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Archive for the ‘Thailand’ Category

26.06.2019 FB

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Feb-27-2019

Brought up by something at that ISB place that I am a big fan of, I asked my Dad today : Didn’t we live in this compound owned by a Pramoj ? Yes, he replied. It was Seni Promoj.His wife was a beautiful and most mysterious woman. We knew as kids not to bother her. But when the monsoons came- we would go into their sortof decorative pool ( not a swimming pool at at all) dip our feet in and look for odd and mysterious fish.And she never sent a servant out to thrash us-

What do you know…

en.wikipedia.org
Mom Rajawongse Seni Pramoj (Thai: ?????????????????? ??????, RTGS: Seni Pramot, IPA: [s??.ni? pra?.mô?t]; 26 May 1905 – 28 July 1997) was three times the prime minister of Thailand, a politician in the Democrat Party, lawyer, diplomat and pr…

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Posted by Mummy Dearest on Nov-16-2017

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Haiti

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jan-25-2010

How can it be avoided ? I shall not add to the chorus, for who cannot feel anything but utter pity ?

This weekend we had a rather unexpected house guest, one of our oldest friends. The children liked him fine, but felt a bit skewed in their routines. I ended up with The Boy and The Baby, zapping between an Elvis show from 1972 and the big American…. show to raise money for Haiti, in the kitchen.

I suppose that I was feeling very snarky, for I have decided that Elvis actually discovered *bling bling* jewelry and had bad hair. I really should not talk, for suddenly my hair is falling out, breaking off by the handful. And before The Baby came down, I was very snarky indeed with The Boy, commenting about the celebrities who shared my bad hair problems and saying, oh, look ! for 25 $ you can talk to … name your favorite famous person.

I also asked – but did not voice- what on earth did Haiti produce or manufacture, to sustain it’s economy. All that I could come up with was corrupt politicians. And how could all of the money pouring in be managed well. America. But I am a very ignorant woman.

But trundling back to last week or so. One of the students in The Baby’s class is the child of a BN-er ( which means a Dutch Celebrity). So, it was started and decided by this child- very early on- that the children in The Baby’s class would do chores to raise money for Haiti. I made The Baby – spoiled third child that she is- actually do miserable tasks and she was very proud of the 2 Euro that she made.

Until a few days later, when another child in her class brought in 200 Euro. And other children , who lived near the BN-er were in a newspaper.

The Baby lost that good feeling that she had, about helping people and somehow descended into some bizarre maze of competition.

Last Thursday, I received a flyer from the school ( one of a cast of thousands) , announcing that The Baby’s class would be having a *sale*, to benefit…the people of Haiti. Now, this was not to be a rummage sale, a boot sale, no, the items should have some intrinsic value. CD’s, foto frames and colored pens were suggested. Items would be sold at a minimum of 1 Euro.

Now, I still have a pile of nice photo frames, still in their wrappers, but The Baby did not even want to look at them. And while I said this to no one, I was thinking, ok, I am supposed to go out and buy something for like 10 Euro and put it up for sale for 1 Euro. This is not meshing for me.

On Sunday night, The Baby suddenly perked up and showed some interest in donating something for the * sale*. We have one cr*p load of nice things here for my parents were shopaholics , and I had my eye on a Limoges box, very pretty, but I have no emotional attachment to it.

I suggested the Limoges today at lunch ( for the deadline was today) and The Girl entered the scene. She is aware of this whole dilemma, how I feel that if The Baby doesn’t bring * something* it will just look hideous, read : peer pressure, on different levels. I mentioned to The Girl that Limoges was very fine porcelain, China, whatever. And suddenly The Girl said *no way* and rummaged about in our …our…. where we hang the coats, keep the vacuum cleaner, shoes, junk, you name it, it’s in that closet.

