Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kafka in a microwave

"Hey look at that, its two cockroaches mating," I said pointing at two bugs mounted on top of each other. The three of us were walking down Sukumwit after stopping at a restaraunt for some libations and food. I had deep fried vegetables and we shared a tower of beer.

"Are they both alive," Mike said."Kick it see if its alive."

I pushed the toe of my shoe into one of the bugs. It didn't move. The other swayed its attenae and moved slightly.

"I think that one of them is dead and the other is feeding on its carcass," Stephen said.

"That's fucked up," Mike said.

"Look here come the ants to feed on the corpse," Stephen said. A row of ants marched along to the dead cockroach hoping like the living thriving larger insect to gain a meal. The living cockroach dragged the dead one a little bit on the tarmac to escape the scavenging ants. "What do cockroaches eat?"

"I think they eat anything," Mike said.

"I always see them late at night in the kitchen but they're not eating any food they're just scurrying around. I don't think they really like eating human food."

"Maybe they're content to just eat whatever is on the floor," Mike replied. "The other day when it rained a lot and the streets flooded there were cockroaches floating on the water."

"Were they alive," I asked joining the morbid conversation. Cockroaches always remind me of Franz Kafka. His story "metamorphisis," is about an office worker who wakes up one day as a gigantic insect. His consciousness disolves into that of a primitive insect while his folks are burdened with his care much to their chagrin. Often the insect is depicted as a cockroach. Every time that I see a cockroach I think of office workers and Kafka.

"I wonder if you can cook cockroaches," Mike said.

"Like in the microwave," Stephen asked.

"Yeah, I guess so. You'd probably want to put them in a glass bowl, with some saran wrap on top. Maybe a couple of them. See how long it takes for them to blow up."

"Probably only a minute or two. I wonder what would happen if you put them on the defrost mode, or popcorn," Stephen said.

We all laughed and continued our walk down the dark soi to our house.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Breakfast items

Stephen and I were watching the tail end of Ong Bak 2 when Jo Jo came in. He sat down on the furniture with us and fiddled with his bag.

"What are you watching," he asked.

"Ong Bak 2. Its pretty terrible," I said.

"Yeah, its in Thai but I get the feeling we're not missing much important dialogue. There's been two conversation scenes in the movie," Stephen added.

"In his last movie, Tony Jaa had two lines in the entire movie. 'Protect my elephant, protect my elephant!'"

I laughed and when the movie was over with its confusing ending we flipped on some sports. The sports channel has tons of boxing, k-1 fighting, and wwf wrestling. I've grown to enjoy the wrestling after watching "The Wrestler," starring Mickey Rourke. Rourke plays a down and out wrestle who struggles to make ends meet while his body fails him. Along with his physical decline is an inability to have long lasting emotions. He rages and flips out. Its a great movie.

Mike came in about a half hour into our lagging about and sat down. He opened up his dinner of morning greens, and rice and chowed away while we continued our light conversation.

"What does waffling mean," Stephen asked.

"I think it means loitering, but also with worrying conotations," I said.

"I thought it meant horse play. Like when you're at the pool and the lifeguard yells at you; 'Quit waffling about,' Mike said.

"I was reading from this book, I didn't prepare a lesson for my students and I came across the word waffle. It said that something like the politician was talking a lot, and being indecisive so he was waffling. I thought that, that wasn't right at all," said Stephen.

"Well he was waffling, loitering with his words, and his indeciveness caused worry. What's he gonna decide? I don't know! Oh god the anxiety," I said laughing.

"Yeah, or maybe he's flipping his decisions around causing horseplay with his speech," Mike chuckled.

"I mean 90% of the time to waffle means the breakfast items, so it doesn't really matter but I felt bad because I was teaching right from the book and the book was just wrong," Stephen lamented. He was obviously in a tight ethical situation. Would he give the students the correct answer tomorrow or stick to the curriculum.

"Has anyone ever eaten those waffles at the bts," I asked.

"I have. They're delicious. The street waffles are always so soggy," Mike said.

"Yeah, they are soggy," Stephen said.

"I need some syrup. Where do you think I could get some," Mike asked.

"Maybe at the Emporium grocery store," I replied. Images of waffles flooded my mind. Thick waffles with strawberries, schellacked in syrup with whipped creme on top. My mouth watered.

"Hey guys, I want to play some guy music for my show who do you think I should play," Jo jo asked. Jo Jo would be djing a Lady Gaga themed dance party at club culture on wednesday. We all planned on attending.

