Now that I have reached the end of my first week in Thai country, there are so many thoughts running through my head that I am not exactly sure where to start, but I will start where I left off last post in regards to Buddhism.
1. Buddhism is incredible. Not a religion, but a belief system, Buddhism has given me faith in these types of beliefs and I personally have never been so interested in a “religion” as I am now. From practicing praying, to being blessed by a monk, to throwing money in one of the worlds largest Buddha’s hand, Buddhism is one of this cultures great achievements and many people around the world could, and should learn from Buddhists and Buddhism.
2. Thailand is currently in a military coup, a peaceful military coup that is. Many people do not know this because it is not widely publicized, but the corruption (according to our in country coordinator Nok) within the Thailand government reached such high levels that the military has taken control of the country alongside the King and Queen. Similar to the United Kingdom, The Kingdom of Thailand as it is technically stated, has a Royal Family, however in Thailand, the King and Queen not only hold a fair amount of power, but they have made incredibly large leaps for the health of the country. The people of the country respect the King and Queen so much, that you are not allowed to do anything negative to the money that they are pictured on. Furthermore, around Thailand you will see many pictures of the King, Queen, and their son. This is not out of blind loyalty to the government, but instead of earned respect because of the enormous strides the Royal Family has made to make Thailand a strong, and relatively thriving country.
3. Lastly I would like to note how Thai life is so much different than anywhere I have traveled, or anyone that I have ever met. “Thai” has been said to mean free man. Since we are in Thailand, or free man land, one would hope to see just this. I have seen Bangkok, and it is quite obvious that this is simply a large tourist city, yet to see the real Thailand you must venture out of the tourist traps, which I have done in Singburi. Singburi is the country region that I am living in, which is hours away from any city, tourist stop, or 5 star hotel.
I have had the chance to see “real Thailand” and from what I have seen the people here are amazing. From what I have seen in this province of the country, poverty here is incomparable to poverty in South Africa. People here seem to suffer from different types of poverty, yet I have not seen that one sight that makes me cringe as I did in Africa. It appears that poverty here is not as awful as many of the African townships, which speaks to this countries ability to work, make money, and live a happy life. Time will tell if this holds up, but what I can say is that Thailand is one incredibly unique country.