Taoist mythology, Lanna history, mythology, the nature of time and other considered ramblings

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Location: Chiangrai, Chiangrai, Thailand

Author of many self-published books, including several about Thailand and Chiang Rai, Joel Barlow lived in Bangkok 1964-65, attending 6th grade with the International School of Bangkok's only Thai teacher. He first visited ChiangRai in 1988, and moved there in 1998.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ohh what a relief it is!

Bad behavior may or may not go unrewarded: with personal satisfaction, punishment, spiritual advancement through learning or maybe just gains or losses in esteem, but we certainly see a lot of it, and a lot of people condoning it in some places while quite ignoring the same thing in other places – often places closer to home.
Power has its corrupting influences, as does the anticipation of being able to get away with something, and life always has its tribulations.
George W. Bush, and his father too, will always act like they’ve done no wrong, can be touched by nothing, and were maybe even a God-send to civilization (or something), but I find it easy to believe that the Bush soon to lave office knows he is despised, and doesn’t like it. But that’s just tables turned: it’s been part of his character to enjoy belittling others, acting the irresponsible big-shot and daring consequences to follow. After all, that’s not just only the American way, but the way of nobility. Funny word, that – nobility, but maybe I’d best just let more comment on that slide.
Today the evil results of one man’s lying greed have been so severely curtailed that I must suspect he may soon be inclined to suicide. Taksin Chinnawat (Shinawatra – even the spelling of the name is misleading… ‘though, so also is that of Sade, the singer) has just had his influence in Thailand severely curtailed. Finally and for good, I suspect. He made a fortune using inside contacts to sell marked-up inferior merchandise to the police force he was an officer of – or so I’ve been led to believe; I certainly couldn’t prove it. But I clearly remember his promise to fix Bangkok’s traffic congestion (within 6 months, even) – and that he didn’t even lobby for a bridge over the Makassan train yards, to connect the busy southeast part of town to the airport highway. Nobody else did either, recognizing the awful bureaucratic roadblock which the State Railway Department has always been in Thailand, with no concern for anything beyond itself and the ease of its higher echelons. But when I mentioned the idea to a Japanese expert, hired to address some of the problems and help get the elevated mass transit and subway systems going, he quite agreed with me what a good thing that would be, and how impossible (though for no good reason).

The other big news of the day has been about articles in The Economist magazine disparaging to this country’s king – articles which resulted in that magazine being banned here, again. I was allowed to read the articles, and was shocked. Shocked! That old double standard was again so much in play. Doesn’t matter, that Western imperialism made for certain exigencies in Southeast Asia, or that not only has power-wielding always been imperfect, or that the monarch here has admitted to imperfections, and tried to do better, and actually done so, to the vast majority of the country’s populace’s satisfaction… but monarchy must be made to look obsolete if not vulgar – by people who support the tyranny of corporatocracy! Which most certainly is extremely vulgar.
Too often people need leaders and protectors – be they thugs or solons (another problematic term, for Solon was doubtless imperfect too). People way too often want their leaders to admit to no imperfections. Of late, “leaders” (or owners, as they may be) have made concerted study of how to manipulate and deceive more successfully. And thus gotten away with a whole lot. But, I must submit, it is the responsibility of the individual to become informed, to take care of personal matters of morals as of hygiene, and here, we the people have failed. But maybe good governance is making a return – now, if we can only achieve some corporate accountability… maybe then even Burma would be willing to interact more with the rest of the world.

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