A drought of understanding

Tonight there will be a new moon. According to the Thai lunar calendar, tomorrow will be the first day of the sixth month. And that reminds me of the classic Thai country song Fon Duen Hok (Rain Of The Sixth Month) and its famous description of rice fields at this time of year, when the air is moist with light rain and filled with the resonating frog calls that mark the beginning of monsoon season.

Yes, over four decades ago when the legendary songwriter Paiboon Butkhan penned the masterpiece that shot singer Rungphet Lamsing to stardom, nature's balance was still pretty much intact and the seasons were usually punctual. In the past, people were well-adapted to the natural cycle. Farmers, for example, scheduled each stage of the rice-growing process in accordance with the rainy season. Virtually every family had big jars placed on the side of their house for storing -- for household consumption during the dry months -- the rainwater that fell from the roofs. Like frogs and other animals, we knew water was precious. We were well aware that we could not live without it.

That's not the case anymore.

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