Hello all, it is Martino here. Your friendly farang in Bangkok.
I wrote this journal entry yesterday using my Blackberry while sitting near the fast food complex at the corner of Sukhumviht and Soi 61.
I was just wandering past UNESCO. There was a demonstration going on outside the building. Crazy! Lots of megaphoning, parading and dandy canary yellow polos. I saw big placards and signs being held aloft heads that reminded me of some experiences I’ve had recently.
A few weeks ago, I was in Phnom Penh International Airport. I was very excited! They had free internet stations so I could gaze into the oracle that is New Mandala till my flight. Occasionally when I looked away from the screen, I noticed that there were big posters of this temple with a Cambodian flag super imposed above it. To be honest, I thought the use of photoshop could have been better. But then I realised, maybe there was a reason for the flag above this temple! It reminded me of the game ‘Age of Empires’ PC game. It was a virtual ‘Clash of Civilisations.’ Like everything else from the 90s, it was pretty cool too.
A few weeks before a few weeks ago, I was at Kantharalak in Thailand’s Sisaket province for their local rainbow parade. Lots of rice there. While looking for the bar, this farmer started waving his hands at me. He wasn’t a fan of Martino. I cried. I had no idea what he was talking about. If anyone was taking photos of me, as most tend to, the photos would require significant photoshop editing. The farmer seemed to want me to go somewhere. He grabbed my arm and we went to the bus stop. ‘OK’ I thought, he must have been one of those anti-rainbow people. He was just wearing a scarlet red number that matched his complexion. Next thing I know, the farmer and a man at the bus stop were arguing under this sign saying ‘Khao Phra Wihan.’
“What is this Khao Phra Wihan?” I thought while they fought over me. Eventually the man from the bus station stopped talking to the farmer. My sun burnt farmer friend was glum. I wanted him to cheer up, so I gave him some Nicorette gum. We sat at the bus station for a while, chewing and contemplating. He started making gestures with his arms that looked like he was firing a gun. I thought he was angry about me missing the rainbow parade. ‘There’s no need to get bent out of shape’ I said.
As we were leaving the bus station, I saw a big poster saying ‘Khao Phra Wihan’, and it depicted the same temple I more recently saw at Phnom Penh International Airport! Though this poster was faded and there was no photoshopped flag superimposed. On the way back to Sisaket, I dreamt of having the rainbow parade at that temple. Imagine a rainbow over a temple atop a cliff face, tropical cordial, seaweed crackers and some special friends. Heaven, darlings, heaven. Pity my farmer friend and I couldn’t go and scope it out for next years parade. For now though, I’m going to enjoy this boysenberry shake!”
So dear New Mandala readers, hopefully the demonstrations that I saw just now will have worked and soon we’ll be able to go there with our picnic sets and cream jam baguettes. If not, I’m sure we can replicate the scene at another cliff face.