A Fabulous Fairy Tale
Where have all the words gone? The words of love and the words of hate – and all the in-betweens – where did they go? More importantly, where did those who spoke them go? Is there some gigantic cosmological tip where we can go and pick over all that has been deposited there over the millennia?
The more we learn about Quantum Mechanics, the more it appears clear that nothing is as we imagined it to be – all that we thought was real is perhaps only an illusion – an evanescent image or a hologram but certainly not solid as we had imagined. Yet, this is what Gautama Buddha has been telling us since the sixth century. Perhaps we are just slow learners.
Since Buddhism is the National belief system of Thailand (approx 95%) I find it curious that Thais are so grounded in Consumerism while believing passionately in their Theravada stream of Buddhism. It seems to contradict all that their belief system teaches – but I can see how it happens with the global spread of commerce and the attendant advertising that seeks to corrupt and seduce all thinking people.
I remember a long submission that Dana wrote, a few years back – he had me in stitches laughing – where he was questioning the value of one learning the Thai Language – his argument being that nobody would even remember Thailand in the future, so why bother. This prompted me to think about writing a Fairy Tale.
Once Upon A Time, there was a magical Kingdom where everyone was happy and life was good. The land was ruled by a wise and good King who loved his people – and the people loved him and his Family as well. In its Golden Years, people from other lands knew it as Thailand and they came from far and wide from across the seas – at first by ship and later by flying machines. The people who came to this land were entranced by the beautiful beaches, rivers, mountains and forests to the north – but they also came because the people of this land were friendly and welcomed all to come to visit – and, sometimes, to stay in their beautiful Homeland.
The people of this land often spoke of a word called Sanuk – in their language it meant fun – because the lives of these people were inseparable from happiness. Some visitors named this place The Land Of Smiles and, after a while, it became generally known as that by many of the visitors who came to have holidays or to open a business – an act that was welcomed by the rulers of this land because it helped to build prosperity for all who lived there.
But life was not always like this for the people who lived in this land – there were hard times when wars had to be fought – but strong men rose to meet the challenges that came with war. They were good leaders and the soldiers of this land were never afraid to defend the place they called home – but there were losses. Many brave men died in many battles of the past – but their land was never conquered by an invading army.
Something happened back in the 20th Century, when rulers of other lands came together and decided that they would begin to engage in a process of trade that they named "Globalisation". At the time, they believed it was the answer to unlocking untold wealth for all who subscribed to this way of thinking – but, like most plans hatched by "those in the know", there were serious flaws in this new concept. It was open to corruption and financial manipulation – and a new term (Consumerism) became the new God of all who worshipped Globalisation.
This Magical Kingdom of which I write, was originally called Siam and was ruled by many wise Kings, beginning with His Royal Majesty Prasat Thong in the Late Ayutthaya period, who ruled from 1629 – 1656. Yet the most remarkable changes occurred after The Chakri Dynasty came to The Throne from 1782 – and HRM Prachulachomklao Chulalongkorn (Rama V) can be rightfully credited with bringing Siam into the 20th Century. But the name Thailand was not adopted until 23 June 1939, under the Prime-Ministership of Luang Phibunsongkhram (born in Nonthaburi as Plack Khitasangkha). Phibun was leader of a military Dictatorship during this period – and was a top-class tactician, graduating with honours from Military College.
This was also the beginning of a very dark period, not only in the history of this Magical Kingdom – but for the rest of the world as we then knew it. The "Axis" Powers (which included Japan) were advancing over new territories with apparently-unstoppable power, so Thailand allowed Japan access through their land to reach Burma and Malaya. There were strategic reasons why they allowed this.
However, time changes all things and hostilities in Asia ended on 14 and 15 August 1945, with Japan surrendering to Allied Forces. A new era began in this Magical Kingdom, under His Royal Majesty Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII) who ruled until 1946 – and was followed by His Royal Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), who ruled from 1946 onward. But these were dangerous years for a land trying to recover from the devastation that had taken place during The Japanese presence. They had practically stripped the land bare of resources and the damage to Bangkok from Allied bombing had created terrible destruction of infrastructure that needed to be rebuilt.
Compounding the problem was the volatile nature of politics at that time with conflicting interests of Seri Thai Party and the newly-formed Democrat Party – coupled with constant jostling from within the Military to take control again. Periods of relative stability were regularly peppered by Military Coup takeovers – and this was to be the pattern that would prevail until even as late as 2006.
America played a large part in providing financial help to stabilise and rebuild Japan and also supplied much needed assistance to rebuild Thailand – a large part of their motivation being to secure a strategic foothold in this part of South-East Asia. By the time The Vietnam Conflict was ended, the American presence in Thailand was enormous – but Thailand benefited in many ways from a growing tourism industry that followed in the footsteps of the US Military presence for R&R during The Vietnam Conflict.
