Wednesday, April 15, 2009

So Just Look at them and Sigh....

The street I live on is alive with activity this evening. After the rioting, the burning buses, the soldiers, and the near collapse of the country ... comes the revelry. It's Songkraan, the Thai New Year, when you are allowed to soak everyone you see with water and no one can complain. It's a blessing. It washes away the past.

My street is a curious one. I live in a sheltered cul-de-sac; not three minutes' walk away is the home of the prime minister. But cutting through a parking lot brings me to an alley containing an exclusive girlie club catering to Japanese, and then I reach the strip of the art bars: the Degas, the Renoir, the Mondriaan, etc. etc. The hookers are out in force in front of each bar, dousing each other and passersby with neon-colored water pistols and plastic buckets. Screaming and laughing and getting their teeshirts very very wet.

It is pretty much impossible to tell that the country has narrowly escaped plunging into civil war.

But then, this culture is really not one for history ... not true history anyway. It's a culture that lives in the moment. If you ask a Thai kid for a history lesson, you get something that sounds remarkably like it was spun from the fabric of fairy tale. And once a year, we wash away the past with water pails and shrieks of glee.

Could we not stop for a moment to connect a few dots?

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