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THAILAND | Monday, 31 December 2007 | Views [2686] | Comments [1]

The winner

The winner

Bullfighting generates heated controversies in many areas of the world, including Thailand where the Asian style Bull-Fighting is popular. This variation from the "classic Spanish bullfighting”, is the clash between two bulls and, there is no matador. During the fight, specially trained bulls lock horns until one decides to quit and runs away. Each bout has no fixed duration and can last from a few minutes to hours. Love it or hate it, bullfighting is an important tradition and cultural event that takes place in the country and I decided to give it full coverage so as to bring this event to light. A midday sun shone in the Songkla province as I stared at the huge beasts in front of me. They weren’t particularly angry, pawing the ground or snorting, nevertheless, they were bulls and I was in the arena with them driven by a sense of capture a thrill – of or from the event, I am not quite sure now. Anyhow, I headed out from Songkla town to the Na Thawi District on the first Sunday of August intending to obtain full coverage of ‘the Asian-style Bullfighting’ so popular in this province, when I was diverted by resourceful locals to another arena in Ban Kluang Mit – within the Chalong district. A 100 baths ticket earned me an entry to the stands and my fervor won me a hot spot right inside the dusty saffron colored arena. An increasing curiosity but acceptance, descended on the auditorium as I was obliviously farang and the only one taking pictures of event. The crowd and the arena were still warming up .The air was charged with infectious vibes. As the bulls, led by their owners, made their entrance into the ring, the atmosphere shivered with high voltage; the crowd became tangible with excitement. As I tried to move closer to the bulls I was asked to move to the edges of the ring and to maintain a safe distance. Hundreds of kilos of muscles, rippling with testosterone concentrated into two gleaming and frightening sharp horns, occupied the arena. The bulls were then taken to different sides of the ring and their faces, necks, and horns smeared with smashed bananas in preparation for the fight - apparently this is to disguise the age of bull to its opponent. If a bull senses the opponent to be an elder, it will refuse to fight as a sign of respect. They were next brought face to face in the center of ring and… finally, pitted against each other to lock horns. The animal’s survival and territorial instincts unavoidably kicked in - the wrestle had begun! The presence of playful smiling kids and wise elderly women watching the fight reassured me of the traditional status of the sport and contradicted somehow the rumor that the bout is back staged by betting fanatical or “backstage matadors” as some critics had called them. . By now the sun had begun beating mercilessly, still the two bulls locked horns unwilling to concede defeat. This somehow made the audience burning to oblivious excitement at times and sheer suspense on other. After - what seemed - an eternity, one bull – suddenly - turned tail and beat a hasty retreat. It had been an awe-inspiring fight, judging from the way the winning bull was cheered by the crowd. On his parade around the ring, I quickly hopped over the wood fence into the outer ring. By some twist of fate the winning wrestler came closer for my final shot: crimson blood covered his massive neck bristled with powerful horns. Minutes later the owners secured the beast with a rope and proceeded to mollycoddle him, feeding him bananas, patting him and washing his bleeding wounds down with buckets of water. His star status was further enhanced by red woollen caps, resembling baby mitts, pulled over his horns. It was time for me to move on; stepping out of the stadium, I bumped in to a large crowd gathered around another bull sizing him up for his potential to win the next fight and obviously looking forward to the next outcome.

Tags: adventures



Please send more photos of the bulls they are like the bulls we have in Bangladesh!! Bulls are really popular in Bangladesh...I have ten bulls myself!

  Mohib Ali Jul 22, 2008 6:45 AM

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