Fair and Fight
Following a few weeks visiting bars in Bangkok (trendy HiSo teen joints on RCA (Royal City Avenue) and slightly lower-middle class LoMiSo?? clubs on Ratchida(pisek) Soi 8) and a bit of a trip with the kids (my homeroom-Y7) to Samut Songkhram (I'd love to show you the pics but even though the draconian 'images of minors' policies prevalent in western societies aren't present over here (good and sensible) the current political climate around these parts (bad, worrying and more of that later prevents me) we checked the calendar and to be fair indeed it was fate, the dreaded School Fayre (or as American English bastadises Fair)/Fete was coming up on Saturday...
It's the time of year that every UK teacher hates in international schools. A full Saturday at the end of a long full term having to hobnob and join in with forced fun.
Of course some of the 'Pariah Brigade' (as I've just Christened them) were loving the idea of spending spare time on a weekend in school and a chance to boost their flailing profile to rich and influential parents not to mention give them something to do on the weekend other than topping up their tans...
We sauntered in at midday after a particularly late and heavy one for D in the locality and a lightweight and early one for me watching western and Thai boxing with the ever-annoying hoi-polloi and wannabe-polloi (more of the third type of expat in a future post) at The British Club on Silom, for a colleague's baby-wetting lads night- congratulations once again Si and Yas!
I and half of my homeroom (half because the other half didn't turn up!) were running the Thai favourite stall 'Sao Noi Tok Nam' roughly translated as 'young girl falls in the water', which should involve a beautiful Thai girl in traditional dress, suspended over a water tank whilst feisty young males (probably an ancient fertility rite) throw balls at targets that once hit, drop the girl into the water.
Thais have a real affinity with water and celebrate the Thai new year (Songkran- we're currently 2552 in Thai years) with a water ceremony (people in hot countries crave the water to sustain life- perhaps Brits should pray for the sun more?) that latterly has turned into a mass water fight, (mainly for nak tong teow- the person who travels/tourist as everything in Thailand seems to be geared around...)
If you're blasted, bombarded or bucketed with water you're blessed bizarrely- in a spiritual sense as well as literally as April (the time of Songkran is the hottest month of the year- many Farangs choosing to huddle in their air-conned apartments in the same way Westerners do with central heating in the winter!)
However, we didn't/couldn't round up many Thai girls (they were too busy working the massage parlours...) and because the idea of forcing a woman under the water I would normally associate with the sadistic behaviour of a serial killer- we chose some hairy-arsed UK male teachers, including me on a double stint.
The school mainly runs the fayre to help with the numerous community service projects that the (perhaps too much time on their hands) HiSo Thai parents like to administer for the poor and needy of Thailand- including the pitiful Soi dogs who greet and growl at you from all over Bangkok, charging money to play teacher and homeroom inspired games for raffle tickets and eventually gifted prizes from local companies at the later after-fayre show. It also commemorates the school's founder so it is quite a big deal.
We had fun, despite our early reservations, each year group had a country and we had to plan game booths (so excited to have the word booth used so often recently) inspired by our country (the theme was 'We are the World'- international school, Michael Jackson...I know...for a school, slightly inappropriate, but the Thais do love him and everything has been brushed under the carpet latterly), - ours was chosen as USA (despite me wanting Italy and Costa Rica nearly edging it) so we went for the water theme of Hawaii and the kids didn't have to do a full on dressing up with gaudy shirts, board shorts, flip-flops and flowers sufficing.
So 'Booths' Bombin' Booth' was quite a sensation in the end, the kids' posters never quite managing to use the apostrophes that well, but we'll let them off considering it's their second language and full-time English users are pretty useless with this vital piece of punctuation anyhow. D's Japanese magnetic fish game was less-successful but her group's ninja costumes were great. She seemed to spend most of the time in the water tank as we had quite a few hours to fill (my two stints ended up with me breaking my toe as the tank was just too small for a big lad like me and as I said young Thai girl I aint)
Now onto the stage show- a chance to relax and enjoy the rest of the 8 hours we were contractually obliged to put in... Or so we thought...
Well, here's where the Booth legal team have stepped in.
Suffice to say for legal, occupational and safety reasons I'm unable to fill you in anymore in the cyber-world. I know many bloggers post in an 'invite only' way but frankly that defies the object of blogging especially when so few people could actually find us in this way and even more frankly it pisses me off when (like with message boards and chat rooms) the Big Brothers of the internet world have completely ruined the idea of free-speech and opinion, especially in such a wonderful global world that we live in these days. BTW, I'm not talking about 'serious' defamation of character here!)
In a more frivolous mode, however- I hope I've sewn the seed for more- in which case those of you lucky enough to meet us in person over the Christmas period will undoubtedly learn more- just to let you know we're safe and sound...for now...
Next time: Flight and Festivities