Translator’s Note: The fable below was originally published in Thai on Prachatai on 14 January 2015. The first part was published in October, in Thai here and in English here on Prachatai. The second part was published in December, in Thai here and in English here on Prachatai. The author, Pornthip (Golf) Munkhong, is a detainee currently being held in a case of alleged lèse majesté under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, which stipulates that, “Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished (with) imprisonment of three to fifteen years.” Golf was arrested on 15 August 2014 due to her involvement in the performance of a play, ‘The Wolf Bride,’ in the events commemorating the fortieth anniversary of 14 October 1973 in 2013. Her detention was renewed 6 times before the prosecutor charged her, along with Patiwat (Bank) Saraiyaem, with one count of violating Article 112 on 25 October 2014. Her lawyers have opposed their continued detention and requested bail numerous times. Each time, the Court has refused bail on the basis that the complaint against them is grave and there is concern that they may flee. On 29 December 2014, they pled guilty to the charge against them in the Criminal Court in Bangkok. As they pled guilty, there will be no trial. Instead, they will be sentenced on 23 February 2015.
Golf is from Phitsanulok and her family has a cassava farm. She graduated from the Faculty of Political Science at Ramkhamhaeng University. Since the end of secondary school, she has been involved in social activism and various outreach activities. She has many artistic abilities, including drawing and writing fables. But she has a special fondness for performance, and founded Prakai Fai theatre troupe before it dissolved in 2012. She once gave an interview about her dreams and said that she, “wanted to perform plays in the provinces, perform in different places. And, importantly, I want to perform plays for children to watch. I want to tell children new fables -- fables of ordinary people who change the world.”
She wrote the fable translated below while in detention and sent it via postal mail to a close friend. The fable is about her dreams and is meant as encouragement for those outside the prison, especially children, with whom she often did activities before her arrest.
Central Women’s Prison
Petch Dormitory R. 1/6
26 December 2014
It is time to entrust the children with more of the fable. It’s for you, as well.
Little Foot was proud and pleased with himself after he released the big pile of shit. A monster was knocking on the door of his heart. He walked a distance away but could still see the monument he made. He curled his body up and went into a bush and waited to see who would walk without looking and step into it…it would be grotesquely fun… he laughed in his heart as he thought about it. The monster laughed even louder than him. Ha ha! But his thoughts and the sound of laughter stopped short …a herd of cows! A herd of cows was headed in this direction. And a calf, white like a tuft of cotton wool and who looked as though he had just emerged from his mother’s womb, suddenly stood still in the pile of shit and lifted his tail. “Uh…” Little Foot cried out when Small Cow deposited a bigger pile on top of his own and covered it ... Nothing was left of his well-laid plan … Little Foot jumped up. Hands on his waist, he fixed his eyes upon the herd of cows in irritation. He wrinkled his nose, readied his feet and stomped forward with a frown. He thought, “How dare that Small Cow leave his shit on top of mine?” Fueled by fury, his pace quickened. There were no more joyful matters to restrain him. He did not know how long clear snot had been running down his face, he simply wiped his cheeks with his sleeve. Ombre light began to diffuse across the horizon and Little Foot’s stomach started to grumble. Yes! It was time to eat. He looked for a tree with a canopy that was not too dense so that he could sun himself while he ate. He unwrapped the tightly-packed banana leaf bundle dense with fat grains of rice. The scent of the banana leaf still adhered to every mouthful of rice he ate. He alternated rice with salted mackerel, bought from a truck that came to the village from somewhere else once a month. He only ate half of the very salty mackerel. His stomach grew taut and his eyelids began to droop. The bulge of his round belly pushed his small shirt out of his pants. He lay down on a dry log and closed his eyes. His belly was free. But the sounds of little birds woke him so that he could continue walking. Little Foot was irritated by the scorn of Tiny Bird, who said his wee feet could not carry him very far. “Uh … Tiny Bird, one glance and you know how fast and far I can walk?” Little Foot furrowed his brow, determined to go right along the path. He walked to the rhythm of the sound of his breath, accompanied by the steadily increasing light of the sun.
Kho. Yo.* Pornthip Munkhong
P.S. Please use polite and correct Thai language
* Upon being taken into detention in Thailand, an individual loses her previous title. Rather than being “น.ส.” (No. So.) or “นางสาว” (Nang Sao) which corresponds to “Miss,” one becomes “ข.ญ.” (Kho. Yo.) or “ขังหญิง” (Khang Ying), which means “female detainee.”
Translated by Tyrell Haberkorn.