Before They Are Hanged


I don’t know why I chose to return to this series, having read the first volume a couple of years ago, while visiting the in-laws in Thailand (pre-fatherhood, I used to get a lot reading done in Thailand; not that it wasn’t constantly fascinating, but a time whenever around you is speaking a language you can’t understand is a pretty good time to read a book).

While my memory of the first book isn’t as sharp as it could be, I felt that several characters got some nice fleshing out, relative to their introduction in the earlier volume, and some interesting new characters were introduced.

But we also got some clunky exposition dumps and… was the major, continuing plot thread a snipe hunt?

But I reckon that I will finish this series, regardless.

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Egg Temple


We were obliged to come here because we had promised five hundred eggs if our prayers were answered. Actually, I think my mother-in-law promised. Or my better half. Clearly, I’m not sure. But someone promised in such a way that also sort of obliged me, so we all went.

I didn’t take pictures because this was not a tourist location, but a place for legitimate Thai supplicants and for people like my in-laws, who were fulfilling their end of an asked for boon.

You got flowers and incense and a candle and lit the latter two and place the incense in a sand filled brazier and the candles seemed variously left around. The flowers were placed in a large clay jar.

Wrapped around them when you purchased the flower/incense/candle package was a paper prayer and square of thin gold foil. The foil was pressed onto a Buddha covered in them in a room just beyond the incense and candle room.

The eggs were placed on a shelf when you did all this and when we were done, my mother-in-law instructed me to get them again. She left one behind and we took the rest, which were now blessed.

The Royal Crematorium


To my mind, the word ‘crematorium’ sounds industrial, but that’s the way it was translated into English. The remains of the late king, Bhumipol the Great, are not here, but my first impression would have been of a strangely joyous necropolis.

The construction of the place where the king remains are to be cremated was an elaborate process, with strict traditions. At the same time, the king had ruled so long that I doubt there was anyone involved in the process who had worked on it before.

I am not Thai, but I have learned to respect King Bhumipol. More importantly, that it is important to respect the love of the Thai people for him. The closest I can think of to explain the reverberations of his passing is that it combined the nationalist shock of the assassination of Kennedy with the spiritual impact of the death of the long-reigning Blessed John Paul II.

History Of Thailand


I’m glad that I read it; after all my in-laws are Thai. But… I could have hoped for a bit more from this history.

The book breezes through the past rather quickly and tends to let things become a jumble of names of places.

There is a (relatively) lengthy section on the Kingdom of Ayudhya, one of the two roughly medieval kingdoms (along with Sukhothai) that are considered the foundations of modern Thailand, and the author seems engaged and interested when writing about it.

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Another Episode Of Facebook Poetry In Translation


It’s been a while, but it’s time for more “Found Poetry That Is Actually Facebook Translations of Posts from Thailand.” Enjoy.

I knew it.
It’s raining. It’s not going to go out.
It’s raining through a mirror
a movie.

I’m putting sleeping pills in the rice again
Good night.

My eyes… the birds are very satisfying.
It’s more fun than that, Dr. Wig,
eyes on the. A bird.