And she pulled out a small grayish metal elephant, about 9 inches long. Opens up like a box, it does. Now, we have about 10 of these elephants, in different sizes. We also have a duck, a rabbit or so, a few dragons, a temple dog, a teapot, trinket boxes… you get the idea. We have so many of these items in our house that we no longer see them.

I washed the elephant up with soap and told The Baby very carefully that it was made about 40 years ago, in Northern Thailand. It was made entirely by hand. Sold as silver ( and by the kilo, hence the items scattered about our home ), I thought that it was copper or brass with a silver plate ( based on the only time that I ever used silver cleaner on one of them and it came out shiny gold). The Baby’s eyes shifted to the left and then to the right and she asked to look at the photo frames.

She liked the photo frames so much, that she decided to keep them for herself, and went off to school with the elephant. We set the price at 7 Euro, for- after all- it was in the closet where we hang the coats, keep the vacuum cleaner, shoes, junk, you name it.

The children in her class loved the elephant and not because it might be made of silver, but because it was made by hand ( and no doubt about that). In fact, when The Baby came home, she wanted to bring more of our embossed Thai items to school, but I said no, one was enough.

You can catch an idea of what it looks like here, although I am quite sure that our items are not solid silver.

And so we end our adventure into Haiti, although we donate money every three months to …uh..Doctors Without Borders ? Is that the English translation ?

The Past

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jul-9-2004

I spend- recently- much time going over my past, in a way. I- silly me- volunteered to help with a memorial page from the school that I attended during the years 1970 to 1973. My best friend from that time period soothes me, saying that my memories are not faulty- no, indeed, the school was indeed known as ‘Heroin High’.

But it is odd , at …uh 46 (?)…to correspond with a friend that you made at…12, lost at 15. To compare long lost memories and to see where they have gone, ended up. To wonder, together, what happened to the others.

And to see see the life long effect that we have had upon one another.

Imagine that. We were a year older than The Girl when we met.

R.I.P.

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jun-24-2004

One of the pages that I put together today for the school memorial site was this one .

Once I received the initial information, I did a quick Google search, looking for a recent photo. It was then that I learned that there was also a film of what happened to Robert Jacobs ‘on the internet’. Once again , I found owners of blogs who mentioned how their stats had just flown through the roof when they published the link to this footage. They did not sound unhappy. Once again, I found this sort of behavior to be so very repugnant.

But I did other things today as well, stained a cabinet that Mr.Jo made in the master bathroom, took The Baby to the market for a bag of kibbling, felt very sorry for The Fatherwhen he called me and said that his first flight had been delayed, and so he would be missing his further connections and be in transit almost 24 hours longer than planned.

But during the day, as I went through the rather pleasant things that I did, I thought of that man.

And of how people seem to be becoming inured to seeing real live ( as Mig put it) ‘snuff’ films.

After all, did you hear about Robert Jacobs ?

Candy-Striper

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jun-23-2004

Back when I took that ( it was free ! I couldn’t say no !) fool class on web design- a thousand years ago- the guy teaching it said that the most important thing to remember was never to volunteer for anything. Now, this sounded familiar to me, my dad- as a soldier- was always sitting me upon his knee and telling me to never , ever volunteer for anything.

But I have actually spent the last few days updating a small web site- one in FrontPage no less, can you believe that ?- which belongs to the school that I went to in Bangkok. It’s a memorial page, for students and faculty members who have died.

Luckily, I didn’t have to do anything creative, seeing that I haven’t a creative bone in my body, just update it. In a way, it was a very, very sad thing to do. And despite what my teacher said, despite what my father preached, I’m glad that I did it.

It was the right thing to do.

Even though it was in stinkin’ FrontPage.

Where Ya From ?

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jun-9-2004

You know, whenever I hear parents saying that children are so adaptable ( usually said when they are about to move the children to another place), I say nothing. But the child inside of me is saying, that’s because children don’t really have any fucking choice now, do they ? Childhood is a sink or swim world, one lives at the mercy of the whims and wishes of those above you. Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to move. Nobody ever asked my brother.