"Who are you playing," Stephen asked.

"George Michael," Jo Jo replied.

"That's pretty gay. Why don't you play some Iggy Pop," I said.

"No, he's too raw. What are some other guy bands that people like?"

"You could play 'The Cure,' or David Bowie," Mike said.

"I plan on playing 'Let's dance,'" Jo Jo said.

"What about New Order," Stephen said.

"Yeah, play 'Temptation,' that song is great."

"New Order is sort of gay," Mike said.

"I think they're ambigious. I mean, they're sort of gay but still a little straight," Stephen said.

"They're sort of like metrosexuals before there was a metro," I said.

Cut Copy is an Australian band. They sort of rip off New Order but are still pretty awesome.

1   /ˌwɒfəl/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [wof-uhl]
1. a batter cake with a pattern of deep indentations on each side, formed by the gridlike design on each of the two hinged parts of the metal appliance (waffle iron) in which the cake is baked.
2. Also, waffled. having a gridlike or indented lattice shape or design: a waffle pattern.

2   /ˈwɒfəl/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [wof-uhl] -fled, -fling, noun Informal.
–verb (used without object)
1. to speak or write equivocally: to waffle on an important issue.
–verb (used with object)
2. to speak or write equivocally about: to waffle a campaign promise.
3. waffling language

3   /ˈwɒfəl/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [wof-uhl] Show IPA
–verb (used without object), -fled, -fling. British.
to talk foolishly or without purpose; idle away time talking.
1695–1705; orig. dial. (N England); appar. waff to bark, yelp (imit.) + -le

New post

I've written another post for mymuaythai. Its up now and is about Isaan Muay Thai. Maybe in a couple days I'll write more about Isaan itself, maybe not.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sand in My Converse

Mike and I got to the Ekkamai station around 1:15pm. The Ekkamai bus terminal located on Sukumwit takes passengers to destinations east of Bangkok. We bought our tickets for Pattaya and sat down to wait for Joy and our departure. While lounging on the comfortable blue plastic seats we enjoyed a bout of the national pastime. The match was in its third round, and the two fighters were viciously kneeing each other with no clear lead. In the fourth round one of the young fighters pooped out and the referee called the match as fighter was unable to defend himself. I grimaced in pain for the poor lad.

The trip to Pattaya took about 3 hours. From the Pattaya bus terminal we rode in a songthaew (a pick up truck/local bus) to the Ambassador Hotel. The hotel complex is huge with three wings and a gigantic pool. Around the chlorinated waters were big Russians that looked like beached whales. They hung about the waters, lounging on chairs while baking themselves and their grotesquely tiny speedos. My sense of cultural relativity always goes out the window when I'm in Pattaya.

We rode down the beach, and spoke of whoring instead of going to the rock festival. The Thailand Rock Festival held on a military base outside of Jomtien (a town south of Pattaya) would be a two day event. The festival would have a number of popular bands, of whom I particularly wanted to see "Slur," and "Modern Dog."

We arrived at the festival around 6pm and hung about the Channel V tent for a bit gourging ourselves on free food and liquor. The generous people of Channel V had given Mike extra tickets, and Joy and I libations and nourishment. Along with vegetables and rice I also ate some french fries, and som tum acquired in the "food court." One of the great things about thailand is that where there are Thai people there is food. We hung about then checked out the Rock Stage. The stage was large and had several big screens to watch the action on stage. We sat on the sand for a while then went over to the beach stage which was smaller and had reggae/ska bands playing. The first band we took in was called T-Bone and no, it was not a rap band. Instead it was a second wave ska band whom the Thai kids really seemed to enjoy. We watched the band play and danced a little bit then went over to see Slur.

Slur is one of my favorite Thai rock bands. They're hip, they sound good, and the bassist opened up with a riff to a Joy Division song which automatically gets my approval. Before we got to see Slur we had to sit through and awful band called Crescendo who Mike labeled as "Trashy southern california 90s grunge rock with metal influences," or something akin. I hated them and the awful MCs who presided during the down times. The MCs screeched into the microphones and kept yelping out "nnnaaaaaggggggllllllluuuuuaaaa!!!!! (frightening)

At some point in the evening Mike and I demonstrated some hardcore dance moves for Joy (she's a brit). My recent haircut and dress have made me look like a 90s hardcore kid and so we wanted to show her "The lawnmower," "The floor punch," "The spinning windmill," and "Picking up change." I was able to do the dances awkwardly never practicing them much on the dancefloor. Wong was a bit better but more pensive about engaging in embarassing American antics.

