marcel barang

The Sea of Milk: preview

In English on 12/08/2009 at 10:27 pm


Today being HM the Queen’s birthday was Mother’s Day in Thailand. It brought me freshly ironed shirts, courtesy of my smiling daughter who was in a hurry to go places with her number-three big brother Top, the well-know Thai Inter (almost) captain. So I took time out away from Four Reigns and tried my hand at The Sea of Milk for a lark.

Did I say high-octane prose? Have a look.

1 – The thoughts and dreams labyrinth of the mountain range

The first morning, Joom invited Nipha to sip fragrant freshly grounded and roasted coffee in orange china cups engraved with motifs of water-disporting nagas. Wind gusts bearing particles of sand from the riverbank spouted forth like scents of fountains from bodhisattva heaven in BE 2408 (1865). The lush fresh lawn around the bungalow was a radiant Buddhist vision that had the appearance of a lotus flower on the skin of a lake the shade of jasmine, and this stirred the memory of his doubts awake in three ways: in which part of the mountain were fountains set that shot up and fell back like the brainwaves of Peking Man? Had Thao Hung and Nang Ngorm Muan’s ancestors gathered for the primeval ceremony of water pounding or not? And for what purpose had Grandma Ramian told him to look back to history of the recondite kind?

There were two kinds of fountains. Joom knew that the one was to be found on the crust of Planet Earth in one million and sixty thousand places, the other on a computer screen sprouting out of a fibreglass cable. The first kind of fountain shot straight into the air and then bowed and dropped down as if to show respect to the universal Buddha, sometimes as if to think kindly of the ancestral lines of all species. People’s spiritual lives whirled like cart axles in the countries on Planet Earth’s crust as it twirled along in the expanse of a huge sea of white. As for the other kind of fountain, it squeezed itself into a tight space of zero point zero millimetre that couldn’t see the outside world. It sparkled forth like the thousands of glassfish scales a ninety-six-year-old rice-farming woman scraped off and poured into jars for fermented fish during the season overflowing waters flew past rice rubble land at the beginning of BE 2433 (1890).

On public holidays, Joom looked into the beautiful fresh reflections of history Grandma Ramian had told him. Of course he knew it was history of the recondite, insidious variety that government leaders order to be written. This mental bend caused his consciousness of being part of an ancestral line of the species to burst open and flow out. It was as if Grandma’s voice was clamouring, “History is nothing but the nationalistic tales of those who are intent on using words devoid of the truths of the soul and preventing any understanding of what it is to be truly human. Sometimes history is intensely valuable for its drops of sweat and tears, but the history we mumble with gaping mouths and learn by rote is caught in an acoustic square to be memorised without end. It is concocted to prevent humanity from feeling that there is equality in matters of society, culture and economy and that there are layers of profits in politics through moves both obvious and concealed. Of course, showing benevolence on the basis of making history into something which is other than the story of local people’s lives and fate in a past that had equality is a recondite way of distorting the definition of history meant to deceive and pretend that sinks deep and dire roots. Do you know? The evil of deception in distorted history is that it gives rise to a collective sense of distrust. Legitimacy is built to cover up insincerity between government leaders and the people being governed by having the numinous legerdemain of god-kings from the sacred epics worded into drastic commands past the throats of Hindu Brahmin priests besides wholesome praises elevating one above everything, intimidating honest people in order to nurture power, reap profit and grow affluent from the proceeds of tens of thousands of rai of land and issuance of mining and forestry concessions, and by swapping goods with people from the West who pour into the land in an uninterrupted flow. Whoever objects in the name of the freedom of mankind and the existence of genuine national history is to be summarily dealt with. For the said reasons, intellectuals and politicians are killed like animals by the wayside. Alleging the existence of distorted history for the unity and security of the nation-state is thus nothing but an outer skin wrapping maggots and excrements offensive to the eye. Oh, Thaen the Ghost, nowadays the swarm of maggots in those excrements are only starting to burst ordinary cells before they spew forth to extinction point according to the three characteristics of existence of the Buddha doctrine, because nothing is immortal. Even in the near future the bad feelings between kindred and ethnic in the nation-state history of the modern era will change. No contempt can make kindred mature enough to reach the freedom of the collective soul’s ultimate truth. But distorted history which has been created without thinking of freedom and human worth from the past will still deceive and gnash at the flesh and soul of government leaders who swim around in the whirls of white seawater until the primeval ceremony of water pounding takes place again on a night when moonlight falls straight down like a shower of stars.”

Grandma Ramian’s words – distorted history was ordered to …

Frankly, I reach my limits here and don’t feel too confident about the accuracy of my translation: I had to simplify, see, and guess a lot, and these eight hundred words took me nearly eight hours to bring forth, with much parturition pains. No idea who Thao (Lao prince) Hung, Nang (Mrs) Ngorm Muan and Thaen the Ghost are, but will soon find out I suppose, as I will go on reading, of course.  


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