Shaken and Stirred – 15th December 2022

The drudgery of the day to day
Took our childlike sense away
No longer dwarfed by all around
Bored with all the knowledge found
No longer novel and mysterious
Everything became so serious
Less scared of what’s seen and heard
Memories need to be shaken and stirred
The eyes of children opened wide
Light pouring in deep down inside
Inspiration to seek the sublime
A world in which you can redefine

The battle against conformity requires you to adhere to another kind of conformity.

Dana Kletter, from Manchild 5

Today I’m feeling:
Happy and positive though a little tired due to the lack of sleep from recent nights.
Today I’m grateful for:
The school director thanking us teachers for our hard work and effort at his school. Even if it was just a vague excuse for a meeting arranged by TLC as pats on each other’s backs, I still appreciate that he said these things. Most of the time we feel quite unrecognised and underappreciated. Of course, no pay rise, no bonus, and no Christmas gifts for us! Oh well, my coffee schedule messed up by the meeting I took the opportunity to invite David to House for a quick Kickstarter brew.
The best thing about today was:
My unruly class of kids in 1/7. Before it started I took Goy aside and asked how she felt about my class. She’s a quiet and top-grade productive student and I don’t get chance to talk with her much. She said she liked the class but when prompted said that it was too easy. I know this and apologised to her but she understood that I have many low-skilled students to manage. I asked her about her classmates and she said they were very annoying and make it difficult to concentrate. Obviously, I agreed and I thanked her for her thoughts. I was glad that she was happy with me as a teacher at least. Back in class, the kids wandered in lazily and mostly in high spirits. The two that I kicked out on Tuesday sheepishly laid low in their seats but I made an effort to try and engage Nong Aoi though she insisted she couldn’t write because her hand was hurting. I tried to make it fun by writing with my other hand which she tried for about ten seconds before giving up. With my left hand I write ‘Aoi ❤️ ?’ and Saipan and Rista got excited and said ‘Geno’. So I got a little embarrassed but it gave me an idea. I quickly got to a break point with some writing and hooked up the speaker and searched YouTube for Dexys ‘Geno’ and started playing it. Many kids got up to dance including Aoi and she had a big smile on her face. It was good to see. I settled them all back down with a promise to play it again at the end of the class. After a while, Aoi asked to escort another student who was feeling sick to the bathroom, however, a few minutes later she turned up with four boys, one of which was Geno. They stuck around for a while but got bored waiting until the end of class. When it did come I played Geno again and other excited dancing kids asked for a couple of other songs and that’s how it ended. I love these kids, one moment crazy upset, the next crazy happy. Just like every other human you ever met.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
Last night I found a scratch on Kim Chi that looked pretty serious. Amy was concerned and we talked about whether and when to take her to the vet. It was already 9.30 and I was ready to sleep. We decided not to go then but spent the next couple of hours trying to clean the wound and watching her, putting on a collar to stop her licking and discussing what to do today. As we give her a special medicine for her leukaemia, we don’t generally give her any other medicine from the vet so as not to mix them. She seemed ok this morning and ate without a problem, just annoyed at having her collar on. I called Amy later from school and she’d cleaned up Kim’s room again and decided to keep her there to keep her out of any more trouble. When I got home though she seemed to be more uncomfortable with the wound, which is right on her empty ballbag and was weeping a little cloudy fluid. We quickly decided we should take her to the vet which meant a 2-hour round trip and not a relaxing evening at home. But this is what we do for those we love and so I enjoyed the drive, the traffic, the vets and everything else. I could’ve been annoyed at this loss of free time but I turned it into positive time. The vet advised to bring her again tomorrow which throws out some other plans but this is the way we have to roll.
Something I learned today?
Talking to David over a coffee he told me new things about South Africa that I didn’t know. There are maybe 11 tribal groups in South Africa, all with slightly different cultures. Since the end of the apartheid, the ANC has ruled non-stop but corruption is rife and although overt racism has gone it still exists in more subtle ways. The government is seemingly directed by rich bankers and billionaires ensuring their money keeps rolling in. David said he has come across many more South Africans in Thailand recently as folks are getting out to seek a better future, something which is not possible for the majority. Of course, it’s far more complicated but the underlying immorality and inhumanity are obvious. Perhaps inhumanity is actually the default of humans. Humanity is only something achieved in small doses.
Which aspects do you think makes a person unique?
It’s late already and I would like to write more about this but it also seems obvious that the answer would be ‘every aspect’. There’s no getting around the fact that everyone is unique.

I took this picture because, on a valley bike ride with Bruno, he recommended stopping at this fish restaurant for me to check out. We had a small quick meal and chatted overlooking the fish pond. It was only about 2pm and the owners/staff were lazing around one of the tables. Bruno seemed to think they were high or perhaps they were just in that chilled laid back zone of rural northern Thailand. We were also greeted by an assortment of shaggy dogs and scrawny cats, happily playing, hunting, snacking and snoozing. Lazy days at the fish pond restaurant on a road off the beaten track. A ‘local’ fish pond restaurant for ’local’ people.

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