I returned to Bangkok, after a nice holiday with my mum and niece, just to "witness" my friend Moyuko get hitched to Wattana.
It was a lovely and cozy wedding in DOn Bosco's Catholic Church in Petcheburi on Sunday, 4 January 2009.
The bride and bridegroom planned and did everything themselves, from organising the attendance of their two families - one from Tokyo and the other from Udonthani - to sewing the wedding dress, printing the misalletes, bride's bouquet, to making the wedding souvenirs - japanese sweets wrapped in a tiny photo of the wedded couple in traditional Japanese attire.
It was really sweet and I was the witness to the wedding - had to sign my name on the marriage registry and all. Wow!
No one gave the bride away - Moyuko held Wattana's arm and both of them marched to the alter - looking perfect as newly weds, while their families on both side of the pew looked on with glowing eyes.
Only close friends were invited, other than immediate family members. Hehey! We were the privileged ones. I believe this is the best way to celebrate one's union with the other.
I do shy away from big, busy and noisy marriage ceremonies. But I guess they do serve their purpose as well, especially for those living in large communities.
I am happy for Moyuko and Wattana. And wish them all the love and happiness in the world!
I have many images to paint but I did this one first - because my friends and I are at this stage of our lives where we are contemplating life and work.
We keep saying that we need to do work that is meaningful, that makes us feel something stir inside us, and work that has impact and outcome.
Actually, I was thinking of Giyoun and Bernice when I started to paint this.
Because Giyoun wants to be a garderner, and Bernice wants to grow herbs. And they said, that if they had actually done it, they can see things growing by now.
I agreed, and thought of my art work.
Can we say the same for our professional/ officework now, we asked each other?
It was something to think about.
I finally managed to bridge the inkpaper - paintcanvass divide within myself. I have a long way to go to get used to the technique.
After years of drawing in ink, I was actually afraid to start on canvass. With ink I can be really detailed and fine. But I actually appreciate the freedom of movement I have with canvass.
I did watercolors since primary school.
At 12, I was happy that my art teacher Cikgu Bukhairi of Sek. Ren. Pengkalan Tentera in Kuantan, Pahang - east coast of Malaysia (a school where children of soldiers go to - in an army camp) announce one day: Topic Bebas (free topic).
I had been an abstract/surreal artist since then (hehey), because when all my classmates painted flowers and houses, villages, fruits and the likes, I painted the earth - a round shape with the insides filled with many different colors, lined in black. I mixed more than 20 colors, from the 12 basics that I had.
At the end, it looked like the earth was divided into so many blocks of different shades. If I knew better, I'd call it multiculturalism, kept apart by our different boundaries.
Then we had to pin all our art work on the wall at the back of the classroom.
I remember Cikgu Bukhairi actually standing infront of my painting, looking hard at it, sometimes frowning, he seem to be thinking hard. Then he rubbed his chin, turned around to look at me and winked.
Cikgu Bukhairi was a very strict teacher. I felt some satisfaction in that. Haha!
Ps. Thanks Rainstorm for the encouragement. I need it!
I'm always walking home late at nights on the streets of Bangkok. Tonight I am happier because this scrap collector keeps me company on the street that leads to my apartment.
Poor man. It's almost 12 midnight, and he is just about to return home. He looked weary and hungry. I am beginning to feel how the economic crisis is beginning to affect everyone.
Today, King Bhumipol is once again drapped in gold, and worshipped like God. But the scrap man remains as he is. Pushing his cart, looking for scraps, and hoping that tomorrow would be a better day.
Not much difference from me actually.
I know, I know, I ought to feel afraid. I should not be walking around Bangkok, alone, so late at night. I should leave the office earlier. But I don't.
When one is at work, time flies and before you know it, damn! It's not all about work. Sometimes I have dinner with friends or see a movie, and then take a slow walk home. I can take the sky train, but the weather in winter is sublime.
