Readers' Submissions

Welcome to my Amazing Thailand

  • Written by Apple
  • October 6th, 2008
  • 14 min read



Sa wad dii ka khun Stickman's reader,

She was born and raised in Nonthaburi located close to Bangkok, Thailand. And since she started her schooling, a subject that she was required to study was English. And when she gets to higher education and studies about World, Cultures, Religion and Language. She has always tried her best to do well in her studies and has been instructed by her parents how important to study hard and obtain good grades. She’s also aware it is very important to get good grades so as she can get into a good school which is very difficult. There is no way she’s going to pass the exam. Her parents goal was too see their child succeed and have the ability to look after themselves when they have gone. But they are not rich nor have enough money to support her and pay for her education.

She has been very close to her family and they often tell her about their lives and what they want to achieve and what problems they have, but she never heard them complain because of their positive outlook on life. And with the basis of Buddhist teaching, they told her that nobody chooses how they are born but they can choose what they want to be. And that was the cause of her inspiration to do her best, to get to where she wants to be. And one thing that was very important to her is the ability to look after her parents as they have looked after her. And she does not want her parents to work too hard as they have always done. She wants them to enjoy their life and not have to worry about her.

Since she could remember her dad had always had to get up early and go to work. Whenever he could find work and he would only make 100 – 500 baht per day, because her father had very little education, and didn't know how to read or write, but he was a hard working person and unlike many he was not lazy. And for the most part he was employed as a coolie laborer, the men you see all over the building sites of Bangkok. But he never thought to do anything that would contradict his moral standard. Because he believes that most obviously that the desire for Nirvana and positive rebirth stimulates moral behavior, giving and meditation. All "instruments of salvation". Seen negatively the fear of hell inspires good action. And as what we study and have been told we absorb all of this information. And to her they are very scary and it makes her afraid of doing these things.

Those who follow Buddhism need to follow 5 basic rules, known as the "five precepts and are ethical conduct factors. A lay Buddhist would need to follow these in order to fulfill the minimal moral obligations. The Five Precepts ([1] not to destroy life, [2] not to steal, [3] not to commit adultery, [4] not to tell lies.[5] Not to take intoxicating drinks. <I hate to say it but 90% + of the population are damned if they are measured by their adherence to these preceptsStick> These are not commandment as such, but rather rules of training and ideals to live up to. But he was not respected nor treated the way he deserved because of the way he dressed and the way he made a living. And they never had modern electrical goods, nor ate in expensive restaurants let alone have the opportunity to travel, because they could ill afford to..

She felt embarrassed when among her friends who had a more comfortable lifestyle and would often talk about what they would do in the summer. And sometimes they would see her helping her parents doing their menial tasks on the streets or that her friends would see her working as a cleaner in their home. But her Dad always told her that she should be thankful that they have one another, and they have a fit working body, and has all of her senses in place. Unlike others who are disabled and that in truth she was luckier than some.

Her mum was also a very hard working woman, though she was very attractive and came from a high family background, never once did she hear her mother complain about the life she shared with her father. There are many men that offered her mum a better life, one with money and comfort. Her mother had the opportunity to leave her dad and marry a richer man who could provide all the luxury her father could not. But her parents are still together until today. They have told her they story of how they met and how she was born which is one of her favorite bed time stories (especially when she really into all the romance) ^_^

After her mother’s parents did not approve of her parent relationship, they decided to run-away together and gave birth to her and her two brothers. Her older brother was two years older than her. After nine years as student, he decided to left school earlier because he didn’t like to be treated or be classed as poor. And that was his choice but also is the cause of the biggest grievance for her parents. He told her, he would like to be treated as ‘’ every one is equal ‘’. and it bothered him that all his classmates made fun of him about the way how he lived his life and also it bothered him that he may not be able to afford to be part of his school camping or join his classmate's trip. He felt envy and felt like he was missing out. He was afraid to lose everything that meant nothing. After ten years, he realized what he had believed was wrong and only dumped a whole load of loss on him all at the same time. He become something different, not only an emotional mess but a physical wreck. Even though her parent always welcomed him and took him under their wing and helped him get on his difficult time in life. Now he is living with her parents and making a living as motorcycle taxi. He also has two kids and the women left him long time ago.

Before any of this happened he sold drugs (yaa- baa). He had a lot of money back then and offered to build her family a nice house and upgrade their lifestyle but her father refused and was not willing to support him.

Her older brother left and carry on with his life which is very dangerous in Bangkok. But not for long as karma begin.. he got arrested and was jail for many years. When he was out he entered the monk hood as he believed that being a monk would help him to redeem for all the sins he had done in the past. He has changed since. His relationship between him and his father also improved. And he has done a lot of good thing since. Even though he ’’used to be in jail’’ it is not easy to start his new life because people are afraid and have judged him without even getting to know him. I guess he must have a very difficult life.

Her younger brother was very much like his sister but he seemed to come out of it easier than any of them. He was rich with friends and received help from everybody. It seemed like wherever he went, whoever he met, they seemed to adore him and were happy to help him without asking for anything for return.

And for her, she liked to think she’s the only one who is better off than any of them from the look of it. She made all the effort to study and managed to pass all her exams and apply for all the scholarships that line around waiting for her to go and get it. She had a job well paid waiting for her before she even finished her school. Her younger brother was still studying as he worked full-time and was a part time student but he was happy to do so.

Some years he dropped out and continued later on when he had enough money. And because she had made so much effort to study and spent most of her time reading before each exam begin. She was fascinated by all that what written in the books. And language was one of them. She tried her best to learn and understand many languages as best she could even if she only managed to be able to read, write and speak only English and Thai. But she still likes to speak in other languages when she has a chance to meet foreigners.

