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Sunday, June 26, 2011

So Pretty, So Deadly

It has been just over 6 months since Pancake choose her new home, finding comfort in the creature comforts of a house and not a garbage barrel. It is safe to say that she has stolen Clive's heart, and for someone who was neutral about cats, he has come to quite love her. I on the other hand have always liked cats, and it is me that she tends to unleash her furry. Many times Clive will call out to us to stop our fighting and learn to get along. But her one constant behaviors that tests his affection, is her propensity to kill things.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Riot In Vancouver

It is difficult sometimes to be far away from a place you have called home for so long, and even more difficult when you see that place through the eyes of the world media. This week was difficult because of the post hockey game riot that erupted.

We had been following the Stanley Cup play off series for a few weeks now. And Clive who has not spent much time involved with watching sports on TV, as he tends to do live physical exercise instead of vicariously through the multi million dollar players.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Waving Flags 11

A warm welcome to the newest country readers to the blog from, Croatia, Georgia, Lebanon and Uganda!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Thailand Votes 2011

Campaign Motorcade- Thai Style

Well we are in the middle of an election. And today is voting day. If nothing else, Thai politics can be somewhat confusing and outcomes somewhat even more confusing. On July 3rd the people will go to the polls. And this is very different than any other country I have been in when a general election is underway.

You would need a multi paged primer to be able to be up to speed on the history, the current situation, and the intrigue that is involved, and now the soap opera quality to the campaign. The Bangkok Post and the Nation newspapers are must reads to be up to speed.

There are 375 constituencies or electoral ridings/boundaries;
There are 4 main parties, fielding 125 candidates each
There are an additional 29 other parties fielding candidates numbering from 1 -125;
There are 53.5 Million ballots being printed.

Approximately 200 candidates have specifically requested and are getting police protection. There have been killings that are being associated to the elections, with gunning down of candidates or campaign workers. There are 150,000 police on duty today to provide polling station security through-out the country.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Waving Flags 10

Welcome to the newest readers from: Bulgaria, Macedonia, Mongolia, and the Ukraine! Now making these countries 59, 60, 61 and 62 where the blog has been read! Thank you very much for your interest!

Becoming A Monk (Part 2)

In my previous writing I gave you an account of a ceremony I attended for a young man to become a monk. I thought that perhaps you might be interested in what this means in more tangible terms. There are rules and expectations that may not be known to people not familiar with the Buddhist faith as it is practiced here in Thailand.

I should start by saying that like many other religions, there are various sects. In Christianity as an example there are different faith practices; Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist etc. In Buddhism there are similar different sects. many people are familiar with the Dali Lama, a man who heads the Buddhist practices of Tibetan Buddhism. There is also Zen Buddhism and Soak Gaki International (SGI) Buddhism that is based in Japan, among many others.

In Thailand it is estimated that 95% of the population, practice the Theravada school of practice, with elements of Hindu and Chinese influence. So in some areas, such as the north where influences from Laos and Cambodia have been strong, the practices will be slightly different in some respects to those practices in the south.

As I said in the previous writing, every young man is expected to go to the temple and spend some time as a monk.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Becoming A Monk (Part 1)

One of the temple buildings at Wat Chalong

I had the honour of being invited to the ceremony of one of my Thai colleagues for the investiture of his son to become a monk. My comments and actual observations are a general guide. Cerremonies and practices will vary from location to location. For the purposes of this writing, I will use the identification for the young man as "B', his father goes by the name "A" in real life.

In Thailand most boys go into the temple and live as a monk for a period of time in their lives. The duration of stay can be from a month or so. Some will return many times in their lives for short periods of time and others will remain there for the rest of their lives. The practice has many purposes, but two of them are for the boy to spend time in reflection and concentration on the Buddhist life principals, and secondly by participating it is a sign of respect for your parents, where your act assist them in a form of merit making. The merit making is for the boy, and family members, both living and dead. There is  a belief that you can make merit for those who have died.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Waving Flags 9

Welcome to the newest readers from Costa Rica, Iceland and Norway (the home of my paternal ancestors!). Countries 56, 57 and 58 where this blog has been read. Thank you all!