Saturday, May 30, 2009

The HollandArtShop in Amsterdam


Amsterdam,

Three hours at the Animal Farm for Children helping out a lady in distress, Miss Domina Magriet even waied me the Thai way hoping to talk me into an extra shift because of staff shortage - Hey, she is the one always chasing her volunteers away with her dominant behaviour.

Still there is no way I can say no to the Thai wai, not with my Thai background anyway which she knows darned well!!!

I get to the Anne Frank House around 11.30 h. right in time for my appointment with a customer who phoned me last night for 40 Indian Games for a100 Euro, never showed up though, still business was good with 11 Indian Games out and 10 Euros looking after a backpack for a Japanese tourist - no backpacks allowed inside the Anne Frank House.

A short chat with Arjen who rents one of the little shops on Westermarkt trying to sell his artwork while watching the Westermarkt Brotherhood of Stupid Drunks slashing it out physically over tabacco and cheap supermarket beer with two cops on bicycles seperating them, trying hard to pacify them.

Good thing my dyas of drinking beer outside are mostly over!!!

Arjen Dijksma www.HollandArtShop.nl to see his artwork

Friday, May 29, 2009

A high alcoholic interest rate

Amsterdam,

Two short rings used to mean that the Brotherhood of Evil Friends would be at my door hoping for free beer and a few joints from the Heavenly Coffee Shop just around the corner from my house. A whole day in the park boozing and typical male boasting untill the dough was fini, fini but the thirst still unquenchably big. Yeah lets get to Shiva`s house, he has been at the Anne Frank House all morning making money with his funny Indian Games, he`ll have money.

Well, all good and bad things eventually come to an end with me closing down the Spaarndammerstreet free bar permanently, kicking the crap out of some of them to get the message across.

Nowadays when I hear two short rings I know it is Rob usually bringing me back the money he has once again borrowed, normally not more than five Euros a month though sometimes I feel generous and let him have ten Euros.

He comes to my house early evening smashing drunk and on probably more than King Alcohol alone, big stories from the Brotherhood of Evil Friends, who has done what and how....Ramon aka as Demon has squatted Mien`s house who has been evicted to seven years in jail for murder last year and whose house got emptied by the police last week, that is, they kicked all the junks out of the place and left it to the housing people to clean up the mess.

Richard the Little Shit stole his bag, the bag he is so fond of and he always takes with him during his trips to Belgium where his family lives. "This time I will kill that crapcake", he tells me excitedly.

We walk down the street to the Albert Heyn, he wants to give me a free bottle of Red Wine as a sort of thank you for the bloody five Euro but we end up in the neighborhood`s hang-out Bar Numero Uno right across the road - I`m fully aware he needs to visit the john again having serious darm problems, alcoholic`s diarrhea you know.

When about an hour later I find myself alone back in my house enjoying my solitude in front of my telly, I realise that these five Euros have turned into 6 Euros and five cents, a bottle of Red Wine, several beers, a fried chicken sitting in my fridge and waiting for consumption and lets not forget the glass of Red Wine in that neighborhood`s Bar Numero Uno while Rob had to do his messy thing on the toilet....talking about a high interest rate!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pen Drawings of Amsterdam by Hermen Jan Janssen



A drawing by Hermen Jan Janssen, a street seller like me.

You can see more of his stuff on www.HJdrawings.com

Amsterdam,

enjoying the sun while making new games, selling them on the spot right in front of the Anne Frank House`s notoriously long queue, people from all over the world lining up, waiting to see a few bare walls, Anne Frank`s hiding place during the second world war, not that she survived it being betrayed and send to the gas chambers just before the end of the war. But then that is what makes the place so special, it is the admosphere that rules the inside of the house youy line up for!!!

My quiet pondering is rudely disturbed by the arrival of HermanJan the city drawer, a street seller like me and a Kathoey as the Thais call them, a member of the third gender, a transverstite who is usually dresses in mini skirts though often unshaved, a blueish/grayish stumble covering his chin, quiet a funny sight considering his mini skirt.

Today however he is dressed in his corduroy pants and apperently in a good mood judging from the super big grin that seems to split his face in two independent parts, proudly telling me his business is still going strong despite the drop in tourism here in Amsterdam.

Actually my own business is going pretty good too having sold already close to 400 Indian Games though be it still early in the season.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Humbert, Humbert...



Another message from the anonymous Amsterdam street artist called LASER 3.14

My sex date with Antonia

Amsterdam,

Can`t say my little sex date with Antonia was a real success. Sort of I got in a nad out of her place within an hour eating her snatch while she was lying face down on her favorite chair groaning pleasurably while sticking her well formed ass into my face.

By the time I got a sore jaw my male member had grown to quite a proud erection so I moved around the chair to get some head before the Big Time Shagging started.

No real complains there tough soon after I started shagging her ass she wanted me to stop and eat her tasty wed snatch again turning around with me sitting on my knees with my head between her well formed tighs making smoke as the Thai Hot Mommas call it

By the time it was al over she told me she had to check on her internet banking acounts with me getting the message loud and clear "YOU HAVE DONE YOUR JOB TIME TO GO", fair enough, I did tell her last month in that bar down town where we first met that I hated serious relationships after all.....

As for the chair....I seem to remember that she told me last month that that particular chair was the only bit of furniture she took with her when she moved out of her last appartment, I presume the bloody chair holds a certain amount of similar memories for her!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lady Fortuna on my side.


Amsterdam during a rainy day.

Somehow I`ve this strong feeling that Lady Fortuna, the Goddess of good luck must be really on my side!!! What it is she likes about me, mister big stupid nutcase always getting myself drunk and stoned, never interested to get into a serious relationship, nor caring much about my social life, kicking friends, women, even my own family out of my life just like that, adios forever when you get too close to my emotional state of life, fuck off and leave me alone for I care!!!

Lady Fortuna is female and must therefore like me, maybe my unattainablity is what attracts her like all the other ladfies in my life, my good looks or maybe, most importantly of all, my horse dick which is always in trhe mood for some action!!!

