All Under Water
Nature has finally taken a revenge on us…
What would Bangkok be in the next few decades?
A short story..and prediction…of political and social satire….
All Under Water
The taxi motorboat speed away from the condominium at Sukhumvit Road. It has once again, been an extremely hot day, exceeding 45 Celsius this week, causing Bangkokians to dehydrated from the rays of the flaring ball of fire above the sky. Taking up his handkerchief, the gentleman absorbed his perspiration and fanned himself with the self-promotion brochure that a girl gave to them before he board the taxi. “Once we used to have cars in the congested roads, and now we have motorboats in this congested flood. When will Bangkok ever be free from traffic?” the taxi sailor complained as they stopped by the red light.
The gentleman nodded his head, without an intention to speak to the sailor. Last twenty years, it was predicted that it would happened, and was indeed a fact. He had just made a national ID that year, when all the big predictions and apprehension began to rise among the citizens. His school educated him of those consequences that the world would have to face in the future if global warming exist. Unfortunately, the term “after you” have been used incorrectly; people always say, “Let them do it first….After you do it…” until only a minority group of people managed to follow the instructions of the governor’s plead that time.
The red lights turned to green, as numerous of motorboats rushed to move forward. It was no big surprise that it would be much more difficult to travel by this vehicle; with the dirty, contaminated water below, no one wants a drop of water to get onto them. Life was intricate; there were no more fancy Mercedes or BMW cars running on roads, but identical branded government-produced motorboats with license plates. It was quite difficult to identity your wealth status with that new vehicle, only those in authority would have traffic water policeman on their jet-skis, accompanying their imported, luxurious motorboat with a proper shelter and a better engine.
Getting off the taxi motorboat, he wore his rubber boots to walk up the stairs to the Phrom Phong sky train station. The muddy footprints have trailed all the way to the top; people have started to use more of public transportations these few years when the flooding got worse. Taking off his rubber boots at the corner, he shoved them down into a “I am not a plastic bag” bag before wearing his expensive Dapper shoes. “What a nuisance…”
Jon pushed his way through the sky train, being prepare to hear about the complaints of passengers on the flooding conditions of Bangkok. The teenage girls were grumbling on how the dirty water got onto their clothing on their way here. Those clothing worth half of what his shoes and his suit worth. He could no longer drive on the roads as his father did; all he could do was to get to work on the sky train through taxi motorboat that cost twice as much as a taxi car. He could not get a motorboat license, even if he did, it would take him ages to go to his workplace in Sathorn Road. He watched the train passing over the city of waters, which was now officially called the Venice of the East. Several buildings have to raise their entrance to the second or third floors, while the ground floors remain under water.
“When would the water ever decrease, Mommy?” a young child asked her mother whose face was as pale as a ghost. “When will God start to forgive us?”
The mother with swollen eyes was coughing, just like a sick person who had allergies. She was around her thirties, just like him, a teenager when everything started to get noticed. That Effect has taken over her. “Sooner or later…”
Sooner or later, Jon tilted a smile across his equally pale face. Those congested, polluted roads of Bangkok have now been covered with water with garbage swimming along with the poisonous fish. The train passed over the place where he always spent during weekend mornings. It used be a beautiful park with several trees and flowers all over, have now became an empty water park.
“Siam Interchange Station…” the voice spoke out of the loudspeaker, as half of the passengers in the train prepared to leave. It was a great place for shopping, tuition classes, hanging out with friends, and a location where youngsters meet up. “Memories…” Jon whispered to himself and stood in front of the bridge between Siam Paragon and Siam Center. It was impossible to walk there; teenagers could no longer challenge themselves over beautiful shoes and fancy cosplays during weekends. No longer could students walk to that area to their cram schools. One meter below sea level, small boats were there to take people around their destined streets.
The train to Silom line arrived, as Jon took his eyes away from the place of his reminiscence. Getting on another train, he could not take his mind off those good memories he used to have. Those memories and earth they used to stand on have been replaced by something prediction, perhaps preventable, but less cooperation was done to avert it.
