POSTCARD #236: Bangkok: The impact of arriving deletes the memory of how I got here. Random thoughts hop from one thing to the next, no connection, doing it for its own sake – processed, passport stamped, thump, and through to arrivals. Welcome to the Kingdom. TV monitors show news readers wearing black, the backdrop is a curtain-fold with grey wreathes and shades of black in respect for the late King. Taxi drivers wear black jackets – well, yes this is the cold season, but everyone, everywhere wears black. Everything is extraordinarily formal and sad.
Traffic comes to a standstill. I’m in a yellow-green taxi looking out the window; a clash of pink, red, blue and white-like-peppermint taxis on all sides – I see them in rear-view mirror, on the left, the right, and all around. Bizarre vehicles like four-legged creatures standing in silence, looking at each other sideways, waiting to see who makes the first move. Green light is go, urgency of speed and slices of landscape pass through the car. Scraps of thinking and bits of another journey recalled, brought into present time.
A pause, window opens in the mind… a fascination with the remembered moment; an event or an accumulation of events … just makes sense, by itself. Yes, I remember now, thinking the Bali people look like characters from the Hobbit; beings who exist on a smaller scale than the rest of us, and live in a smaller world – small houses, small everything. There’s a hint of comedy and laughter in Indonesia… hmmm, but not here, not now that the Thai King is gone.
Impossible to not be affected by the scale of bereavement and absolute reality of death as far as the eye can see. Public mourning for one year… there’s a lesson to be learned here in this small country.
“…We are concerned with our daily life, not some exotic, fanciful religious concept but actual daily life of conflict, the confusion we live in, the uncertainty, the search for security. We have been through all that, it is part of our life. And also death is part of our life, though we may not acknowledge that fact. We may try to avoid it, slur over it, or only be concerned at the last minute, as most people are. So we should together enquire into the nature, into that extraordinary fact, as life is an extraordinary fact, we ought to consider that also.” [J. Krishnamurti, The Beauty of Death as Part of Life Fourth Public Talk at Brockwood Park September 1982]