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Thai Individual Life Cycles Part 2
After marriage, every couple eagerly awaits the birth of its first child, children having a high position in rural and cultural values - obviously, there is strength in numbers, a vital sense of continuity is ensured, and many hands make farming activities easier. Almost inevitably a child is born during the first year of marriage. Often there exists an unspoken preference for boys since they alone may be ordained to gain merit for themselves and their parents. The pregnant mother frequently...

Thai Individual Life Cycles Part 3
The following day more callers arrive, many bringing small gifts of money to help defray funeral expenses. A family member receives such offerings and keeps a list of contributions so that reciprocal offerings may be made during future funerals. The body is removed to the temple on the day of the funeral. Within a few days of death an orchestra plays almost continuously from dawn. Every effort is made to dispel sorrow, grief and loneliness by music and fellowship. After the monks have been...

Thai Individual Life Cycles
A Thai baby officially becomes ‘some-one’ after its name is chosen-frequently by the village abbot-and entered in the village headman’s records. Soon after birth the child will be given a nickname, usually a colour, attribute or even an animal name suggested by his physical characteristics. Intimates will continue to call him/her by this name for the rest of his life. Childhood is a cossetted, carefree time. By the age of four, children regularly meet to play beyond the family compound. Boys...

Village Cycles, The Seasonal Cycle, The Thai Villagers Life Part 6
Throughout the year, villagers share a common interest in gambling, travelling (pai tiao) and sports. Gambling is a passion. The national lottery excites imaginations in every province, as do cock, bull, fish and cricket-fights by the score. Card games are a pastime favoured by both sexes and almost everyone can play Thai-style chess. Pai tiao by foot, boat, bus, motor bike or rail is a favourite way to relax Travelling makes the villages less insular and personal relations with family and...

Village Cycles, The Seasonal Cycle, The Thai Villagers Life
The Thai villagers life follows three distinct cycles - a daily cycle, a seasonal cycle of farming and festivals which follow the same annual pattern, and a personal life cycle of infancy and early childhood, childhood, adolescence, maturity and old age. A day begins before dawn when the wife awakens and quietly goes downstairs. In semi-darkness, roosters’ cries disturbing the early morning tranquillity, she lights a charcoal fire and prepares rice for the family breakfast and for the local...

Village Cycles, The Seasonal Cycle, The Thai Villagers Life Part 5
By late November or early December, rice in the North and the Central Plains is ripe enough to be harvested. Wherever possible, water is drained to allow fields to dry. Harvesting schedules are determined by common consent within each village. Early each morning, cooperative work groups use sickles to harvest each farmer’s crop. Around noon, the host family sends food to the fieldworkers. After lunch, work resumes until dark when the host family provides another meal. Cut rice is spread in the...

Village Cycles, The Seasonal Cycle, The Thai Villagers Life Part 2
Family members are usually home by five. The animals are brought to the house, fed and tethered. At seven or so the whole family gathers around a kerosene lamp to eat supper and then review the day, chatting together for some time or visiting neigh-bours. By nine the household is asleep. Unless it is the rainy season (the time for night fishing) or a festival is in progress, the entire village is dark, still and quiet from nine until five the following morning. During periods of intensive...

Village Cycles, The Seasonal Cycle, The Thai Villagers Life Part 3
Shortly after transplanting is completed, the annual monsoons arrive to inundate farmland. Daily rainfall replenishes the fields and much of the family’s time becomes occupied with Rains Retreat observances. During the annual three-month Rains Retreat (Phansa in Thai), Buddhist monks are committed to remaining in their monasteries overnight. The tradition predates Buddhism. In ancient India, all holy men, mendicants and sages spent three months of the annual rainy season in permanent...

Village Cycles, The Seasonal Cycle, The Thai Villagers Life Part 4
Except during the formal ceremony-such as when the naag swears to uphold ten major precepts to become a novice monk, and an oral examination to become a full monk -neither the laity nor the monks feel constrained to remain silent. They talk, sip tea, smoke cigarettes and chew betelnut, reflecting the fact that the Buddhist ordination is simply an admission to the brotherhood of the Buddha’s disciples, not a mystic ritual conferring priestly powers. After the ordination, villagers gain merit by...

