National Geographic : 1967 Jul
Nik Abdul Rahman. But when I was intro duced to the imam, I learned that he was Hadji Abdullah. Had I been misinformed? Well, no, the Moslems of Pattani had elected two imams. However, the authorities in Bang kok said one man must be in charge. So some times it was one, and sometimes the other. Outside, spotted-necked doves gurgled in decorative cages. People kept them next to their houses, to enjoy their sweet gurgling. They wouldn't gurgle indoors. Twenty-five miles on, the Governor of Yala, Police Col. Siri Kojhiran, said we had just passed through a hotbed of Chinese terrorists; 108 others lurked ahead. These were experienced troublemakers, having fled into Thailand after their rebellion in Malaya had been sup pressed by Malayan forces under British com mand. He asked us to take along an escort: "If they see a white man, there might be trouble. They might think you are English. They don't mind Americans." We followed the police jeep through Thai land's most romantic landscape. Glistening trees. Valleys now clear, now misty. Lime stone cliffs, some wooded, some craggy, hun dreds of feet straight up. I imagined I was riding through a Chinese painting.