Look at all the good luck that has befallen me since being back from my winter trip to Thailand... I found 50 Euro today lying in the street just like that, the second time that happened this month...just a few short weeks ago I found a very wed note of 50 Euro while making a short early morning walk on a rainy sunday morning.

Look at Miss Antonia from Aruba, rich and good looking, who keeps phoning me after we had sex the first time last month. Once was enough for me but she really wants more of that elusive thing called my male sexual organ telling me so on the phone though I did tell her I hate serious relationships, "lets get to your polace and fuck our brains out, goodbye in the morning and have a good life"' but no more and more....lots of guys would be jealous to the max...but me ....I shun it cherishing the memory of good sex and no more of it!!!

Maybe I should biuld up a harem and arrange them y date like the old rulers of Asian and Arabic kingdoms used to do...Yeah sound good to me.

As for now I will have to take another shower, brush my teeth and prepare myself for my sex date qwith Antonia d`Aruba, hot and steamy sex with me shagging her in all her orifices!!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Female companionship to take care of my male needs


Amsterdam.

During days of rain in Amsterdam, be it summer or not, there is nada much to do for me these days...maybe sit in front of my computer playing chess on www.gameknow.com, read newspapers straight from the screen, watch boring movies on old fashioned videos or modern DVDs while lying on my bed and drinking cheap Red Wine, maybe have a wank while watching sex and porn on www.xvideos.com always afraid I might get a telephone call from an old lady-friend ready to trot, her panties wed in anticipation of the penetration by my horse dick...stupid and embarrassing to have to tell her "sorry but my balls are empty, just had a wank in front of my computer screen while watching porn!!!

Embarrasment to the max I guess!!!

However, the sun is back in ancient Amsterdam beaming down on me while I cycle back to my old haunt, my little place in front of the infamously long line of Anne Frank Visitors all waiting to go up these steep stairs, see that little claustrofobic room where she was hiding, spending many boring months in fear of discovery by the brutal Nazi regime that at that time ruled Holland with force and terror.

A stupid booze and drugs addicted craze like me having made all that money because of her misery, been across the globe with my dirty old and bulky backpack cos of the dough I got together selling my handmade Indian Games in front of- and behind that notoriously long queue of people coming from all over the place to experience the fear that still to today haunts that house. I feel it every time I park my bike against that old tree and set up shop, just a minimal presentation...a old cloth, my battered old suitcase, my bisquit can of games, the material I need to make more games.

The day continues pleasurably enough answering tourist questions and making jokes with my customers, sun in my face as the money is getting in , more and more stupid paper and metal coins that I can transform into backpack trips to Thailand, to Southeast Asia where the HOT MOMMAS know how to respect it, sex in exchange for money, plain and simple, to while away a otherwise boring evening in a bare cheap room in a down and out guesthouse far away from home, a bit of female companionship to take care of my male needs.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tempering with your genome



A message from the anonimous Amsterdam street artist called Laser 3.14

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The story of a Muslim girl in Amsterdam.


She has been born in Amsterdam and into a strong Muslim religious family where both Mum and Dad spent their childhood in the Berber stronghold of Southern Marocco, where Mum hardly speaks the gutteral Dutch tongue - as a child she had to accompany Mum top one of her rare visits to the local doctor for translation related purposes.

When Dad wasn`t at work he would either be at the Marrocan Chai house with his mates playing cards and domino, at the mosque dressed in his djalebba or else in front of the telly watching Maroocan TV courtesy of the cable disk outside on the balcony - as a matter of fact most of the neighborhood has got one of these full moon shining metal disk placed on the balcony but then most of the neighborhood is of Marrocan desent, a bit like Little Tanger in Amsterdam West.

She was allowed to attend basic schooling and even four or five years of secondary schooling, only because Dutch Law declared it though. The university study of literature she was so keen on...forget it, Dad and Mum where already busy arranging her marriage with an much older uncle back in the Berber stronghold in the mother country so he could get his green card into the Dutch Kingdom.

Wether or not she wanted to go into the marriage as a virgin or not was not up to her, never mind her two brothers fucking their Marrocan heads of with Dutch girls. She had to keep the family honor to think of after all. A Dutch boyfriend would have resulted into bloody revenge by one of her brothers or even her very own father!!!

Wether or not she wanted to wear a headscarf or not was not her decision to make either. Once again the strong hand of her father and those of her brothers were always wavering above her poor Muslim head!!!

She sees her Dutch female contemporaries having fun and enjoying their adolescence bringing home boyfriends and experiencing with sex, that elusive thing which inside the family is a big taboo and only whispered about in the dark with her Marrocan and Turkish female friends who are all in the same situation.

She is lost in the hell of two distinct different cultures, devoured by the family honor and traditions brought to Holland by her parents and the freedom her Dutch contemporaries openly boast about ands she cherishes so much, lost in between two world s that are universally estranged from each other.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Isaan lady


Lady of the night, from one of my sketchbooks, acrylics on paper

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Giving up King Alcohol.


Amsterdam,

As usual when I drink it slowly gets to this notorious maximum state, the sort of state where I spend most of my days a home drinking cheap supermarket beer during the day while reading even cheaper pulp fiction western weeklies where the main hero is either shooting himself out of dangerous situations or else balling anything female within his sight - somehow I seem to indentify myself with that shithole!!! Jealousy setting in here I guess.

Drink Red Wine late at night after waking up from my alcohol induced slumbers when darkness has settled over Amsterdam and everybody with a real job is already in bed dreaming of sweet love-making or else fearing another day of slaving away for a ever more dominant boss at the office, five days a week to pay the rent, electricity and your cable TV.

At least I should consider myself lucky having to put up with Magriet the Lady-boss at the petting zoo only twice a week, and most weeks she doesn`t even bother to show up and I have the place to myself.

Back to my alcohol hobbies...maybe I should consider giving them up, save the money that now will stay in my ever fatter growing wallet for my winter trips to King Bhumipol`s Kingdom of the Smile, that farang male paradise where the ladies are always in the mood for number one Bam-Bam, a few hundert Baht for plain old sex with no strings attached, the panties go down, the legs apart waiting for yet another male farang penis, hot wed tongue kissing which is hard to get from a hooker in Amsterdam though their prices here are a hundert fold past these asked by their colleages in Southeast Asia.

