At Home at Lake Mabprachan, Pattaya on 2nd Day of Songkran

3 Months, 14 days – still sober


What Mobi did

Yesterday, I stayed at home all day. I had promised to make a trip out to one of the Lakside bars to meet up with a friend who wanted to copy some of my downloaded TV programmes, but the heavens decided to open up in the afternoon and by the time the weather had settled down a little I was too engrossed in my writing to drag myself away.

In the evening I watched Amadeous, Director’s Cut. I don’t know why, but for some reason I had never seen this movie before. It is certainly a much acclaimed film and is rated by many as one of the finest movies ever made. It picked up 8 Oscars including best Film, best actor and best director, when it was released in 1984. Anyway, better late than ever, and I have to say that it was a great movie by any standards; brilliant acting, direction, staging and cinematography, and simply superlative music,( by Mozart of course), with much of it accompanied by inspired operatic virtuoso performances. It has to be a movie that anyone who has a genuine love of good movies to should see and I don’t know why it has taken me so long to get around to it. Maybe I was too busy getting drunk.

Although the story is not true, it does faithfully represent the place and period where Mozart lived and worked, and somewhat bizarrely, almost all of Mozart’s dialogue spoken in the movie was Mozart’s own words, translated from the German, of course, taken from his letters and other sources.  The story does, nevertheless deal with interesting themes and ideas, particularly the jealousy of someone with mediocre talent when he encounters someone with God-inspired talent, as it was with Antonio Salieri, a composer whose work has been long since forgotten and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a composer whose music will endure forever.

I certainly hope that I, with very mediocre talent, will never fall into the trap of resenting those with talent much greater than mine. If Amadeus has done nothing else for me, it has provided  a gentle warning to me never to succumb to such feelings.


Immigration and ‘The Elephant In The Room’.

Between 1997 and 2009 the net increase in the number of people coming to Britain, (i.e. the number settling in Britain, less the numbers leaving Britain), is 2.2 million.

Today, the British Prime minister, David Cameron, of whom I am not a particular fan, will put his head above the ‘politically correct’ parapet and will state:

“When there have been significant numbers of new people arriving in neighbourhoods, perhaps not able to speak the same language as those living there, on occasions not really wanting or even willing to integrate, that has created a kind of discomfort and disjointedness in some neighbourhoods.

“This has been the experience for many people in our country and I believe it is untruthful and unfair not to speak about it and address it.”

He will then say:

“There are forced marriages taking place in our country and overseas as a means of gaining entry to the UK. This is the practice where some young British girls are bullied and threatened into marrying someone they don’t want to.

“I’ve got no time for those who say this is a culturally relative issue – it is wrong, full stop, and we’ve got to stamp it out.”


When I was a young lad, growing up in east London/ east Essex, there was a significant minority of Jewish children who attended my primary school – children of parents who were first generation immigrants, mainly from Germany and other parts of Europe who had settled in the UK during and immediately after the Nazi holocaust of the 1930’s and 1940’s. By the time I started school in the early 1950’s, many of these Jewish immigrants, who originally settled in the East end, had already spread out to other parts of London, partly in an effort to better themselves, and partly to integrate themselves into mainstream British society.

Many of my best friends at school were of the Jewish persuasion and to this day I well recall walking home with them from school, sometimes having to hurry as they all had to attend Hebrew lessons in the evenings. In those days the schools all followed a Christian programme and every morning we held an assembly where hymn would be sung and prayers said. My Jewish friends always stayed away from these assemblies, but did attend the religious education classes which in those days concentrated on the old and new testaments of the Christian Bible.

The point I am making is that these early, post Jewish war immigrants understood the need to integrate and ‘fit in’ and while they steadfastly kept to their religious beliefs and ensured that their children were properly educated in the Hebrew faith, this was all carried out discretely in their own time and at their own expense. No demands or burdens were placed on the State to accommodate and cater for religious minorities. They understood that in those days, Britain was predominantly a Christian country and held to Christian ethics and morality and the Jews were in no way desirous to either to criticise, interfere or impose their beliefs onto non- Jews, nor to propound the notion that anyone who was not a Jew, was in some way inferior and would go to Hell. For Jews, like the Muslins, their Sabbath commences at sun-down on Friday, but a vast majority have recognised that they live in a country where the population treats Fridays and Saturdays as ‘normal’  days and they have respected this tradition. Nowadays, most Jews, with the exception of a few rigidly orthodox sects, have adapted to fit in with the British, gentile lifestyle.


Fast forward to the mid 1980’s.  At this time I was working in the City of London and for a year or so I had an office right on the eastern edge of the city, within walking distance of the east end. With some irony, this was an  area where great numbers  Jewish immigrants used to live but long been deserted by this particular minority and which had now been taken over almost 100% by immigrants from Bangladesh. All these people were Muslims, they all dressed in traditional Muslim / Bangladeshi garb and very few spoke even a small amount of English. If you walked the streets of East London in the mid – late 80’s, you could be forgiven for thinking that you had suddenly been transported into a suburb of the Indian Sub-continent. Every shop sign bore the Bengali script, the streets were seething with Bengali food-shops and tailoring sweatshops and virtually every person you encountered was of Bangladesh origin. But it was the State schools that took me aback. Not only were they full of immigrant children, but the official school signs in front of the schools had all been written in Bengali. There wasn’t a word of English on any of the signs in the school playgrounds, and remember, these were  State schools in the English Capital city of London in the heart of England.