But my brother and I were frantic at the thought of moving once again. I don’t know if it was because we were so very fond of Bangkok or not. But I know that we both felt that we had reached that breaking point. There are only so many times that you can expect a child to move, to recreate themselves once more, to say goodbye. Imagine an 11 year old boy going to a Baptist Mission and asking if he and his big sister could stay there until they finished school.

I never gave a flying fuck about anything, really, after we left Bangkok. The move didn’t break me but it came mighty close to doing so. I didn’t have it in me to recreate myself once more and so I never did. I existed on the sidelines.

I still do.

After we had settled down in Concord, I was talking with my Mom about things and I told her that The Brother couldn’t take another move, that no matter what, they had to keep him in the same school until he graduated. I guess my Mother knew a true thing when she heard it, for my family didn’t stay in Concord long. They moved to Bedford and then finally settled down in Acton. But they made sure that my brother graduated from the high school in Concord, 6 years later.

And 31 years later, my brother lives only a few miles from that first house that we lived in, that grey one in Concord, on Nashoba Road.

And me ? Oh, when The Father and I reached that point which is natural in any relationship, that of looking for our first house to buy, I did not want to buy a ‘starter’ house, something that we would live in for a few years. No, I said – in that rather melodramatic fashion I often slip into- I want a house that I can live in for the rest of my life. I never want to have to move again- I continued- never, in my entire life.

Everyone should be from somewhere.

Today

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jun-8-2004

Yesterday as I scrubbed out the main bathroom here, I – not surprisingly- found myself thinking back to my years in Thailand. Although it was three and a half years of my life, for some reason, I always think of it as four years. I’ve never gone back to those memories, packed up in a box the day that we left Thailand, never re-examined- through an adult’s eyes- what was going on there, then.

I must have continued mulling over the past during my sleep, for when I awoke this morning, I had a niggling urge to re- check a page that I had ambled over yesterday, on the computer.

Once the children were off at school and the house was quiet, I went to the ISB site. I had some trouble finding the link that I wanted, but eventually I ended up at the memorial page, for those alumni who have died.

I checked it very carefully. Only one person that I remember dying during that time period was listed. I read that she died in a car accident, coming back from the beach. Gossip whispered in my ear that they had all been drunk, or stoned.

Where could I have heard that from ? My memory of myself at that time is of someone who didn’t speak for 4 years, who wasn’t spoken to. But then, I’m rather like an anorexic in that way, unable to see the truth of my social status. Not really, not clearly. I must have had friends, talked to people, otherwise I wouldn’t be receiving these e-mails, asking me if I was coming to the reunion, would I?

Where did that almost gothic story of the one boy’s death come from ? Where did I hear that ? Was it true that- high on something or another- he had sat in the middle of a highway one night and talked into a portable tape recorder, until- of course- he was hit by something and died ?

I decided to write an email to the web master of the page. He had been there, at that very same time as well. But first I had to check out something, get a few facts.

I went up to the bookcases that Mr.Jo made for me in the hallway and jumping over my Little House on the Prairie gate, went over to the shelf where I kept the Erawans- the ISB year book. They have not held up well over time, the covers hang by threads, the bronze medallions gone. As it happened, the first one that I reached for was exactly the one that I had in mind. The 1972 Erawan.

I remember the scandal that arose after it was published and distributed. On the opening page was a large picture of a strawberry. We all knew ( how ?) that this referred to something called The Strawberry Statement. It was only today that I did a google to see what that actually was. I just remember that it was very scandalous, as well as the photos showing the locks, the barbed wire, and the yearly memorial page, which broke tradition and actually listed the names of those who died.

It was that list that I was looking for. I needed something to confirm my moldering memories.

And then I wrote to the web master and asked him why none of the others were listed, the one’s who died in the early 70′s. I even referred him to the 1972 Erawan.

I wonder if I will hear from him.


me. there.

