Car 6

Mr Christopher Brettenham

Outward appearance

Tall, graceful man, older than he looks. Longish red-blonde hair, open countenance, donkey jacket, jeans and boots. Looks up from a book by Patrick Leigh Fermor to peer across the aisle.

Inside information

Stage hand at the Royal National Theatre, South Bank. Has survived all the contracting out. No longer actually helps build sets, instead determines budgets and badgers the contractors to stay within them. Loves travelling and has visited the Yemen, New Guinea, Pakistan, the Andaman Islands and in 1985, Thailand.

What he is doing or thinking

He has recognised Yong Y'oud from the airplane voyage back to London ten years before. Christopher has never forgotten him.

Chris went to visit a friend who was working with Laotian refugees all along the Mekong. He saw a Thailand tourists to Pattaya, Bangkok or Chiang Mai never see. In places it was like the wild west, with anti-communist private armies. But employers took an interest in their employees' children, and bought them gifts, and found work for the protegees of their protegees.

On the airplane, Chris was friendly to Yong Y'oud. He said something simple like "What will you do in England?" Instead of being rewarded with a delighted smile, there was an awkward, bitter smirk. "I live there," Yong Y'oud said.

Christopher knew then: this one has lived in the West. This is what we do to them. To each other.

Chris think of the monks under trees, the women serving soup from corner carts, the beautiful children in uniform. He decides: it is time he saw Thailand again.

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