Gung Hei Fat Choy (Year of the Pig Zhu) 2007 Pattaya

Woke this morning in Pattaya to the crackle of fireworks, as the local Chinese celebrated the upcoming Year of the Pig or Pi Mai Moo. I asked my wife if she wanted to scare away the demons with fireworks and she said, “Only Chinese do.”


“I see Thais do it too.”

“Not real Thai.”

With that prejudice in mine I went out and bought about 500 baht of explosives. My daughter helped light them and laughed hysterically as my little dog scurries into the house to hide under the bed from the firecrackers. Obviously dogs can see the spirits or phi better than humans, Thai or farang.

I shouted Gung Hei Fat Choy which means be prosperous.

My wife wished us Sawadii pi mai or Happy New Year and held a match to a roll of firecrackers. She’s only a buzzkill some of the time.

So what does the New Year hold for the world?

We say bye-bye to the Year of the Dog on Sunday and Chinese soothsayers predict the future through the traditional balance of the traditional earthly elements; gold, wood, water, fire and earth. 2007 is characterized by fire atop water and seers forecast a continued disruption to the global feng-sui along with an economic downturn in the stock markets. Conversely reading this symbol positively calls for new openness and world peace, although the Chinese calendar covers 60 years. So 2007 yin/fire supposedly corresponds to 1947 and we all remember what happened then.

The beginning of the Cold War and Les Paul created the Electric Guitar. Twang. Certainly better than the AK-47.

Shit happens with May 5th being the turning point.

I googled the date without finding anything.

Doesn’t mean shit didn’t happen, if no one remembers.

I’m not too worried about shit happening as long as it happens somewhere else, besides I like pigs. Read BETTER LUCKY THAN GOOD to find out why.

Personally I think the reason Jews and Moslems don’t eat pig has nothing to do with them being unclean as much as denying themselves the ultimate tasty meat. Nothing tastes like bacon and certainly not those horrible ersatz bacon chips fast food restaurants offer for their salads. And I’m not the only person who has a special place in their heart for pigs.

In 1990 I was on a bus to Sumatra’s Batak Highlands. It was a Sunday. Every seat was taken and I clung to the railing by the back door. The passengers started singing a song. The tune and words were familiar, which was strange since the only music I’d heard for weeks was Indonesian pop.

“By the rivers of Babylon, where we sat down.”

This was not the Boney M or Jimmie Cliff version, but I joined the church-goers to their amusement.

I spent a leisurely month around Lake Toba before moving onto Brastagi underneath several smoldering volcanoes. I liked the Batak people, the architecture, and made a few friends. Easy when you’re buying the whiskey. They invited me to a pig roast out in the country, since I could speak a little Bahasa.

Whiskey, pig over a fire, and reefer. 

My type of tourist trip. After much smacking of lips I asked the gathering, entirely male, “Why aren’t you Muslims like the rest of Sumatra?’

“Because we like pig too much.”

A murmur of agreement and I nodded my concurrence. “Why?”

“Because pig tastes like babi besar.”

Babi besar?” I had never seen ‘big pig’ on the menu at the local restaurant and the oldest man around the fire said, “Yes, babi besar is our word for man. You know Batak people are cannibals. Men feet very good.”

The renewed smacking of lips made me aware of my surrounding. 10 K down a dirt road from Brastagi sitting around the carcass of a burned pig with cannibals. Asmat tribesmen had eaten Michael Rockerfeller on the other end of the Indonesian Archipelago. That was 1960 and this was 1990, but I could only see the grease-smeared lips. My hosts laughed and the old man said, “Not worry, we can not eat you. You buy more whiskey.”

I woke the next morning to the sound of dogs gnawing bones. I prayed they weren’t mine and open my eyes. The pi-dogs were having their way with the remnants of the previous evening’s repast.

Nothing like that on the cards for Pattaya.

Lots of fireworks and burning of ghost money.

Along with beer becaue nothing says danger like beer and fireworks.

For further info on the Year of the Pig go to this URL

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