Readers' Submissions

From the Formicary – Dragons in the Formicary

  • Written by Markin
  • September 17th, 2013
  • 6 min read

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The Strip Gogo Bar Bangkok



There is a growing body of hard evidence to be found on the internet that an association with Thailand will result in your life being colonised by Thailand and resultant gecko and Komodo dragon issues. So, if for no other reason, STOP reading this NOW; you’re only collaborating with the process of colonisation.


Oh well, you were warned.


It is apparently 5,930 air miles from London to Bangkok. How do I know? I looked it up on the internet. What would I have done 25 years ago? Found a book, I guess. Would I have bothered? I don’t think so. Such is the immediate access that the internet gives us to hard evidence.


Is it 5,930 air miles from London to Bangkok? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s 5,929 miles or 5,931, I don’t know – but I trust. It’s probably around 5,930.


And of course there is instant access over the 5,930 miles between London and Bangkok via the ‘phone or SMS or SKYPE (although this is still not the case in the Formicary – see here)
And of course there is Mr. Weston Union’s same day service.


The tentacles of Thailand reach out and often clutched in a vice-like grip is a Komodo dragon which will be dropped straight into your lap.


Komodo dragons always arrive unexpectedly. They are never welcome and cannot be ignored. A komodo arrived in the Formicary last week.


Ant is a frugal person by nature but she had increasingly been adding only green vegetables to her Thai dishes. This was beyond her normal frugality. Something was up.


As an aside, here is THE basic receipt for ALL Thai dishes:


1. Take a wok add one teaspoon of oil, heat until flames appear


2. Take three large bulbs (not cloves) of garlic – peel and crush and add to the oil


3. Take a double handful of chilies – ‘top and tail’ and chop and add to the oil and garlic


4. (optional) Add green vegetables


5. (optional) Add some meat of some kind (add meat that you would not feed to your dog if you want the authentic Isaan/ Loa experience – you can substitute insect/frog if wish that extra special Isaan/Loa experience)


6. (NOT optional) repeat stage 3


7. (NOT optional) add fish sauce


8. (NOT optional) repeat stages 3


9. Serve


10. Leave on the plate


11. Go out and buy a Big Mac and fries as a real treat (just like Thai’s do).


12. I care about Ant and I needed to know what was up, as evidenced by the repeated use of the ‘adding green vegetables only’ option.


By the way I do not lie or exaggerate.


I will spare you the details of the three days of ‘discussion’ necessary to get at ‘what was up’ (really three days). Save to say that the phrases, “What you talk about?” AND “I not lucky same Surnam/Poon…(substitute any Thai female nick-name if their husband is dead) were oft repeated by Ant.


I care about Ant so I persisted.


It transpires that ‘what was up’ was that her eldest son had a spot of bother back in Bangkok some months ago. He’d been involved in an accident; driving his BIG black motorbike back to home (the real ant nest in Ding Daeng), from his night’s work in his chosen profession of night-club bouncer. He’d hit a pedestrian putting that person into a coma. Ant says it was not her son’s fault and the pedestrian was drunk and that witnesses testify to this. Ho hum, I don’t care. What is true is that the police became involved and eldest son did not have insurance – hey, why would you bother with insurance?


Smile. “Insurance? Me good driver. Farang stupid mak mak. Buddha blah blah blah. Me good driver. No person drink, take ya-ba in Thailand. You look Thailand down. Thai man number one driver. Insurance? What you talk about? Farang man crazy plenty. Farang woman same dog – f@*k for free. Me good driver – no problem… Where can I meet farang woman? You have sister? I have sister. …You want meet my sister? ” Smile.


Hence £3,500 had been required plus an ex-gratia payment to the benevolent fund.


Ant had paid via the tireless services of Mr. Weston Union. Where she got all the dosh I don’t know (that will have be the subject of future discussion – I’ll leave 6 months available in my diary). But £1,500 had been funded by hocking some of ‘the gold’ at a local pawn shop here in sunny London (the rest having been previously hocked to the Chinese man in Ding Daeng – which reminds me I must write about the beating with wooden clubs and Ant’s youngest son or should I write about the eldest son and possession of a revolver on Sukhumvit. The latter is a good one – a real hoot, honest. Yes, that will be worthy submission).


Ant’s frugal eating was required by the monthly interest payments on the loan – with of course no payment in relation to the capital sum. The gold was not in the Formicary! And £1,500 was required to get it back. Ho hum. What to do?


I care about Ant.


Ant withdrew all of her savings – £500 (“I not lucky woman same Tig. Don’t talk about my sons. I die for my King etc”). The savings were being made for the wedding in 18 months time of the eldest son. I withdrew £1,000 from my meagre savings (Note: anyone considering pursuing legal action against me please note the word meagre). Ho hum.


‘The gold’ is now back – snuggling and safe at home in the Formicary. (Till the…)


Perhaps it is 5,930 air miles from London to Bangkok. Perhaps its 5,929 miles or 5,931, I don’t know. It’s probably around 5,930. You can also look up “serious motorcycle accidents in Thailand”, I did. But then I wondered why? I don’t trust them. Remember, the story of Ant’s son – the accident was not an accident! There is no official record of it ever having taken place. The official reality is that it did not take place – that becomes the reality of Thailand! Or perhaps I’m just a cynic and if for some reason you have cause to look up “serious motorcycle accidents in Thailand in 2013”, just add one.


A while back a friend of mine (Manny) said an old Thai man had said to him, “Don’t get into a big Thai boat.” We puzzled over this seeming pearl of Zen wisdom. Then it clicked! For ‘boat’ read ‘family’.


I would add: check out the other passengers in ‘the boat’, make sure you have a life-belt, personal survival rations and possibly a harpoon before you get onboard.


Ant is my legal wife and we have been married for thirteen years. A success.


What next? More geckos and komodos?


That’s not all folks.