marcel barang

Notes in a time of ebb and flow – 4

In English, French on 06/11/2011 at 1:08 pm

– To put my plight into perspective, this bird’s eye view of ten days ago (Day One of Chronicle of a flood foretold). Now, two-thirds of the then dry city spread is also under water.

– No food distribution on Sunday? I heard them shout ‘Lunch’s here, folks!’ in the main street beyond the terrain vague by 12:30, but nothing for the side lanes. Fortunately, my daughter valiantly braved the flood this morning to bring me ‘essential’ victuals, including two and a half dozen eggs I hadn’t asked for not to overburden her! Plenty to give some away to needy neighbours. She bought them yesterday at Foodland, the much depleted supermarket on Jaran  Sanitwong Road soon to be flooded. As we talked in the living room, toes in leftover water, a good-sized snakehead fish came visiting the front garden, and a bleak the backyard.

– My main problem for at least the rest of the month is no tap water. Warning to homebuyers: if you’ve set your sights on a house within five hundred yards of a river, make sure the main water tank isn’t underground. Mine is, so it’s now full of unclean water – and the reserve of fresh water from the jar is getting low indeed, so low the bottom is too full of sediments to be drunk safely. I’ve decided to use it for showers, and had my first shampoo session in nearly two weeks. I can’t even pump dirty water into the house pipe network (even dirty water is good for cleaning walls and things): when I switched on the water pump, it didn’t even burp, deader than the bloated toad I found floating under the table first thing this morning.
Riddle: how did it come in? Answer: it jumped, and must have found that no two toads can survive in this muck.
Yesterday afternoon, Karoon, whose water tank is at ground level inside his house, offered to run a plastic pipe all the way from his front tap to my jar. Reluctant to impose on his kindness, I said, ‘Tomorrow morning, at low tide, it’ll be easier.’ Two hours later, as I call him up, I find he and his wife have repaired to ‘the Siriraj Hotel’, as he puts it. But then, he tells me, ‘Take as much water as you want at my front tap. I didn’t lock the gate.’

– Sealing at low tide the evacuation holes in the kitchen and bathroom, I find soon enough that I’ve done a bad job of it. Some water seeps out of both, though the main flow is polite enough to come through the doors – all three of them. It maxes at 11cm around 5:30pm, three hours after high tide at the mouth of the river, over yonder. That’s when the folks on their Ministry of Energy boat come by: a bag of chicken rice and two small bottles of water. No tap water? They favour me with an extra pack of six one-litre bottles.

– It belatedly strikes me that my translation of Jadet Khamjorndet’s short story for the Post, initially scheduled for today along with the do at The Oriental, must have been postponed to February as well. The least of my worries, actually – or, as the French mangle these days, le KD de mes 6 sous.

– At last! A wet dream. Not mine, nor Bangkok’s. The one around which is woven a funny short story in Chor Karrakeit 52: ‘Khong’s gift’ (Khongkhwan Khong Khong), by Phart Pha-sikorn, is about a young man, Khong, who has a wet dream involving his favourite starlet and wakes up to find the wetted, semi-naked corpse of that starlet lying by his side. A titillating whodunit, or rather whattodoaboutit.

  1. Back to the news headline: CCTV (Mainland China) and France 24 are giving an update (6 November) of the flood situation in Thailand. Both not too off the track, it seems. In the meantime, The Economist, in its print version, allocates two third of a page to Thailand’s current battle in this week’s issue.

  2. But none of those media provide their viewers/readers with a map (such as can be found in the Bangkok Post from time to time) showing the current extent of the flood which, to my point of view, would help the world (outside of Thailand) figure out what and where and how big, etc.

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