Flood, What Flood?
“Tomorrow I shall travel to Hong Kong, and then to Macau, and after that I shall visit Peking, I have to get away from here”. The lady’s brow furrowed thoughtfully, “I have to escape Thailand” she said, “everywhere is flooded” My companion in conversation was the owner of the guest house I had been staying at and she was voicing her concerns for her safety. I looked around me, it was hot sunny and dry; very dry, dry-as-a-bone. I had at that stage been cycling for several hundred kilometres through Thailand and had seen no sign whatsoever of flooding. I had spent several days in Bangkok and seen no flooding. I have now been a month in Thailand and have travelled nearly the entire length of the country and seen very little flooding.
I am, as I write this, sitting on a train rumbling across Bangkok. From time to time I look up from my MacBook and gaze out of the window, I see no water, and yet the lady from the guest house was off to China to escape the flooding.
Now don’t misunderstand me, I am not denying that there is flooding here in Thailand, I am sure that there is, this is becoming worryingly apparent by the dwindling stock of Singha beer across the land as one of their breweries slowly submerges. My point is more that rather than judging things on their own experiences people generally harbour a tendency to judge things on what they are told. My wee brother Dicki and I once lay in my tent listening to the rain drumming against the tarp. Dicki prodded at his Apple or Orange or Raspberry flavoured Phone for a while, looked thoughtful and said, “it’s not raining”. I told him that I felt sure that it was and were he to poke his head outside his senses would confirm this. He studied his phone for a little longer and assured me that he was confident it was not. He unzipped the tent and, as rain drops spattered his phone, he prodded at the virtual buttons, shook his head and said “no, definitely not raining”.
I do see the television as I move along, be it in bars or cafés or restaurants, and with these periodic observations of the news I, like most of the world, have seen a Thailand submerged in a torrent of biblical proportions. It is a land blighted by shoals of crocodiles and venomous serpents, but when I look away from the TV, from the south of the country to the far north I see no sign of flooding at all, leave alone hostile reptiles.
A valid criticism that could well be levelled at me is that I should pay more attention to the news. Being away from newspapers and television for prolonged periods I long ago came to the conclusion that the world seemed to be muddling along quite splendidly without my keeping a close eye on whatever is taking place, and through this approach I feel that I do see the world slightly askew from others. My understanding of the world is based more on my personal observations and experiences rather that the observations and experiences of others. Whether this is right or wrong, good or bad I am as yet unsure, but it is the understanding of the present situation in Thailand that I have from personal observation rather than third party observation that has set me thinking, a most unusually occurrence and one I felt worthy of report.