In the Thai language, a Buddhist temple, such as the famous Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok. Also in Khmer, I assume: viz. Angkor Wat. Sometimes spelled vat.

Wat are legion throughout Thailand, and can be large and grand - especially if sponsored by the royal family - or rustic and small. All wat in Thailand except Wat Phra Kaew house bhikkhu or monks, usually led by an abbot. Thai Buddhist monks lead a life of relative poverty; they are to live simple lives with few possessions and focus on meditation and withdrawal from the world. Thai monks wear orange or reddish-brown robes and, perhaps, sandals; certainly no jewelry or flashy goods. They live in simple rooms, sometimes with electric fans, and sleep on mats on the floor. Every full moon they shave their heads, and every morning they set out from the temple to beg for alms. They do not literally beg; they simply walk to the nearest community, and, if someone wants to make merit, they offer food to the monks. The monks do not look at their donors or thank them; in fact, in Buddhist economics, if you will, monks provide a field of merit where people can easily do a good deed and gain merit.

Some of the monks at Thai wat are really nehn, novices. Young boys are sent to the temple by their families, as this is the surest way for poor lads to gain an education. When these boys reach their teens they can decide if they really want to pursue a life of Buddhist contemplation, or just leave the temple and move on with their lives. People often told me that "every Thai man must spend at least 3 months" (1 rainy season) as a monk, though many men, when pressed, admitted they themselves had not done so. Still, it is a way for a simple man to gain in stature and respect. Monks are venerated, and even the king kneels in front of a monk. Men who have been monks are said to be "cooked" rather "raw", and to make better husbands.

In Thailand, at least, there is no ordination of women; those who live in the few wat that accept women are just students of Buddhism, not nuns per se.

As chronicled above, 'WAT' was Laibach's comeback album, released in 2003 after a lengthy haitus. This was my take, in a review for 'SoNoMu', an electronic website on the world wide internetweb:

"Laibach have always been a joke, albeit of the blackest and most deadpan variety. Formed in the coal-mining town of Trbovlje, Slovenia, shortly after the death of Tito, the group parodied totalitarianism by becoming a totalitarian rock band, with a pseudo-political art party, with poster campaigns which borrowed elements of Nazi and Communist iconography, by dressing in military uniform, and by performing brutal industrial music on stages covered in militaria. In the West, this kind of thing seemed whimsical when acted out by Devo or Siouxsie Sioux, but Laibach went the whole hog, and in a country that had been occupied and brutalised by the Nazis and the Communists this was too much. From 1983 to 1987 the group were forbidden by the authorities from using their name in live performance in Yugoslavia's capital. Their message was simple; there was something in Yugoslavia, Eastern Europe and humankind that drove it towards catastrophe, and no amount of international good intentions could prevent it. Their covers of Western rock music were legendary, whether highlighting the absurdity of Europe's 'The Final Countdown' and Queen's 'One Vision' or simply kicking the Beatles to death, with a reworking of the entire 'Let it Be' album.

But the expanding, consuming war in what was Yugoslavia seemed to mark the natural end of the band. They had been proven right; during a mid-90s tour, the group were handed an open letter from the Slovenian state media - "are you happy now?". They had got what they seemed to want. 1994's 'NATO' was a triumphant 'told-you-so', after which the band released the disappointing 'Jesus Christ Superstars', a half-hearted attack on organised religion which trod old ground to little effect. Laibach - the German name for their country's capital - then had to stand by and watch as East Germany's Rammstein borrow the group's sound and iconography, added pop hooks, and made lots of coin.

Now Laibach are revitalised, rather like vultures, having fed on death, for this is the group's post-9/11, war on terror album. In contrast to Bruce Springsteen's 'The Rising', for example, 'WAT' revels in telling us that we are all doomed, that das grosse spiel is very much aus. Rather like AC/DC or Enya, 'WAT' does not see a radical shift in the group's style. The blippy mid-tempo techno is back, Milan Fras' uniquely gravelly monotone is there, the lyrics work best when you can't understand them - indeed, the theme that Western civilisation is at risk from barbarians, and that Laibach find this amusing, is probably not politic in the universities and cafes of youth - there are orchestral flourishes, and the goth lady vocalists of Germania are back. 'Jesus Christ Superstars' was a muddy mess of metal guitars, similar to the group's earlier anarchic style but without the atmosphere, the danger. Andrew Lloyd Webber was born to suffer. It pleases and surprises no-one to watch it happen.

In that respect 'WAT' is a return to form, although it is no masterpiece. 'The Great Divide' and 'Satanic Versus' - a pun - are indistinguishable mid-tempo declamations of the 'blood and oil are intertwined' / 'america is big' variety, which are liable to get them booed off stage in Alabama but nowhere else. Laibach's military uniforms and marching tempos were shocking in themselves, once, but nowadays one suspects that the group could only cause outrage by recording an absurdly pro-war album recorded with absolute conviction, and 'WAT' is not it. The orchestral flourishes of 'Now You Will Pay' cross the border into the land of camp, spoiling an otherwise superb declamation, whilst the opening and closing tracks, 'B Mashina' and 'Anti-Semitism', indulge the group's taste for gothic orchestral soundtracks and although the former starts to take off in the last thirty seconds, you will listen to them once apiece. For Laibach to record a track called 'Anti-Semitism', a potentially fascinating subject given that it is now fashionable to hate 'the Zionist entity', and then sing it in Slovenian is a terrible disappointment.

However, the rest is some of the best work the group have done for a decade. On 'Tanz Mit Laibach' and 'Das Speil ist Aus', the group sound exactly like Rammstein with a bassier vocalist, or DAF with thicker production, but that's hardly the fault of Laibach. They successfully fuse Wagner and techno, mirroring the genuinely brilliant cover of DAF's 'Alle Gegen Alle' that enlivens their live shows.

It isn't all sturm und drang, though, there is subtler malignancy elsewhere. 'Du Bist Unser' ('You are Ours') and 'Hell: Symmetry' are twisted ballads, as far as Teutonic EBM can assume a ballad form. The fin de seicle title track - 'We Are Time', giving lie to the supposition that 'WAT' stood for 'War Against Terrorism' - is the group's 'Subterranean Homesick Blues', but at half the speed, whilst 'Ende' is the audio equivalent of being smothered in a black cloak and taunted by the Devil. Laibach are most definitely on the right track again; all they need is a harder heart and a sharper scalpel."

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