Readers' Submissions

The Thai Bug

  • Written by Kapie
  • July 22nd, 2014
  • 5 min read



Is there a parasite in Thailand that affects us? One visit and this little bug get in. I wonder how? Is it airborne (in the smells), is it through the eyes, via the taste buds or (for some anyway) through a little hole a little further south?

I certainly got infected on my 1st visit. It is a serious ailment and medical insurance does not cover the cost of treatment. Whilst the symptoms might not be debilitating they are certainly distracting, and are detrimental to a good work ethic. Too much time browsing the ‘net about Thailand, time spent day dreaming about Thailand. Time spent on spread-sheets calculating the earliest you can retire and the real baht amount you need to live there. Time spent waiting for the next holiday time so you can go there for your next “fix”. Notice how it is time spent, not time wasted. Once infected, anything about Thailand (even remotely linked to Thailand) is important and is never seen a wasted time.

I am smitten with Thailand, but not blindly. I can see her faults and errors just as I can see her beauty and pleasures. I live here in what is also considered a tourist paradise, but that is not enough to quell the power of the infection. All else pales before the power that is Thailand.

Political strife – phhft – a passing phase that worries us not.
Face – Hmmm – OK, that does sometimes create issues, but mai bpen rai must rule.
Corruption – Like it is different anywhere else?
Cost of P4P – I’m one of the lucky ones who are not there for that so has no impact on me.
Travel time to Thailand – that I admit is a problem, 24 hours travel time is just too tiring.
Chang draft – as it is not available here, this is also a problem (but not Thailand’s problem)

So here I sit, day after day, wishing I was there, not here. I want to be sitting in the heat and sweating, a Chang in my paw looking at the stunning sea views. I want to be at the night markets, just looking, just browsing. I want to be on the streets in Bangkok watching the locals in their daily tasks. I want to be there, not here. I want to be there retired, not working. I want to be there rich, not poor. I want to be there healthy, not sick. I want to be there in company, not alone.

Does the infection get stronger if you are single? Do married / involved men get the bug as bad? Or is my case just so bad because I am here alone and she is still there? Oh the “joys” of a long distance relationship! I’m still not sure if the Internet makes these better and easier or if it allows too much impersonality to creep in. The jury is still out on that.

The curse of being one of the working class, damn parents' fault for not being rich and part of the landed gentry. I’m sure I was meant to be born into a rich family; I feel that in my blood. Life would be so much easier then, not having to worry about retirement, taking time from work to go on holiday. Not flying economy – imagine the joys of flying 1st class (cannot compute, cannot compute). Ah, we can dream. Maybe I must answer all those SMS and e-mails I get telling me about all the prizes I’ve won. Maybe I should help that poor Nigerian prince get his money out. Haha, if only. Winning the Lotto sure is easier if you buy a ticket. They say money can’t buy you happiness, but it allows you to look for it in really nice places, or to be sad in great surroundings. Be happy and poor, or a little bit sad and have some dosh? I’ll pick being a little bit sad. If anyone feels sorry for me, donations are welcome – Western Union works here as well.

My next trip to LOS? I think this year is out, probably only in late 2015. That’s such a long time to wait. Can I stretch it to last 3 weeks this time? 21 days in Thailand – sounds like a book title. Sounds stunning to me. If only we could do as we wish when we want, instead of when we can.

I wonder sometimes on the purpose of life. Are we here to make ourselves happy? Are we here to make others happy? I kinda like that sort of Buddhist idea (don't attack me coz I know very little about any and all religions). Make merit by keeping others happy and healthy. I wonder, if it is all true, how much merit I have stored up. Less than I should have I guess. All I know is, I don't think men are created to be alone. Somewhere, deep in the genetics, there is a desire to have a “significant other” to be with, to hug and cuddle. Plus, it sure helps having someone to look after us as we get older. I've been a widower now for 8 years, and initially it was fine. I enjoyed the solitude, the freedom. But slowly the silence becomes too loud, that big bed you enjoy stretching out on becomes cold and too big. The emptiness grows and gets just a little bit frightening. Is this one of the reasons so many older men go looking in Thailand? To fill the void? To chase the emptiness away even if only for a short time. Put like that it might seem sad, but how could it be, if this is pre-programmed into us. We are only doing what is natural.

Well, I have a week of quiet ahead of me as my Thai flower is off for a week of practice at the temple. I can't imagine me doing that even for all the merit it gains you.

Till the writing moods strikes again…..