LiBeL Column

Happy Pills for Buffaloes

Columns from The Nation newspaper

A real mixed bag

“Woke up this morning feeling fine, there’s something special on my mind.”

And in other news. . . . . . Enron has chosen Thailand as it’s new Asian headquarters – thousands of jobs guaranteed . . . . Robert ‘Bob’ Mugabe signs billion dollar telecom deal with Thai company . . . . Three legged street dog in Lampang taught to rollerblade by drug free teen . . . . Recently promoted Field Marshall Duangchalerm relocates Ministry of Justice to Koh Kong . . . . And on a lighter note, leading members of the opposition reported missing in a UFO abduction scare.

All this and caning’s back too !!! . . . . Jeez , safari suited Discipline Masters from all corners of the Kingdom will be hot tailing it to the Erawan Shrine to give thanks for confirming their belief that sometimes dreams really do come true. Must be karma or wishing upon a star. No annoying lesson plans to prepare and you can whack those who question your authority. Pinch me, I’m dreaming, the good ol’ days are back..

The government’s latest good news drive is already in effect, as anyone who’s been to the cinema recently will testify. I paid my 100 baht, bought the obligatory super jumbo size popcorn. No intention to eat it, it’s just that I feel naked unless I’m clutching enough junk food to feed an Afghan village when lurching down the cinema isle. The humiliation of being seen with a regular sized snack isn’t worth thinking about – 300 pairs of eyes staring and thinking ‘Farang kee-niow’. Got into the cinema, settled down to watch the movie, popcorn and XXL coke (Real men ‘super size’) in hand. Two minutes before the movie starts, everyone stands and to the audience’s surprise Herman’s Hermit’s “I’m into something good” starts playing in Sony DTS surround sound with an accompanying photo montage of Mr T. hand in hand with a mystery business partner, who I’m sure has a daytime job at a palatial establishment on Sri Ayuttaya Road.

The next two hours were spent listening to fellow movie-goers humming the chorus to the Herman’s best known hit repeatedly. At first I had thoughts of subliminal suggestion but then I realized that I was being paranoid and enemies of the state had infiltrated my mind causing me to doubt the words of the great one so I too put on a permanent grin and grooved along silently.

Looks like we’re only one step away from daily five minute news shows showing the massed ranks cheering Secretary Number 1 and entourage, whilst the theme from ‘Star Wars’ plays in the background. OK, this is doubtful, I saw this thrilling waste of John Logie Baird’s invention a few years ago in Burma, and one thing Thais don’t do is copy ideas from other nations.

Child centered education on the way out – a lost cause say teachers who gave it their all. Through my network of informants, which would put any military junta, and even Thai Rak Thai to shame, I managed to get hold of a diary from the Head Teacher at St Judas’ Academy for the Future Occupants of Inactive Positions.

Day 1 – It won’t work, mark my words

Day 2 – Absolutely no hope of it working

Day 3 – No point in trying – believe me it’s not suitable for Thai kids.

Day 4 – I can give you 34 reasons why it won’t work, they’re all in the staff room at this very moment.

And so on . . . .

Day 365 – See, told you so!

Well, Somchai et al, at least you gave it your best shot and your tricky decision not to make the slightest effort to do something positive for your young charges was, in the end, justified.

On the buffalo centered learning note, most people appear to presume that Khun Purachai’s over generous offer of free drug tests for all school kids was in response to the recent riots between rival colleges. (Apparently due to a dispute over which college had blown the most taxpayer’s money on ornamental fountains that ordain the main driveway.)

Personally, I blame the 4th grader who was obviously wired to the moon when she mentioned, in Mr T.’s presence, that student centered learning should really be called ‘buffalo centered learning’. If ever there was an indication that today’s kids were on drugs then this was it. No self-respecting child should have the temerity to question their elders and more importantly, people who are far wealthier than they’ll ever be, in public.

Reports say that Mr T. left shortly afterwards and was overheard ordering aids to find out where she lived and requesting that they “give Chalerm a call”. This was followed by boast that he would “Strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my policies. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon that little Miss know-it-all.”

These reports or ‘malicious rumours that will only serve to incite revolution’ as all non-sanctioned reporting is now officially known, are only said to be half true, although which half my source didn’t say. When the student involved was told of the amount of negative vibes and displeasure she had induced in Thailand’s CEO , she laid down the challenge for him to both “Come and have a go, if he thinks he’s hard enough.” and to “Bring it on, wussy boy.”

Finally, as anthems for the masses are on my mind, here’s a final suggestion for the Land of Smiles circa 2002 – another upbeat ’60s smash, this time by Manfred Mann :

“Ha ha said the clown Has the king lost his crown, Is the knight being tight on romance? ”

(Err, anyone know a good lawyer?)