The Layout of the Village Thailand
The layout of the village For reasons of protection and efficient administration, village houses are commonly arranged in compact groupings. Most houses are elevated on stilts to avoid flooding and unwelcome animal intruders. Moreover, the stilts give an added sense of security since they make burglary more difficult. Security considerations aside, villagers are also more comfortable in their raised homes than they would be on the ground, since the elevation improves air circulation and keeps...

The Layout of the Village Thailand Part 2
Enjoying the respect and prestige of a democratically elected official, the ideal village headman preserves social harmony by skilfully settling minor disputes, carefully ensuring that neither party feels cheated or loses face. He gives sympathetic attention to complaints and initiates various co-operative undertakings like maintaining the temple grounds, schools, roads and irrigation ditches. Finally, the pu-yai-ban acts as village recorder keeping birth and death records and speaking...

The Layout of the Village Thailand Part 3
Buddhism accounts for much of the Thai psychological make-up. For example, the commonly expressed mai pen rai (or ‘never mind, it doesn’t matter’) when something unfortunate occurs springs from the feeling that one must gracefully submit to external forces beyond one’s control – such as the effects of past karma. Although highly individualistic, resisting regimentation, Thais nevertheless realise that inner freedom is best preserved in an emotionally and physically stable environment....

Buddhism: Thailand Part 2
Buddhism gained wide acceptance because its emphasis on tolerance and individual initiative complemented the Thais’ cherished inner freedom. Fundamentally, Buddhism is an empirical way of life. Free of dogma, it is a flexible moral, ethical and philosophical framework within which people find room to fashion their own salvations. Sukhothai’s King Ramkamhaeng (1275-1317) established Theravada Buddhism as Thailand's dominant religion. The elder of two major Buddhist schools and closest to the...

Buddhism: Thailand
Buddhism: More than 500 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the Indian Prince Siddhartha Gautama attained Enlightenment and founded the great Eastern religion, Buddhism. Gradually spreading through Asia, Buddhism became the dominant spiritual force in Sikkim, Bhutan, Tibet, Mongolia, Ceylon, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Korea and Japan, where it was responsible for moulding attitudes, tempering morality, colouring customs and inspiring some of the world's finest art,...

Buddhism: Thailand Part 3
As in medieval Europe, most early Thai scholars were clerics whose major monastic activity was to teach the unlettered. Behind the quiet facade of monastic life, many village boys learned the rudiments of reading and writing Thai and Pali, simple arithmetic and the Buddhist precepts. Education was primarily concerned with ethical and religious instruction. Because most early Thai literature concerned religion, literacy allowed greater participation in religious life. Although the Department...

Ayutthaya’s Rise
From the very beginning of his reign, King Ramathibodi launched Ayutthaya on a vigorous diplomatic and military campaign, seeking domination of the entire Menam Chao Phya basin including the established Northern kingdoms of Sukhothai and Chiang Mai, the Khmer empire including Angkor to the east, and major principalities to the west and south. Significantly, Ramathibodi promulgated the first recorded Thai law system. He also established a bureaucracy to administer his kingdom by creating the...

Sukhothai : Changing Monarchical Styles
A river island city-state founded in 1350 by King U-thong (later crowned King Ramathibodi), Ayutthaya remained the Thai capital for 417 years until its fall in 1767. In all, 33 kings ruled Ayutthaya during its glorious four centuries, but the rise of the island capital heralded radical changes in the concept and style of the Thai monarchy. Sukhothai rulers had subscribed exclusively to the formalised Buddhist science of kingship, and were both paternal and accessible to their people....

The Land and Its People (Thailand)
The world’s oldest civilization was flourishing in Thailand at least 5,600 years ago. Recent archaeological discoveries in the tiny, plateau hamlet of Ban Chieng, 500 kilometres northeast of Bangkok, provide compelling evidence of a civilization 600 years older than the ancient Tigris-Euphates valley settlements, hitherto regarded as mankind’s first “Cradle of Culture”. Systematic excavation of burial mounds in Ban Chieng and surrounding areas has unearthed an 18-ton treasure of artifacts...

