I have been back from Thailand for about a week now and I thought I should write something about it. I spent a month near a beach in Koh Samui and it was certainly good to exit New Zealand during the political season.
Thailand, like the rest of the world these days, is an officially sanctioned crime scene. There are more things happening that people choose not to see than the ordinary everyday matters that people recognize and feel comfortable with. Nobody, no political party nor any police force, will ever change these things because they often cater to black human desire. Black human desire encourages graft and corruption and these are the binding agents in our modern world. Political savvy resides in merely knowing who to pay off and when and money isn’t the only thing that changes hands.
About ten years ago the government of Thailand came down very heavy (but not very humbly) on the drugs situation and this has increased both demand and desire. From what I can make out tens of thousands of people travel to Thailand each week to dance on the beach and take drugs. The local amphetamine ‘ya ba’ is everywhere and I am told that it equals anything the New Zealand gangs can manufacture.
It is a very smart government that knows that if it moves towards prohibition then it actually increases the number of drug tourists who will then visit their shores. It’s all like an episode of ‘Border Control’ in reverse.
I got a taxi ride in Koh Samui and I was lucky to get out with my life. I swear the taxi driver had been awake for five or six nights and he didn’t stop talking to me (I’m sure) until three days after that ride finished and I was nowhere to be seen. This presents a huge problem for society as I am not really that important.
But alcohol is still the biggest drug going and as a Thai friend said to me (a devout Buddhist to boot): “Alcohol is a very good business to be involved with in Thailand right now.” It is also on every street corner in New Zealand and people are having incredible problems.
It’s a miracle that a guy like me can live in Thailand for a month and not take any drugs. I mean it is a miracle and I am grateful to a number of friends who have worked hard to convince me, against the odds and my own feelings, that my life could be a long way better than it was. I now find people who drink to extreme to be invariably nasty and I find people who take drugs to be extremely boring.
But, amongst the people I feel very deeply for are those Westerners who are locked up in jails in Thailand, Bali, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia etc right now. These jails are hell and the ‘Bangkok Hilton’ is probably worse than Guantanamo Bay but with less noise made about it. You see society always has to have a scapegoat in order to let the big crimes go ahead.
In Thailand somehow it seems alright to sanction all those fat middle aged British guys (and I am sorry to be so racist) who walk down the streets in Koh Samui with their twelve year old girlfriends and at the same time give someone life imprisonment for a single joint or a handful of Speed or Smack. I mean, what happened to us along the way? The quality of mercy has now been well and truly strained and it can be obviously bought if the price is right. Morals are for sale everywhere one looks.
A few years ago I had a correspondence going with Lorraine Cohen, a Kiwi who was locked up in a jail in Penang (Malaysia) for Heroin charges. She was one of these poor blighters doing a very long lag. After reading two or three of her letters I was struck by the fact that she was a deeply authentic human being who wasn’t interested in hiding her own flaws. I call this trait ‘honesty’. She had grit and determination and she lived through her period in the big house and she died recently in freedom.
A week back in New Zealand and I am watching political hop-scotch and all the double jigging and then there was the death of an eight month old baby and supposedly at the hands of an ‘adult’. Then I’ve seen untold drunk people and others who were drifting so far from the truth of their lives that I’m not sure anyone could ever stop them.
I spent my time in Thailand walking a big hill and I’d take this task on almost every morning. It took two or three hours and felt like an honest thing to do. Then, daily, I spent countless hours photographing dogs and I shall return later this year to do more of the same. I also worked on my memoir with some kind of clear-headedness that is almost impossible for me to summon up in dear old Aotearoa. I don’t know whether I am ‘happy’ as one would see a happy person in an advertisement but I am extremely satisfied with my life and that’s a big step for a guy who could have easily died in one of those rotten jails a couple of decades ago.
Keep the Faith!
A Tinker’s Cuss started life on the Phantom Billstickers Facebook page – it’s a new feature here at Off The Tracks and we’re repeating the earliest posts before carrying on with new words from Jim Wilson.