Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chiang Rai and the Ogre

Today I'm in Chiang Rai, which is defined by many Bangkokians as the other end of the universe. But last night I had an excellent prime rib in my hotel, and this evening we ate at an Italian restaurant every bit the equal of those in big cities, at a third of the price. I also sampled the local espresso, grown by members of various hill tribes, and found it exquisite.

I was actually here to see a performance of the Chiang Rai Youth Orchestra ... an interesting collecting of young string players trained by the indefatigable Geertje Podevyn, a crazy but dedicated Belgian. At the last minute I took Jay with me, and he joined the orchestra and played with them on a single rehearsal.

I feel new vistas opening up here. I"ve had another dream. This was in the Wiang Inn Hotel up here, which by the way served an enticing prime rib that night. I have a feeling this is a dream that bodes well for a complete renewal of all I'm doing.

So in this dream, an orange ogre has taken over the entire world; he's sort of cartoonish, a bit Tolkienesque as well, and he lives in a gigantic monopoly board in a lakeside estate. There is a casino on the monopoly board, and a huge wrought iron fence around the entire development, and I can't get home.

Across the lake, a gigantic two dimensional orange tiger stands hard, and an orange lion lies in repose. They are both made of paper and as tall as the skyscrapers that line the horizon. The lake appears to be Lake Rachada, near the Sirikit convention center.

Some school friends and I have managed to squeeze in through the gates, but we cannot do anything until we create a magic missile which we lob over onto the estate. It is a magic missile because it "makes us who we truly are."

The paper tiger and the lion become real! They come to life! I notice for the first time there is another paper lion right in front of us, blocking our entrance to the homes (they are sort of row houses) and the ogre is now affected by the missile and starts to grow into his true, monstrous size.

He becomes too uncomfortable to sit on the monopoly board. He swells and swells and he is sweating. At length he rolls up the monopoly board and as he does so, the parched soil beneath begins slowly to sprout vivid green grass. He vanishes into a corner and disappears, taking the paper lions and tiger with him. Peace returns.


The dichotomy between orange and green is an interesting one. Is this catholic vs protestant, Holland versus ... I don't know, something green? I do seem to associate orange with the Dutch and I am haunted by certain elements that come from Holland ... are they in fact paper tigers? Interesting that the dream should choose a Maoist dialectic with which to address me. Is the dream telling me that "a dutch ogre and his threatening paper tigers will no longer possess a monopoly on my life and will get out of the way so that I can get home (ie find my true self)?"

Or is it something else entirely? It is interesting that the dream came in the stress-free environment of Chiang Rai. Now I'm back as I finish writing this. Stress is once again the normal condition of things. This morning I find that I have once again lent my last penny to the opera foundation, and I am as far as possible from the stereotype of the grand old man/eminence grise as can be imagined. However, in a couple of hours they are coming to interivew me about the Silpathorn Award - (Kittikun Level) which I am about to be presented with. I will have to pull myself together and appear as the pontificating one, the seer, the latchkey to the gates of truth.


Oh, last night I played both Subbulakshmi amd Stockhausen on my radio show. I wonder if there is anyone listening!


  1. There doesn't happen to be a webcast of your radio show?

    Brian A.

  2. You can listen to the radio show on, from around 8:30 to 10:30 Thai time on Monday nights....