Jon looked around the train, those who were in his age. A woman in her office attire was holding onto her bag, looking down at her feet, as if she would find diamonds if she stared longer. A man, who was holding onto the pole, stared blankly at the window, ignoring everything around him. Their eyes were without life, and their lips were so pale as if they have not consumed in water for ages.They were no difference from the mother with that curious young child. The Effect was no longer a myth.
Walking down from the station, he arrived at the taxi motorboat that will take him to his office which lies at the next district. There were more than ten motorboats under the BTS station, waiting to earn more cash from this great disaster. Jon traced his fingers over the small window, and watched as he passed each building. Now, people don’t have to go all the way to the outskirts of Bangkok to witness the “floating market”. Everywhere in Bangkok, was now a floating market, chaotic, and disorganized.
A loud splash was heard, followed by a spatter of water towards the motorboat where Jon was in. Something large has fallen right in front of the motorboat. Gulping his saliva down his dry throat, his cells shrivel as he prayed that that huge object would not be what he had in mind.
“Another suicide,” the sailor said as he turned back to Jon, “Been so common these days…”
Jon massaged his head with his fingers and shook his head repeatedly. Bangkok had become a suicide town ever since nature took their sweet revenge. Psychologists have loads of patients to deal with, and those who could no longer face the Effect, they end their lives. “Is it our responsibility to call the police?” Jon asked.
“Well…not really. Police won’t have time to deal with those suicides. Let those Poh Teck Teng come and collect them later…” the taxi sailor said and moved the boat to another direction, avoiding the dead body. Turning back to look at the corpse, Jon noticed that it was a girl, in her office clothes, as her long black hair covered her face. That scene was just as scary as any J-horror movies during his teenage years. He was a big fan of those movies when he was younger, but that scene of the dead woman shall increase the symptoms of the Effect in him.
“You can stop here,” Jon said as he prepared to get off the motorboat. Even though his office was on the 15th floor of the building, he couldn’t help feeling pity for those who used to work in the lower floors. They had more troubles with working in their office, whenever the monsoon season arrives, there are circumstances when the whole office would be flooded, destroying anything important.
Wearing back his expensive Dapper shoes, he entered the elevator that was half worn down. With the dangerous waters below, it was of course hard for the elevator to work, one day; he shall experience a terror of walking down the stairs. Once he reached the office, he felt a strange aura lurking around, as if something dark has taken over the place. His colleagues were so dull, and some of the women were crying, being extremely depressed. “What happened?” Jon asked a co-worker who sat next to his desk.
“Everything is in ruins…” the lady cried, “All the clients have cancelled our products! Our company is in ruins!”
Jon nodded his head and sat down on his chair quietly. It was no surprise for him that he would hear this one day. It was again, the Effect was to blame. With the city like this, it is hard even to organize anything, for the outskirts have become part of the Bangkok Sea. “Why aren’t you surprised?” asked a co-worker.
“What is there to be surprised of? We should have known that this will come right?” Jon said blankly.
“But it was too soon for us!”
It was not soon. Time had revealed that the Effect was haunting everyone, every life, every business. He knew his company was in ruins the moment the flooding got worse. “How’s Boss?”
“He was in his room ever since last night. He won’t even answer our knocks.”
Jon walked toward the door and knocked it twice. There was absolutely no answer. “Don’t you find this strange?”
“What can be stranger than our situation now?”
Using his body, he pushed into the door several times, breaking the lock of his Boss’ office. It was odd to see his colleagues being so simple minded. When a person does not answer his door for a long time, they need to have some sense that something might happened. Perhaps the Effect has eaten up their common senses leaving them with that installed program in their minds to only work hard to live in this chaotic city. Maybe it was not only the Effect…it might be the Big Billionaire Lie.
The door swung open, revealing a terrible sight that Jon had prepared to see. The others were screaming at the top of their lungs, and some women fainted after that deadly sight. Jon picked up his cell phone, and dialed up to the police. He knew that it was hard for those police to deal with suicides, but it would be more honorable for his Boss to be collected by the police rather than the Poh Teck Teng like that taxi sailor said.