After reading articles on this site, she can see where you come from because it is not easy for her to learn other languages and she’s very pleased to know that you have spent time and effort learning the Thai language. She always teaches foreigners Thai if they wish to learn, language for exchange.

I agree with you about the image of Buddhism in Thailand today. Because I have grown up and have been raised with a Buddhism foundation by my family, especially my grandmother. I have spent so much time, since I can remember, visiting temples and doing common practice. In Thailand we worry and are aware of this misunderstanding about what Buddhism is really all about. I researched this but we have yet to come to a conclusion. I am now only 27 years old but everything has changed in the last ten to twenty years. How Thai people behave and what significance Buddhism has for them in their daily lives. An example is my local temple which has become large as a result of construction. And the head master who was at the centre of all the disagreement in my village when I was a child. I remember the head monk was the most respected person in her neighborhood. And because most festivals and ceremonies in Thailand always have something to do with monks and temples so they become part of our everyday life. So I remember how it once was. We all join each other at the temple, and everybody seems to know each other and are there for the same purpose which is to carry on our tradition. One of your story said ‘’ I have great respect for Thais and their high standards, their fantastic food, their tolerant attitude and so many other qualities; where the temples were old and vulnerable; it was a different world. Sadly, I have never managed to recapture that spirit. Many of today’s bigger temples can seem dolled-up, rather vacuous tourist attractions. Lao monks chant; the Burmese meditate; in countless Thai temples I have seen other tourists, lovers kissing, monks sleeping, watching TV, but never really anyone chanting or meditating. Buddhism in Thailand today seems less about the Buddha’s highly practical and sensible teachings and rather more about giving money to temples – with a monk at festival times announcing over a microphone like the scorer at a darts match. Everyone appears to be praying and wishing for good luck, hence the current craze for amulets. ‘’ the only answer I have for this is because there is a place that has something ’’famous’’ but there are many places in Thailand that as soon you walk in to the area you will feel the spirit but sadly it is not a tourist attraction because they won’t be on a travel site or places to visit for tourists.

But many things have been replaced by the new modern culture and what we have is just not up-to-date. It is a surprise but the fact remains that the number of people who preferred all of this was huge. So to resolve all of the disagreements, and as long as we call ourselves a democracy, it seems like whoever got the most votes was most likely to win. And that's when all the business begins. I am not the best person to talk about this topic because I am not capable of explaining in English but everything happens for a reason. My grandmother told me she was glad that she would pass away before Thailand lost its identity. How many Thai people have we seen go to temple and take pictures or visit Thailand tourist attractions, even if it is free? And how many Thai people you have seen in the shopping malls and all the things that are not from Thailand? How many people are willing to pay for that label if is not made in Thailand? And the kids who grow up now in the modern life, it is not their fault that they are not into Thai things but is that what they know all they life.

I asked my niece and my nephew after we went to the temple and did the common practice of feeding monks and praying. They are not keen on meditation because it is difficult for them to sit still. There is so much going on in their mind.

Then we went to the park, zoo and shopping mall. I asked them what they liked the most. It was the thing that not Thai culture and not made in Thailand. I assure you the Thai government is aware of all this and they have made the ideal of Buddhism become one of the main subjects that everyone has to study. They also campaign in the hope that Thai people do not forget who they are and what Thailand is really all about. We are all proud to be Thai even though the outside world is so judgmental, mainly because of the very little they know about Thailand. I am not talking about the general knowledge or information about Thailand, because I have come across many foreigners that impress me about how much they know about Thailand history, all the traditions and the causes of things that are going on in Thailand better than Thai people themselves. But you never will understand Thailand as Thai people who were born and grew up here and live here all their life. And they all have their own opinion and point of view based on what they know and what they believe because everyone is different.

Can you imagine running over sixty-million people who came from all backgrounds and different abilities. Money, cost of living, opportunity. And part of everyday life is making a living since Thailand has become a main destination for all travelers and is the main income of the country. <Actually, tourism is only 6 or 7% of GDPStick> People who make a living from tourists seem to do well and have success. But I was ashamed that they made as much money as possible from gold without thinking of the damage or repetitions. The problem passes to someone else even though they are the ones who created it. So it is just as confusing, shaming and praising Thailand. You have experience now..

It is a help if you can understand and be able to communicate in Thai because it’s amazing what you can discover. If any of you have a low point and feel like a mistake of learning Thai because Thai people you met made you feel like it is not worthwhile because it is not very useful language compare to English or French or Chinese or other language. Because of the number of people in this world who use those language. One of my friends married a Thai lady he met from the bar. She had just started work at the bar and had no idea he can understand Thai I was teaching him for many years. And he often found out things and listened to her in Thai while she was with her friend's family. Many of his ex have been very rude to him and because she thinks he not understand so they all just talk about him right in front of him. Then he reached his point running out of his patient, because he heard enough to make up his mind. He stood up and spoke in Thai telling them this is the last time he will ever talk to them again. It has been like that for a while for him till he met his wife. She was the only one who stuck up for him and be nice to him and also her family. And even tried to teach him Thai because she was not very good at speaking English but wanted so bad to get to know him. And understand what he tried to say. So yeah, do not regret if you want to learn and get bad feedback because it is all for your talent and how smart you are.

Anyway there are no ending story but if this will help you who not a big fan or misunderstanding I wish this article will help. And if you have any more wonder or question I am more than happy to answer and try my best to get the right info or introduce you to someone who have more knowledge than me.

Stickman's thoughts:

That's a new perspective.