marcel barang

A sobering experience

In English on 04/09/2011 at 5:11 pm


That ASTV team did a very professional job of it: my interview, broadcast last night, wasn’t nearly as bad as I feared. Everything I wanted to say was there; everything I had fumbled or mumbled about was taken out.
My only obvious mistake, which couldn’t be corrected, was to misname as Bunluea Foundation (มูลนิธิ – munnithi) that bunch of literary parasites that – rightly giving their greed – call themselves Bunluea Fund (กองทุน – kong thun).

But what a shock it was to see myself on screen, to see myself as other people see me!
Looking at the inverted picture of oneself in a mirror is one thing; looking at oneself in usually flattering photographs is another: hair parting on the wrong side, how weird!
But an altogether different experience it is, and a sobering one, to see oneself breathing and moving and hear oneself speaking and snorting as others see and hear one.

What I saw was an old man I failed to recognise as me.
That man in a hardly legible black-and-white t-shirt, reclining on a chair as if he was stuck there, had a funny haircut (self-inflicted), a papier-mâché face and long, big bony hands emphasising the thinness of his forearms. Seeing him last night, I was reminded of a remark made by my beefy brother years ago: ‘You could do with bigger arms, you know.’ I was still reflecting on that later into the night watching Sylvester Stallone spending much of a film clinging to overhanging structures by sheer force of wrists.
Next life, I’ll go for pushups – and in this one, no more t-shirts in public.

I also heard that old man and his at times bizarre accent, not to mention those long gaps in his sentences when his freshly-Cafergot-fumigated mind was groping for the right word or expression: fluent enough for a farang but certainly not the genuine article. Ah well…

What struck me most was the chasm between this senior relative of sorts and the perception I have of myself. Let’s face it: inside, I’m still the young man I’ve always been, thirty years old going on ten. I still nurse projects for the next twenty years or so (while secretly hoping I won’t last that long or if I do let it be without turning senile) and enjoy the present moment more than I’ve ever done even in the exalted days when I plied the world for scoops and the odd air hostess.

Oh, sure: teeth missing, rusty hips, lingam gone into hibernation and the odd broken bone. Well, that’s par for the course. Or so I thought.
Now I know it also shows in the wrapping.
It’s finally dawned on me that when acquaintances at work greet me with ‘Oh, Khun Marcel, you haven’t changed!’ it’s to my attire that they all too truthfully refer: I need a new wardrobe, and a face-lift.

  1. I’m spared interviews thank goodness and need only to try and select a suitably lying photograph to keep my spirits up.
    I haven’t worn short sleeves in years!
    Ah, but the content was what counted, not the package, you haven’t got to fear being aired on TF1

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