The Land and Its People (Thailand) Part 3
Cherishig personal independence, and seeking to escape the Chinese yoke, compact groups of Thais had migrated southward and settled in northern Thailand centuries before Kublai Khan’s 1253 conquest of Nanchao. The counter-theory holds that the Thais originated in Thailand and were driven northwards by numerically superior Khmers and Mons. There, in Yunnan, the Thais developed their own distinctive culture. Later, under pressure from China’s 11th and 12th century Mongolian conquerors, the Thais...

The Land and Its People (Thailand) Part 2
A natural, self-contained geopolitical unit, this river basin was destined to play a central role in Thailand’s development becoming historically and agriculturally as important to the Thais as the Nile is to the Egyptians. Later, it would become the Thai heartland and contain future Thai capitals and for centuries, remain the major means of transport and communications. Eventually, it would be transformed into an intricately terraced, irrigated rice bowl figuring among the most fertile areas...

Sukhothai - The Dawn of Happiness
Early 13th-century northern Thai kingdoms were actually scattered city-states with limited human, military and economic resources. Usually located in fertile, naturally-protected surroundings, self-sustaining in terms of food, fuel, building materials and cloth, and separated by dense jungle, they were individually powerless to defy Khmer suzerainty. Each state was obliged to pay tribute, principally by the time-consuming, cumbersome practice of sending water in earthenware jars to Angkor’s...

Sukhothai - The Dawn Of Happiness Part 2
Ramkamhaeng’s cordial relations with China secured hi snorthern borders and kept the fragmented but nonetheless power-full Khmer kingdoms perpetually off-balance; Sukhothai’s role as a regional counter-force to the Khmers had full Chinese approval and the Thais’ friendly relations with China undoubtedly inhibited ambitious Khmer commanders from unleashing invasion forces into the Thai heartland. Ramkamhaeng twice visited the Chinese court and in 1300 imported Chinese artisans to produce...

Fighting Stress
Peace of mind is connected to a healthy body. Dealing with stress is about changing your life or your attitude Stress can make us anxious and depressed. It’s the enemy of clear thinking and if allowed to get promise our health as well. According to Georgia Watkin, author of The Female Stress Syndrome, one of the top stressors is the “time deficit” – The difference between the amount of time we think we need to get every thing done an the amount of time we actually have to do it all. But stress...

Corncrake
A shy summer visitor, the corncrake now only nests in the more peaceful meadowlands of the rural north and west – driven from its former range by increasingly mechanized farming. On warm summer evenings at the turn of the century, the monotonous, rasping crek crek of the elusive country folk, so numerous were these birds. Large numbers of shy visitor from Africa would arrive to make their summer home among thick stands of grass and rough vegetation throughout Britain. But during the last 70...

Grass Snake Part 1
Folded into the high moor between dark mats of heather, a shock of bright green moss skirts a ring of boggy pools. In one the water heaves and starts to boil as the banded, olive coils of a grass snake slide into view. Flickering its forked tongue, Snake parts the vegetation with its wedge-shaped head as its bright unblinking eyes strain to detect the slightest movement. Finding no trace of prey, the snake abandons its search, and with sinuous ease winds off back across the water, disappearing...

Bird World - Part 1
The Robin, or Redbreast, Erithacus rubecula is Britain’s national bird. It was first mentioned as long ago as A.D. 530, when St Mungo performed a miracle by restoring his tame Robin to life after it had been killed by his pupils. In Britain it is a common bird and is often very tame, searching for worms and other small animals within inches of a gardener. Its continental cousins are rarely as tame. Wherever the English have settled, they have taken their affection for the Robin with them and...

Herbal Beverages - Taan
Taan (Palmyra Palm, Lontar Plam, Pan Palm, Brab Palm) Scientific Name:Borassus flabellifer Linn. Family :PALMAE Other Names:Tanntanoad, Taanyai (The Central Part) Taang (Chiangmai-Karen-Taak) Toowthoo (Karen-Mae Hongsorn) Taan (Shan-Mae Hongsorn) Noad (The Southern Part ) Tanaaw (Khmer) Botanical features: Trunk A perennial tree is about 30 metres high. The trunk which is long and tapering does not produce any branch. The husk contains hard splinters. Leaves A Taan leaf has a single,...

