THE elephants of Thailand used never to be short of work hauling timber. But most of the country's forests have been cut down, and logging is now banned to save the few that are left. The number of domesticated elephants left in the country is now only 2,500 or so, down from about 100,000 a century ago. Though being the national animal of Thailand earns an elephant plenty of respect, this does not put grass on the table. Thai elephants these days take tourists on treks or perform in circuses, and are sometimes to be seen begging for bananas on the streets of Bangkok.
Some of the 46 elephants living at the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre, a former government logging camp near Lampang, have found a new life in music. The Thai Elephant Orchestra is the creation of two Americans, Richard Lair, who has worked with Asian elephants for 23 years, and David Soldier, a musician and neuroscientist with a taste for the avant-garde. They provided six of the center's elephants, aged seven to 18, with a variety of percussion and wind instruments. Those familiar with Thai instruments will recognize the slit drums, the gong, the bow bass, the xylophone-like rants, as well as the thunder sheet. The only difference is that the elephant versions are a bit sturdier.
The elephants are given a cue to start and then they improvise. They clearly have a strong sense of rhythm. They flap their ears to the beat, swish their tails and generally rock back and forth. Some add to the melody with their own trumpeting. Elephant mood-music could have a commercial future, Mr. Soldier believes. He has even produced a CD on the Mulatta label-it is available at www.mulatta.org-with 13elephant tracks. It is real elephant music, he says, with only the human noises removed by sound engineers. But is it music? Bob Halliday, music critic of the Bangkok Post, says it is. He commends the elephants for being "so communicative". Anyone not knowing that it was elephant music, he says, would assume that humans were playing.
Some of the elephants in the band have also tried their hand at painting, tending to favor the abstract over the representational style. Their broad-stroke acrylic paintings last year helped raise some $25,000 at a charity auction at Christie's in New York, and a London gallery has also taken some of their work. These art sales, together with profits from the CD, are helping to keep the centre going. A second CD is on the way. It will be less classical, more pop.
31. The elephants of Thailand now are short of the work they used to do because
A they are trained to take tourists on trek.
B they are trained to play music.
C the forest-cutting is illegal
D there is not enough timber for them to haul.
32. The author's attitude towards these elephants is
33. The two American created the Orchestra in order to
A earn money
B protect elephants
C enjoy themselves
D none of the above
34. "trumpet" in the 3rd paragraph refers to
35. The elephants do not make money from
A getting charity from visitors
B selling their paintings
C selling their own CDs
D all their entertainment work
DURING the 17 years of Sri Lanka's civil war, ceasefires have been arranged from time to time in the hope that permanent peace would follow. The difference about the present one, called by the separatist Tamil Tigers in December and due to end on January 24th, is that it has not been matched by the government. It believes that the Tigers sought only a breathing-space. As in the past, after recovering they would resume their attacks with renewed ferocity. The government forces have continued to kill Tigers with abandon, and held their fire only on Christmas day.
While the government can claim some consistency for its policy of all-out war on the Tigers, formally adopted six months ago, its rejection of the Tigers' offer has upset the Norwegians, who for 18 months have been trying to find a way to end the conflict. The Norwegians are among the most peaceable people on earth these days, whatever they may have got up to during Viking times. They find it difficult to understand why the president of this little island, Chandrika Kumaratunga, and the Tigers' leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, cannot settle their differences. Britain, the United States and India, the regional superpower, share the Norwegians' disappointment. A meeting in Paris in December of Sri Lanka's aid donors ended, unusually, without any pledges being made for the next financial year.
Sensing Sri Lanka's growing isolation, Mrs. Kumaratunga broadcast on January 8th specifically to the people of the north-east, where most Tamils live, and which has been the main cockpit of the war. She said there was no point in having a ceasefire unless the Tigers were prepared to negotiate. Once they agreed to negotiations, the government would be ready for a ceasefire.
In this poker game it is difficult to see which side has the better hand. The Tigers' publicity machine, centered in London, has drawn international attention to the government's hardline position. Militarily the government seems to have done well during the lull, regaining control of an important road linking two large towns, Jaffna and Chavakachcheri. But its generals must be nervous that the Tigers will eventually renew their attacks in the Jaffna peninsula, which they came close to capturing in May last year.
If Norway does get the two sides together, what will they talk about? The Norwegians would like the Tigers to stop attacking southern areas of the island, dominated by the Sinhalese majority; in return, they want the government to lift its restrictions on supplies of food and medicine to rebel-controlled towns. Beyond that, the Norwegians appear vague. Raymond Johansen, Norway's deputy foreign minister, said last week that "Tamil aspirations must be met in a substantial manner." But he ruled out a separate state for the Tamils, which the Tigers have demanded.
Erik Solheim, who handles most of the Norwegian negotiations, has mentioned Switzerland as a model federation. A Swiss Sri Lanka?
36. The author calls this ceasefire a different one because
A Sri Lanka's civil war is different from the other country.
B the government will never adhere to its precious ? policy.
C Tamil Tigers appealed while the government is suspicious its motivation.?
D the government completely agrees with the ceasefire.
37. The word "consistency" means
A continuous action
38. According to the text, Sri Lanka's isolation is partly because
A its leader broadcasts to the people of the Tamils.
B the Tiger gave an active gesture but not the government
C the Tiger's machine exaggerated the government.
D. some western countries approved of its refusal.
39. Some government generals are nervous when they have done well in military action just because
A they continued to kill too much Tiger's with abandon.
B Tamil aspirations wouldn't be met in a practical form……
C they are unsure about its future.
D they are afraid of the Tiger's continuous attack for grabbing the towns
40. The author quoted the Raymand Johonson's words in order to imply
A he wanted the Tamil to have a separate state.
B he just did an authority talk.
C the peace process still has a long way to go.
D he was dissatisfied with the current government.