‘Mobs’: Cacophony in C major and A minor

S. Tsow, whom we all recognize as a canny businessman, says the vuvuzela craze will end with this year’s World Cup series.

Ms. Mu (“Pig”), on the other hand, who knows more about “biznet” than Rockefeller and Trump combined, says that is not so. Mainstream support for her claim is to be found in news reports (e.g. this one, and this one) regarding Chinese vuvuzela manufacturers, who are moving millions of these

items, and who plan, before they retire with their riches to some place with water, to pollute the entire world with the sound of dead horses bedlamically abuzz with blowflies.

Whatever. Mu is way ahead of the curve, at least here in Thailand. Her plan: shitloads of vuvuzelas flying out of her sweatshops—the red model in C major for the Red Shirts, and yellow ones in A minor for the Yellow Shirts, since, as we all know, these toffs are far more refined and prone to life in a minor key than their upcountry counterparts.

This promises more entertainment than contending plastic hand- and foot-clappers. The next time political debate spills into our streets, we’ll instead be treated to contending tones of dead horse.

I suggested Mu add to her line a transparent, colorless model that we non-partisans can blow and blow without making any sound at all. “Get serious,” she said, because she is a Thai and what kind of fun is it with no racket?

If you want to read about more of Mu’s biznet enterprises, have a look at Kicking Dogs (print; e-book for Kindle), recently resurrected in print and e-book form, and available through Amazon (USA). There follows a wee sample.

From Kicking Dogs, by Collin Piprell (or so he claims):

In Thai bia means “beer,” and Mu’s sister was named Bia because Mu’s papa generally drank whiskey except for one night — chances are the same night Bia was conceived — when for a change he was drinking beer. I noticed she was wearing one of my shirts again, three times too big for her and the shirttails hanging out. I wished she wouldn’t wear my shirts all the time.

The door didn’t open wide, even after it was unbolted and the chains dropped, so I had to sidle in. There were large bundles of sugar cane stacked up against the wall, which explained why the door didn’t open all the way. Sugar cane. I didn’t even ask. Bia told me Mu was having a shower. Then she stood there looking at me. At least I figured she was looking at me. Bia grew her bangs down so you couldn’t see her eyes. And no matter what she said, she couldn’t see a thing with her hair that way, with the consequence she was always tripping over things or falling down the stairs. She thought she had little eyes, which as any Thai lady will tell you aren’t suay, they aren’t beautiful, so she grew her hair down over them and saved her money for an operation. I told Mu her sister would never live to get round eyes, the way she was going, and there was nothing wrong with her eyes anyway, except they were covered with hair. If she had any money she should get an operation on her brain, which might in fact be defective. But Mu told me I didn’t understand Thai girls. Which was not news to me.

Bia asked me would I like some tea; I said I would like a beer. She turned to go in the general direction of the kitchen and she fell over a stack of wicker baskets. As I helped her up, I noticed bruises on her otherwise lovely legs. Big fresh black and blue splotches overlapping the yellow and blue ones left over from earlier encounters with her environment. I asked her what happened, and she told me she fell down the stairs; it was Mu’s fault. Mu had even got people working out on the stairs now. It was getting so you couldn’t turn around without falling over something, Bia told me. And then she fell over a big box of crepe paper on her way to the kitchen.

There was certainly no shortage of things to fall over in this joint. You looked around, you could find evidence of untold numbers of business enterprises in various stages of realization ranging from “let’s try this sometime” to “that’s the last time we’re ever going to deal in used electric hairdryers.”

These were Mu’s “bisnets.” She had short-term, medium-term, and long-term enterprises of all kinds. Or she used to have, anyway. Her main long-termer had been the box of fish. “What the hell is this?” I had asked, when first I encountered it. “This is a box of fish,” she told me, though it was really a five-foot aquarium tank that held two golden arowanas that she had paid 8,000 baht apiece for. That’s 16,000 baht, and these specimens were each about the size of a good baitfish. This was only 160 Camembert cheeses, as I pointed out to her; 320 large bottles of Kloster beer, and she had spent this sum on two fish? Yes, she told me, plus 1,500 baht for the tank and another 1,000 baht for various pieces of furniture to make the fish happy, since these were not your run-of-the-mill fish, and they should of course have the best facilities we could provide. The idea was that after some time, like about seventy-five years, these prize fish would be worth a total of 200,000 baht. And who knows, maybe Mu was right, except that Mu’s cousin Sombat fed them Mekhong whiskey one night, only trying to be friendly, and they starting floating belly up till finally Mu had to admit they were dead. Sombat to this day is probably the least favorite cousin of them all. Those fish never got big enough to qualify as lunch, much less as a retirement plan.

The fish box was now a showcase for stacks of Dayglo bathing suits, which turned out to have a high turnover in the short term, and which furthermore didn’t go around floating belly-up when you poured whiskey on them, something Sombat was not likely to do in any case, having learned his lesson once.

Credits: Handclappers AFP. Cover drawing, Kicking Dogs, Colin Cotterill.

2 thoughts on “‘Mobs’: Cacophony in C major and A minor”

  1. We want to know how Paul the psychic octopus fits into all this. Did Paul predict the popularity of the vuvuzela? Can he tell us what Thailand’s future will be by picking the red mussel or the yellow one, the handsome one or the square-headed one? We also need a new name for Paul, since that is a terrible name for an octopus. We need something that alliterates, or assonates, something beginning with O, like Oswald, or Oscar, or Otto, or…

    • How about “Osho”? You could claim that Paul is really your avatar, or familiar or something, and sell octopod advice including likely lottery numbers to the masses, who are in no way gullible. I’ve heard that octopuses by nature have thaksinistic proclivities, thus would not only go for the square-headed mussel first, but would then grab up all the others as well, no matter their color or disposition.

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