The Here and Now of Things
Bangkok, 6 December 2015, 10:25
Today’s chapter starts off a bit slow (and late). The King of Thailand had his birthday yesterday and celebrations were everywhere! It’s truly heart-warming to see how many people love their King and just how far they would go to prove it. Turning 88 is quite a milestone. My dad turns 84 on 13 December and I hope he also has a lovely day. Not quite like the Thai King, but a lovely day as relates to “normal” people.
That being said, let’s get into The Here and Now of Things.
Our past, influences our present circumstances and actually our very self. If we worked hard in the past, we should all be rich and successful now, right? … Uhm…not quite! Before I start this chapter, let me give you and example or two.
Yesterday’s chapter was certainly not aimed at readers in Sudan. But a look at my amazing WordPress admin console shows me an astounding revelation. I had more visitors from Sudan since yesterday, than from the USA! Here, take a look..
Almost double the figures of USA! What the heck caused that?
It seems that some visitors were also also influenced by their normal internet habits (places they visit on the www) This changed my blog views and also how people actually reached the chapter.
SO many from the comebackalive forum. Thanks RYP!
WHY?… If you look at yesterday’s chapter, it was mainly about two people, Robert Young Pelton (RYP) and Mark Zuckerberg (MZ). I have no idea if MZ has ever been to Sudan but I do know that RYP has spent quite a bit of time there, doing what he does best… looking for trouble! He was there to document a terrible war (and some other things). I can only presume that RYP made some fantastic friends there, eager to know about him these days…or that he made some terrible enemies there, eager to keep track of him, for some no-so-nice reason. If you don’t know who RYP is, take a valuable few minutes of your day to find out. Incredibly resilient and resourceful…with some stories that are simply beyond belief!
But this chapter is not about RYP or Sudan. It’s about how our past actions and interactions influences our present situation… and also who we become.
If anyone asked me what I think about myself, I would really have to be honest and say “I’m an ordinary guy, living slightly above the poverty-line. I’m married to a lovely Thai woman that supports my every thought and treats me like a VIP in her life“
Does that above statement sum me up as an individual? Yes it does, but only if we look at my present situation and all that influences my life in the Here and Now. But to fully understand the present, we also have to look at the past, as the example of RYP and my blog visitors illustrate so clearly.
My imaginary friends and scene staff get busy, changing the scene for today’s chapter. Lucky I don’t have to pay these guys! While they’re busy, I think I’ll have a lovely cup of Thai Iced-coffee. The coffee stall across the street is beckoning….see you in a bit.
South Africa, MANY locations, circa 1970
My childhood and formative years were as normal as anyone else’s. I attended about 20 different schools and never finished high school (though some documents seem to indicate that I did). What…that’s not normal? Of course it was…for me!
School was never an issue for me. Sometimes I went to classes and sometimes I didn’t. The only constant was that I never did homework and that I was always in some kind of trouble. Most of the teachers, from many schools, just didn’t get it. The lessons that they were ready to teach, were not the things I was interested in learning about, not THEN. Looking back at those years, there were some teachers that stand out. An entire chapter will be dedicated to them later on.
My normal activities were centered around finding out about life! Internet was not around so I had to physically be in certain places to do that. School was not one of those places, for the most part. My life investigations were leading me to fascinating venues.
- When we lived in Johannesburg, my dad was a caretaker and administrator of a building, (a few buildings actually) and we were pretty well-to-do in financial terms. Johannesburg offered innumerable places to explore.
- When we stayed on a farm in the North Western areas, I could spend time with the farm workers’ kids, learning about languages, cultures and sex. (my dad was farming and also part-owner of a bakery in those days).
- When we stayed in coastal areas I could find out about marine life and dogs – guard dogs to be specific (My dad worked for a security company then)
As you can see from the few examples above, most of my experiences were limited by my dad’s choice of employment and location. Logically I couldn’t just run away and do whatever I liked. The logic part forgotten, I did run away, several times actually. Always to return and face the reality and confinements of my yearning for learning.
The reason for mentioning the above might not be obvious, so let me expound. When we’re growing up, we don’t really have much choice in the things that we are exposed to. There are many things that I did not want to experience. Family violence, schoolyard fights, racism, moving house and the associated packing and unpacking… Just a few of the many things I didn’t like but that were a part of my reality.