An Asian lady of the night enjoying her job and the male farang member which is several times bigger as that of the avarage Thai bloke, too bad guys...learn to live with it...hehehe!!!

Anyway we were talking booze and considering giving up the rule of King Alcohol in my life...interesting concept but it will have to be another day maybe not having beer in my fridge but a bottle of Red Wine on top of it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Frustation at the animal farm for children


Amsterdam,

Seeing the question mark behind Bob`s name on the rooster this morning I knew I was in for a shitty ahead. There are days I seriously wonder why I even bother to do my volunteer job at the animal farm for children right around the corner from my house at the end of the Wester Park.

I mean....Sure, I like to make a difference, mean something for the society I live in, do my part for the neighborhood I call my home, pay back the city for a near life time of social welfare. No sweat there....the smiles and excited screaming of little children, the happy faces of their mothers are pay back enough the way I see it.....

The problem is the ever over-dominant lady-boss in charge of ther farm, interfering with my work in a number one IRRITATING sort of way, always wanting to be in the centre ofd attention, paranoid to the extreme about what people, her volunteers, might say about her behind her back.

Trying to ignore my frustrations, my first negative emotional feelings of such a brand new day, the first rays of sun promising a nice spring day in full progress, I phone Miss Construction Lesbian Domina numero Uno telling her of Bob`s apperent absence knowing fully well she will be over around Nine o`clock when coffee is ready, when I have fed the farm`s animals, knowing fully well she`ll ruin my good early morning mood interfering with my work.

Sh*t three times in a row...she herself put me in charge of these two mornings a week, giving me the responsibilty of the day`s happenings - no problems there when she is at home doing the imagenary 6 hours of administartion, too fucking lazy to clean stables, shovel manure, put up with hard work.

Sigh, sigh, sigh and another sigh...well, at least I will be able to go over to the Anee Frank House and make some money for my next trip to Thailand this coming winter, sell my games and joke with my customers.

Damn that crazy frustation-rife lesbian construction type to hell itself for reuining my good mood!!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

INEVITABLY NECESSARY!!!

Amsterdam,

Haaaa, after several windy and rainy days....finally there was the sun again, back to the best known toursit attraction in Amsterdam if not allk of Holland, cycling the short distance from my house in Amsterdam West to the Anne Frank House, my crappy old suitcase tied to the back of my equally shitty old and crappy bicycle holding my necessary stuff, my bisquit can full with Indian Games, my silverwire, my electricity wire...well I`m sure you get the idea.

I set up shop right opposite the infamously long queue outside, people waiting to get inside, up to two hours at sunny days. People asking me all sorts of questions...where are the best coffee shops, the pancake house, Dam Square, the marijuana museum or the tulip museum, take your pick.

Two ladies of indefinite age asking me how to get to the Red Light District..."you need a jo"ladie?"...spontaeous giggles but I tell them the way.

A still beautifull but bit older Javanese lady telling me she is married to a Dutch man having two daughters and the security people coming over telling me it is a quiet day though the queue is two hours waiting time long.

Sold 23 games today. There have been seasoins I would translate that in the number of Hot Mommas walking around on Pattaya`s infamous boulevard I could take back to my New Star Guesthouse in Soi Honer Inn for number one Bam-Bam... but then these days have gone beyond me, are left behind in a cloudy and hazy mental and physical past, somehow I still feel highly attracted to sex and partying but have come to accept it as.....

INEVITABLY NECESSARY despite the bodily and mentally dangers of it, STDs are rife in the world of Hot Thai Mommas and they have a irritable tendency to visit me in Lord Morpheus Kingdom, the dream world, blaming me for their own problems as seem to think I had nada to do with...just a plain old trade between man and woman. Man give woman money for sex, woman take of clothes, simple as that!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I walk alone upon the path of death


Amsterdam,

In moments of doubt or deep pain
When I`m overpowered by my life.

I search around me everywhere I can
For kindred souls who know what I know not.

For those who have the strengh to mitigate
What makes me tremble, weep and often brood.

They tell me I cannot live life my way
Where all my feelings rule my conscious mind.

I must control myself before the act
Or else accept what I have long endured,
The brutal days of feeling lost and blind.

There have been times, not many but few
When someone has possessed the soothing balm.

Providing surcease for my angst and pain
But age has thaught me now one simple rule

Inside myself I must the screams contain
Whatever devils must be wrestled there.

The lessons learned will not be lost again.

We walk alone upon our final trip
No one can help us on that final day of death.

It is best to learn while time is still our friend
To trust ourselves and save our precious breath.

A long comment on my blogging activities.


The following is a comment on my blog entry "A game of Takraw", published on www.travelblog.org


