THAILAND: Affair of the Mekong

The peasants of Thailand, comprising 80% of the country's population, are well-built, short-statured, brown-skinned, good-natured men, chewers of betel nut, waders in rice paddies, to whom the West has been exposed for little more than a decade and to whom western ways are still highly adventurous. Even in Thai cities, the old and new live in exuberant competition. Bangkok's harbor is busy with superb modern port construction; but workers and engineers engaged on it prostrate themselves before Buddha. Conductors of streetcars are likely suddenly to stop their cars and relieve themselves behind the nearest hedge. Little boys of the...

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