Roam & Ramble

Roam & Ramble

Miguel Luis
Storyteller
www.miguelluis.tv

An excerpt from Bertrand Russell’s ‘Conquest of Happiness’

A man who has once perceived, however temporarily and however briefly, what makes greatness of soul, can no longer be happy if he allows himself to be petty, self-seeking, troubled by trivial misfortunes, dreading what fate may have in store for him. The man capable of greatness of soul will open wide the windows of his mind, letting the winds blow freely upon it from every portion of the universe.

He will see himself and life and the world as truly as our human limitations will permit; realizing the brevity and minuteness of human life, he will realize also that in individual minds is concentrated whatever of value the known universe contains. And he will see that the man whose mind mirrors the world becomes in a sense as great as the world. In emancipation from fears that beset the salve of circumstance he will experience a profound joy, and through all the vicissitudes of his outward life he will remain in the depths of his being a happy man.

Bangkok Pt. 2: Ringside at Rajadamnern

The night before my flight back to Manila, Danny and Aom invited me to watch a card of Muay Thai fights. Having spent half my college years training under a former Lumpinee champ, there was no way I could refuse. We purchased (very reasonably priced) ringside tickets from a Muay Thai coach who gladly accompanied us to the stadium.

Upon arrival, we were given pamphlets listing every fight on the card. I browsed through the names and noticed weight listings as low as 85 lbs. These were kids fighting. They would enter the ring with the intent of separating the other guy from his consciousness at the same age that most kids were worrying about prom.

One fighter who was probably about fifteen caught a shin to the temple. His limbs shut down in a flash and the officials took him out on a stretcher. They took no pause before bringing the next boxers in.

At the height of the matches, the bleachers would erupt. Bills waved in the air as gamblers called out their bets. Coaches and avid fans shouted til veins lined their necks. Knee! Knee! Elbow! It was electric.

These are from my first trip to Thailand. I was supposed to shoot a commercial that week, but the celebrity backed out just hours after I landed. With five days to spare in a city I had never been to, I went out walking.

Two days in, an article came out about an abandoned mall near Khao San Road. It had closed a decade ago but demolition was never finished. With its upper floors gone, rain poured in and gathered. The still water became a haven for mosquitoes and a hazard for nearby vendors, so as a solution, a stranger snuck in and released fish of all sorts. The populations of catfish and koi thrived. Now, there is a whole aquatic ecosystem swimming about where people once flocked to buy shoes, bags, and electronics.

I followed the instructions stated in the article on how to get in, but I suppose the locals got word and sealed that entrance off. Fortunately, after taking a few pictures and giving about 20 baht, I asked the man in a collared shirt about the mall. With his limited English, he pointed to what used to be a window. He pushed out the sheet of plywood blocking its way and told me to climb in.

Inside, I had not planned on getting in the water, but the views were too strange and exciting to capture only from a distance. Putting hygiene aside, I took off my shoes, rolled up my pants, and trudged through knee-high depths with what was probably fish waste oozing between my toes. Fish swam around my calves, considering a nibble. A photographer from Scotland sprinkled fish feed in an attempt to lure the heftier catfish – a move that proved fruitless.

Vines dangled alongside electrical wires. Branches grew around the rusted handrails. The floor – where one used to hear the squeaking of sneakers, the clacking of heels, and the rolling of strollers – became invisible beneath the rippling surface and clouds of algae. It’s man’s creation reclaimed.

Sideways. #kualalumpur #malaysia (at Capri by Fraser Kuala Lumpur Hotel & Residences)
Sideways. #kualalumpur #malaysia (at Capri by Fraser Kuala Lumpur Hotel & Residences)

Sideways. #kualalumpur #malaysia (at Capri by Fraser Kuala Lumpur Hotel & Residences)

That better be a banana in your pocket.

Can you reach your toes?
Can you reach your toes?

Can you reach your toes?

Brooding and bubbles
Brooding and bubbles

Brooding and bubbles

Bath time

Attack!!
Attack!!

Attack!!