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How Convenient to be Thais

How do you perceive us as Thais? People who’s extremely loyal to the King? Tom Yam Kung maker? Or red and yellow fighters? What you see in us is just the tip of the iceberg. Let me, a real Thai, clarify point by point to you. And you will know our true color.

First, we aren’t raised to abide by any law. We do know the law but sometimes we find bliss in ignorance. And it’s even better than ignorance when we find the loophole. Our behavior on the road is one good example. If we happen to turn in the forbidden lanes reserved for bus, only one red banknote in the hands of law protector will help you out of the situation. Not a single fine at the police station. Believe me!

From a poll I heard recently, we don’t care anymore about the corruption problems as long as politicians do something good, even the tiny bits, for the country.

If we do something wrong and feel ashamed to face the truth, then escape to other countries will help. But with one exception. You have to be rich and have connections. To do time in prison isn’t a good choice, right? Why not use influence to save our ass while we can?

If you break the norm of society. First thing first, reject it. A lot is saved by this technique because of the lack of evidence. But if you’re caught in the act or you find yourself in a tight corner because of obvious video clips or something, fake crying in front of the camera is another choice to help save your face. We have less frontal lobe of cerebrum than other races on this planet so we’re a creature of forgetfulness. Any bad things you’ve just done are like a breeze that touches our skin. It will come and go, leaving nothing on our mind.

We don’t have true friends as well as foes. It sounds terrible. But here’s our logic. Friends can be foes, and vice versa. Do you get it? I mean it’s all up to mutual benefit. If foe can help get what we want, his status is changed to be friend. Just simple as that.

Feel so good to be Thai.

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In Response To Being Farang On The Culture Of Denial

I came across a blog by Being Farang called DENYING, DENY, DENIED. The blog suggested that the most overused word in Thai politics today is “DENY”. This was amusingly true by today’s standard.

He went on to imply that this is part of the socio-cultural fabric of Thai life and concluded that to truly understand Thais, you just need to get off the high moral ground. This at first outraged me. How dare he say that!

This isn’t just a Thai thing!

Still, I read on and he made a valid point. This is something very true.

It makes me ask why I have such a reaction. Perhaps, it’s because a farang said it and not me or another Thai. This makes it worse as it makes me a bigot! Why do we Thais find it hard to listen to criticism from outsiders? Or should I just say “I” here!

The point is “we Thais” find it hard to objectively look at ourselves, our culture or even our history in perspective. Why is that?

To be able have a perspective on thing means you must be able to stand back and objectively see what’s going on. This implies ability to listen without reacting to criticism as only then can we see things from all angle. Only then can we know what others think or see Thailand. Yet as a nation, collectively as Thais, we find it so hard to allow ourselves to do just that! Is it because we don’t have the luxury or is there something we are holding onto. If so how can we let go?

What’s holding us back?

As an individual, in private, we are not bound by anything; I even go to say we are quite hedonistic. We give ourselves freedom to do whatever we want to do but only in private, out of the public eyes! In public, a new code of conduct kicks in; we become mute and only allow the ruling elites to have their plays!

OK, this happens worldwide. The upper crust of society plays by different rules to the common people. But in Thailand, I feel the difference actually fuelled this culture of denial and makes us hide behind our public masks.

Being Farang actually said that having little moral stand makes him less tense and stress but is it really worth dropping social responsibility for the sake of a stress free, relax and hedonistic life? What about social responsibility? He has the luxury of adopting the so called culture of lies and denial because he comes from another type of society. He comes from a culture that taught him to gain perspective on things and to have a view! Most of us do not have that luxury.

Collectively, we often express no views. Collectively, we mostly choose to remain silent! This makes it very hard for an open discussion and even harder for outsiders to gauge our thoughts. So as Being Farang rightly noted, to learn how we really feel, it’s not enough to listen to our comments, he needed to read our body language too!

Why do we prefer not to cause a stir at a risk of offending or simply let people know our feelings just in case we hurt them or in case we might appear in bad light? Can’t we display what we feel in public?

