Friday, October 28, 2011

East Influences West

I've come across a number of interesting ways in which the East, particularly Thailand, is influencing my country of origin, the USA. I will keep adding more examples to this article as I come across them. Meanwhile, here are a few starters.
  • The USA is saturated with Muay Thai (Thai boxing) schools; one being less than a mile from my former home in Tacoma, Washington.

  • Human interest story (from a podcast): Thailand's "Sriracha" sauce takes the U.S. by storm. Love those spicy buffalo wings sold at baseball games and popular restaurant chains? Thank Thailand for a hot chili sauce that I thought only I was enjoying in Thailand. Named after a town near Bangkok, where the sauce originates the condiment can now be found on most store shelves in the USA.

    Recently this sauce has beat out tomato ketchup as America's preferred condiment--now THAT is momentous!

  • And in a deeper vein, religious/philosophical influence is reaching significantly into the lives of Americans. Read on . . .

Thai Buddhist Temple at Five Mile Lake, Sumner Washington.
This temple's property adjacent to the former
Glendawn Baptist Bible Camp.
The Baptist Bible camp was disbanded and sold,
but the newly-built Buddhist temple is apparently thriving.

The above photo was taken three years ago and the temple was a total surprise when I visited the site of a summer camp I attended as a child. Here are a few more items of interest on the same topic...
  • News item (from a recent podcast): Alabama's highest-security men's prison institutes two-week Buddhist Thai-style meditation courses for hundreds of inmates. The prison (a Baptist) chaplain comments that it seems to work, so he can't knock it.

  • From an ad in the Seattle Times (below). The type of meditation classes are from a Thai-branch of Buddhism called Theravada.

    Kadampa Meditation Center Washington
    "Everyone welcome! Meditation classes are offered at the Temple in Ballard on Sunday mornings and Monday evenings. We also offer a Learning to Meditate lunchtime class on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. These classes are suitable for all individuals whatever their level of interest, from those who seek simple relaxation to those who wish to find lasting inner peace and contentment through following the Buddhist path.

    Classes in Buddhism and meditation are also offered at over a dozen locations in the greater Seattle area
    , such as Bellevue, Capitol Hill, Burien, and West Seattle.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

60-Year Floods Hit Thailand

Above is a picture circulating in emails today, alleging to picture an escaped crocodile at the entrance of a Thai house in the flood waters. Today's Bangkok Post reported 100 crocodiles escaping from a flooded wildlife farm. The headlines cooed "100 Escaped Crocodiles 'not fierce.' " Tell that to the guy who lost his arm this year to a croc at Pattaya's Crocodile Farm.

The worst floods since 1949 are wreaking havoc in Thaland with hundreds dead, scores of flooded factories, and thousands of square miles of farms and cities under water.

Our village (photos below) sits on Thailand's longest river, The Chi. It runs 765 kilometers (480 miles) through five provinces and its waters finally empty into the mighty Mekong downriver.
Below are photos taken this afternoon, upon learning that our river has overrun its banks.

Looking upriver, the metal fence marks the
normal river bank boundary.

Flooded village road closest to the river. Recently-filled sandbags on the left.

Another impassable village road beginning to flood.

Precaution #1: Sand ready for more sand bag filling.

Precaution #2: Longboats ready for quick rescues.