It’s a hot, sunny day on the Darkside and the Blogger is babbling, Strauss-Kahning and revolting….

6 Months 6 Days, still sober

Mobi-Babble

Today is Wednesday and I haven’t been near a bar since last Saturday, and even on that occasion it was a fairly brief affair as they all shut up shop at 6 pm to allow the good citizens of Pattaya to remain sober as they prepared to vote.

The fact that a vast majority of Thais in Pattaya had either voted early as their home registrations were back home in Issan, or were already on their way home to vote, or simply had no intention of voting, was irrelevant. The draconian rule, that absolutely no alcohol may be sold from 6 p.m. on Saturday to midnight on Sunday, anywhere in the Kingdom was in force, especially in the bars of Pattaya and Bangkok.

Nobody knows the true population of the greater Pattaya area as most Thais who live here have their ‘home residence’ elsewhere and no proper statistics exist on the number of farangs who either live here permanently or thosesspend several months a year here.

Some estimate that there are as many as 500,000 farangs living in and around Pattaya, and certainly the overall population runs into several million. By most people’s reckoning, Pattaya is the second largest conurbation in Thailand, by population, after Bangkok. Yet the local polls reveal that only a few thousand people actually cast a vote here, a tiny percentage of the overall population of the area.

Much has been written on this subject, so I won’t belabour it, but it does seem patently ridiculous that a tourist town like Pattaya, where only a very small percentage of the population are even eligible to vote, should be subjected to these unduly harsh rules which effectively shut down most of the businesses therein, to the chagrin of Thai business owners and tourists alike. As we all know so well, the Thais have no problems in finding places, off the beaten highway, to have a drink if they have a need to, and everyone can get as drunk as they wish in the comfort of their own homes; so this crazy rule does not even achieve what it sets out to do – to keep everyone sober.

You will know that I have no particular axe to grind in this matter as I am now well into my 7th month of sobriety , but even in my drinking days, these silly election day ‘dry rules’ barely stopped me in my stride. But pity the poor, unsuspecting tourist, who has just arrived in the Land of Smiles and has a saved up all year for his few days of ‘fun in the sun’ and suddenly finds himself in a distinctly dry paradise without a  bar open or a whore in sight… Ah well, was it ever thus?

I am trying my best to keep away from the whore-bars and have spent more time with Noo as of late. Coincidentally, she has just concluded her daily sessions of English classes, so we can now spend more time together. We have already been to Pattaya twice during the past few days and I am going to try very hard to include her ever more into my daily life and to keep away from other ladies.

Tonight, my friend Bob and his Cambodian girlfriend are coming to stay with us  for about 9 days, so this will provide a further opportunity for me to spend  more time with Noo and my friends and away from bars and ladies of  the infamous Darkside.

In my last blog I wrote about a comment from some guy called Brian who accused me of being a pathological liar and seemed to be so angry about it. Well later that day, just as I was putting that particular day’s blog ‘to bed’ and before I had gotten around to redirecting any further comments from Brian directly into the trash bin; he sent me a further comment. He was fuming and demanded to know why I would dare to publish a comment from someone else that ‘condoned rape’ and was he was furious that I hadn’t  published his own comment.

This ‘Brian guy’ knows me; he used my real name, although do not know him –  I have no recollection of anyone called Brian. I’m pretty sure Brian is his real name because he also has his surname included in his email address. This really puzzles me, for if he knows me, then he must surely know that I do not lie about my carousing adventures. I can only conclude that he must know me from my times as an AA member, as if this is so, he wouldn’t necessarily be aware of what I got up to when I wasn’t at AA meetings.

But he is so angry! Why? Even if everything I wrote was a pack of lies, why get so angry? Much of what we read on the internet is untrue or is a distortion of the truth. So what? If you don’t like it, or don’t believe what I write, then don’t read it. Why get angry? I really don’t understand. The only explanation I can come up with is that he must be sick – possibly very sick – in the head.

As for ‘condoning rape’; here is the comment from a guy called ‘big by butch man’ on my recent account of my adventures with the ex-virgin in the motel.

You should have raped her. Let her know how chickens fly. Be a man and let them know. 😉

Yes, it is a bit crude and not particularly funny, but it was clearly written in jest (hence the smiley at the end) and I think it is going a bit over the top to accuse me of ‘condoning rape’ just because I publish a somewhat crass comment from someone who was trying to be funny.

 ‘There’s nowt so queer as folk’, as they say in northern parts.

Strauss-Kahn…..never-ending saga

The saga goes on and on. It amuses and amazes me that my beloved  froggy cousins are seriously considering resurrecting SK’s political career, despite his appalling lack of judgement in having sex, by his own admission, with a maid in a public hotel room.

The mind boggles.

Suppose that the maid in question, or some other maid at another time and place, had been a bit smarter and had somehow managed to video or record the encounter? And suppose she had ‘friends in high places’ and then, in a subsequent negotiation between SK and some bankrupt nation, the IMF chief had been prevailed upon to do something untoward, or be exposed for his sexual exploits?  Or, knowing his predilection for such activities, it wouldn’t have been too hard to set him up – an IMF Honey Trap. Stranger things have happened.

I am not condemning SK for being addicted to having sex with strange women. I am no better than that myself. But I am not head of the IMF, and I am not hoping to become the next President of France.  I do question his foolish and high-risk activities; quite how the frogs can even consider taking back a man with such a dubious record of personal indiscretions is frankly, beyond me.

I can only assume it is more a question of sticking their fingers up at the Yanks, rather than any real conviction that SK deserves rehabilitation.

The case is not yet over and I note that the alleged victim is now suing the New York Times for saying that she is a prostitute. More fun and games to come before we put this little story to bed.☺

Woe is me… the world is falling apart….

