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Excuse me, is this where I can get the Senator forms?

Might be. Depends who’s asking.

I just want to apply for the Senate and I …

Apply? You don’t apply for the Senate. That’s how we used to do it and a wonderful thing it was.  Some lovely people in the last Senate.  But now we have “democracy” so you can’t just apply, you have to get elected and a right rigmarole that’s turning out to be.

Sorry, that’s what I meant. Can I get the forms for a candidate for the Senate here? This is the Election Commission, isn’t it?

That’s what it says on the door.

OK, so can I have the forms please?

Hang on, hang on, you have to answer some questions first.  Where are you from, to begin with?

Well I’m registered in Din Daeng.

OK. You a farmer?

What? No, I’m a reporter.

Oh not another one.  Are you sure you’re not a farmer?

Of course I’m sure.

You maybe grow a few veggies in your garden?

No, it’s a condo.

How about window boxes?

No, sorry. Oh, I have a plant in a pot in my bathroom.  Does that help?

Ah, now you’re talking.  Have you had it for 10 years?

No, of course not.

Bugger. Well how about fishing?

Fishing? No.  What’s all this about?  Is there something wrong with being a reporter?

Probably. Depends what you report about. No, it’s just that we can’t find anyone to stand as a farmer in Din Daeng.

Are you surprised?

OK, clever clogs.  So how are we going to have a professional group to elect a farmer candidate if there aren’t any?

Erm, I don’t know.  But that’s not my problem is it?

I suppose not.  Now who knows you’re here?

How do you mean?

Who knows about you wanting to be Senator?

Well, I discussed it with my family and people at work and …

Hold it right there.  You’re not supposed to advertise that you’re a candidate.  Did you not know that?  I could arrest you on the spot.

Well, that was before I made up my mind.  I looked at your website about what you can and cannot do.  2 sheets of A4 and all that.  I’ve brought my draft along for you to check if it’s …

Put that away right now!  Exposing yourself like that!  You can’t show that to me.  You can only show it to other candidates.

Oh. I thought that the EC is going to list all the candidates on your website, with their information.

Of course we are.  But we, as Election Commission officials, can show what we like to whoever we like, but you, as a candidate, are strictly forbidden.  How else can we have a proper transparent democracy?

I see.

So what do you report about?

Politics mostly.

Well if you want my advice you’d better stop.  Especially if you put your name on your articles.  People reading them might get ideas about what you think, you see, and we can’t have that.

But I’ve been doing this job for years.  People already know what I think, surely.

(Sigh) I know and I wish there was some way we could just erase their memories but we can’t.  But we can make sure that people learn nothing about your political ideas from now until the election results come out.

So what does that mean for me?

It means, sunshine, that I’d better not see your name on the by-line of any article that is remotely related to how this country should be run.  Or who by.  On pain of prison.

But that’s my job.  My life. What am I supposed to do?

Have you thought about starting a farm?

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