Jan
24

Chinese New Year 2011 in Thailand

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Thailand is one of many great places in Asia to be for Chinese New Year and as Thai Girlfriend Advisor I would like to share just a little atmosphere of Chinese tradition in Thailand


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“ซินเจียยู่อี่ ซินนี้ฮวดใช้  万事如意 新年发财”

มีโชคลาภ ร่ำรวย เงินทอง   สุขภาพแข็งแรงสมบูรณ์สวยงาม
จิตใจสดชื่นแจ่มใส   การงานเจริญก้าวหน้ามั่นคง
มีคนรักและอุปถัมป์ค้ำชูมากมาย ทุกสิ่งเป็นไปดั่งใจสมปารถนา

祝:春 节 快 乐,

万 事 如 意 ,恭 喜 发 财!

身 体 健 康,合 家 欢 乐!



As a Thai women with Chinese background my family and I still follow Chinese tradition. I just love Chinese New Year because it always remind me when i was a little girl and all children would  be excited and looking for   “Ung Pow” or “Hóng Bāo”  from our parents and relatives.  ”Ung Pow ” means in English a Chinese red envelope with money placed inside, it can be around 80, 800 or 8,000 Bath  for good luck,because money used with number  8  has the meaning of  prosperity and wealth to children in the family who are not yet earning money regardless of their age.



This year I am so happy to be in Thailand with my family and give “Ung Pow” for good luck to my children,niece ,nephew and my parents and I can’t wait for the festivals to begin. One thing I think important to Intercultural couples is to share their culture together so they can get a better understanding of each other. Thailand and Bangkok in particular has a high population of Chinese with Phuket being the second and many Thai have at least some Chinese Heritage.

Some  history about Chinese New Year in Thailand is that it dates back many Centuries to when the Chinese settled in this part of the country bringing with them merchandise of precious goods such as fine porcelain, silk and Chinese tea.Today’s Chinese communities have continued their age-old traditions, customs, and rich culture that were followed by their ancestors and here in Thailand we are very lucky to be able to witness and share in the beauty of these customs.

In Thailand, Chinese New Year celebrations are held over four days. During this time, there are many activities that remind us of the rich cultural, historical and artistic culture of the Chinese such as the Golden Dragon Processions and Lion dances.

So that is a small slice of Chinese New Year in Thailand perhaps if you are in Thailand you will enjoy them yourself and if you are thinking of visiting this is always a lovely time to visit Thailand.



เทศกาลตรุษจีน- Chinese Festival Program in Thailand
ททท. จัดงานเทศกาลตรุษจีนยิ่งใหญ่ใน 10 พื้นที่หลักทั่วประเทศ พร้อมเตรียมการแสดงทางวัฒนธรรม จากสาธารณรัฐประชาชนจีน ร่วมในเทศกาลตรุษจีนไชน่าทาวน์ ปี 2554 เฉลิมฉลองวโรกาสมหามงคลพระบาทสมเด็จพระเจ้าอยู่หัวฯ ทรงเจริญพระชนมายุ 84 พรรษา

งานเทศกาลตรุษจีนไชน่าทาวน์ในปีนี้ ททท. จัดขึ้นรวม 10 พื้นที่หลักทั่วประเทศ ประกอบด้วย


1. เทศกาลตรุษจีนไชน่าทาวน์เยาวราช (3 กุมภาพันธ์ 2554)

Yaowarat Chinatown Bkk  3 Feb  2011


2.“ตรุษจีนสุพรรณบุรี มหัศจรรย์ 3 ปี มังกรสวรรค์”  (3 – 7 กุมภาพันธ์ 2554)

Suphanburi City 3-7  Feb 2011


3.ตรุษจีนกรุงเก่าอยุธยามหามงคล (4 – 8 กุมภาพันธ์ 2554)

Ayutthaya City 4-8 Feb 2011

4.เทศกาลตรุษจีนเมืองพัทยา (3 – 5 กุมภาพันธ์ 2554)

Pattaya 3-5 Feb 2011

5.ราชบุรีไชน่าทาวน์ 2011 (2 – 6 กุมภาพันธ์ 2554)

Ratchaburi City 2-6 Feb 2011


6. งานไชน่าทาวน์เมืองเชียงใหม่ ครั้งที่ 9 (4 – 6 กุมภาพันธ์ 2554)

Chiang Mai Chainatown  4-6 Feb 2011


7.ตรุษจีนนครสวรรค์ เฉลิมหล้ามหาราชัน 84 พรรษา (27 มกราคม – 4 กุมภาพันธ์ 2554)

Nakhon Sawan City  27 Jan -4 Feb 2011


8.ตรุษจีนโคราช 54 “มหัศจรรย์…เซี่ยงไฮ้” (3 – 5 กุมภาพันธ์ 2554)

Korat City 3-5 Feb 2011


9.เทศกาลตรุษจีนหาดใหญ่ (3 – 5 กุมภาพันธ์ 2554)

Hat Yai City 3-5 Feb 2011


10.เทศกาลตรุษจีน – ย้อนอดีตเมืองภูเก็ต ครั้งที่ 12 (8 – 10 กุมภาพันธ์ 2554)

Phuket City 8-10 Feb 2011




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Jan
18

Bangkok is a soft City but here is why

For me I believe Bangkok is a soft City but here is why….

