and one or two minor wives. You can go to the Sunday market and buy food for the week for almost nothing and choose from an abundant variety birds, fish, fruit, vegetables. In the country, life comes even easier. It’s no wonder the people out in the country have always liked the kings.” Obviously this sounds like the Happy Peasant Argument one so often hears in Mexico. Life may be easy out in the country in Thailand, but it does not seem so pleasant in Bangkok. The city is a monstrosity which myopic travel writers persist in calling “The Pearl of the Orient.” The climate in Bangkok is not unlike that of Houston’s worst days, and the traffic jams equal any to be found in New York City or Tokyo. The wire skeleton shows through the flaking plaster of the Reclining Buddha at Wat Po. Histlers sell joss sticks and teenage whores beside the sidewalk shrines. Bars and massage parlors abound. On the steps of the Erawan Hotel one is offered rate cards for vice \(the most expensive item listed is $10 for watching New Petchburi Road has been built to accommodate GI’s on leave; its plaster and concrete motels, bars and whore houses look hot and unfinished, the atmosphere is that of a Mexican border town on the first Saturday night after pay day. Nobody bothers to deny that Thailand is virtually a military dictatorship. I T IS HARDLY astonishing, then, that the mountains and jungles outside Bangkok shelter a great many guerrillas. The Royal Thai Army moves against them frequently, but still the roads are far from 14 The Texas Observer Bound Volumes Bound volumes of the 1968 issues of The Texas Observer are now available. In maroon washable binding the same as in recent years the price is $12. Also available at $12 each are volumes for the years 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, and 1967 the years of The Observer in its present format. A very limited number of volumes for 1960, 1961, and 1962 remain in stock. These will be sold, on a first-come first-served basis, at $25 each. Texas residents please add the 4% state and Austin city sales tax to your order. Volumes will be sent postpaid. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 504 West 24th Austin, Texas 78705 safe. Guerrilla activity is increasing, a problem which the U.S. Army, by secret treaty, would intend to have solved by the American people rather than by the king alone with his large army and his vast supplies of U.S. weapons. Arthur Janzen spoke offhandedly about the guerrillas operating in the northern provinces around Chiang Mai. Yes there were many of them, and yes they could be considered a threat to the government although he believed the threat was not yet alarming. But there was something that definitely worried him. And I am reminded of it by the current stories of our secret pledge to the King of Thailand as well as by other actions undertaken by our own military without the confessed knowledge, much less approval, of those who are elected to be our leaders. Northeast of Chiang Mai by 100 miles or so is a town called Chiang Rai. There is no passable road between the two. A few miles north and east of Chiang Rai is Laos. North and west lies Burma. “What I would like to know is why the United States is building two very large highways in the jungle leading northwest and northeast from Chiang Rai into nowhere,” said Arthur. “A highway southwest to Chiang Mai would be understood and much appreciated since it would connect the two towns. But those two highways into the jungle do not make sense. Keep in mind that only 200 miles north of Chiang Rai is Yun-nan Province of China.” “Do you mean we are preparing military roads into China?” I asked. “When I think of these roads, I don’t picture U.S. troops rushing north into China,” Arthur smiled. “Instead I picture Chinese troops rushing south into Burma, Laos, and Thailand. I live here, you know, and must be practical. One should never underestimate the peculiarities of the military mind.” There were news reports recently that guerrillas have overrun sizable areas of northern Thailand. The reports were vague and did not mention highways in the jungle. But one must wonder if these roads are merely another military enterprise of questionable value, or if they do have some grotesque purpose that will be revealed only after the fact: As a suggestion, does anyone remember the Gulf of Tonkin? A-PLUS UNIVERSITY SERVICES With you in mind: typing theses resumes law briefs multilithing dissertations graphic arts dept. Our prices are reasonableour service is good. Come by 504 West 24th St. \(in the same 477-5651. a irk Air &silo/ In September yellow leaves skitter along your broad ways And saffron sunlight dapples all your town. Along your quiet river, Deep down among the cliffs of stone and steel, Silently and alone stroll your handsome lads And your dark maidens, high-breasted, proud, To rendezvous with commerce and each other. High in the cliffs Saint Anthony’s gardens lie white, Deserted, in sunlight, Spotted with pink petunias. In your vast park solemn elephants and fishes, Shameless monkeys, Flamingos, robins, tigers live And eye the people passing by. Only the sparrows come and go. How your peacocks cry and call, Raucous all day long, Dragging their long blue feather trains In the dust, in the leaves. In your park, after dark Your lovers meet and clasp, Leaning around the bars of children’s swings, Plump with desire. And children call and whine, unwilling to go home And mothers gather up the picnic scraps And fathers puff their pipes and call “Come on, come on.” Along broad ways the ferris wheels go round and round Twinkling and squealing with their little burdens after dark. Somewhere the lovers are, Down by the river, underneath a bridge, Out along the highway Far beyond the missions. What do they know? Sunlight and silence Warm upon your shoulder blades, Your golden shoulders. 0, San Antonio, I remember, I remember! VIRGINIA McMILLION LaGrange Mrs. McMillion is Texas born and educated. She has worked on several daily and weekly newspapers. Her husband is the publisher of the Fayette County Record, LaGrange. The McMillions have three children. ATHENA MONTESSORI SCHOOL Leo Nitch, Director ATHENA NORTHWEST LOCATION 7500 Woodrow Phone 454-4239
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