Submarine garrets for starving writers

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.

Whatever. I try hard to take comfort from Leary’s law,the one that says, no matter what things might look like, we’re always living in a golden age.

The underwater photo is actually from Subic Bay, in the Philippines.

4 thoughts on “Submarine garrets for starving writers”

  1. Bangkok deserves to be under water, especially the big chichi shopping malls, but I am concerned for the fate of beloved venues of pleasure like Soi Cowboy and the Nana Plaza. Cannot the authorities elevate these icons above the waves so as to preserve them for the edification of generations yet unborn? I’m sure Bernard Trink would approve, as would S. Tsow, Vermyn R. Carrion, Sodom N. Gomorrah and a host of other luminaries.

  2. Some opinion has it that the venues to which you refer are what’s inciting marine incursions in the first place, their power as seawater magnets no doubt amplified by the shopping-mall malignancies and suchlike. But I haven’t been to church in a while, and this all remains hearsay on my part.

    • Don’t you mean hearsay? It is, indeed, conceivable that the seawater is attracted by powerful sensory magnets like the fish show at some of the more salacious Soi Cowboy venues. But it makes more sense for fish to go questing for seawater than for seawater to go questing for fish. The latter activity seems somewhat perverse, theologically speaking, and almost incestuous. Besides, the fish in question are enjoying more savory fluids, and cannot be bothered with mere seawater. Hey, you could write a book about it.

      • Fish? On Cowboy? It’s been quite a few years since my last visit to those parts, and I know things change and all, but now you’ve got me trying to envision a bunch of lads stewing themselves in beer in front of giant aquariums and going woo-woo! Is this related in any way to the globally diminishing sperm counts I read about?

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