Dean at Chao Phraya river Bangkok

You know I have been in Bangkok now for just over 3 months and this is my third visit to this City. I don’t  profess to be any kind of expert but being married to a Thai woman like Angella and as writer and Artist trained in the art of observation along with my travel experiences and background I think I can form valid observations and insights fairly quickly.

I know there are many of you who have been here a lot longer than I have and may have a different view point but I can only tell it from what I see and experience for myself.

And so far my impressions of Bangkok is that it is a soft City.

Let me clarify that this is a positive thing because what I mean about this is that it is not an angry City. Recently we were having coffee with a Swedish friend over at Starbucks at Ari Station and both he and I agreed that Bangkok is not a harsh City. You don’t feel threatened with your personal safety like in other cities.

Bangkok City Skyline by Thai Girlfriend Advisor

For me I grew up in England only a few miles out of South London and can honestly say they are worlds apart as Cities go. That was 20 years ago and since then I have lived in Perth Western Australia which is also a much more relaxed and safer place than London even though over the 20 years I have been there I have seen the sense of safety eroded as sadly I have to say more and more English settle there. But  Bkk even in comparison to Perth feels much safer

Don’t get me wrong I’m not blaming the English entirely, but as an Englishman I know our culture very well and we do seem to bring with us a certain aggressiveness wherever we go. Current writer excepted of course..(lol)

English are not the only ones with aggressive tendencies when we live in close proximity to each other

So when I compare that to Bangkok I do believe it is a softer city. I have just not seen the displays of aggressiveness, rudeness and indifference that I am used to. Even in other Cities around the world as our Swedish friend will attest to coming from Stockholm and having lived in Bangkok for nearly 10 years. It seems we English are not the only ones with aggressive tendencies when we live in close proximity to each other.

So what about Bangkok then, why does it appear so soft?

Well firstly to every positive there is a negative and as our friend commented and as I am also aware there is a negative underside to Bangkok. You can just as easily get stabbed, mugged or beaten up as in London if you look for it by placing yourself in those places and situations. But what we identified was that it is the Thai culture of passive show that is one of the big reasons for this soft impression along with of course the strong Buddhist culture which promotes passive kindness.

You might upset a Thai but they will not show you aggression or reaction there and then

What our friend explained to me was that you might well upset a Thai but they will not show you any real aggression or reaction there and then. It is simply not their style to do that. It is not accepted and it is not their way…the famous saying of Greng Jai comes into play here also. But beware, because no sooner have you forgotten all about the incident when you will be confronted by their reaction…maybe in a quite alley somewhere or by some other means.

So this means that although Thais do not show too much reaction and aggression as as say the English will it does not mean they will just let it go. But it does seem that unprovoked displays of aggression or personal attacks are not as commonplace as many of our Western Cities and towns. To me it simply does not seem that Thais go looking for trouble and are much more willing to avoid confrontation, especially in public.

No sign of any trouble as we walked along the highstreet to get a taxi

I am reminded of New Years even which we spent with family at Central World in the middle of Bangkok. Apart from the lovely relaxed mood all evening there was also no sign of any trouble as we walked along the highstreet to get a taxi. Granted there was a lot of Police around but this would also be the case in Perth and London but you would still see trouble.

I feel that Buddhist culture seems to equip them with a higher level of tolerance and patience as can be seen by the driving and road behavior. I swear that if we put some of these antics back in Australia there would be all sorts of carnage on the roads and not caused by car crashes.

I never feel threatened or under any sort of pressure

So this is one of the reasons I have very quickly fallen in love with the place. As a farang I am aware as we all are of how many curious looks and stares we get especially if like me we inhabit areas mostly inhabited by Thai people. Sometimes I feel like an exhibit piece walking down our Soi. But I never feel threatened or under any sort of pressure, even when on occasion I have walked back very late at night from watching Soccer at one of the local beer houses.

There seems to be much more connection between people here also. Not the cold alloofness you experience in London and not the indifference displayed in many other Cities. Here they will actually acknowledge you if they have seen you before, even for me a Farang who they cannot really talk to I am warmed by their friendly attention and politeness.

So my impression is that Bangkok is blessed to be a soft City

So here is to Bangkok the friendly City!!!

All the best and Chok Dee,

Dean

Intercultural and Social Commenter


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Jan
15

Some background on why Thai women get so jealous

Sawasdee

Here is a recent post I wrote for ThailandMusings.ThaiVisa which talks about jealousy and some cultural reasons why jealousy is very prevalent for Thai women in Thai Society.

