Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thailand Pride

Sawasdee Ka! (Hello!) My name is Amanda Aaronian/Ah-mah-lah (my Thai nickname meaning "angel") and I am a second year graduate student at The University of Kansas. When I first visited KU, I was told about this opportunity to study abroad in Thailand for 5 weeks. Once I heard those words, I was sold!

On our first weekend here, one word that kept popping into my mind was nationalism. When you first arrive in Thailand, you see MANY pictures and monuments of the King and Queen. The citizens respect them so much that they even play the King’s anthem twice a day-at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. When the anthem starts, everyone stops what they are doing and stands still to show their admiration When I experienced this event it felt like I was in a twilight zone where time stopped and I was not able to move until the anthem was over. Even though it sounds a bit odd, I came to appreciate that aspect of their way of life. This is just one example of how the citizen’s of Thailand express the love for their country.

A particular site that really stood out to me as representative of Thai nationalism is The Ancient City.

Muang Boran or The Ancient City is the largest outdoor museum in Thailand. This site is comprised of 116 smaller-scale replications of different well-known sites and monuments from all over Thailand such as the Grand Palace, the most famous site in Thailand (located in Bangkok). The park also provides a little insight into the history and culture of Thailand such as a traditional Thai dance performed by two women who were wearing traditional Thai clothing!

A fun fact: the shape of the entire park is the country of Thailand! 

These recreated sites demonstrate how far the citizens of Thailand go to show their pride and love for their country. I was very surprised at how the Thai people were willing to create and visit a place like this. It made me appreciate their nationalism and way of life even more, especially since there is no place like it in the United States.  Since the American’s and Thai’s pride for their country have some differences, this realization opened my eyes in wanting to learn and reflect more about the Thai people’s way of life.

Thai people have many customs and values that they implement in their daily lives.  One example is the expression “Mai Pen Rai” which means “no worries” or “it’s nothing”. The citizens of Thailand use this phrase whenever something goes wrong, someone gets bent out of shape, or even in response to someone saying “thank you”. This phrase is so ingrained in the Thai people’s attitude that overtime I started to adopt this new way of thinking. Having this new realization has helped me start worrying less about every little thing, for example: what are we doing next? Will my baggage be okay during the flight? This phrase helped me re-evaluate my priorities and stressors in my life and start enjoying the present. 

Kahp Kuun Ka! (Thank You!)  for reading and I hope you will continue to read and enjoy more of our blogs throughout the rest of our trip!   

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