Nine months after the coup of 19 September 2006, popular support had ebbed away and many pronounced the coup a failure. In Chiang Mai, two generals from the coup junta, and the wife of a third, sat dressed all in white under a three-legged arch decorated with banana plants, sugarcane, coconut fronds, gourds, candles, incense sticks, and offerings of food. A sacred thread was strung from the peak of the arch around the heads of the three participants who sat with clasped hands while learned monks from sixteen wat in the city chanted for two hours in the Burmese style. The participants were Air Chief Marshal Chalit [Phukphasuk] (head of the air force), Admiral Sathiraphan [Keyanon] (head of the navy), and Sasini, wife of General Winai [Phattiyakul] (head of the National Security Council). The army chief, General Anupong [Paochinda], was reluctant to attend in person but sent the deputy chief of the First Army as his representative. Conspicuously missing was General Sonthi Boonyaratglin. He had been present during several earlier visits by the coup group to this shrine, and his absence was significant. The rite was arranged by Warin Buaviratlert, universally known as ‘Hon Warin’ meaning ‘Astrologer Warin.’ He is possibly the prime example today of a political astrologer. Thaksin and Pojaman Shinawatra had counted among his clients for some time. But around 2005 his clientele became increasingly dominated by men in uniform. Warin had identified General Sonthi as the reincarnation of a general in the service of King Taksin at the time when Taksin rescued Siam from disaster following the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767. This meant that General Sonthi was destined to save the nation yet again in his new incarnation. Astrologer Warin predicted that Sonthi would rise to become army chief, and reportedly carried out ceremonies to make this even more certain. This was an ambitious prediction given that no Muslim had become army chief before, and that Sonthi was not first in line. However in October 2005, Sonthi was appointed. Subsequently Astrologer Warin predicted there would be a coup and, according to some reports, chose the 19 September as being an astrologically auspicious day for the event. Warin also predicted that General Sonthi would enter politics at the next elections. Indeed Warin’s role in this project went beyond prediction. In early 2007, another of Warin’s clients, Kajit Habananda, president of One-Two-Go budget airline, founded the [Rak Chat] Love-the-Nation Party to serve as the vehicle for General Sonthi’s political career. But the party disappeared after a One-Two-Go plane crashed on landing in Phuket. Warin himself then registered a [Rak Chat Thai] Love-the-Thai-Nation Party, with several of his clients as members. According to some reports, Warin was in line for a ministerial post after Sonthi’s expected rise to the premiership. 2 But then something happened, and the astrological fortunes of the military junta took a sudden dive. The chanting ceremony was held to “correct the karma” (kae kam) and “sustain the fortune” (sueb chata) of the generals. But Sonthi’s fortune was in special trouble because some enemies had been attacking him with supernatural forces - possibly by subjecting a wax image of the general to maltreatment. Sonthi did not attend the rite in Chiang Mai because his fortune was already beyond rescue. And of course, as we now know, his political career was never launched. Warin predicts events by plotting the movement of the planets in the usual way, but this is not his only technique. He is also a spirit medium. He channels the spirit of an ascetic named Kewalan who formerly lived in the Himalayas. The generals’ chanting rite was held in the Hall of the Reverend Rishi Kewalan, where Warin holds regular mass ‘karma-correcting’ and ‘fortune-sustaining’ events which attract enthusiastic crowds from Chiang Mai and elsewhere. Because of his association with General Sonthi and his prediction of the coup, Warin became very famous. He had a personal guard of Special Forces troops. Visitors to his shrine were subject to security inspections. And his movements were kept secret. Warin is not alone. Several astrologers have made political prediction into a personal specialty. The Thai press interviews them for their opinions. Some talk regularly on radio. A few appear on television talk shows. In early 2007, the King Prajadhipok Institute, whose mission is to upgrade the quality of Thai politics, held the first-ever national seminar on politics and astrology. Of course this is not new; but there does seem to be a definite correlation between periods of military rule, and upsurges of interest in supernatural influences on Thai politics. In 1991, the last coup before the recent one, the junta fixed the exact day and minute for the coup by consulting Kengkiat Jongjaipra, a famous astrologers of the time. A few weeks before General Suchinda [Kraprayun] made himself prime minister, his wife Wannee told the public, ‘I dreamt of flying by myself over mountains and forests for a long distance and time. That meant I’ll fulfill all my wishes and be happy for a long time. And this will apply to my husband. In the dream I flew for a long distance so his government may last for even ten years.’ After Suchinda’s government lasted only seven weeks, Wannee went to see a monk in Wat Boworniwet who consulted her husband’s astrological chart and decided he needed to change his name to Bhumichai, ‘land of victory,’ which he adopted for a time. Another member of the 1991-2 junta, ACM Kaset [Rojananil] went to a Chiang Mai temple and paid 100,000 baht to a medium who pasted nine squares of gold leaf with Kaset’s astrological sign on his forehead, bathed him in sacred water, and gave him a talismanic piece of wood. Further back, General Thanom also consulted the stars regularly. Thanin Kraivixien, who became prime minister after the coup in 1976, was possibly better known among the 3 public as an astrologer, rather than as a high court judge. General Sarit [Thanarat] had several astrological advisers; and many senior government officials took to visiting the same astrologers to seek advice. Both the coup attempts of 1981 and 1985 were scheduled after astrological advice. When General Chavalit [Yongchaiyuth] became prime minister in 1996, his wife Khunying Louis went everywhere clutching a toy elephant wearing a wedding dress, diamond pendant, and ear-rings. She explained that her spiritual advisor had told her she must carry this at all times to protect her husband against evil forces, and sustain his time in power. The Khunying also spent a lot of time and money propitiating Rahu, a deity famous for causing eclipses by trying to eat the sun or moon, but also potentially fearful in other ways. [And a few weeks ago, a day after General Chavalit was appointed deputy PM, Khunying Louis appeared at the Elephant Kraal in Ayutthaya and performed a “fortune extending” rite with a live, pink-tinged baby elephant.] But of course, political interest in astrology and supernaturalism is not confined to those in uniform. One of keenest recent adherents has been Thaksin Shinawatra. At the time of his rise to power, Thaksin called on the services of Phra Issaramunnee [from Wat Thammawihari, Phetburi,] but this relationship was broken when the monk was revealed to have replaced the Honda which Thaksin bought him with a Mercedes, and to have also acquired expensive scuba-diving gear, high-powered telescopes, a jacuzzi big enough for five, and a girl friend. Thaksin turned to Phra Wichit Suthakan of Wat Thammikaram, Lopburi, who was especially good at predicting election results. This monk introduced the idea that such predictions had a margin of error, just like statistical estimates. He foretold that TRT would win the 2005 election with 424 seats, plus or minus 10. He added that Thaksin had the perfect facial features for a national leader, “a tiger forehead and lion nose,” and predicted that the Democrats would not return to power for 20 years. It’s worth noting that Thaksin’s astrological birth chart is quite remarkable. By the western method, five of the planets fall in one house - Venus, Pluto, Moon, Sun, and Mercury. This is very rare. By the Thai method, three planets are in a single sign - Sun, Moon, and Mercury. Astrologers agree this signifies an exceptionally strong and selfconfident personality, and a remarkable life. Thaksin was interested not only in the rather passive business of prediction, but also the more active side of bringing spiritual forces into play in order to influence the course of history - especially when he was under threat. When his premiership was threatened by the Corruption Commission’s suit on concealing his assets, he fought back with legal argument (“honest mistake”) and attempts to suborn the judges, but also put efforts into rallying spiritual forces on his side, by organizing simultaneous prayer chanting in 108 wat. When public opinion began to shift against him in 2004, he made many visits to Burma, perhaps more than any other Thai prime minister. While one main reason may 4 have been promoting his satellite business, he also visited a famous Rangoon seer known as “ET.” Her party trick to prove her exceptional powers of insight