We all know that some people are immoral; our society isn’t clean and pure. Everyday Thai media is full of immoral, indecent acts committed across all echelons of society. So why do we need to appear purer than pure, whiter than white.(But don’t let me start on the word white as that also makes me react to why all cosmetic manufacturers insist Thai women should be white!)

We are encouraged to live like a schizoid, having two distinct personas! We have a public front which generally follows the mass and appear to align ourselves with the status quo. But we also have a private life that is unconstraint. The point is we are encouraged to live in a culture that endorses double standards. So it’s hardly surprising that our politicians will when first question about something, deny at all cost, regardless of the evidence!

Right now, we Thais are living on the cusp of change. Politic has empowered many people who now dare to voice their opinions. Look at me here! We are learning that an individual can be equally powerful and have the same right. We are learning to appreciate the basic right of a democratically run country.

But if we still allow the ruling elite to only provide us with their own definition of right and wrong then when are we going to mature into a truly democratic country.

Still we Thais have not tasted real democracy that truly liberates our minds. Only then can we grow. Socrates did that many years ago to liberate the Greeks. We all learnt about this but when are we going to have courage to change.

This new found political voice will be wasted if we do not allowed ourselves the freedom to be self critical. Right now politicians have only confused us with their politicking and doing very little else to help the nation mature, leaving us the common people dazed and blinded by artificial loyalties and right back to the culture of denial.


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Songkran Goddess

 

Songkran isn’t only a water battle on the road that you’ve seen today but there’re beliefs and culture behind it. In Thai ancient time where calendar wasn’t invented and the Meteorological Department wasn’t formed yet. Our ancestries wisely created symbols to inform citizens the New Year day (Songkran) and the weather forcast of that year. And the symbols used during Songkran was Songkran goddess. The seven goddesses were assigned to each day of the week. Before Songkran rolled around, a Songkran Annoucement and the name of Songkran goddess of that year would be released to public. So people would know the new year day and the weather of that year. They were very important to them whose lives highly depended on agriculture.

And here are the name of each Songkran goddess.

Sunday

The Songkran Goddess of this day was named Thungsa. She rode on Garuda’s back. She had pomegranade flower in her hair and wore red jewelry. Geer wheel was in her right hand while conch was in her left. Thungsa’s food relies on fig.

 

 
 

 

 
 

Monday


 

The Goddess’s name was Koraka. Her ride was tiger. Flowers of cork tree was put behind her ear and she wore pearls. She hold sword in her right hand and a cane in her left hand. Koruka exists on a diet of oil.

 

 
 

 

 
 

Tuesday


 

Raksod is Tuesday’s goddess. She rode on pig. Put behind her ear was lotus and wore Mora gem. Trident was in her right and bow was in left. Raksod isn’t a vampire but she drinks blood.

 

 
 

 

 
 

Wednesday


 

Today’s goddess is Monta. Donkey was her vehicle. She had Jampak flower behind her ear and wore cat’s eye gem. On her right hand was pointing iron while on her left cane.

 

 
 

 

 
 

Thursday


 

Kirinee is the goddess of this day. She decorated her hair with magnolia and her jewellery was made of emeral. She rode on elephant’s back. Mahout’s was in her right and gun was in her left. Grains was Kirinee’s diet.

 

 

 
 

 

 
 

Friday


 

Friday belongs to Kimita. She wore topaz jewellery and had waterlily behind her ear. Buffalo was her vehicle. And she hold a pointing on the right while on the left was Indian lute. Kimita has banana as her diet.

 

 
 

 

 
 

Saturday


 

Saturday’s goddess was named Mahotorn. She had water hyacinth and black sapphire as her decorative items. She hold geer wheel on the right and trident on the left while sitting on her vehicle peacock. Mahotorn wasn’t a vegetarian so hog deer is her only food.

 

 
 

 

 
 

This year’s Songkran goddess is Koraka meaning that the Thai New Year will fall on Monday. The prophecy has it that the king will be prosperous but we have to live life in a careless way. The land will be florished with rice and there’s plenty of water for agriculture.

Thanks for photo from http://www.culture.go.th/study.php?&YY=2551&MM=3&DD=1