The Penny Has Finally Dropped
Some things seem to creep up on you – oh, you know they're coming but you tend to put the thoughts to the back of the mind and carry on as if nothing will change. However, Stick's Sunday night column for 21 December 2014 has left me feeling quite sad and depressed.
It is nothing that Stick wrote in particular – more the realization that the end is very near for something that we all valued so much for so long. In many ways, it is unfair to express these feelings to someone who has done so much for all of us for a long period of time. Stick deserves to be able to move on with the next phase of his life – and we all need to set other benchmarks for how we see the new Thailand.
More than anything, for me, it was seeing the photos of Bangkok at Christmas time – and remembering how I always feel in Bangkok at this time of the year. It is such a magic time that I do not experience anywhere else but Bangkok – to be honest, I cannot remember experiencing the same feelings anywhere in Farangland at Christmas. Isn't that strange, considering that Thailand is 95% Buddhist in faith? Yet they pull out all stops to put on the show that never ceases to amaze me and give me the warm feelings that I find nowhere else.
Then I thought that this will be the last Christmas we all will share via Stick's website – and that made me feel worse. The website closing is like having to say goodbye to a very good friend – and I don't cope very well, at all, with saying goodbyes. I baulked at writing these feelings – but I consider that we are all part of a big "family" and we should be honest in stating the way we feel at losing something important to us.
Whether I make it back to Bangkok for Christmas 2015 doesn't matter a great deal – it would be nice and I will do all that I can to make it happen – but I do have a photographic memory and loads of jpeg images and video clips of special times and places. The worst scenario is that I have those to fall back on – but I'm a determined old fart who won't let anything prevent me from doing that which I decide upon (even if it kills me) <smile>.
I have a dear friend in London who is married to a Thai and he keeps telling me that I BELONG in Thailand. Yes, he is correct – I know I BELONG in Thailand – and I have known that since my first sight of Bangkok in early 2000. Unfortunately, I am a pragmatist and I do not allow my (sometime) blindness to the negatives of Thailand's vagaries to impinge on my sensibilities to my own detriment. The name of the game is survival – and it should be so for all of us who love/hate The Land Of Smiles.
It would be easy to throw caution to the wind and to follow pure emotion – as so many have done in the past, with dire consequences. Again, it comes down to knowing yourself well – knowing the things that rule your existence – and not allowing yourself to be placed in a situation that would be detrimental to longevity or plain existence. My dear friend – Khun Loong, here in Oz – keeps telling me that I should go back to either Bangkok or Chiang Mai to find a little condo for rent and live my life the same as a Thai. Yes, I could do that quite easily – if I disregarded practicalities.
The reality is that under the circumstances of living in Thailand long-term it would be financially untenable to have a permanent partner due to the ongoing extra cash outlay. I would much prefer to have a situation where I visit Thailand perhaps twice each year to be able to spend quality time with that special someone.
Using this following analogy from Sanskrit, the unfortunate truth is that I know my living standards would not allow me to accept the lifestyle of a Thai – and I know that plain existence and contentment would meet like Arjuna and Jayadratha on the battlefield – and I would be the casualty. I am not a snob but I do like comfort and good things – including good restaurants, Thai beer and the regular "soapy" – but those things would not be a feature of everyday life, living as a Thai. As I said, previously, I know myself fairly well – and I would not wish to place myself in a position where resentment toward life in Thailand would set in under a restricted lifestyle. Resentment of Thailand is the last thing I would wish to feel – and I know, without a doubt, that would be the result of being forced to live in reduced circumstances.
It is wise to be circumspect when plotting out a course through a channel where you have no charts – you may know there are shoals present but you cannot predict where they may lie – all you do know is that there is danger to yourself and the vessel. A wise Master will not do anything that will risk the safety of his vessel.