Interesting scheme…

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The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) will splash the blood of its red-shirt supporters at the entrances to Government House between 3pm and 4pm instead of 6pm as previously announced, UDD prominent figure Natthawut Saikua said on Tuesday morning.

"The ritual has to start earlier because it could be a little dark at 6pm.
"We are ready to sacrifice our blood and lives to bring back democracy and bring down the bureaucratic elite. We’ll then know that the red-shirts’ blood is warm, while Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s blood is cold," Mr Natthawut said.

For at least the last eight hours, the redshirt protestors have been drawing blood at their protest sites.  Despite the warnings by doctors that spread of AIDS and other diseases could be a potential health hazard, thousands have already drawn blood.  This evening the protesters will splash their blood on various Government buildings. 

Right now I definitely feel like an outsider.  Here is a perfect example of the differences in cultures and mindsets from one country to another.  I wouldn’t have thought this tactic up in a thousand years.  But, we’ll see what happens.  I’ve heard some reports that it is a ritual to place a curse on the current government but I’m not sure if that is true.  Thankfully there hasn’t been any significant violence yet.

 

 

Update:  (March 16, 6PM Thailand) The Red Shirts perform the blood ritual

The red shirts then marched from Phan Fa bridge at about 4pm – with the blood in twelve 5-litre bottles, two large buckets, and 50 syringes – and arrived at the Government House shortly before 5pm for the ritual.

At 4.50pm, Jatuporn Promphan, a UDD leader, a man dressed in white as a Brahman, and another man holding a Buddha statue in his arms, walked to Gate No 2 where a religious rite was performed.  The Brahman cited spells and incantations and poured an amount of blood in front of the gate.

After that the Brahman took an amount of blood from the ground to write some letters on the cement posts of the gate.

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Who owns what?

I’ve noted before on this blog about the generosity of Thai people.  I’ll say it again.  They can’t be outdone.  If you seek to give someone something, you better believe they’ll give you something right back.  In my mind I sort of keep points.  Every time they do something for us I give them a point and then I try to get the score back to even, at the least.  Well, that is not an easy task at all.  They just won’t let me do it.  The other day I bought a chocolate drink for the neighbor kid, and then I turn around and there I receive two mangos in return.  I’m not sure from where exactly, but I suspect it was from the mother of the kid.  Who knows.

The idea of ownership is completely different.  Often we see kids in America, and sadly Hannah is sometimes this way, hoarding their belongings and getting upset if someone else plays with their toys.  In our experience here we just don’t see that in the children as much.  That community mentality is much much greater, especially when it comes to food.  Sharing is ingrained in who they are. We are learning how to share better, and to be more generous.  But it does take time.  Here is Hannah playing with the neighborhood scooter.  It’s pretty cool.

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Early Christmas Present

We received an early Christmas present from a woman in our neighborhood that we don’t even know.  Paige was out walking with Hannah and Molly and was admiring a plant that one of our neighbors had.  Well, the woman who lived next door to that house then gave two of the same flowers to Paige.  I remember reading somewhere, concerning the Thai people’s generosity, that you need to be careful what you admire because they might just give it to you.  And so in addition to gaining a nice flower, we also learned a lesson in giving.

And so we bought some pots and some dirt and now we have a couple young, but soon to be very pretty plants.

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Hannah’s checking out the new flowers.  I hope they grow fast.

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Enjoying some more of the neighbors flowers.

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I think we’re going to get one of these for Christmas to put in front of the house.  It’ll give us some shade too.

Spirit Houses

Spirit Houses are common in Thailand.  Almost everyone has something like this on their property, outside, that will hopefully gain favor with the spirit of that place.  Sprits, in common Thai belief, are people that have died but are not yet reincarnated.  They may be ancestors or just people in general.  Often times we will see incense burning in front of the little houses and sometimes food given. 

The following picture is taken from our house and shows the spirit houses of our next door neighbor.

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Wat Phra Dhammakaya

The other week we had the opportunity to visit some key places of interest in Bangkok.  We stopped by the Bangkok Bible Seminary, which is probably the best seminary in Thailand.  Also we went to Kanok Banasaan which is the major Christian publisher here. 

Perhaps the most interesting place we visited was Wat Phra Dammakaya.  The world’s largest Buddhist temple.  It is located on the north end of Bangkok and currently houses approximately 10,000 monks.  There is a construction project right now on a stadium that will be able to accommodate 1 million Buddhists from around the world.  The power of their meditation will “cleanse the world of evil”.  This stadium was huge.  Next time I’m in the area I’ll take some pictures of it from the outside.  I currently don’t have any. 

Here is the small temple part in the front of the complex.

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Here are a couple pictures from their website:

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Buddhist Ceremony

  Recently there was a large Buddhist holiday in Thailand and it was very interesting to see the impact that it had on the town we live in.  At the stores, there was a transition somewhat similar to ours back home during a holiday season.  There were sales everywhere and moved to the front and center of the store were typical items bought for the holiday season.  Instead of stockings and candycanes though, there were large candles bought to burn in the temple and baskets that are bought to give the monks in order to make merit. 

My friend Karl captured some great pictures over in the town where we go to church.  You should check those out here:

 

http://www.dahlfred.com/en/blogs/gleanings-from-the-field/227-merit-making-festival

Respectful language for the King of Kings

Well, we’re approaching the 6 month mark.  Both Paige and I are currently studying modules at school that teach us lots of Christian vocabulary.  One thing that makes learning the Christian vocabulary difficult is the “royal” language that is used to address God.  When talking to God or about Him or about what He is doing, words are used that are reserved just for that occasion.  The royal language comes from the history of having a highly venerated King for so long.  

I think I like the royal language.  There is something about using special language when praying to God or talking about Him that reminds you of the majesty and glory of the one whom you are speaking about.  This isn’t just another person here.  This isn’t just a person like you and me just a bit bigger.  This is the almighty Creator and Sustainer of all things.  The First and the Last.   The King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  And all those listening are aware that Him whom we speak about deserves the utmost respect and worship.