Laying of the hands goes a bit too far
I am retired and recently widowed. I came to Thailand seeking peace and
quiet and the simple life. I acquired a small house in a quiet soi for a
very reasonable rent. I thought that everything was perfect, until I met my
On one side I have a Thai family. They have a dog who barks night and day, a
cockerel that starts crowing two hours before dawn, a daughter who invites
her friends around every day after school to indulge in her passion for
karaoke, and a father who burns all the household rubbish every evening as
way of saving 50 baht a week on refuse collection.
On the other side I have a very religious English woman with a most peculiar
teenage daughter. I foolishly permitted this woman into my house and now she
is virtually running my life. Not being much of a home maker myself, I
allowed this person to advise me on all matters to do with interior design.
As a result I am now living with a garish assortment of floral curtains,
plaid bedspreads and fluorescent plastic flowers. It’s enough to make my
head spin and induce a 3 day migraine.
Talking of which, I happened to comment to my neighbour one day that I had
been troubled by a sore throat ever since arriving in Chiang Mai. I had been
to the doctor and been prescribed a veritable cocktail of antibiotics, but
to no avail. I suspect it is caused by the pollution in the city and that
there is no solution other than to relocate. My neighbour, however, insisted
that she could cure me by faith healing. I am not much of a churchgoer
normally, but I thought it might be worth a try. I imagined it would involve
little more than a cup of tea and a prayer. I was not prepared for the
speaking in tongues and the laying on of hands. The hands, incidentally,
seemed to be roving very far from the injured part. Is this how it works,
like acupuncture or reflexology?
My sore throat has not been cured but my neighbour insists it will be if I
persevere and attend her weekly prayer meetings. These are an all female
affair and occur every Tuesday. The blue headscarf brigade as I call them,
descends on our soi with their guitars and tambourines and make a good stab
of drowning out the teenage karaoke on the other side.
I have become a virtual prisoner in my home, first because I am avoiding my
neighbour, and second because a rotund little nun, who attends the prayer
meetings, parks her pickup truck right outside my house and blocks my drive.
There is something unsavoury about the relationship the nun has with the
daughter, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. The daughter however is
indulging in increasingly strange behaviour. She seems to think she is a
cat. The other day I caught her crouching down in my vegetable patch and
soiling my soil. I dare not speak to the mother about it.
Really, when I moved to Chiang Mai I had no idea that my life here would be
Please don’t print my name. I think my neighbour reads your newspaper. I
have seen it in her lavatory. She cuts it into small squares.
A hot commodity
I am loyal reader of your newspaper. Having worked closely with William
Randolph Hearst in my youth and more recently as a close associate of Rupert
Murdoch, I am well aware of the difficulties with regard to the printing and
distribution of a newspaper.
Thus, I hate to complain, but complain I will.
It is my understanding that the paper is “available” each Tuesday. As an
avid reader of Edna Gosling and that other person known as “name withheld”
(both of whom should be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize) - but I digress - I
rush out each Tuesday mid-day to my normal paper vendors in the hope that
the paper will be there. Often I am out of luck - a very common occurrence
in most of the areas of my life.
Today at 2pm I went to no less than 4 paper vendors looking for this weeks’
edition...not a paper to be found.
Please advise if you are aware of a distribution outlet that will have the
paper available for sale by mid-day on Tuesdays. I shall travel to the ends
of the earth if so directed.
My fondest regard to all of your staff writers - they do a marvelous job.
How lucky you are to work with such a talented group of people.