Tribal Fabrics

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jun-7-2004

I ended up in a tiny Near Eastern Archaeology graduate program which was part of a school that had started out as a seminary. I seemed to continue on my path of poorly researching the schools that I would end up in. But they gave me a full scholarship and that was all that mattered to me: I had decided that when I chose archaeology, it would have to pay it’s own way.

The small group of students in my department were well known across campus as being an extremely strong peer support group . That was the mumbo jumbo phrase that I always heard spilling from the lips of the powers that were whenever I bumped into them. My, you all certainly have an extremely strong peer support group. Uh, I guess so.

All that really meant was that we enjoyed each other’s company. In the summers, we would dig holes together in some God forsaken desert and in the winters, we took classes together, did our research and contract work together and got shit faced together.

It was a co-ed group. I began to swear like a sailor, just like the boys and never complained about chipping a fingernail or some such other nonsense. When I lost my luggage at the beginning of one 6 week dig, they all parceled out some of their few belongings, stuffed in back- packs next to tents, to help me get by.

I suppose that it was some version of male bonding, although I drew the line at belching and farting. I do seem to recall that Missy could belch with the best of them. She was our osteologist. I did the broken pots.

A co-ed band of brothers can be fun, in that same way that I suppose a single sex band of brothers is.

We were all required – and much against our will – to take a class in MesoAmerican Anthropology , taught by a man who basically had utter contempt for Near Eastern Archeaologists.

Let’s call him Seagram Sellers. Not that that was his name- oh no, but he did have a silly sounding name and did rather resemble Peter Sellers. Or the english guy pretending to be a french policeman in ‘ello ‘ello.

Now- of course- I have no way of knowing if the rumors were true or not, but he had a simply vile reputation, was boinking anything that stopped for 15 seconds, spent his summers making the two backed beast with his research assistants in far off climes while the the little Mrs. stayed home and did whatever she did. A classic lech. Or so, rumor had it.

We would sit in his class and watch him focus on some sweet faced undergraduate, hanging on her every word, oblivious to the rest of us in the class. Some times, I would wear some skin- tight danskin cut way too low and we would all enjoy watching him gravitate to the boobs. Until I would snap my fingers and say ‘Yo, Seagram, the face is here’.

Just about the only thing that Seagram and I agreed upon was the vulgarity of digital watches.

We often had to go to departmental functions, eat cheese drink sherry, be bored. At one of them, I decided to wear a dress that my mother had made for me, a copy of a Jordanian … well, I guess that you would call it a traditional or folk dress. You’ve seen those dresses on TV, long black dresses with bodices covered with colorful and intricate embroidery. She made it up from some lengths of cloth that we had picked up in Thailand, tribal weaves from up north.

The next day, a bunch of us were over at the lab, perhaps checking over some bones for an upcoming exam, when Seagram walked in. Now, I knew that he did his ‘research’ in the north of Thailand, most likely boinking everything that moved there as well, drooling over nubile young Thais, whatever. What I didn’t know was that one of his specialties was tribal fabrics.

As we sat there , he asked me where I had bought the dress that I had on the other night. I explained that my mother had made it for me. He asked me where I got the fabric and I replied Thailand. We used to live there.

He asked me when, and in that life is like that way, it seems that he had lived in Thailand at the same time as I, only up in the north.

I never realized that our school had a ‘reputation’, that it was talked about. He asked me where I went to school, and I said ISB. And he asked, that’s when all of those kids were dying, wasn’t it ? I said yes.

And then, like it was the mystery of the century, he asked me what was going on there.

I didn’t feel like thinking much about it, expending any mental energy upon Seagram Sellers. So I simply said that maybe we were all just American teenagers who wanted to be just that : teenagers in America.

I could just have easily have said that the PX didn’t sell Levis in our sizes.

I suppose that both are true, but perhaps not the whole truth. I’ve never sat down and thought it out.

I only know that I was never surprised when I went to school and heard that someone else had died.