Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dear Baby Brother

It’s another personal one. Bear with me, or skip it.
Baby brother, you are important enough to merit a post.
Alienating my audience, for the win!


I can’t save you.
There. I said it.
I love you, so much.
But I can’t fix it.
And I can’t stand to look in your eyes when you keep asking me to.

Once, on a family hiking trip I was frustrated at having to constantly slow down and wait for everyone else, repeatedly for the entire hike.

I finally stormed off ahead, straight into a cave, without a flashlight.

I followed a family that did have a flashlight.

But they didn’t realize it, and they got too far ahead for me to catch up. And I was trapped in the dark.

And then I realized you’d followed me.

And I was panicked. And you were panicked. And then I was more panicked, because crap, what kind of big sister gets her little brother into her mess?

We finally found our way through to the other side, out into the glorious sunlight!
I attribute this experience to my developing claustrophobia. We were what, 9 and 7 or 8 and 6 years old? I can’t remember.

Here’s the deal, little brother.

I spent years trying to protect you.
I spent years trying to stand up for you.
I learned about IEPs long, long before any of my education peers. I became your advocate and even attended some of those meetings to speak up for you.

I forgave you for the many ways you embarrassed me as a teenage girl.

I tried to be another parent when ours couldn’t handle you. And sometimes, I was the only one you would listen to. And so I held that responsibility and took it upon myself to be my brother’s keeper.

But I can’t save you.
I haven’t been the mythical, “she can calm her brother down, she’ll know what to do” big sister in many years. You grew up. You grew taller than me. And my big sister magic, in all but the shell of its existence, faded away.

That day, long ago, when we wandered into that cave, we both had a choice.
I chose to wander off into the unknown without a flashlight.
But I didn’t expect you to follow me. And it was your choice to follow me.
I can’t fix everything for you. I never really could.

If I had an easy answer, believe me, I would have told you long ago. If I could fix it, it would already be fixed. I tried so hard to make it better. But I can’t.

Baby brother, I love you with all my heart, please don’t misunderstand.

Send me an email. Talk to me on Skype. Don’t think I never want to see you. Every time I enjoy a coconut, I think of you struggling in the driveway opening one with a hammer, or with the coconuts in Hawaii…
Ask me to buy you bootleg movies. Ask me to send you a Thai SIM card, for God knows what purpose. But most of all just talk to me.

I wish you all the best.

But you can’t follow me any more.
Especially if neither of us have a flashlight.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Accidental Ambassador

This entry will be completed in more than one sitting, so ‘today’ will be relative, not the least of which because I’m prolific enough on this blog.

Today I was an accidental ambassador. What do I mean? Well, I mean that today I was invited to lunch with an education delegation from Indiana, just as lunch time commenced.

The meal was lovely, a simple pad thai goong (shrimp) with mangosteen and longan fruit for dessert.

The conversation was amicable as well, and it was refreshing to have a conversation relating to local Indiana topics that didn’t involve people assuming I am an Indiana Policewoman or Indiana Jones.

I was pleased to hear positive updates on the state of education in my home state, from what sounded like a positive turn in the Chinese language program (which not long ago was in danger of disappearing), the renewal of art teaching positions becoming available as one delegate’s nephew seeks an art teaching position and general plans to continue fostering international exchange.

But what struck me more than that was the implied expectation and reminder that I am here as more than an individual representative. I represent a country, a state, a city, a university, my former high school, the list continues. And while much of this was meant to be complimentary, a rather large wave of sheer anxiety washed over me. Don’t mess this up. Gulp.

When I first arrived, I tried to be very cognizant of being a good ‘ambassador.’ As time wore on, my focus shifted down to mere survival mode for a time. Later still I became more aware of the ‘expat bizarro world’ version of Bangkok that I live in as a foreigner. Some of which is simply impossible to explain without the context of having lived it.

I am more cognizant that, I am not just an ambassador; I am currently living my life abroad. So while it is important to foster cultural understanding, walking on eggshells for extended periods of time doesn’t cut it whether at home or abroad.

While I consider myself to have a decent emotional intelligence, sometimes I fail to run my observations through this filter before allowing them to exit my mouth. I can be very, very blunt. Sometimes this is exceedingly comical, and truly, I try to give my honest observations. Other times, it doesn’t turn out so well, regardless of the clarity of my perception.

