Showing posts from August, 2014

The Borderline of Impatience

When was the last time I saw so many active soldiers in a city, hmm, during a time when strength flowed divinely in my arms and legs, in a war-torn country far away from this region. I was on duty then, relief work and delivering aid, a young Zashnain, then in my elements.

The present, back in the south eastern realms of Asia. For months, the sight of soldiers on this large and densely populated commercial city have caused a stir on social media, though largely popular among those seeking an end to democracy, and at times notorious vibes connected to the men who swore an oath to fight both foreign and local threats. Though less intimidating to the urbanites, the city offers much more than just active & armed pretty boys in uniform, and the occasional forbidding looks of a female officer. No signs of recovery, yet, though this centre of population gives somewhat a relaxing moment, in the shadows and where sources of light shy away from curious eyes.

Walking, exploring, tasting old …

A City Exhausted by Predictions, Drained by Soothsayers

Rain? On a Friday evening? Nay, the prediction that a rampaging, gigantic Storm pounding the colossal traffic went down the drain. Can't depend on the divination ability of prognosticators in city hall, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, nor can one depend on their luckless officials to maintain sustainable progress of urban planning, unless you're one of the lucky souls to be living in the residential areas of the upper middle-class.

Weekend, a time for relaxation, recuperation for many in this mighty city of capitalistic appetite. Despite its obvious Thai-Buddhist flavour of shrines, temples and some architecture decorating the landscape, Bangkok is quite simply a westernised melting pot of whatever comes about; usually based on the latest trends and borrowed modern-culture values.

I make my way, down the twisted roads... eager to be rid of the central heart of shopping madness. The city offers much, whether in temptations or the singular plunge into the self-styled cr…

Traveling, Foresight in the Realm of Uncertainty

Thailand's road-maps, a series of steps to be carried out for national development are at best indeterminable. Unless I'm reading the wrong news and asking the wrong people, both urban and rural Thailand are unsure or clueless of what awaits their future. Watching the soothsayer's talents at divination is far more predictable than the national strategic plans for the economy, or health care, much less the mood swings of urban middle class. Oh well, at this point, I guess one goes with the flow, into the unknown and perhaps, beyond the comprehension of logic.

Travelling has been exhausting. My focus, which is a great distraction, is on my outreach projects in Malaysia, with the usual bit of juggling schedules and coordination. As best, I focus on my curiosity in Bangkok, where urban sociology grows, mutates and vanishes at a moments notice. The city's sprawl is extensive, and just like the future, everything else seems in the blur.

Back to the Kampung, the Return

The end of Ramadan, a beginning of the Hari Raya observance. A week back in the village, where clan members from afar visit and feast, of ritualised greetings, of talks of the distant past, and to welcome babies and newly married couples. Festivities in the kampung (village), with moderate celebrations and home-cooked meals among kin, siblings, their children and our elders. We consumed the time, and rested, feeling secured by familiar faces and comforting words.

When given an opportunity, I explored, for the thousandth time, the palm oil plantations, fishing jetty and the nearby town.

Thoughts at a Crossroad, the Beginning

Financial straits, impoverished and down-and-out. Bangkok offers much to the enterprising, commodity-hungry urban community; where living conditions are geared for the unbelievably rich and the middle class, with their constant gnawing and twitching to be a step above. As it is, the working class, particularly the poor continue to live in pockets of ghetto, or in Khlong Toei, a vast slum empire with a million souls living and working in the segregated quarter of this metropolis.

Rural Thailand seems unaffected by the initial curfews imposed by the junta, and yet months later their lives seem unchanged, somewhat. Poverty brings about hardship, and rural communities tend to adapt to any imposing regime; they work, they raise their families, they study, and they embrace the karmatic cycle. Small communities that I have met, from the northeastern province of Maha Sarkham, to the furthest southern provinces seem quiet, as if wanting to wake up from a bad dream but not really knowing when o…

Adherence to Fate

A monk walks down the alley, offering silence as steps on uneven ground, past the speeding riders on dusty motorcycles, the construction workers from Cambodia and in the midst of it all, he offers the aura of solitude to those seeking it.

Bangkok is different, in a way, after the coup, followed by martial law and so forth. Urbanites fall back to their hardened conventionality, that steady rhythm many are so used to listening, of conformance into their self-perceived position in the great wheel of fate.