Slur came on and played for about 45 minutes. They were a good stage presence and blasted through their songs.

After Slur we went over to the beach stage where we caught some of Groove Rider, a disco funk band. They were so so and killed some time before we got to see Modern Dog. Modern Dog's lead singer had a great stage presence and made the crowd scream with glee despite the late hour (it was almost 2am by the time they played). They played all their hits and ended their set with "Gon" one of my favorite songs and something that will garner the envy of my peers in Thai language school back at the Wat in Berkeley.

WE got back to the hotel around 4 am and I washed off my dirt tanline. I think that I'll have sand in my shoes for a while.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Oh Snap! OPD 1 (Grant) Oakland Peeps 4!

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger flew to Oakland Sunday directly from Washington, D.C. to meet with Mayor Ron Dellums and acting Chief of Police Howard Jordan one day after four police officers were shot and killed.

John Hege remains on life support, but was pronounced brain dead just before noon Sunday. He was waiting to be an organ donor.

The meeting with the governor will be private and he is not expected to make public comments. Schwarzenegger's spokesman says the governor will offer support and pay his respects.

Also Sunday, a display of flowers is starting to grow at the Oakland police headquarters under a wall in tribute to police officers who have given their lives in the line of duty.

In all, five Oakland police officers were shot Saturday in two separate but related shootings.

Four officers were killed. A fifth officer suffered a minor gunshot wound.

The Oakland City Council and Mayor Ron Dellums will hold a vigil Tuesday night in honor of the fallen officers.

Never in the history of any Bay Area police department have so many officers been killed on the same day.

Oakland's acting Police Chief Howard Jordan, who has been on the job just a few weeks, made the grim announcement just after 9 p.m. Saturday.

Jordan said, "This is not something I expected to do in my career at all."

Also in attendance was Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, and state Attorney General Jerry Brown.

Dellums said "It's in these moments that words are extraordinarily inadequate. We come together in shock, in grief, in sorrow."

The four officers have been identified as 41-year-old John Hege, 40-year-old Mark Dunakin, 43-year-old Ervin Romansa and 35-year-old Daniel Sakai.

Hege and Dunakin were traffic cops shot in the first incident.

Romansa and Sakai were members of the SWAT team who were shot in a nearby apartment two hours later..

The fifth unidentified officer who suffered a minor gunshot wound was hurt at the second crime scene. He was treated and released Saturday.

Police said the suspect, Lovell Mixon, 27, from Oakland, was on parole for assault with a deadly weapon. He had no-bail warrant for his arrest for violating parole. The Oakland Tribune reported Mixon had prior convictions in Alameda County for grand theft and possession of marijuana.

Police said Mixon wielded two different weapons. One gun was used at the first scene and an assault rifle was used at the apartment building where he was hiding.

Mixon's family spoke to NBC Bay Area Sunday. They said they were sorry for the families of the officers and added that there family was hurt as well. Mixon's sister said he brother was not a monster, adding that she thought he was probably scared.

"This is probably one of the worst incidents that has ever taken place in this history of the Oakland police department," Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason said.

The violence started with a traffic stop just two blocks from the Eastmont sub-station. You can actually see the crime scene from the substation parking lot.

The tragedy began when two motorcycle patrol officers pulled a driver over for a routine traffic stop in the 7600 block of MacArthur Boulevard just after 1 p.m.

Witnesses say the driver got out of his car and shot both officers before running away.

Another witness, who did not want be identified, told the Tribune he heard gun fire and then saw the officers laying on road.

The man told the reporter: "I went over to one officer and saw he was bleeding from his helmet pretty bad. The other officer was laying motionless."

The man said the officer laying near a car had two gun shot bullets near in his face. One bullet was lodged in his jaw and the other in his neck. The man said he gave the officer CPR until other police arrived.

A huge police presence immediately swarmed the scene.

Shortly after the first shooting, police said they learned the suspect was barricaded in a nearby apartment building. It was learned Sunday that the suspect's sister lived in the building.

Just after 3 p.m., at 73rd and Hillside SWAT teams entered the building in search of the man. A shoot-out followed with three additional Oakland SWAT officers being hit by gunfire. Two of those men died.

The suspect was also shot and killed.

All of the injured officers were taken to Highland Hospital.

A crowd gathered outside the hospital emergency room, including dozens of officers in uniform waiting for word on the condition of their fellow officers. Many were crying and hugging each other as they waited for word.

