He worked in the tourist industry in Phuket. Every year people would come and he would ferry them across different islands, from one island to another. He worked for a boating company that would take tourists across the ocean to different surrounding islands. They talked about something called a ‘holiday’, they said they were all on holiday. He did not understand what they were talking about. But still he had to take them from island to island because they paid him money to do so.
He worked with them and spoke perfect English. They would drink liquor, smoke marijuana, throw up all over the place, take substances unknown and then repeat the process again the next day. This is what the foreigners did. Pak looked around. These people brought him money and they continued to bring him money. Money for his food, money for his family, money to live off. There wasn’t much else that he could do about it. Apart from perhaps organizing a revolution and there was no possibility of that happening anytime soon.
People would tell him that they were all having a wonderful holiday and thanked him very much, then gave him money. Pak did not understand what they were talking about. What is this? What is this holiday that these people spoke about? What is a holiday? It did not make any sense to Pak as he looked around.
Where had all these people come from? These white people. These white people with fat stomachs. What did they do? And what the fuck was a holiday!?
But Pak kept on working. Kept on taking them from island to island. Because at the end of the day. What else was there to do? One day, he decided to ask one of the foreigners what a holiday was.
“Excuse me sir, sir.” Pak attempted to get the attention of one of the people who was on their ‘holiday’.
“Yeah… Whatta da ya want?”
“Sir, what is a holiday?”
This made the man laugh, “Hey everyone! Everyone check it out. This guy doesn’t know what a holiday is.”
The group of people the white man was with all began to laugh. “Oh my god! That’s so weird…”
“That’s so strange…”
“Sir, I would just like to know what a holiday is?”
“Well, a holiday. A holiday is where you do this sort of stuff.”
“This sort of stuff?”
“Yeah, y’know. Where you drink beer, where you dance, where you go to the beach and swim.” Said the man.
“You swim sir?” Pak asked.
“Yes, where you swim.” Said one of the others.
Pak looked around. Around him there were people throwing up, passed out after having drunk too much. There were people dancing. There were people groping one another. There was loud music playing, very loud music. “I think I understand.” Pak motioned to all the chaos that was occurring around him. “This is holiday.”
“Yes, this is a holiday. Later man.” And then the man and a group of people walked away.
Pak stood there and looked around. There was a lot of different things happening all around him. All sorts of things, not many of them made sense. Why would they do this to themselves? Pak scratched his head, “A holiday is very confusing.”