“What should we do now?” his colleagues were crying out loud.
“Go home.” Jon said blankly as he walked towards his desk and kept his things in a box.
“How can you be so calm?” the lady who was sitting next to him asked.
“Suicides have been so common during this time. What is there to surprise me more? Now that it had occurred, it was like reading the same old mystery novel again and again. It will happen; nothing can escape from what had been written; only how long you took to read the book to reach to the final solution. I’m off. The police shall deal with it.”
Waking up so early to travel all the way to work, and later found out that he had lost his job and boss killed himself. He was now unemployed, just like millions of others who suffered much these recent years. On his way back to his condominium, he took the sky train and experienced the same sight of the people under the Effect. The TV screen on the train was switched on, playing the propaganda of the Hope. It was created just to build hope for the citizens that soon, the disaster will be gone. It’s even hard to see where the future stand, yet the Hope video kept on playing over and over again, which people ought to know, it was all part of the Big Billionaire Lie.
If anyone is a fan of George Orwell, they should know what the Big Brother is. Or perhaps you are a fan or reality TV, you can enjoy the Big Brother cameras all over a house, where you watched how people live their lives. The Big Billionaire is a new reality TV show which invites those billionaires of the country to speak of how their policies (self-interests) could help citizens with the flood. The show focused on the good deeds (hypocritical actions) that they contribute to the society. The Big Billionaire Lie is to create hope for the citizens, whether it’s good or not, one should do an evaluation through their level of intelligence. Perhaps, some may think the Lie gave them hope to keep on living, but to others the Lie is just hiding the naked truth.
As Jon got off the interchange station, he stood behind the yellow line and waited patiently for the train to arrive. “Jon, is that you?”
Jon turned back and saw a familiar face from the past looking at him with a big smile on his face. “Jon! It’s really you! Do you remember me?”
“Yeah…” Jon lied. He could not remember what his friend’s name was, and even if he knew, it would not make a big difference. Even if you change someone’s name, it will not change their existence.
“You don’t look so good…” the friend spoke as the colour of his face changes. “Has it gone into you yet?”
“What has gone into me?” Jon asked as he was wondering what “it” refers to. At this point, it can refer to many things, the urge to commit suicide, the urge to be influenced by the Lie, the choice to be under the Effect….anything can be referred to “it”.
The noises of the sky train approached, as the friend smiled and put his hand up, saluting at him. “To be completely ignorant…to be completely free from disaster…the Big Billionaire CANNOT BRAINWASH ME!”
Jon’s jaws dropped to the lowest depth of hell. Before his sight, he witnessed the skull of his friend crushed between the wheels of the skytrain. His suit was covered with blood, as those last words of his friend are ringing in his ears repetitively. Screams were like sirens; Jon could not even let out a single scream. The scene was extremely gruesome…this was shocking enough to make a person under the Effect to scream for a single second. At this time…the Effect was actually knocking on Jon’s door.
His friend was suffering from such a situation, that he was afraid to give himself in to believe a lie that millions had believed. Big Billionaire Lie had given people Hope, just in plain words, to guarantee a better life, and to believe in it, is far more absurd that believing that one day a prince in a white yacht will save you from the flood. He fully understands what “It” refers to.
Of course, he was educated in a very good school, and graduated from a top university, he only had friends who lived in the same world as he did. For that friend whom he forgot the name, was sure that “it” might come to him. The screams stopped as everything resumes to the original situation. People under the Effect, followers of the Big Billionaire Lie, or people who are close to the “it””.
Jon dragged his body into the train, with his mind flashing back on the days when everything was still as normal as it can be. The tall buildings passed through the windows, giving drowsiness to Jon. The lids of his eyes felt heavy, like curtains, they drew downwards; only darkness was what Jon could see.
“Citizens, believe in our words. We, Big Billionaires can make your life normal again! Keep on hoping, keep on believing! We have the money, we have the power, and in no time……….”