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Essays on Thailand

Essays on Thailand

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Essays on Thailand

Lunghezza:
225 pagine
2 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Apr 20, 2014
ISBN:
9786162222641
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

The most-informative stories ever written by the Thai author in English
Since its inception in 1994, this book has proven to be very popular among Thai and foreign readers as a reliable source of information, in both Thai and English, about Thailand. People of various occupations have asked to use it as a reference or to reprint some of its essays. Initially, the book contained only 40 essays, but I kept adding to that number in each reprint. So, becoming constantly bigger, it became difficult for me to arrange the contents under appropriate headings. This, however, does not make the book less valuable. That is the reason why it has survived for more than a decade.In this edition, I have revised the whole book in order to keep the information up to date and relevant to the current needs of the readers at large. At the same time, I have added two more essays, which are equally useful to readers. I would like to express my deep thanks, especially for this edition, to several websites for the use of their beautiful pictures. I have to apologize for failing to seek their individual permission. I own the pictures but they are not as beautiful as theirs.
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Apr 20, 2014
ISBN:
9786162222641
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Born in Suphan Buri province in 1959 to a family of farmers, Mr. Thanapol Chadchaidee, more commonly known under his pen name of Lamduan Chadchaidee, grew up and received a secondary education in Bangkok, then pursued his higher education in India. He has been developing his writing skills since his student days when he wrote many essays that won several awards from an English newspaper, The Student Weekly. He is proud of his ancestors and never feels shy about telling anybody that he is the son of poor farmers.

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Copyright

Essays on Thailand

The most-informative stories ever written by the Thai author in English

E-book, 1st edition 2013

Text by Thanapol (Lamduan) Chadchaidee, Ph.D.

eISBN 978-616-222-264-1

Published by www.booksmango.com

E-mail: info@booksmango.com

Text & Cover Page Copyright© Thanapol (Lamduan) Chadchaidee

E-Book Distribution: XinXii

http://www.xinxii.com

No part of this book may be reproduced, copied, stored or transmitted in any form without prior written permission from the publisher.

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. It may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author, editors, researchers, copyright holder, publisher and contributors.

***

Preface to the Twenty-fifth Edition (2014)

Since its inception in 1994, this book has proven to be very popular among Thai and foreign readers as a reliable source of information, in both Thai and English, about Thailand. People of various occupations have asked to use it as a reference or to reprint some of its essays. Initially, the book contained only 40 essays, but I kept adding to that number in each reprint. So, becoming constantly bigger, it became difficult for me to arrange the contents under appropriate headings. This, however, does not make the book less valuable. That is the reason why it has survived for more than a decade.

In this edition, I have revised the whole book in order to keep the information up to date and relevant to the current needs of the readers at large. At the same time, I have added two more essays, which are equally useful to readers. I would like to express my deep thanks, especially for this edition, to several websites for the use of their beautiful pictures. I have to apologize for failing to seek their individual permission. I own the pictures but they are not as beautiful as theirs.

In future editions, I will try to include further interesting stories. Readers’ suggestions are most welcome.

Thanapol (Lamduan) Chadchaidee Ph.D.

Email: chadchaidee@yahoo.com

Dedication

Dedicated to

my parents and teachers,

whose inspiration has

nurtured my life and

knowledge.

Tak Bat Devo and Chak Phra Festivals

There is a Buddhist myth that during one Rains Retreat, or "Khao Phansa," Lord Buddha went to heaven to deliver a sermon to his mother, who had died after giving birth to him (Prince Siddharatha ) and was born again in heaven. The sermon was said to last for the entire period of the Rains Retreat (three months).

Upon completing his mission in heaven, Lord Buddha then returned to earth and was greeted by a crowd of his disciples and followers. To commemorate this event, two public festivals are held, namely the "Tak Bat Devo in the central region and the Chak Phra" in the south of Thailand. Both portray Lord Buddha’s return to earth and annually take place immediately after the end of the three-month Rains Retreat. However, the celebration of these two festivals may be different in their preparation and practices. In other words, Tak Bat Devo means offering of food to Buddhist monks. The celebration is an imitation of Lord Buddha’s descent from heaven. Thus, a high place such as a hill is preferable as a starting point; the Golden Mount of Wat Sraket in Bangkok is a good example of this. But for a temple far from a hill, a consecrated assembly hall (or Uposatha) can also be used. When all is ready, a row of Buddhist monks headed by the image of a standing Buddha carried by men representing gods Indra and Brahma will move slowly along a predetermined path arranged. People then offer a variety of food and fruit to the passing monks. The rite ends when the last monk in the row finishes the route.

Chak Phra literally means pulling of the Buddhist monks and in southern Thailand is celebrated in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Pattani, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Yala, and other provinces. The most impressive Chak Phra festival is on the Tapi River in Surat Thani Province. To mark this occasion, two float-pulling ceremonies are held, one on land and the other on water. On land, the splendidly adorned floats are pulled across the town by ceremony participants. At the same time, on water, the ceremony is highlighted by a float carrying a Buddha image and decorated in a colorful Thai design. This float is then towed to the middle of the river for a religious ceremony. On the following day, the float is towed along the river so that people can worship and make merit. Both land and river events are highly colorful. The Chak Phra festival then concludes with an exciting boat race and a traditional game.

(Picture of Tak Bat Devo Ceremony taken from: www.touronthai.com)

(Picture of Chak Phra Ceremony taken from: www.zazana.com)

The Giant Catfish

Every year in Hat Krai Village in the far-northern province of Chiang Rai, Thai and Laotian fishermen between April and May can be seen casting a 250-metre-long nylon net to catch the Giant Catfish in the Mekong River.

