Donnerstag, 18. August 2011

Bangkok Prison Choir

As Phil is busy with his work I go explore Thailand's capital on my own. After having visited the megacities of Istanbul, Teheran and Mumbai - to name just a few - I can't really describe the size of Bangkok. Let's put it this way: It's really big! I leave the MTR station and stumble over a huge golden Buddhist pagoda. I don't have any guide. So how can I know it's the famous Golden Buddha temple. I love the decoration and architecture. No wonder Thailand is one of the premier tourist destinations in Asia.

Further down the road I take a glimpse of a backlane market. Obviously I try to find Durian - to no a avail. It's this thorny fruit that definitely makes me come more often to the Malay Peninsula. Anyways I will find the Queen of Fruits sooner than later.

The beauty of the Grand Palace wows me just as another pagoda next to it. At this point I notice that Bangkok is really full of tourists and western people. In the morning the metro was packed with business men from all over the world and now the tourists sometimes outnumber the Thais on the road - and not only in a small area. I love the road atmosphere and the food stalls along the way remind me of Malaysia. I'm getting closer!

Now I want to see at least once in my lifetime the world known Kao San Road - the Backpackers Mekka and site of many movie scenes such as 'Hangover'. It's not as bad as in India but still many people (surprisingly Indians!) here ...
... try to fool you. The most frank instance: "Hey there, you're lucky man!"
Trust me! You do not want to be the lucky man! Try to escape! Kao San in plain English: colorful advertisement illumination, Asia's Mallorca, reggae, beer flatrates, overpriced souvenirs, Indians (yes!) and Thai massage.

I head to the ferry pier to go back to the metro. The monsoon meets its name as the rain falls in sheets when I board the long-tail boat. It takes longer than expected. Back at Phil's office he's so kind to give me his emergency clothes to replace my wet summer outfit. We take a short walk to he Thailand cultural center - the venue for the Christian Prison Choir Bangkok. It's amazing that even the nice of the king - a member of the royal (!) family - is attending a choir of drug addicts and criminals, organized by a Christian missionary in a mostly Buddhist country!

The choir is awesome, the philharmonic orchestra interior majestic and the celebration of the royal family most authentic: All Thais are awestricken as the representative of the royal family enters the hall - of course ...
...he's not x-rayed and his bag not checked ;-)

In her speech  the show master emphasizes that the missionary did quite some good in recruiting inmates even if they could barely sing. I found the acoustic performance great, the dancing just fair. We blame on the lack of practice opportunities for men and women together. In contrast to Thailand's sexy image and also in contrast to the sexy Thai fashion style (Women go to work in hot pants!) the society is really conservative: I didn't see people kissing in public. I didn't even see couples holding hands or just any symbol of being couple!
Of course I don't know what's happening behind closed doors ;-)
Back to the concert: The show master underlines the importance of care for the inmates' children. The missionary is raising funds for a new building. Before going home we have a nice dinner together with two Thai friends. I'm doing badly at finishing up the extra spicy papaya salad. Phil's doing great at his Thai karaoke performance.
The restaurant is partying hard as he hits the beats of a traditional schmalzy song.

1 Kommentar:

  1. Bear flatrate? I would like beer flatrate more! :D Never mind, continue writing, we enjoy it!