Herbal Beverages - Buabok
Buabok (Ariatic pennywort) Scientific Name:Centella asiatic (L.) Urb. Family:UMBELLIFERAE Other names:Pakwaen (The Southern Part, Chantabrui, The Eastern Part) Pak nork (The Northern Part) Panahaekhadhao (Karen-Mae Hongsorn) Tiakamchao Hukkuk (Chinese) Botanical features: TrunkA short – life cycle plant easily grows on wet soil. Roots grow on the plant’s joints from which leaves straightly develop. Leaves The leaves of Buabok plant are in a single form with long stems and a kindney...

Herbal Beverages , Sabparod , Toei Hom (Pandanus)
Sabparod (Pineapple) Scientific Name:Ananas comosus Merr. Family:BROMELIACEAE Other names:Sabparod lai (Krungthep ) Lingthong (Petchboon) Kanoonthong, Yanaad Yaannaad (The Centeral Part) Sabparod (Ranong )Makhanaad, Manaad (The Northern Part ) Bornaad (Chiangmai ) Nae (Karen – Mae Hongsorn) Naesaa (Karen - Taak) Maakgaeng (Ngiew – Mae Hongsorn ) Maanya (Khmer) Botanical features: TrunkA kind of plant whose life cycle is not short has a short stalk of about 1-3 feet high. There are no...

Tea - Herbal Tea
Tea Tea, a drink made from herbs, could be divided into two types. First is the tea made from green tea leaves. Second, is the one made from other parts of herbal plants including petals, fruits, bark or roots. To make a cup of tea, we use heating water to bring out certain characters of herbs in a brief period. Thus it helps us avoid an excessive amount of natural chemicals, and at the same time, reserve nice aroma and taste. Western countries are becoming more fond of herbal beverage. As...

Herbal Beverages - Farang - Matoom
Farang (Guava) Scientific Name: PIsidium guajava Linn. Family: MYRTACEAE Other Names:Sida (Nakornprathom) Maguoiga Mamuun (The Northern Part) Maguoi (Chiangmai (Majeen (Tak) Yaring (Lawaa – Chiangmai ) Magaa (Mae Hongsom) Yaa moo, Yamu (The Southern Part )Joompo (Surattanee) Chompuu (Pattanee) Yamubutae – panya (Malay – Naratiwas) Pakgia (Taejiew Chinese) Botanical features: Trunk A small- sized perennial tree with its smooth bark scattered with light brown spots. Young branches are in...

Herbal Beverages - Sawvaros And Manao
Sawvaros (Water- Lemon, Passion Flower) Scientific Name: passiflora Iaurifolia Linn. Family: PASSIFLORACEAE Other Names: Katokrok, Katokrokayak, Passion Fruit Botanical features: Bush A rounded creeper. LeavesA deep green, glossy, single leaf with a deeply curving edge. There is a gland at the leaf s stem. There are plenty of thick leaves. Blossoms A large single flower is in its upside down form like a lantern, with green bract. The outer petal is in a cylinder shape, jagged at the...

Herbal Beverages - Takhrai And Krajieb
Takhrai (Lemon Grass, Lapine) Cymbopogon citatus Stapf Family: GRAMINAE Other Names: Takhrai Gang (The Central Part ) Jakrai (Tha Northern Part) Loekroei Hawwartapo (Karen-Mae Hangsorm ) Krai Pilek (The Southern Part) Huakaising (Khmer-Prachin ) Cherdkroei (Khmer-Surin) Usage: As foods Fresh lemon grass is used as flovoring are seasoning Ingredients for sour soups (tom yam ) and salads(yam)as well as juice. Food value The plant consists of sweet vaporized oil, and if extracted, will give...

Chao Wang Food And Thai Food Of Each Festival
Chao Wang Food: (Food Prepared for Royal or High-Class Families) The food which is prepared for Royal family members or of the high-class people is different from that of the ordinary people. The Chao Wang food has its own delicate cooking; for example, Khieo Wan Kai must have only chicken meat without any bones, whereas the ordinary people’s Khieo Wan Kai contains with chicken both of meat and bones. The Chao Wang Namprig has beautifully carved vegeytables, side by side, to take with. Some...

