Thai Life, live, reflected and quote back


The Oldest Swinger In Town

Now if you think that this blog is  about the hedonistic lifestyle of people who hate the idea of committing to one partner at a time then I have to apologise.  I had a different kind of swinger in mind.

At least I got your attention for however brief the moment!

What I’m referring to is the Hindu Vedic ritual of swinging and it does involve one gigantic swing or in Thai,  Ching Cha (ชิงช้า).

Yes, in Bangkok, we have one of the world largest swing and might be oldest at that, right here in the old town district.  See for yourself.

เสาชิงช้าม teh oldest swing and by far the largest in Bangkok!

This swing measured 20 metre high and 10.5 metre wide. It was built in 1784 (พ.ศ. 2327) and it’s as old as Bangkok!

Every year in  December when Shiva descended  from the heaven to visit us, this ritual was performed. It was stopped in 1935, due to high fatality rate!  The ritual re-enacted a scene between Shiva and wife, Parvati (formerly Sati in the previous incarnation!). Gosh Hindu Gods do lead such interesting lives! If you want to find out more then  read up here, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_Swing.

Two years ago this swing was restored back to its formal glory and again this weekend, the ritual will be re performed. Here is a clip of how, apology as it is narrated in Thai.

For those who have already spotted that this year ceremony isn’t in December, thank you for paying attention zzz…. You’re right!

This year, the ritual is slightly different and it’s a two in one, post modern take  on the old ritual! It’s re invoked to bless young teak saplings, all 75 of them so that they can be given away to the each of Thailand province governors  as part of the organised ritual for the King’s birthday.

So if you have a weekend free, it’s worth going to relive Bangkok history. Good photo opportunity too. Might bump into you there then! Let’s hope the rain is taking a short break this weekend!



The Dying Art of Speaking Thai

hangmanHave you noticed how English is seeping into Thai language? It’s no longer trendy to speak just fluent Thai! Not so “INTER, na ja!”

Come on, it was fun to mix for a while but this has gone too far. Think of what we’re doing. What are we saying to our children?

We have put echelon into languages when there shouldn’t be one!  

We’re simply showing the next generation that one language is superior, yes superior to another language and this is dangerous when the inferior language is their mother tongue!

When something is trendy, chic, fashionable, that something creates a presidence where others follow! So do you know what you’re doing all you media darlings, wannabe starlets, celebs, and even you,  politicians! Did you even give it a thought about what looking good is doing to this country? Are you aware of the consequences? Or you just simply don’t care enough.

Language is a reflection of our culture. When a language is simply given over to another thoughtlessly for the sake of what, fashion! It’s preposterous! We are allowing another culture to come in and simply become masters without having to use brute force. Language colonisation also means the colonisation of minds! Think of what that means. We are simply showing the younger generation that it’s not enough to simply be Thai.

 There is nothing wrong with learning to speak another language fluently. But please speak that language at the right time and right context! The concept of having a context that structure your thought before speaking seems to also be lost, giving way to empty-headed desire to look good, be INTER! It is hilarious when you see western gap year kids, slumming it to appear global. What an odd world, we live in! 

Do you want to know why this infuriates me! Let me tell you. A language is a reflection of our culture. So what does this mean when Thai language has English words mix in.

I am not blameless in this, no excuses! In my case,  pure laziness and lack of practice in Thai and chose whichever is the  fastest at any given point in time. I’m not proud of this. This is inexcusable!  And it’ s my resolute intention to speak purely Thai when I speak Thai. How about you?

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Number 6, on my list of 10 …

Buddhism to most of us today is this!

Buddhism to most of us today is this!

Back to the list of 10 Things I love About You, Thailand and we’re on 6: Access to Buddhism.

Perhaps access is the wrong word to use here.  What I’m referring to  is more the fact that Buddhism is infused into the way of life here but not as apparent as Bhutan or Dharamsala.

Buddhism forms the foundation of  Thai consciousness whether we are aware of it is another story.

Take the Thai language as an example, it has so many   Buddhist reference and not just doctrinal,  more everyday philosophy that can be applied for better understanding of this human condition!

This word, จิต, Jit (citta in Pali) is a good example.  This isn’t associated with intellect or rationale. It’s simply defined by practising monks as the thing that knows. Simplicity in itself and yet it defines it very well. 

Then there is  ใจ,   Jai , defines as  heart  – Christopher G Moore even dedicated some years of his life, compiling and translating the “Jai” words into English. Why not go and find out what you understand? But let me tell you that we use heart a lot and it refers to how we feel, heartfelt! Another example od Buddhist association.

Incidentally จิตใจ, has come to be associated with the quality of being human, similar to the western philosophy bit definitely not the same!

Now take the wai or anjali. We, Thais do this nowadays without giving it much thought, even Ronald McDonald in Thailand stands outside his burger joints with a wai!

What you might not know though and the wicki does not include this explanation either;  a wai or an anjali is an act of surrender.

