Stickman Readers' Submissions June 22nd, 2013

Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 385

Greetings Stickmanbangkok. com fans, Dana fans, and ceiling fans (Fa and I are drinking): today a story/essay reflecting the always popular theme of Albert Schweitzer and a soi dog with his head stuck in a bucket. Enjoy.


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Dana here upstairs on the balcony of the Hopf Brew House restaurant on Beach Road in South Pattaya with my Thai teeruk Fa and also up here on this two table balcony is an Australian named Strang Boots and his lovely Thai wife Faux. Faux as you all know is the French word for fake. I asked her where she got that name and she said that her original nickname was Lek but she saw labels that said Faux on a lot of gifts that Strang gave her before they got married so she asked the local Buddhists in Rayong to help her change her name.

At any rate, the two girls are shrieking with laughter watching the continuous loop videos of silly animal stuff on the televisions hanging from the ceiling, and Strang and myself are getting to know each other. He has just let it drop that he is 100% fluent in the Thai language. Can speak just like a local. Can pick up the ringing phone and just talk. I ask if he would like to be challenged on that and he says he's a real man, and real men love a challenge. In fact, when Faux gives birth, he is thinking of naming his son Challenge. So here we go and this is what transpired on that two table balcony up over the main floor in the Hopf Brew House restaurant one hot and rainy night:

Me: Strang, say this in Thai —

"Think of the joyous writing in Judah's air of contrition, "Gebt mir meinen Jesum weider", ( "Give me my dear Lord beloved" ); of the wild two-part flute accompaniment in the bass arioso "Ja freilich will in vas das Fleisch und Blut zum Kreuz gezwungen sein", ( "Aye, surely now can flesh and blood atone" ); of the shapelessness — so senseless from the musical point of view — of the theme of the aria "Konnen Tranen meiner Wangen nichts erlangen", ( "Though in vain be all my wailing" ), of the remarkable affinity between certain ariosos and the arias that follow them, — in short, of all the things that surprise the musician the more he studies the work, that become, to his sorrow more and more inexplicable to him, and which he does not know how to perform, for the meaning of them is unknown to him, until he guesses that this music is not self-existant, but has sprung from some strong external force, that will not obey the laws of harmonious thematic structure."

Dana note: yes, Dana fans, the above is one sentence from Albert Schweitzer's book J. S. Bach, a two volume tome published in 1911. All text quotes here by Albert Schweitzer.

Strang: Bloody hell, you crazy Yank; I can't say that in Thai. Nobody can say that in Thai. An unfair challenge. How would you like me to challenge you to go one-on-one in a drinking contest with an abo alcoholic in the Northwest Territories? Play fair.

Me: Well, actually Strang; Mr. Schweitzer's English translator, Ernest Newman, could say it in English and in German. The evidence is that it is translatable into other languages. I thought you were 100% fluent in the Thai language?

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Strang: Bloody hell, the problem with you Yanks is you've got some kind of arty farty, airy fairy, liberal weenie government run by a monkey king. You don't even know what is important. What's important is sheep and sheep dip tanks. Have you got any quotes for me to translate into Thai about sheep and sheep dip tanks? And when is the last time you and Fa made love wearing sheep costumes? Exactly. Translate that college boy. And another . . . hey, look at the TV, that soi dog has his head stuck in a bucket with a whistle up his hairy ass.

Me: Maybe you are correct and I don't want to ruin a learning moment for myself by being unfair. Let's try another quote by the same rockin' cat, a guy named Al.

"We argue about absolute music, tone-painting, programme music and tone-language as about actual fundamental problems, and think it a matter for historians only that tendancies towards tone-painting, progamme music, or avowed musical "narration" were noticeable in Italian, German, and French music as early as the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries."

Ok, Strang, friend of mine, I would love to hear this English translation of Albert Schweitzer's German words spoken in Thai. Your linguistic mastery will be a pleasure and an inspiration to me.

Fa: Look honey, everytime the dog tries to pull his head out of the bucket his ass whistles. We should try that tonight at the A. A. Hotel. The Snickers candy bar maid Sruangsuda Sutithamrongsawat has a friend named Jesadaporn Pattanapongpanich who can make a whistle out of bamboo. We'll stick the whistle in your doggy ass, shove your head in a maid's bucket, and I will take pictures.

Strang: Dana, my new best friend, I can't say that in the Thai language, and I'll bet my wife Faux can't say it either and she is as Thai as you can get. Well, actually she is some kind of aborigine Khymer border mix but they're all the same. Doesn't this German cat Schweitzer use any words like condom, or beer, or baht, or Oz, or crapper, or abo, or dingo? What kind of a guy is not using words like roo, and tuk-tuk, and barfine, and boom-boom, yum-yum, or ow-ow? I'll bet this Schweitzer cat in his sandals and socks knew plenty of Germans in Pattaya doing boom-boom but he didn't write about it in these bogus pain-in-the-ass quotes of yours. Come on Yank, play fair. Give me a fair chance to show my Thai fluency. I worked hard to be able to talk to these little pissant Orientals and I want to get some credit for it.

Me: Ok, once again; I don't want to be unfair. How about this:

"We can partly comprehend this point of view, for the architectonic and contrapuntal perfection of his works gives such deep and pure satisfaction to the mind that appreciates these purely musical qualities of them, that almost everything else that could be found in them must seem of secondary importance."

Strang: I got nuttin', but you and your charming bonzer sheila Fa are invited to our house in Rayong on Sunday. I'll show you how I can throw a boomerang out two hundred yards and as it returns it's last flight moment will allow it to just settle on top of my head. Admittedly there were some cuts and bruises during the performance curve runup, but like I said; I am all about a challenge.

Me: I'd like to see that.

Fa: Yes, Dana will bring camera and I will bring whistle and bucket.

Faux: I will bring the monks.

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