Free in Bangkok: GROG, GRUB & BIRDS

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Speech! Speech! You want to know where I am. I’m attending this here speech making event. I’m taking this opportunity to talk to you. I want to tell you about it and what’s going on here. Oh, you’re groaning. Sorry. How about this then: How would you like the chance to have some free booze and grub in the company of some good looking and charming birds? OK? Back to the speech talk then. Listen. There’s nothing more boring than a speech, except a good one. Who said that?

How many times have you rolled your eyes and groaned deep within yourself when you know you have to sit through someone else’s speech? How many speeches have you heard that are damn right painful? They go on and on. They don’t stop. They love the sound of their own…What is it? I’ve forgotten.

How many times do you sit there and keep wondering how you can make a swift, and unseen exit? Sometimes you try. Admit it. You bend down looking embarrassed or you walk out pretending to answer a phone call, or you arrange for someone to call you at that specific time on purpose and you don’t go back.

Or how about when the proverbial shoe has been on your foot, how many times have you had to make a speech? Did you relish the thought and the opportunity? OK. I can see some of you are nodding. You love it. Listen. Let me warn you right now. If you think you’re good at making speeches, even if you know you are, don’t read the rest of this, unless you want to help.

Now you’re wondering. Most of the speeches I sit through are extremely boiling. Why? It’s a hot country and sometimes the ac doesn’t work so well, if there is one. Why do I do it? Free food and drink. Oh, and most of the time, there are good looking and charming birds. No other reason. It’s the penalty I pay. Do I like sitting through the speeches? No. But I love the grub and the booze…and the birds…when I don’t have to pay for them.

Rent a crowd. I’m sitting out there by the roadside minding my own business and geezers, or a geezer, and sometimes a geezest, turn up and invite me to attend some kind of meeting. What meeting? It doesn’t matter. I’ve asked before. They don’t tell. It’s not the point. They’ve organised a meeting. No one turns up. It looks embarrassing for some one or some people. Worse than that: someone might lose face.Then some poor sod might get a private or public good donkey kicking.

So, what do they do? They rent a crowd. They look for geezers like me, by the road, looking hungry and thirsty with nothing to do. Sometimes they give me a jacket to wear. I think very nice, until they tell me to give it back at the end. Stingy bastards! I don’t tell them that. I just think it. They might not invite me back next time.

So what happens? You turn up; they give you the jacket; you smile; shake hands and wie. There’s a pre-speech party going on. Enjoy it as much as you can. So, you walk around trying to look important, and for all they know, you could be. It helps if you’re fat. Then they think you’re even more important. Really? Have you noticed that? Of course you have. That’s one of the reasons some of us enjoy being fat. We look rich, powerful, interesting and important. Plus people give us free stuff all the time. All right, back to the pre-speech party.

My eyes spin around as soon as I get in there. Up and down, left and right. Where’s the grub? Where’s the grub? Where’s the booze? Then, like a hawk, I flap, glide, spot it and drop straight on it, faster than a dog can run. I’m there by the food table pilling it on my plate. I scoff it down as quickly as I can so that I can get some more before anyone else can. Then the booze. What do they have? Wine? Beer? It doesn’t matter. It’s often the cheapest stuff you can find. Beggars are well known for complaining about poor quality free food and drink. Rich people lament about it all the time. I don’t complain. I’m not a beggar. I just get on with it.

Where’s the booze? Every time a waiter or waitress walks past with someone’s drink, I just grab it. I’m skillful swift. I’m quicker than a dog going for a rabbit. With a flick of an eye, I can see the waiter wants to say no, but I’m too fast; it’s too late and I look too important. They don’t want to upset me. If not, I go straight to the grog stall and pour and pour and just guggle it down.You must have seen me, but maybe you don’t remember.

All right. I’ve had my grub and I’ve had a skinful of liquor. Now, I’m ready for the birds. Don’t worry. I’ve already spotted them. I saw them as soon as I came through the door, and some since turning up after my arrival, and I’ve already nodded to a few and grabbed some of their lucky hands. I can feel the smoothness, coldness and delicacy of their hands long after I’ve touched them. I hold that memory for a long time. I can even feel it now. They nod, listen, talk, look beautiful and delicate and charm me with their words, their smiles and bodily postures. Why do they do that? As if you had to ask. In a word, for those of you who do not already know, it’s my charisma. It comes with fatness and practice.

