So it was Otis’ blessing and naming party on Saturday, and things went really well, I’m happy (and very relieved) to say. Friends, colleagues, monks, Chapei players – all showed up and played their important roles in what was a really wonderful day and one that I’m sure Otis will appreciate and marvel at when he looks back at the record of events that we made for him (book, video, photos – he’s one of the most heavily documented people on earth, I fear). The weather stayed dry, with, as Eric Olthwaite might say, the only precipitation occuring indoors – from the monks when they blessed him with water – he looked slightly startled for a moment, then very surprised when it then started raining not just water but also Jasmine flowers and sweets…) The food was excellent and plentiful, the mood was relaxed and happy and young Otis was looking particularly fetching in blue (accessorized at the party by flowers from the MAG ladies, who were queuing up to pose with him!) and behaved himself pretty much immaculately all day. He had not poo-poo-ed for nearly a week, so we had visions of apocalyptic floods of liquid slurry sweeping all before them as the little O decided to evacuate his bowels either at the blessing or the party, but no, bless him, he saved it all for Sunday…
I take back my comments in the last blog entry – the Chapei player, Master Pe, was an absolute gentleman and absolutely brilliant. I have to confess to leading you all astray when I said it was a 2-stringed instrument – it’s actually 3 strings, 2 of which are drones. The blind master had us all spellbound with his technique and the immense humor in his delivery – I have to thank Mr. Chhourn for translating ‘on the run’ for me. It was very humbling to be in the presence of a master musician, one who has been taught by ear, who has no concept of the formal structures we impose on music, yet who is so inherently musical.
The blessing was held in our house, and again I found it to be very profound and moving. When the monks began to chant I found myself flowing with the sound and becoming lost within it (no, I had not drunk any alcohol at this point). I am so pleased we decided to hold a celebration that brought the two cultures together in such a way to celebrate our wonderful little son, and we were so pleased that everyone said how much they had enjoyed the day. Happiness flowed as freely as the Asahi, all had more than enough to eat and drink, and the day ended with a philosophical argument (discussion?) between Uncle Dave, myself and Anita on radical feminism, which Anita won on points. Well, OK, she won on a TKO. Oh alright then, she wiped the floor with us, chewed us up and spat us out into the corner….
My beautiful (and long-suffering – you try living with me…!) wife and my beautiful little boy are en route to the UK as I write this, so you can expect the next few week’s postings to be maudlin, moping and full of self-pity (‘so what’s different?’, I’m sure you all ask) until I can jet off to join them. I have been given a box set of ‘Heroes’ for father’s day from Otis, so I have plenty to keep me occupied until joining them in three weeks. Once I have ploughed through that I shall also probably revert to some serious watching of Cambodian television, which believe me is an unbounded joy and one that I feel I ought to share my musings on with the world… lets hide behind a tree, he said, enigmatically… maybe the next few postings won’t be quite so maudlin after all…
Listening to – Telegram Sam (T.Rex), Claire de Lune (Debussy) and Curtis Mayfield Anthology
Reading – the Coco Pops box
Favourite phrase or saying of the moment – ‘Pretentious? Moi?’