Having returned from my most recent jaunt overseas, I took a little to reflect. I had been booked to head back to Hong Kong to perform a string of three shows followed with shows in Thailand, one in Phuket and two more in Bangkok. It was all very exciting with the prospect of 5 star hotels free meals and drinks, upgrades to premium economy. What I was not aware of at the time was that Thailand was on the brink of nationwide disaster! We had heard news reports of course about flooding in Thailand, but we had just spent the week in Patong and really didn't see anything to start frantically ringing alarm bells. In fact, even touching down at Bangkok airport things still felt relatively safe and sound. It wasn't until we arrived at the hotel and walked the streets one muggy Thursday afternoon that the flooding suddenly seemed very, very real.
The Hotel had started stockpiling water and food and then some 100 or so Americans with short hair and gymnasium bred physiques just started appearing everywhere around us. Apparently on loan from the disaster relief crews stationed in and around Malaysia. As we wandered the streets, sandbags were EVERYWHERE and I remember thinking that if you couldn't afford sandbags (the price of which had gone up tenfold in the last fortnight) surely people would just steal a tonne or two from the banks? They didn't - at least not that I was aware of anyway. Those that couldn't afford sandbags concreted up the shop fronts and then built makeshift stairs for customers to get into the store - until the water came. We had 36 hours left to go when the announcement from the Thai government came through. The sluice gates on the river would be opened at some point within the next 24 hours and Bangkok would be under 150cm (roughly 4 ft) of water.
People started clogging motorway hard shoulders with parked vehicles, after all, where could you drive to when everywhere outside of Bangkok was already flooded!? Those who could afford car parks parked in the top floors of every parking building in the city, even the hotel car park was abound with vehicles from friends and family of the owner.
All of those involved in the show did wonder if the gig would go ahead at all. Let alone trying to figure out how we were going to entertain a group of people in a hotel bar that were about to lose everything. Ticket numbers had dropped off considerably, we were still not sure of performing. The question that raged on my mind was if we should have performed at all? It wasn't a charity gig, we were seconds away from disaster