Back to reality. Serious business now. You’ve stuffed yourself, you’ve boozed and you’ve ouzed. It’s pay back time. Now for the speeches. Stop talking and take your eyes off of that woman, will you

Have you ever attended a speech making event where the speaker has been speaking and hardly anyone has been listening? Hands up. OK. You have. Worse still. Have you ever attended a speech making event where people are not just not listening, but they are talking amongst themselves and in loud, animated voices? Hands up. You have. Why do they do that? Have you ever done that? You have! What! I can’t believe it.

Horse shoe on the other foot time: Have you ever had to make a speech in that kind of situation? Oh, many of you are putting up your hands. How does it feel? Not good, right? You can’t concentrate. You feel embarrassed. What can you do about it? Tell them to shut up? Sometimes, you can especially if you say it politely and firmly and in a loud voice with a good loud speaker system. Do they like being told not to talk when you’re talking? No. They don’t. They look pissed off as if you’re the one who’s at fault.

What else can you do? Answer: Try to make an attentively attractive speech. In fact, the speech will be so good, they won’t be able to talk or look at that woman over there, or man, because you’ve got them spell bound. They won’t be able to do that kind of stuff even if they want to. They can’t help themselves. They’re transfixed. Some are like zombies, but others respond in the way you want them to and even more: they laugh, they cheer, they clap, they cry and they embrace. And at the end of it all, they want an encore and when you climb down from your soap box they want to pump your hand, hit you on the back, snog you and hug you, even the men. Wow! Do you want that? OK, some of you do.

You realise by now, that I’ve attended trillions of speeches. I’ve also had to make quite a few. How do I feel? It depends. If it goes well, I feel good. If it doesn’t, I feel not so good. I never look forward to making them though. Why do I do it? For what I get in return. I don’t speechgo for free. You have to give me something that I want. I call myself a professional speechgoer. That means I attend them, I make them when I have to, I write them for other people and I get paid for it with food and drink in the company of gorgeous birds. That’s why I do it: For what I get in return. It’s not a free lunch, baby.

Listen. I’ve turned up at events thinking that I was going to listen to someone else, when suddenly someone tells me that I’m the one who has to make the speech. Sometimes to thousands of people. No one told me before. Sometimes they give me ten mintues to prepare the speech and sometimes I’ve just had to make it up extempore. Some call it winging it. Have you been in that situation? Oh, you have, have you. It’s not nice, but it’s exciting. It’s a challenge It gets the blood pumping and the andrenalin going.

So how do you do it? Natural talent? Gift of the bag? Experience? Training? Practice and feedback? Answer: a bit of this, a bit of that and mix all around. A few pointers: Speak to the audience. Engage with their minds and their hearts. Speak their language. Use speech patterns they are familiar with from past famous and well known speeches (Some of the greatest orators do this and have done it e.g. I have a dream; Don’t ask your country) Start with what they know. Talk about their concerns. Draw on their emotions. Drive them forwards to the solutions, if it’s about a problem, in such away that you make them think of the solutions before you say it. Then they’ll cheer and shout and cry and wave. It will be one hell of an emotional moment. Your audience will be hyped up and rejoicing and so will you. Together, and spontaneously, you will create a new, and better, well heard of city.

I can hear you. I can hear you. You’re cheering. You want me to give you some examples. I’ve got them. I’ve got them. But you’ll have to wait till next time, if there is one. In the meantime, good news, the speech here has ended. Three birds have given me their cards. I’m well in here.Oh, funnily enough, they’re rent a crowd too. And would you believe it? Who has just walked in? It’s Wendy. Hi, Wendy. What a surprise. I thought you were still in Pattaya.

2 thoughts on “Free in Bangkok: GROG, GRUB & BIRDS

  • August 9, 2010 at 5:27 pm
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    It’s funny you talk about other people being long-winded 🙂 Man, can you go on and on and on just to say something very simple and self-evident.

  • August 10, 2010 at 10:33 am
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    Very amusing.
    I got more entertainment out of this as I do out of most bar-girl, or for that matter most farang, conversations (and blog posts).
    Never a dull moment…..as long as you know how to keep yourself entertained.
    If you let a Thai girl pilot the ship, you’re in for a lot of dull moments….and they’ll be at least as expensive.
    I’ve found most of the time, like the writer demonstrates, I’m the guy who keeps things moving beyond those clever trick questions; what’s your name? and… where are you from?
    I try to have an adventure something like this every day I stay in Thailand.
    I make sure I do.
    Sometimes I get “Thailand fatigue” (I stay here all of the time)…and whenever I do, I just step out into the night…and in a few minutes or an hour… its gone.
    The real world just sucks in comparison.

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