Egg Temple


We were obliged to come here because we had promised five hundred eggs if our prayers were answered. Actually, I think my mother-in-law promised. Or my better half. Clearly, I’m not sure. But someone promised in such a way that also sort of obliged me, so we all went.

I didn’t take pictures because this was not a tourist location, but a place for legitimate Thai supplicants and for people like my in-laws, who were fulfilling their end of an asked for boon.

You got flowers and incense and a candle and lit the latter two and place the incense in a sand filled brazier and the candles seemed variously left around. The flowers were placed in a large clay jar.

Wrapped around them when you purchased the flower/incense/candle package was a paper prayer and square of thin gold foil. The foil was pressed onto a Buddha covered in them in a room just beyond the incense and candle room.

The eggs were placed on a shelf when you did all this and when we were done, my mother-in-law instructed me to get them again. She left one behind and we took the rest, which were now blessed.

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The Royal Crematorium


To my mind, the word ‘crematorium’ sounds industrial, but that’s the way it was translated into English. The remains of the late king, Bhumipol the Great, are not here, but my first impression would have been of a strangely joyous necropolis.

The construction of the place where the king remains are to be cremated was an elaborate process, with strict traditions. At the same time, the king had ruled so long that I doubt there was anyone involved in the process who had worked on it before.

I am not Thai, but I have learned to respect King Bhumipol. More importantly, that it is important to respect the love of the Thai people for him. The closest I can think of to explain the reverberations of his passing is that it combined the nationalist shock of the assassination of Kennedy with the spiritual impact of the death of the long-reigning Blessed John Paul II.

History Of Thailand


I’m glad that I read it; after all my in-laws are Thai. But… I could have hoped for a bit more from this history.

The book breezes through the past rather quickly and tends to let things become a jumble of names of places.

There is a (relatively) lengthy section on the Kingdom of Ayudhya, one of the two roughly medieval kingdoms (along with Sukhothai) that are considered the foundations of modern Thailand, and the author seems engaged and interested when writing about it.

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Another Episode Of Facebook Poetry In Translation


It’s been a while, but it’s time for more “Found Poetry That Is Actually Facebook Translations of Posts from Thailand.” Enjoy.

I knew it.
It’s raining. It’s not going to go out.
It’s raining through a mirror
a movie.

I’m putting sleeping pills in the rice again
Good night.

My eyes… the birds are very satisfying.
It’s more fun than that, Dr. Wig,
eyes on the. A bird.

Leftist Thai Literature


Siburapha, the pen name of Kulap Saipradit

I read some short stories by Siburapha, who wrote Behind the Painting, and all three were dominated by ideas from left leaning, socioeconomic activism, something that I could only see in the novel in light of these stories (and even then, so much more faintly; the novel is, ultimately, about the loves of Thailand’s upper echelons).

In fact, I would say that the stories verge on being downright marxian (particularly one entitled, Lend a Hand, which featured an explicit dialogue about the relative value of labor vs capital).

Enjoyable, but like the novel, a little too much driven by ideas and a little too little driven by character (arguably, only Dostoyevsky ever wrote a truly successful philosophical novel, where a plot entirely driven by intellectual concerns still managed to be a deeply riveting narrative; I’ve always felt that The Brothers Karamazov is the most architectural novel ever written).