There is little doubt that the USA is in terminal economic decline and as a result, the rest of the western world will also suffer dire consequences in the wake of this inexorable change in the world’s economic order.

Some countries, such as Ireland, Portugal, and especially Greece are already at the precipice of total collapse, with many of the remainder, including Britain, not too far behind.

We know much of what caused this situation and the signs had been there for decades, but the western world, led by the USA, just plunged on and on, ignoring all the warnings that it would all end in grief. Yes we can point to the disastrous, criminal, prime mortgage scandal of the early 21st century as the trigger point for the disaster that ensued, but the cumulative effects of the lack of financial regulation and the unbelievably criminal activities by senior executives of the major financial institutions, many of whom are still in positions of influence and power today, finally became too much for the world’s economies to bear.

All this is fact and there is not a shadow of doubt that a great majority of those criminals who were most culpable, have got off Scott free. This is a total disgrace and history will not look kindly on how the world, particularly the USA, has been unwilling to bring these villains to justice.

BUT WE ARE WHERE WE ARE!

Yes, we are angry, and  those who have lost their life savings and lively-hoods have every right to be very angry and who can blame them when they continue to seek answers and justice?

But by common agreement, the only way that the western nations can begin to extricate themselves from the mess we are in is by introducing severe austerity measures. We cannot continue to spend money that we no longer have. If we do, the entire world order will eventually collapse.

Seems pretty simple doesn’t it? It’s not rocket science – you can’t spend what you haven’t got.

So why is it, that ordinary, working class people throughout the world seem to think that the problem belongs to someone else and that nothing in their current way of life can be allowed to be change? Is it pure selfishness – are they all NIMBY’s (not in my back yard), or are they just plain stupid, or is their anger distorting their normal rational sense of reasoning?

It seems to me that wherever nations attempt to seriously get to grips with this dire economic mess and try to introduce some realistic cut backs to services, that the opposition to these plans is overwhelming, often violent and always frightening.

In the UK, there have already been violent riots on  plans to increase student fees and more recently a mass strike, with much larger ones scheduled, in opposition to plans by the government to tweak teachers’ and other civil servants’ pension plans.

It matters little to the students that they will not be required to repay one penny of their student fee ‘debt’ until they have secured a well-paid job and even then they will be given many years to pay it off. If they don’t get a good job they will never have to pay back it back.

As for the teachers, yes, if I were a teacher I wouldn’t be happy about plans to reduce my pension and to make me work longer, always remembering that the effects on the current ageing population will be minimal or in many cases non- existent. But I would still have a job and I would still have a pension, for the most part, a much better pension than my peers in the private sector will get.

But what do I do? I go on strike because I am angry and I want to take it out on the government of the day and I want to force them to change their minds. The kids suffer, the parents suffer and the teachers get a day off work. In the long run, if measures like this fail to be introduced, then the whole country will collapse. But instead of ‘pulling together’, tightening our belts and trying to share the load, we rant at the bankers who caused all this and refuse any attempts to reduce our state services or change our terms of employment. What do we expect the bankers to do about it? Bail us out with their ill-gotten gains? I’ve got news for you, there ain’t enough money in the world to bail us out – let alone anything we could seize from the bankers. Is this selfish nonsense or what? 

In the USA, Obama still seems determined to spend his way out of recession with money he doesn’t have and is living in a kind of ‘cloud cuckoo land’ where he thinks that wholesale cuts in his country’s budget  aren’t necessary  and that all that is required is to increase the taxes on millionaires, including taxing their corporate jets.

Of course some of the leading figures from the days of the merchant banking melt-down are still there, many are still in Obama’s government, directing economic strategy. I kid you not. The only conclusion I can come to is that Obama and his democrat machine are so beholden to Wall Street that they find themselves utterly helpless to change course, even if they knew how to, which they clearly don’t.

Some US state governments, in these times of austerity, have become fed up with the enormous power of the teaching unions and the consequent, huge, disproportionate cost to their  states’ exchequers.  

They have sought, through legislation, to curtail the collective bargaining powers of these unions, which, to any right minded people, have long since been totally out of control. Yet when these laws have been democratically and legally passed, the unions, along with their Democrat friends in government, have fought tooth and nail to prevent the laws from being enacted. Their extreme actions have included sit-ins in the legislative chambers, challenging the laws through the courts,(which has delayed them for months), and the Democrat state legislators have even stayed away from the State so that they could not be forced to vote; hopefully voiding the enactment of the legislation.

And what is this all about? It is about saving some money and requiring the teaching profession to behave in a better and more responsible way, to get rid of the bad, unproductive teachers and require those remaining to teach the kids properly rather than lining their pockets with large amounts of money that they didn’t rightfully earn.

Whither the USA? Talk about fiddling while Rome burns…..

Finally, there is Greece, which is literally on the precipice of terminal collapse. The government has been required by the IMF and the EU to introduce severe austerity measures as a condition of the next tranche of a bailout loan. The government and opposition accept that this must indeed be done.

Yet the population will have none of it. They have rioted, gone on strike and done everything short of outright revolution in their desire to bring down the government and their determination not to accept the proposed austerity measures.

I have watched the Greek situation with fascination as I am interested to know exactly why they are rioting and what they believe to be the solution to their problems.  Many reporters have tried to ask the protesters – most of whom speak good English – but I have yet to hear a single, rational argument as to what their alternatives may be. The only thing they will tell you is that Greece should default on the EU loans and let their economy collapse.

Crazy ain’t it? How on earth do they think that a bankrupt state, with no money, is going to bring them any relief?  Have they looked at North Korea or Burma lately?

BUTT….BUTT….BUTT… BUTT….I  DON’T GIVE A HOOT!