I have come to the realization that I am simply not suited for large-scale diplomacy. I think this wasn’t so much of a realization as the reinforcement of a previously unconscious but obvious “dude you are so not cut out for that.”

Many things came to mind today as I was reminded of the deep interconnectivity of my current location and the place I grew up. “You were too critical of the technology situation in that one blog post…you shouldn’t have said so much about student cell phone use in class, you shouldn’t have been so open about the legality of your working conditions…”

But then I thought, no. My observations were my observations at that time and place. And while it may be advisable to alter tone, edit for brevity or leave some things unsaid, I have merely described my own experiences. That was my goal, after all, to describe “my own meandering experience,” which yes, I stole from the Sunscreen Song. So sue me.

Some days, I am accidentally an ambassador. Most days, I’m just me. Heck, sometimes I’m mistaken for Russian. I don’t know, I’ve got some Polish heritage but that’s about as close as I come.

I’m not the only American here. I don’t always leave the best impression, but I like to think I’m far from leaving the worst. I may represent the places I have come from, but besides that, I have become someone besides the labels I carry from my past. While I’m proud of my city, of being a boilermaker, and so forth, I’m more than my labels, and I am an ambassador on accident.

Oh, and I didn’t photocopy my butt and add it to my Thai Immigration 90 day report, for the record. No really I didn’t. But I really wanted to. They might not have even noticed in that huge stack of paper, including every single page of my passport. Yep, I’m a great ambassador. Yep, I let this bypass the filter.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Koh Chang, Take 1

Anxiously wait at pick up point from ten minutes before and twenty-five minutes after pick up time. Repeat to self “this is Thailand,” you didn’t miss it, you were here early, they’ll be late.

Travel for nine hours. Note the America vs the Soviets theme of the bus movies. Salt and Air Force One are the selections. After bus, enjoy that the ferry takes twenty minutes (you were warned to anticipate ninety).

Stumble onto island, over to collection of Song Tows (pick up trucks with benches in back and a luggage rack on top). Pull out scrap of paper. Absent-mindedly pick one of the recommended parts of the island you scrawled onto paper. Oh sure, there’s always room for one more on the Song Tow, over here! Cram onto what is practically back bumper of truck. Hang on for dear life. Photograph road whizzing beneath feet. Laugh with fellow passengers and negotiate who’s going to grab you if you slip.

Note the ice rink texture of the roads and the ridiculous switchbacks. Not a motorbike practice trip.

Disembark from death truck at Bang Bao on the Southern tip of the island. Wander past 7/11 and down pier. Book a jungle trek, one of the few things you’ve predetermined you’d like to do, with friendly middle-aged Thai woman. Inquire about guesthouse. Calls her friend. Secure accommodation in a no name guesthouse run by family. Cool. Ask about internet. Oh, no have, cheapest no have internet. That was efficient of me. It’s a house on the pier, on stilts; as the rest of the town. Note the bay a few meters below the cracks in the floorboards. Well, that’s certainly on the bay isn’t it? Settle in. Proceed to operation find internet.

End up sitting on the dock outside an internet café that is closing, but willing to let me use their Wi-Fi after closing. Watching battery drain sitting on a damp pier after sunset and lamenting anything to do with American educational assessment, which seems so irrelevant lately. Toddler walks up, giggling. “Wanna go to grad school?” More giggling.

“Hey, do you know if there’s an internet café around here?” a fellow American.
“You’re looking at it.”
“If you just need to check your email, you can use my laptop for a minute.”
“Hey, my guest house is right around the corner and they have free Wi-Fi, it’d probably be more comfortable than here.” Karma. w00t.
Bum around more expensive guesthouse’s lounge and complete assignments. Ordered some food, I’m not a total mooch.

Realize I’m not sure how to locate my guesthouse in the dark. Note to self: flash light. A nice shop owner helps me locate the correct plank to follow. See, here’s the Thai hospitality everyone talks about.

Return to my own guesthouse. Discover sink and shower do not work. Laugh out loud. No, really I did. Well, smelly backpacker it is. Toilet does work. Phew. Not sure I’m skilled enough to use an open pier for such purposes.
But, it’s definitely the quiet I’ve been seeking.

Wake. Low tide, mud is visible through the floorboards. Try the water again in vain. Get ready to go hiking.

