Peace in a City of Chaos

Overlooking the traffic from my bus window perch, the craziness, thoroughbred chaos of Bangkok bustle rode on. Helmetless motorcyclists, in a city where one dies everyday, stream by, swoop in and out of lanes. Taxis and buses edge for any advantage, squeezing and jerking to claim that vital gap amongst the commuters and couriers. Jaywalkers sidle past cards, never more than a foot from harm. The heat pounds your body; the fumes cake your face coal.

But there’s a poetry or symmetry to this seeming anarchy. No one gets angry, clashes on the pavement. People wait for others to pass patiently. The occasional raised arm in frustration but precious little. Sure crime is a factor in Bangkok but those with some nouse get by easily.

People may die here everyday and people do become de-sensitised to it as I saw a few years ago when a biker died and there was a blasé feel amongst the Thais. Yet I feel very much alive in this city. Yesterday I moved slowly through the crowds, looked impassively at the faces. I can disappear here, in such a city, hum a thought like a Wong Kar-wai film. A quiet soul in the midst of Bangkok.


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