Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Song Kran

Wouldn’t you like to participate in a 3 day city-wide water splashing event? The whole city practically comes alive when Song Kran (the Thai New Year) comes around and people indulge in this unusual activity. Days leading to it, some people are already beginning to douse the unsuspecting as they walk or travel around town. No one is safe as you can get soaked by a pitcher full of ice cold water even while eating at a restaurant (true story)! Thai people see themselves blessing the people they wet, since it is very hot. Who wouldn’t want to be wet and be relieved of the heat? I have yet to see a Thai person angry for getting wet. They may hate to be wet but they grin, bear it, and laugh along with the person who wet them. Most folks just get even assuming the ‘if-you-can’t-beat-them-just-join-them’ attitude.

Thai people like to have something new as they welcome the New Year. Last week, the whole walkway leading to Central Kad Suan Kaew (a local mall) was packed with shoppers and vendors of all sorts. Since people want to buy, vendors are everywhere including the sidewalks. They sit right on the pavement and use candles to show off their wares. Clothes, footwear, wood carvings, jewellery, accessories, knick knacks, and a whole lot more are sold.

Unfortunately, although a lot of fun, the festivities do have its ugly side. The minor results are eye and ear infections as dirty water (coming from the river or the moat surrounding the old city) is often used. The worse that happens is that alcohol is ingested and together with driving, a lot of fatal accidents occur during this time. Some folks get carried away too as they wet surprised motorcyclists who react tragically. 68 people have already died as pre-celebrations started. The actual Song Kran days are April 13-16. Please commit the country in prayer at this time. Someday, if Easter and Song Kran coincide again, we hope the Thais would be more excited and more responsive about what Jesus did, than on wetting others and getting wet.

We’re not too sure how to post an actual Song Kran picture here as we don’t want our camera wet! Maybe if you imagine a lot of wet people holding an assortment of water guns, pails, hoses, or whatever-would-wet device while wearing silly-grins on their faces, you would come close. Let’s pray for the rest of the Song Kran celebrations to be safe.

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