Stand at 7/11 meeting point. Hrm, what to eat from a Thai 7/11 that’s low on the glycemic index? And the pair of boiled eggs and sliced guava has it.
Ok and a croissant, oh well. If you ever step into a Thai 7/11 you’ll understand.

Ten minutes early, twenty minutes late. Pattern?
Guide and I spot each other and smile. I found the jungle guide I was hoping to trek with based on the recommendations I read. Not bad for flying blind. So who needs a shower?
I’m the last one picked up. I get to ride in the pickup cab. I get a seatbelt. I’m in the front seat, and I’m comfortable with that with our guide. Two other girls are in the cab.

Stop and feed monkeys some rambutan. My paranoia of monkey poo in my hair is not realized. Decent photos are. So far so good.

Park truck. Embark on trek. Stop to look at poisonous spiders, edible mushrooms (no, not those mushrooms), snakes, rubber plantation (water bottles and bowls collect the precious sap throughout the forest), other flora and fauna. A few rainy patches, jungle over beach was the right choice.

Arrive at first waterfall. Swim. Climb waterfall. Slide down waterfall. Few srapes and bruises. Good photos. Rambutan for the people this time.

Onward. Stop for lunch at another branch of the river. Begin the swim hike. Leave everything except swimsuit and shorts. Swim upstream. Climb over rocks. Swim. Climb, swim, push, pull, lift each other up through current. Ignore jagged spots. Or try to. Hike up at least three tiers of falls. Swim and hike back. On foot, barefoot through the jungle for the last bit. Stop to gawk at wild marijuana. Ten year old girl behind me asks what it is. “It’s something to smoke. It’s marijuana.” She tries to pronounce it. “Ask your mother.”

Collect packs, hike back. One last swimming stop. Fatigue is setting in for the group, we’re approaching the seventh hour, little swimming. The rain picks up. What few dry patches were left are soaked in ten minutes. But the day was too awesome for that to matter much. A wonderful trip is concluded.

Time and place utility, a beach towel is expensive when you’re dripping wet, along with your only towel. The complaint of how many people cannot do basic arithmetic in the country is apparent as he cannot make the change, even with the calculator. I walk him through the simple subtraction, showing the steps on the calculator. I’m not positive he’s Thai, but he definitely can’t do math. Sad.

Dry off. Wonder if ironing very moist passport and work permit is advisable. Curse at self for carelessness, lay them out to dry.
Try shower in vain. Seek Thai lady that helped find the accommodation. She calls her friend. Figure out where in the maze of rooms the owner lives. At first she thinks I’m balking about hot water, and she tries to explain there is no water heater. I show her there is no water at all. “Ah! I turn on.” There we go.

Cold shower. Drain is a hole chiseled in the floor, straight to the bay. Reconsider biodegradable soap. Reconsider chopping hair short.

Wander around pier. Whole fish and beer for dinner. No alcohol for Buddhist Lent so serious, na? Wander around pier.
Lay out on the deck of the guesthouse staring at the stars, the lights across the bay, and dangling feet above the water. Most peace I’ve felt in I’m not sure how long. I could spend a long, long time here. So glad I got out of Bangkok, glad I found quiet.
Book. Bed.

Wake up with sun, with a start. It’s the same nightmare. I thought we were done with this. Swear at the contrast to the peace of the evening’s stargazing. Take time to calm down. Wonder if there is something to Thai superstition about ghosts. Wonder how many rings of Jasmine flowers it will take to appease the spirits. Buddha demands pink fanta!

Breakfast. Injection of internet. Sore from the current of waterfalls banging me around boulders and rocks. Saving snorkeling for another trip, despite having landed in the snorkel and dive hub, was sensible. Nap.

Quest to find a beach. Song Tows only run hourly on this part of the island in low season. Bother. Pavement is dry, attempt to rent motorbike from woman wearing “Koh Chang is not SALE,” T-shirt. I get that she loves foreigners. She demands my passport. I’ve read this is common on the island, but I say forget it. I’m sure she loves foreigners even more now. I stubbornly set off on foot. Oops. Thankfully, I’m saved from this folly by one of those hourly Song Tows that I wasn’t patient enough to wait for.

