Posts Tagged ‘isaan’

Buddhism Ajahn Chah, Modern Isaan Blessing or Scourge

chah-sumedhoI found these words some years ago and thought it a good time to put into Isaan Live. It’s about a year since I first posted this Ajahn Chah story and being back in the States see this reflection on “Progress” pertinent.
“So much in life is called progress, but in the end seems only to be movement. “I (Ajahn Chah left Khon Kaen Friday Morning and it is now Sunday afternoon. I have seen flooding and drought in the same day, I have seen suffering and joy. The loss of crop and the harvesting of crop. I have seen disco and morning Puja. I have seen people caught up in face and people who know the reality and samsara of face.
Modern times rammed itself down the throats of many in Isaan. Every river that feeds the Mekong River dammed save one.

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Rocky is Dead, Long Live Rocky, an American story in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand

IMG_20160605_134249Rocky was stationed in Nakhon Phanom during the VietNam war, back in the late 60s. He stayed on, got Thai residency and more than likely opened the first Pizza Joint In Isaan. Rocky left NKP some years ago and lived in Sakon Nakhon and Khon Kaen and then moving to Korat.
A few weeks back I was on 1 of the VietNam era veterans Facebook pages and stumbled onto a discussion about Ho Chi Minh in Isaan and the Nakhon Phanom area. In the midst of the conversation Rocky’s name came up. I learned that Rocky had died. There was even a contributor who had even attended Rocky’s funeral.

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Illuminated Boat Procession,Nakhon Phanom, Thailand

ilumnkpBook soon if you are planning on attending this year. Auk Pansaa Falls on 16 October 2016. A llok back to October 2013, The town filled to the bursting point starting early the morning of the 19th. 1,000s of big Bangkok Motorcycles, Mercedes and tour buses. Sunthon Wijit Road filled with pedestrians and unfortunately the road was never closed to vehicles Or if it was, the law as usual, was ignored. By sunset kerosene fumes and smoke filled the riverfront. It was the first time at any event in Isaan since 3G became available that I experience total gridlock. Everyone, nearly was Lining and Facecebooking. About 1930h a bit of bandwidth appeared and I was able to tweet the odd photo, but any idea of twitcasting was just a dream.
Spending most evenings of the week with a number of very helpful government officers provided an addition insight and provided a wealth of information that I will post soon. Enjoy the video for now,,,

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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….

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Free Thai Movement and More Heroes from Isaan, Northeast Thailand

mapHere I am forcing these old eyes to try to research more about the Free Thai Movement that took place in Isaan after the Thai  Government kissed Jap ass. Or as a Thailand’s Nearly English Language Dailies would say were forced to capitulate. one  of the names I am interested in, in relation to the free thai movement and communist movement in the 70s are mentioned,Khrong Chandawong,also mentioned Tieng Sirikhan whose name and likeness I have already come across in my searches.

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The Pakama (ผ้าขาวม้า) an Isaan Fashion Statement, Northeast Thailand

IMG_20150820_071642The pakama is a versatile length of cloth, best of which is cotton,which can be used as a bathing cloth,  for sleeping in or just casual wear around the house also as a  belt, as headwear for protection from the sun, and as a hammock . English internet searches bring up little or nothing while there is a fair bit in Thai. In Thailand the pakama is looked at as an Isaan thing and generally for old men and people are coming up with new uses for the Isaan Tartan. No problem with new uses ,but the original uses are plenty enough  to see sales soar with just a bit of advertising.
I often wonder why there are not different plaids for each province in Isaan, even down to Amphor Tambon, Tesaban or Village.
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