marcel barang


In English on 18/09/2009 at 11:06 pm


With a little bit of luck, that goddamn remodelled website of mine will be online by the end of the month … or shortly thereafter. Before we leave for Aix-en-Provence and the wonders of Asian literature in a francaoui context anyway, or else it’ll be a major loss of face, never mind the loss of Euros.

[I just got confirmation last night that the trip is on: the tickets have been bought by the powers that be and are in the mail – that makes it official enough. So, next week Chart will splurge on a pricey French visa, and I on a re-entry visa without which I wouldn’t be allowed back. Must do that before Immigration shifts from Suan Phloo to the boondocks early next month.]

So, now that Book 2 of Four Reigns is out of the way into Khun Na’s capable hands, priority has gone in the past few days to building up those pages. Some time ago I woke up to the fact that, for all the forty-six books that will be featured there, an essential one was missing: my own anthology, the best 20 novels of Thailand, of fifteen years ago.

Well, this is now ready, but it took three full days to reformat it as an e-book: I had no Word version, so had to retrieve the file on the current website, and computer programs did a fine mess of it, cutting words, gobbling up hyphens and other shenanigans. And besides, the original format of the book is rather complex. I had to do quite a few eye exercises during those hours of hard labour to forestall migraine.

The last insult came an hour ago: I got the book onto the website, with nappies and all, but it wouldn’t show on the TMC section of the Homepage. Nai Ben will see to it tomorrow, and I’ll babysit him. After which, I’ll tackle the French version of the Homepage, nothing much but that’ll take of the weekend, I guess.

Meanwhile, I’m listening to FIP, and I’ve discovered Skype, for free video-telephone calls to the Saturn ring and beyond. Stupid me: it took this program to make me realise that my six-month-old computer is fully equipped with a webcam. Nobody told me.

Double fool me: Skype-mailing a friend in Switzerland, I didn’t notice I had to ‘untick’ a whole list of addresses and tick that friend’s, and so bothered 163 persons with a ‘call me’ message, while of course that friend never got it.

One of the 163 actually called me, on the line – hi, Doug! – and we had that yearly de rigueur hour-long natter. Two others sent emails.

Quite sobering, isn’t it.

Skype is free – as is this blog – but the price of it is high enough in terms of diversions, time spent, and invasion of privacy. The answer, I reckon, is discipline, knowing when to unplug and unwind.

Talking of unwinding, Siriworn and Khun Noo treated me two nights ago to an evening to remember. Officially to retrieve those proofs of that translated book of his. In fact, to feed me with chicken bits and arcane documents, and the latest Chor Karrakeit: another fount of short stories to discover and perhaps like. Menu: three bottles of beer to my one glass of pastis; Plain Crackers crackers, the very best brand; salmon-tasting Laughing Cow Khun Noo eats by the spoonful; duck pâté (with a knife); chicken titbits; and round slices of unidentified meat with red and green chilli warts which Southerners crave. Siriworn, who is on a Ramadan diet of sorts, even condescended to polish them off! More power to him.

Time to eat – and Skype away: I can see that Anita in New York is getting impatient to chat. Bye.


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