Many of us come from relatively humble backgrounds,
and I guess we can all look back and laugh at ‘harder times’,
as we remember when even the basic, simple pleasures, seemed EXTRAVAGENT.
It was built for neither speed nor comfort
But all I could afford back in the day
Was something to get us from A to B
That we could jump aboard without delay
The main thing; it was perfect just for two
My choice of transport was hardly random
A classic; built by master craftsmen
Ok, so what if it was a tandem?
So, where are we now? Has our social status improved?
Or are we worse off than before?
Of course some are born into a life of self-sufficiency.
‘The Good Life’? Or abject poverty?
Harvest time in Isan
Means labour; sweat and pain
Gathering food for another year
That Holy, precious grain
Rice! Glutinous and sticky
Is what it’s all about
We’re off, down to the farm now
It’s time to check it out
The heat is so oppressive
One hundred in the shade
A flash of light that dazzles you
Is just the sickle blade
But it’s money in your pocket
And worth it, in a way,
For ten hours work, not riches,
Two hundred Baht a day
That’s just three Pounds, in English.
Would you get out of bed
For even that, an hour
Or stay asleep instead?
I don’t think so, but here
It’s an honest daily rate
Food and drink included
You go home feeling great!
And when it’s all been gathered
It’s time to sort it out
The rice from chaff; and bag it
Two hundred sacks, about
That’s sixteen sacks a month, though
Much more than we can eat
We’ll sell a hundred sacks, or more
This year we’ll have a treat
And when we get the rice home
We can use it, straight away
Fresh grown rice for breakfast
Lunch, tea, dinner, every day!
Boiled, steamed, or sticky
Cook it how you wish
But in Isan, we’re not fussy
So it’s STICKY every dish!
And what if the ‘unthinkable’ happens? Would we cope without
some of the EXTRAVAGANCES our concept of
CLASS and its 'advantages' provide?
How would we react to such a FALL FROM GRACE?
A LIFE OF CONVENIENCE
What happens when all the good food runs out?
When the supermarkets don’t open late?
Will they expect us to just do without?
To take the last resort and seal our fate?
What happens when they shut their doors for good?
Or bad, more like. What do people do then?
The village stores are just not big enough
To cope with the demands of hungry men
There’ll be no choice; we’ll have to live on bread
And water, just like prisoners in jail
But our jail is the world that we have made
We’ll have to put our houses up for sale
Because we won’t be fit to go to work;
Toiling on empty stomachs doesn’t pay.
Are we not men? How come nobody knows?
Where does all the food come from anyway?
Take a look around you and you will see
Many people, not as well-off as you
People who have never known it better
People from countries, not so well-to-do
You never stop to think how they survive
No work, no money; nowhere to call home
How do you think those people stay alive?
Do as the Roman’s do, when you’re in Rome
Do you think that food doesn’t grow on trees?
Swim in rivers and crawl along the ground?
Go out fishing; keep your own birds and bees
That’s what they do; their world still spins around
Survival of the fittest may not be
A ‘cool’ concept for modern-thinking men
But you must know, that when ‘push’ comes to ‘shove’
You’re just like Daniel in the lion’s den
Except, of course, you have to stand and fight
The first time in your life; are you prepared?
Or will you just surrender to the beast?
You should have known; you should have really cared
This life of convenience makes us all
Expect we can get anything at all
When we want; on twenty four-seven call
Let’s see what happens when the dark skies fall.