pepper. Pepper is just something you add to your food for spice. Sometimes you can be too smart–too clever–too intelligent–too knowledgeable; and lose the plot. That's when the laughing stops. When you lose the plot. Never stop laughing."
And now the Bits and Pieces dept. Long pieces from Thailand-wide stringers have been a little slow in coming in. One of my stringers is being held over in Burma (oh, excuse me: The Republic of Mallomar) for some reason, one of my journalistic observers (gosh, Mr. Dana I would give anything to write for Dana Enterprises) has disappeared into the arms of a high-cheek-boned shrew in Udon, one of my reporters in Kanchanaburi is sorting through a big bag of pills he got for some mystery illness, etc. So today some of the film stock that ended up on the floor. I've been shuffling through and constantly refiling and gumming this stuff for years. Now it is on your plate (said the warden to the prisoner). Enjoy . . .
Your little hands,
Your little feet,
Your little mouth–
Oh God, how sweet!
Your little nose,
Your little ears,
that shed Such little tears!
Your little voice,
So soft and kind;
Your little soul,
Your little mind! (Samual Hoffenstein)
A useful poem to have on a laminated card in your wallet and to review every time you fall in love in Thailand.
and now . . .
1. "There the passions, cramped no longer, shall have scope and breathing space. I shall take some savage woman, she shall rear my dusky race." — by Alfred Tennyson
Today's thought: It's hard to find a new idea. This sure sounds like Thailand's farang dream to me.
2. " . . . and while our body lay in chambers (Nana Hotel), insentient
(drunk), my consciousness was cast elsewhere–some netherworld of lost souls (mongers) . . . for what seemed like days, I was drawn helplessly forward, until at last I saw my doom–the horrible bottomless maw of some malignant entity of the outer realms (Nana Plaza)!"
credit to the cartoon Prince Valient (11-13-11) by Gianni . . . we all seem to be channeling the same dreams.
Note: word just in . . . it seems that my Chiang Mai–Chiang Rai stringer who is currently being held in Burma had made some smart remark at a border shop that Jim Thompson silk was better than Burmese silk. Obviously intelligence is not a requirement to be a Dana Enterprises story/essay stringer. If you front all of the expenses yourself, can write a declarative sentence, and avoid exclamation points; we will give you a chance. Many have dreamed the dream, many have applied, some have been hired, most eventually go down in writing flames. I fear that this 'writer' of mine in Burma may never see the office dog hump a chair leg again. Reminds me of the time that we hired Chiang Mai Kelly and he was given a restaurant review to do. In the restaurant his server was a woman named Dung and he turned in a nine thousand word report on why licking the feet of Isaan women was different than licking the feet of Hi-So women. That was his restaurant review and the last we employed him.
3. "By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,"
Lines of poetry magic by Longfellow in his Song of Hiawatha. How many people remember the epic poem that followed these lines? Lots of people remember these two lines. Is that all people are going to remember of my work? Two lines? Which two lines?
And Thai teeruks wonder why I can not sleep? Which two lines? How about:
My name is Dana.
Your name is not Dana.
Ok, there is a possibility. Which two lines?
4. Ever wonder about Geography stuff? I do. I love looking at charts and maps. Sometimes mysteries ensue. Example: if you look at a map of Thailand, the Moey (Moei) river is a border river between Burma and Thailand for about . . . ok, I can't read the distance legend on my Thai map but it is a large and a long river. It looks as if the Sarawin (Salween) river of Burma becomes the Moey river which on my large laminated Map of Thailand mysteriously ends south of Phop Phra. Wait a minute, that might not be correct; I think maybe the Moei river flows into the Salween river. Anyway, why is it that I have never read a single Thai centric story that mentions this river? A mystery. Some smarti-pants 50 year expat should do a coffee table sized book on all the river and lake parts of Thailand before they are all drained or damned or diverted or polluted or paved over . . . we do not really need another big fancy book on bargirls or customs or handicrafts or architecture. How about paying attention to the pre-Siam part of Thailand that will still be here long after the flip-flop prints are gone. Just thinkin'.
Note Number Two: I have just received word that my stringer who disappeared into the arms of a woman in Isaan is coming back on the bus. Something apparently went terribly wrong and it involved relatives, money, crying, and a bill for motorbike repairs on a motorbike he did not own. Personally I have always thought that a Thai bill for repairs on a motorbike that you do not own is a gift to the farang. It is a sky arcing rocket that you can not ignore. Make sure you have your wallet and your passport and your . . . go out the window and run. Run like the wind. Anyway, some people think that being the CEO of Dana Enterprises is all cookies and cream. Au contraire my little crepe suzette; it is one headache after another. And the stringers are about as easy to manage as Thai cooks being told Mai Phet. No, no; the stringers are about as easy to manage as herding cats. You do not want to be me.
5. "Get up on the bed big boy. Momma needs it and momma needs it now." Almost every night of my life in Thailand. When will these Thai woman stop using me as some kind of sex toy meat to satisfy their primitive desires? I'm only a man. I'm not made of steel–sometimes a man just wants to be held.
"Get up on the bed big boy. Momma needs it and momma needs it now." Ok, there it is again and . . . gotta go. While I am being treated like a sex object check out this next item..
6. Raise your hands if you just adore 18th century British feminism.
"The pure animal spirits which make both mind and body shoot out, and unfold the tender blossoms of hope, are turned sour and vented in vain wishes, or pert repinings, that contract the faculties and spoil the temper; else they mount to the brain, and sharpening the understanding before it gains proportional strength, produce that pitiful cunning which disgracefully characterizes the female mind and I fear will characterize it whilst women remain the slaves of power." — (Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women–1792)
What? And again: what? Let me see if I can understand the men who make fun of me because I shop for love on the boardwalk in Pattaya. You are looking for a woman like Ms. Wollstonecraft in the Hi-So bars? Ok, if you say so. Me? I'm looking for a fifty thousand watt smile who would say to Mary Wollstonecraft:
"You talk too mutt."
7. "In some ways I wished it had been different, that I hadn't waited for the dream to break before calmly packing and moving on. I disliked the complacency I felt. It took the poetry out of the landscape. Outside the window the flashing paddy fields looked flat and meaningless."
Hugo Williams (All The Time In The World), a young man and a young writer, reflecting on the end of his relationship with a Thai woman. Young when he experienced it, young when he wrote it. Some people can write.
Note Number Three: I have just received information regarding one of my stringers who quit last year because he would not use Spell Check and he would not allow anyone to proof his copy. He has been writing for a newspaper outside of Sanglaburi. I've been to Sanglaburi. The only way that region could possibly support a paper is if drug money is involved. So . . . he wants . . . ah, forget it: stay away from stringers. Nothing but headaches.
8. A personal look inside my life as a writer:
When a pile of my first draft edited hard copies reaches an undisturbed height of three inches I wrap it in copper wire and go to the lobby of the Science Museum in Boston. There I hold the copper wire wrapped manuscript bundle in front of the stuffed platypus in the Plexiglas case. I think you know why. And the copper wire? The copper wire keeps the spaceship people from stealing the words. You knew that. I don't usually get involved in sharing personal parts of my writer life but I can not be the only one who does this.
So that is it for this week Dana fans. Next week I expect to have longer more traditional material because I am going to have a little meeting with my stringers. But first I have to get my Glock fixed. Pattaya Gary knows a guy in the Talay apartments and he knows a guy who makes leather belts wholesale in Hat Yai and he knows a gunsmith . . . don't worry, I'll get it fixed; then we are going to have a little sales meeting with the stringers.