School was always a place of conflict for me. I usually had many friends, they were all fascinated by my travels and they were always eager to take part in the obligatory scuffles to determine the king-of-the-castle things that boys do. Using my fists, feet, teeth, headbutts and sometimes a hidden battery in a school sock, I established early on that I was not to be trifled with. As long as I was left alone, an amicable peace existed and I could go about my normal school avoidance activities unhindered.
One of my favorite places to visit on school days, was a “Soup – Bioscope”. For those that don’t know the meaning of the word, it’s a place where they show movies the whole day long. Soup and various other drinks and eats were sold and the moviegoers were constantly in and out of the shows. Let me also remind you that the quality of the shows, in those days, left a LOT to be desired! The age and rating systems that apply so rigidly now were never really noticed back then. My viewing hours were filled with audiovisual learning experiences that went far beyond the subjects and limitations of any school curriculum. The hands-on aspect was also there. Being a young boy, my bladder necessitated an unwanted visit to the toilet every so often. The normal crowd that hung about the toilets were a sight! Pedo’s and Weirdo’s for the most part. I honestly can’t remember one toilet visit that went uninterrupted by some kind of sick suggestion or fumbling attempt. The result, I was very very UN-scared of adults. Even as a kid, I had no problem kicking an adult or even pissing on him to avoid being messed with.
So far this story seems pretty normal, right?
Your silence must mean that you agree, so I shall continue… But first, another coffee and a sandwich from the pretty lady at the corner shop!
Another of my favorite learning locations, was the streets. Many streets in many cities, towns and locations. Streets, or more accurately, the people that you encounter on the streets, still hold a particular fascination for me. Every single person you come across has their own story! A look at the current statistics tells me that there are about 7.4 Billion people alive and so many untold stories out there! It also tells me that about 4.something billion people moved about on the streets in the early 70’s. Simple illogical math shows that it is a formula… Learning opportunity x 4 billion= too many hours wasted at school.
Seriously now, the streets taught and continue to teach me a wealth of knowledge. Granted, some of it may seem useless in any real sense. But knowledge is never useless! The street learning I got from those years served me well in many future experiences. Seeing a guy being shot, right in front of your eyes, is a pretty wild experience. Besides that, it also helps you understand that your own end/death could come from any direction and at any time. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t sit here right now, looking about anxiously in all directions, expecting an assassin to jump out of the next taxi and gun me down. It just serves as an example that I am very aware of my surroundings these days. In general I notice things that seem to be “invisible” to many people. This particular lesson was useful later in life, when I became a real-as-real-could-be spy. My knack for identifying threats and being able to do very rapid “what if” scenarios and then also balance that off with accurate “if I” predictions, made me very effective and valuable. There are no lessons that can teach you that, not in any school that I know of.
The streets also taught me something else. It taught me how to blend in and become a spectator, without standing out. In some cases I have needed that skill more than anything else. Later in this blog/book, you will see exactly why and how it works.
But, back to the little me. A young boy, exploring everything and anything within reach.
In a town called Malmesbury, I discovered an underground storm drainage system. A truly scary but, for that very same reason, a totally irresistible exploration venue! Entering the drain system was easy, you could access it from anywhere and also exit it at will.
The flashlights of those days didn’t last long enough to ensure uninterrupted explorations, so I had to plan and re-plan my explorations very carefully. Besides that, being a young and healthy boy, I needed sustenance to keep up my energy. How much food can I carry and how long will it last? If I take too much food, it’s too heavy and I’ll get tired too soon. If I take too little, I get hungry and I lose interest in the whole mission. Serious dilemma’s and serious calculations to face. For those that know modern military logistics, these calculations are simple. For me, they were issues that kept hindering my abilities to discover more! There was no book around to teach me the basics of logistics. The only solution was trial-and-error. Every foray into the drains was a prelude to the next, longer trip. Being a school-boy, it was complicated by the necessity of changing from my school uniform into clothing more suitable for the expeditions. Then, after a successful venture, I had to change back into school clothes and “get rid of the evidence”.
Again, these were issues that no school teaches a young boy. Now, I am not saying these things should be taught…heavens no! I am simply pointing to the lack of educational means as relates to MY childhood.
Most of my young life was spent being a “loner”. It was essential that I be alone because I had enough problems working out my own strategies and logistics. Why complicate it with another participant and the associated headaches? Being a loner was not a problem but in later life it did throw some curve-ball situations at me. These lessons were not taught in the “loner school of life“. They were an integral part of the “boy next door that believes everything he’s told” school.