is to reel off the serial numbers on banknotes in her clients’ pockets. When things got even worse for Thaksin in 2006, he was told by an astrologer (who was also a senator, Boonlert Pairintra) that the problem lay in the planet Mercury. Up to then, Mercury had aided Thaksin’s spectacular rise to wealth and power, but in early 2006 it was eclipsed by Rahu. But that was not all. In March 2006, Thaksin announced that his enemies “are using all kinds of means to try to destroy me, including black magic and the supernatural.” They had been maltreating photos and doll-image. “But don’t worry, I have talismans and various Buddha amulets with me to ward off their magic.” Obviously this was not enough, as his situation continued to worsen. And this was when Newin Chidchob started to play a role. Newin was not one of Thaksin’s early supporters. In fact, he was one of the very last to hold out against absorption into TRT, finally joining only just before the 2005 poll. Thaksin’s support has mostly been stocked on the LIFO principle, last-in first-out, meaning his late adherents were the first to peel away. The big exception has been Newin, the late adherent who has become one of his closest aides. Newin seems to have brought two skills which attracted Thaksin. The first was vote-buying. Newin was tried for votebuying and escaped only on a narrow technicality. At the 2005 polls, he was sent to the south to organize wholesale vote-buying with money distributed through the government machinery. (It failed after local Democrats taped the proceedings). Newin’s second talent is that he is Khmer. In the Thai imagination, Cambodia is a source of great spiritual power, and Khmers have access to powerful techniques. Newin has never claimed any special expertise, but the image clings to him because he is Khmer. When he was arrested after the 2006 coup, he claimed his captors had stripped him down to his underwear before releasing him near his home. The army did not deny this accusation, but explained they were looking for his amulets. They had been told by a senior officer to take away his amulets in order to destroy his power. In 2006 Newin escorted Thaksin to temples all over the north and northeast. Newin also reportedly arranged several propitiatory rites including being walked under an elephant. A practitioner named Pan who had performed rites to boost the careers of Newin and his father (now speaker of the house), was also enlisted to help Thaksin, including a rite where Pan placed his foot on the client’s head. Apparently Thaksin underwent this ceremony twice. On 19 May 2008, nineteen pieces of statuary were damaged inside the Phanom Rung complex in Buriram. Heads were knocked off eleven nagas; a Nandi bull, two singh lions and a guardian were damaged; and a lingam was moved a substantial distance. Suspicion immediately arose that some supernatural ritual had been held. Local villagers brought in a rishi from Khorat to divine what had happened. He seems to have been a 5 Gucci rishi as he turned up in a rather natty mock-leopard skin number, with a bevy of assistants equally elegantly attired. He divined that six men had been responsible, and that their actions had been an attempt to scare away the guardian spirits that give protection to the monument. From the published pictures, it is difficult to work out the symbolic content of the desecration. The range of different acts of damage suggests a general attempt to create disorder. Most of the damage seems to have been done to heads, and especially to mouths. Phanom Rung is a Khmer monument, and is located in Buriram, the home of Newin Chidchob. It soon emerged that, shortly before the vandalism, Newin had been allowed to perform some rituals inside the complex with the help of Brahman priests. Thaksin had just returned to Thailand and the political tension had risen sharply. Newin had again escorted Thaksin on a tour of 99 wat in the northeast to muster the spiritual forces on Thaksin’s side. According to the theory, Newin’s rite in Phanom Rung had been designed to draw on the exceptional spiritual force of this ancient site; and the later vandalism had been an attempt to disrupt these forces. But if you have a broader, longer view of history, the desecration at Buriram is part of a much more complex story. The tale starts over two centuries ago at the foundation of Bangkok. There was a sacrificial event at the erection of the city pillar. Such ceremonies draw on old beliefs about the spiritual force vested in the earth. The sacrifice is required to placate these spirits so they offer their protection to the realm. Unhappily, a green snake slid into the hole along with the offerings. This has been the cause of difficulty for the realm and ruling elites ever since, requiring propitiation of those gods who have the power to combat this sort of misfortune. Two gods were recruited for this role. The first is the “flower Brahma.” In Hindu mythology, while Vishnu was lying asleep on a serpent, a lotus flower sprouted from his navel. Brahma was incarnated in this lotus, seated in a position of deep meditation, and went on to recreate the world. In India, the idea of a “flower Brahma” seems unknown. But in the Thai adaptation, the phrase means a meditating Brahma of special power - enough power to recreate the world. The second god is Vishnu, or Narai in the Thai tradition. During the churning of the sea of milk to create the life force for the world, he stands at the very centre, imperiously directing the whole event with his four arms. As with the “flower Brahma,” this is an image connected to the power of creation. Now fast forward to early 2006. Thaksin has just sold his company. PAD has just been formed. The demonstrations are building to their first climax. Thaksin has called an election. The Democrats have resolved to boycott. In effect, the current fight over Thailand’s democracy is building to its first climax. In this tense situation, on the night of 21 March 2006, the statue at the Erawan shrine was smashed by hammer blows. The statue had been created as the guardian for a hotel, but it had evolved into something much more—an unofficial guardian spirit of the city. And of course, the image is Brahma. In this interpretation of the event, the destruction was not the work of some crazed vandal 6 but a deliberate attack on an image associated with protection of the city and the monarchy, an attempt to disorder the spiritual forces in advance of a disputed election only two weeks away. The story of the crazed vandal was a cover-up. And the Buriram vandalism is part of the same story. Perhaps the most famous sculpture at Phanom Rung is a lintel which includes both the deities which counter the problems created by the snake from the time of the city’s foundation. The lintel depicts Vishnu reclining on a serpent and contemplating the recreation of the world. It also depicts the moment that the “flower Brahma” is incarnated in a lotus sprouting from Vishnu’s navel. In this interpretation, the vandalism was an attempt to disrupt the spiritual forces only weeks ahead of the first court rulings against the Shinawatra family. More recently, there has been another incident around the powerful sites in the city. On 29 October 2008, Sondhi Limthongkul told the audience for the PAD stage and the ASTV broadcast that he had taken a group of ladies to daub the base of the equestrian statue of King Rama V with used sanitary napkins. Sondhi explained that this act was designed to counter attempts to sabotage the power of the statue to protect the nation. There are lots more examples, but that’s enough. Our point is that politicians pay a lot of attention to astrology and other methods of predicting events. They also invest time and money in calling on supernatural forces for benign and malign intent. Why? At least four reasons. First, announcing astrological predictions of coming events is a way of preparing people to accept them, and not to oppose them; second, sometimes predictions are a way of giving people assurance that things will get better; third, ceremonies like the ‘fortune extending’ rites are a way to increase their own self-confidence, and to warn or threaten their enemies; fourth, they are a way to pass messages; for instance, just yesterday, a famous astrologer announced that Thaksin’s star-chart has strong death associations from mid 2009 for at least 7 years. Now that’s a message. Now we now want to investigate why the spirits and stars can play these roles. We will look first at astrology, and then at saiyasat or supernaturalism. Astrology The continuing authority of astrology in Thai politics derives from royal tradition. In the past, astrological prediction was used for all important political events such as initiating reigns, cremating past monarchs, launching wars, founding temples, and raising city pillars. The court tried to establish a monopoly on high-quality astrological prediction. If you have exclusive rights on the technology to predict the future, that is a very important form of power. How to establish such a monopoly? First, become the exclusive importer. The astrological system used by the Ayutthaya court was imported from India or Sri Lanka. So too were the Brahmans who staffed the astrology department. Second, accord the practitioners high status. At Ayutthaya, the post of Chief Astrologer counted among the seven or eight chief ministers with the highest sakdina ranking. 