Sunday, May 15, 2011

Elections and Bulls

We have recently had the sacred ploughing ceremony, in which sacred white bulls predict the annual harvest by choosing between different concoctions of grain.

It's a lovely ceremony, though I doubt whether the cost of rice futures is much influenced by the bulls' predictions.

I wonder whether they could be trained, instead, to predict the result of an election?  The paper today says there are four real possible outcomes: a big win for the current government, a big win for the opposition, or a squeaker which will throw the balance of power to the little parties who will then tilt the balance either towards, or away from, the current batch of people.  The four possible results come with various levels of predicted protests by redshirts, yellowshirts, and the like.

The traditional barometer of Thai politics is the taxi driver, but I've not taken one in a month or so because I do have a driver.  I asked him who would win the election.  He is, after all, far more capable of an informed opinion than a bull, however sacred.  He said, "Oh, it's obvious.  No one will win, and everyone will be unhappy with the result."

My housekeeper, Pa Daeng, who I praised as a hero of the proletariat last year for making up her own mind and going off to a political rally, recently, while I was away for the weekend, sold the set of La Boheme to a scrap metal merchant and skipped town with a couple of my microwaves and an electric fan.  I am probably the only opera intendant in history to whom this has happened — I mean having an opera set sold off for scrap metal by his housekeeper — though I probably won't list it among the "hstory-making" achievements in my resume.

When the dragon's neck was delivered to Beirut instead of Bayreuth, I believe that Wagner made do with a neckless dragon.  I've had to make do with a messy house, slightly less inconvenient than a neckless dragon in the scheme of things.  Luckily, the set of La Boheme doesn't need to be used in some time so there's time to find an alternative.  Perhaps the next production of La Boheme will be set in one of the sets that we still have.  Bluebeard's Castle, for instance.  It would certainly be interesting to set La Boheme in Dracula's hangout, which that set was designed to imitate.

With the venerable Post and my driver both hedging their bets, it's tough for me to make any sort of prediction myself.  One can always hope, however, that all these politicians will grow up and start looking at the big picture.

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