These days there are many Mass Media companies and the exposure to information is endless, from virtually unlimited sources. Looking at everyone around me, consuming news, using the internet, playing computer games…living normal lives. I actually feel sorry for them. They have not had the chance of looking at the world in an uncontrolled way. From early morning, when they switch on the TV, to late at night, when they pass an advert on the bus-shelter, everything influences and prods/pushes/pulls/vies and affects their lives.
It is the modern way and I have no problem with it. In fact, I can’t imagine my life without the internet. Can you?
While you’re thinking about that, I am going for lunch. See you later!
I’ve just had an amazing lunch of Thai Green Curry and iced tea. My taste-buds are still reeling! If you have never visited Thailand, make the effort and do so with an open mind and a giving heart. Having visited many many countries, I still find my stay in Thailand an incredible and undeservedly pleasant experience. A little anecdote to start this afternoon off.
My return to writing this chapter further was delayed by two things. An email and a cop…
The first – The email asked some very pertinent questions in very strong language. To paraphrase… “Who the fuck are you? …you’re writing like you know shit and then you say nothing….what are you doing right now, are you working or just doing the blog?”
At first, I though about not answering but further pondering made me decide to offer some kind of answers, seeing as the chapter is about the Here and Now of Things.
Unfortunately I am not willing to tell you my name at this stage. In future chapters you will get to know it, I am forced by the very nature of this blog/book to make my identity known later on. There are some people who could identify me, if they chose to do so. As to my current occupation, I am a Private Investigator and looking into some cases. The first few cases are individuals, anxious to know about cheating spouses and their whereabouts in Thailand and the others are corporate, mainly doing Business Intelligence to find out what their competitors are up to. That still leaves me enough time and certainly enough mobility to do the blog.
The second – Talking about mobility, that’s what the second interruption was about. For practical reasons, my main mode of transport is a small Honda scooter. I can get to most places faster than an emergency vehicle could. On the way back from lunch I was stopped by Thai Policeman and asked for identification. I showed him my drivers licence and he was pretty eager to keep chatting. Unlike most Thai cops, he enjoyed the chance to practice his English. He was explaining that it was not normal practice for them to bother farangs (foreigners in Thailand) but that recent news events necessitated that. Thinking about some evidence of ISIL in Thailand, revealed by secret Russian documents, I agree that Thailand is facing some pretty unfair attention from ISIL. Enough of that, lets get back to the Here and Now of Things.
My life has been one big learning experience, as has the life of everyone on earth. The fact is that we don’t all learn the same things and we also don’t learn to become specialists of everything. You have to limit yourself to your own skills and try to develop them inasmuch you can. How do you get skills?
The thought of skills made me think of the above Sookie Stackhouse quote. The TV adaptation, “True Blood”, doesn’t do the book justice at all! But any male would have to admit that Anna Paquin is HOT!…(and yes, she has skills!)
My own unique skill-set has been attained by a mixture of practical (read …try and try again) and theoretical (read… it doesn’t mean shit, until you try it again and again) exposure to things.
The practical is the part I am most interested in. Theoretical sciences and theories about things leave you in a never-ending doubt as to whether those things are possible, plausible and even real. One of today’s leading brains is called a “theoretical physicist“. Due to my own education, or more accurately, lack of formal education, I don’t even really know the meaning of those words. With all due respect to Mr. Stephen Hawkins, I have to say that I don’t understand what the fuck he’s talking about, most of the time. OK, so it’s been established that I am not a specialist scientist…by any strech of the imagination
Maybe we can now establish what kind of specialist I am?
Quite recently I met a group of Urban Explorers in Thailand. They got their kicks out of getting into weird and wonderful places. In chatting to their members, we came to a point of discussion that set me thinking…a lot. They seemed to think that a lot of their discoveries made absolutely no sense. There were hundreds of places, that had thousands of things that just didn’t add up. Thinking about my own past, I could only conclude and share with them this simple answer. You had to have been there, at that specific time, for it to make any sense.
The short answer to the above question is that I am a specialist investigator and infiltrator. Having investigated and infiltrated things and places that would set most people’s mind reeling, I can honestly say that most of those experiences were nothing “out of the ordinary” MY ordinary, my life, my experiences and my opinions.
Well folks, that’s all for today. Come back tomorrow and bring your credit card with you. Your contributions to my fundraiser would really allow me to spend a LOT more time writing and a lot less time doing the things to earn the bread-and-butter… all needed to keep my wife happy and my VIP treatment going.
A last bit of real life advice… Don’t order Green curry in Thailand if you’re not willing to live with the result! 🙂