7 Third, make sure it is difficult for others to copy. The Indian Jyotisa system, which plots the movement of planets against a background of stars, requires highly complex calculations (the slide shows the calculation for one planet, Venus). In addition, the techniques for interpreting the results are intentionally baroque. The position of each planet within a house is subdivided into minute movements. The relative positions of two or more planets add further planes of meaning. External associations with natural elements are brought into play. In short, the methodology was made deliberately complex and arcane in order to require expertise that only the court could command. Other forms of prediction were also largely a court monopoly. Warfare depended on astrological prediction, but also on portents found in nature - particularly cloud formations, the phase and appearance of the moon, and so on. The Tamra Phichai Songkhram, the manual of the arts of war, devotes much more space to these techniques of prediction than to weapons, battle formation, and tactics. Again, the science is highly complex and hence exclusive. There are many simpler systems of prediction in use. Some depend on the intersections of the lunar and solar calendars. Some depend on simple associations, such as between days and colors, or between times of day and certain activities, which have been codified into lists which can be looked up in manuals like Phrommasak. Today, monk astrologers often use these simpler systems, and probably this was true in the past. But they clearly could not rival the complexity and hence the assumed value of fullblown Indic planetary calculation. After 1932, the royal astrological department ceased to exist. But there was a revival with the new reign. Astrologers are still employed to determine timings for key activities by the court. A manual originally prepared for the court in 1923 by An Sarikabut using new methods of calculation, was republished in 1965 and presented to the King. So was another manual by Acharn Suriya-arak, printed in 1969. The Astrological Association of Thailand has the queen as patron and is located inside Wat Boworniwet, the wat where the king ordained. It currently has 6,000 members, and offers consultancy services and training. There is another Astrological Foundation of Thailand under the patronage of the Supreme Patriarch. But the court no longer has a monopoly. The methods are now in the public domain. The manual originally prepared for the court in 1923 can now be bought over the counter. Thep Sarikabut (? son of An, compiler of the 1923 manual) wrote extensively on astrology and saiyasat in the 1960s and 70s. Every newspaper has an astrological column, and there are many specialist magazines. Computer programs are available to facilitate the calculations. Indeed, you can plot your own planetary chart by filling in a form on the net. But the complexity which the court astrologers introduced into the business of interpreting the chart still allows for exclusivity. The market has become segmented by both specialization and quality. Some astrologers focus on family and everyday matters. 8 Others claim expertise in reading the implications for business. And a few have tried to develop the potential of the market for political prediction. The fact that astrology was so closely associated with political power in the royal past has ensured its continuing appeal to politicians. The military, who ran Thailand for fifty years after the ending of the absolutist era, took up astrology in earnest. Indeed it is almost impossible to find a prominent military politician who did not publicly associate himself with astrology, or was an astrologer himself (Prem may be the exception). Naturally enough, this tradition has passed on to the civilian politicians of the modern era. Thaksin is the prime example. He patronized several astrologers. He gave them gifts. He deliberately talked to the public about this in his speeches and radio shows. His public claims about astrology were one part of his efforts to build a public image as a powerful political leader. Saiyasat But the limitation of astrology is that it is passive. Of course interpretations may vary, but the planets are where the calculations indicate. If people want to “improve” the fortune dictated by the stars, they need some other technique. If politicians want to enhance their power and improve their prospects, they need other methods. Many political astrologers offer other services in addition to casting astrological charts. As noted, Astrologer Warin is also a spirit medium, and hosts chanting ceremonies and other rites which do not predict the future but try to change it. This takes us into the world of saiyasat, the usual word today for supernaturalism in general, based on a Pali root meaning ‘superior expertise.’ While astrology draws its status from its association with royal power, saiyasat draws its power from its association with Buddhism. To understand this, we need to delve back quite a long way. Saiyasat is a complex mix of beliefs that have come together in a rather unique way in the Thai tradition. Three thousand years ago in India, the authors of the three Vedas, the basic texts of Hinduism, decided to compile a catalogue of the folk beliefs they hoped to supplant. This Fourth Veda, or Atharava Veda, is a list of methods for influencing the world, mostly through formulas and magical objects. Many of the verses are about gaining protection from disease, wild animals, evil fellow-humans, and other threats. Some are about inducing love. The scope of the catalog, and many of the methods, can be discerned in saiyasat to this day. The Thai pronunciation of Atharava, athan, has become a saiyasat word meaning protection, particularly for a city, palace, or house. Another old Indian belief was that mastery over the self - through ascetic practice and self control - delivers mastery over nature—the ability to perform supernatural acts. According to some traditions, the Buddha practiced these methods to achieve enlightenment, but outlawed them as general practice among his followers on grounds 9 they were too dangerous. Yet some carried on this tradition, often in semi-secret sects. In many Buddhist cultures, this movement developed into tantric or esoteric sects, outside mainstream Buddhist practice. That seems to have been the case in Cambodia. But in Siamese tradition, these practices were not sidelined. The Lankan reformation in the fourteenth-fifteenth centuries, and the Mongkut reforms in the nineteenth, tried to suppress this tradition but without success. Forest monks who often practice extreme asceticism and claim supernatural ability are an integral part of the Thai tradition. Thailand today is littered with ‘magic monks.’ A third part of the mix are spirits. Across Southeast Asia (and indeed in most of the world) people believe that spirits of the dead act as protectors for places and people. Again, reform Buddhism failed to suppress this tradition. Instead, in folk belief, souls that are between incarnations may find themselves stranded in this world, where they have exceptional powers. Thailand teems with many different forms of such spirits, some which are benign and can be invoked for help and protection, and some which are malign and can be directed against enemies. The fourth part are the Indic gods (Indra, Siva, Vishnu, Brahma) which Southeast Asia imported and turned into something rather like the local spirits - divine forces that intervene in the world. Saiyasat has brought all these things together : the old 4th veda belief in incantations and magic objects; the belief in mastery over the self delivering supernatural ability; and the active role of the spirits of the dead in the world of the living. Adepts, through learning and self-discipline, can direct spirits and in other ways influence the natural world through incantations, powerful objects, and other devices. The main purposes are for protection from various threats, and inducing love, but the techniques were also developed for warfare so there is an aggressive side. The best example of the merging of different traditions into saiyasat are yantra or lek yan, magical designs which primarily deliver protection. Originally these were simple geometric designs for aiding meditation. But in the Siamese tradition they have become much more elaborate designs incorporating not only magical geometry, but images of spirits, deities or powerful animals; mnemonic forms of the kind of incantations found in the 4th veda, written in Pali script; and magical sequences of numbers written in old Khmer. They have to be prepared by an adept under disciplined conditions, and activated by further chanting. But then they serve the purpose of transferring the masterful powers of the adept onto the new owner. They can be tattooed on the skin, written on shirts or bandanas or rings, or inscribed on amulets [like takrut]. A hundred years ago they were very widely used. In the last fifty years they have been replaced by the Buddha amulet, which is much more suitable to the modern