Ask to be dropped off at (what turned out to be) a rock beach. Oops. Stop to eat. Use some basic Thai. Some confusion.
“He no speak Thailand, he speak Cambodia.”
Puppy chewing at my feet.
Restaurant owners set off on quest to break my 1000 Baht note, by motorbike to various places nearby, puppy on the bike, despite their best efforts.
Enjoy a Cambodian dessert (banana in coconut milk sticky rice, boiled in banana leaf). Say goodbyes. Ponder when I’ll work out a visit to Cambodia.

Give up on Song Tows again, they’re not stopping. Walk down to what looks like private resort. Waltz in anyway. Ask. Get let in. Sand beach, that looks fabricated, rocks after waters edge, to myself. Book. Pack of dogs. Sunburn. Oops.

Wander into interesting Jungle Hut/bar/hang-out/hookah bar something or other. Nice chat with a couple of expats that opened the place. Use bathroom, after they check the rain hasn’t rendered it inoperable. Not even phased by Thai toilet any more. Still hilarious when it’s American standard brand.

Aloe massage in open hut next door. Score.
“You want foot scrub?”
“Uh, sure.” Why not?
Rubbing alcohol. Paper or gauze on my feet, more alcohol. Ok, yay hygiene, but what are they doing prepping for surgery?
“You want manicure?” (They meant pedicure) “Have many colors.”
“That’s ok, thanks.”

Darkness has already fallen, though it’s barely after 6:30pm. My confidence in flagging a Song Tow in under three hours (they stop at 9) is low. Get the second Song Tow barreling through to stop and take me to base camp in under twenty minutes. Good.

Well, if I’m staying on the fisherman’s wharf, another seafood dinner is in order. Fresh crab fried with garlic and pepper. Beer. Sure, the big one. Leo, of course.

English expats behind me. Conversation. America vs Britain, diving, etc. Join table. More beer is ordered. Oh dear.
Four times my usual intake of one, time to wander back down the pier to bed. Thai (or Burmese or Cambodian or…?) waiter walks with me and starts conversation. Both headed to 7/11. Walks back from 7 with me. Arrive at my small jetty.
He gets a little too touchy feely. Uh, newsflash: a five-minute conversation and walking to 7/11 does not grant you access to come back to my guesthouse. It’s a good thing you finally took my no, or I might have lobbed you off the pier. Oh, to be a white girl in South East Asia. *sigh*
Decide to shower. No water. At least still quiet. Sleep.

Wake with the sun. No nightmare. No water. Succeed in waking guesthouse owner after about forty minutes, get water turned on. Upload, organize photos from jungle trek from camera to computer. Delete 60%. Need more camera practice. Lament how much is left to do to rebuild my photo website. Repack. Getting better at that.

Arrive in town exactly at nine, first Song Tow, the one I need to catch. Deserted. What? Something in Thailand left on time or early? Wait what I’m not awake enough for this. Am I going to miss my boat and bus now? Song Tow driver convinces me I’ll still make it, and he’s not leaving for an hour. I’m not so sure but I don’t really have an alternative. Time for more breakfast, not just the 7/11 fare. Chat with Norwegian about Ho Chi Minh City.

10 AM Song Tow. Talking to Norwegian about travel in general. Stop. Two Americans get on board. The four of us chat. We’re all getting anxious about making our connections. Get on ferry. Get off ferry. At exactly time bus is supposed to leave. Things don’t leave on time in Thailand. Except this morning’s Song Tow. Book it off the pier towards the buses. Find bus sitting there half empty and waiting. Feel silly. Thank goodness, not packed this time. Ignore Day After Tomorrow in favor of book, despite Jake Gyllenhaal. I hate apocalypse movies. The American duo from the Song Tow made it onto the bus too, they didn’t have a reservation yet, but they’ve got a departure time from Bangkok to their Northern province. Cutting it close. We discuss grad school, English bookstores and what not.

The bus air-conditioner starts leaking on me. Really glad it’s not a packed bus as it continues to piss down on the seat next to me.

Finally in Bangkok. Stop at the godforsaken tourist bus trap catty corner from Khao Sarn. Ugh. The vultures are already there.
“Taxi? Tuk-tuk?”
Push drivers out of the way to retrieve bag. Resist urge to do any worse than the cold shoulder and multiple irritated “No”s.