Back at the original crime scene people taunted police near the scene of the first shooting.

Tensions between the community and members of the police department has been high since the New Year's Day shooting of an unarmed man by a BART police officer. A protest following that deadly shooting lead to a violent and fiery protest in the streets of Oakland.

The former BART officer, Johannes Mehserle, has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday.

The last Oakland officer who was killed in 2004, William Seuis, 39, died in a hit-and-run crash.

The last time Oakland lost two officers in one day was in 1974 when Gabe Guider and Wendell Troyer died in a helicopter crash.

A group of Oakland ministers also went to the hospital to offer prayers and condolences to the family members of the injured officers and the dozens of Oakland police officers who gathered there.

They used their pulpit on Sunday to urge their parishioners not to let the event tear the city apart.

Pastor Raymond Lankford, executive director of Healthy Oakland, urged people to show support for the officers and their families.

"What officers do, that's a tough job," Lankford said. "They need love, they need support. They need to know the community is behind them."

Attorney General Jerry Brown, who served as Oakland's mayor for eight years, said his office would support the officers any way it could.

"It's a city that does have its challenges with crime and violence, but the city will overcome this," he said. "It's been making tremendous strides, but there are thousands of criminals wandering around."

Brown said the state's parole system is in dire need of reform, including issuing GPS tracking bracelets to parolees.

Brown said he planned to step up his pursuit of these reforms as a result of the shootings.

Oakland City Council President Jane Brunner said the tragic events are a reminder of the dangers police officers voluntarily face in their efforts to protect the community.

"Our hearts go out to the officers' families and the pain they are in right now," she said. "This is a time for us to come together and support our police officers."

Brunner said acting Chief of Police Howard Jordan is meeting with the officers' families today. She praised Jordan's leadership throughout the deadliest events in the department's 157-year history.

The vigil Tuesday will be held at 6 p.m. at 74th Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard where the first shooting took place, Brunner said.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Writing about Anarchy

A friend and I have recently been talking about being involved in the anarchist mileu for a long time, being a "lifer" if you will. I've been an anarchist for about 10 years with my interest peaking in the subject about 4 years ago.

I first became aware of anarchist politics through punk rock. Bands like, the Sex Pistols, with their faux situationist stance, and the anarcho punk band Crass would have a huge influence on me in high school.

When I went to college I met a ton of lefties and a few anarchists, although looking back there were fewer anarchists than I thought and more leftists. With boredom being a constant state of being I would often spend my time reading. I browsed through the stacks in the college library and read most of Paul Avrich's rich historical anarchist histories. Along with a steady diet of kroptkin, berkman, goldman, etc. I also began to read the works of the Situationist Internationale. I came across the S.I. through Ken Knabb's website; bureau of public secrets. While I couldn't immediately grasp the density of the S.I's critique of society as spectacle, there was a salience that I comprehended. I felt aliennated even though I was being tracked towards a happy life. School was boring, protests were boring, nothing was really happening. Despite my multitude of efforts to stir the pot most of my peers were content to continue doing workshops on privilege or complain about their other peers sexism. Eventually I was kicked out of school for being an "enrage."

Looking back I have mixed feelings, in some ways it was good in other ways I wish I had finished school. It really made a clear break for me personally with a lot of left politics. All the organizing I had done had never really helped me, nor helped me in my own personal problems. I left school dazed and confused. A few months later and I wrecked my personal relationships with the anarchists and leftists in my college town. (self) Jettisoned I moved to Santa Cruz california. There I first became acquainted with post-left ideas. Unlike most of my peers in college many of the kids on the west coasts were informed by the situationists. If we look at anarchism as having waves (akin to feminism having three waves, first being pro voting, second being radical feminsim, and third being whatever the fuck it is now) the situationist's critique marked a point where anarchism split into two waves, an older wave and a new wave. The kids on the west coast seemed to be engaged in that critique. I became more interested in the green anarchist critique of civilization and many of the works surrounding Anarchy magazine.

I began to attend a weekly reading group in Berkeley which despite its having many a wingnut helped me develop several important ideas. After a stint in Berkeley I moved to Vegas where there was nigh an anarchist and then moved back to Berkeley. I began to do reviews for Anarchy but my interest in anarchist ideas began to wane as I've become more involved in Muay Thai.

For me the anarchist scene on the west coast (and perhaps in the US in general) seems stagnant. There are some good publishing projects, but these are thankless tasks. There are few activities worth joining.

