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Moken Spoken Here

There's a tribe of nomadic people called Moken who live on the Surin islands in the Andaman Sea. Six months of the year they live simply on their handmade boats, the rest of the year they live on the beach. They learn to swim before they learn to walk and they are so good at diving and catching sea creatures that they can see underwater twice as well as the rest of us in the so-called "civilized world." They take care of turtle nests, and they speak their own Austronesian Moken language, a language unusual in that it has no words for 'want' or 'take' or 'goodbye' or 'hello' or even 'worry.' They don't know how old they are because they have no concept of time, have no word for 'when.' I want to go there. Very very badly I want to go . . .

Way out on the Surin Islands
in the middle of the Andaman Sea
there lives a happy people
with a small vocabulary . . .

if you have no word for 'worry'
there must be no worry there . . .
imagine never having a birthday party?
and guess what? you don't care . . .

if you have no word for 'take' or 'want'
you must have everything you need . . .
if you have no yen for material gain
guess what? no greed

No hello
no goodbye
no 'how are ya?'
no need to lie
no telling time
no asking when?
never hearing 'are we there yet?'
over and over again

No road rage
no cellphones
with their annoying downloadable
hippity hoppity ring tones
no car alarms
no baseball scores
no second hand smoke
no slamming doors

No noisy neighbors
you can hear through the walls
no tailgaters
or telemarketer calls
no panhandlers
no spam
are you happy about going away?
I know I am

Did you know Eskimos have 28 different words for 'snow'
well the Moken don't have a single word for 'eskimo'

Let's pack our bags
what's there is enough-for-us
on an island without a single
or greenhouse gases
or toxic spills
or internet access
or sleeping pills

How do we get there?
how soon can we go?
do they take Master Card?
what do you mean no?
no credit cards?
no central air?
no direct flights?
well how does one get there?

Oh . . . Take one plane to another plane
to a train to a boat?
from a boat to a dock?
from a dock to a float?
from a float to a beach?
hike the beach to a hut?
does this hut have a bathroom?
oh . . . it sounds lovely, but . . .

Way out on the Surin Islands
as peaceful as can be
there lies a perfect paradise
a paradise I'll never see
© Christine Lavin/Christine Lavin Music (ASCAP) administered by Bug Music