marcel barang

Notes in a time of ebb and flow – 1

In English, Reading matters on 04/11/2011 at 12:11 am

– There are now daily deliveries of free food and bottled water to my doorstep by boat. (Tomorrow I’ll order anchovy pizza with the works.) Also midway in the lane leading to the river, a slum zone: at last, for these poor people, our taxes – their taxes: they fork out TVA just like the rest of us – are for once put to good use. Some men there while away the time by collecting floating garbage. Many remember me despite my newly grown beard and greet me as a long-lost dumb relative of sorts.

– Eight-baht eggs remain unbought.

– Rare sight of an open shop house with its perpetually sullen owner sprawled above the tide watching a TV soap.

– What was that I said about mosquitoes being massively eradicated? I’ve killed four tonight so far, one ten-month-pregnant with my blood. A fifth one is waiting for its turn. The ants are back too; the big black ones cleaned up the kitchen sink days ago and are nowhere to be seen; the tiny ‘flying’ black ones crowd over the least tissue with a trace of grease or even my unwashed pastis glass.

– There has been much improvement in TV news coverage while my back was turned towards Hollywood – and I’m aware this comment goes against the grain. Excellent coverage of the floods especially on TV Thai (PBS, now flooded as well), but then they’ve had for years an outstanding team of anchors and reporters, spilling into decent to exciting debates. Now, imitating the Bangkok Post morning news in English programme on another channel, they have an expose in English on the flood situation at 8:30pm, after the compulsory royal news. Too bad this degenerates into sponsored lies to convince foreign tourists this is the time to visit us. Good luck, suckers. Even the creepy government channel has a summary in English of what the FROC coat says at 9pm, kraphom.

– It’s a strange pen Jang sae Tang used to have: ‘All their lives, do leaves, do flowers spend their time uselessly? Or day after day wait only for rain, sunshine, moonlight, dew, water from man, all of their lives as flowers, as leaves, as trees?’ That’s the first sentence of his ‘That flower with cream white petals’, the short piece I translated today, written in 1982.


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