Shhh! Secret Life of a Princess

Random, provoking thoughts from a self-confessed princess :: with focus on motivational learnings from the media. I hope to inspire everyone to be the best they can be

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thailand: Learnings from Biz Trip in Bangkok

People tell me there is a huge gap between the rich and the poor in Thailand just like in Indonesia but when I was there on a biz trip last week, I did not feel it. Maybe it was the people I was with who were able to buy BMW and Mercedes at the level of managerial positions when in Malaysia you would still find managers driving a meagre Honda or Toyota. In a country where pay can be as low as USD1 per hour, no wonder the prices of goods are so cheap here as compared to goods in Malaysia(which I feel has already reached an inflation level) and Singapore. For example, I can buy a filling meal of noodles in their traditional tom yum kung at less than SGD1.50 which is incredibly cheap for me but for them it could already hurt their wallets. I could even get ice-cream at less than half the price I buy in SG and big bowls of dessert at less than SGD1 which alr fills me up without any meal.

Prices for movie tickets can be obtained at less than SGD4 for normal purchases and taxis are usually less then SGD5 for a long journey of about more than 25 km. While I was laughing at how cheap the goods are, most people there must have been trawling their way through life enjoying only what is necessary.

What I like about Thai culture is their politeness, sincererity and compassion. People here speaks in such a gentle manner than one would think they will never swear ad shout. The girls here are pretty and docile but that does not mean that they are not strong and not capable of standing up for themselves.

Nowhere in the world have I seen a country who respected and worshipped their King so much. Not the government but the king. I was fortunate to be able to watch the National Swing Ceremony in Thailand whereby despite limping on his legs, he made the effort to walk the red carpet to officiate the ceremony in trembling legs all by himself. His daughter, the venerable princess has done various charity just like he did to the people of his country was there with him too. People in Thailand wears yellow shirt every Monday even in meetings. Most of them has a chain with the symbil of King adorning their neck. In country like ours, we only care to wear diamonds and stones around our neck.

This is the country that introduced me to the concept of moderation called sufficiency economy. This is potrayed through cartoon characters called The Issarapattanas who have the freedom of choice and lives in moderation and The Ruaythavornyings who are the victims of consumerism, resulting in overspending, overeating and derive satisfaction from chasing after materials which they think will fulfill them. It is a simple yet fun way to allow people to review their lives within the scope of His Majesty the King's sufficiency economy philosophy, Buddhism's Middle Path and the Five Precepts that are deeply rooted in Thai culture. Since the Vietnam war, when the influx of money into Thailand brought a taste of wealth, the drive of money and fear of poverty started to replace old sources of happiness. values stating those without money are without worth or happiness. Wealth started to outweigh all other admired virtues. At present, Thai society (and every other society as well in this regard) readily succumbs to the allure of money and the consumerist herd mentality. Lacking individuality, it is a less reflective society. With this cartoon, it aims to change that with messages deeply rooted in the conversations between the neighbours. Wouldn't it be nice if the cartoon is translated and shown here as well? The consumerist mentality prevails even clearer in developed countries like Singapore and Hong Kong where the chase of material wealth is more important than sirituality and individuality. This can be seen in people who crave for the latest fashion to wear, to be seen in cool hangout joints and eat in expensive eateries thinking that all this will increase their self-worth. What happened to your soul? Thai gave me a taste of spirituality and moderation. That could be closer to a fulfilled life than you think.

2 Bowed to the princess

  • At 11:36 PM, Blogger Don said…

    Thailand is wonderful!!
    I am glad, really glad that Thailand is doing its best in order to attract tourists, businessmen to invest in Thailand property. Thailand has a big potential.

  • At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Nong Bangkok Hotels said…

    Thank you for sharing traveling post. I heard that the most famous shopping centre is Siam where has both in-out door shopping centres but i like Jatujak weekend Market more....


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