Thursday, October 11, 2007

And the rest of the answers......

"A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place,
but a seed to be planted and to bear more seeds toward the hope of greening the landscape of idea."

~ Henry David Thoreau

2) We know that you spent time in Thailand before. Why did you have to come back at all, rather than just remaining where you felt you most belonged?

Poor planning mainly. If I'd thought ahead (which isn't one of my innate traits :), I would have started looking for a job teaching English before my visa ran out.

There was so much to do and so much healing that took place there. Each day was like a bright spot, even the hard ones, as I was so readily accepted and embraced by the community. It was difficult to see beyond that and deal with the practicalities. I ran out of money and my visa expired.

I now have an entry visa that is good for one year. It doesn't go into effect until my arrival date. As soon as I'm there, I will begin my application for a retirement visa which is a fairly lengthy process.

3) Sometimes you get some really oddly angry comments, which are completely baffling to me. Why on earth do you think people would respond to you this way?

Actually, those comments are really rare and are usually anonymous.

A large part of it is because I am an outspoken cultural dissident. I speak out about the things I see as troubling and some people get defensive. It's a difficult balance to reach sometimes... knowing when to speak out and when to simply accept the differences without criticizing them.

It's natural for people to want to defend the things that are important to them. One thing they don't understand though is that I am all about dialogue. No topic is off-limits and I listen with an open mind to anyone's thoughts. The angry, mean-natured comments are unnecessary when dialogue would be so much better.

4) What do you think of the concept of "soul mate"?

I don't believe there is any such thing. It's kind of a romantic notion that doesn't make any sense to me. On the other hand, I do believe we cycle through lifetimes with the same people until we resolve our karma with them. I suppose that could loosely be called a "soulmate" without the romantic implications. It depends on definition but I definitely do not believe there is "one person for everyone". No one could ever convince me of that.

5) What is one modern invention (that usually is considered a positive thing) that you think the world would be better without?

iPods. I do not own one but I get really weary of seeing people isolate themselves in little bubbles that shut out the rest of the world. This may be a generational thing but I find it rude. The days of casual conversations with strangers on the park bench seem to be a thing of the past. There is a wall of technology dividing us even further when this is such an important time to be coming together.



Stephen Newton said...

TG, it's always refreshing to visit and read your thoughtful and honest posts. I loved your phrase "an outspoken cultural dissident" so perfect for us who live on the edge.

Life has been interesting lately. It's good to see that kindred spirits are still on the landscape.

Anonymous said...

I'm delurking Chani because I heard a song today that so reminded me of you. Bob Marley singing "One Heart, One Love, let's get together and feel alright". I'm so with you on the ipod, we are ever increasingly isolating ourselves from one another at a time when we need to be having a dialogue the most.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

These are most interesting questions. I especially like your response to Question 5. I think the alienation may have begun when people stopped touching their partners when they danced, then phone sex came along (um) which I thought must be a joke until I realized that people actually do that stuff.

Technology followed suit, and now we have completely encapsulated people walking around in their individual universes, interacting with no one.

I think this makes us particularly vulnerable to being taken over by some kind of evil force that could not possibly thrive in a culture that was fully awake and aware and even concerned about what was happening to others.

Emily said...

I totally agree on the iPod. Why anyone would want to listen to music while running or walking is totally beyond me.

thailandchani said...

Stephen, it is always good to see you, too. :) Each time you show up...

Cultural dissidents.. yes.. we're still around. We may be drowned out by iPods and webcams.. but we're still here. LOL


Hetha, good to see you, too! :) (I've noticed you elsewhere.. here and there.)

Dialogue is going to become increasingly important over the next 20 years or so.. and something tells me it won't be happening.

Thanks for the song reference. I was not familiar with it.


Susan, I believe it started back then, too. Dancing alone always seemed weird to me unless I was.. well.. alone.

As for the other, yeah! Talk about Nero fiddling while Rome burns!


Emily, I can even understand it when running or walking. What I can't understand is having those damn buds in their ears in stores, in restaurants, at the grocery store. Sheesh! We can't speak to another human being without having to apologize for interrupting!



~Chani (who is a bit frustrated with Google Reader.. which took *6 hours* to update my feed!)

Aliki2006 said...

