Tag Archives: songkran

Fear of joy

Songkran is notoriously difficult to take good photos of, especially if you don’t have a waterproof camera, which I never did for this festival…. for the real deal, really need to google images for “chiang mai songkran parade”….. please do 🙂


It was an experience…. but then, after three years, I always preferred a trip abroad in the middle of April, after having been knocked off my motorbike something like 5 days before the holiday, on the way home from work. I didn’t feel safe anymore. I desperately wanted to be there but was too scared to. But I do miss the parades, the streets of the old city, where most people still managed to behave respectfully (more or less), at least back in 2006.



Every April, for a few hours, I’m there in spirit, seeking blessings, praying, and going for an all-out water fight with my students in the scorching April heat. I miss the joy…. that crazy outpouring of sheer joy that the photos don’t reflect. They were taken at the parade to the governor’s residence, not a main event. I was way too worried about my camera. Just feasting on others’ photos all the time when I want to remember.





I remember this guy above kept a chilled can of beer in his bowl, not offerings 🙂











DSCF5043 DSCF5059


2008 april school 051

2008 april school 048

So many moments of joy coming to my mind now, people and experiences I don’t have any photos of. Dancing in the monsoon rain. Chanting with the monks. The scent of flowers staining my fingertips yellow. The chill of icy water running down my spine.

I’ve had a good life, after all…. but the thing is, I need joy from the world, from others, from outside, I cannot just generate and create it for myself. I’m like a vampire, feeding on others’ souls…. and desperately trying to give back and contribute, just the restore balance to the world.

These days, I’m scared I will die soon and then who will take care of my son? I cannot send him back to his father, no matter how much I love him. There is never ever any more balance in this world. No way, impossible. I wanted to create something way too desperately and I’m still half expecting lightning to strike me down.

And even if I live, can I not put this burden on him, that he needs to make me happy and give me joy and give meaning to my whole life?

I’ve been wanting this so many years, and I thought my years of not caring about myself at all would help, but probably I’ve been on the wrong track all along. Or not sure what’s going on. I’m still terrified and not a single step closer to feeling all right about what awaits me.

Sometimes I fear that no songkran, no new years, no joy will ever help….




Sandcastles for new year

If you google Thai new year, or songkran, this is not the kind of photo you will find in abundance, but it is still one of my favourite things about April. People originally used to build mini and giant sandcastles in temple yards to make up for the loss of soil washed away during the course of the previous year. Now it’s just a tradition. The flags are decorated with the 12 animals of the zodiac, and traditional northern Thai patterns.

One of the reasons I love Chiang Mai is that it is a modern city with all sorts of amenities and services, but it also keeps traditions alive.  🙂