I think for me at this point being involved in anarchist politics is about exploring. Many of the tried methods of escaping this century have failed. Activism has failed. For me looking into muay thai and traveling to thailand is a way of keeping myself intellectually engaged with the world.

I suppose this is a little meandering. I haven't written in a bit and this is a topic that I was thinking about although not with much coherence.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

1500 baht

My sleep was restless. My anxiety came not from worry about the fight, which I tried not to think about, but sleeping too late and missing my weigh ins. Before my fights a nearly overwhelming fear overcomes me of fate thwarting my time in the ring. I see myself getting smashed in by a car, sleeping too late and missing weigh ins, or falling in some pothole to my demise. My nervous sleep had me rise in time for my 7am weigh ins. I went with Khun Suzuki via cab to Rajadamnern.
Rajadamnern is located in the northern part of old Bangkok. It is one of the two largest stadiums in Bangkok and a renown venue in Thailand. The order to build the stadium was given by the Prime Minister in 1941 but the completion of the project was halted due to construction shortages. The stadium was completed in 1945 and was originally an open air amphitheatre. In 1951 a concrete roof was added to make the stadium weather proof. The stadium holds fights four days a week, on mondays, wednesdays, saturdays and sundays.

As a physical presence the stadium resembles a beaten, worn, high school auditorium. The sweat soaked ring stands in the middle of the auditorium and to the rear are the offices for management, a small doctor's office, a changing room for the blue shirted referees, and a changing room for the fighters. Khun Suzuki and I went in the side entrance which was littered with young thai boys and older thai men. We did an unofficial weigh in and then began a rather quick paper work process. My passport was copied, I signed a few unidentifiable papers and was checked by the doctor. The official weigh in happened within 30 minutes, far quicker than the grueling ordeals that happen in the state. A few boys were ahead of me and I moved into the scale area. The scale is huge, standing over 6 feet. The scale head resembles a gigantic clock but instead of telling the time it tells one's weight. I stood naked on the scale as the official called out my weight. A check mark was made, I weighed 67 kilos, or 147 lbs correctly at my fight weight.

Khun Suzuki made motions to me to dress and then to eat. We went outside where we ate. I brought out a Styrofoam container of pad thai jai and a banana, while he ate rice, eggs, and a pork stew. Khun Suzuki, a japanese ex-pat, has what I understand to be, a typical Japanese exterior. His face is blank and stoic most of the time. Nothing seems to pass by his face. He told me that we'd be leaving for the stadium at 8pm and that I would be the main event for the evening. I nodded and finished eating.

We took a taxi back to our respective abodes, parting ways at Thong Lo where Khun Suzuki took a motorbike to Ingram. On coming home I went to bed. I had seen my opponent at the weigh ins. He was slightly shorter than me, and around his middle was a thick pad of fat. He seemed nervous and was maybe 17 years old. I sighed with relief when I saw him shirtless. An easy fight. "I've had enough tough fights," I thought to myself. My slumber was comforted with confidence.

I slept and slept, when I woke I went with my English asiaophile housemate Kev to get some food. En route he swore at a man making a u-turn in the narrow soi screaming out that he was a "Flat nosed Isaan fuck." I laughed, not at his racism but at the absurdity of the situation. Being around his rampant racism is often annoying but I wasn't phased by his social faux pas, it seemed like nothing could touch me. We ate and Kev dribbled on about the copious amount of rice on his plate and lack of meat. My eyes went on roller coaster rides around and around as his complaints seemed endless. When our meal ended I went home where I laid down until it was time to go.

I got Ingram at 7pm, an hour before we were supposed to depart for the stadium. The boys (Sagapet, Daosaming, and Bpee) were sitting on the sofa talking with half an eye on the television. Bpee brought out his school book. He's been taking classes on the weekends to further his grade school education. His mathematics book looked confusing not only for its advanced algebraic equations but also for it being completely written in Thai.
I flipped through the book while the boys laughed at my shorts.

"Team Coke? Tham mai? (Team Coke? Why?)
"Khun Chanaa chai mai?" (You're going to win right?)
"Pom dii mai?" (Your hair is good huh?)

