Thailand Floods: In Praise Of The Thais November 21, 2011Posted by scholes346 in Bangkok, Hua Hin, Living In Thailand, Thai Culture, Thai Travel.
Tags: น้ำใจ, Bangkok floods, nam jai, Thai values, Thailand floods
A British Weather Gripe
The week before last I was getting highly annoyed with the great British weather and that is certainly not a first. I was trying to finish off some outside painting and decorating work, but it seemed everyday I got going it started to rain. As each passing day came and went with rain lashing against my just finished brand new paint work (which was now ruined once again), all I could do was hope for drier weather the next day.
My complaints about the weather (apparently a great British trait) were now at crescendo level and anyone within earshot of me would certainly hear about it, whether they wanted to or not. Before moving on to drier work I decided to have a cup of coffee and catch (for what it was worth) a weather report for the next day.
On turning on the television I could hear Thai language coming out of the box long before a picture arrived and realised the Thai satellite channel was still on. Scrambling around looking for the remote control ( I mean why is there now 5 different remote controls for one television), that turns the Thai channel off ,so that I can get the latest weather updates is a work of art. The delay in completing this task had me looking on with horror as I observed the total chaos and devastation from the Bangkok floods that the Thais were suffering from. I left the Thai channel on and felt guilty about my wet weather complaining here in the UK. The longer I watched the greater perspective it gave my gripes.
Starting Out Again With Nothing
However I am not here to bring the news or updates of this massive problem , they’re are a number of fine outlets for you to receive that from and I simply could not compete, but already approximately some 562 people have died in the flooding since July 2011. It is the worst flooding in Thailand in more than a half a century. It is believed that now more than 2 million Thais are homeless and there are countless sad tales of new business ventures put together from people’s hard-earned life savings, yes, the realisation of dreams completely ruined. These people must now start again from scratch with nothing.
It is believed that in places the floods are starting to recede, but goodness knows how long it will be before people’s lives can take on some sort of normality and I am sure the after effects from all this will continue for some time to come.
My objective however is as I say not in bringing the news, but in pointing out the sheer heroic efforts and determination of the Thai people to handle the scale of this massive problem with dignity and with a positive force for the future recovery.
I caught up with a few friends to see how they were and how the worst floods in over half a century had affected them.
From The Nonthaburi Area Of Bangkok
Speaking to Khun Nuttaya who lives in the Nonthaburi area I asked her how the floods had affected her Nuttaya told me that her house was completely flooded, that she was unable to enter and she had taken photos of the hopeless situation. She also said that for this reason she was now staying in Chonburi about an hours drive outside of Bangkok, where there was no flooding. The photos on this post are those of Khun Nuttaya and shown with her kind permission.
From The Ladphrao Area Of Bangkok
Speaking with Khun Kasinee who lives in the Ladphrao area of Bangkok the story was the same. Kasinee had been totally submerged in flood water for two weeks, but also alluded to the community spirit and acts of human kindness.
Kasinee said that she had observed the good side of Thai people as they had given each other strength and helped each other in the face of such adversity, they were all as one and were learning to live with it. Kasinee also said that she had learned how to eat just one meal per day to save the food as she was stuck in her apartment and she told me that they were all experiencing the same thing and shared the difficulties together. Further to our conversation she said that things were beginning to dry up now and that they had all survived by helping each other.
Hua Hin A Popular Escape From The Flooding
I spoke with British expat and freelance writer Mark Stephens and if you are thinking the name is familiar he is our Hua Hin correspondent who has supplied so much brilliant information on lifestyle and living in Hua Hin on this blog. I asked Mark to provide me with a flood update in Hua Hin, but he informed me that it was as dry as a bone there and had been all the time. However Mark did say that on his recent trips to the capital he had noticed how the whole thing had brought everyone together.
Mark also said that lots of Bangkok people had escaped the floods of the capital for the royal beach resort of Hua Hin on the west coast of Thailand. Many folk have second homes in and around the seaside town and often escape to the capital at weekends anyway. Up until as recent as two weeks ago you could not find a spare bed in Hua Hin, people were either staying with relatives, in second homes, apartments or other forms of the town’s accommodation.
Mark did add that things had eased off a bit now, but still many people could not return yet, he said it would be a long time before things got back to normal.
Nam Jai (น้ำใจ) A Flowing Heart
The word Nam Jai (น้ำใจ) in Thai language is translated as ”water heart” , but is better known and has a deeper meaning as ” flowing heart” deeper still and you get to the real crux of the matter ” the showing of kindness all without an expectation of gain in return” This is not only a word or in fact a word combination, but a value massively high on the list in Thai culture.
It really did not matter whoever I spoke to the message was very much the same in that compassion, generosity, consideration, concern and support for the fellow-man were being shown in abundance or just maybe it was Thai people doing what comes naturally to them in the showing of (Nam Jai น้ำใจ) a flowing ( kind) heart.
Locally In The South West Of England
In the village of Weston Bath,( khun Ruji) the proprietor of Baan Thon specialist Thai supermarket has been raising flood relief funds under the auspices for the Thai Temple Buddhavihara based in Staffordshire with an outpost in Bristol. Khun Ruji has been immensely successful so far including lots of support during the Loy Krathong weekend of 13th November 2011 in Bristol. The “temple” is actually based at Bristol University’s multi faith chaplaincy http://www.theravadabuddhisminbristol.org/find-us.htm .
Engaging Thailand Website
For more information on Thailand in general and subjects to do with Life design in the form of articles,guest interviews, products and relevant links ,please visit http://www.engagingthailand.com/ the site is constantly being updated with fresh information of mine and other people’s.
Further Highly Recommended Links
For Thai Ingredients In The South West Of England
Asia & Thailand advisory & interpretation Services Limited (AThaiS) is a small, highly skilled UK company specializing in Thai translation and interpreting.
Mark Stephens: Freelance Writer & Editor
For anyone who needs any writing done Mark is a Freelance Writer and Editor specialising in 5 star copywriting, articles and blogs. Whether short on time yourself or more importantly requiring quality written work assignments carried out then please follow the link below in order to learn more about the service he provides and be able to get in touch with Mark.
The superb interviews Mark recently did on lifestyle and living in Hua Hin
1) Heart Talk by Christopher G. Moore
The complete navigation of feelings using the all important one word ”Jai”. This book will give you insights and a massive head start in to the language of how Thais translate emotions.
For those living in the UK, get the book here
For those living outside the UK, get the book here
2) The Cultural Detective by Christopher G. Moore
If it’s Thai culture that you are seeking to learn about, then look no further than the foreign master on Thai culture. This book is packed with essays on perspectives, on crime fiction writing and of course a mass of clues and insights to solving those cultural Thai mysteries. Another great read.
For those residing outside the UK, you can get the book here
For those residing in the UK, you can get the book here