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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Chiang Khan, an Isaan Scam? 25.11.11 Buddhism Thailand

I arrived in Chiang Khan Thursday afternoon and will post more about my stay there in another post.
As I was sitting around that evening ( a short note-the town is full to the brim with westerners, Bangkokians and a few normal people) and I overheard some westerners talking about getting up at 0500 the next morning for something. " Oh, I asked, are you getting up that early for the sunrise," asked me? No they told me they were getting up for this special Chiang Khan tradition where "everyone" comes out in the morning to offer food to the monks and for only  100 baht per person they could buy their "set-ups" from the "homestay" ( when the place was a guest house it could only get 300baht a night, as a homestay  they were getting 900 baht). Oh, you mean Pindabhat? asks me to which I got a strange look. I wisely went back to my beer. As I got up to move on I "helloed" at Thai couple and asked where they were from and they told me Chaiyaphum and asked me to join them. They had overheard my conversation with the westerners and went on to explain the what I call a scam, the Pindabhat Scam and even the Bangkokians are sucked in. The Thais seem to either bring with or hire locally a photographer to ensure that their taking part in this ceremony is well documented. This gives more credence to an article I read that mention that the majority of Thais do not make merit in this manner. But as I said in Isaan it is a a way of life !Larry had mentioned this  to me as his wife Ae has family in town.|
Another side or maybe main benefit to this "special tradition" is that instead of 0900 or 1000h opening for shops thet all open at 0600 and get an extra 3 to 4 hours of selling in.
A block up from the river a normal Pindabhat takes place in the normal way, the same as in every town and village in Isaan.
You can see the setups and while deal in the album and just click on the up arrow in the lower right hand corner if you want to view full page.