At quarter to 8pm we, Petdam, Khun Suzuki, Bu and I, left the gym for the stadium. We got to the stadium after 8pm and Bu wrapped my hands in the fighters room. The room is dirty and worn. It has a dozen wooden benches for fighters to lay on and a few chairs. Alongside one of the walls is a series of bathrooms and showers. The showers are thai style, a bucket of water and a bucket to dump water on your body. The toilets are thai style as well. Small holes in the ground and water to flush away the excrement.
One of the great things about Thailand is the lack of regulations in that regard. In the states an official hovers over you and your trainer as your trainer wraps your hands. Bu finished taping my hands into casts and then had me lay down on the wooden bench. He and Petdam slathered me in vaseline and nam ma muay. I felt like a waxy peppermint. When I was finished being candy coated in lubricants I warmed up and then waited.

I was the main event of the night, myself versus Fasatan Lookhinon. Bu and Petdam would occasionally give me advice, reminding me to keep my hands up, to straight knee his stomach, and to keep my chin down. I began to mentally go over my fight, the things I expected to do, my strategies. I rehearsed and foresaw the fight in my head. Jab, cross, left knee into the solar plexus. Right knee, right elbow into the left temple. Block and kick back. My mind honed my body and made my physical weapons sharper.

The fifth fight ended with a first round knock out and so we rushed into the ring. I did the wai khru, competently if not beautifully. I wasn't sure if I would do the whole thing but as I kept wanting the fight to be done and over with and I was also a little nervous about my performance of the ceremonial dance. In the back of my mind was Coke telling me how at his first fight in Lumpinee he didn't do the wai khru as he was too nervous. I felt if I should go through with it. At least I would show more confidence than Coke at my first major fight. Its important to me to show respect to my trainers, who have helped me to get where I am, the gym for providing a place for me to practice my sport, and to show that I respect myself, that I take this fighting business seriously. While I was doing the wai khru a handful of Americans in the front started screaming. I tried not to make eye contact with them and shuddered inwardly with embarrassment. Why are so many foreigners that come to Thailand such idiots, I thought to myself."Go Team America! Kill him," they cried. I tried to ignore their drunken screaming and to perform with elegance.
When my dance was over Fasatan and I were brought to the center of the ring where we were given last minute instructions in Thai. I pretended to understand and moved back to my corner where Bu took off my mongkon, gave me one last prayer and inserted my mouthpiece. The bell rang and my bout began.
Most fights in Thailand build. The first round starts slow and the fight gains momentum into the fourth round where it apexes and then plateaus (or falls off usually) as a winner is determined. Fasatan came out strong. I teeped him in the leg to begin the fight and he left kicked me which I didn't block. He moved forward into the clinch and so began the four rounds of clinch work that would comprise our bout.

Fighting is always a unique experience. Real life falls away for a surrealness. Often I describe it as being in a gel, a liquid movement where time, space, and will all become convoluted. While the body is engaged in action, reaction, and copious amounts of pain the brain will become focused, and unfocused. Often I've had random passing thoughts while fighting. Images of people that I know come into my mind. Perhaps the blows to the brain bring up these subconscious visuals.
We kneed each other tons in that first round, and in the second and third and in the fourth. The breaks in the clinch were when the referee pulled us off each other. When we were broken up we would exchange a kick or a punch and then fall back into the knee battle. His knees were much better than I had expected. He gave himself a fair amount of room but wasn't terribly accurate. My knees were lighter and more plentiful but lacked knock out power. In between rounds my corner screamed at me to attack faster and sharper. In the third round I was able to pull Fasatan's head down into my knee for a light knee attack into his skull. While in the clinch he had repeatedly made space and slammed my left temple with his right elbow. The elbows made my jaw shudder and my mouth piece become loose. I feared losing it and clamped down on it after the elbow strikes to my temple.
Being elbowed made me think about how difficult it was to actually elbow someone while fighting. I was able to sneak in a couple badly positioned upward elbows to his grill but most of the time I was hitting him with the bottom of my forearm. In the fourth round I began to see blood. The blood was splattered everywhere as though the stadium ceiling had opened up and a red rain was falling upon us. The word AIDS flashed through my mind as I saw my opponent become more and more speckled with blood. I was pretty sure that the blood was mine. I thought that I would have to fight harder to make sure that the fight didn't end with me getting cut.
Halfway through the fourth round the referee called the fight. I thought it was just a temporary reprieve so Fasatan could be checked by the doctor, but Khun Suzuki came up to the ring with a smile and said that I won. I smiled and went over to Fasatan to give him my respects. He had an inch long gash within in his left eyebrow. I was somewhat surprised by the length of the cut. Perhaps I was able to do some damage with the pointy parts of my joints after all. We left the ring and moved to the back area.
A shit ton of foreigners came back and congratulated me. Many of them wanted pictures with me as well. I stood around for a while as the foreigners took pictures with and of me. I was slightly dazed from the fight. While fighting you have so much adrenaline pumping through you and then when its over, its all dumped. I felt shaky and worn, slightly sick. The americans came back and heaped praise upon me and kept asking me to go out drinking with them that night, their treat. Part of me wanted to take advantage of their hospitality, the more sensible part knew that it would destroy my body.
I had my gloves taken off, my wraps, and I showered quickly. Bu looked at my nose and brought me to the doctor where Fasatan had just completed his stitches. I was told to lay down on a blue raised table while the doctor scrubbed my face with iodine and a cleanser. The doctor put three stitches into the left bridge area of my nose. The sensation was pinching and sharp as the doctor didn't bother to put in a local. He used a needle and thread. It was like something out of Rambo.
On the car ride home I was given my fight purse. I made a little extra for winning but that money went to my trainers, Bu and Petdam who recieved 500 baht each. I took home 1500 baht (about $50). When I got home I looked at myself in the mirror. The left side of my face was bruised, the center covered by a large bandage. My hips hurt from being kneed into. I wanted to sleep, to get drunk, to be massaged, to never fight again, to get back in the ring, to eat, to go home all at once. I had two beers and thought about what I would do the next day.

