Mae Chee Kaew, The Life of a Buddhist Nun in Northeast Thailand

kaewBhikkhu Silaratano (Ajahn Dick) is a senior western student of Luangta Maha Boowa . He translated the story from Thai to English
This book not only gives an insight into life in Northeast Thailand through the 1900s but into the history of Khammathana Dhutanga Buddhism during the time it was being formed in Isaan by Ajahns Sao and Mun. Reading about the teaching of Ajahn Sao and Mun and the impact they had on simple villagers in the forests and hills of the area is inspiring. We experience the life of an ordinary,uneducated Phu Thai girl who goes on to realize the ultimate truth and escape suffering in her lifetime. We see her interaction with her teacher Luangta Maha Boowa from the 1950s till her death in 1991.

Isaan Roadtrip, Nakhon Phanom, Thailand, June 2016

cremateLooks like I will be commuting between Thailand and the United. States.  for the immediate future,  but Larry and I did manage to get a roadtrip on the calendar. It might have been dubbed the rainy season trip, or the “I don’t  see no dinosaur footprints trip”, whatever the case, we found stuff, did not starve, and never lacked beer, hence another great trip. One thing I did notice is that resorts are still popping up at a pace I  can’t keep up with. You can use Google maps to find what is in the area of interest, but remember this is Isaan and you have at best a 50, 50 chance

Sakon Nakhon, Thailand, Search for the Green Beret Club

I, over the years, have managed to find and or visit a number of the places that were used by American troops during the Viet Nam War years. Larry, of Khon Kaen Retirement and I have visited those sites and many other places of Historical interest on our road trips and hopefully still have more to find.
One of the 1s I’m working on at the moment is the NCO club that was located in Sakon Nakhon back in the day. Hopefully-this video will help jar some memories. I also have some Thai folks trying to recollect, always a dodgy deal.
Check out the video,anyone with any info, let us know.

The Siamese Trail of Ho Chi Minh

HochiminhThe Siamese Trail of Ho Chi Minh is one of those mixed fact and fiction books that set me off.At the end of the day I end up not believing most of what is written.
Yes I am aware of Ho’s time in Siam and have visited a couple of those locations, but when the author talks about being able to see Phu Kieow from That Narai Chang Waeng I know he is either mistaken or fictionalizing.

Northern Virginia, Lao Community, Baci

weddingwomenOn April 23d 2016 my old friend Vilay’s son Chris was married and a Baci held at the Community Center in Reston Virginia. I remeber Chris, now 28, a a wee lad back in 1991 The community came together to prepare the food and to welcome the brides Ukrainian family and friends into the Lao Community. I have written about Baci a number of times and the best place to get correct information is at the Lao Heritage Foundation Website. It was touching to see not only how the younger generation Laos still respect and enjoy the traditions, but how much the Ukrainian folks enjoyed participating

Wat Pho Kham, That Phanom,Nakhon Phanom, Thailand, Buddhism

20130111_094824The Temple is located in Nam Kham village south of Thai Phanom and the Kham River. This is yet another of the isaan Mural temples from the Paper by Pairote Samosorn “E-sarn Mural Paintings” 1989. The paper sponsored by the Toyota Foundation is available as a bilingual book. Once again much like Wat Phra Si Mahapho in Mukdahan there is a “disconnect between what he describes and what is on the walls. At times I wonder if he actually visited some of the sites or were students sent to complete the survey? We have, once again, a wonderful example of an early 20th century ubosot. Unfortunatly, you need to see this one and many of the others soon as they are not being maintained to any standard and are deteriorating at a quick pace.

Chit Phumisak,Jit Phoumisak,Communists,Sakon Nakhon,Thailand

jitfirst posted in 2013. The other day the Bangkok Post one of Thailand’s Nearly English Language Dailies posted a story, Jit statue to go up next month. I have been familiar somewhat in the Free Thai Movement and the Communist happenings in Northeast Thailand for some time. Also I just found out I know some people who are members of the Jit Bhumisak Foundation. So living in Sakon Nakhon and interest for a number of reasons I beefed up my resaerch.
First of all the Posts states His anti-nationalist writings, which included a Thai translation of Karl Marx’s The Communist Manifesto, landed him in trouble with the regime of Marshal Sarit Thanarat, but fails to mention that the translation  was hired by the U.S. embassy to help assist William J. Gedney, an American linguist working in Thailand, to translate The Communist Manifesto into Thai (in an attempt to scare the Thai government into taking a tougher stance against communism).

From Tom’s Desk, Violence in Thailand

pogoI was told, some years ago, that the atrocities that swept Thailand back in the 70s, pretty much did not happen in Isaan, as Isaan people did not do that kind of stuff. Times have changed, but not as much a one might think. What has changed is the modes of communication. Facebook, Twitter,  the Internet has brought many forms of conduct, both good and bad, out of the closet.

46th Special Forces Camp, Nam Phung, Sakon Nakhon,Thailand

Larry and I had been communicating with Joe, a  Vietnam era veteran who was moving to Thailand for some time. Joe finally arrived in Thailand and got up to Sakon Nakhon, looking to visit the old camp. I knew right where it was having visited it before so off we went. On the North side of the reservoir is the old airstrip and the 2 marker to the south east shows the location of the camp, now utilized by the Thais and the airstrip.
With the help of Khun Prasit, long time friend and mentor we finally got access to the camp and a guide of some rank. We did get to the site of the old runway which was pretty much overgrown. Our guide also took us to the site of what he called the old clinic, which Joe pointed out was not the old clinic….