Arrogance or Respect?
Let’s talk of it then, but let’s talk
of it carefully, trying to understand well on which side we want to stay. On the
side of the respectful traveller, or on the side of the arrogant tourist?
Landing shortly before
from a Jumbo Jet at Dong Muang airport, I find myself sitting beside a guy who
is only twenty; the driver of my limousine. He is driving me to Pattaya. There I
will look for my memories, to sew them together again and to try to accept
myself as I am now. A person internally different and grown up too quickly.
The “god money” competes today with all
that still tries to stop it along its journey: conscience, culture, research,
poetry, dreams, respect, curiousity, values, sensitivity, feelings... Love...
yes, the last of its obstacles is still Love... Love resists, dares it, opposes
itself from its journey...
...There were the
gigantic Americans at the time, keeping the Thai girls on their knees. They were
small women, almost babies with their long smooth black hair. They were happy
young girls that sold sex with their minds turned to Buddha. They accepted
dollars with their thoughts turned to their families left home, in the poor
rural countries of the North. What a contrast! Girls having a flat chest and
peach skin with these huge hairy men, short cut hair, beings with no brain nor
thoughts, with only two active elements in their bodies:
their mouth to get drunk, and the rest to dispel their fear. A fear that
would later bend them with no piety under the strength of other small yellow
men, all having the same name “Charlie”...
“God money” confuses the weapons owned
by “god Love,” changing the weapons to overwhelm the Thai girls and soil the
capital "L" of "Love" by throwing it in the mud, causing a
mental misery... because this will pay for things... this will bring money to
the bank again and again while "god Love" remains almost defenceless,
as the Thai girls' feelings cost nothing...
...It was just a road
at the end of the town, to form an only brothel, a short way that connected the
bay to the jungle. I used to call it “the lost way” because there everybody
was losing something important, wrapped in the euphoria offered by a country at
the borders with the war. The girls were giving their goodbye to their
traditions, to the beloved people, to the hut covered by bananas leaves, to the
buffalos, the rice fields, and the happy runs along the “klong”. The
Americans had said farewell to their far country, a far college, the Sunday
singings in a small Anglican church. “Goodbye” to baseball left down there.
“Goodbye” to the promised groom come down here...
What am I getting at?
I want to go on a trip, repeated to the infinite, towards a country where
there are no laws and where one can buy everything... I want to get to talk of
the tourist that will leave, from the Western countries, with his pockets full
of money, knowing that down there... in Brazil or Thailand, he will be able to
buy anyone... a child, an adolescent, a soul or ten bodies in the same time...
…“Why do you do it
Chanit?" I used to ask to the girl lying on the beach. “In this way I can
help my family, send the money at home, let my little brother study, buy one
more buffalo...” and she smiled always looking at her man who was swimming
like a big child. And here is what was surprising of those young women, their
way to be completely available in their feelings. They got attached even to
their "John's" and suffered when at last they left. Sometimes they
were waiting for babies, mixed with their "John's" genes, that would
become beautiful. Have you ever seen a blond child, having green eyes cut in the
Eastern way and skin like amber? Abortion was never considered, adding more
children to a family always more numerous. And they always got attached, nothing
could ever destroy their candour!...
Above all, I want to get to talk of the
traveller that will sit beside me on the first plane and then in another
thousand places later, who once arrived to destination (with the passion inside
but the eagerness outside) will have the strength and the wisdom to try to fight
at least the smallest part of all this willingly!
…I wear sandals and
shorts, and after a long resting shower I go to the beach. I feel tranquil in
Thailand. Anything bad that you
don't want to happen ever happens here. There is the respect here, for
everybody, even if too many Western people ignore it. There is no surprise if a
woman walks alone, or if two men hug each other. It is a part of their Buddhist
way of thinking, a philosophy difficult to understand and even more to accept.
Thai people never forget the cycle of the re-births, so a monk could have been a
brother in a past life, a student, a mother, and other family bonds could tie
anybody to a fisherman, a farmer, a dancer, or to a gay. So they all live
together peacefully respecting each other with a never ending smile. This is how
I remembered the way of life of a Thai person...
And now I point my finger at you, a person
obviously already arrogant in your own country that transforms into a tourist
even more arrogant, having pockets full of money... I know very well that you
might offer it happily to the wicked god and in exchange he will allow you to
pass over the body of a girl or a little child...
…In the temple, I
only meet a few monks here and there who stop to ask me where I come from. For
everyone I have a different answer, now I say I come from France, now from
Scotland, or from Italy. Anyway I
know very well that for them they are only names. Of us, they only know our
different looks, an arrogance unknown to them, and often a lack of respect.
Moreover, they fear the power of our money through which we claim the right to
… to tell you that you are the infamy of
the whole world! You are our shame!
...In Thailand and in
Pattaya above all, it is in the evening that everything becomes full of life.
The streets become full of little carts, markets come out from nothing,
lightened to show wonderful exotic fruits that is a pity to eat, carts covered
of tropical flowers, and it often happens that you see people walking with
playful monkeys on their shoulders, or young little elephants walking like dogs
with their masters. Then all turns to joy. You stop at one of these little carts
to taste a little treat, to another one you stop to buy a t-shirt after
bargaining the price for a long time – or if not where is the fun! I always
bargain for hours, and at last I pay the first price required, after all I have
had fun anyway...
This is a
shortened version translated from Italian.
If you want to read the article in it's entirety (in Italian), go to this