My New Life in Korat
In September 2014, Soi Nŏo, the owner of a modest house in the province of Nong Khai nailed a large “For Sale” sign to the door, saying he owed it to the still presentable but aging lease holder to, “move on and look for fresh, invigorated leadership as in my heart I feel I can no longer do the job”. He was, in effect, daubing a metaphorical bed sheet with foot-high letters (that squish up a bit as you get near the end because these things are always trickier than they look) spelling out the words S-o-i N-ŏ-o (he didn’t forget the inflexion), i-s, o-u-t, o-f, h-e-r-e.
I will continue the piece in the first person narrative – for it is me, back with another of my occasional contributions; the falang street rat, or is it mouse? – somehow, the distinction is never made in Thailand. A rat suits me best – that is just a big mouse for Thai readers.
Oddly, to continue the story, the Nong Khai stewards of my dollars and custodians of my wallet were less keen on backing my imposing message on the door. While they had done their bit against my bank balance to hasten my relegation, a handful of downtrodden relatives unveiled a similar metaphorical Soi Nŏo Out bed sheet from the upstairs window, prompting other more stalwart stewards to wade in and tell them to take it down. Whereupon the perpetrators did and the stewards wandered off. So these bandits in my old republic took the sheet out again – revealing another message on its back to the effect that my recently hired young maid and temporary concubine could do a sharpish one too – and the stewards waded in again. The whole routine repeated itself several times over, and though it is safer but much more tedious and complicated to write metaphorically, it would otherwise provide her falang-literate supporters with the most entertainment since Songkran. Let’s face it, if you’ve a choice between watching freeloading Thai relatives dumping in your bathroom from six yards out or playing cat-and-mouse (a small rat) with a hired goon in a hi-vis tabard, then there is really no choice at all. And that is neither to indulge in dramatic overstatement nor implicit comparison.
Much later, as I sat on the balcony of my new home eating dog, as the last of the evening sun filtered through the jack fruit trees, I reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this household during the previous 1 year and three months.
It's a right old mess these days, smashed to smithereens after the total breakdown of all familial and societal structures. Lights are flickering, windows have been shattered, all the Marmite is gone, but there’s another fattened Isan labrador turning on a spit (it’s basting nicely). It’s a dystopian hellhole, though in fairness the worst of the infighting looks over. And now that the Infantino has polished off the last puppy rib, it’s time for a good old clear-up. Brooms and bin-bags out everyone!
The tidy-up has begun in the only manner Mia Noi Two understands: with an attempt to sweep up vast quantities of my valuables into her own sack. My previous ‘wife’ has lodged a claim in the Thai courts for “millions of baht” in compensation from her former falang who “deeply tarnished the Isan brand” by selling his house and moving out – after winning a sort of bidding contest on Thaifriendly.com. It is true that her image has indeed taken a fair old battering, and in terms of positive brand recognition is currently down there alongside Nokia, the Republican Party, and the happy, happy sound of a late night Thai Karaoke show. So in order to claw back some goodwill, the very first thing going to happen in this relatively new regime is an attempt replenish my own coffers in the brazen style of effectively suing her.
To be fair, there is some method in this madness. The Deserted One is effectively confessing that she was teaming up with kickback-happy liars, chancers and charlatans. As big reveals go, that’s up there with Coke Contains Sugar, but it does allow me to paint myself as a victim, and further damage is to be done by rogue officials such as police, lawyers and knowledgeable ex-in-laws. The monies they will pocket are to reimburse their investment in my downfall and to compensate her suffering,” Rejectino tells me. My dollars were meant to build us (her) a modest home, not a mansion and pool; to buy clothes, not jewelry and cars for another woman (I wish in had) – it was supposed to fund her falang-style-nose-job and white-face development, not to underwrite the lavish lifestyle of an uglier (and younger) version of herself and in making me happy. It’s a cynical about-face by my passion-spent lover, having stuck-up for her hairless white whale for years, but my reverse litigation is at least a tentative step in the right direction.
So here’s to an era of fresh fields, new pussy, and an increased investment in Thai real estate. That’s the promise, isn’t it? Though if someone can restock the pantry with fresh dog too, that’d also be great.