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My Travel Story: Red Shirts
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Thread: Red Shirts

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Red Shirts

    Last Wednesday I looked out of the window and saw my friend's mother hanging a red training jacket on the fence near the gate before she went to the farm. First I found it a bit odd, but then I thought maybe she left it there for somebody to pick up later. On my way to school I saw several more red upper garments hanging outside people's gates. Having read all the reports about red shirts and yellow shirts I got a bit worried and feared some more political unrest looming on the horizon. But I needn't have worried. There was nothing political about it.

    Last Monday was my first day as English teacher at the local village school. During the class one of the boys went outside. I assumed he needed to go to the toilet, but when he still hadn't returned after quite a while I asked the other students what was going on. I was told a male member of his family had suddenly died this morning and the boy had to go home and to stay in the temple as a monk for a day or two. In the evening I went with my host family to the deceased man's family home to pay our respects. When we arrived the coffin was outside under a tent and beautifully decorated. Next to it was a podium with five monks who were chanting Buddhist prayers. In front of them family members and mainly older women were kneeling on straw mats, while other people were sitting on chairs around this area. We knelt in front of the coffin, lightened an incense stick and said a short prayer. Then we sat with the other people. There was a large turnout. The dead man was rather well liked and he had helped at the village temple a lot. After the ceremony food was served for all comers and there was also water, coke,beer and lao kaow (a Thai rice whisky) available. Considered that it was a day of mourning the people were rather cheerful and joked around a lot. There were even people sitting and gambling with dices on plastic blankets which were looking a bit like a roulette table.

    On Wednesday evening I found out about the red shirts. Apparently, because a man died on Monday, there is now a female ghost (pii) going around the village looking for more men. The only way to fend off this ghost is by hanging a piece of red upper garment outside the gate, if there is a male person living in this house. In addition to this the female members of my host family were also hanging Buddha amulets around their necks in the evening. I was also offered one, but I respectfully declined. When I asked for how long the red clothing would have to be hanging at the gates, nobody could give me a definite answer. The funeral of the man took place on Wednesday afternoon. It is now Sunday late afternoon and the village is still full of red shirts.


    TomUK
    You are never too old to learn. You are never too young to teach.

  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to TomUK For This Useful Post:

    homejames (13-02-13), Khun Don (10-02-13), Susana (10-02-13)

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