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The fable from the behind the bars continues: Part 5 of ‘Little Foot’ by Golf

Translator’s Note: This is the fifth instalment of a fable that was initially published in Thai on Prachatai. The first four parts were published in English translation here

The author, Pornthip (Golf) M., current serving a prison sentence in the Central Women’s Prison for 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) S., with one count of violating Article 112 on 25 October 2014. Her lawyers opposed their continued detention and requested bail numerous times. Each time, the Court 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 was no trial. Instead, they were sentenced to 2.5 years in prison 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 and worked with 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.”

Golf has written the fable entirely behind bars and she sends it via postal mail to a close friend. A letter can only be one piece of paper, so she writes in instalments. Each instalment is stamped with “Inspected” by the prison authorities before it is placed in the outgoing mail. Her note, “Please use polite and correct Thai language,” is so that those who write to her will follow the regulations of the prison, which cover both tone and usage. This is to both ensure that letters sent will reach her, and that neither she nor the authors will run afoul of the authorities.

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.

Readers will notice that she signs her fables “Kho. Yo. Pornthip.” 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 “ขัหญิง” (Khang Ying), which means “female detainee.”

Central Women’s Prison

R 1/6

Phetch Dormitory

23 February 2015

Greetings, remedial students.  All of you who are behind will read this before the actual children. Ha ha ha.  The next installment of the fable has arrived. After proceeding along the path for a bit, Little Foot then dealt with his victorious bounty of persimmons. He pulled one out and bit right it! He quickly spat it out. “Damn you, tricky unripe persimmons!” Little Foot was angry and flung every last one of the persimmons into every which direction. He looked up and prepared to level charges against the sky. But he found that the sun was not where it was supposed to be. He had wasted too much time having fun. The sun waits for no one. He decided to run. Right. If he did not run, then he would not make it anywhere. And if the person telling the story does not change her mind and allow him to go back to look at his poop achievement, perhaps he will not need to run until he gasps for breath. The disappearance of some things made him realize that he had to run. The path upon which he tread began to turn to hard red clay. If he was going to run upon uneven stone like this, he was going to be in pain, in addition to being weary. He stayed away from the water-logged holes in the road. He stopped and looked up into the sky. The sunshine slowly faded. His small feet grew weaker and the sun began to dip. He came to a stop where the road of red clay turned into a hard black surface. The path was no longer lined with hills and forest. There were only strange-looking houses interspersed with rice fields. Several humans were in the flat fields, alternately bending over and raising their heads. Little Foot turned to look back. The intricate image of the mountain in the background might not be able to keep him from turning back.  He had to stop to make a decision for real if he would keep walking, or if he would turn around. But if he went back, then perhaps would it be as if he had never left? Indecision comes upon everyone like this. If he walked back, then he would be with his mother and father. He would have food to eat. He would have shelter. Uncertainty was not with him for too long before a pick-up truck aiming for the black road raced up from behind him. The brakes shrieked: “Eeeed!” A pitiful puppy crossing the road stopped and trembled in the middle of the road. The impatient driver stuck his head out to yell at him. “That’s the truck that went up to sell food in the village the other day,” Little Foot remembered and shrank into himself as the truck passed. “The truck left the village at noon and has already overtaken me. Ha ha ha.” He knew that he had gone too far to turn back. So he followed the still-quivering puppy and walked along the edge of the path. The puppy snarled a little, to warn him to walk behind. The puppy’s body was gaunt and covered with scabs. Little Foot gave his last bundle of food to the puppy, and slowly retreated. He would have nothing to eat in the evening, but the puppy was in more distress. Little Foot aimed for the unfamiliar black road. After several more segments, this story will likely be over. And an entirely new story will begin. 

Kho. Yo. Pornthip M.

P.S., Please use correct and polite Thai language.

 

Translated by Tyrell Haberkorn.