Walk back to Khao Sarn Rd. Not far. Seek dinner. Chat with acquaintance I haven’t seen in two months. Dinner. Wi-Fi, ah, the lifeblood of an information junkie. Type ridiculously long, tense inconsistent adventure blog post. Wonder how much to cut. Wonder how much longer it’s possible to stall on next round of grad school homework. Wonder if anyone is still reading at this point.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


There is no school tomorrow. It’s Buddhist Lent Friday and Saturday, and as a ‘makeup’ holiday, our school also has Monday off. Four-day weekend, for the win! There will be no alcohol sales Friday or Saturday. Unlike the Brits that thought I’d be their ticket to booze on the dry election weekend (getting hit on for alcohol, how lovely, I’m flattered), I shall weather the storm just fine.

My M3 students turned in their essays today. Or rather, 17/64 of them did, with stragglers turning in partial essays and many more that forgot to print. I consider this percentage a great victory. And as my students are quite capable, and their parents are invested in their learning, I’m going to keep pushing within the limits of what I know they are capable of. Oh don’t be so serious na, is Thai school! No, I’m not playing that way. Thailand isn’t going to pull up from 47th in international education rankings that way. I’m no savior, but I’m no pushover either.

I rather like my South African colleague’s assessment of my decision to be a bit of a drill sergeant. “American style, respect!” I’ve learned, to some extent, which battles to fight and which to give in to. And my students are getting adjusted to how I run things. At another school, my efforts would likely be unwarranted. But I’m not at a typical Thai school, exactly. I’d have probably thrown in the towel if I were from the stories I’ve heard. I care too much to teach where English isn’t taken at least semi-seriously. That doesn’t mean it can’t be sanuk (fun).

Tomorrow morning I’m embarking on a trip. My bag isn’t packed, my laundry isn’t dry, and I’ve really only got a vague notion of what I’ll do when I get to my destination. I’ve got a round trip ticket by bus and boat, for less than 20USD and that’s as much of a plan as I’ve got. But quite frankly, I like it that way. Yes, I’m going alone and yes, I’ll be fine.

I may hit the beach. I may climb a mountain. Elephants and waterfalls are possibilities. I might sit around and do a whole lot of nothing. I’m admittedly taking essays to grade and of course, the grad school reading must continue. Rather on the beach than stuck in a mediocre, lack of wifi coffee shop. Especially since I don’t drink coffee.

But I’ll get out of the city, out of my apartment and maybe, if I’m lucky, out of my own head for awhile.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Bottom Drops Out

No, I’m not referring to Thai politics (yet).

We can’t always get what we want.
Sometimes, the people you most expect to be there for you in life aren’t. Or, they are, but they aren’t supportive in the ways you need, or in the decisions you’ve made, because those decisions conflict with their vision of what your life should be.

Somehow you have to find the strength to push forward any way.

I don’t expect anyone to understand. But the fact remains. One of the people I’ve most expected to be supportive in my life, isn’t, and has been actively undermining my efforts to be away from the state of Indiana for months.

Various people have commented on my negative tone since embarking on my adventure. Well, yeah, in addition to cultural misunderstanding, my personal elephant in the room has been infiltrating my tone quite a bit. It’s taken a lot of self-control to also keep the content of this matter a bit more private. And I’ve gone through many periods of my life where I failed at keeping it private all together, and was often rather difficult to even stand to be around as a result. But this is affecting me too much to stay completely silent.

I’m sure I’ve just opened myself up for a new slew of criticism or “Yes we support you!”s. But, I’m not referring to any of the people that will respond with those comments.

I’m done seeking support where I only find pain, guilt and lies. It hurts. I know it hurts the other person involved as well. I’m not clueless or heartless.

But I’m not going to keep putting myself in the line of fire. I’m not going to keep putting my dreams on hold. And I’m not giving them up simply because it makes someone else uncomfortable for me to venture so far from home.

This is my life. I deserve to be happy, as you’ve said yourself, and I deserve that on my terms not yours. It’s really hard to actually believe that you deserve to be happy when it hasn’t been on your own terms for over a decade. It kind of invalidates the concept when it’s been held captive to someone else’s definition of how to go about it. Yeah my happiness my responsibility, I know, and I’m taking control back now. It’s going to take some time; no one else needs to rush me either.

I know you’re not reading this unless someone directs you to. I just want to say I’m done playing your games. I’m done listening to you tell me what’s wrong with me, and invalidate the things I say while making me listen to your hurts. I laid out all of the things I’m done with long ago, and you continue to disregard that. So I’m just done. You’re going to have to figure out how to be happy without me, because I don’t know how to be happy with you constantly bringing me back down.