This fight was big for me. It was big because I fought at a major stadium here in Thailand. I remember standing outside of Lumpinee last year and thinking to myself; "That, that building there is the dream. Fighting inside of the building is my dream!" Maybe I didn't fight in Lumpinee but I fought in Rajadamnern which is basically equivalent as far as I'm concerned. Fighting there was a bit intimidating too. Far better boxers have been there and I was trying to come up to their place. I was the main event and I fought a tough opponent, despite my previous hopes of it being an easy fight it wasnt. I'm not really sure how I feel now, there's a sense of relief, but also there is still the ever present pain of the fight itself. Maybe in a week or so I'll want to do Muay Thai again. I'm not so sure before that.

"Whoever has reached his ideal transcends it precisely at that point." Nietzsche Beyond Good and Evil

"What makes one heroic? Going out to meet, at one and the same time, one's highest suffering and one's highest hope." Nietzsche The Gay Science

Friday, March 13, 2009

Rob Cox interview

I've finished another article for the website mymuaythai. You can check out the interview here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

short note

Club culture was packed. The hip dance venue located by Phaya Thai BTS in Northern Bangkok was one of the few places that played a sembelance of Indy rock. Despite its claim to hipsterness the djs mainly played random american pop including; Britney Spears, Maroon 5, and the Cardigans (who aren't bad but aren't American). The Thai kids didn't really care, nor for that matter did I, given my state of slight inebriation. I had downed a few libations outside of the club in a small stand a hundred meters away from the entry. Inside the club the beers were 150 baht, outside they were 70 baht and an extra liter.

My shirt was wet with sweat and I worried for a moment about my persperiation but then I didn't care.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Women in Thailand

Joop Joop

The party was held on some soi by the Phrom Pong BTS. Steven and I met up with Kev after having a beer and some fries at the ex-pat bar, The Dubliner. Kev was acting, hyphy, as usual. He consumes several large bottles of Coca Cola which supplements his ADD tendencies. Kev was hopping about on one foot anxious to get to the party to meet some Thai gash when we arrived. We walked down the soi that extended from Sukumwit. Kev blathered on about this and that, while I thought about how I needed to use the bathroom. We eventually made it to the small apartment in the bottom of a condo. We took off our shoes and entered the smoke filled den. The party was somewhat full with about 30 people in attendance. It was a mixture of Thais and ex-pats. There was a large table full of liquor and mixers. Kev and Steven quickly put themselves to the drink while I continued to drink my water. I watched the party slide through time as I passively sat in a chair. I stood up for a second and felt a burning sensation on my hand.

"Ow," I cried.

The woman who had burned my hand with her cigarette looked at me. "Oh, I'm sollee," she said. She then pointed at her cheek. "Here, here," she demanded. She kept pointing to the side of her cheek that was now turned towards me.

I was confused. What was she doing. Did she want me to kiss her cheek? She was the one who burned me. Was this some sort of weird Thai custom that I didn't know about. Wanting not to insult the young woman I kissed her cheek.

"Oh, ha! No I said look at this here," she said.

"Oh I thought you said kiss this here," I replied. I thought about apologizing but then decided to chalk it up to cultural differences. Besides it'd been a long time since I'd kissed a Thai girl.


