Happy Chinese New Year and welcome to the year of the Tiger. Apparently this doesn’t bode well for us Monkeys. And my New Year’s Eve was disastrous. More on that later. But yesterday I followed Peung and her mother to the Tai Hong Gong shrine for a bit of good wishes, incense burning and offerings. Here are a few photos…
The courtyard is full of believers coming to make offerings of flowers and food, and to burn incense of course. When the air falls still and the sun is beating down on you and people are pushing and shoving in all directions, it becomes quite stifling. Members of Por Tek Tung a volunteer foundation that often collects the dead but has evolved into volunteer ambulance drivers, are on site to help should anyone succumb to it all.
Prayers are made outside the shrine and then incense sticks are planted into bowls of sand. A guy with fireproof gloves has the unpleasant task of collecting them every few minutes and trying to extinguish them before throwing them into big garbage cans outside on the walk.
Thai perhaps like to play it safe and many join the Chinese-Thai on New Years Day and then go next door to a Thai Buddhist temple. (And also on January 1 and Thai New Year April 13) Here Peung purchases a new roofing tile for the temple on which she writes all of our names. Moments later I hear my name through a long litany of Thai words from the amplified voice of a monk. Khun Kevin. They believe that by purchasing these tiles we will have a house in the next life. I thought it was a bit weird, but then I know members of my family have their names on a few bricks here and there at churches. Same same, but different?
Peung’s mother tells her she should buy a lottery ticket for her because of our recent accident. It is believed that if you were hit in an accident (did I mention our disastrous New Year start?) you are now a lucky lottery number chooser. Really? Not just generally lucky, but specifically lucky regarding the lottery?? Who comes up with this stuff? Peung went to several different vendors in search of the numbers from the license plate of the rental car we got hit in. Superstition. It makes me crazy. I have little use for it and roll my eyes.
Today Peung’s mother won 2000 baht. Happy New Year.