Those who have crossed the hectic Ratchathewi junction may have been perplexed by the scribbles on the bridge’s pillars. The mind maps, consisting of random words in both Thai and English, are almost illegible yet filled with wonders.
Some English words that can be made out include, “Example people ROC,” “Hardrock AF,” and “Typical Welding Symbols.” The visually-stunning sketches are the brainchild of a homeless man who sleeps under the bridge. The artist, who was wearing a black Converse T-shirt, said, “I just write my emotions out,” without elaborating further.
The traffic police at the junction said the man, Samer Peerachai, 61, is “mental” — maybe they think this because he didn’t accept free lunchboxes from the concerned officers.
However, when Coconuts approached him, he gave us a smile. This man seems perfectly stable.
When asked for the meaning behind each scribble, Samer only left us with the same answer each time, “Well, it depends on how you think of it” or “Whatever you imagine it to be,” ignoring our attempts to discuss each specific word on the pillar.
Samer, who now collects garbage for a living, said he is from Northern province of Phayao. He used to be an art student.
“I studied arts before. I graduated from Phayao Technical College. But I was never good. Then I was a government worker at Nong Chok district. I developed the community,” he went on to talk briefly about his life.
Asked how he ended up homeless, he only said it all went down after his wife ran away with his baby.
Either way, we can only guess what Samer is trying to tell the world with his complicated maps and diagrams with labels such as “Isetan” and “Best Haircut” and images of Buddha. Like the true meaning behind many of the world’s great artworks, the scribbles at the Ratchathewi junction will always be a mystery.
Photos: Pai Chanikarn