The Giant Catfish is known in Thai as Pla Buk. This freshwater giant, the King of Mekong River," can grow up to 300 kilograms and three meters in length after 15 years. During this time of year, as it is the mating season, the fish migrate upriver to spawn. Unfortunately, on the way they become the victims of the deathtrap laid by the fishermen of the two countries.

In fact, before catching the fish, the Brahmin rituals must be held in order to please the Father-spirit of Pla Buk. It is believed that the success of the fishing season depends partially on that opening ceremony. After performing the rituals, Thai and Laotian fishermen build temporary bamboo shelters on their respective islands. After each crew has offered a chicken and local-made liquor to the guardian spirit of their boat, they then burn a special herb to drive evil ghosts away from the net. Then the hunting begins.

The fishing rotation is decided by a draw. Everybody is waiting his turn enthusiastically and immediately after a Thai team has gone, a Laotian boat is ready to push off.

It is said that the protein in its flesh is far better for nourishing the brain than any other animal protein. It is also believed that whoever tastes the fish will have a long life and become clever. So its meat has become a favorite and expensive dish served in leading restaurants in nearby provinces and Bangkok. Each season about 25 to 30 giant catfishes are caught by fishermen of the two countries.

The fishing season also attracts a lot of attention from both local and foreign tourists who are enthusiastic to see the freshwater monster. Unless the fish becomes extinct, the fishing season will carry on from generation to generation of both countries.

(Picture taken from: www.newsnatonalgeographic.com)

*Wildlife conservationists have called on local fishermen to abandon the activity over the past several years as surveys show that the giant catfish population has dropped sharply due to aggressive hunting and the ecological deterioration of the Mekong River. The Mekong giant catfish was listed on the IUCN’s list of endangered species in 2003. –Bangkok Post, April 13, 2006.

Loy Krathong Festival

One of the most popular festivals on the Thai calendar is early November’s Loy Krathong. It takes place at a time when the weather is fine as the rainy season is over and there is a high water level all over the country.

"Loy" means to float and a "Krathong" is a lotus-shaped vessel made of banana leaves. The Krathong usually contains a candle, three joss-sticks, and some flowers and coins.

In fact, this is a Brahmin-originated festival in which people offer thanks to the goddess of the water. Thus, by moonlight, people light their candles and joss-sticks, make a wish, and launch their Krathongs on canals, rivers, or even small ponds. It is believed that the Krathongs carry away sins and bad luck and fulfill wishes that have been made for the coming new year. Indeed, it is a time to be joyful and happy as the sufferings are floated away.

The festival starts in the evening when there is a full moon in the sky. People of all walks of life carry their Krathongs to nearby water. After lighting candles and joss-sticks and making a wish, they gently place the Krathongs on the water and let them drift away till they are out of sight.

The Noppamas Queen Contest, a beauty contest, is an important part of the festival. Noppamas is a legendary figure from the Sukhothai period. Old documents refer to her as the chief royal consort of a Sukhothai King named Lithai. Noppamas was said to have made the first decorated Krathong.

In Bangkok, major establishments such as leading hotels and amusement parks organize their Loy Krathong Festival and the Krathong contest as major annual functions.

For visitors to Thailand, the Loy Krathong Festival is an occasion not to be missed. The festival is listed on tourist calendars and everyone is invited to take part and share in the joy and happiness.

(Picture taken from: www.gotoknow.org)

Songkran Festival

Songkran is the Thai traditional New Year and an occasion for family reunions. At this time, people from the rural areas who are working in the city usually return home to celebrate the festival. Thus, during Songkran, Bangkok becomes a deserted city.

The festival falls on April 13, and the annual celebration is held throughout the kingdom. In fact, "Songkran is a Thai word that means move or change place as it is the day when the sun changes its position in the zodiac. It is also known as the Water Festival" as people believe that water will wash away bad luck.

This Thai traditional New Year begins with early-morning merit making, offering food to Buddhist monks and releasing caged birds to fly freely into the sky. During this auspicious occasion, any animals kept will be set free. Paying homage to one’s ancestors is an important part of the day. People pay their respects to the elders by pouring scented water over the palms of their hands. The elders in return wish the youngsters good luck and prosperity.

In the afternoon, after performing a bathing rite for Buddha images and monks, celebrants both young and old joyfully splash water on each other. The most-talked-about celebration takes place in Chiang Mai Province, where Songkran is celebrated from April 13 to 15. During this period, people from all parts of the country flock there to enjoy the water festival and watch the Miss Songkran Contest and the beautiful parades.

In Bangkok, the Buddha image "Buddhasihing" is brought out from the National Museum for people to sprinkle scented water at Sanam Luang, opposite the Grand Palace.

During April’s week-long Songkran, visitors to Thailand will find people throwing water everywhere. Visitors are welcome to join the locals in the water wars, especially in the Khao San Road area of Bangkok.

(Picture taken from: www. matichon.co.th)

Asanha Puja and Buddhist Lent

Asanha Puja Day is one of the sacred days in Buddhism as it marks the coming into existence of the Triple Gems, namely, the Lord Buddha, His Teachings, and His Disciples. The day falls on the fifteenth day of the waxing moon of the eighth lunar month (July). It is the anniversary of the day on which Lord Buddha delivered the First Sermon to his first five disciples at the Deer Park in Benares over twenty-five hundred years ago.

To observe this auspicious day, Buddhists all over the country perform merit making and observe Silas (Precepts). Some go to temples to offer food and other things to monks and listen to a sermon to purify their minds. Asanha Puja Day falls on the

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