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Page 44: A Chinese immigrant arriving in Bangkok is assured of ready assistance from his dialect group, and this help is offered without question by people who speak his own language and know his needs. Through them, he is put in contact with relatives or persons from his own village in China. They see that he is housed and given work. Later the association stands always ready to give help when needed—to offer advice on sending remittances to China, to provide interpreters when dealing with officials, and to intercede when the immigrant runs afoul of the government’s red tape. Like the prototype institutions of China, the dialect association provides educational and medical facilities—more elaborate in fact than anything available in the rude villages of South China, and a continuing system of protective services in times of crisis or misfortune. In Thailand the individual Chinese who needs a loan, a job, or help of any kind will ordinarily appeal to his relatives first as he would in China. When these are unable to help, he can usually get assistance from his dialect association. While the type of problem brought to the attention of the dialect association may differ from problems faced in China, the fact remains that the association stands ready to help the individual Chinese in precisely the same manner and with the same spirit as he would expect from his clan group in China. Furthermore, just as everyone with the same surname and family origin was considered a member of the clan in China and therefore entitled to assistance from other members, so in Thailand all persons of a certain dialect groups are considered ipso facto members of the dialect association and thereby entitled to its full assistance.
Richard J. Coughlin (Double Identity: The Chinese in Modern Thailand)
Crabtree's Parable of the Cards: “We divide the deck into numbered and face cards, and so we divide the types of men. The numbered cards are the underlings, the parasites of the world. When you play a man who is a numbered card, he looks out only for himself with no consciousness that others are in the game with him. If you wish to be kind, you can say these men are the subordinates of the world, but they are parasites all the same. They attach themselves to someone greater, learning if they are young or inexperienced enough, leeching if they are strong or experienced enough to know better but would rather remain weak. They don’t contribute to the world. They only take from it, and if a man remains in this state, he is no better than a sheep. Numbered men are as disposable and interchangeable as the animals they mimic. The face cards are men who have seen the way the world works, who know the only way to survive is to kill or be killed. These men are the cannibals. They drive and lead the parasites, bluffing them into traps and bleeding them when necessary for their own survival or for that of the parasites they have chosen to protect. Depending on what level of face card they are, they bleed them to serve those they owe allegiance to. This is the way of the world. You may find it harsh or overly simplified. But in the end you will find these are your choices. You may be a face card, or you may be a number. The power to choose is yours. Aces are unique because they can be both a face card and a numbered card. But no matter what they are, they will always be the lowest of the low or the highest of the high—and because of this, they will always be alone. An ace does not evolve, but rather he constantly explores his dual nature. When he leads, he is acutely aware of his underlings, unable to use them with the casualness that his fellow face cards will do. When he is brought low, he is equally aware of the thin veil separating him from where he is supposed to be, and he can’t forget how he and his fellows in servitude should be treated. An ace is seldom at home unless he is with his own kind, and many fall into despair and find themselves wedged quite firmly in the low side of their nature. There are few aces in the world, and so most aces, no matter who they are with, feel alone. And that, my children, is the Parable of the Cards. Take it to heart, because the secret to life lies within it.
Heidi Cullinan (Double Blind (Special Delivery, #2))