lifestyle. But these amulets, and the yantra that preceded them, are evidence of the very widespread grip of these beliefs, and their close association with Buddhism. A very high 10 proportion of the services that Buddhist monks supply to their clientele is in fact saiyasat - including blessing such amulets, conducting ceremonies for building a house or opening an office (which is athan), or matching horoscopes of lovers. In the past, the court patronized saiyasat as well as astrology. Much of the manual of the Arts of War is a catalog of high-end saiyasat. The idea behind the city pillar goes right back to the 4th Veda. King Mongkut invented a new protective spirit, Phra Sayam Thewathirat, for the nation. King Bhumibol patronized the forest lineage of Acharn Mun Purihatto. Until the early nineteenth century, the Defence Ministry had a department for manufacturing and distributing protective devices. Though the department has since disappeared, many military commanders take on the responsibility personally. To this day, police assigned to the insurgency-wracked far south are given amulets and cloths inscribed with yantra. But unlike with astrology, the court could never get a monopoly on saiyasat. It has always been an unruly tradition. Many of the rebels in late Ayutthaya were practitioners of saiyasat. So were the holy-men rebels in Isan around 1900. Not surprisingly, the state is often anxious to get saiyasat under control. In the Three Seals Law, there are provisions outlawing aggressive uses of saiyasat. King Taksin issued a royal order threatening the guardian spirits of the city with exile or execution by magical means if they failed to expel evil spirits from Thonburi. In the 1784 Miscellaneous Laws of King Rama I there are several clauses outlawing malicious use of spirits, love philters, and other saiyasat techniques. These old legal measures made an important distinction. Employing saiyasat for defensive purposes which do not impinge on other people is fine; but using saiyasat with malicious intent—to cause causing harm or damage to other people—was a criminal offence. That distinction has carried through into the unwritten law today. It’s fine for a Buddhist monk to bless amulets, or bless the first pillar of a new house, or carry out chanting rituals to avert danger. Manufacturing Jatukam amulets in an aeroplane in a desperate attempt to improve their market value is also fine. Even cursing evil-doers is marginally acceptable, and it has become standard practice to burn chilli and salt to curse vote-buyers or even tyrannical prime ministers. But aggressive practices are condemned. The way they are condemned in current practice is to label them as “Khmer.” There is no evidence that Khmer saiyasat is more malicious than Thai. In this usage, “Khmer” is just a Thai word meaning “nasty.” Many Thai believe Khmer adepts are good at love charms, and putting spells on enemies. So Newin Chidchob is imagined as someone who can bring the “nasty” side of saiyasat into political play in order to aid Thaksin. Phanom Rung has become a focus because it is a Khmer site which lends itself to these nasty practices. In Sondhi Limthongkul’s imagination, all the magical protective sites of the kingdom are under 11 threat because of “Khmer adepts” sneaking up behind the Emerald Buddha, and creating a magical wall around the Equestrian Statue so these powerful images cannot protect the monarch and kingdom—presumably against the demon Thaksin. Conclusion Let us sum up. Both astrology and saiyasat are “about power.” Being able to predict future events, or to time important events at auspicious moments, is a form of power. For great events that affected whole kingdoms - such as wars - accurate timing was critical. Similarly, the ability to influence events through supernatural forces is a form of power. Practitioners of astrology and saiyasat claim to be able to do things which most people cannot. These practices have great prestige because of their historical association with monarchy and religion. The kings were able to impose something like a monopoly on high-end astrology, and they advertised this monopoly as part of the public display of their authority. They also tried to control saiyasat though this was much more difficult. Saiyasat flourished because rulers and reformers failed to end the Buddhist monkhood’s deep involvement with these practices - right down to the present day. Today, access to these practices has become democratized. But the association between these practices and the exercise of political power has not been weakened. After the end of the absolute monarchy, the new military rulers took up astrology with enthusiasm. The civilian politicians who succeeded the generals have been no different. The democratization of access to these practices means it is more difficult to establish an exclusive claim. This has created a niche for practitioners who claim such specialism or rare expertise. Perhaps the best example is the Rangoon sage, ‘ET,’ who became very popular with Thai generals and prime ministers precisely because they were almost the only people who had the opportunity to fly over and see her. Others like Hon Warin have had to work hard at establishing his expertise - by such devices as claiming special knowledge of the past lives of Thai generals in the era of King Taksin; and by making some predictions which proved true. Similarly, politicians of Khmer origin such as Newin have been accredited with special expertise in aggressive saiyasat as a result of ethnic prejudices. In the end, the survival of these beliefs has a profoundly anti-democratic aspect. Generals who command a nation’s armed forces, and businessmen with assets in billions of dollars, are reluctant to accept that politics are moved by the sentiments of the people rather than the influences of the stars and spirits over which they can claim some special control. Thank you. [30/11 5444] 1 The spirits, the stars, and Thai politics Pasuk Phongpaichit and Chris Baker Siam Society, 2 December 2008 The Council of National Security (2006 coup group) ACM Chalit Adm. Sathiraphan Gen. Winai ACM Chalit arriving for the rite Warin Buaviratlert 2 General Sonthi Boonyaratklin “I told Gen Sonthi I had a vision of him leading the way holding a flag, and that meant he would lead a coup.” Hon Warin Kajit Habananda a fate-extending rite at the Hall of the Reverend Rishi Kewalan Hon Warin, friends, and guard with Khun Sodsri (ECT) 3 ‘I dreamt of flying by myself over mountains and forests for a long distance and time. That meant I’ll fulfill all my wishes and be happy for a long time. And this will apply to my husband. In the dream I flew for a long distance so his government may last for even ten years.’. Wannee Kraprayoon Suchinda Thanom Thanin Sarit Chavalit Khunying Louis …Phra Issaramunee was obsessed with expensive worldly goods, among them telescopes, infra-red binoculars, scuba diving gear and a whirlpool bath tub which could hold five people. He had just bought a Mercedes car to replace a Japanese-made car given to him by Mr Thaksin two years ago, as the seats in the Japanese car were not supportive enough. (Bangkok Post, 16 October 2001) 4 Phrakhru Wijit Suthakan “When a monk speaks you must believe it. He’s right.” V W S P Q R T U Y X Newin Chidchob Phanom Rung, Buriram, 19 May 2008 5 6 “For many years past, the powers of many sacred things including the spirit of the city pillar, the Equestrian Statue of King Rama V, Phra Sayam Thewathirat, and the Emerald Buddha, have been suppressed by evil people using magic. Evil-minded people allied with some in the Royal Household Bureau to allow a Khmer adept to go behind the Emerald Buddha and take away the stone that emits protective power. I must thank the women of the PAD because they took sanitary napkins from menstruating women and placed them on the six points [around the Equestrian Statue of King Rama V]. Experts said that the spirit adepts were furious because their magic was rendered ineffective.” Sondhi Limthongkul, PAD stage, 29 October 2008 Why political astrology? • to prepare people for events • to give assurance • to increase self-confidence • to intimidate enemies • to pass messages Astrology 7 Manual of Standard Thai Astrology, complete edition. Luang Wisan-khru-nakhon (An Sarikabut), 1923, 1965 Singto Suriya-arak presenting his astrology manual Saiyasat 8 Atharva Veda text Atharva Veda: protection, formulas, devices Self-mastery: asceticism, supernatural power Local spirits of the place and ancestors Indic gods (Indra, Siva, Visnu, Brahma 9 takrut amulet 10 Phra Sayam Thewathirat Acharn Man Purihatto Soldiers posted to the far south displaying amulets issued by their commander, 2004 Pi bong, pi pa, and pi sat have created great trouble for the citizenry and caused the death of many public servants, while the guardian spirits and deities of the city failed to expel these evil-intentioned spirits. As there is no law to cover this matter, henceforth if the guardian spirits and deities fail in this duty they face punishment of being expelled from the city or being executed by wetmon (magic). Legislation by King Taksin of Thonburi, perhaps 1771 Police photographing the Equestrian Statue the day after Sondhi’s revelation 11 Conclusion Thank you

