Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Terrell Owens and Kreng Jai

Two things to mention this morning:

As I sit here, CNN is showing a news conference with the coach of the Dallas Cowboys. The reporters are asking him about the possible attempted suicide of a player named Terrell Owens. The coach was visibly angry and left the conference. Who can blame him?

I just have to ask: How is probing into that man's personal pain going to benefit the news-viewing public? Why is it necessary to fill the airwaves with this intrusive examination of his life? This is the kind of tacky, tasteless news coverage that camoflages the real issues of the day that should be brought to public scrutiny. Bush and Company continue to trash the country while we talk about the private lives of celebrities and athletes. Talk about Nero fiddling while Rome burns!

For the sake of all that is good, let that troubled man work out his personal issues in private! We don't need to know! I wish him well. He needs friends, family and professional help - not the gawking mouths of public citizens (including reporters) who don't know him but want to capitalize on his misfortune.

This brings me to the main topic of the day. Someone asked me last night on an email list what it is that draws me so strongly to Thailand. (Thanks for making me think about this, Carlos. :) Simply put, it is kreng jai.

Kreng jai is more than just a behavior, although it will definitely manifest that way. It is a way of viewing the world and our place in it. It is a way of viewing others. It is graciousness. It is consideration of others before the self. It is an ability to take joy in the success of others. It is non-competitive. It is thoughtful. It is compassionate. It is a way of considering our words and the impact they have on the general energy pool. It is a commitment to kindness. It is reserve. It is dignity.

It is the antithesis of what I perceive in my culture of birth (as opposed to culture of choice) which is dedicated to individual success at all costs, assertiveness that often comes across as rude or pushy, competition and focus almost exclusively on "self-esteem".

One is repugnant to me and the other is soothing, comfortable and natural.

While many people get a kick out of my theatrics with the clothes, the furnishings, the cooking and the lifestyle, I want to communicate the depth of this, too. That stuff is fun and I definitely enjoy doing it and I enjoy the pleasure it seems to bring to friends. Allowing my creative, quirky, eccentric side to express itself matters, but I also want to be very clear that I am not making a major move to the other side of the world because I think the clothes are cool. I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed but I'm not stupid enough to move for such a frivolous reason. Thailand holds such a strong soul connection that I am willing to do the hard stuff by acculturating myself over again and starting a whole new life post-50. Thailand is home to me. It's time to go home. I am soul-weary. Not depressed. Not upset. Just soul-weary and wanting to go home.

I'm not a particularly high intellect, nor am I an old soul with any special wisdom. I'm just an ordinary person and an ex-drunk who has a history of making some very bad choices in life. When looking at those bad choices closely, it became apparent that breaking it down and examining it with brutal honesty was necessary to create a life I can live with and that will be worth sharing with others. That will free me from root survival mode to an ability to contribute to the well-being of the world instead of using my energy trying to hide from the onslaught of verbal, physical and spiritual violence and toxicity in this culture.

This has been with me for many years, long before the booze or the other chaos of my young years. It has been around long before my family and I came to a parting of the ways. It was long before a series of trashed relationships and broken marriages that left me even more battered and bruised by trying to fit into a foreign world.

At nine years old (and in my day, that was a little kid - not a little adult), I got in trouble at school for questioning competition and saying it was wrong. By the time I was 14 in middle school, I was in trouble for challenging capitalism. It wasn't possible to fit in with the social values of marketcentric culture so it was difficult to make friends. I can not and will not commoditize other people or myself.

Given all of this and much more, it is my way of saying that "kreng jai" was a part of me before I knew what it was called. It is my primary reason for making the decision to move to Thailand. The natural beauty of Thailand and the nice people are important but not important enough to stage a move of this magnitude.

That's enough soul-searching from Thailand Girl today! It was a long night so a movie and some relaxed time on the futon with the Great Dog Shanti sounds very, very appealing.

One last note for my ex-drunk friends who want to know V's status: He is at this point argumentative and threatening to bolt from the detox center. Hopefully, the professionals there will be able to talk some sense into him. We are not allowed to call or visit him during the detox period. Continue good thoughts, please. Give him peace.

I hope all will have a wonderful, peaceful day ~

Thailand Gal


annelynn said...

Hi there. You've given me a lot to think about with your words and thoughts. Thank you for sharing them. I love that you are going to Thailand. I also love that you have created something of a Thai haven in your present living space... and that you have found what makes your soul calm - and at home.

My name is Anne - good to "meet" you, Thai Girl. I'm going through some stuff right now, but I'll leave my blogsite for you anyway, though it's frankly a bit of a mess at the moment. You deserve to know who is leaving you comments, after all!

At any rate, I look forward to hearing more about your journey - and to learning from what you have to say. I certainly need that right now.

Best to you.

thailandchani said...

Hi Anne,

What a beautiful name! :) Thank you so much for your comment. I will look forward to your blog. Sorry to hear you are going through any roughness. Been there and done that. Trust that it will pass. I wish you peace and calm ~

Thailand Gal