A winter without snow, but it's great just to feel the cool air on your face and in your hair.I pray the hot weather will never come this way.
Besides, I feel so safe here on the streets, or when I ride in Taxis (they don't even charge a midnigt fee like they do back home).
I felt safe even when there were chaos at the Government House and Suvanabhumi airport. Because I do notice on my way back, that there were many tourist police at every juncture.
Sigh. I don't feel that safe back home, not even in Penang, and worst still Kuala Lumpur.
I did feel safer years back, but now, it scares the hell out of me if I return home late in Penang. And mom would be worried too, staying up till I come home, which is a bad thing for her, because she sents my niece (her grand daughter) to school at 6.30am.
Somehow I felt sad looking at the enlarged photo of King Bhumipol of Thailand in front of the Emporium tonight.
He does look very kind and benign, waving to his subjects, who simply adore him and worship the ground he walks upon.
Unlike us Malaysians, sorry to say, but royalties hardly figure in our lives.
Yet, there are so many stories of how much influence Bhumipol has in the power struggle that makes up Thailand's political landscape today.
Not everyone appreciate the Royalties, though. Dissent is real, and growing although hidden and hushed for fear of the Les Mejeste law that can throw one in prison until His Majesty pardons.
Or until the sentence is served. Hell, that could be a lifetime!
Truth is, many Youths prefer a republic but Thailand has a long way to go in this area. It's not just the Constitution. Hearts would bleed if anything untoward happens to their beloved King.
I stopped by the Emporium (which by the way has a very good selection of books in its version of Kinokuniya) on my way home from work. It was already about 11.30pm, and preparations were underway for his Birthday tomorrow.
I worry for that guy up on the billboard (can you see him?) although it seems he has two glittering angels looking out for him - right in front of him!
Those angels are of course part of the coming Christmas celebrations you see every where in Bangkok, which considers itself a Buddhist state.
Then I noticed that although he is dressed in gold over there, His Majesty has really gone on in years. When I see him on TV, I felt his eyes no longer hold any passion or life.
Does he really care anymore for what happens in Thailand? Is he finally giving up in the midst of all this chaos and uncertainties?
Maybe it is just a figment of my imagination?
I still wonder how a frail and sick man can be at the centre of a political storm?
When will he give up?
No matter how much wealth one has, or how much one is worshipped or reverred, these pleasures are temporary and would soon come to an end. Like a movie reel.
Long Live the King, indeed. I know he has lived his life well.
But just as soon as I thought that, somewhere deep in my little heart, I truly, truly fear for my adopted home when the inevitable happens.
I went to a student art exhibition in Siam Paragon. And was quite impressed at the talents of these young minds. Refreshing and bold. There were many interesting pieces, but my attention was caught by this.
The artist for the photo shown here is Kreerath Sunnitramat (image below):
In his digital photo (actually blown up into a very large size), Kreerath tries to present a situation at a butcher shop. See the bloody and messy, dirty floors, flooded with pigs blood. The butchers here could either be Thais or migrant workers.
The write-up of this piece is in Thai, except for somethings like name of artiste and medium of work. So I can't make out much of what this is. But ...
In an instant I felt like puking, and felt some empathy for the workers who had to slog all day in this kind of environment. It must be quite revolting but can they help it?
I also thought about Thai Buddhist society and how they would react when see this. Buddhists would prefer not to kill animals. But the bloody floor tells a different story.
The other thing that came to mind was the situation back home. Malaysian Chinese are often labelled "Babi" or pig (in a degrading manner) by the ultra racists.
But the ultra racists forget that many Malaysians of Chinese origins do not eat meat, let alone pork, for various reasons.
I do not eat pork, or beef, or even lamb. Mostly chicken, which I do not prefer because I rather like fish. I am mostly vegetarian, no seafood at all, no eggs, only fish.
It's sad to see how conservative society is and how little have changed since the dark ages.