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Day After Queen´s Day 2009.

Amsterdam,

I sit in my usual place in front of the Anne Frank House surrounded by all the garbage left over from a fucked-up Dutch queen`s Day trying to sell my Mandala Games, empty bottles of Heineken, dirty open cans of Coca Cola the smell of stale left over coke impregnating my nostrils with a sick making odour, people from the city`s cleaning department doing overtime, still I sell 18 games. More money for my next trip, more dough for Thai prostitutes, more heavy Karma to deal with later in my life, or maybe more social help for the poor female members of the Isaan clan of Womanhood in Thailand`s poor northern provinces!!!

The city is still tense and unsettling after yesterday`s attack on our Royal Family, people walking by asking me "did you hear the latest news´.

No police to be seen, a pick-pocket´s paradise, after a hard working day with many overtime the guys in blue are all off, back with their families enjoying their free time, no more Queen´s Day stress but family love and tranquility. After all police people are family people and middle class, it goes with their nature.

Mortage to pay and kids to grow up, it needs a well-paid job, it needs money in the bank each month.

I presume their opposites the notorious clan of pick-pockets - they tend to come from Eastern Europe these days - are sleeping off a well deserved hangover from a busy Queen´s Day as well - no worries their.

By 14.00 h. with 18 games gone, a fat wallet, breaking up and ready to go home I see the first police of the day patrolling the area, two sleepy looking coppers who have hardly any time to even look at poor me Hans The Street Seller, their bleary eyes scanning the queue for possible suspects belonging to the aforementioned clan of Eastern European pick-pockets.