Bangkok Bombings

Last night in Bangkok, on New Year's Eve, there were a number of bomb blasts in Bangkok, killing three and injury several others. We are in the city of Lopburi, a couple hours north of the city, and so we were well away from what might be called the "danger zone". Funnily enough, we didn't find out what happened until my Mom called us on Skype this morning and told us the news. I had been out to the market already this morning and hadn't seen or heard anything out of the ordinary but then again we live quite a distance away from Bangkok and it is not so easy to accidentally overhear things in a second language.

I went back out around noon to pick up some noodles for lunch and decided to get a Thai newspaper to read about what happened in Thai before I got online to check it out in English. Sitting in our living room with the newspaper and my Thai-English dictionary, I learned several new Thai words and phrases, like "die on the spot", "critical injured", and "sniff out evidence". Language learning aside, it appears that several small bombs went off at eight locations throughout the city, bringing New Year's festivities to an anti-climactic halt as people who had gathered for "Times Square" type celebrations headed home well before midnight as a safety precaution.

Christmas in Thailand 2006

There's a classic song that says "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" but almost nothing here in Thailand signals the coming of Christmas. A few stores have tinsel and santa hats but there is no snow, no commercial push for gift buying, no Christmas carols playing at the mall, no Christmas vacation for school kids, and no day off on December 25th. Any why should it look like Christmas is coming in a nation where over ninety percent of the population is Buddhist?

With this said, there is a significant amount of curiousity about Christmas since it is, popularly, a Western cultural holiday that shows up in a lot of movies and English language learning materials that make into Thailand. Of course, movies mostly show the side of Christmas that has to do with Santa, Christmas trees, and gifts but here in Thailand, many Thai churches and missionaries seize upon people's curiousity about Christmas to share about the true meaning of Christmas. Schools and colleges are open to having Christians come and do Christmas activies (in Thai and English) as part of the school's English curriculum. Many churches (which there aren't too many of, to begin with) do special Christmas outreaches and evangelist meetings to present the true meaning of Christmas to those people brought to church by their friends.

A Small Country Church

The past two Sunday, we have visited a small country church in the next province over from where we are living and going to langauge school. We drove with Ulrich, a fellow OMF missionary, and his family we found ourselves bumping and jostling over severe potholes as we made our way further away from the city and into the countryside. Brillant green rice paddies lined either side of the road way and small wooden houses on stilts and little mom and pop shops were visible every so often. We pulled the truck into the dirt yard in front of a concrete store-front type building where two side of the building opened up completely like garage doors. A handful of blue plastic chairs were lined up in about four or five short rows and we were greeted by a few of the believers who had already gathered.

Like many churches in Thailand, both urban and rural, the church was very small, with only about ten people or so in attendance, not counting Ulrich, his family, and the three of us. All of these dear saints are fairly recent believers, the one who has been the Christian the longest has only been a Christian for maybe five years or so. Some of the other have only believed a few months. Interestingly enough though, the youngest adult member of the congregation is about forty! In God's providence, He has chosen to call to himself a handful of elderly women who make up about half of this congregation of ten or so. The miracle of salvation is so obvious in the lives of these women since there is very little human reason why someone who has been a Buddhist for over sixty years would decide to make such a drastic break with a society at large which equates national and ethnic identity with Buddhist. The Thai say, "To be Thai is to be Buddhist."

Lopburi Sunflower Fields

Last weekend we had a chance to go see the sunflowers fields in a nearby town that are quite well known in this region and extremely popular for photo taking. Joshua was a bit fussy but we had a good time taking photos and spending time together.

A Moron in a Hardware Store

Today I (Karl) walked into a hardware store to buy a splitter for the hose to our washing machine so that we could run a hose for a sink/baby bath as well. I wasn’t sure of the word for “hose splitter” or exactly how to describe it in Thai but fortunately I happened to see a box containing a bunch of what looked like hose splitters. I picked one up and asked the store employee who was helping me if this was for use with a hose. He said “Yes” and pointed to the hoses so I figured I would pick his brain to get the exact Thai word for “hose splitter”. Holding up the splitter in front of me, I asked in Thai, “What is this called?” Looking at me as if I was some kind of moron, he said very slowly, “Pla-st-ic”. Ah yes, it is made of plastic. I knew that. Obviously the intent of my question was not abundantly clear. I tried rephrasing my question and eventually got the Thai word that I had wanted. I bought a hammer too and that went a little more successfully.


After being away from Thailand for a number of years, my general conversational ability is decent but I lack some of the specific vocab for places like the pharmacy or the hardware store. Some of it I knew but forgot and some of it I never knew. Much more to learn. Tomorrow is a another day to risk looking like a moron but it is also an opportunity to learn something new.

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