Last April 13th, I celebrated the Thai New Year at my friends’ (Keefe and Hiroko) Bangkok apartment. The year here now is 2547, that is 2,547 years since the enlightenment of the Lord Buddha when He reached the state of nirvana.
Songkran is the term for the Thai New Year even in which the sun moves from one zodiac sign into the other. When the sun leaves Pisces to be in Aries the occasion is described as Maha Songkran, or the Grand Songkran. Traditionally, the Thais use this heavenly phenomena to mark the beginning of the New Year. Anyway, what this means now is a big fuss and a one-week holiday for the Thais. For most of them, they use this opportunity to travel to be with their families in the provinces, as many people work in Bangkok but come from the other provinces in Thailand.
While my travel buddy, Bernadette, a friend of mine who is a VSO Volunteer, decided to go up north, to Chiang Mai, I stayed in Bangkok where the New Year is celebrated with a three-day water-fight. As early as 6am to midnight or later, everyone throws water on everyone. I did my best to avoid the dirty canal water as I didn’t fancy dead rats (or the ‘essence’ of dead rats!) thrown on me — a big eeeeeeeeew! It was lots of fun and with it being a big tourist attraction, turns out to be a water-throwing competition between tourists and Thais. People spend all day for three days driving around with a pick-up truck/tuktuk- loads of people with big rubbish bins full of iced water. Thankfully it was very, very hot that day (it averages 40C for three days straight0 that being drenched with water is a big relief.
Everyone is a target during Songkran — you cannot simply stay dry if you are not QUICK enough to escape. You soon learn that if you can’t beat them, might as well join them. But it’s so much fun so why wouldn’t you want to?
All in all, it was a lovely week of water, sun and Songkran… I am now back in Cambodia, shuffling papers in the office.
Yeah, boring. Nothing exciting happened to me in the last 30 years. I wonder why. perhaps when God was giving out excitement, I was sleeping again. What a bummer. Anyways, even if I’m still single at 30, I’m perfectly healthy and I’m blessed with a job that I really like. And just like Jessica Zafra’s sentiments, it is so effing unbelievable that pimples still erupt on my face!
Seriously, looking back at my 30 years, I must say that life is not that bad. Not terrible, but okay. There are more stones to unturn, places to go to, things to explore, adventures to experience and – most of all – people to meet. Although I have experienced both highs and (more) lows, I embrace them, learn from them, and take them as my training in preparation for what the future has in store for me.
This year, I am entering a new milestone in my life. As I brave the new decade of my life, I am borrowing Jessica Zafra’s driving force: BE ALL YOU CAN BE, REINVENT YOURSELF, DO WHATEVER IT TAKES, FORGET ABOUT THE PAST AND LOOK TO THE FUTURE. Amen, sister.
It’s been a while since I last wrote, and now it’s 2004! So many things have happened, as usual. Last week of December, or December itself, has been very hectic. The usual radio staff production meetings and out of town interviews, the annual program assessment and planning and the highlight so far, the trip to Malaysia!!
Can you believe it? Well, I have to.
If I look back at my past 29 years, those were full of uphill battle for finding my place in this corner of the world. Despite this, I feel truly blessed for God has given me a second lease in my professional life. Mlup Baitong has hired me as a full time Coordinator for the Environment and Radio Advocacy Program (ERAP). Isn’t this a reason to be thankful for?
Note: For some weird reason, my earlier entries before this mysteriously disappeared.