Sunday, January 06, 2008
Our Beloved King
The worst thing Mikey could have done was tell his brothers that the king is taken seriously around Thailand. His recent 80th birthday was celebrated on a par with the US Bicentennial. It is a crime to make fun of his royal highness and the offense is taken seriously. You can imagine the ladyboy jokes this warning inspired. Mikey got more and more agitated, finally telling us about the hapless guy caught drawing mustaches on some of the ubiquitous king photos around the country. He was jailed in Thailand's notorious prison which is so bad it seems to have inspired every westerner ever sent to a cell to write about it. Mikey has read all these books, I think, and regaled us with stories about raising cockroaches and rats as a source of needed protein and carrying around your leg irons on a leash. Anyway, the overt king insults stopped.
It is required whenever the king's song is played that everyone stop working and observe a moment of reflection. It's similar to the playing of the national anthem here. I don't know how often this occurs daily but the theme did sound while we were walking through the train station and like children playing the game Statue, everyone froze.
"Oh I just hate it when I'm busy working or rushing someplace and the George Bush song comes on," Cisco joked. Fortunately, Bush jokes are not punishable by law.