And I do deserve to be happy.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Thailand Votes July 3, 2011

You may or may not be aware of the election in Thailand tomorrow; I’m guessing most of you knew it was coming up sometime soon. I realize some details have gotten into the mainstream western media, but I don’t know how much, or how much you have followed it.

This is my second attempt at writing this post. I’m scrapping most of the first. And I’m not going to pretend my analysis will really add much to the dialogue. For starters I didn’t quit my 17-year career with Reuters to research all of the Wikileaks cables related to Thailand and self publish a 4 part story worthy of getting myself banned from entering the country/arrested upon arrival. And I’m not going to comment on that story, because I don’t really fancy 3-15 in Thai prison or deportation, even if I am a ‘relative nobody.’ But that’s part of the problem here. You can’t really fully comprehend Thai politics, because you can’t fully talk about it without fear of reprisal.

We can discuss the red shirts and the yellow shirts, and after so much conflict their various splinter groups. We can discuss rural vs rich, pro vs anti Thaksin, Puea Thai vs Democrat, so on and so forth. But we can’t discuss the real elephant in the room. The elephant that is, hopefully, farther off than tomorrow’s election.

People have asked me if I’m worried about the election results tomorrow. And in some ways, I am. If the Puea Thai party wins (the most up to date version of the Red Shirts), Yingluck Shinawatra will become Thailand’s first female prime minister. And, as Thaksin, the deposed former Prime Minister, is her older brother and still the presumed leader of this party even from Dubai, she may pave the way for his amnesty and return to Thailand. And the mere possibility of this outcome could spur a coup. To many Thais, Thaksin is like that toxic ex-boyfriend you just can’t fully exorcise. And yes, he’s often called ‘Toxic.’ Everyone has THAT ex. You know the one. Do you want to let him back into your life, your country? That’s what I thought. That’s how much of the country feels about a Puea Thai victory. You mean you’re going to let HIM come back? Over my dead body!

But the other portion sees it differently, because the alternative, the ruling Democrat party and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, has seen so much go wrong under it’s parliament mandated (not elected) rule. And after more than 13 months, nothing has been done about the 90+ red shirt deaths at Rajaprasong intersection last spring besides cold denial they happened.

The Democrats said, “don’t burn our city again,” and “no one died here,” as they rallied last Thursday adjacent to the spot where those people did, in fact, die.

And at this point, the Yellow Shirts have become so disenfranchised they’ve simply campaigned for people to vote “No,” and not elect any of the parties running! What exactly would said ‘No’ vote mean? That’s open to as much speculation as any of this mess.

And while I think most Thai and farang alike don’t necessarily want Bangkok to burn again, the fact that in either major outcome there may not be justice for those 90 people may be the spark that ignites the next event.
If the Democrats win and still fail to demand the inquiry results be made public, the red shirts will be angered and take to the streets. Or if the Puea Thai wins, pardons their de-facto leader Thaksin and everyone else – they’re also likely to have to pardon whoever is deemed responsible for those deaths, thereby preventing justice from being served, the yellow shirts and Democratic supporters will protest in the streets against Thaksin, along with many red shirts who will feel betrayed that their fallen comrades do not get peace.

In many ways, it may not matter who wins in the election tomorrow. If justice is not served for those 90 deaths, If Thaksin is pardoned, if the army disagrees with the results, or if the ‘invisible hand’ that we can’t discuss wants things to be different, things will go differently than voted upon. And really, this is the tip of the iceberg, this is only the most recent years’ wounds in a string of events that runs much longer and deeper.

But, am I worried? Well, I’m definitely not going shopping at Central World in the near future, the mega mall that was half burned down adjacent to the intersection where the protests and deaths occurred. I’m not getting too attached to any evening plans I make in case events around the city make travel around town unfavorable. And I’m going grocery shopping tomorrow. If things really get bad, school will be cancelled, and I’ll go hit a beach south of here until things cool down.

But really, I’m not terribly worried about a coup or more protests. Really truly, it’s the elephant in the room that worries me much more. I don’t think we have to worry about that one yet. Time will tell. If you would like to know more about why I’m playing mum, check out Thailand’s Lèse majesté laws, or check out the journalist I alluded to.

In the meantime, let’s hope this 4th of July, the day after the election, doesn’t have the wrong kind of fireworks.