Writers look for budget accommodation (Bangkok, 2027)
Here are some things that didn’t fit on the graph in my “Things fall apart redux” post.
The price of fish in Villa Supermarket is soaring, the Gulf of Thailand is getting fished out, China is behaving more aggressively as the superpower-in-waiting, I’ve lost my mother’s copy of Ben’s secret recipe for Montreal smoked meat and I now learn Ben’s deli closed two years ago. It’s as likely I’ll get to taste roasted dodo as it is I’ll ever again savor the finest smoked-meat sandwiches in the universe.
Of more immediate concern to me: the dollar is plunging and the baht is soaring. Next thing, I’ll have to forego those wee dollops of caviar on my deviled quail’s eggs. Could it be that these and other standard sufferings of the artist will finally to turn me into a writer of substance, no doubt shortly after my demise?
That’s right. And sea levels are rising right along with the baht, promising to leave Bangkok a giant divesite in seven years, at least according to one pundit. (The TAT, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, should be pleased, and we’ll finally have the definitive answer to our traffic problems.) I don’t mean to seem immodest, but Ham Fiske (one of my many alter egos) published an article in the Bangkok Post more than 20 years ago predicting just this outcome. I was ahead of my time, unappreciated as a pundit par excellence, by God. See “One Born Every Minute,” from Bangkok Old Hand (Post Books, out of print).
But now the Bangkok Governor and his people are talking about spending quite a few billions of baht to see what can be done about this potential inconvenience, this business of becoming a submarine city. Meanwhile some experts believe “Local innovations, not mega-projects in the Gulf, hold key to holding sea at bay.” It’s interesting, though, that in one breath they’re saying Bangkok may be in big trouble in 10 years, and in the next they’re suggesting that low-cost local remedies such as cement posts to stand in for mangroves and trap runoff sediment is a better fix than dykes. There appears to me these two propositions might entail a touch of temporal dissonance. Or maybe they know something about imminent shitloads of silt the rest of us don’t.
The underwater photo is actually from Subic Bay, in the Philippines.