Saturday, September 10, 2011

Puppet On A String

I went to a traditional Thai puppet show the other day. Many countries have puppets, but it seems only in Japan and Thailand, the puppet is operated by 3 people, 1 controls the legs, another controls the head and a hand, and the 3rd one the other hand. The puppet and the 3 masters all move and dance together at the same time as one unit.

On the way to the theater, I got hopelessly lost as usual. So I asked some high school girls on the street, and they told me excitedly that they were also going to the same show, in the language I supposed Thai!

Well, it wasn't the first time for me. In fact, everywhere I travel in Asia, people talk to me in their local languages, and I usually just smile and pretend I understand, until my answer is earnestly expected. And the funny thing is, only the people in my hometown ask where I am from!

Anyway I followed those Thai girls to the theater and we smiled our way there. After some very important people gave their very important speeches and the audience started snoring, the show finally began.

The story that evening is about the legend of the lunar eclipse, an old Thai folklore. There are many wars involved between various parties, including a God who transforms himself into a beautiful temptress to seduce the enemy. At one point, the whole zoo seemed to be on stage, to keep the audience from falling asleep again, I guess.

Basically the legend is about how the moon was swallowed by another angry God seeking revenge, after losing the battle and being cut into half, thus explains why we have the lunar eclipse now. The puppet show was beautifully and skillfully performed. The music/singing was also, hmmmm, interesting. And the story plot is excellent too. You see, even the ancient wisdom tells us that sex and violence sell!

But I keep wondering, how did we manage to get the unfortunate moon back later? Did the deranged God find its taste so disagreeable that he deiced to spit it out?

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