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Here is Part 2 of "Dagonfai in the Gallows" (part 1 is here). This one is fun as it hints at the sort of lifestyle Mr. Hirasawa enjoys in Thailand and offers insights into the culture of the Kathoey. It also provides the answer to my longstanding question of "Does Hirasawa drink anything other than herbal teas?"

Dagonfai in the Gallows: Phase-2

Translation of post from July 19, 2003 (original post here)

θ=7 β=3

—-Phase-2

I've been careless, careless, careless!

After the alarm I brought with me went off, the phone in my hotel room rang. Who could it be? I don't think I arranged for a wake-up call.

"Sawatdee kaa!"*

A saccharine, husky voice at this time of morning. The final "kaa" was softer and nasal, consisting of a 4:6 ratio mix of "kaa" and "haa"--a pronunciation so embarrassing that real women can't accomplish this feat. Could this person...

"You've been out having fun until morning, haven't you?"

"Yes, but I thought I'd go to sleep after I gave you your wake-up call, Mr. Hirasawa. See you."

Still groggy so shortly after waking up, I glanced over at the door. An envelope was stuck in the door frame.

"Open the door carefully. Enjoy your morning cup of green tea."

I opened the door to find a teapot full of hot water with a bag of Japanese tea steeping in it. Hey, isn't that going too far? Still, I do know who the offender was, and besides, it was nice. I'll tell her "Well done!" when I see her tonight.

Um, but wait, Hirasawa. That's dangerous.

It all began at last night's dinner. One goal of this trip to Thailand is to get a sense of whether a memorial concert for the eight Kathoey who passed away would be possible or not. It involved scrutinizing the performances of the group in Chiang Mai and determining how much progress Aeh, a survivor who had direct connections with the eight who passed away, had made on the tasks she'd been assigned. For some unknown reason, Aeh has withdrawn herself to the remote countryside and left show business. Aeh is not in Chiang Mai, and the only way to contact her is by phone. I only realized at dinner last night that I had committed a major mistake by being unable to recognize what this arrangement meant. As usual, the dinner party consisted of me and five others: three dancing girls from Simon Chiang Mai Cabaret,** company leader Miss Diao, and Rang, who usually does not dress as a woman. The mistake I committed is as follows:

● I was not interacting with them as the guest of anyone in particular among those five people.

Allow me to explain. Kathoey always appear to be seeking a personal object of devotion. By taking care of men, it's as though they attain the opposite gender. The target doesn't have to be a lover--it seems fine as long as he's a close male friend. However, it appears that they gain greater psychological stability by securing their position as caretaker and by doing things for a particular person instead of just any random man.

Now let's turn back time by eight years. Back then, when I didn't know anything about the Kathoey way of life, I fled to Phuket once every three months. I was lucky that I didn't cause any considerable turmoil. At the time, I was clearly treated as N's guest. Whenever we had meals with a big group of Kathoey or went out on the town with them, it was understood that N was in charge of Hirasawa, and no matter what, it was N who took control of the group. However, a distortion occurs the moment the control of the group becomes weak. A customer service battle begins within the group as everyone aims to fill the gaps left in the care of the guest in an attempt to receive his appreciation. When the battle revolved around Hirasawa, the Hat Yai Family intervened just before it became too complicated. The Hat Yai Family is a family of Kathoey who form a show theater troupe in Hat Yai, the southernmost city of Thailand. The intervention happened when Miss Hong, the head of Hat Yai Family, was staying in Phuket after Aeh had moved there from Hat Yai. Aeh, who was no more than 20 years old, had been strictly trained by Miss Hong and, with her guidance, managed to quickly remove the distortion and return balance to the group. After that, Aeh was in charge of Hirasawa, and that order was preserved until she went missing.

And now, I am visiting Chiang Mai, but Aeh isn't here. So what happened with the three girls when they learned that Hirasawa lacked a caretaker?

I've been careless, careless, careless! It's a folly even a beginner wouldn't make!

And so it begins, a great war of devotion, as if to say, "If you think you can do it, then go ahead and try!" There is no escape for me now.


* Sawatdee kaa = "Hello" in Thai (for female speakers).

** I can no longer find a website for Simon Chiang Mai, but if you take a look at Youtube, you will find a lot of tourist videos of the shows and performers. ;)