Saturday, 3 July 2010

Goodbye Thailand.

Time to say goodbye. I have been in Thailand for six months. Some of it good. Some very good. And, some moments have been bloody awful. I came to Thailand again in September last year to take up a teaching job. This led to a posting in the mountains of northern Thailand near the Laos border. It was a remote place to be but it was different and not the usual scheme of things, and that appealed. So did the friendliness of the locals who seemed to be only a second from a smile.

The race to smile beats other Thai's by a few seconds. The students at the school were the happiest people I have met. And, most wanting to learn English. I found that teaching English for Thai children is often more rewarding for all concerned if I use a game to move things along. Thai children want to have fun and express this all the time. But don't confuse this with not being disciplined. At the beginning of each class, a class leader - usually someone with something about them and more often than not, a charasmatic girl - would say, "Stand up please"! Then the whole class stood up in unison saying, "Good morning, Teacher"!!

The way they said this really made me smile. On one occasion a student responded with a question to a game I had introduced about adverbs of frequency. Spontaneously, I found myself mimicking the way Thai people say, "sometimes". I said, "sumtaime" or something similar. They loved it. Could not stop laughing. Sometimes, the girls in some really able and happy classes would, after winning a point at the boys expense, burst into a Thai song. It was such a delightful song which never for a moment betrayed any sense of gloating, that all the boys could do - and myself for that matter - was to smile, sometimes inanely, until the song had ended.

As most will know I have also been ill in Thailand. I caught pneumonia or a bacterial infection of the lung or whatever it was. But it seriously affected my breathing and put an early stop to my teaching time here. I have thought that because of this and the loss of a few thousand pounds in lost earnings and medical expences that it may have been a mistake to come to Thailand. I think I have already said this. But on further reflection life is to some extent what you make of it, good or bad. It is important, I now think, to be able to accept the choices we make even when those choices sometimes seem like a mistake in retrospect.

In an earlier visit to Thailand, I visited an area famous for temples or, as Thai people say, a wat. The picture above was taken after visiting one of the many spectacular wats in Bangkok. Thailand is a land of smiles and a land of both contrasts and contradictions. A land of girls and boys and ladyboys. A land of soldiers and politicians.

But, most of all, Thailand is a memorable land with a beautiful memorable people.

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