This is probably the beginning of The Golden Period that many refer to in this Magical Kingdom. Thai girls had become a large part of the reason why many male visitors came to this Land Of Smiles – beautiful ladies, who treated the visitors as if they were kings or princes, were everywhere to be seen. Prosperity grew until reality hit home with a "thud" in 1997 – when the Financial Institutions and private investors in homes and property fell like a house of cards. It wasn't only Thailand that suffered – most of Asia felt the effects of this "crash" – whom many attributed to allowing too much foreign investment into Asia. An economy built on credit is unsustainable – but people never seem to learn from history. The same pattern was now playing out in the new Globalisation policies that set the scene for the establishment of a conglomerate of European Countries that would be called The Eurozone.
Even in a credit-driven economy, the illusion of prosperity is often seen as success – the truth being, in reality, that one is very likely looking down the mouth of a Trojan Horse.
The new Millenium came and growth was everywhere to be seen – and people quickly forgot the lessons learned from 1997. Everyone was trying to give away cheap loans and Consumerism became the latest fashion, with borrowers spending someone else's money on new cars, household goods or the latest cell-phone devices – forgetting that the bill has to be paid – eventually. The fact that most financial pundits and "investors" fail to accept (or even realise) is that there is no such thing as perpetual growth. We don't believe in perpetual motion machines – so why in hell would we believe in perpetual growth. Constant growth in any economy is unsustainable.
This is another facet of this Fairy Tale.
World economies no longer use The Gold Standard as a guarantee of a Nation's wealth – it has been replaced totally by paper money which may (or may not) exist. The money that you borrow from your bank may not even exist in any bank – but you are paying them back real money each month for something they have not even given to you. How can you give something to somebody when it doesn't even exist?
I have always believed (like Asians of old) that the only guarantee of wealth is to have gold in your fat little hands or locked away safely in your Chubb. But it does no good to buy gold jewellery – it must be in pure ingot form – but Thais do not like that because one cannot wear a gold ingot to impress their friends. Look, the reality is (and always was) this – borrowers never become rich. They may think they are rich – but the only ones who are truly rich are those who lend. They feed off the dreams of others.
The only Nations with any brains are those retaining gold reserves. China officially imported, through Hong Kong, 835 metric tonnes of gold in 2012 – up 94% from 2011. India imported nearly 800 metric tonnes in 2012 and plans to import another 600 metric tonnes in 2013. Germany also announced a plan to repatriate 700 metric tonnes of gold from storage in France and New York – but, strangely, it will take over seven years for this plan to be completed. There is no doubt in my mind why that is so.
In April 2013, the US Mint sold 209,500 ounces of gold – more than ten times the amount sold in April of 2012. This is also more than the combined sales of April 2010, April 2011 and April 2012. Strangely also, is the fact that US Fed. Reserve in New York and US Bullion Repository in Fort Knox refuse to substantiate questions regarding audits on the amount of gold reserves that are being held. The last audit, and the last public visit to Fort Knox, was in 1953, just after US President Dwight Eisenhower took office. No outside experts were allowed during that audit, and the audit team tested only about 5% of gold there. So, there hasn’t been a comprehensive audit of Fort Knox in over 60 years (NSNBC International, 02 June 2013). What are they trying to hide?
These figures are taken from the Ainslie Bullion Company Report for 2013 – and btw, there is currently a shortage of gold ingots and silver ingots available for purchase in Australia – where BHP/ Billiton are the largest miners and refiners of silver. Here, I am not talking about on-line or futures buying – I mean gold and silver in the hand. Even the small ingots of silver have a waiting period of 6-7 weeks for delivery. Silver is in very short supply at this time.
So, how do you like the way this part of the Fairy Tale is panning out?
There is no question in my mind that the aim of the game is to keep gold out of the hands of the general population – making them vulnerable and dependent totally on worthless paper money (that probably doesn't even exist). Sure, notes come out of the ATM (for now) but wait until even paper money is withdrawn. What will you think then?
Sadly, many are lamenting the close of The Golden Age in that Magical Kingdom of Thailand. Infrastructure is expanding at a fantastic rate, credit is freely available and the Thai Baht seems strong – yet there are signs that the Golden Age is coming to an end for those who came to this Magical Kingdom, seeking all that was so freely being given. Thai girls are becoming harder – not so friendly as before – prices are rising everywhere one looks – and there are many, many more foreigners living legally (or illegally) in the Magical Kingdom. Unfortunately, the wrong types are coming to The Kingdom for the wrong reasons – they have bad attitudes and many have no respect for the owners of This Magical Kingdom.
I disagree with Dana – I believe that Thailand will always be there because Thai people are strong and believe in their King, their Nation and their Buddhist faith. It may not be the same as it was in that Golden Age – but it will always be a desirable place to visit and, for those lucky enough to be able to do so, to stay as residents.
Perhaps all of that gold, that appears to be unaccounted for, may be found in that giant cosmological tip – just waiting for us to go and pick up. Of course – that must be the answer.