Thai Dishes, North East
The North East Phaak Tiew (Leaves of Tiew of the Cratoxylum family) is the Queen of the North-eastern vegetables. Young tops, leaves and blossoms are taken with Laab (a kind of dish of which the most important ingredients are minced meat or fish mixed with chillies and lime juice as well as roasted rice and mint leaves), Goi (a kind of dish like Yam but mostly with raw meat as main ingredient), Naam Prig, soup, and Khanom Chin Naam Ya (Steamed Rice Noodles with Curried Fish Sauce). Soup with...

Food For Health - Thai Food
There are no less than 200-300 Thai dishes. Each has its own characteristics in flavor and feature. It is not difficult to cook in the pre-historic era. Humans began their eating with raw trees: flowers, leaves, roots and bulbs. After having tasted the vagetables’bland flavor, they added some sour ones to make tastier, or mixed variety of vegetables. Later, they knew how to make simple cooking, for example, burning vegetables or putting rice into roasted bamboo (which was called “kaawlaam” or...

The Charm Of Thai Food
Thai food always has various kinds of vegetables as main ingredients. These can be found in Kaeng Liang, Kaeng Som, Kaeng Noppakaaw, Kaeng Kae, Kaeng Nor Mai. and Kaeng Hua Pli. Of the “yam” (salad) type, are Yam Hua Pli and Yam Kalaampli. There are many foods that are good eaten with vegetables. Isaan’s vermicelli, as well as that of the South, Kaeng Tai Pla and Kaeng Lyan are very delicious having vegetables as their parts. The Som Tam of any region either Issan’s Som Tam Malakor or the...

Thai Dishes, Central Part And South
The Central Part Tamlyn (a kind of creeping plant of which its green leaves and tops are edible) is the vegetable Queen of the central region. The cool flavor of the Tamlyn’s leaves and creeping stems cooked as food help relieve heat in the summer time. 1. Nam Prig Maakhaan Sod (Fresh Tamarind Chilli Paste ) Vegetables to be taken with: Parboied vegetables are Tamlyn, the tops of Maafaak Kaew(a kind of green melon), Maa Kwaeng ji, grilled young Paekaa pods (Kinds of pods from the Paekaa...

Spices Turmeric, Cumin, Mint And Sweet Basil
Turmeric Scientific name:Curcuma longa L. Vernacular name:Khamin Turmeric is used for its flavour and atteracive golden colour. A robust herbaceous perennial grows to a height of 1 metre with a short stem and tufted leaves. Turmeric is usually propagated from fingers or small sections of rhizome. The rhizomes grow best in a hot, moist climate. Turmeric smells peppery and fresh with a hint of oranges and ginger. It tastes pungent, bitter and musky. Turmeric is also an important flavouring...

Spices Coriander, Kaffir Lime, Long Pepper And Clove
Coriander Scientific name:Coriandrum sativum L. Vernacular name:Phak chi All parts of the plant, that is, tender stem, leaves, flowers and fruits have a pleasant aromatic odour. It is a popular flavouring herb and spice. An annual coriander grows from 30-80 cm tall and bears small clusters of tiny white or pink flowers. The seeds are spherical, ribbed, and 3-4 mm in diameter. The plant grows best in sunny situations. Whole seeds are brittle and easy to grind to a fine powder. Coriander...

Spices Thai Food Galangal, Nutmeg Tree And Krachai
Galangal Scientific name:Alpinia galangal (L.) Willd. Family:ZINGIBERACEAE Vernacular name:Kha Galangal is one of the members of the ginger family. It is the rhizome of a plant Alpinia galangal(L.)Willd. The plant is about 1-2 metres high and has long arrow leaves and small white, red-streaked flowers. The rhizomes arc knobbly and ginger-like which are deep orange-brown in colour, aromatic, pungent and bitter. Dried rhzome pieces are tougher and woodier than dried ginger. It is used in...

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