Of course this is only part of the picture of jealousy but for anyone in an intercultural relationship with a  Thai woman this can help give you some perspective on where it comes from.

Here is the link to the Column post:

http://thailandmusings.thaivisa.com/why-thai-women-can-seem-so-jealous/#comments

I will be writing a lot more on the hot topic of jealousy and how it affects relationships especially with Thai women so please keep a look out for those.

More on Understanding your Thai Girlfriend


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Jan
09

Angella takes Dean to Tam Buhn with Master Monk “Luang Phor Jarun”

I thought I would add this post here as it is a very positive article about the experiences I have had with the practice of Tam Buhn in Thailand. I have had a few experiences now and I feel that as a Western man married to a Thai woman I should show respect for her culture and gain an understanding of it to help me in our relationship, so here is one experience I have had.

Luang Phor Jarun is a well respected Thai Monk

Angella had been planning for some time to take me to see the Master monk Luang Phor Jarun. He is quite a well reknown and respected monk who is now into his 80′s……..you can read about him at http://www.jarun.org

So on one Sunday morning we set off to The Abbot, Wat Ambhavan, Promburi District. He only comes out to recieve Tam Buhn twice a day and so we aimed at the morning session which we guessed would be at 11am. However when we arrived we found out that we had missed him that morning but he would be back out again at 2pm. Driving all that way we decided to wait until 2pm and just enjoy exploring around the Abbot as it is a very peaceful place.

the abbot is a place for meditation and I know Angella has often been there sometimes for 3 days or 7 Days to practice Vippissana  meditation

In fact the abbot is a place for meditation and I know Angella has often been there sometimes for 3 days or 7 Days to practice Vippissana  meditation, the practice of mindfulness meditation. I won’t go into detail here but from what I have learned it involves many hours of meditation and silence and although I also practice meditation I have yet to try this.

A Tarot Card Reader told us there was a possibility of some accidents involving our children!!

The first thing we decided to do was to set some creatures free into the River. By this I mean in particlar turtles and eels that we bought from some sellers at the gates of the Abbot. You see the day before we had been for a tarot card reading with a reader that Angella respects very much and she had told us both that there was possibility of some accidents involving our children. Clearly this is not something we cold ignore and so the practice of setting some creatures free and saying some prayers about our children at the same time is a way of helping to keep them safe.

We took time to chat to a Chinese Monk before the Master came out

So down by the rivers edge we set 2 turtles free, which was really quite funny and cute to watch and some eels also. We then spent some more time wondering the Abbot which included having some lunch that the meditation groups who are there for the 3 day meditation practice would eat (which is all free I might add…not the tastiest but there you go)…We wondered the souveneir type stalls and took some time to chat to a Chinese monk in the temple area before The Master came out.

You could see how well known and respected this monk is as many people began to gather in and around the temple area 30 minutes before 2pm. Many of these people would bear gifts to give to the Monk and many like ourselves would have an envelope with money to present to him in the form of Tam Buhn. This money is a gift and is used by the Monk to do good things with such as build Temples, shelters and other things that can help people.

It seems that dogs have figured out that Temples are a good place to sleep and eat for free!

What is important to understand about these temples is that are in fact a refuge also for people in need. If you have no food or money you can go to a temple and get food for free. You can pray and meditate. One funny note is it seems dogs have figured this one out because there are many dogs hanging around but I don’t know if it was just me but they seemed quite passive and peaceful almost as if the whole Spiritual experience and way of being had influenced their behavior in some way. Not sure if they practiced meditation but many seemed happy sleeping all over the place and when the chimes rang for the hour clock they all started howling!!!

As the time approached 2pm it was amazing to see how many people had gathered and now the temple area was quite full and overflowing. We took off our shoes as is the custom and found a spot to sit and wait for the Monk to appear. When he did it was almost like a celebrity had arrived, he had helpers to help him of course because he is very old and there was a sort of soft gasp from everyone when he came out and sat in the grand chair.

You offer your Tam Buhn gift to create good Karma

As he came out everyone shuffled on their knees closer to him and to be able to see him and then people begin to line up to present their Tam Buhn gift to him. What is important here is to offer the gift with both hands and lifted up to him. The idea is he will bless you for this and use it for good thus creating good karma for you in this life and also the next life.

What impresses me is how this promotes giving and sharing

Eventually we made it to our turn and presented our gifts. It was all over very quickly but there is a sort of reverence and energy you feel when you do this and I must be honest I quite enjoyed it. What impresses me is how this promotes giving and sharing without any real expectation which is very much the Buddhist way.

Next time I will share even more experiences that I have had with the various practices of Thai Buddhist Culture which I feel are good to know if you are in a relationship with a Thai woman.

Until then..Stay safe and Peaceful

Dean

The Social Commenter


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