When you meet someone worthy of respect, you anjali. Traditionally,  you bow with your head to the ground and hands together. A posture that renders you totally defenceless and most vulnerable.

This act of totally surrendering your ego to someone worthy and it is so magnificent! It has become “traditional.” A word that to me, is the cause of Thai becoming muted to the real identities.

Buddhism still has an influence on all Thais, regardless of creeds or religions. A good example is the Thai virtue of generosity, we are world famous for this (even if  the world media only want to depict us as country of scammers, cheats and politically inept). Don’t take my word on it though, go and read Johnny Foreigner blog and decide for yourself.


So this is it folks, my number 6 and why I will not leave this country and the access to Buddhism that allows me to centre my life.

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Greenpace, Obama and 5 Thai Elephants

Today’s the Nation headlined,

Five elephants will trek 250 km in Thailand to urge US President Obama to take action against global warming!

That’s very eye-catching and a worthy cause. If you’re going to grab presidential attention, that is one sure way. But do you think Obama or rather the US Chamber of Commerce will give a toss? So far nothing on this earth has moved them! It will be interesting to see if Obama can make the US greener.

 However the closing sentence of this article has grabbed more of my attention,

          There are now 2,000 wild and 3,000 domesticated elephants in Thailand.

This trek might do some good in raising Thais awareness of the plight of our elephants as well. We need to see the domesticated elephants return to the wild and not on the streets on Thailand, playing like circus animal to earn their mahouts’ keep!

Elephant Mascot, www.abfab.co.uk

Elephant Mascot, http://www.abfab.co.uk

 Greenpeace says that the elephants will trek 10 km and for the rest of the journey they will be travelling in specially designed trucks. I’m concerned that again this is a more refined way of making the elephants work for man’s own ends. They will still walk on very hot tarmac!

It’s all well and good to raise awareness on the global scale as we need to learn to be responsible but perhaps it’s time to use no gimmick and let the truth speaks for itself.  Or if we are going to use gimmick, we can use humans dress up as elephants!

 Here is where you can buy one!

We can invite 5 famous people to dress up as elephants and walk 10 km a day (that’ll keep then fit and helathy too!) and promote the SE Asia dwindle rain forest. For the record, most of this depletion of land is due to man’s obsesion with oil and in this case, the next black gold, Palm Oil!

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You Have to Watch This!

Over the weekend, I was stirred by a new reality show called “Big Trouble in Thailand”. The name obviously explains the content of the show: farangs have troubles in Thailand.

I guess it is something to talk about among farangs as well. http://www.thailandqa.com/forum/showthread.php?t=31425http://www.tfs2m.com/main/2009/09/11/from-the-producerdirector-of-big-trouble-in-thailand/

Let’s watch the reality that really bites!

For me, it’s painful to have to accept that this kind of situation can happen to tourists when they visit Thailand. But then again, scams can take place in any latitude or longtitude on this planet. Therefore, your fair judgement is highly needed!

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Tweetersphere quivered and not quake, last night!

Did you follow the twitter between Mr. Yoon and our Mark? 

Interesting to note  that while the two giants twittered, the messages were broadcast life on Channel 9, to the mass!

Oops, sorry, was that my queue to say, WOW!!!!

Interesting to see the number of followers, SO was it worth 140 charaters pop a question? You tell me, please!

Tweet, tweet, tweet

Tweet, tweet, tweet

For those who miss the tweets you’re not missing much as they didn’t say anything we haven’t heard before. But if you’re curious then you can read all about it here at the Nation, of course, and from Mr Yoon’s own blog.

More interesting though is what came after; Mr. Yoon had a respond from the ex PM!

The most interesting bit of the whole interview for me was, and I quote from the Nation own words here,

When asked whether Abhisit would agree to talk toThaksin over the Twitter network moderated by Suthichai, the prime minister said the network’s capacity of 140 characters per a post would be too limited to hold such a talk.

But then the tweets between Thakie and Mr Yoon prove too much for me and I had to follow!  Thaks couldn’t help himself! He dared not let the tweettunity go by without his own  tweet, could he now?  

Couldn’t help thinking who is baiting who and who is Mr. Yoon after. Was it the PM the primary target or the ex PM.

What do you think folkes? Tweet, tweet!

Was the interview yesterday, a start of a beautiful relationship on Twitter between the present PM and the ex PM?

So the line has been crossed, lets wait and see the much anticipated outcome.

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And on Monday, the PM Tweets!

Interesting headline caught my attention while I was sitting in a waiting room, Suthichai to interview the PM via Twiiter, wow! Wow must be the predicted  reaction but what’s up with Mr NationMultimedia. Has technology gone right up his stratosphere! All well and good interviewing Mr Abhisit. You  own a multimedia empire, have access to newspaper, TV and WWW so why limit yourself to asking 140 characters question? Perhaps this is a new form of Twitter Zen in Thai politics.

I’ll leave you all with this to reflect on the use of modern technology and the 20 the century humanity.

Will you all be following the Tweets tonight?