I have nothing against Bangladeshis or any other race, and I do feel empathy for the dreadful conditions so many of them are obliged to endure in their home countries. But Britain cannot be the saviour of the world’s poor and we cannot turn over our towns and suburbs to foreign immigrants who wish to turn them into adjuncts of their home countries. If these people are somehow able to obtain permission to live in my home country, then I believe it is only right and proper that they learn English, respect our culture and adapt to our way of life, much as the Jewish immigrants did, generations ago.

A few years later, my eldest daughter attended a primary school out in the County of Essex, where I had set up home for a while. It was an area that was predominantly white but had a significant minority of middle class Indians living in the local community. Out of ‘respect’ for these Indian minorities, no hymns were allowed to be to be sung at the school, no prayers were allowed to be read, and it was not permissible to celebrate Christmas, or sing Christmas carols. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not a Christian and I abhor all organised religion, but as far as I was concerned, this nonsense at the school was political correctness gone mad, especially the banning of all Christmas related festivities. It was just plain crazy and pandering to the minorities in such a way that would only encourage them to resist integration and to propagate their own cultures in the population at large.

Fast forward to 2011. I recently watched a UK TV documentary entitled: Dispatches: Lessons in hate and Violence. This undercover documentary should be required watching for all those apologists who believe that we should encourage Muslim minorities in the UK to follow their own ideas, theology and culture and that we should go out of our way to respect their beliefs and their way of life.

The documentary was the result of undercover operations at Muslim schools throughout Britain, which have been set up and funded by Muslim organisations, including the Saudi Arabian embassy in London. These schools, which have students as young as 5 years old,  preach violence and hatred towards non-Muslims. The kids are warned to never make friends with non-believers as they are all evil and will all go to Hell. This hate-filled doctrine is preached by Muslim clerics, who, as part of their teaching techniques, routinely beat and kick the children, and even allow the older students to physically mistreat the younger ones. (It is all on tape).

The team who had produced this documentary, originally exposed what was happening at these hate- filled, so called ‘faith schools’ a couple of years ago, and when they showed the schools’ elders the incriminating footage of what was going on in their schools, (previously adamantly denied), the authorities claimed that  these were isolated incidents and the perpetrators would be dismissed. Two years on, at the very same schools, the undercover footage reveals that the situation is even worse than it was two years ago and that these reprehensible practices have not ceased.

Of course there was the usual outrage from politicians, school inspectors and the child protection services, but it is unlikely that any serious action will be taken. It never is – everyone is too scared to talk about the ‘elephant in the room.’

What is ‘The elephant in the room’?

It is the obvious but rarely discussed fact that immigration in the UK is totally out of control. That hundreds of thousands of people who have a totally alien culture are allowed to settle here and practice their own, extreme beliefs in our country – including the subjugation of women, the imposition of mental and physical cruelty on their children, and the preaching of hatred and violence towards the indigent population of their host country.

Well done Cameron for at least having the courage to start the debate. There is a long way to go on this and as with so many worrying things in this world today, I am not at all sure that we will wake up before it is too late. Let’s hope I am wrong.


Poetry in music

Way back in 2001, a cinema in Sri Racha was showing a movie entitled ‘Moulin Rouge’. I had no idea what this movie was all about, as I had never heard of it, but being the only farang movie being shown that day, I decided to go and watch it.

Surprisingly, it turned out to be a surrealistic, whimsical romp of a musical made by the phenomenal Aussie movie director, Baz Luhrmann. Being partial to the musical genre, I lapped it up. Instead of commissioning original songs,  Luhrmann ‘stole’ or,  shall we say ‘borrowed’ established popular songs and crafted them cleverly into his musical;  a story set in 19th Century Paris about a young, naive Englishman and the beautiful courtesan with whom he falls hopelessly in love. Of course love between a penniless poet and a scheming and highly desirable prostitute is doomed to end in tragedy.

I was blown away by the movie, and it is one of the few films I can play more than once.

There are many wonderful, dramatic and heart rending musical moments in this film, but the one that will always remain endearingly etched in my memory, is Luhrmann’s treatment and staging of the Sting classic song: Roxanne, a song about a prostitute – who else?

For those of you, who are familiar with my lifestyle, will understand why I have a real connection with this song.

Here are the ‘enhanced’ lyrics of Roxanne, as sung in the film, Moulin Rouge.

Roxanne

 

Roxanne

You don’t have to put on that red light

Walk the streets for money

You don’t care if it’s wrong or if it is right

Roxanne

You don’t have to wear that dress tonight

Roxanne

You don’t have to sell your body to the night

His eyes upon your face

His hand upon your hand

His lips caress your skin

It’s more than I can stand

Roxanne

Why does my heart cry?

Roxanne

Feelings I can’t fight

You’re free to leave me, just don’t deceive me

And please believe me when I say I love you

 

Te he dejado

Me dejastes

En el alma se me fue

Se me fue el corazon

Ya no puedo mas vivir

Porque no te puedo convencer

Que no te vendas Roxanne

 

Roxanne

Why does my heart cry?

Roxanne

Feelings I can’t fight

Roxanne

You don’t have to put on the red light

Roxanne

 

Watch Jacek Koman, Ewan McGregor and the Moulin Rouge cast perform: El Tango De Roxanne