Let me complain. “I’d like to report that you’ve hurt my feelings.” “All right. Fill in this instance by stating which group, community or sect you belong to, and don’t forget to mention how your feelings have been hurt. “Umm, I’m not part of any collectivity.” “How?!” “Yes, I’m on my own.” “Well, then, sorry, I won’t be able to do anything for you.” “What if instead of Puig I had my last name, say, Trump, Putin, Berlusconi or Bourbon?” “Ah, in such a case it would be different! But by calling you Puig, pull, into the street with your complaints, you separatist whore. Next!”.
This subject of wounded sensitivity sounds to me like another of the many lies of our hypocritical society. Is there a meter, something like a thermometer or scales, where you can check the size of the wound? Damage from a physical injury can be assessed, for example, if an eye is blasted with a rubber ball or a couple of ribs are broken with a whack; but no one can show if their feelings have gone wrong.
Although I believe that in order to be respectable it is essential to be respectful, I do not give a damn about the feelings of others; the only thing that worries me about the matter is, apart from the obvious social hypocrisy that it conceals, that nobody will listen to me if I declare that my feelings and my spiritual sensitivity are wounded daily by society in general and especially by many religious sects, which turn a blind eye tacitly accepting the injustice that reigns in this world.
Humanity? What humanity?! I mean the way nature is treated, animals, women (who are paid less to do the same work as men or drones), enslaved children and the hungry. I am also referring to the unjust judicial and penitentiary system, to wars for economic and power reasons, and to the domination of multinational companies (and of the politicians who are their puppets), who are only interested in profits and do not mind deserting the Earth.
Well, well, well, it looks like I got up a little thrown today, doesn’t it?
I also wanted to talk to you about the supposed cultural imperialism that I call cultural enrichment because what would the rich Castilian language have been like if it did not include Greek, Arab, French and even Hindustani words such as guru, culi or curri? As well as some Catalans: esquirol and the alioli that comes from “all i oli”. And that without mentioning those we owe to commercial products, such as the plastic cap that has replaced the aluminum lunch box, cello and so many others.
The name used in almost all the countries of Southeast Asia to call the herb is the Hindustani “ganja”. Orangutan comes from the Malaysian name “orang hutan”, which means man of the jungle. The nickname Kangaroo was born when a Westerner asked an Australian Aboriginal what his marsupial was called, and the other answered, “kan ghu ru”, which in his language means “I don’t understand your question”.
I will end with this topic by adding that Taman Negara means, in Malay, national park, and it is redundant to say Taman Negara National Park: National Park of National Park. Oh, by the way, I only understood the meaning of that denomination of national park when I realized that it does not refer to the nation itself but to a park on the land and not on the sea, which would be a marine park! Take the things you’ve learned today.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN – I’m about to pack (what a pleasure it is to start from a good place to go to a good place), and, as I always do, I will complete this Malaysian watercolor with four more strokes.
Among the various reasons why I feel comfortable in places like Pulau Kapas and Kuala Tahan (kuala means: the mouth of the river), is the absence of pasma.
Having previously resided in areas where flat terrain predominated, doing so in “Park Lodge” has required a great effort from my legs and, above all, from my punished smoker’s lungs, because in order to leave this resort I am forced to climb a slope that is not long but very steep and the first few days it seemed insane. It is worth mentioning that the clientele of this house is, for the most part, a follower of “Conmochila” and that there were even two couples who assured me that they had come here thanks to reading the “Crónica Cósmica” (Cosmic Chronicle).
Although over the last three years this small town called Kuala Tahan has not increased in size, it has done so in terms of the number of children they carry around on their small motorcycles. Helmet? And what is that?!
Cats have also multiplied, and they caress me with their tails as they pass by my legs.
You could say that the ticket price at Taman Negara is symbolic, because they only charge you a ringgit for the whole time you’re here (in my case one month), which will be five ringgits if you carry a camera. The official who gave me the permit had a hard time believing that a server was the last human being not using a telephone or a camera and, believing that he was trying to save me a euro, he threatened me by saying that if I was caught photographing, I would be fined.
A fact about this immense park: inside its jungles live nomadic tribes of the Batek ethnicity; due to the impenetrability of these forests, I suppose they will move along its many rivers.
Umm, I forgot to comment that the three-hour boat ride up the course of the Tembeling River was good, because I like to go by boat and contemplate natural landscapes; but it was also nothing of the other world, and, say, it could not be compared in any way with the one I made between the “4,000 Islands” of the Mekong on the border of Laos and Cambodia, where I sailed under a green tunnel as if I was walking through the jungle.
A sample of the rhythm with which plants grow in tropical countries I could see in one of the walks I do at sunset and takes me to the mosque on the top of a hill above Kuala Tahan. Even though the previous year the views from there had been greatly expanded because they cut down a lot of trees, this time, because of the speed with which they have resprouted, they have been reduced again and all I see is a green wall. In this temple they have installed modern loudspeaker equipment, and now, while having a few beers in the Chinese hostel below, I can hear every afternoon some charming choral chants that seem to come from the jungles that are born on the opposite bank of the river.
After the Tiger beers, dinner. I like Malaysian food very much (and Thai, and Laotian, and Nepalese…), but if there is one dish that, for my taste, surpasses everyone else, it is “kuey teow kunfu”: pasta with prawns and vegetables floating in an egg cream.
If you come on holiday to Malaysia or Thailand thinking about exchanging cash (instead of using a credit card), I warn you that tickets that have something written on them will not be accepted, even if it is only a dash or a number.
LOOK WHAT I’M LOOKING AT.
I almost always end up getting bored with the series that are getting longer and longer, but so far I haven’t done so with “Weeds” because, apart from how charming its protagonist is and how funny the secondary characters are, scriptwriters know how to give it a good twist at the time it would start to decline. I think Netflix is triumphing by imposing the imagination against the apathy of Hollywood with its endless sequels. And also because it promotes new actors and local directors, instead of spending money on superstars. Have you seen “Love, Robots, Death”, or “During the Storm”, which has the suspense of a 50’s film? Paquita Salas” is full of imagination, grace and personality. A good film director knows how to make the most of actors, as Tarantino did with Travolta in “Pulp Fiction”; and so it happens in “Van Gogh at the Gate of Eternity”, where my admired Willem Dafoe plays the painter wonderfully. I watched a Nigerian film with the same interest that when I was young I would go, for example, to an exotic restaurant. Does cinema die or does its form change? A lot of people say, “I don’t like movies because I guess the plot and the ending.”
And that’s all for today, my dear papanatas. Bom Bom.
The Cosmic Chronicle, by Nando Baba