Siam Paragon is a large bougerois mall in the center of Bangkok. After multiple attempts to try and find each other, Laura, finally found me at the edge of the food court standing by a composed and grinning Ronald McDonald. As hunger had gripped my stomach we walked through the food court into the Paragon grocery store. I picked up some sushi, spring rolls, and a bottle of water while Laura grabbed some sort of pad thai dish. We paid for our meals and sat down to eat.

Laura came out here a week ago from Canada. She lived and worked out there for a year after coming out here to Thailand. Her initial trip was a disaster. She broke her ankle and her back and was confined to a desk job in Toronto. Geared on Muay Thai she sold her record collection and all her posessions to come out here and train. For some reason we started talking about relationships...

"I dated a trainer up north for a while," she said. "He was nice and I liked him. Then he had to go to Bangkok for a few months so the relationship fizzled out. I was pretty bored up north. I couldn't really do anything as my ankle was fucked up. I started to hang out with another Thai fighter. He was okay. He drank a lot. When he fought he'd lose. His head just wasn't right. When the trainer came back up north he kept asking me how things were between the fighter and I. I told him the truth. They were okay but not that great. The fighter was drunk all the time and wasn't super nice. I guess my exotic appeal was wearing off. A week or two later they both started talking to me about a fight up north towards Chang Mai. They said they were both fighting. I was excited to see them fight so I went up there. When the bell rang for the fight to start I saw that they were fighting each other! I didn't know which side to stand on. The first thing that happens is that the trainer walks up to the fighter and knees him in the balls. That was the end of the fight."

"Things between me and the fighter died out and I started hanging out with the trainer again. It was funny as right after the fight he poked me and pointed up at the stage then smiled. I couldn't believe these two guys just tried to fight over me. Anyways I kept hanging out with the trainer. We started having sex and we used a thai condom. It was the first time that I'd used a thai condom and I thought it was great! A few days later the trainer came to my place and asked me if I had bled yet. He showed up a few days after that and asked me again. Each time he asked he'd get really happy when I told him I hadn't. He had pulled off the condom when we had sex to try to get me pregnant. Luckily I didn't get pregnant."

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Notes on a hot summer day

ITs another hot day. The tarmac is boiling. The vendors duck under whatever shade their stalls offer and sweat. I walked down soi 65 to the computer building. Part home, part computer shop the multi purpose building also has a series of laundry machines in front of it. I dumped in my clothes, detergent, and 30 baht to clean my clothes. The woman selling fried chicken looked fried from the sun and was dozing in front of her small stand. Inside was just one young boy who was doing internet chatting. I sat down and started to check my email.

The passage of time out here is different than at home. Its slower, and more routine. The daily motions of training wrap me up and put me on a schedule. The days slowly melt with the sun. My fight at Rajamadern is coming up in a week. I have to profess a little bit of nervousness. Rajamadern is an olympic style stadium. I'm sure I'll perform fine, a smidge worried about getting tired but my 6 hour a day training should take care of my 15 minute fight.

Today I slept a lot. My body is still tired and my eye is slightly pained. Last night after training I laid around and ate, then ate some more. In the evening Steven and I went to an ex-pat bar and had a drink then went to a house party where everyone was smoking and the air conditioning wasn't on. I left the smoke filled den for a shower and overdue slumber.

Today I hope to eat some indian food. Maybe go see the new watchmen movie.

The days pass into the night.

Monday, March 2, 2009

La Haine!

Its pissing rain. Pouring buckets and buckets. I'm apprehensive about going outside and getting soaked. I should have walked home instead of stopping in this internet cafe to check my email. Oh well.

I've continued to watch movies during my time off. I've seen two that are exceptionally poignant.

The first I saw is a film called Raspberry Reich. The film is basically a gay porno with revolutionary slogans spliced in. The main characters abduct a rich, gay man in order to expropriate money from his father. Sex ensues. Sloganeering ensues. The film is hilarious.

The second film is "La Haine." Released in 1995, it came out on dvd in 2006. I actually thought the film was made in the last year or two. Set in the parisian ghetto, the story follows three lumpen boys on a day of their listless lives. It denotes the anguishing boredom of their situation and their inability to change their social situations. It was painful to watch the characters struggle with their surroundings. They were so... stuck. It reminded me a lot of being younger, of being broke, of being full of rage and being completely impotent to change my life. Another reason I liked the movie, of course, is because their is a muay thai boxing scene in it. Huzzah!