I liked these answers--especially the ones about the comments.

I tend to agree with you about iPod use. I do have one and I use it mainly when I'm by myself, cleaning the house, or grading papers in my office. But I do hate how people isolate themselves with it.

jen said...

what a great line: outspoken cultural dissident.

how long were you able to stay in Thailand the last time you were there?

ewe are here said...

Great questions and answers all.

I'm with you on the iPod. Besides the self-isolation (save for the gym when I can understand the need for a good beat), a generation of soon-to-be hard of hearing young people are being created. so much damage.

Julie Pippert said...

What interesting questions and answers.

Your insight into the mean-natured comments is intriguing, and good to hear about your plan for moving. :)

I am also not a fan of the attachment to handheld electronics. People clutch and use them too much, I think, and cell phone use often offends me. In fact my big peeve these days is the cell phone. And mine was just stolen. So my level of anger about that and my irritation at not having it when I had an urgent situation yesterday really threw me for a loop.

Using My Words

Anvilcloud said...

I do know what you mean about iPods and have made similar observations, but like mostly everything else, they aren't really good or bad. It's how you use them. I find mine very handy at times, but I seldom carry it around with me.

MsLittlePea said...

I love my ipod since I walk the dog a lot and run on the treadmill. Sometimes a good upbeat song can really keep me going when I get lazy. But I know what you mean. I see people with their ipods plugged in at the grocery store and restaurants and don't understand. It's ridiculous. I save the bulk of my disdain for cell-phones, though. You're so right about the soul mate thing....I can't help but giggle when I hear someone refer to their significant other as a soul mate. How anyone would believe in that concept given the divorce rate is beyond me :O)

KC said...

I must be a total romantic sap but I believe in soul mates. JP is mine through and through. It's romantic, but also spiritual. (And it has nothing to do with divorce rates!)

Pam said...

All very good questions, interesting answers. I have wondered why you didn't stay in Thailand but it seems to me that your time there served its purpose. Now, when you go back, the necessary healing will be done and you can immerse yourself in the culture.

As for soulmates, most people seem to relate that term to romantic relationships. I have a soulmate, she is my best friend and it's more of a knowing and spiritual relationship.

And iPods. I'm going with AC on this one. It isn't the device that's the problem, it's where and when they are used. I love mine and listen to it when my husband is watching war movies and the like, and when I am stressed or in pain. There is nothing like Sarah Brightman singing Chopin's ├ętude in E softly into your ears to sooth the soul.

Anonymous said...

yeah, it makes sense that the angry comments are anonymous because anyone who "knows" you would know that you are very open-minded and non-judgmental of individuals.

My SIL gave her daughters headphones for using in the car at a very young age, and it makes me crazy. She's encouraging them to tune out. Then, when we go somewhere together, her daughter will just stick in her headphones and ignore my daughter. I suppose if I'm driving, I need to speak up and tell her we don't allow them in the car, except that wouldn't work either. Nobody is less friendly than a kid who is being told they have to be friendly.

Cecilieaux said...

Let me be the contrarian: how can a culture of dissidence be dissidence? Rather, I'd argue that all the millions of us who agree are on the better side of the fence.

slouching mom said...

I agree with Julie that cell phones are just as rude and, really, unnecessary. I hate them.

crazymumma said...

Yes, Its the dialogue. Anyone reading you would see that as you often end your posts with an open question/invitation.

painted maypole said...

i am with you on ipods/cell phones/etc. I think we use them to shut out the rest of the world. I am also with you on the no soul mate thing...while I don't think we return for numerous lifetimes, I also don't believe that there is just one person for us out there.

and you are all about conversation. I love that about you.

SUEB0B said...

The other day at my gym pool a man fell unconscious. I ran to get help. I was all wet and in my swimsuit and didn't want to run across the huge gym that way, so I asked a woman in the locker room to help me. She had an iPod on. She looked at me with utter disdain, like how dare I bother her, didn't I know she was listening to her music? It wasn't until I repeatedly asked her that she took off her headphones and realized that there was a real life-and-death emergency before her.

mitzh said...

I don't have an iPod... But I agree that it is kinda rude, specially in situation when you are with someone and instead of having a conversation, you shut everything and everyone off.

All wonderful questions and really interesting answers! I love it.