Day Two: Narathiwat and Chaotic Memories

A house in the slum

Jumbled thoughts, trying to piece information together, and recollect the memories of my second day.

Slums, one can find it almost everywhere. I travelled to visit the people in Narathiwat's slum, which is part of a fishing village and the nearby urban border.

The pounding headache, the merciless blistering heat, and the suffocating humidity. Depending on the season, its advisable to walk in the evenings. Yet this province cannot escape the yearly flash floods, and the sea's powerful whirlwind. The people here are sturdy, adapted to the harsh environment. Yet never have they failed to return a smile or invite me into their homes. Hospitable folks.

Many have not seen a Malaysian in their land, or to some, have not seen one for quite some time. Some have kins in the northern states of Malaysia, and because we share the same language, I'm invited to many homes. Felt embarrassed at declining the invitations, though I meant no disrespect as my time in this province is limited.

Poverty or poor quality of life is not uncommon here. Even though they are simple folks, there's an obvious absence of better healthcare and educational system. The elders are used to living a life free from smart phones and internet, but the young are eager for all it. Internet cafes are quite popular in town, some appear as small rundown shop lots.

Self governance is sorely needed, many young people have expressed an urgent need to have an administration that is similar to Bangkok. The 31 young people I had spoken « feel that self determination will reduce the violence in their province, and provide more opportunities for their future, their livelihood. They feel as if they will continue living in poverty if governance systems don't change.

Young people are shy with strangers, especially one with tattoos and a slightly different "Malay" accent. My tongue is not proficient in their local slang (there's a difference between the local elders and young people), but so far so good. We can communicate.

A flash of lightning, the roar of the night sky. Its going to rain soon. A reminder that I have to go elsewhere. Will keep you posted, if I can get a grip on my chaotic thoughts.

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